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Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide - Best Buy

There are a lot of styles, functions and even high-tech features available in today's wide variety of vacuum cleaners. So which one is right for you? Whether you're a pet owner, an allergy sufferer, or you just need the right vacuum for your home, check out our guide to help make sense of the options.

Vacuum Cleaner Basics

Choosing the right vacuum cleaner for your needs can be overwhelming. If you start by looking at three basic components of your home, you'll be taking the first step toward making the right decision. First, consider the size of your home. Bigger homes may require a larger, more powerful upright vacuum for complete cleaning. Next, think about stairs. If you have a multilevel home, consider a lightweight vacuum for accessibility, or think about adding a smaller stick vacuum for upstairs. Then, think about floor surface. Multisurface homes need a vacuum that can adapt to different floor styles.

Things to Consider

  • You know you need a vacuum cleaner, and you want to get the right one for your lifestyle. Consider any personal needs you might have before you buy. Here's a quick list to get you started:

  • Vacuuming Schedule

  • You probably don’t have time to vacuum every day. But if you do, a lightweight stick vacuum might be enough to maintain a clean home. However, if you vacuum less frequently, you might consider a larger upright or canister vacuum with a more powerful motor to ensure thorough cleaning. Or, if you would like to vacuum every day but don't have the time, check out a programmable robotic vacuum that will take care of business while you're away.

  • Allergies

  • If seasonal allergies or sensitivity to dust and mites are problems, there are options that can help. You will want to choose a vacuum cleaner that is HEPA certified. Be sure to change the filter at least every six months, and perhaps even more often, if your allergies are severe. And, to save money, consider a vacuum with a washable filter.

  • Noise

  • If you dislike loud noises, or live in an apartment complex where excessive noise will disturb neighbors, there are options available that will run quiet but still have the power to clean.

  • Pets

  • There are vacuums specifically designed to help with pet hair and messes. First, make sure the vacuum you choose has at least 12 amps of power. But power is not always enough when it comes to cleaning pet hair and dander. Look for specific pet hair attachments like special brush patterns and wider openings to reduce hair clogs.

Types of Vacuum Cleaners

Hopefully you now have a better sense of what you may want your new vacuum cleaner to
accomplish. Check out the available types, their benefits and general usage.

Upright Vacuums

  • Description:
    There are two types of upright vacuums; single-motor and dual-motor uprights. On a single-motor upright vacuum, the brush and the vacuum are driven by one motor. With a dual-motor upright, the vacuum and the brush are driven by separate motors, offering extra power where needed.

  • Benefits:
    Upright vacuums offer a great combination of cleaning power and convenience. Plus, many models come with an array of cleaning tools and easy switching between carpet and hard floor cleaning.

  • Use:
    An upright is a good all-purpose design for homes and apartments. You can find a wide variety of styles, sizes and power options. For places with hard floors or a combination of carpet and hard floors, choose a brush you can turn off. That way you won't scratch the wood floors. If you have allergies or pets, choose a HEPA system.

Canister Vacuums

  • Description:
    Canister, or cylinder, vacuums have the motor and bag in a separate unit, which is usually mounted on wheels to help with maneuverability. The canister is connected to the vacuum head by a flexible hose.

  • Benefits:
    Canister vacuums tend to be lighter than other vacuum designs, plus they have a highly maneuverable power head that can reach tight spots with ease.

  • Use:
    This style is perfect for vacuuming hard-to-reach spots and furniture. It is even good for cleaning cars and drapes.

Handheld and Stick Vacuums

  • Description:
    Stick and handheld vacuums are the smallest, lightest options available.

  • Benefits:
    One benefit of these vacuums is the cordless freedom they offer. Also, if you find yourself getting tired of lugging a vacuum all over the house, or up and down stairs, a stick vacuum or a handheld unit can help.

  • Use:
    This style is ideal for cleaning stairs, furniture, and smaller messes. If you have kids who are messy eaters, consider a handheld vacuum for quick cleanup. You may also want a stick vacuum on the second floor to eliminate the need to carry a vacuum up a flight of stairs.

Robot Vacuums

  • Description:
    A robot, or self-propelled, vacuum is a small unit that you can program to vacuum any time of the day. Sensors tell it when to avoid obstacles and stairs so you can enjoy a full-floor cleaning.

  • Benefits:
    If the thought of housecleaning makes you cringe, this might be the option for you. Simply program your robot vacuum, sit back and watch it do all the work.

