Upright or Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner?
Upright vacuums: Upright vacuums are often heavier, have larger capacities and a shorter power cable than cylinders. Upright vacuums have a motorised brush bar, or electrobrush, in the floor head which combs the carpet pile to lift dirt and pick up hair - an important factor for pet owners. The upright design may also benefit those who suffer from lower back pain, as less bending down is required than cylinders and some models have a pivoting body making them extremely easy to manoeuver.
Cylinder vacuums: Cylinder vacuums are lighter and more compact than uprights, making them ideal for smaller homes. They're often better suited for use on stairs and getting into hard-to-reach places, and will generally be better at picking up dust right next to a skirting board. However, they often have quite large motors, making them less energy efficient. They are a bit more versatile than uprights, because you can lift the canister and take it wherever you want to go.
Starting from the 1st of September 2014, every vacuum cleaner on sale in the EU will carry an energy label and be rated from A-G for performance, dust re-emission, noise level and power consumption. Additionally, vacuum cleaners with a power consumption of 1600 W or more will no longer be available (this will be further tightened to 900 W in 2017). A low rating doesn't mean the vacuum performs poorly; in fact it could still perform better than your current vacuum. The new system will be similar to that of some white goods such as fridge freezers and washing machines. These are the specifications included on the new energy label for vacuum cleaners:
Energy Label Explained
The supplier name or trademark and model identifier will appear at the top of the label.
Energy Efficiency Class: This ranges from A-G, the A is considered to be the most efficient and G the least efficient.
Average annual energy consumption: This has been calculated for an average household with 87sqm and with the frequency of 50 cleaning tasks performed over one year. Naturally the exact amount will vary depending on the actual usage of the appliance and the size of your home.
Noise level: This is measured in dB (Decibels), for instance if you want a quiet machine, go for the lowest possible dB rating.
Carpet & hard floor cleaning performance: Cleaning performance class is rated from A-G. An A rated cleaner is shown to clean more than 91 % of the dust, whereas a G rated cleaner will clean 70-71% of the dust.
Dust re-emission class: Rated from A-G, this indicates how clean your machine exhaust air will be and depends on the type and quality of the exhaust filter.
Bagged Vs Bagless
Bagged vacuums tend to have a larger capacity, collecting dust and dirt in a bag, which should be disposed of when full and replaced. Some bags seal the dust away for cleaner disposal whilst some bagless cylinders use powerful cyclone technology to remove bacteria and allergens from the airflow and trap dirt in a chamber. These models are better for asthmas and allergy sufferers. Bagless vacuums are cost effective and environmentally friendly, as you don't have to replace bags which reduce the suction power as the bag fills.
Filtration is a very important consideration for allergy sufferers and asthmatics. Filtration determines how many dust particles will escape into the air from the vacuum exhaust. There are several types of vacuum cleaner filtration, some more effective or sophisticated than others.
Stage filters: Usually vary between 3 and 7 stages. A typical 4-stage filter would comprise a double-skinned bag (2 stages), a filter between the dust bag and motor chambers, and a final filter.
Lifetime filters: No need to change the filter during the lifetime of the machine. Vacuum lifespan is normally 7-10 years.
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air): Also known as S-Class, these retain even the smallest of allergy-causing particles. Look out for vacuums that have been given the British Allergy Foundation’s seal of approval.
Charcoal filter: A charcoal layer neutralises any bad odours. This type is particularly suitable if you have pets.