How to pick the right vacuum cleaner for your household

"TheSmartConsumer is an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from links on this page that you click on and make qualifying purchases, thanks for helping support us"

You may not have thought much about vacuum cleaners, but that does not mean there isn’t plenty to think about. When the time finally comes to buy a new vacuum cleaner (and many of us put it off far longer than we ought to), there are a lot of factors to think about when figuring out which one is best for your household.

Vacuum cleaners are not simply about the aesthetics of the home. They also help maintain a healthy indoor environment by trapping dirt and allergens inside the vacuum cleaner and disposing of them safely. The wrong vacuum can cause problems such as allergies, asthma, or even respiratory illness if not used properly. 

 If you’re a novice to vacuuming, have no fear. This article will bring you up to speed on vacuum cleaners, help you distinguish between them, outline benefits and weaknesses, as well as focus on the two things you REALLY care about: brand and budget.

Types of Vacuum Cleaners

It is important to understand what type of vacuum cleaners are available on the market today. The most common types are canister and stick vacuums, which can be further categorised into bagged or bagless vacuums.


Canisters are the original vacuum cleaners that have a history of scaring our dogs. These types of vacuums are usually bulkier, contain the motor and receptacle separate to the suction mechanism which are attached by a hose.These days they also come with an array of different accessories. They are a great choice if you have a lot of space to clean, multiple floors in your home or office, and/or carpets with higher pile. 


Sticks or “sweepers” were designed to make vacuuming easier. A stick vacuum is a lighter type of upright vacuum that has an attachable handle to use as you clean. These are good for those who have smaller homes, but they do not work quite as well on stairs or carpets with higher pile. Stick has the advantage of being easy to store, easy to use and less bulky than the canisters.

Robotic Vacuums

You have probably seen the viral videos of Roombas carrying a housecat across the room. These funny videos encapsulate both the benefits and the negatives of the robotic vacuum. 

The benefits of robotic vacuums are that they are great for people with busy schedules and they work extremely well in one-storey dwellings that don’t have a bunch of different surfaces (automatic vacuums can get stuck on long, shaggy carpet, or be less effective on other kinds of surfaces).

The cons are the aforementioned different surfaces, as well as the possibility that they can be tampered with or injure pets or children. Robotic vacuum cleaners can also cost more than handheld ones, and while they are convenient, they are not always guaranteed to do a better job.  But if this kind of vacuum sounds good to you, check out the best robotic vacuum cleaners.

More:  The Best Floor Steamer

To Bag or Not to Bag

You also need to decide whether you will purchase a vacuum with a bag or without.The bag itself does not drastically change the efficiency of the vacuum, but rather how much dust and dirt you might be exposed to during cleaning and depositing waste. In simple terms, if you, your housemates or your family (or whoever else you share the home with) have allergies that flare up with any hint of dust, dirt or allergens, bagged vacuum cleaners are probably the better bet as they create another layer between you and the material.


Now you know the main types of vacuums, the next thing you want to know is “how much?”. 


Like many household items, vacuum cleaners are an investment. The general rule of thumb is that you don’t want to spend under $150 on a vacuum cleaner if you want your money’s worth.


The average good-quality vacuum cleaner will be priced somewhere between $200 and $600, with the top of the range going for anything from $400 (depending on the brand) to over $1000. A quick scour of the internet will show you that the $400 range is the sweet spot for the average joe with the average income.


Most people are more familiar with brands than they are with types of vacuum cleaners. Most New Zealanders of a certain age will remember the Godfreys advertisement (“Cleanliness is next to Godfreyness”) where the actor uses a super-sucking power vacuum to pick up a bowling ball. Godfrey’s advertisements made many vacuum cleaners household names, such as the renowned vacuum cleaners from Dyson, for example


There are a number of brands that have a stranglehold on the market, and for good reason – they are tried, tested and trusted. Some of these brands include:


  • Dysons: Dyson is a British-owned household appliances manufacturer which, as mentioned above, is incredibly popular in Australia. 
  • Miele: a German manufacturer who have their hands in a wide range of household appliances, from vacuums and dishwashers to coffee machines and ovens.
  • BISSEL: An American company who are renowned for their budget-friendly vacuums which are lightweight and easily portable.
  • Shark: Another American manufacturer who does a bit of everything, from vacuums to mops, irons and even blenders. They provide affordable, high-quality vacuums which are renowned for their reliability.
  • Hoover: Last but certainly not least is Hoover, an world-renowned American manufacturer who continues to be at the forefront of vacuum technology, with the very name being synonymous with vacuuming.
More:  How to clean an air fryer


It is hard to go wrong with any of these brands, so if you don’t care to do all the research, stick with these companies and you will generally be in good hands.

Know Your Carpet!

Not all vacuum cleaners are equally effective when it comes to different surfaces. While most homes have fairly similar surfaces, the type of carpet you have really does matter when you’re picking your vacuum.

Here is a great table compiled by, which explains exactly what type of vacuum type you need depending on you carpet type:

Image source:

Other things to Consider:

  • HEPA filters/air purifiers 

There are special air purifiers and filtration systems typically used for those with allergies or respiratory issues. There are different kinds of filters, but one of the most popular is a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, which traps allergens, contaminants and other particles in a filter rather than recirculating them, as many vacuums can do. To learn more about HEPA filters, check out this informative article at The Spruce.

  • Performance and durability 

As mentioned, it really comes down to how much you’re willing to spend. Do some research and find out what consumers are saying about the most reliable vacuum cleaners on the market to save yourself the hassle down the track.

  • Noise

Vacuums are noisy, but they aren’t all as noisy as each other. If that is something that matters to you (as can be the case in a household with auditory sensitive members), you should ensure that you actually research and test out the vacuum before you buy it. If you don’t want to annoy or trigger your family members every time you want to clean up some dust, check out these quiet vacuum cleaners.

  • Capacity and storage

As mentioned, you need to know your household and its needs. If you have a gigantic two-storey house with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, a little, lightweight stick vacuum won’t cut it for you. You will need something a little more heavy duty, with some allocated storage space to pack it away when it’s done. 


There are a lot of things to consider when buying a vacuum cleaner, but it always comes down to your needs (and who knows them better than you?). However, not doing research and purchasing one on a whim can be problematic because it may not clean well, may be too loud, or incompatible with your lifestyle, household,  or simply break too quickly within warranty period. It’s worth doing a little digging, comparing prices and making sure you have a reliable vacuum cleaner that can be cleaning up your and your family’s mess for many years.