Clean carpets are essential for a healthy home. While professional carpet cleaning is required to remove dirt, allergens, and bacteria, regular vacuuming does still make an impact. So how do you choose the best vacuum to fit your needs with all the designs, functions, and features to choose from?

Since you likely won’t purchase a new vacuum often, it’s worth taking the time to research which machine will last for the long haul and be best for your specific home.

Here’s a brief but complete guide to what types of vacuums are out there, and how you can determine which features to prioritize when purchasing.

Vacuum Types

These are the most common vacuum options, how much they cost, and their main features.

Upright

Upright vacuum cleaners are the most common, and are great for removing debris from carpet. They can even be used on area rugs, hardwood floors, and upholstery with the proper attachments. They usually have a variety of customizable features like brush control for hardwood floors and suction adjustments for furniture or drapes.

One thing to consider is that upright vacuum cleaners take up more room in storage and are heavier to carry up and down stairs.

Estimated Cost: $50 to $700

Stick

Stick vacuums area easily transported to different areas of the home with their cordless design. They’re significantly lighter and take up less space than upright vacuums—meaning they’re easier to carry for floor to floor in a multi-level home. Stick vacuums need to be emptied more often but area ideal for light soiling in high traffic areas that are vacuumed multiple times each week.

Stick vacuums may not include brush or suction adjustment options if you’re looking for customization. But they typically do come with a handheld attachment for drapes, upholstery, blinds, and other small areas like car interiors.

Estimated Cost: $25 to $600

Robot

Robot vacuums are self-propelled, cordless, and battery powered. You can easily schedule when you want the vacuum to run then forget about it—which is great for busy people who may not have the time to vacuum themselves.

Another plus is they have built-in sensors that keep them from falling down the stairs or running into furniture. Keep in mind that robot vacuums can’t travel from floor to floor, so this will need to be done manually. They do work well on hardwood floors and low-pile carpet but may not be best for area rugs or hile pile carpet.

Estimated Cost: $100 to $1,000

Canister

Canister vacuums include a unit that contains a motor and bag. This unit is typically on wheels and is connected by a long hose to the head of the vacuum.

Canister vacuums can maneuver into tight spots and are usually lighter weight than upright vacuums, but with about the same amount of power.

Estimated Cost: $50 to $800

Vacuum Features

These features can help you determine what works best with the needs of your home.

Vacuum Bag or Bagless

Vacuum bags are great for sealing in dust, but it can be tough to tell when a bag gets full. Also, when a bag fills up, it will need to be tossed out—meaning you’ll have to keep buying more bags.

Bagless vacuums have a container that’s usually see-through, and can be emptied into a trash can and reused.

The main thing to consider is if you’d rather have the convenience of a bagless vacuum or the added protection of keeping dust and allergens sealed and thrown away in a bag.

Note: Whichever you choose, it’s important to remember that even regular vacuuming won’t remove harmful allergens and bacteria from your carpet completely. Professional carpet cleaning from a company that specializes in allergen and bacteria removal is essential at least once or twice each year.

Attachment Options

You’ll want to consider what areas of the home you’ll be using a vacuum to clean. Look for attachment options like upholstery tools, dusting brushes, and crevice tools.

Battery Powered Or Cord Powered

Cord powered vacuums can limit your mobility but have an unlimited charge as long as you’re connected to an outlet. Battery powered vacuums are more mobile, but will need to be recharged about every 20-40 minutes.

Other Factors To Consider When Buying A Vacuum

How large is your home? If you live in a large home with multiple floors, an upright vacuum may be the best choice. On the other hand, stick vacuums may be ideal for an apartment or other smaller space.

Are there stairs in your home? For homes with stairs, stick vacuums or other lighter weight models may be best.

What types of surfaces are in your home? For homes with a variety of surfaces, like high and low pile carpet, rugs, tile, and hardwood floors, a vacuum with adjustable brush and suction features may be needed.

Are there animals in the home? If you have pets, purchasing a vacuum with at least 12 amps of power to remove dander and pet hair is crucial. Some vacuums even come with specific pet hair attachments.

Note: If there are pets in your home, professional carpet cleanings by companies who specialize in pet urine and odor removal are necessary at least twice each year.

What is your preferred cleaning schedule? If you vacuum multiple times each week, a lightweight vacuum like a stick model may work well for you. If you vacuum less often, a more powerful upright or canister vacuum may be a better fit. If you’re unable to vacuum regularly, a robot vacuum could be great for taking care of things for you.

Are allergies a concern?  For those who suffer from allergies, it’s important to choose a vacuum that’s HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) certified. Why? Because they remove 99.97% of particles from the air. No matter what, you’ll want to make sure to clean and replace the air filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions that come with your vacuum.

Note: Remember that vacuuming alone isn’t enough to get rid of allergens and bacteria from carpet. Schedule your professional carpet cleanings at least twice per year.

Does noise bother you? If you live in an apartment with thin walls or if you need to keep noise to a minimum for any reason, look for a vacuum that’s quite but still has enough power to get the job done. A decibel level of 60-65 is categorized as more quiet, while 70 decibels or higher is much louder.

Does the weight of the vacuum matter? Some heavy vacuum models can be 20 pounders or heavier. Lightweight stick models can weigh less than 10 pounds. Consider how much you can lift and how far you’ll need to carry your vacuum.

For Clean Carpets, You’ll Need More Than Just A Vacuum

We’re confident that this buying guide can help you select a vacuum cleaner that’s perfect for your home and family. Remember to incorporate professional carpet cleaning at least twice each year in order to have a home that’s cleaner and healthier.

Did you know that Chem-Dry removes 98% of allergens from carpet and upholstery and 89% of airborne bacteriaWhen scheduling your appointment with M.S. Chem-Dry in Omaha, Nebraska, be sure to take advantage of these home cleaning coupons!