Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Vacuums: Canister or Upright? Bagged or Bagless?

This week I'm going to be talking about vacuums, carpet cleaners and other topics related to carpet care. Today I thought I talk about what to look for in a new vacuum.

I used to own this Bosch canister vacuum
So last August, we moved from Utah to Washington so we could live closer to family. As we were getting packed up and ready, our vacuum died after 5 years of use. What bugged me the most about it dying though was the fact that it was just a part within the vacuum that no longer worked and if I could have opened it up to replace it, it probably would've lasted a few more years. But the manufacturers of the vacuum created it so there was no way to get the cover off of the head. There were no screws or anything as far as I could tell. I don't even know if I could have taken it to a certified vacuum repair shop to have it fixed because I didn't see how it could have been repaired. Typical of our throwaway society right? I hate that!

So I borrowed a friend's vacuum to get our place ready for moving and once I got settled into our new place, we decided to look for a new vacuum.

Canister or Upright?

Upright vacuum from Bissell
The first thing to consider is whether you want a canister vacuum or an upright. We really like our canister vacuum for the most part because the head was so small, it was able to get underneath furniture like the couch and beds so we didn't have to move furniture in order to clean underneath. It also makes vacuuming the stairs really easy and you were only pushing a light head back and forth instead of the entire heavy vacuum.

However, when I started researching vacuums, I discovered something about canisters. In order for them to work as well an upright, you need to have the motor that's in the body and a separate motor in the canister head. Otherwise, the head is using air to turn the rug beater and it's not going to have as much power as an upright vacuum. Because of this, the less expensive canisters are really made to work with carpets that have no pile whatsoever (which isn't very common for homes).

Obviously having two motors costs more, so in order to get a good canister vacuum that will do as good of a job as uprights, you're looking at paying $100 to $300 more than for a comparable upright. Something you'll have to consider if you decide you want an upright.

Bagged or Bagless?

Bagless upright vacuum by Panasonic
The next thing you'll have to consider when purchasing a vacuum is whether you want to go with a bagged vacuum or a bagless vacuum. Bagless vacuums seem ideal. You no longer have to pay for bags, which can be expensive. Instead just dump the dirt into the garbage when you're done vacuuming. There is a hidden cost to these bagged vacuums, though — the filters. Sometimes you don't think about the fact that many bagless vacuums have filters that have to be replaced every so often and can easily cost as much as vacuum bags.

Bagged vacuums come with bags. Many consumers try to buy off brand bags for their vacuums, but this isn't always wise. Branded bags are usually made using cotton and paper that is designed to trap particles so they don't escape when you remove the bags from the vacuum. These thick, 3-ply bags trap the dirt and dust particles so you can remove them cleanly. However, off brand bags often just use paper and have small holes in them allowing the smaller particles to escape releasing them back into the air to settle on the floor once again. If you're allergic to dust, it's especially important to buy the name brand vacuum bags.

So when it comes to vacuums, there are lots of decisions? Do you want to have a vacuum that is light and easy to push around? That's easy to clean stairs or can easily be transported upstairs and downstairs? Are you willing to put in an investment into your vacuum or would you rather pay less and go with a middle-of-the line vacuum?

Tomorrow I'll tell you which vacuum I chose and give you a review on it. In the meantime, tell me which vacuum you use. Do you love it or hate it?

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