Buying Guide

Vacuum Cleaners

Upright Vacuum Cleaners

Uprights are self-contained units with the hose, power brush, vacuum bag or dirt cup and motor housed together in one body.


  • Well-suited for carpet cleaning
  • Most models can be adjusted to accommodate the height of the carpet
  • Built-in hoses allow for cleaning of upholstery, stairs and other surfaces
  • Look for brush on/off switch for cleaning bare floors without causing damage
  • Motorized pet brushes remove hair and dander
  • Lightweight models improve maneuverability and are easier to transport

Canister Vacuums

Canister vacuums offer flexible cleaning power with a main unit that houses the motor and vacuum bag or dirt cup. A hose connects the main unit to the power brush or appropriate attachment.


  • Often include a variety of separate attachments used for a wide range of tasks
  • Power brushes are often slim enough to get under low-lying furniture
  • Suction control lets you reduce the airflow for use on drapes and curtains
  • On-board tool storage allows easier access to accessories

Robotic Vacuums

Robotic models take care of household messes for you and work best on hard floors and low carpets.


  • Usually includes advanced capabilities that help them plot a course, detect edges and avoid stairs
  • Operates via rechargeable batteries
  • Many are designed to return to the charging station when done cleaning
  • Programmable models can be set to clean at predetermined times

Central Vacuum Systems

Central vacuums are internal cleaning systems that are built directly into the structure of a house. The main unit is installed in a central location and suction ports are placed throughout the home. A long cleaning hose is the attached to the ports.


  • Provides quiet operation
  • Doesn’t require emptying as often as other vacuum types
  • Eliminates the need to lug a heavy machine around
  • Most models have a 30 foot hose or longer for easy cleaning in hard-to-reach areas

Portable and Cordless Vacuums

These portable, lightweight vacuums are designed for light cleaning around your home, vehicle, boat or RV. They work well for quick spills and messes.


  • Cordless designs let you clean anywhere
  • Easy transport and maneuverability
  • Wall-mounted models offer quick, simple access for everyday cleanup

Steam Cleaners/Extractors

These vacuums use heated water and powerful suction to treat tough stains and remove stubborn dirt from carpets.


  • Some units offer separate tanks for clean and soiled water
  • Heat booster feature keeps water warm for easier stain removal
  • Look for unit with one-pass application and extraction for quick cleanup
  • Variable brushes are used to treat more difficult stains
  • Selectable brush speeds allow you to adjust cleaning intensity

Types of Vacuums

upright vacuums

Feature Benefits: Brush on/off function, HEPA filtration, built-in hose with included attachments, self-propelled movement, adjustable height, ergonomic handles, lightweight design, bagless dirt storage. Recommended For: Carpets and rugs, hard floors, furniture, upholstery, stairs.

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canister vacuums

Feature Benefits: Hard floors attachment, upholstery brush, HEPA filtration, on-board tool storage, retractable cord, suction control. Recommended For: Carpets and rugs, hard floors, furniture, upholstery, stairs.

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robotic vacuums

Feature Benefits: Hands-off floor cleaning, rechargeable batteries, programmable cleaning schedule. Recommended For: Hard floors, low-pile carpets and rugs.

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central vacuums

Feature Benefits: Long hose, central installation, suction switch, quiet operation. Recommended For: Carpets and rugs, hard floors, furniture, upholstery, stairs.

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handheld vacuums

Feature Benefits: Lightweight design, cordless models available, wall-mounted storage. Recommended For: Small spills, carpets and rugs, bare floors, stairs, automobiles.

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portable steam cleaners

Feature Benefits: Varied attachments, on-board heaters, selectable brush speed, long power cord, hard floor cleaning capabilities, brush type. Recommended For: Deep cleaning, carpets and rugs, furniture, upholstery, hard floors.

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Features

  • HEPA Filtration. Helps capture a wide variety of dirt and dust particles that can irritate allergies and respiratory ailments.
  • Dirt Sensors. Detects the presence of dirt and lets you know when you have thoroughly removed all dust, dirt and debris from an area.
  • Self-Propelled Motor. Allows you to effortlessly move across the floor and maneuver around furniture with a smooth motion.
  • Bagless Technology. Includes a reusable canister or cup to collect dirt and eliminates the need to buy bags.
  • Telescoping Wands. Gives you a wider reach and allows you to get at areas that are hard to clean.