Vacuum types for multi-surface use
Handheld vacuums – These are ideal for cleaning small surfaces that are above the floor: window sills, blinds, closets, upholstery, and other surfaces. They are perfect for reaching the corners in high places, and because of their portability, you can use them to clean your car.
Handheld and stick vacuums – Handheld and stick vacuums are the smallest, lightest vacuums available. Because they’re cordless, they are easy to move around the house and especially handy at cleaning a wide range of surfaces in multilevel spaces.
Upright vacuums – The most popular type of vacuum, upright vacuums are a perfect choice for cleaning area rugs, carpets and hard floors. They are excellent at removing dirt and dust and will clean large areas of the carpet at a time, making your cleaning swift and efficient. Upright vacuums come as single motor and dual motor. In single motor models, a single motor runs the vacuum and brush. In dual motor upright vacuums, two motors separately drive the brush and the vacuum. Because of the dedicated motors for each function, this second type tends to be more powerful, with better suction for meticulous cleaning.
Stick vacuums – Stick vacuums look a lot like upright vacuums, except they are lighter, slimmer, and don’t have attachments. Some come with handheld extensions that make it easy to clean in corners and high surfaces like ceiling fans.
Canister vacuums – Also known as cylinder vacuums, these have a canister attached to the vacuum head by a hose. They are powerful and versatile, and can be used to clean a wide range of surfaces, including hard-to-reach areas. Canister vacuums come with one of three floor tools. The first is a non-revolving brush, the second is a turbine floor tool with a revolving brush, and the third is a power brush floor tool with a revolving brush roll.
Robots – Robots or autonomous vacuums are the perfect choice for areas that require frequent cleaning, as you can program the robot to start and stop cleaning at specific times. Because this type of vacuum is self-propelled, it doesn’t require your input to clean and is a fitting choice for busy folks. It’s great for reaching tight spaces, even under the couches, beds, and other furniture.
Vacuuming tips for every household
Here are some vacuuming best practices to help you get the most out of your vacuuming sessions:
- Change the vacuuming angle and direction each time you vacuum so that you don’t miss any spot.
- Turn off the beater bar or brush roll when vacuuming delicate surfaces, such as looped carpets. It can damage these.
- Still on the beater bar, inspect it regularly for tangled hair or threads that may impede its performance.
- Always use an upholstery attachment with your vacuum cleaner when vacuuming rugs.
- Handle the cord, even a self-retracting one, with care to minimize risk of damage.
- Pick up small metal and plastic objects; don’t vacuum them. They may damage your vacuum cleaner.
Features to consider while buying the best multi-surface vacuum
Let’s now see what features you ought to consider when choosing a vacuum for multi-surface cleaning. We explain the role each feature plays and why it matters.
Vacuums range in size from compact and light to bulky and heavy. When choosing the size of your vacuum, consider whether you’ll be carrying the vacuum around the house or out into the garage or car often, in which case a small vacuum is more appropriate. If not, you can opt for one of the bigger models. Something else to consider when looking at the size is storage space. Do you have ample space for the model you’re eyeing? Small, slim vacuums can be tucked into a corner of any storage space; not so with big vacuums.
Wet and dry cleaning
Do you have young children who regularly spill drinks on surfaces? Or pets who sometimes mess on your floors? Then a wet and dry vacuum is a better choice than a regular vacuum because it will clean up any liquid spills and still pick up dirt and debris. While this type of vacuum offers exceptional wet and dry cleaning, it may be limited in other aspects. For example, it may not have many attachments or it may not ably reach tight spaces. So consider how multifunctional the vacuum is and whether, in addition to the wet and dry cleaning capability, it is going to meet your expectations in other vacuuming aspects.
The more power the vacuum draws from the power outlet, the more powerful it is likely to be. The maximum amperage that your appliances can draw from your home outlets is 12 amp, so choose a vacuum cleaner with an amp value that’s as close to this figure as possible. Consider also the air watts indicated. Air watts give the wattage after factoring in resistance to suction. The higher the air watts, the more powerful the vacuum will be. Aim for at least 200 air watts. A top choice for great power is the Miele Classic C1.
Is the filter reusable or does it need to be replaced regularly? If you don’t mind replacing the filter often, then a model with a replaceable filter will work for you. Otherwise, vacuums like the Dyson DC65 Animal, Dyson V8 Absolute, and the Shark Navigator have reusable, washable filters that will last years. Different manufacturers may have different recommendations for when the filter should be replaced, but it’s generally about every six months when it’s likely to be saturated with dust.
Some vacuum cleaners have revolving brush rolls; others use non-evolving brushes. A non-revolving brush is rigid in the cleaning options it avails, but a revolving brush offers you greater versatility in the surfaces you can clean. It’s also important to check whether the brush feature can be turned off, so you can turn it off whenever vacuuming delicate surfaces that can be damaged by the brush.
Corded vs cordless
Corded vacuum cleaners are mostly bulky, heavier than the cordless variety, and they are best suited for vacuuming large areas. If you’re looking for a vacuum that is portable, opt for a cordless model as it is easy to carry around. It’ll be great for vacuuming hard-to-reach areas and spot cleaning, too.
Bag, container capacity
Some vacuums have bags for collecting dirt and some are bagless. The bagless variety is usually also cordless, but not always. For the bagless variety, dirt and debris collect in a container which you have to empty into the trash bin. If you’re worried about the dirt filling up the container without you knowing, choose a model with a clear dust container so you can see the level of dirt in the container at all times.
If you or anyone in the house is allergic to pet hair, pollen, smoke, or dust, choose a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter to absorb these and other allergens. HEPA filters are designed to eliminate allergens in the room. The best of them eliminate more than 99% of allergens. Choosing a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter ensures that you never have to worry about allergens and other pollutants for health’s sake, even if no one in the house is allergic to any pollutant.
Most multi-surface vacuum cleaners come with warranties. A number of manufacturers give 5-year warranties, with the rest issuing warranties that range from 1 year to 3 years. Always scrutinize the warranty beforehand to know exactly what’s included, whether it’s the motor only, non-wear parts only, or just labor.