The Insider: Brush up on the best vacuum cleaners around

We all want a vacuum cleaner that effortlessly picks up dust and dirt, but the latest models offer much more than that. From dinky, space-saving models to those that come with hi-tech electronic dust sensors, there's a shape and size to suit every household. It's not all about style and features, though a great vacuum cleaner needs to perform well on the floor surfaces you have in your home and be reliable, too.

There are two main styles of vacuum cleaner cylinder and upright. "It might seem that the main difference is their shape and size, but price, performance and reliability vary, too," says Martyn Hocking, editor of Which? "Decent cylinders are available for about 100 to 200, but you'll be looking at 200-plus for a decent upright model though you can sometimes pick up a bargain online."

Deciding between a bagged and bagless vacuum cleaner is largely about preference, as there's no link to cleaning ability. Go bagless and you'll save money on replacement bags and earn some eco brownie points but emptying the dust container can be messy.

"Spending more is no guarantee that you'll get a better cleaner," says Martyn Hocking. "Very few vacuum cleaners work well on both carpet and hard floors so if you're looking for best value, pick a model that is well suited to the flooring you have in your home, rather than an expensive all-rounder."

In Which?'s latest tests, the highest-scoring model was the Bosch BSG8PRO1GB Home Professional cylinder, from 245. Which? gave it a test score of 81 per cent and praised it for its performance on carpets, laminate and floorboards. The 12-metre reach makes it good for big rooms, and it sucks up dirt strongly even as the bag fills. It's also easy to adjust the tube height and switch between floor surfaces.

At the other end of the table, the Russell Hobbs 14165, from 60, scored just 38 per cent. It was disappointing when it came to picking up dust on all surfaces except wooden floors, it lost its suction quickly and didn't contain all the dust it picked up, either.

Which?'s latest reliability survey found that cylinder vacuum cleaners are more reliable than uprights, with only one in 20 needing to be repaired within the first six years of purchase, compared with more than one in six uprights. The survey found that owners of Miele cylinder vacs and Sebo upright vacs were happiest with their appliances, perhaps unsurprisingly as they are the most reliable brands for each type of cleaner.

Where to buy? Online stores have the biggest selections, and many offer great bargains, but it's worth looking in store first so that you can check that it's not too heavy and feels easy to use. You can check stockists and compare the latest prices using Which?'s price comparison service, www.which

What to look out for

* What floor surfaces is it best suited to? Most vacuums perform adequately on laminate, but performance on carpets and wooden floors varies so choose a model that performs well on the flooring you have in your home.

* How long's the cord? If you're vacuuming large rooms, or don't have many plug sockets, you'll likely want a model with a longer cord.

* Is it suitable for an allergy sufferer? Regular vacuuming with a cleaner fitted with Hepa (high-efficiency particulate air) or S-class filters, designed to retain the particles that cause allergy attacks, should help allergy sufferers. Emptying the dust container of bagless cleaners can result in spilt dust.

* How effective is it at cleaning pet hair? Uprights tend to work best, as they have motorised brush heads that are better at prising fur from carpet fibres. Some cylinder vacs have rotating turbo brushes that can help to loosen hair.

* How noisy is it? Higher wattage usually results in more noise, unless the manufacturer has installed noise insulation.

The Insider is written by 'Which?', the independent consumer champion. For more information go to To get three issues of 'Which?' magazine for a special price of 3, call 01992 822800 and quote INADVICE.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

    £215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

    Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power