Which is the best vacuum cleaner?
As a must-have appliance in most homes, we rely on a vacuum cleaner to not only remove everyday dust to keep our home clean, but also to maintain a healthy home environment. But which vacuum cleaner is the best?
Since it's invention in 1869, vacuum cleaners have become an integral part of indoor cleaning, so much so that the modern vacuum cleaner has evolved into a high-tech appliance that can be used for a number of other tasks apart from cleaning carpets and floors.
As with any home appliance, it's important to remember that not all vacuum cleaners are the same and we have put together a list of tips on what to look out for when buying a new vacuum cleaner:
Power rating and suction
Vacuum cleaners use the principles of suction and friction to clean a home. All vacuum cleaners have a motor, and essentiallly, the stronger the motor, the stronger the suction power it creates, and the more efficient the vacuum cleaner will be at sucking up all the dirt and dust.
How this works:
The motor is attached to a fan similar to that of an airplane propeller. As these fan blades turn they force air out towards the air vent or exhaust grill. Air pressure increases at the front of the fan, whilst decreasing behind and it is this drop in pressure that creates a partial vacuum in the cleaner, as ambient [external] air is then pushed inside to fill the void.
In order for dust and debris to be picked up, the principle of friction is applied, where air molecules being sucked into the vacuum create friction by rubbing against dust and other particicles and carries them along into the vacuum cleaner.
On a vacuum cleaner with rotating brushes in the base, these provide an even more efficient way of dust collection, by loosening dust and debris so that it can easily be picked up and transported into the vacuum cleaner.
Invented by James Dyson, the cyclone vacuum does away with the conventional bag- or filter-collection system and replaces this with a cylinder that spins at high speed to create centrifugal force.
Similar to a high-speed fair-ground ride, spinning air traps dust and debris, as well as air-borne particles and splits them up - spinning the dust outwards to be extracted into a collection cylinder.
[ Dyson upright cyclone vacuum]
This is a major improvement on previous vacuum cleaner systems, which when becoming filled with dust and debris tend to loose suction power.
Cyclone vacuums are available in both upright and cylinder models. Both are excellent dust-busters, are lightweight and easy to move around.
We have all noticed the ray of light filled with dust when we are vacuuming. That is a combination of small dust particles and pollutants passing straight through your vacuum cleaner and being pushed out through the exhaust back into your home - an absolute nightmare for allergy sufferers.
I have been using a water filtration vacuum cleaner for the past 7 years and have found it excellent at controlling dust , especially with all the DIY work that I do. All the dirt, no matter how small, is trapped in the water filter.
The only downfall on this model is that, as dirt becomes trapped in the water, it reduces efficiency until the water is emptied and clean. But this unit is perfect if you are planning any home improvements where dust will be a major problem.
Which model should I buy?
With power ratings anywhere from 1200W to 2200W there are other options to take into consideration when selecting the right vacuum cleaner.
If you reside in a double-storey home you need a vacuum cleaner that is lightweight and portable enough to carry around.
The elderly need to consider the weight of a vacuum cleaner, while those in a small home should look for size and power in one compact unit.
An upright vacuum cleaner is perfect for all floor types, from carpet to tiles, and most models now come with attachments for curtains, upholstered furniture, etc. However, if changing attachments is more hassle than fun, a cylinder vacuum will be the best option, as the long suction hose allows for easy access to hard-to-reach areas.
Before you rush out and buy the most powerful vacuum cleaner you can find, note that in non-cyclone vacuum cleaners, suction power is affected by distance from motor to suction opening, which means that upright vacuum cleaners offer more suction power than cannister models.
On cylinder models, look out for features such as swivel wheels or head that allow full rotation of the vacuum cleaner for easy cleaning around the room. Additionally, if you do live in a double-storey and need to clean stairs, a unit that rests upright on a sturdy base is an added benefit.
If you have pets, consider that an upright vacuum cleaner with rotating heads at the suction point will be far more effective at controlling pet hair.
[ Miele S5261 cat & dog ]
Health and air quality:
Asthma sufferers and those with chest problems should look for a model that has built-in HEPA filters.
HEPA filters trap pollutants and particles (up to 99%) that would normally be released back into the air, creating a much healthier indoor air quality.
Don't buy a vacuum cleaner based purely on the most powerful model available. With the ever-increasing need for consumer awareness, sustainability and reducing individual carbon footprints, by buying what you need you will not only reduce monthly electricity costs, but also minimise your energy usage.
Many quality vacuum cleaners offer a 2-year warranty, and if you are buying a more expensive model, you want to know that you have peace of mind should anything happen. A reputable and respected brand might cost you more at the onset, but if it is built to last, you will not only save money in the long run, but a unit built to last will also reduce it's carbon footprint.