Upright vacuum cleaners have typically been the best choice for cleaning carpets. Today's uprights come with a variety of attachments and features. Some will be beneficial to you, others won't.
Some upright cleaners come with a bag to capture the trapped dirt; others are bagless. There is debate as to which is easier to use. Bags of today are often easier to change than those our mothers struggled with. A bagless vacuum certainly eliminates the inevitable search for the extra bag or the hunt in the store for the right kind, but can sometimes be messy to clean out.
Some upright vacuums are lightweight and easy to move around the home and up the stairs. Others, however, are heavy and cumbersome to move around. Consider your needs, your house layout and your back when making a purchase.
Upright vacuums stand up making them easier to store in a hall closet or off in a laundry room and easier to retrieve for use.
The rotating brush on the upright vacuum make it very efficient for cleaning the dirt out of carpeting, but this same brush does tend to scatter dirt on bare floors.
The range of attachments available on today's uprights seems limitless. Again, consider your needs and read on as you consider which vacuum is right for you.
Canister vacuums are best known for the way they clean bare floors and hard to reach places. Today's canister vacs can compete with an upright for cleaning a carpet and can be a convenient way to clean stairs.
Canister vacuums can be difficult to move around but many are lighter and more manageable than models that our moms used to struggle with. Maneuvering the cord, the hose and the canister through the house can be difficult as if dragging a reluctant child behind you, but often the benefits far outweigh this difficulty.
Canister vacuums make cleaning difficult to reach places much easier. You can easily go from vacuuming the carpet to the sofa cushions to under the carpet without moving furniture or switching attachments. Canisters also make easy work of vacuuming drapes and small spaces between hard-to-move furniture.
The attachments found on most canisters will be sufficient for most household needs. Just be sure to check that you will have what you need and value most
Handheld vacuums are small vacuums that are lightweight and designed for small jobs. Many of these vacuums are cordless, but some models do have cords. Handheld vacuums can be very useful for cleaning up quickly those small messes you may have once used a dustpan and broom for or even have resorted to lugging out the full-size vacuum.
Household with small children and pets often benefit greatly from a handheld vacuum. Some handheld vacuums have a rotating brush that will help to remove dirt from carpets. Those without rotating brushes rely on suction alone which is often powerful enough for these types of messes and often more efficient on a bare floor.
Corded handheld vacuums will be useful for longer cleaning jobs; a cordless vac, however will have a rechargeable battery that may run from 10-20 minutes but offers great portability. This freedom will allow you to use this vacuum to clean your car or boat rather easily.
Stick vacuums are similar to sweepers. They have a long stick-like handle attached to the body of the vacuum. They tend to be lightweight and easy to handle. Stick vacuums are available cordless and also corded. The same cordless benefits apply to these as to handhelds. Stick vacuums are often good at cleaning up similar messes as handhelds, but allow you to remain in a standing position when cleaning the floor. Unlike handhelds, it is difficult to use for hard-to-reach places or for above floor level messes. Stick vacuums are great for a quick cleaning at the end of the day or before company arrives.
Handheld/Stick convertible vacuums offer the function of both the stick and the handheld vacuums. The handheld vacuum simply detaches from the stick handle allowing you the benefits of both. Depending on your cleaning needs, you can switch from the handheld to the stick and back.
Wet/dry vacuums are vacuums that are multipurpose in their cleaning. Wet/dry vacuums can pick up small garage debris, soak up a wet mess, drink up a spill, clear the car efficiently and fill an air mattress or other inflatable. Wet/dry vacs are heavy-duty vacuums that tend to be used in garages and basements. They are difficult to move around, but are certainly capable of handling big messes. Many models come with different attachments that allow for reaching into small places or squeegee-ing up a big mess. Some will even have a detachable blower you can use to clean out the garage of leaves and other debris. Check the features to be sure you are getting what you need and will use and that you are not paying for features you just won't use. A wet/dry vacuum is not a substitute for your "regular" vacuum.
Steamer vacuums are vacuums that use hot water to clean the fibers of the carpet. Often you pay someone to come in to clean your carpets once a year or more. Personal steamer vacuums have come a long way and are rather simple to use and are quite reasonable in price these days. One cleaning often pays for the vacuum. Some steamers simply steam the carpet with hot water and a little detergent. Others have a rotary brush that helps to dislodge the dirt and allergens that have become embedded in your carpet. For the deepest clean you will want a steamer that heats the water (rather than filling it with hot water) and has a rotary brush. You will still need a "regular" vacuum as a steamer is an additional cleaner that goes beyond the every day cleaning of a typical vacuum.