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Floor Care Buying Guide

The floor care category is broad and can be overwhelming. You want your purchase to last, so you need to make the right choice to fit your needs. Here is a brief education to aid you in your search. It's important to identify the features that are most important to you before making your purchase.

Options for Vacuums

Upright

An upright vacuum cleaner usually has a brush agitator for cleaning carpets and may also have attachments for cleaning other surfaces such as bare floors, stairs and furniture. They are commonly used for larger areas.

Canister

Often lightweight and fully mobile, canister vacuum cleaners are ideal for cleaning hard-to-reach spaces such as upholstery or stairs.

Stick Vac

A portable, lightweight and cordless vacuum that is great for quick pick-ups. Less of an all-purpose vacuum, but ideal for small areas. Some models come with an integrated hand vac.

Robotic

A robotic vacuum is good for large areas. Most models can be programmed to run on a set schedule, making vacuuming more convenient than ever.

Things to Consider

Floor Type

Hard

  • Hardwood
  • Tile
  • Linoleum

Carpet

  • Low pile
  • High pile
  • Throw rugs

Stairs

  • Wand reach
  • Attachments

Allergies

  • HEPA filtration HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. The specification for a HEPA filter is that it must filter 99.97% of all particles 0.3 microns in size.
  • Bagged models collect dirt and dust in a sealed bag
  • Some models are certified Asthma/Allergy

Pets

  • Tools/attachments designed to remove hair, making them ideal for pet owners
  • Odor reducing filters and/or bags

Other Things to Consider

  • Weight of vacuum
  • Cord length
  • Steam for deep-cleaning
  • Robotic convenience

Features

Bagged

The quality of the bags has greatly improved, and bagged vacuums are generally better for homes with allergy sufferers, since the dust and dirt are contained.

Bagless

These vacuums are convenient because they empty quickly and you avoid the hassle of replacing bags.

Brush Roll

Its primary purpose is to agitate the carpet fibers. A vacuum with an on/off brush roll feature can help protect bare floors.

Height Adjustment

Some vacuums offer automatic height adjustment knobs to raise or lower the cleaning head and accommodate different types of floor covering.

Cleaning Path

The wider the path, the more area is covered in less time.

Cord Length

Cord length is important depending on how much area you want to cover without changing outlets. It used to be common for vacuums to have 18-20 foot cords. Lately, its become more common to see cords 25-35 feet long.

Automatic Cord Rewind

Cord retracts and is neatly stored with the push of a button. This feature does limit the length of the cord somewhat.

Filtration

Most cleaners offer some kind of filtration; some offer more than one. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters provide the most efficient filtration. Filters can remove pet dander, pollen, dust and dust mites. Remember to clean or change the filters per the manufacturers specifications for maximum efficiency.

Maneuverability

Some vacuums offer easier maneuverability by turning on a ball or swiveling.

Weight

If you have a multi-level home and need to bring the vacuum up and down stairs, vacuum weight may become a consideration. Self-propelled vacuum cleaners are designed with a transmission that powers forward and reverse movements more easily.

Accessories

Upholstery Tool

Bristled, useful for cleaning furniture and upholstery.

Turbo Brush

This tool has a rotating brush, ideal for removing pet hair from upholstery, cleaning stairs, etc.

Crevice Tool

Long and angled. Great for corners, molding and tight spaces.

Dusting Brush

Soft bristles to gently brush blinds and more delicate surfaces.

On-Machine Storage

Many models have onboard areas to store tools, for convenience.

Deep Cleaning

Vacuums, even the best ones, only get some of the dirt that is deep down in your carpet. Deep cleaning goes a step further to wash your carpet fibers, remove stubborn ground-in dirt and clean tough stains by using hot water and a carpet cleaning formula. Not only is deep cleaning healthy for you and your carpet, it is also an easy way to protect your carpet investment.

Steam Mops

A steam mop is a mop that uses steam to clean floors and refresh carpets. Unlike a regular mop, which requires cleaning agents, the steam mop uses the heat from the steam to clean and disinfect the floors.

Maintenance

Like most appliances, vacuums require maintenance. To preserve optimal performance, you need to:

  • Change/Wash the filter at least every 3 months
  • Replace bag/Empty dirt cup when it has reached capacity.
  • Check the brush roll frequently for hair or string that can get wrapped around the roll.