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The ultimate guide to...

Vacuum cleaners

To achieve spotless cleaning around the house you need to invest in a powerful vacuum cleaner that will bust the dust in minutes. With so many makes and models on the market it can be difficult to choose the right one. To help you we have put together a guide that highlights the main features and brands like Hoover & Electrolux, so that you can clean up with confidence.

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Tips for choosing vacuum cleaners

When choosing a vacuum cleaner decide where you want to clean for instance carpets, hard floor surfaces, or perhaps a car. Do you have a small rooms or a large house. These factors will help you decide whether you want an upright, cylinder or handheld cleaner. If you are a pet-lover choose a model that features a turbobrush or electrobrush accessories, these will give you the powered rotation that you need to clean pet hair. Some models also use carbon odour-elimination filters to help eliminate pet smells.

Styles: Upright

The upright has multiple cleaning heads that make it effective for cleaning carpets and larger floor areas. The height selector option allows you to adjust the vacuum to accommodate the length of the carpet pile so that you can get great results every time. Another great feature are the rotating brushes that will pick up pet hair easily. Upright models can be heavier and harder to manoeuvre especially in those smaller, harder to reach places. However, you can get models that now provide various tools that will help you get to these areas so it's worth looking for models that provide these tools.

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Cylinder cleaners are smaller and lighter units are considered to be easier to use. Extra tools are compactly placed inside the actual models so that you can access them and put-away easily, ideal for when you come to cleaning smaller spaces and stairs. Cylinder cleaners also feature a cord rewind function, a start/stop button that can be operated by foot, plus a suction head that is kept separate from the main unit for a wider cleaning radius.

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Handheld cleaners are ideal for light cleaning. Sometimes, a room doesn't require a thorough clean and this is where hand held cleaners can come in handy. They are small, light and portable and are ideal for cleaning the stairs or the car.

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Special features: Bagged

These models collect and contain dust in a sealed bag and once full it can be easily disposed. For asthmatics this is the preferred option and has been approved by the British Allergy Foundation.

Bag less

These models use a more advanced technology and are generally more expensive but you do save on the cost of buying bags. These models also allow you to see how much dirt is being collected so that you know when to empty it.

S-class and HEPA

Is the safer option for asthma and allergy sufferers. The filtration is specially designed to reduce the number of microscopic allergens emitted after vacuuming. The result is a cleaner and safer outflow of air. S-class is the standard that vacuum cleaner manufacturers have to adhere to and HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are the technology most models of this type feature.


Term Explanation
Active carbon filter A special filter designed to asorb household odours including pet odours.
Bag full indicator A function that will let you know that a bagged cleaner needs replacing.
Bagged A disposable bag in a vacuum cleaner that collects dust and dirt.
Bag less A clear, container that can store dirt and dust.
Beater brush bar A revolving brush on upright cleaners that picks up those hard to reach hairs and dirt.
Brush control system This allows the cleaning of delicate floors and rugs by switching off the brush bar.
Clear bin Enables you to see the dirt and dust that is being collected, so you can see when it needs emptying.
Cord rewind A cord on a cylinder cleaner that can be drawn back into the body of the cleaner after use for compact storage.
Cyclonic bagels action Cyclonic bagels systems separate the dust particles from the airflow by spinning the air within a separation chamber.
Cylinder Small, manoeuvrable cleaners especially suitable for hard floors and confined spaces.
Dual cyclone system Exclusive feature of a Dyson, the dual cyclone, a new and advanced technology it maintains constant suction right up to the point where the bin needs emptying giving you 100 per cent suction, 100 per cent of the time.
Dust sensor An infrared dust sensor that monitors the levels of dust in the air passing into the cleaner. When the dust content falls to a certain level the sensor light turns green to indicate that the carpet levels are clean.
Edge to edge cleaning The ability of a vacuum to clean all areas including those hard-to-reach areas like skirting boards and gaps between items.
Filtration The process through which a vacumm retains unhygienic particles before pumping the air back out. The more levels of filtration, the cleaner the emitted air is.
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) A method of S-class filtration that emits air which is safe for allergy sufferers.
Lifetime filtration Filtration that does not require a change throughout the lifetime of the vacumm cleaner.
Microfiltration A form of standard filtration with four levels to retain finer particles.
S-class filtration A manufacturing standard for anti-allergenic filtration.
Standard filtration A filtering system on less expensive models.
Upright A traditional cleaner that uses a rotating brush as well as suction.