A vacuum cleaner is probably the most expensive cleaning tool you will buy so it's
important when choosing your next
vacuum cleaner to make the right decision.
If you've ever wondered what air watts or HEPA filtration means, or are confused
about the difference between cylinder and
upright vacuum cleaners, and bagged and bag less vacuum cleaners, The Ultimate
Guide to Buying Vacuum Cleaners will explain everything you need to know and much
Power and suction explained
When comparing vacuum
cleaners you may notice both watts and air watts are stated, which can be
confusing if you don't know what they mean. To put it simply, watts is a measure
of the amount of power going into the
vacuum cleaner. Air watts is a measure of how much of that power is converted
into suction. Air watts are dependent on the efficiency of the vacuum cleaner. So
if the vacuum cleaner has a high wattage but poor efficiency, the air watts rating
will be lower, which means the suction power will be compromised. The higher the
air watts, the better the suction.
Whether a vacuum cleaner offers ‘no loss of suction’ depends on the
type of dust separation technology it has. You can find out more information about
dust separation technologies below.
Dust separation technologies in bagless vacuum cleaners can be a little complicated
but it's worth learning the essentials because they have a big impact on the
performance of bag less vacuum cleaners and also determine how often you'll
need to clean the filter.
Bag less vacuum cleaners with filter based dust separation technologies
tend to be the cheapest on the market because you need to clean the filter every
four to six uses to maintain good suction.
The main problem with filter based separation in bag-less vacuum cleaners is a relatively
high proportion of dust hits the filter, which means it clogs up if it's not
cleaned regularly. If the filter is clogged, suction power will be lost and the
won't perform or pick up as effectively. Many customers however are quite happy
to clean the filter more often in return for a fraction of the price of more advanced
bag-less vacuum cleaners.
You can easily recognise filter based bag-less vacuum cleaners because there'll
be a large filter inside the dust container. Alyx is an example of this type of
bag-less vacuum cleaner.
2. Cyclonic bagless vacuum cleaners
Bag less vacuum cleaners with cyclonic dust separation technologies tend to be mid-range
because they provide less filter cleaning than filter based bag less vacuum cleaners
but require more cleaning than bag less vacuum cleaners with multi-cyclonic technology.
with a cyclonic system have a single cyclone that speeds up the airflow and forces
dust away from the filter and into the bin. In doing so, the filter doesn't
have as much dust to deal with and you don't have to clean it so regularly.
It's worth knowing the design of single cyclone systems also makes a big difference
to the amount of filter cleaning you'll need to do. Hoover's Rush cylinder
bag less vacuum cleaners for example have an efficiency of 75% (75% of the dust
stays in the bin and 25% hits the filter). This compares with an average of around
65%* for most single cyclone
bag less vacuum cleaners.
3. Multi-Cyclonic bagless vacuum cleaners
If you want to experience the ultimate ‘no loss of suction’, it's
essential you buy a bag less vacuum cleaner with multi-cyclonic dust separation
technology, such as Airvolution. Bagless vacuum cleaners with multi-cyclonic dust
separation technology are more expensive than conventional bagless vacuum cleaners
but offer the lowest filter maintenance. With Hoover's Airvolution system, filters
can go up to nine months* before needing to be cleaned.
Airvolution has multiple cyclones that accelerate the airflow and separate out the
smallest dust particles before they reach the filter. Massive g-forces keep dust
away from the filters and prevent them from clogging. By keeping the filters cleaner,
the suction remains consistent and doesn't decrease as the bin fills.
Look for bagless vacuum cleaners such as Xarion, Freedom and Slalom.
* Based on IEC test results carried out in Hoover laboratory using IEC standard
Bagged or bagless?
Bagless vacuum cleaners are by far the most popular choice, although many
people don't realise that bagless vacuum cleaners will not necessarily perform
bagged vacuum cleaners. Before you buy it's best to familiarise yourself
with the advantages and disadvantages so you can be sure you're buying the best
for your needs.
bagged vacuum cleaners:
Disadvantages of bagged vacuum cleaners:
- More hygienic and ideal for asthma and allergy sufferers because they do not expose
you to dust when emptying
- Low maintenance, with little filter cleaning required
bagless vacuum cleaners:
- Suction power falls as the bag fills and unless the
vacuum cleaner as a full bag indicator light, it's not always easy to see
when the bag is full
- Bagged vacuum cleaners require replacement bags, and occasionally, filters
Disadvantages of bagless vacuum cleaners:
- No need to buy bags, which saves money and is better for the environment
- You can easily see when the dust bin is full, so you can empty it before it loses
- Depending on the model, you may have to clean the filter as often as once a month
- Bagless vacuum cleaners expose you to more dust when emptying, which is less hygienic
and can trigger symptoms if you have asthma or a dust allergy
Cylinder or upright?
