When it comes to buying an upright vacuum cleaner, the most important thing to keep in mind is your individual and family needs. Are there dogs and cats in the home? Does anyone suffer with respiratory problems and allergies? Who is going to operate the cleaner? You may rent an apartment with bare floors and throw rugs or own a home with expensive high pile carpeting. Everyone has a different range of cleaning needs.

You may find that with so many vacuum cleaners to choose from, finding the best one can start out as a simple task that quickly gets complicated. It is easy to get overwhelmed with so many models. Do not be deceived by flashy designs and colors. They do not translate to high quality. You will want to pick out your ideal match by reviewing each series carefully. The basic key element in purchasing a vacuum cleaner is suction. Most people just want a vacuum cleaner that picks up dirt and gets it into the container.

Suction Power:

Vacuum cleaner motors can create different types of suction. You will see the terms cyclonic air and straight air suction. Cyclonic air technology generates airflow that spins in a circular motion. Just as a cyclone lifts objects, the centrifugal force the motor generates picks up dirt and debris the same way. Straight suction does what it says. It lifts dirt straight up through the machine and into the dirt container. It is important to look for a machine that does not force the air to travel through too many bends. The more turns the air has to make, the less strength it has to carry dirt to its final destination.

Most machines are equipped with a 12- amp motor. Although the motor size of most models is equal, you will find suction is not. The best vacuum cleaners offer a sealed system. This design requires that the compartments of the vacuum have airtight seals so that air cannot escape through seams. Imagine trying to drink out of a straw with holes in it. The same concept applies to vacuum cleaner suction. You can have a high quality motor, but if the design is poor and full of holes, it will not work well. You do not want a cleaner that sucks up dirt then blows it back into your home.

Warranty:

When it comes to vacuum cleaners, you will want one with a good warranty, and longer is better. Look for what each specific warranty covers, as it varies amongst manufactures. Decide if you want to spend money purchasing an inexpensive vacuum cleaner that may die in a year, or if it is more cost effective for you to invest in one that will last longer. You will find that the cleaners with longer warranty coverage are more expensive, but sometimes you get what you pay for. That is particularly true with vacuum cleaners.

Filtration:

If you or anyone in your family has asthma or respiratory problems, quality air filtration combined with a sealed system is vital for your health. Most vacuum cleaners on the market use HEPA filters. HEPA filters are a type of filter that can trap tiny particles such as pollen, mold and dust. A True HEPA filter will capture 99.97 percent of particulate materials as small as 0.3 microns. For comparison, 100 microns is the diameter of a human hair.

There are different kinds of HEPA filters on the market. Some provide higher levels of filtration than others do. Certified HEPA filters are called True or Absolute HEPA filters. Unfortunately, use of the term HEPA is misleading in the vacuum cleaner industry. We have seen  True HEPA  claims on vacuum cleaners with no efficiency or particle sizes listed. Watch out for false claims in advertising and look for both filtration and particle size specifications.

Bagged or Bagless:

Do you want a bagged or bagless vacuum cleaner? Before you decide, know the pros and cons of each. Going bagless means, you are not going to have to purchase replacement bags. Nothing is more irritating than realizing your cleaner s bag is full and you are out of replacements. You have to drop what you are doing and run to the store to buy more. Keep in mind that you may save money by not having to purchase bags, but you still have to buy expensive replacement filters.

If you are one of those people that forget to check whether the bag is full, you may prefer the bagless units. The canisters are made of clear plastic, so you have a visual reminder that it needs to be emptied. However, one drawback of bagless cleaners is the exposure to inhaling that dust cloud when you dump out the container.

Bags provide additional layers of filtration, so they do capture more particulate matter. If you have allergies or respiratory problems, you may want that extra layer of allergen and dust filtration. Additionally, when you change the bags you do not get that exposure to its contents.

Design:

When it comes to design, you obviously need a vacuum cleaner that you can manage. Things to consider are weight and maneuverability. Be aware that sometimes high quality machines are going to weigh more because they are constructed using metal instead of plastic parts. In addition, look for machines that have a low, flat-to-floor profile. That means the handle of the cleaner can recline flat to the floor, making it easy to vacuum under the coffee table instead of banging into it. If you do not like the hassle of interruptions, make sure to buy a machine with a cord that is 30-40 feet long. That way you do not have to stop to switch outlets.

There are many things to consider in purchasing a vacuum cleaner. Making the right decision could have an impact on your family s health and comfort. Buying the right vacuum cleaner can make the difference between performing a cleaning job you like and completing a task that you dread.

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