More and more appliances that make life easier are appearing in modern homes. Few people can imagine life without a vacuum cleaner. This is the household appliance that helps to quickly put things in order in the house. But choosing the best vacuum cleaner is not so easy – there are many types of models, and prices – from quite acceptable to very impressive. And manufacturers tell miracles about all models (or almost). What really works miracles, and what is not worth paying attention to – we will analyze in this article.
First, let’s talk about the technical parameters. You need to choose a model based on them – this is the key to fast and high-quality cleaning.
Power consumption and suction
The strange thing is that the power consumed by the vacuum cleaner is often written in large numbers on the case. Although this figure only shows the “gluttony” of the device. At the same time, an important characteristic that reflects efficiency during cleaning — the suction power — is written in small numbers or is generally found only in the passport.
This characteristic can be expressed in AeroWatts (aW) or Watts (W). The first unit of measurement is taken from the English system and is not accepted in other countries. But some manufacturers use it. In principle, what is in Watts, what is in AeroWatts is not important. The same parameter is displayed and its values can be compared.
To choose a vacuum cleaner that will quickly and efficiently collect all dust and debris, it is necessary that the suction power be 300-400 W. At the same time, there may be problems with carpet cleaning. Especially if there are pets – dogs, cats. In this case, it will be better if the suction power of the vacuum cleaner is 410-500 W or even higher. These are the maximum indicators for household vacuum cleaners.
But it is advisable to choose a vacuum cleaner for cleaning pet fur from the semi-professional category. Professional models are a very expensive pleasure for private use, but semi-professional models can be very useful in a private home. Especially for a large area and the presence of animals in the house. They deal with pollution faster, absorb better. A suction power of 700-800 W is not uncommon in this group. Approximately with such indicators, a vacuum cleaner is needed for collecting animal wool.
When choosing a vacuum cleaner based on suction power, you must also remember that the specified number can mean peak and nominal power. Peak develops at the start and after 5-7 minutes turns into nominal, which is lower by 5-15%. If both of these figures are indicated in the passport, it is better if the difference between them is small – 5-7% – this is the ideal case.
A high level of noise is not only unpleasant, but can even harm your health. The average person feels discomfort at noise levels of 70-75 dB. Therefore, it is desirable to choose equipment with a lower indicator. There are quiet vacuum cleaners that make noise of only 54-56 dB, and there are those that emit sounds with a power of 85 dB and even more.
The optimal choice of a vacuum cleaner in terms of noise level is about 70 dB. It “sounds” at about the same level as human speech. With a lower indicator, this is, of course, good, but they cost much more. Units with high indicators – 80 dB and above, can be used only in a private house. Few of the neighbors in an apartment building will be happy with such equipment. Except that you will carry out cleaning rarely and only at “permitted time” (not at night and not at “quiet time”). And it’s not a fact that you won’t need special noise-isolating headphones, as loud sound can cause pain.
It should also be remembered that there is no single standard by which the noise level of a vacuum cleaner is measured. There is only the Brussels Convention, which requires measurements to be taken while operating at maximum power. This document was signed by some firms: LG; Electrolux; Miele; Bosch; Rowenta; Pro-Aqua; Philips. That’s how they measure. It is not possible to vouch for other manufacturers.
Types of dust collectors: bag or container
To make it easier to choose a vacuum cleaner, you need to clearly understand how the air cleaning process actually works. It is drawn into the inlet, passes through the dust collector, where the most debris settles. Then it enters the first filter, where large particles remain. The last stage is a fine cleaning filter. Almost all modern vacuum cleaners work according to this algorithm. But there are those that do not have the last stage – there is no fine filter. These are, as a rule, the most budget models.
One of the most difficult stages is to decide which type of vacuum cleaner suits you best. First, let’s deal with dust collectors. They are of two types – bags and containers. Both of them are imperfect.
Bags for vacuum cleaners are made of textile or paper. Paper – disposable: full – thrown away. Reusable textiles are made of interlining or fiberglass. They can be emptied, washed, and used several times.
