✔️ Choose an upright vacuum cleaner if your home is mostly wall-to-wall carpeting and all on one floor. In our Cleaning Lab tests, upright vacuum cleaners do the best job of removing ground-in, embedded dirt from carpeting because they are usually heavier than other styles and the weight of the nozzle helps them reach deep into the carpet pile for better cleaning. Uprights can weigh anywhere from 10 to over 20 pounds, which can be heavy to carry up and down stairs. If your home has more than one level and you prefer an upright, consider keeping one on each floor. Most uprights feature on-board hoses, wands and tools for vacuuming crevices and upholstery and cleaning above-the-floor spaces like door frames and crown moldings. If you’ll be using an upright vacuum to clean bare floors and low loop or pile rugs, we recommend selecting a model where you can adjust the height of the nozzle and switch off the rotating brush to avoid scattering debris and damaging flat and delicate surfaces.
✔️ Opt for a canister vacuum cleaner if your home has lots of stairs and bare floors and only a few carpets. Many full-size canister vacuums come with a power nozzle that has rotating brush to mimic that of an upright. We recommend this attachment if you prefer a canister and have deep pile carpets in, say, just the bedrooms. Otherwise, you’ll see a long flat attachment or brush that can be used on bare floors and low, flat rugs. Canisters can be heavy, too, but are easier to pick up and carry with two hands. All have hoses and attachments for dusting, upholstery and crevices. Because the motor and canister can be placed out of the way, these vacuums are easier to maneuver into tight spaces and to use on stairs than uprights are.
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✔️ Consider astick or pole vacuum cleaner if you are looking for a lightweight, quick picker-upper for bare floors and low pile rugs. The cleaning performance of this type of vacuum is getting better and better, and it may be the only vac some homes require. Most are slim enough to stash in a corner or closet for speedy clean-ups. They come corded or cordless, and in our Cleaning Lab tests, we’ve found rechargeable ones usually run anywhere up to one hour, so you’ll need to keep them plugged into an outlet to keep them fully charged and ready to go. Second batteries are also helpful so you always have a back-up. Most have rotating brushes for efficient floor and rug cleaning, and many convert to or have a hand vacuum on board so it’s like having two vacuums in one. Most come with attachments, like dusting brushes and crevice tools and charging stands for storage.
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✔️ Go with a robot vacuum cleaner if you want to get your cleaning done while you’re out of the house or doing something else. Robot vacuums use cameras and lasers to map their way around your rooms, so they don’t miss a spot. Today’s robots are more sophisticated than ever. Most can be controlled with an app on your phone, and some are even voice enabled. They can return to the home base for a recharge and then go back to cleaning wherever they left off. Robot vacuums are great maintenance cleaners. Send them out often enough, and you may never have to pull out your full-size vacuum. They fit easily under most beds and furniture to clean the spots you likely skip.
✔️Pick a handheld vacuum cleaner if you need a compact tool to quickly clean up dry spills on bare floors and surfaces or to nab lint, pet hair and other debris on fabrics or carpeting. Some come with hoses and attachments; others can pick up wet spills too. Handheld vacuums come corded or cordless and are easy to take outside to clean the car.