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Vacuums Buying Guide – Key Features

Canister? Upright? Carpet cleaner? With all the options available, make sure you pick the vacuum right for your home and cleaning needs.


Key Features

Bare Floor Switch

Moving from carpet to bare floors is simple with a touch of a button. A switch on the handle turns off the vacuum's agitator, allowing you to clean wood floors without worrying about scratching them.

360-Degree Hose Swivel (Canister)

360-degree swivel connection enables the hose to move freely while vacuuming to make sure the canister unit stays firmly on the ground instead of tipping over.

Quick Release (Canister)

Changing cleaning tools is easy with a quick release button. Press the upper quick release and remove the handle from the wand to attach tools for above floor cleaning. Stepping or pressing on the lower quick release lever located on the powerhead detaches the wand, allowing you to attach a bare floor nozzle or other cleaning tools to the wand.

Performance Indicator

The performance indicator signals when there is a reduction in airflow that needs checking. It can indicate a possible clog, but in the case of bagged vacuums can mean the bag is full, so this is also sometimes called “full bag indicator”.

Stair Grip (Canister)

The stair grip swivel on the base of a canister vacuum enables the unit to rest securely on the tread of a staircase, thereby making it easier to vacuum a staircase more safely and conveniently.

Pet Handimate Attachment

A compact moving brush attachment power by the vacuum’s airflow (also called air turbine). It is designed for cleaning upholstered furniture and stairs especially in home where pet hair is present.

Pet Powermate Attachment (Canister)

An electrically powered moving brush attachment designed to work with a canister vacuum. It provides a higher level of motor-driven power to clean pet hair and more from upholstered furniture, stairs and car interiors.

Horsehair Tools

Dusting brush, floor brush or combo tool contain bristles made of horsehair which provide durability and reduced possibility of abrasion of fine wood furniture and other surfaces.

HEPA Filtration

HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. It is defined as capturing 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns. A HEPA filter is a filter material capable of meeting this degree of filtration. A true HEPA vacuum cleaner represents the highest level of filtration; the vacuum itself is rated as capturing 99.97% of particles down to 0.3% microns, meaning less chance of air leaks that could exhaust particles into the air.

HEPA Cloth Bag

The cloth-like HEPA cloth bag is designed to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns in size for cleaner exhausted air. The HEPA cloth bag is also designed to maintain excellent airflow as the bag is filled, enabling the bag to be fully filled without reducing air power.

Swivel Nozzle (Canister)

A swivel nozzle on a canister vacuum enables the power nozzle to have a “steering” action making it easier to maneuver around furniture and other objects.

Variable Power

Variable power controls adjust the speed of the motor in order to reduce suction power. This can be used while vacuuming the floor, such as when vacuuming throw rugs, or for above floor cleaning of delicate items such as lampshades or drapes.

Cyclonic Filtration (Upright)

Cyclonic filtration is a bagless method of cleaning where debris is removed from the airflow by spinning at a rapid velocity. The debris is then housed in a cup. This reduces the need for additional filters to separate the air from the debris.

Dirt Sensor

Dirt can’t hide! A built-in infrared sensor tells you when carpets are deep down clean. A light on the vacuum indicates if an area is clean, or if it needs to be gone over again. Removing embedded debris helps prolong the life of the carpet by removing abrasive particles that wear away carpet fibers.

Telescopic Wand (Canister)

A telescopic canister wand offers the advantage that the length of the wand can be adjusted both to accommodate the height of the user for greater comfort and ease of use as well as adjust the length when using attachments for above floor cleaning (e.g. reaching ceiling cobwebs).

Light on Wand (Canister)

An LED light mounted on the wand provides illumination for both vacuuming floors as well as when using tools on the lower wand, such as a bare floor tool or crevice tool. Greater visibility helps to see what needs cleaning as well as avoid items you do not want to vacuum up, such as earrings, hairpins, paper clips and other small objects.

Power-Flow Bag Chamber

For bagged canisters and uprights, a power-flow bag chamber is designed to increase airflow through the bag as it fills with debris. This not only maximizes the amount of debris a bag can hold but it also ensures that greater air suction is maintained as the bag fills, which keeps cleaning power at its maximum.

Direct Drive Agitator (Upright)

Upright agitators are typically driven by rubber belts that can loosen over time decreasing the speed of revolution, and therefore cleaning power. They can also break, requiring replacement. A direct drive agitator is powered by an internal motor, not a belt. The speed of rotation and cleaning power is consistently maintained, and there are no belts to wear out or to replace.

Cross-Over Floor Brush (Canister)

A cross-over floor brush combines the advantages of a power nozzle for cleaning carpets and a bare floor tool for cleaning hard floor surface combined in one easy to use nozzle. The bare floor tool is embedded in the power nozzle, but is easily disconnected by pressing the release pedal. It’s easy to go from carpeting to bare floor and back again. An excellent choice for homes with multiple floor surfaces.