Vacuuming a house, no matter how big or small, requires the best vacuum cleaner to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Not all of them are created equal, and there are so many different types of vacuum cleaners with a different characteristics. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons for each type, and what they’re typically good at.
Types of Vacuum Cleaners
Handheld Vacuum Cleaners
- Portable – The small size allows it to be taken wherever it’s needed for vacuuming.
- Lightweight – Comfortable to hold.
- Easy to Use – It’s mainly just an on/off switch button.
- Limited Capacity – Waste bins tend to need emptying more frequently.
- Less Suction Power – The suction power is lower than most standard sized vacuum cleaners.
Handheld vacuum cleaners are small in size and lightweight, which makes them easily portable. Usually shaped with a wide mouth and long body, a handheld vacuum can often get into narrow spaces that a standard sized vac cannot. You often need to use a crevice attachment on the big vacuum cleaners.
This type of vacuum cleaner can be taken anywhere which makes it great for quick clean ups. That means there’s no need to faff around with the big vacuum cleaner just to clean up a small cereal spill. There’s no need to fiddle around with any complicated controls either as handheld vacs usually just have the on/off switch making it straightforward to use.
Upright Vacuum Cleaners
- Tall Length – Means you don’t have to lean forward as much when vacuuming.
- Wider Cleaning Mouths – Covers more floor space.
- Great For Deep Pile Carpets – The revolving brush in the cleaning head helps to dislodge dirt embedded deep inside the carpet.
- Bulky – Takes up a lot of space in height.
Typically designed with a high stick and a cylinder for the waste, an upright vacuum cleaner can prove to be less strenuous on the back. For some people, where the handle is placed, it can be a lot easier to clean and manoeuvre the vac around as it’s at the perfect height level.
Upright vacs tend to have a limited amount of attachments available which aren’t always ideal to use. Once the main cleaning head is removed and another attachment is in place, it will no longer be able to stand upright. The main cleaning head works best because if you have a lot of floor space to clean in your home, this vacuum cleaner type will do the job perfectly thanks to its wider cleaning head.
Stick Vacuum Cleaners
- Less Bulky – Takes up minimal storage space.
- Quick Clean-Up – It’s lightweight making it easy to take out to suck up minor debris and spills.
- Versatile – The stick can be detached from many models to be converted into a handheld vacuum cleaner.
- Low Noise Level – Makes less noise than full size vacuums.
- Not Ideal For Big Homes – The cleaning head is small so doesn’t cover as much floor space quickly.
- Small Waste Bin – Requires emptying more often.
Although stick vacuum cleaners are similar to upright vacuums, it’s important not to confuse the two together as each is in a category of its own. With stick vacs, the usual design is of a small bin with a handle where it’s held and a normal looking vacuum stick attached to it reaching the ground with a cleaning head at the end.
With so many different types of vacuum cleaners, the stick is easily the most lightest of all full sized vacs, making it super easy to manoeuvre.
It requires no pulling or dragging and most of them are designed to be cordless. Being a lot smaller than full size vacuum cleaners, stick vacuums also take up less storage space which is perfect for smaller households.
Cylinder Vacuum Cleaners / Canister Vacuums
- Compact – Generally smaller than upright vacuums, making it easier to store.
- Easy to Change Attachments – The hose is smaller making it easier to swap cleaning attachments.
- Lightweight – Easy to lift up and down the stairs during cleaning.
- Hard to Manoeuvre – Wheels are not 360 degrees so it’s not so easy pulling it around.
Cylinder vacs are normally designed with two large wheels are the back with one or two small ones in front which don’t rotate 360 degrees. This can prove to be tough for people with bad backs as it requires a lot of pulling and lifting the vacuum as go around cleaning. However, it also means the vacuum is less likely to topple over as you pull it along.
Small in size, cylinder vacuum cleaners are easy to store away. Many models come with a range of cleaning attachments which are easy to attach on and remove even with one hand. This type of vacuum cleaner is ideal for a wide variety of floor surfaces especially for the stairs due to more narrow cleaning head.
Robot Vacuum Cleaners
- No Effort Required – Automatically moves around by itself to clean.
- Automatic Floor Settings – Adjusts itself to different types of floor surfaces.
- Long Lasting – Built with hardwearing materials that are stronger than full size vacuum cleaners.
- Self-Charging – Once the job is finished, the robot vac returns to its charging dock by itself to recharge.
- Expensive – Priced at the higher end of the market.
- Long Cleaning Time – Takes longer to clean a room than operating a standard vacuum cleaner yourself.
For the many people that hate vacuuming, the robot vacuum cleaner is the most ideal vacuum cleaner to have. It can clean on its own without you needing to move it around as it will glide around the floors sucking up dirt and debris. This is great for anyone who has mobility problems or don’t have time to vacuum as other chores might require more attention.
Without a cord, a robot vac can pretty much go anywhere. It can even go in small spaces because of its compact size. There’s no need to worry about a robot vac going over the same spot or falling down the stairs because they have preset boundaries which allow you to set off-limit areas and walls. The best thing about a robot vacuum cleaner is that you don’t have to lift a finger – well except for the one to turn the machine on.
Window Vacuum Cleaners
- Ideal For Smooth Surfaces – Works great on windows, mirrors or tiles.
