A Comprehensive Guide to Buying a Vacuum Cleaner

  • Dec 25, 2019

In search for a vacuum cleaner and don't know where to start? Want to know whether you should get a robot vacuum, a handstick or a canister model? Here’s what to know before committing yourself to these sucking machines.

What To Consider When Buying a Vacuum Cleaner

Image courtesy of Bosch

Storage space
How much space do you have for storing your vacuum cleaner? If you have a limited storage room, a slim handstick vacuum will be a better option than a bulkier canister vacuum.

Size of your home + Length of time you need to vacuum
If you have a lot of room to cover, go for vacuum cleaners that feel lighter in your hand. Cordless vacs are also good options for bigger spaces since you won’t need to constantly plug your machine in and out of the socket to move it around, but the caveat is their battery runtime. Most cordless tend to have short runtimes before needing a recharge so if you intend to vacuum for long periods, you might want to go with corded vacuums.

Types of flooring
You want softer bristles if you are dealing with hardwood or tile flooring, since they will be gentler on these surfaces. Vacuuming carpets with high pile and long strands are a little less straightforward. You want a vacuum cleaner that can dig deep, but you don’t want to get a suction power that is too high so much so that your shag gets all tangled up in your machine.

Design: Design 4 Space

Suction power
Some brands list the suction power of the vacuum cleaners, which is a good indicator of the vacuum cleaner’s cleaning ability. But if not, you can judge based on a few indicators such as airflow, which is the force of air that moves dirt and dust into the container of the vacuum, as well as the input power of the motor, usually measured in watts.

HEPA filter
If you suffer from allergies or have young children at home, consider getting a vacuum cleaner that comes with a HEPA filter. A genuine HEPA filter traps about 99.97 percent of fine dust particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter (one micron is one millionth of a metre). A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter will channel the dirty air that is being sucked in through the filter and any air that is released from the machine will therefore be cleaner than the surrounding air.

Design: HYLA Architects

There are some vacuum cleaners that are made specifically for pet owners. Some come with specially designed brush rolls that help to pick up and untangle pet hair and some vacuum cleaners come with scented tabs that remove pet odours and freshen up your home while you vacuum. We like Gtech's AirRam K9.

Design: The 80's Studio

Do I need a steam cleaner function?
Want a vacuum cleaner that can also replace your conventional mop and bucket? Get one with a steam cleaner function. These vacuums work by heating stored water and releasing it as steam, mopping your floors as you vacuum. Some steam cleaners come with a variety of accessories that allow it to work on different flooring types. They are great for removing stains, odours and are marketed to kill bacteria because of the hot steam released. One of the main complaints about these steam cleaners is that they tend to leave the floor a little too wet. As such, invest in a steam cleaner that is also able to dry your floor along the way.

Noise is an important factor to consider, especially if you don’t want to wake the baby while vacuuming. Newer models are a lot quieter than they used to be, and anything around 60 dB is considered decent, while vacuum cleaners with noise levels in the 80 dB range are still acceptable. To give you an idea of what noise levels you are going to face, a moving motorcycle has a noise level of about 100 db while a conversation is in the 60 dB range.

An easy-to-maintain vacuum cleaner is key, if you want to extend the lifespan of your machine or you don't want to dread taking out the vacuum every time. For bagged canister models, bags need to be replaced every time it’s full. For bagless vacuum cleaners, you will need to empty the canister regularly. A smaller dust canister capacity will mean more frequent emptying. Check to see if filters can be taken out easily and washed. Regular maintenance and replacement of the filters will enhance the lifespan of your vacuum cleaner.

Types of Vacuum Cleaners: Which Should I Get


Featured: Dyson V10 Absolute

What is it: One of the more popular vacuum cleaner types in Singapore, the handstick vacuum is prized for its slim profile, making storage less of a hassle. Run on batteries, they are usually cordless, making them easy to manoeuvre around the home.

Pros: Flexible and lightweight. It’s not as backbreaking to use it as compared to canister types. Some brands also allow you to switch to handheld for those hard-to-reach spots.

Cons: Battery life tends to run out quickly, especially on high power mode. They don’t offer a deep enough clean, unlike with canister vacuums.

Get this if: You just need a vacuum cleaner that cleans quickly and efficiently.


Featured: Xiaomi Roborock

What is it: Flat metal machines that map out your space before going around your home to clean your floor. Most are smart enough to navigate between furniture.

Pros: You can schedule your robot vacuum to clean when you are out of the house, allowing you to come home to (relatively) clean floors every day.

Cons: Not as clean as canisters or handsticks, and they are not flexible enough to reach tight corners. They also sometimes get stuck on carpets and rugs.

Get this if: You are busy (or lazy) and can only afford some time each week to do a full-fledged vacuum. Best used as a complement vacuum cleaner.


Featured: Philips FC9352 PowerPro Compact Bagless Vacuum Cleaner

What is it: These vacuum cleaners comprise a vacuum head attached to a long flexible hose that is connected to a canister, where the vacuum motor is.

Pros: Suitable for a wide range of cleaning, including carpets. Vacuum attached to flexible hose mean you can reach a lot of places, including tight corners.

Cons: Bulky, so storage will be a hassle. Have to bend while vacuuming. Usually corded, so you might have to plug them in and out when you move them around.

Get this if: You want a tough vacuum cleaner that can take a wide variety of cleaning and hard-to-reach crevices. Tip: Go with bagless models if you don’t want to have to keep buying extra bags.


Featured: Electrolux ZB6106WD Rapido Wet & Dry Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

What is it: These smaller vacuum cleaners are suited for smaller jobs and spot cleaning. Can be used on surfaces other than the floor, such as countertops, between the crevices of your couch or your mattress.

Pros: Clear away mess quickly.

Cons: Not so powerful. Best used alongside other vacuum cleaners.

Get this if: You need to clean other surfaces other than the floor.


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