Fast Forward: Done and dusted - Vacuum cleaners

They clean up spills and look great too. Michael Oliveira-Salac and Martin Skegg run a sweepstake. Photographs by Phil Ward
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Back in the Seventies, hoovering (as it was called then) meant wheeling out a monster of a cleaner that made a furious noise and scared the dog. Now, of course, vacuuming (as it is called today) is about style and design as much as suction. Thanks in no small part to Mr Dyson, technology has been revolutionised, forgoing the need for having to empty messy bags, and designs have been radicalised so that owners are prone to leaving their vacuums out on show. It is also possible to get a vacuum cleaner for every job, whether you want to dust-off a computer screen, pick up spilt liquid or even wash the floor. Dyson DC05 Dual Cyclone

From the British manufacturer that revolutionised vacuums, the DC05 (right) is the ultimate in designer cleaning and a must in any self-respecting loft conversion - it even has a special adjustment for cleaning parquet and stripped floorboards. Its size makes it manoeuvrable and stable on stairs. pounds 240. For stockists and further information call Dyson on 0870 527 5104.

Miele Revolution and accessories

A fusion of upright and cylinder vacuums to give you the best of both worlds. Ingeniously, controls are on the handle, with suction power variable between 300 and 1,500 watts. As if this wasn't enough, this model (right) has a host of accessories. The Micro Set is a collection of attachments for cleaning PCs, stereo equipment and getting into nooks and crannies. The Car Clean Set (right) includes nozzles to get between seats and a brush nozzle to clean the dashboard. Revolution pounds 250, Micro Set pounds 30, Car Clean Set pounds 55. For stockists and information call 01235 554 455.

Black & Decker Super Spillbuster

Scruffy types should by now have a Dustbuster for those minor spills and getting down the back of the sofa. The Super Dustbuster (left) goes one step further and takes care of liquids as well. Like the original, it is cordless and charges on the base. pounds 30. For stockists and information call Black & Decker on 01753 574 277.

Hoover Vortex From the brand that everyone has heard of, the Vortex (below) is modern in design and technology. Like the Dyson, it does not have a bag, and it never needs a replacement filter. The dirt particles are separated from the air by centrifugal force, apparently along the same lines as gas is separated from crude oil. pounds 240. For stockists and information call 01685 721 222.

Vax Luna 1300 A step away from the orange cylinders that Vax is famous for, the Luna (left) is bubble- shaped with a rotating turbo head which replicates the action of a brush bar on an upright. Like its orange cousin, it will also wash your carpets. pounds 180. For stockists call 0500 112 113.

Dirt Devil M850 Room Mate

The Room Mate (left) has got that old-fashioned feel, the way vacuums were before they got all fussy about design. It's ideal for small flats or to clean under beds - the handle goes right down to the floor. There is a dust container instead of the fiddly bag you used to have to fight with.Around pounds 80. From branches of John Lewis and Innovations mail order on 0870 908 7070.

Rowenta Tonixo RS780

The Tonixo (below) boasts a "Delta System" cleaning head (it's flat so that it can get underneath and behind furniture). Suction comes from all three sides of the triangular head and there is also a five-level filter system, which retains 97 per cent of dust particles and will come in especially handy for those who suffer from dust allergies. The "Wip" accessory is a useful dusting pad which can be used on TV screens and curtains. pounds 130. For stockists and information call 01604 760 291.