Both cylinder and
upright vacuum cleaners offer advantages and disadvantages and the choice
you make is largely down to personal preference.
The advantages of
cylinder vacuum cleaners include:
The disadvantages of cylinder vacuum cleaners include:
- Generally lighter and smaller than upright vacuum cleaners
- Easy to manoeuvre in awkward areas, such as around and under furniture
The advantages of
upright vacuum cleaners include:
- Less dust capacity and shorter lead and hose lengths in comparison to upright vacuum
- Less suitable for vacuuming large carpeted areas
Disadvantages of upright vacuum cleaners:
- Large suction head complete with powerful rotating brushes provides great results
on carpeted floors
- Longer lead and hose lengths coupled with a bigger dust capacity and suction head
makes upright vacuum cleaners ideal for large homes
- Generally heavier, which makes the
vacuum cleaner harder to push and lift
- Can be more difficult to manoeuvre in space restricted areas
Buying the right vacuum cleaner for your floors
Although many people aren't aware,
cylinder vacuum cleaners and
upright vacuum cleaners were originally developed for two different
purposes: cylinder vacuum cleaners were developed for hard floors while upright
vacuum cleaners were developed for carpets. The typical cleaning heads on each of
these vacuum cleaners reflects these differences, with cylinder vacuum cleaners
tending to lack the powerful rotating brushes you will find in the head of upright
vacuum cleaners. That said, many cylinder vacuum cleaners now also come with rotating
brushes to make them suitable for all floors.
In a nutshell, if your home is carpeted, you may find an
upright vacuum cleaner to be the best option, but if your home consists
of mainly hard floors, a cylinder vacuum cleaner would be better. If you have an
equal mix of both, look for either a cylinder vacuum cleaner with a separate turbo
brush attachment or a turbo brush on/off button, or alternatively, an upright vacuum
cleaner with a turbo brush on/off button.
It's important to turn the turbo brushes off when vacuuming delicate floors
such as laminate as they could otherwise scratch the surface.
Lightweight vacuum cleaners are ideal for those who find vacuuming with
their current vacuum cleaner tiring or difficult. For a vacuum cleaner to be noticeably
light, you should look for model that weighs 6.5 kg or less, which is equivalent
to just 1 stone. Bear in mind that
cylinder vacuum cleaners tend to be lighter than
upright vacuum cleaners, with some cylinder vacuum cleaners, such as
Pure Bagged Power, weighing less than 6 kg.
If however, you are looking for an ultra lightweight vacuum cleaner, a small
cordless vacuum cleaner, such as the 2.8 kg Freejet from Hoover, may be
the best solution. This range of lightweight
bag-less vacuum cleaners weighs not much more than a bag of sugar, making
them exceptionally easy to manoeuvre and carry.
On the downside, lightweight vacuum cleaners are small, which means less dust capacity
and shorter lead and hose lengths than larger vacuum cleaners.
If you have a small house, flat or caravan, a smaller vacuum cleaner such as Freespace
or Freejet 3in1 can be easier to use and more convenient to store. They are also
generally cheaper than larger models. As with
lightweight vacuum cleaners however, small vacuum cleaners tend to have
less dust capacity and shorter lead and hose lengths.
Small cylinder vacuum cleaners tend to take up less space than small
upright vacuum cleaners, although some people find storing the hose on a
cylinder vacuum cleaner more troublesome. Most cylinder vacuum cleaners also come
with telescopic extension tubes that shrink to save space and some vacuum cleaners,
such as Freespace from Hoover, are so small they will even fit in a cupboard under
the kitchen sink.