Which are better disposable or reusable? The question is not simple. Disposables are used up faster, which is why it is worth having a certain supply. But they make it possible to do without dirty work. They pulled out the full one, threw it away, installed a new one. Fast, no mess and no hassle.
The frequency of replacement depends on many factors — on the area of the area to be cleaned, on the type of room. There is more garbage in a private house – garbage is carried from the street, because bags have to be changed more often. In an apartment, replacement is a rare phenomenon, since most of the garbage remains on the stairs, in the entrance, etc. And the dust is pressed, the bag can be used for six months or even more.
The disadvantage of this type of dust collectors is that you have to buy bags. They are relatively expensive, and this should be taken into account when choosing a model. Another trouble is that sometimes it is difficult to find the right type size. Especially if the model of the vacuum cleaner is not new.
Reusable bags can last a long time. Their wear and tear is small, but there are reasons why they are periodically changed. Vacuum cleaners with such a bag are the predecessors of container dust collectors, with their own disadvantages:
- They have to be emptied somewhere. Where? The dust will fly, it needs to be shaken, knocked out… Who will do it?
- The emptied reusable bag must be washed and dried. Microparticles get stuck in its pores, which must be removed. This can be done using a brush and detergents. Not the most pleasant process either. After washing the bag, you often have to wash the bathtub. But such a bag can serve no less than a plastic container.
There is one more point: a few microparticles still remain in the washed bag between the fibers. Each time it degrades its “throughput”, the suction power decreases little by little. And also: the accumulation of dust in the fabric of the bag can negatively affect the condition of allergy sufferers. As you can see, choosing a vacuum cleaner is not easy.
Capacity for collecting dust (plastic container). This container serves as long as the vacuum cleaner itself. But garbage must be periodically removed, the container washed and dried. The periodicity of processing depends on the type of filtering model. During these processes, the capacity can be damaged. Yes, it is made of strong plastic, but still… And one more thing: read the care instructions carefully before buying. Some manufacturers have nuances — so that there are no unpleasant surprises, it is advisable to know everything.
It is impossible to say unequivocally which of the types of dust collectors is better. Someone is more comfortable with a bag, for someone it is easier with a plastic container. It’s a pity that you can determine for sure by testing both systems. Still, many people believe that it is better to choose a vacuum cleaner with a container.
The first stage of purification
After the dust collector, the air drawn in by the vacuum cleaner goes to the after-cleaning, where small dust particles are retained. The efficiency of this system depends on the quality of cleaning not only the floor, but also the air in the room. It consists, as a rule, of two stages: sedimentation of large garbage and further purification on fine filters.
Both the first and second degree of purification are different. The quality of air purification depends on their effectiveness.
Let’s first deal with the first stage of purification. At this stage, the largest particles of pollution are deposited. The better the cleaning at this stage, the less the fine filters of the next stage will be clogged.
Vacuum cleaners with a bag
To date, these are the cheapest vacuum cleaners, but their degree of air purification is not very high. Air flow with dust through the suction hose enters the bag. Large debris, most of the dust, is retained and deposited here. Partially purified air passes through filters, after which it is released outside.
The system is very simple, but, compared to modern developments, not very effective. In addition to having to change or empty the bags often, it is necessary to change the filters. They get clogged quickly because the air comes out of the bag with a lot of impurities. As a result, it turns out that in order to maintain normal operation, a fairly substantial amount is spent on consumables. If you decide to choose a vacuum cleaner of this type, calculate the costs of bags and filters (we will talk about them below, but they also need to be changed). Maybe you will change your mind.
If you want to choose a vacuum cleaner without a bag for dry cleaning, consider cyclonic vacuum cleaners. They always come with a plastic dust container. The air enters the container, where it is swirled into a vortex flow. At the same time, pollution, like heavier substances, accumulates on the periphery. In the middle, the air comes out relatively clean and is sent to the second stage of purification.
Advantages of a cyclone vacuum cleaner:
- does not require the purchase of consumables (bags);
- is relatively inexpensive.
