The Difference Between Vacuum Cleaners

vacuum cleaner

Vacuum cleaners, or Hoovers, are a staple part of every household even if you have only wooden floors. But we bet you've forgotten that you actually have a choice of vacuums in terms of the style you buy. Which is best for you?

If you're looking for a new vacuum cleaner or hoover, the number of options can feel bewildering. Not only do prices for vacuum cleaners range from about £50 to £500, but you must also choose between upright or cylinder, vacuum cleaner bags or bagless.

Add to this the specialist hoovers (for natural flooring, steaming carpets, floorboards, pet hair, or allergy problems and as you can see you really need to know your stuff before you spend a whole heap of cash.

Upright vs Cylinder

There are two basic types of vacuum cleaner, upright and cylinder. Both have their pros and cons.


  • are better at cleaning pet hair
  • are good for cleaning large, clear surfaces
  • are difficult to use easily when you're cleaning stairs
  • are, in general, far noisier than your cylinder based models


  • are more reliable than uprights
  • are good for using under and around furniture or on stairs
  • struggle with cleaning pet hair unless motorised brush heads are provided
  • can be untidy to store because of the hose

Bagless Or Not

Now you know what's what on the style of hoover, you now need to think about whether you want go bagless or not. That's right - with a bag - or without a bag!

The biggest question with the bagless hoovers is the power of suction and the cyclonic activity going on inside that hoover of yours. Supposedly there's no link to cleaning ability between the two, but it has been proven that cyclonic hoovers keep their suction for longer. So there must be!

Of course, ditching the bag is largely a question of preference. One of the obvious advantages of a bagless cleaner is that you don't have to buy replacement dust bags. This saves pennies and earns you some environmental brownie points. However, emptying the dust container can be messy and it's easy to spill dust – a big problem for allergy sufferers.

Sticky Stuff!

Without creating a long list of boring items that certain hoovers can and can't pick up, we thought we'd quickly mention two key things.

Pet Hair

The main rule of thumb is that uprights tend to be more effective than cylinders at cleaning pet hair. They have motorised brush heads that are better at prising fur away from carpet fibres. Cylinders don't usually have motorised heads but some models have turbobrushes or electrobrushes, which are designed specifically for this task.

Cyclonic hoovers like the Dyson are also capable of shifting pet hair, so this comes down to your preference. Dyson have also led on the HEPA filters that help to reduce the pet-specific dusts and microscopic particles.

Allergy Sufferers

Regular vacuuming can be part of a wider strategy to minimise reactions to dust mites or pet allergens. We suggest you look for hoovers that have a bag and also have the HEPA filters - thus removing as much of the microscopic dust particles as possible.

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