If you're looking to buy a small vacuum cleaner for space saving reasons, a
3in1 vacuum cleaner, such as Freejet 3in1, can be the perfect solution. These vacuum
cleaners offer a hard floor cleaner, carpet cleaner and handheld cleaner all in
Quiet vacuum cleaners
If noise is a concern for you, perhaps because you don't want to disturb the
household, a quiet vacuum cleaner can be the perfect solution. Contrary to popular
belief, a quiet vacuum cleaner also doesn't always mean you have to compromise
power either. Hoover's Silent Energy vacuum cleaner for example offers a quiet
or a full power mode. Alternatively, Pure Power is an upright bagged vacuum cleaner
that has Dynamic Silence technology to deliver both power and quietness at the same
In general, when buying a quiet vacuum cleaner remember that
cylinder vacuum cleaners tend to be quieter than
upright vacuum cleaners and the greater power the greater the noise
level. A quiet vacuum cleaner will have a noise level of around 75 dBa.
There are two main types of filters used in vacuum cleaners: micro filters and high
efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. If you suffer with asthma or allergies,
it is particularly important to find out what filter the vacuum cleaner comes with
because it will determine the size and amount of dust particles that are in the
air expelled from the vacuum cleaner.
1. Micro filter
You will find this filter on basic vacuum cleaners. Both washable and disposable
versions are available. It's suitable for general use, although the problem
with a micro filter is that it expels some of the dust back into the air. Micro
filters in effect just rearrange some of the dust in your home, which is bad news
if you're particular about cleanliness, allergic to dust mites or have asthma.
2. HEPA filter
HEPA filters are the best option for allergy and asthma suffers because they catch
and trap small pollutants and pollen particles, such as pollen and dust mite faeces,
which would otherwise be recirculated into the air and potentially trigger symptoms.
In fact, HEPA filters remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 micrometres
in diameter. To put this into perspective, a typical human hair is 100 microns in
diameter, making the size and number of particles that can escape extremely small
and far beyond our eyesight's capabilities. Most HEPA filters are washable and
For bagged vacuum cleaners, HEPA filtration is delivered through the bag. For bagless
vacuum cleaners, the air and dust are forced up and round towards the filter. As
they spin, the dust is thrown out and settles at the bottom of the bin. The faster
the airflow, the greater the amount of dust thrown out of the air and into the bin.
With top rated vacuum cleaners, such as those with the multi-cyclonic Airvolution
technology, almost all dust is removed, so not only is the expelled air cleaner,
but the filters don't clog and no suction is lost.
Nearly all Hoover vacuum
cleaners come with HEPA filtration, with the only exception being the ultra
small Freejet vacuum cleaner.
If you suffer with asthma or dust allergies, you may find a conventional vacuum
cleaner is not effective enough in removing allergens. If this is the case, a vacuum
cleaner approved by Allergy UK can be the best solution.
The Seal of Approval from Allergy UK is given to vacuum cleaners that restrict,
reduce or remove allergens from the environment of the allergy sufferer. An Allergy
UK approved vacuum cleaner will remove almost all allergens and ensure they're
not released back into your home in the air that's expelled from the vacuum
cleaner. Allergy UK approves all Hoover bag less vacuum cleaners powered by the
patented Airvolution system, including Freedom, Slalom and Xarion.
If you have a cat or dog, make sure you choose a vacuum cleaner that will remove
its allergens. All of Hoover's Allergy UK approved bag less vacuum cleaners
will remove dust mites and both cat and dog allergens. For more information go to
Hose and lead length
The length of the hose indicates how far it will stretch. You should bear in mind
that not all hoses will reach up a full flight of stairs and this is particularly
the case for hoses fitted on
cylinder vacuum cleaners. Instead, you would need to carry the vacuum cleaner
up the steps as you go. The plus side to this is that most cylinder vacuum cleaners
are very light and easy to carry, so for most people, this isn't a problem.
If you want a hose that will reach up a full flight of stairs however, it needs
to be at least 4 meters long for a standard stair case.
As for the lead length, this will determine how often you will need to find a new
plug socket. If you have a small house and don't mind replugging the vacuum
cleaner into a new socket as you go along, this shouldn't be a concern for you.
However, if running out of lead is one of your pet hates, you really should be looking
at vacuum cleaners with at least 6 meters of lead, such as Xarion, Freedom or Slalom.
It's also good to remember that cylinder vacuum cleaners have shorter lead and
hose lengths than
upright vacuum cleaners because they are generally smaller and have less
onboard storage space. The exception to this is Hoover's Multi-Function Pro
cylinder vacuum cleaner, which has an ultra long 10 meter lead.
