Buyers Guide to the Best Vacuum Cleaner

Buyers Guide to the Best Vacuum Cleaner

When it comes to vacuum cleaners, there is no clear winner. Vacuum cleaner reviews, even those from the experts, are unreliable. Why? Because each vacuum cleaner brand, from Dyson to Miele, has its fans and detractors. This can making shopping for a vacuum cleaner almost overwhelmingly confusing.

However, all is not lost, there are some general guidelines consumers should follow to determine which vacuum cleaner is the right fit for their needs. Here’s the scoop on finding the best vacuum cleaner.

Best Vacuum Cleaner Features

There are so many attachments and bells and whistles when it comes to vacuum cleaners, that it can be hard to sort out what is important and what is just ‘noise.’ Here is the bare minimum consumers should look for in a vacuum cleaner.

  1. Attachment length. What’s the point in paying $500 for a vacuum cleaner if the attachments won’t even reach the ceiling fan or require homeowners to contort like the hunchback of Notre Dame just to clean their baseboards? Fortunately, many companies sell extensions at a reasonable price, so find out if an extension is available before ruling out (or in) a particular vacuum cleaner model.
  2. Look for a vacuum cleaner with an ‘edge’, meaning, it will clean the carpet all the way up to the point where it meets the baseboards. If a vacuum cleaner lacks an edging feature, homeowners will have to go back by hand with the attachments to clean the one inch (or larger) margin by the baseboards.
  3. Check to see if the roller brushes can be turned off, especially if a vacuum will be used on bare floors. Roller brushes can mar or even damage floors, so this is can be an important feature.
  4. Look for a generous return policy. In the event the vacuum cleaner fails to perform as expected, it’s important to be able to return it for a full refund. Keep all receipts until the vacuum cleaner proves itself, and note that some retailers won’t accept returns unless the original packaging is intact as well.

Check the Warranty

In addition to the product features above, check the warranty as well. Take the warranty length as a rough indication of how long the manufacturer expects their product to work perfectly. Meaning, longer is better.

In general, vacuum warranties run between 1 to 3 years. Note that some retailers won’t honor warranties without the original packaging so it’s a good idea to collapse the box and store it for the warranty period.

Operating Costs: Vacuum Bags and Filters

Take a moment to calculate how much it will cost to keep a particular vacuum cleaner in good running condition. Some vacuum cleaners may have cheaper sticker prices, but are actually quite expensive to maintain. Find out how much vacuum bags cost. Plus, are vacuum filters required and how much are those?

Even more importantly, are vacuum bags and vacuum filters readily available? There’s nothing worse than having to drive a half hour or more to the one place that carries vacuum bags for a particular vacuum cleaner.

Read Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to find out what consumers are saying about a vacuum cleaner. Take note of red flags such as poor customer service, difficult returns and consistent product failures (such as the same part breaking over several different users). Reading vacuum cleaner reviews can be time consuming, but it avoids trouble later on.

With this information, consumers are sure to find a vacuum cleaner that sucks, in the best possible way of course.


  • Consumer Reports, “Vacuum Cleaner Guide.” (Retrieved May 10, 2010.)
  • Customer reviews of vacuum cleaners. (Retrieved May 5-10, 2010.)