Home Hardware
Here's How to Choose the Best Vacuum Cleaner

Here's How to Choose the Best Vacuum Cleaner

Is it time to purchase a new vacuum? If so, it’s worth looking into the different types available. Choosing the right vacuum will make it easier and more efficient to keep the house clean, so you can spend your time the way you want.

The main categories of vacuums you’ll come across are canister, handheld, upright, stick, shop vacuums, central vac, and sweepers. They have different features and attachments to choose from. There are bagged and bagless styles, corded and cordless and different filtration systems. Some are better suited to hardwood floors and others to carpeting.

Shop for the right vacuum at Home Hardware and make household cleaning a breeze.

Discover the Main Types of Vacuums

Equip yourself with the information you need to pick the ideal vacuum cleaner for your home. Firstly, you’ll want to understand the main types.

Handheld Vacuums

Handheld vacuum cleaners are easy to hold in your hand while you clean those hard to get spots. You will often see these used in smaller spaces or as car vacuums. Handheld vacuums are ideal for getting into hard-to-reach areas and tight spaces. The design is not practical for general floor cleaning however, as it would take a long time to cover larger surfaces.

Canister Vacuums

Canister vacuum cleaners fall in between upright models and stick models. They are powerful like upright vacuums but usually lighter and quieter, and feature a slimmer design. Canisters are versatile and can be used on both bare floors and carpet when used with the right cleaning head. They are more maneuverable than uprights and are easier to get under furniture and into tight spaces.


Upright Vacuums

Upright vacuums offer the most power and can quickly and effectively clean carpets. Many are suitable for both carpets and bare floors. They tend to cut a wider cleaning path, and they deliver powerful suction ideal for deep-cleaning carpets.

Stick Vacuums

Stick vacuum cleaners are lightweight models that are great for narrow and tight spaces. They feature a long, stick-like handle and slim design that is easy to maneuver while vacuuming. They can be easily stored in compact spaces, making them great for condos and apartments. Stick vacuums are ideal for quick clean-ups and for use on hardwood floors, area rugs and light carpeting.

Shop Vacuums

A shop vac is a specially designed vacuum that can pick up large material. They’re best suited for a garage or workshop. They feature a high power motor that can pick up almost anything, from nails, screws, sawdust, chunks of wood, and more. You can even find some shop vacuums that clean up both wet and dry messes.

Central Vacuums

Central vacuums are installed into the home through a central vacuum system. They operate like regular vacuums and are designed to remove dirt and debris from both carpet and hard floors. The difference with central vacuums is that the dirt is removed through tubing installed into the wall of your home and transferred to a collection container. The collection container is usually quite large so you only have to empty it every few years.

Sweeper Vacuums

Sweeper vacuums are an ideal option if you have minimal carpet. They’re great for in between vacuuming and let you quickly sweep up messes on hard floors and low pile carpet. They’re also cordless so you can quickly clean where you want. Some come with batteries for more powerful suction while manual sweeper vacuums use a brush roll to pick up messes.

Rest Easy with a Robot Vacuum

OK, we threw in one more for you. If you want a vacuum that can save you time, a robotic vacuum is the way to go. Some are programmed by remote or smartphone app to function without you. Robot vacuums are able to reach places that larger vacuums can’t such as under the couch. They are best used for keeping surfaces clean in between heavier vacuuming sessions. Robot vacuums are an investment that your clean floors will thank you for.

Beat Dust and Dirt Your Way

Picking a type of vacuum is just the start. There are other design elements to consider before making your choice. Read below to learn about other important features.

Corded or Cordless Vacuum - How to Choose?

Vacuums come in both corded and cordless models. Consider the following before deciding if a cordless model is right for you.
Pros of Cordless Models:
  • Lighter in design
  • Greater freedom of movement
  • Not restricted by cord length or location of outlets
  • Tend to be smaller and easier to store
Cons of Cordless Vacuum Cleaners:
  • Limited by battery life
  • Smaller dust capacity with bagged models
  • Tend to be more expensive
Generally, cordless vacuums are best for smaller homes with less carpet, quick clean-up jobs and those who have difficulty with heavier vacuums.

To Go Bagged or Bagless?

Another big consideration when selecting a vacuum is whether you want a bagged or bagless vacuum cleaner.

  • For homes with allergy or asthma sufferers, bagged vacuums are often a better choice
  • Dust is contained and exposure is minimized when the bag is emptied
  • Most bags trap all but .03% of the dust and pollen in your carpeting
  • You do have to replace the bags on a regular basis
  • Bagless vacuums are more environmentally friendly
  • You save on the cost of purchasing bags
  • A see-through design usually ensures you can see when emptying is needed
  • Filters may require periodic cleaning or replacing
  • When emptying a bagless vacuum, some dust may be released back into the air

More About the Filter!

A high filtration or HEPA filtration vacuum cleaner is a good idea in households with allergy or asthma sufferers.

A HEPA filter must remove 99.97% of all particles as small as 0.3 microns in size to receive approval.
If you want a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, look for terms like “Certified HEPA,” “True HEPA” or “Absolute HEPA.” These all meet the same HEPA standard.

Choosing a Vacuum by Surface

Consider the types of flooring in your home. Some vacuums are better on carpet and some are better on bare surfaces such as wood and tile. Some are suitable for both, with automatic or manual settings such as low carpet, high carpet and hard floor. Suction control can reduce air flow, a useful feature for cleaning curtains.

Bare Floors

  • Hardwood and tile floors require careful consideration to avoid scratching
  • Heavier upright models may scratch smooth floors and scatter debris
  • Lighter canister models are less likely to cause damage and can also vacuum area rugs


  • Unlike bare floors, dirt and dust can get trapped and imbedded in carpet
  • Upright vacuums have powerful suction to pick up dirt and debris that gets trapped in carpets
  • Many uprights have sensors that track dirt and dust, so you get every particle
  • Synthetic carpets are durable enough for heavy-duty vacuum cleaners
  • Wool and natural fibre carpets and rugs require softer, more flexible bristles

Handy Accessories for Easier Cleaning

For homes with a variety of different floors, it is especially important to consider the vacuum’s add-on tools. Depending on the type of rug you have, certain tools can come in handy.

Most vacuums come with a selection of basic attachments. Some common ones include: a narrow tool for crevices, a small upholstery brush, an extension wand for added reach and a round brush for dusting. Canister vacuums often come with a bare floor brush for removing fine dust and grit from hardwoods and tile.
Check out these other handy add-on tools. Some of these tools may come with the vacuum or you can purchase them separately.

Power or Turbo Brush: Ideal for getting pet hair off furniture and for deep-cleaning upholstery and car seats.

Ceiling Fan Tool: This tool makes it easier to get to the top of fan blades and between blinds.

Flexible Crevice Tool: Longer than a stand crevice tool, it can reach behind furniture and appliances and get into hard to reach corners.

Soft-Bristle Dusting Brush: This has softer bristles than a standard dusting brush for gently cleaning lampshades and fragile items.

Now that you’re an expert on vacuums, browse our versatile assortment of vacuums and enjoy a clean, dust-free home.

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