Vacuum Cleaner Types

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Choosing a vacuum cleaner can be confusing for many consumers, as the number of vacuum types and options can seem bewildering. When it comes to vacuums, there are just as many choices as there are uses, and although some may think that vacuums simply remove dirt and dust from carpets and rugs, many of today's modern vacuums can be used for a variety of cleaning tasks. In addition to the ubiquitous upright vacuum and cyclonic bagless vacuum, there are also specialty vacuums to help you cope with hardwood floors, pet hair, and even allergy problems. Therefore, not only will selecting the correct vacuum for your specific needs make your cleaning job easier, it will enhance and prolong the appearance of your floors. Here is a brief overview of the most common types of vacuums available on the market today:

Upright Vacuums Option
Upright Vacuums
Upright Vacuums are perhaps the most common, and these are excellent at cleaning large, clear carpet surfaces. Upright vacuums have a pump that is mounted above the suction intake, with the bag mounted on the handle that is waist-high. These types of vacuums usually have mechanisms such as mechanical beaters and rotating brushes to help evenly distribute dust and debris. There are primarily two types of upright vacuums - single motor and dual motor. Single motor upright vacuums have a beater brush that is driven by the vacuum motor via belt, and on a dual motor upright vacuum, the vacuum and beater brush are driven by 2 separate motors.  Read more about upright vacuums here.

Canister Type Vacuum

Canister Vacuums

Canister Vacuums are useful for hard-to-reach spots such as under furniture and on stairs. They sport a cylindrical design that houses a motor and bag in a separate canister unit, which is then connected to the vacuum head by a hose. Overall, upright vacuums have been shown to be more effective at cleaning in independent tests, but because canister vacuums are usually lighter, they offer greater maneuverability and are also quite popular.  Read more about canister vacuums here

Central Vacuum 3

Central Vacuums

Central Vacuums consist of a central power unit that is placed in a remote area such as a garage, basement, or utility room, with wall inlet valves installed in various locations throughout a home. These valves are then connected to the central unit via plastic tubing, and when vacuuming, the only thing that needs to be moved from room to room is the pickup head and hose. While central vacuums may be somewhat pricey to initially install, they have the ability to create more suction than conventional vacuums because their fans and motors do not have to be moved. Also, because of the remote location of central vacuums, they tend to produce less noise within a home.  Read more about central vacuum systems here

Robot Vacuum 2

Robotic Vacuums

Robotic Vacuums are autonomous, compact vacuums that move around a room and vacuum until they cover an entire area. Some robotic vacuums are quite advanced and can boast features such as scheduling options, an independent memory, and self-charging bases. While these types of vacuums are only meant to supplement a standard, human-operated vacuum, they are very effective at performing daily or weekly touch-up cleanings in between regular vacuum sessions.  Read more about robotic vacuums here

Bagless Type Vacuum

Bagless Vacuums

Bagless Vacuums do not require disposable bags and many consumers appreciate this convenience.  For years, conventional vacuum cleaners pulled up material from the floor into a bag that was later removed and disposed of. While effective, the one drawback to this was purchasing and replacing these bags. With that in mind, bagless vacuums have become an outgrowth of the cordless vacuums that were first introduced in the ???80s. Bagless vacuums use ducted air to deposit particles in a container or cup that is emptied after each use, and for this reason, they are an extremely popular choice. 

HEPA Type Vacs

HEPA Vacuums

HEPA Vacuums are somewhat different from conventional vacuums in that they contain a HEPA filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter) that has the ability to trap 99.97% of fine dust particles 0.3 microns or larger.  HEPA filters can be found in both residential and commercial vacuums, and they are ideal for those suffering from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory disorders.  When choosing a HEPA vacuum, always look for a model that touts a "True HEPA Filter," as opposed to "HEPA-like Filters" which are not as effective.  Read more about HEPA vacuum cleaners here. 

Wet Dry Type Vacuum

Wet/Dry Vacuums

Wet/Dry Vacuums are specially designed to handle liquid spills. They can usually accommodate wet and dry soilage, with some being equipped with a switch or exhaust port for reversing airflow. This function is especially useful for everything from blowing dust into a specific area for easy collection or even clearing a clogged hose.  They can come in the form of upright or canister vacuums. 

Handheld Type Vacuum

Handheld Vacuums

Handheld Vacuums are extremely popular with consumers because they are lightweight, bagless, and easy to maneuver.  In most cases, they are powerful enough for quick spills, car interiors, and hard-to-reach areas.  Handheld vacuums can either be corded or cordless, though the cordless models are more versatile and convenient.

Cordless Type Vacuum

Cordless Vacuums

Cordless Vacuums are very efficient for quick clean up of spills and messes, and are also great for vacuuming the interior of automobiles. These are usually battery-operated or electric, but have limited suction capabilities.
Carpet Shampooers

Carpet Shampooers

Carpet Shampooers can help your carpets look their absolute best.  If you're tired of lugging a heavy carpet steam back and forth from the rental depot, personal carpet shampooers are becoming less expensive and easier to use.  These vacuums are ideal for cleaning up spills and can be indispensable to pet owners. 
Floor Sweeper Type Vacuum

Floor Sweepers

Floor Sweepers are lightweight, easy to maneuver, and affordable types of vacuums cleaners.  These are ideal for cleaning up light spills on either hard floors or carpeted surfaces.  Many models are cordless and operate on batteries, so they're extremely easy to maneuver and convenient to use. 

Stick Type Vacuum

Stick Vacuums

Stick Vacuums are convenient and lightweight, and are best used for light vacuuming of areas like carpet or hardwood floors. They are versatile, usually relatively inexpensive, and can come with many of the same attachments as upright vacuums.
Floor Buffer Machines

Floor Buffers

Floor Buffers are types of floor cleaners designed to both clean and protect hard surfaces such as wood, linoleum, and marble.  They work by gently dislodging dirt and grim, and leave behind a glossy finish on the floor's surface.  Generally speaking, floor buffers are used with some sort of liquid cleanser or other cleaning agent.  Rotary brushes then operate at speeds that are determined by your floor's surface.  Floor buffers are most often used in commercial settings, but a few smaller versions designed for home use are also available as well. 
Ash Type Vacuum

Fireplace Vacuums

Fireplace Vacuums are used to remove ashes that build up in a fireplace.  When left in a fireplace, ashes can be a fire hazard as they act as insulation for hot embers.  As such, these types of vacuums have fireproof hoses, flame retardant filters, and suck up both hot and cold ashes. 

Drum Vacuum

Drum Vacuums

Drum Vacuums are primarily used in industrial applications. A vacuum "head" sits atop an industrial drum and uses it as the waste or recovery container. Compressed air and electric powered drum vacuums tend to be the most common.

Backpack Type Vacuum

Backpack Vacuums

Backpack Vacuums, like Drum Vacuums, are most commonly used in commercial and industrial settings. Essentially, they are like canister vacuums, except there are straps that help carry the canister on the user's back, which also allows for rapid cleaning of a large area.

Outdoor Type Vacuum

Outdoor Vacuums

Outdoor Vacuums are powerful vacuums that are used to clean the exterior of a home or building.  They are especially useful for picking up debris, trash, leaves, and grass.  In addition, some outdoor vacuums are specially designed to clean out swimming pools. 

Overall, in addition to choosing a vacuum based on your specific cleaning needs, don't forget to also consider some important attributes of a vacuum such as the motor power, air flow, filtration system, cord length, and included attachments.

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