Disadvantages of a cyclone vacuum cleaner:
- the maximum degree of purification declared by the manufacturers is 97%;
- low suction power, which cannot be adjusted;
- as the container fills, the absorption capacity decreases;
- after the primary air cleaning, there is a solid amount of dust that settles on the secondary filters (if they are present) and they are quickly clogged.
If you want to choose a vacuum cleaner for dry cleaning without a bag and you want it to be inexpensive, this is a good option. But remember that you will have to empty the dust container often, otherwise the vacuum cleaner will begin to “pull” air and dirt badly. The second point is the need for regular replacement of filters of the second stage.
As you know, dust and all impurities settle well in water. The work of vacuum cleaners with water filters is based on this. In them, polluted air passes through water and comes out almost clean. The degree of purification depends on the type of water filter. The first to appear on the market was a water filter of the bubbling or hookah type. Many people think of him when they talk about aqua filters. Later, separator models appeared. This is also a vacuum cleaner with a water filter, but of a different type. Let’s see what the difference is.
Hookah-type water filter
In a hookah-type aquafilter, polluted air is fed into a chamber with water. Pollution settles in the water, air bubbles rise up and collect at the top of the chamber. There is still dust in this air, but much less. The level of purification can reach 99%. If you use a vacuum cleaner with a water filter immediately after dry cleaning, you will be able to appreciate the difference – the water will become dirty very quickly. These vacuum cleaners really clean the air better.
This system has its drawbacks. Some air bubbles “capture” dust with them. Therefore, the cleaning is not complete. Another disadvantage is that there is not much water in the container (there must be a place to collect purified air), and it has to be changed often. Sometimes even several times for cleaning. In order to be able to control the condition of the water, the container is often made transparent.
Another minus is that the water container has to be washed and dried after each cleaning. Otherwise, bacteria multiply in it. If you want to choose a vacuum cleaner with an aqua filter, you will have to wash it regularly.
Installation of separator vacuum cleaners
Vacuum cleaners of this type also use a water filter, but it works differently. In essence, the separator air cleaning system combines two technologies — a cyclone and a conventional water filter. Air enters the chamber, at the bottom of which is water. With the help of a separator, the water is spun until a void is formed. The speed of rotation of the separator is 20,000-32,000 revolutions/min. The liquid moves somewhat more slowly, but also at a high speed. A wall of moving water entrains air, depositing pollutants.
Since the speed of movement in the cleaning chamber is high, the air undergoes similar cleaning several times, so that there is very little dust in it at the exit. Manufacturers claim that the degree of purification reaches 99.997%.
Disadvantages of separator vacuum cleaners:
- expensive (the most expensive group);
- large in size, difficult to move them, difficult to find a place;
- it is necessary to wash, and it is desirable to have a long hose, otherwise you will have to push it into the bath, which is not easy.
If you need to get rid of not only garbage, but also small dust particles, there is nothing better than a separator vacuum cleaner today. If the means allow, we advise you to choose a vacuum cleaner of this category. It is good at least because it does not have fine filters. He simply does not need them. At least that’s what the manufacturers say.
Coarse and fine filters
There are two filters in modern vacuum cleaners: one in front of the motor, the other at the outlet. The one in front of the motor traps larger particles and is called a coarse filter. The second – with a smaller cell – traps the remaining small impurities. It is called a fine filter. They are of three types.
The motorized microfilter is made in the form of a flat cassette in which the filtering material is clamped. Foam or pressed microfiber is inserted inside. The filtering element is set to light white or light blue. This is done so that it is possible to control the level of contamination of the filter. If it has acquired a light gray shade, after a while there should be a replacement. When it turns completely gray, it’s time to change it. Usually, the replacement period is once every 3-4 months.
As long as the filter is “fresh”, it cleans well. As pores become clogged with dust, cleansing declines. The replacement time can also be determined by the smell: when the filter is clogged, a lot of dust gets on the engine. Accordingly, the smell of burnt dust appears during operation.
From the outside, this filter looks like a container divided into cells filled with activated carbon. They put it on the last, often additional, level of purification. It only captures odors, not dust. It is effective for 2-3 months, after which it needs to be replaced.
