Inexpensive vacuum cleaner – what to expect?
Most people are not willing to splurge thousands of dollars on a vacuum cleaner, but they won’t hesitate to spend a few hundred dollars on an inexpensive vacuum. After all, they reckon, a cheaper version will do what a more expensive model does. What can you expect from an inexpensive vacuum?
Well, fewer features, for one. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if it has all the features needed to vacuum. It probably won’t have the technologically-advanced features found in high-end models, but it will have enough basic features and attachments to perform a decent cleaning job. For example, it may not have lots of automatic systems, but you should be able to manually make the needed adjustments.
Vacuum types to consider
We explain the different types of vacuum cleaners below:
Upright vacuum cleaners – In this type, all vacuum cleaner parts are fused into one body. As such, they’re heavy, difficult to maneuver, and cannot be manipulated to vacuum underneath low furniture. They’re, however, excellent at cleaning carpets and will sufficiently deep clean high-traffic areas. They also have a wide cleaning head, which makes them perfect for vacuuming large rooms. They are easy to store.
Canister vacuum cleaners – These are designed with the power head separate from the canister. Most of them operate quietly, the only drawback being that you have to pull the canister as you move around the room. They’re best for cleaning hard floors, underneath furniture, and stairs. They take up more storage space than upright vacuums.
Stick vacuum cleaners – This type comes with a tall body, power head, and handle, and is mostly battery-powered. They are lightweight, highly portable, and best suited for light vacuuming. They have a smaller dirt bag than what you’d find in bigger vacuum cleaners.
Handheld vacuum cleaners – Like stick vacuums, they are lightweight and highly portable. The difference is that they’re much smaller than stick vacuums, and you can operate them on one hand. They’re best suited for light vacuuming of upholstery, short-pile carpets, and bare floors.
Robotic vacuums – These are programmed to operate independently without any human input. They know how to maneuver their way around your house and get back to the charging station to recharge when they run low on power. They’re best for use in uncluttered spaces with bare floors.
Features to consider while buying the best vacuum under $500
Let’s now look at the various features to consider when choosing a vacuum cleaner.
The most efficient vacuum cleaners have a precise balance of motor power and suction. To find out how powerful the vacuum is, look at the air watt rating, which indicates how well the power produced is converted to suction based on the amount of air moving through the vacuum. The vacuum needs strong suction to pick up dirt effectively. The type of vacuum will also dictate how powerful the motor needs to be. For instance, canister vacuums like the Miele C2 need more power to help push the collected dirt down the hose.
The best vacuum cleaner is versatile enough to use on different surfaces. You should be able to use it to vacuum both hard floors and carpets.
Some vacuum cleaners are designed primarily for hard floors, but they have attachments for cleaning carpets. Likewise, some are designed for cleaning carpets but, with the help of a hard floor tool, can be used to vacuum bare floors. Confirm that you can use the vacuum cleaner for your specific type of floor, whether that is hardwood flooring, laminate, vinyl, or tile.
If you’ll be cleaning above-floor surfaces, choose a vacuum cleaner with the requisite tools. Likewise, consider the tools’ ease of use. For instance, is the hose long enough to reach the top of your floor-to-ceiling drapes?
Bag or no bag?
Each option has pros and cons.
One of the biggest advantages bagless vacuum cleaners have over bagged vacuums is that they suffer little or no loss of suction. Another plus is that you won’t need to buy dirt bags. However, you’ll have to clean the filters once a month and replace them after a specific period, as recommended by the manufacturer. The major disadvantage with bagless vacuums is that it’s easy for dirt to escape back into the room while you’re emptying the canister.
With bagged vacuum cleaners, dirt is completely sealed inside the bag, as in the The Miele C2 Hard Floor Canister Vacuum Cleaner and Soniclean Soft Carpet, and this makes them the best option for allergy sufferers. They also have a larger capacity than bagless vacuums, but for greater convenience, choose a vacuum cleaner with a big dirt bag so that it doesn’t fill up quickly.
The motor size of your vacuum cleaner, in part, may determine how noisy the vacuum is. Because they usually have bigger motors than other types of vacuum cleaners, upright vacuum cleaners tend to be the loudest in the group. But there’s more: high-powered motors are also noisier than low-powered ones, regardless of size. A vacuum with a small, high-powered motor may be louder than one with a bigger, low-powered motor. Bagless vacuums also tend to be noisier than bagged vacuum cleaners because of the motor’s proximity to the casing.
If you find the loud noise from machines disturbing, look for a vacuum with a noise level of 72 dB or less, which is considered quiet when it comes to vacuum cleaners. With such a vacuum cleaner, babies can sleep uninterrupted and you and others can carry on with conversation while the vacuum is running.
Consider add-ons like dusting brushes, an upholstery tool, crevice tool, and hard floor tool since these make the vacuum more versatile. Lots of vacuums come with the complete range of cleaning accessories. Good examples are the Dyson V11 Animal and Miele C2. A vacuum that doesn’t have added tools, such as the Soniclean Soft Carpet, only allows you to do the bare minimum, in this case clean carpets.
Filters trap the pollutants in the air that is sucked in by the vacuum so that as the air is released back into the room, it is clean. Currently, the best filters in the market are HEPA filters. These are designed to clean up to 99.97% of pollutants and allergens, which makes them the filter of choice for allergy sufferers. A lot of modern vacuums come with HEPA filters, including Soniclean Soft Carpet, Miele C2, Shark APEX AZ1002, and iRobot Roomba E5. When evaluating the filters in a vacuum, check whether, like the Shark APEX AZ1002 foam filter, they are washable. Also, replace the filter as recommended by the manufacturer.
A good vacuum cleaner is easy to use. Some user-friendly attributes are:
- The vacuum moves smoothly on carpets.
- It does not get stuck on bare floors.
- It’s not too heavy to pull or push.
- The hose is reasonably long to boost reach.
- The dirt bag isn’t too small.
Choose a vacuum cleaner that has safety features, especially if you have kids. You want a vacuum with a retractable cord to minimize the likelihood of tripping on the cord.
Consider buying a vacuum with a wheel lock and a brush roll lock to prevent accidents.
A safety lock that shuts off the power supply will ensure your kids are safe even if they plug in the vacuum.
The design of your vacuum cleaner can make using the vacuum pleasant or unbearable. Beginning with the size, choose a vacuum in a size that’s right for your cleaning needs. The same goes for the weight. If you expect to be carrying the vacuum upstairs and downstairs, it needs to be light enough.
If you’ll be cleaning a wide area, choose a vacuum with a big cleaning head and a wide cleaning allowance. The design of the brush rolls, too, can impact how useful the vacuum is.
The longer the warranty period, the longer you’ll be covered in case the vacuum malfunctions or a component gets damaged. Some vacuum cleaners with a short warranty, like the iRobot Roomba E5 and Miele C2, are covered for only 1 year. But a lot of other brands give a longer warranty period. For example, Soniclean Soft Carpet and Shark APEX AZ1002 each come with a 5-year warranty, while the Dyson V11 Animal has a 2-year warranty.
Vacuum cleaning tips for all kinds of floors
Establish a regular vacuuming schedule so that you reduce the number of times you have to deep lean or vacuum intensely.
Choose the right setting for the floor you’re vacuuming and adjust this accordingly when you move to a different floor.
Vacuum your carpets/rugs from the center going outward to keep the rug from fraying.
Change or replace your filters and dirt bag as advised by the manufacturer.
Pick up small objects from the floor before you begin vacuuming as these could damage your vacuum cleaner.