- Portable – The small size enables it to be taken from room to room.
- Ideal For Cleaning Spills – Can be used to suck up liquid spills.
- Streak Free Cleaning – Doesn’t leave streaks behind which is what happens when cloths are used to wipe away liquids or moisture.
- Small Capacity – Fills up quickly which means it needs to be emptied more often.
- Not Versatile – Most models can only be used to clean liquid and moisture, not debris.
Probably not as widely known as the usual vacuum cleaners but window vacuum cleaners do exist and their purpose is to suck moisture from windows and similar surfaces. Wiping the moisture or condensation from windows or mirrors can take a bit of effort and time but a window vac is designed to suck that out without the need for separate cleaning solutions or cloths.
A window vac’s design is similar to that of a squeegee except with a bit more weight for the waste bin and electrical parts. The size is significantly bigger but is still portable and the best ones are designed with a handle for ease of use. This type of vacuum cleaner can also be used to clean up spills on smooth surfaces which saves you from having to wipe it down.
Other Types of Vacuum Cleaners
Other than the different types of vacuum cleaners to consider in the list above, here are some other variants of vacuum cleaners to consider.
Corded Vacuum Cleaners
- Not Limited by Battery Life – Can take however long you want to clean.
- Bigger Waste Bin Capacity – Doesn’t require the rubbish bin to be emptied so often.
- Longer Lifespan – There’s no depletion of wattage or suction power as it’s never charged like a cordless.
- Restricted Cord Length – Need to constantly unplug and plug the power socket in again when you change rooms.
- Heavier – A bigger bin capacity means a bigger vacuum cleaner and more weight.
Traditional vacuum cleaners are typically constructed with a power cord. This gives the vacuum cleaner a strong suction power which works fantastically on deeply embedded dirt or on thick carpet. Less effort is required as you don’t have to keep going over the same spot to pick up that dirt.
Despite being restricted by the power cord, a corded vacuum cleaner will never run out of power (unless you have a power cut of course) which means you don’t have to feel rushed to clean before the battery charge dies. The suction power also remains at the same level so there’s no excuses for not thoroughly cleaning the home.
Cordless Vacuum Cleaners
- Lighter Weight – Easier to carry and manoeuvre.
- Compact – Takes up less storage space.
- Convenience of Use – Not restricted by a cord so can be taken anywhere.
- Limited Life – The battery only runs on full power for a certain amount of time.
Smaller than a standard sized corded vacuum cleaner, a cordless vac is ideal for a smaller household or one with young children or pets which requires frequent quick clean ups. It can be used anywhere as you’re not restricted by a cord and some models provide a wall mount to enable the charging dock to be fixed on. Otherwise, it can be charged wherever there is a plug socket.
Despite needing to be run on a charged battery, a full charge can range from 15 to 60 minutes depending on the model.
For small households, that’s more than enough time to complete a cleanup of the home. The suction power for most models are strong enough to pick up dirt from carpets and work really well on wooden floor surfaces.
Car Vacuum Cleaner
- Small Size – Typically handheld size, it can be easily stored in the corner of the car boot and easier to hold with one hand.
- Suitable Attachments – Enables the vacuum cleaner to get into the nooks and crannies of a car.
- Long Cable – Enables you to reach the boot of the car.
- Suction Power – Not as powerful as other types of vacuum cleaners.
A handheld vac can be used for cleaning the car but a car vacuum cleaner goes a step further as it tends to include attachments that are more narrow to really get into those hard to reach places. Think of the air vents. A normal handheld vac is unable to suck up all the dust inside those. Using these attachments are also less likely to damage the car wires.
A car vacuum cleaner can be left in the car for convenience and it can be powered through the car’s cigarette socket for most models. Many will have a long cable of 4m or more which will enable you to reach under seats and to the back of the car.
Pet Hair Vacuum Cleaner
- Powerful Suction – Stronger than most other vacuum cleaners.
- Special Filters – Helps to neutralise animal odours and removes allergens in the air.
- Boost Function – Some models have a function to boost the suction power of the vac to get into deeply ingrained pet hair.
- Noisy – A stronger suction power means some models are louder than the usual vacuum cleaner.
Many vacuum cleaners usually come supplied with an attachment designed to remove pet hair. However, not all of them are effective in cleaning pet hair especially when it’s deeply embedded. A pet hair vacuum cleaner has special filters with charcoal layers which helps to catch all the scattered pet hairs. The best thing about it is that it also neutralises pet odours at the same time.
- Flexible Cleaning – Can be used to clean up wet or dry messes.
- Easy Disposal System – Wet waste can be disposed of through the drainage hose.
- Effective Suction Power – More powerful than standard size vacuum cleaners.
- Heavy – The larger the tank capacity is, the heavier the vacuum cleaner can get.
Wet/dry vacuum cleaners have that special ability to suck up liquid spills without worry of it damaging the vacuum cleaner. Some models can even be used as an air pump to inflate inflatable items. It’s easy to dispose of the liquid in the waste disposal which can be done through a drainage hose for most models.
With the many different types of vacuum cleaners available, only some have the added benefit of sucking up liquid messes. A wet/dry vac is ideal for any household that tends to do a lot of cooking or have young children who are learning to eat by themselves.