When buying, make sure that it is hermetically sealed in a plastic bag. If the bag is inflated, this filter will not work. The package must be airtight.
There are different shapes – for different models of vacuum cleaners. They can be distinguished by their appearance – they resemble an accordion made of filter material, inserted into a plastic case. They are characterized by a high filtering capacity:
- H 10 retains up to 85% of dust;
- H 11 – up to 95%;
- H 12 – up to 99.5%;
- H 13 – up to 99.995%.
There are disposable and reusable HEPA filters. Disposable made of paper with glass fibers. Particles up to 0.3 microns are retained. But they are expensive, and you have to change them often. It is better – after using the vacuum cleaner 2-3 times, in reality – how it will turn out, but it is advisable to follow the recommendations in the operating instructions.
Reusable HEPA filters are made of fluoroplastic. They can be washed periodically. Manufacturers say that such a filter will last up to 3-6 months, but after each use it must be washed and dried. Otherwise, bacteria will multiply in it.
Which filter is better?
Despite all the shortcomings, HEPA filters are the best in terms of cleaning ability. But their cost, problems with finding suitable sizes/shapes/parameters can bring many unpleasant moments.
How to choose a vacuum cleaner for an apartment and house
As already mentioned, for a private house it is advisable to choose a vacuum cleaner with a significant suction power (at least 500 aW). But you still need to pay attention to the volume of the bag/container for dust — garbage in houses is usually more than in apartments. But you choose the cleaning system and functions based on your own ideas and wishes.
For dry cleaning or detergent
The first thing to decide is whether you need a vacuum cleaner for dry cleaning or for wet cleaning. In general, it is better to have both because they are not interchangeable. For example, a small bag vacuum cleaner is ideal for daily cleaning. It is desirable to find it in a small case, with a set of various nozzles. It will do a great job of cleaning the car, collect debris after minor repairs, drilling holes, spilled cereal, etc. But only a vacuum cleaner with an aqua filter can cope with the task of dedusting an apartment or a house. They can be cleaned after a bag vacuum cleaner – the filters will last longer. By the way, they are usually equipped with NERA.
Vacuum cleaners with a wet cleaning function can be of three types:
- Ordinary (hookah) water filter.
They all have two containers. The first contains clean water that is sprayed onto the floor. Collected by a brush, it enters the second tank – for waste water. The disadvantage of such systems is bulkiness, high price, and the need for cleaning after each use.
If there are animals in the house – a turbo brush
Collecting dog or cat hair from fluffy surfaces is another pleasure. Manufacturers of vacuum cleaners have developed special turbo brushes. This is a nozzle inside which there is a roller with multi-directional bristles. The roller rotates, picking up wool, hair, threads. Everything that is so difficult to collect with ordinary nozzles. The direction and location of the bristles is different for each company.
The turbo brush can be mechanical or electric. Mechanical spin in the air flow. The electric one is driven by a built-in motor. The second option is more reliable, but also more expensive. Also, they are wide – for finishing the floor and floor coverings, and narrow – for cleaning furniture.
The type of vacuum cleaners for collecting animal wool is mainly cyclone. Many of them are equipped with turbo brushes or it is possible to buy them. There are also some exceptions:
- Bag Miele S 6220 Cat&Dog and some Bork models.
- Vacuum cleaner with water filter Thomas Cat&Dog ХТ.
In a good brush, the roller is easily removed and put in place, it should be cleaned regularly. Many have a deep groove – this is so that the wound wool can be cut with scissors. In the process of collection, it is beaten into something similar to felt. And it is very difficult to remove it.
If you want to choose a small and powerful vacuum cleaner, look at cordless models. They work on batteries, which is why they are also called rechargeable. They have an unusual shape. Case, filters, dust collector – all this is held in the hand. There is only a brush on the floor. It is connected to the body by a tube, but this tube most often has a movable joint – to increase mobility and maneuverability, to facilitate control of the unit.
The cordless vacuum cleaner comes complete with a charger. It is a place for storage or, as they say, a packing station.