Regardless of whether you buy a bagged or bagless vacuum cleaner, knowing the dust
capacity is important because it'll determine how many trips back and forth
the bin you make. If you want a small or lightweight vacuum cleaner, you should
bear in mind the dust capacity will naturally be less than a large vacuum cleaner.
If you have a large home however, and don't necessarily need a small or lightweight
vacuum cleaner, you may find a larger vacuum cleaner with a large dust capacity
(of at least 2 litres) more convenient.
If you own pets, having a vacuum cleaner that will effectively pick up their hair
is essential. It's best to opt for a powerful vacuum cleaner with at least 200
air watts as this will ensure strong suction.
As well as power however, if you have deep carpets, you'll also need a vacuum
cleaner with good turbo brushes to loosen and lift the hair. The best way to be
sure the vacuum cleaner will have the brushes you need is to look for ‘Pets’
in the name and description. If the vacuum cleaner is described as being suitable
for pet hair, you'll know it'll be able to cope with the most demanding
Variable power vacuum cleaners
While you may want maximum power for vacuuming your carpets, if you also have rugs
or delicate fabrics to vacuum, a vacuum cleaner that gives you the option to turn
the power down can be really useful. By turning the power down you will be able
to vacuum tassels without destroying them, doormats without having to hold them
down and curtains without nearly pulling them down. Variable power really can make
vacuuming much easier!
Vacuum cleaners with edge-to-edge cleaning have suction that goes right up to the
wall or skirting board. Vacuum cleaners with this feature tend to be more expensive,
but it does save you time and effort from not having to round the edges with a crevice
All good vacuum cleaners will come with at least two onboard tools to help you clean
more awkward or sensitive areas. The most popular tools include a crevice tool,
dusting brush and upholstery nozzle. Some vacuum cleaners will also come with a
separate turbo brush for removing dirt and stubborn pet hairs from areas where it
isn't possible to use a full-size cleaning head.
bagless cylinder vacuum cleaners, such as Xarion or Rush, you can also get
a hard floor caresse nozzle which is specially designed to lift dirt without scratching
the surface of hard floors.
For allergy sufferers, an allergen remover brush, such as that sold with Xarion
Allergy Care Plus, is also useful for ensuring dust mite, cat and dog allergen is
effectively picked up. This brush can be used on the floor, bed, sofa, or any other
area that can trigger symptoms.
Anti-tip vacuum cleaners
It's only a small feature but an anti-tip mechanism means the vacuum cleaner
won't topple over or onto you when you're vacuuming. With
cylinder vacuum cleaners, you won't have this problem anyhow, but if
you'd like to buy an anti-tip upright vacuum cleaner, look for models such as
Freedom, Dust Manager or Pure Power.
If you're looking for a vacuum cleaner which will give you the ultimate flexibility
without the inconvenience of a cord, a cordless vacuum cleaner is the ultimate solution.
bagless vacuum cleaners such as the 3in1 Freejet, you can clean in any room
without having to find a power socket.
Wet/dry vacuum cleaners
With wet/dry vacuum cleaners give you the option to also clean up liquid spills.
Wet/dry vacuum cleaners, such as the Multi-Function Pro come with a bag for dry
pick up and a large tank for wet vacuuming. You can also get handheld versions of
wet/dry vacuum cleaners, such as Jovis.
Finally, for those occasional spills and areas where using a standard vacuum cleaner
is less convenient,
handheld vacuum cleaners can be the perfect solution. Ideal for use in and
around the home, and even in the car and caravan, the list of uses for handheld
vacuum cleaners is endless. From glitter to cobwebs to crumbs, DIY sawdust, to pet
hair to houseplant soil, a handheld vacuum cleaner can be there to the rescue whenever
you need it. When buying, make sure you look at these five main features:
- Battery life – some models, such as Jovis, will provide 20 minutes of vacuuming
time so you can finish the job without having to recharge the battery half way through.
- Filter – if you suffer with asthma or allergies, it's sensible to buy a handheld
vacuum cleaner with HEPA filtration, such as Jovis
- Tools onboard – to clean small areas more easily and effectively, some handheld
vacuum cleaners, such as Handy Plus, come with a crevice tool
- Dust capacity – a bigger dust capacity will enable you to do more vacuuming with
less emptying, which saves time and is more convenient.
- Power indicator – this simple feature will let you know when the battery is running
low so you don't run out of power half way through a job.
Buy replacement parts and accessories, including filters, hoses and turbo brushes for your vacuum cleaner online directly from the official Hoover Spares shop.