The Insider: Brush up on the best vacuum cleaners around
Saturday 18 April 2009
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 compare.co.uk.
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 www.which.co.uk/vacuumcleaners. To get three issues of 'Which?' magazine for a special price of 3, call 01992 822800 and quote INADVICE.
Derek Pain: I'm cautious, but remain one of the few bulls in the market
Mark Dampier: How to get an income now that savings are past the 'use by' date
Thousands of UK investors could lose out following collapse of Secured Energy Bonds
Millions in line for compensation after being sold unnecessary credit card cover
Simon Read: If this is BT's idea of 'simple', beware if it gets complicated
- 1 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Hard line on immigration could cost Tories the election
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
Day In a Page
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion