Choosing the right clean machine
At a time of year when thoughts start to turn towards spring cleaning, a new vacuum cleaner may well be on your shopping list. But as these domestic workhorses have a tendency to last a long time, it could be many years since you bought a new one – and the technology’s been developing all the time!
Cylinder or upright, and bagged or bagless? These are the first two choices facing you when choosing a vacuum cleaner. Over the years, both uprights and cylinders have been developed, as much as is possible, to have the qualities and advantages of each other, though the two remain quite different. Both can provide excellent suction and filtration which are the two main requisites of a vacuum cleaner, and if you have a preference for one type then I wouldn’t dissuade you from buying one or the other. I really would say that that’s purely personal preference on the bagged versus bagless question too.
Generally, a cylinder is recommended for hard floors and an upright for carpets. The reason for this is that the roller brush on the front of uprights is driven by the motor, and this brush combs into the carpet and helps to lift the dirt out, particularly any particles which have worked their way deeper into the pile. If a cylinder has a roller brush, it is (nearly always) only driven by the air that it sucks up, making it weaker. A motorised brush can, however, scratch hard floors and this is why a cylinder can be advantageous. Also, there’s no pile for dirt to work into on a hard floor, eliminating the need for a roller brush.
At the other end of the budget, there’s the Panasonic MC-UG302. It has automatic height adjustment so will do hard floors but I’d recommend it primarily for carpets. It has a short, detachable hose for harder to reach places and two extension tubes. It won’t give quite the suction of a Sebo or a Miele, but it’s slightly lighter, reliable and affordable, and is a firm favourite among our customers.
If you already have an upright cleaner, and are looking for a secondary cleaner that can be easily produced for those little crumb-tastrophes that occur from time to time, take a look at the Dyson DC35. This powerful lightweight cordless cleaner has at its heart the Dyson digital motor – which spins up to three times faster than conventional electric motors and doesn’t generate carbon dust emissions, while the motorised floor tool uses ultra-fine carbon fibre brushes to remove even fine dust from hard floors.
For those of the cylinder persuasion there’s the powerful Miele S8310 Power Plus. This is another German-made cleaner of the highest quality. It comes with a typical combination floor head for carpets and hard floors and a good selection of onboard tools. It’s a bagged model with hygienic, easy to change bags and a HEPA (allergy) filter or a charcoal one can be put in. It has a quiet motor and suction control as well giving great power on a carpet and the ability to gently dust.
Pushed for space? If you want something bijou, check out the cute Dyson DC26. Designed for the space-conscious Japanese this baby Dyson is the world’s smallest vacuum cleaner. There’s no bag to fiddle with; instead there’s a tough, clear, polycarbonate bin, while the lifetime filter just needs an occasional wash to keep it in tip-top condition. The Dyson DC26 has also been awarded the British Allergy Foundation Seal of Approval, too.
Again there’s an excellent budget option – the John Lewis VS06. At less than 6 kilos, it's very lightweight and being a John Lewis product it comes with a reassuring 3 year guarantee. Again it has a combination head, so can be used on carpets and hard floors. It has suction control and a telescopic handle so you can pick a hose length that suits you. It’s got 2 attachments that live on the cleaner and convenient, mess free bags. Considering its size, it has pretty good suction at an affordable price.
All vacuum cleaners have filters, and to maximise the lifespan of any machine I’d recommend checking, and changing or cleaning these regularly. The other main thing is to keep the hoses and heads clear to prevent any blockages, which reduce the cleaner’s performance. If you lose your "super suction", it's always worth checking these things first.