How to Choose the Right Vacuum For You

Vacuums make cleaning your floor a breeze. A quick pass with a vacuum makes it easy to remove dirt and debris from your carpet and floors. You’ll find that your vacuum is perfect for laminate flooring, hardwood, tile, carpet and even upholstery in some cases.

But your vacuum may have difficulty with some key flooring types, such as laminate, shag and Berber.

Anyone that has pets knows how difficult it can be to clean flooring when pet hair seems to get embedded everywhere. The video below provides some tips on removing pet hair from your carpets.

Choosing the Right Vacuum

Choosing a vacuum is a topic that Good Housekeeping coves well. But there are a few options that they fail to mention.

If You Have Laminate Floors

A Freshly Laid Laminate Floor

Laminate flooring requires you to have a vacuum that offers a bare floor setting. If the vacuum is too powerful, it will push dirt and debris around, rather than picking it up on a normal pass. Mohawk has a lot of great tips for maintaining and cleaning your floor.

If you use a vacuum, you’ll use it to remove dust, dirt and debris.

This means that you need a vacuum that will provide only suction, and not use the beater bar to pick up dust.

You’ll want to do your research on different vacuum models and pick one that is designed for hardwood or bare floors. These vacuums will provide only suction power, or they’ll have settings which you can switch to when not vacuuming on carpet.

If You Have a Shag Carpet

Shag carpet can’t be cleaned with an ordinary vacuum. And while some models can accommodate a shag carpet, most vacuums need to be specifically designed to be able to properly clean shag or high pile carpets.

The softness of the shag carpet comes from larger fibers.

A lot of vacuums are not able to roll on shag carpets, which can make cleaning an almost impossible task. Cleanipedia recommends:

  • Setting your vacuum on the high pile setting
  • Testing the vacuum
  • Adjusting or using another method to clean the carpet

I also recommend a vacuum that has an upholstery attachment. These attachments can be used between the shag carpet’s or rug’s fibers to remove hair, dirt, dust and debris.

If your vacuum doesn’t meet these demands, find one that mentions that it works on shag carpets or has a height adjustment setting to help you vacuum the carpet properly.

If You Have a Berber Carpet

Berber carpets also require a special vacuum that can get deep down into the carpet’s fibers. You’ll find that a rotating brush is not ideal for Berber. WikiHow recommends vacuuming your carpet, and they even recommend professional methods in the event of stains.

You’ll want to treat Berber much like a shag carpet.

Your vacuum should:

  • Offer ample suction power to get deep into carpet fibers
  • Not use a rotating brush to clean

If your vacuum uses a rotating brush, you may damage the carpet fibers. I recommend choosing a model that’s been designed for Berber. You can also choose a model that has a varied height adjustment, which can work with an array of carpet fibers and types.

If You Have Pets

A dog looking at you

Pets are difficult to clean up after. When the winter months come along, your pet will grow a thicker coat, causing you to clean more often. The hair will get everywhere, too. Carpets, hardwood, upholstery – everything will have pet hair on it at some point. And it’s not just hair either, your pet is likely to spread all sorts of things, food, cat litter etc everywhere.

Apartment Therapy offers some great overall tips on cleaning up pet hair.

But when it comes to a vacuum, you’ll need to make sure that you have a vacuum that provides:

  • Pet cleaning tools, or
  • Upholstery tools
  • Crevice cleaning tools (optional but helpful)

Your vacuum should have an accessory for helping you clean up your pet’s hair a little easier. Brushes will help, too, when working on non-hardwood flooring. Bristle brushes will get deep into carpet fibers and will pull up some of the hair that gets stuck in carpet fibers.

If you have hard flooring, make sure that your vacuum has a bare floor setting.

Bristles shouldn’t be used on hardwood because they can cause scratches. A hose attachment is another great option because the hose will provide ample suction power to remove the loose hair from the flooring.

Brushing your pets often and ensuring that you vacuum your floors often is a must.

Of course, you’ll also want to consider the following when choosing a vacuum:

  • Handheld vacuums if you have stairs or other surfaces that are difficult to clean with a regular-sized vacuum
  • Attachments that can help you access hard-to-reach places, corners and crevices
  • Height adjustments that are good for different carpet piles
  • Reviews from users to help you judge the quality of the vacuum you want to buy

If you keep the points above in mind when choosing a vacuum, I am confident that you’ll choose a vacuum that works perfectly for you.