It feels fantastic when you come home, walk through the door, and all of your floors are spotless and squeaky clean, but few things are worse than looking at dirty floors and knowing that you’re out of luck because your vacuum is on the fritz.

In this short guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know when shopping for a new vacuum cleaner, including the different types of vacuums, the features to look out for, what to check before you make the purchase, and how to maintain your new vacuum once you buy it.

Types of vacuum cleaners

There are many different types of vacuums available on the market, but for the purpose of this article, we will be discussing vacuum cleaners for residential use and not those used for commercial purposes, such as wet/dry vacs.

These days, there are three particular types of vacuums that are most common in households, those are the upright, canister, and cordless vacuums. Let’s quickly go over each.  


When you say “vacuum cleaner,” most people will picture an upright vacuum. This is the standard type of vacuum that you know and love, the one you probably grew up with, and it’s still one of the best options today. There are different categories of upright vacuums, including those with and without bags, but more on that in a moment.


Nowadays, more and more people are using canister vacuum cleaners to clean their floors and carpets. Canister vacuums are perhaps the most maneuverable type of vacuum and are great for hard-to-reach places. Unlike an upright vacuum, a canister vacuum has the motor and bag in a separate case, making the vacuum head and nozzle much more portable and often much lighter to carry.


Ever since cordless vacuums were invented, they have inspired awe and envy. Not being constrained by a cumbersome cord means that these vacuums can go just about anywhere, and you won’t need to worry about tripping over a cord when you vacuum or bundling the cord back up when you’re done.


Robot vacuums were a novelty when they first came out, but that’s no longer the case. These little machines have come a long way and can do a great job of cleaning your floors throughout the day. Best of all, they clean your home automatically without you needing to do anything but empty them when they are full. One day, robot vacuums will likely surpass upright vacuum cleaners as the main type of vacuum in people’s homes.

Categories of vacuums

You can find each of the different vacuums listed above in several different varieties, namely those with a bag and those without. Each option has its pros and cons; let’s look at that now.


Generally speaking, vacuums have bags; that’s where all the dirt goes that you’re vacuuming up. The idea is simple; when the bag gets full, you dump it in the garbage, and you’re good to go again. When the bag gets worn out, you can easily replace it, and it’s less likely to be an expensive repair compared to bagless vacuums.


Many people consider bagless vacuums to be much better than those with bags, and although that isn’t always the case, it’s not hard to see why they think that. Bagless vacuum cleaners are simply less maintenance as you don’t need to worry about the bag breaking and replacing it every so often. The downside is that if something does go wrong with the vacuum, it’s probably going to need a mechanical repair which can be time-consuming and costly.  

Best Features of a good vacuum cleaner

Any vacuum cleaner that works will be better than no vacuum cleaner at all, but that said, there are a few features that make some vacuums better than others. Before you buy a new vacuum, be sure to check that it has some, or all, of these features:

  • Powerful suction
  • Quality filters
  • Well-positioned controls
  • General ease of use
  • Good accessories
  • A warranty

What to check for when picking out a vacuum cleaner

When you head to the shop to pick out a new vacuum cleaner, there are a few things to look for. First, make sure it has most of the features listed above, next check to see if the vacuum design is to your liking and if you’re able to test it, check how loud it is as that can sometimes be an issue, especially for those with pets and small children.

Of course, in most instances, you won’t be able to test the vacuum in the shop, or at least not for very long anyway, so it’s important to read reviews and consider all the facts before buying your new vacuum cleaner.

We recommend that you download the Amazon app on your cell phone, then check the ratings and reviews in the app when you’re in the store. You might even see the same vacuum for a lower price than the one in the store.

How to clean and maintain a vacuum cleaner

A good vacuum cleaner can last for years with regular maintenance, but you would be surprised by how many people forget to clean out their vacuum. Here are a few quick tips on cleaning your vacuum so that it lasts a long time and works its best.

  1. Clean out the filters regularly
  2. Clear any debris especially hair from the cleaning head
  3. Wipe down the vent covers to remove dirt and dust
  4. Unclog the hose if it starts to get blocked up

Vacuum cleaners are mechanical and for the most part very durable. Our four tips above help to maintain a vacuum cleaner in good working condition, but to prevent your vacuum cleaner from breaking down on you it’s important to have good warranty and to minimize hitting your furniture with your vacuum.


Choosing the right vacuum for you is almost always a matter of personal preference, but by following the tips and advice above, you can choose the right vacuum cleaner for your needs, and with regular maintenance, it should last you for many years to come.


Anita's Housekeeping Editors