  • Use:
    Perfect for those too busy to vacuum, or for homes with a lot of dust where a quick clean might be necessary every day. Self-propelled models may also be a good option for anyone unable to push an upright vacuum. Program the robot to start and stop wherever you want it to go. Most will even travel from carpet to hard surfaces and back again. And, some even feature wet mopping capability.

Commercial and Garage Vacuums

  • Description:
    Often called shop vacs, commercial and garage vacuums offer extra power for professional-sized messes.

  • Benefits:
    A garage or commercial vacuum is powerful. Designed specifically for heavy-use in shops and other work places, commercial and garage vacuums offer extra power for professional-sized messes.

  • Use:
    Ideal for those who are looking for the power to clean anything, anywhere.

Hard Floor Cleaners

  • Description:
    Most vacuums today offer a feature that adjusts to the surface you are cleaning, from hardwood to deep pile carpets. However, there are a number of options specifically suited to hard floors. Some use a steam function for deep cleaning, while others have a spray option for wet mopping capability.

  • Benefits:
    One big benefit of a hard floor cleaner is that you won't scratch the finish of your floor with a moving brush.

  • Use:
    Good on surfaces varying from hardwood to linoleum, you'll find a design suited to your floor surface.

Carpet Cleaners

  • Description:
    Carpet cleaners use moisture and heat to loosen dirt and stains a vacuum can't suction. These cleaners often have a steam canister you can pull around with a hose and cleaning head.

  • Benefits:
    Dirt in a carpet is very abrasive and can cause damage if it isn't removed regularly. For a deep clean, a carpet cleaner might be the right choice for you. Many of these cleaners do more than just clean — they actually disinfect, killing germs as well as cleaning up ground-in dirt and grime.

  • Use:
    Carpet cleaners come in a variety of different models ranging from carpet cleaners, to hard floor steamers to smaller handheld models capable of cleaning and disinfecting furniture, drapes or rugs. Don't forget to get enough cleaning solution for multiple passes over the area you want to clean.

Features to Consider

  • Before choosing your vacuum, here are a few important features to look for:

  • Bag or Bagless

  • Both designs have been proven to clean very well. So, one option is not necessarily superior to the other. However, there are differences such as:

  • Bagless designs offer more convenience by simply detaching the container unit and disposing of dirt and dust without pulling out a separate bag

  • Bagless designs will also save you money on buying bags

  • Bag designs can sometimes keep dust contained better since the bag itself seals the dust away

If you're looking for convenience, a bagless design is probably for you. But if allergies are a concern, check out an option with a bag to prevent dust and allergens from escaping.

  • Power

  • You may wonder how to determine the power you need in a vacuum. Here is a quick guide to help:

  • Amps is a measure of the power coming into the vacuum from your outlet — the maximum number of amps that can be drawn from a home outlet is 12–so in an upright or canister vacuum, look for motor with a full 12 amps of draw

  • Wattage is what you get when you multiply amps and the voltage draw

  • Air watts is probably the best indicator of a vacuum's power capability because it factors in resistance to suction — if a vacuum shows air watts, anything with more than 200 air watts is a good indication it will have the power you need for typical home cleaning.

  • Filters

  • HEPA filters remove particles like dust, dander and allergens from the air. These filters are a must-have for anyone who is sensitive to dust or pet hair, or allergic to pollen. Some models feature a filter that needs to be replaced regularly. A good rule of thumb is to replace your filter every six months. However, some models now feature reusable filters that allow you to remove, clean and replace the same filter as necessary — a great money-saving option.

Accessories and Attachments

  • Are you looking for a vacuum that does much more than just suck up dirt and dust on the floor? Do you want to clean drapes, sofas and chairs, dust shelves, and get into all the cracks and crevices in your home? To do all that, you need the right attachments. Make sure the vacuum you choose includes the right attachments, or that you can add them later. Some attachments to consider are:

  • Crevice tool for cleaning corners and tight spaces

  • Dusting brush used to gently dust shelves and tables.

  • Upholstery tool for vacuuming your furniture without damaging.

  • Turbo brush offers deep cleaning for longer carpets

  • Cleaning solution

Latest Technology

  • If you've ever wanted a powerful vacuum with the convenience of a cordless design, check out the latest designs available. More and more brands are coming out with models that offer the freedom of a cordless design, with the power of an upright.

Shop Online or In Store,
Plus Try Before You Buy

Find a wide variety of vacuum cleaners and vacuum cleaner attachments on We also offer you the opportunity to visit your local store to try out the models that you're considering. Our friendly Blue Shirts are there to answer questions to help you choose the best vacuum for your needs.