Upright or Cylinder
Cylinder models are theoretically more powerful. They rely solely on suction to do the job. The upright, in contrast, is a far less efficient cleaner, and can require twice as much power (generating far more noise) to do a similar job. However, this doesn’t necessarily make a cylinder model the better choice. Cylinders, with their flexible hoses and relatively small bodies, are considerably lighter, and much easier to manoeuvre. If you’ll be needing to get under furniture regularly, a cylinder will be the better choice. They’re also easier to take up stairs.
The big drawback with cylinders is that the head on those flexible hoses covers only a small space. If you’re cleaning large areas, and in particular, if you’re covering carpets, uprights will work wonders, and will complete the job in much less time. This is doubly so when you’re talking about deep pile carpets (eg, shag), and with these, an upright is often the only vacuum that will do a thorough job. Across much of Europe, where carpets are fairly unusual, most vacuum cleaners are cylinders. However, uprights remain extremely popular in the carpet-friendly UK.
Cylinder models tend to work more effectively with a greater range of surfaces – they’re particularly good for tiled or wooden floors – but you will spend more time changing the heads. Uprights are generally much better at picking up dog and cat hairs, although cylinders with a rotating brush (or turbo brush) are also highly effective in such a situation.
Bag or Bagless
While Dyson may have risen to fame on the back of their bagless vacuum cleaners, the jury’s still out on whether it’s better to go bagless or not. Bagless vacuum cleaners tend to be more expensive, although they will save you the cost of buying replacement bags. You can often see the contents gathering inside a bagless vacuum, so you’ll know when it’s time to empty them.
On the other hand, while there’s no awkward bag insertion in the first place, bagless models are often more of a nuisance to empty. Bagged models, though, generally give you a sealed bag to dispose of, making them very hygienic and relatively pleasant to deal with – particularly for allergy sufferers. You’ll also need to regularly clean the filter in order to keep a bagless model to the best of its capabilities.
It’s a little dangerous to compare models simply on the amount of power generated. As a rule though, the more power, the more effectively the model will clean. Concentrate less on motor power (measured in watts or W), and more on suction power (measured in air watts, or AW), as this is a better indication of performance. Good cylinder models will have figures in excess of 200AW, with 250AW or more offered by the best. Uprights are less efficient, and have much lower suction power figures as a result. Anything beyond 110AW is fairly good for an upright.
Vacuums with HEPA filters are very good at trapping the tiniest of particles. If you have any allergies, a vacuum with a HEPA filter should make for a much more pleasant environment. If you have pets, charcoal filters are also very effective at eliminating dog and cat odours. Some filters will be ‘lifetime’ models. This usually equates to a maximum life of ten years.
Look for a good bin/bag capacity, particularly if you’ll be covering large areas. 1.7 litres and upwards is good, with 2 litres excellent.
Some vacuums are cordless. Ideally, you’ll want a model that can keep going for a fair amount of time. Generally, avoid models that offer 20 minutes of power or less.
Back To Carpet Cleaning Boston Home Page