FAQ About Canister Vacuum Cleaners

The right canister vacuum cleaner can turn a loathsome afternoon of dreaded household cleaning into a quick and breezy over-and-done-with affair. Keep the following questions and features in mind when you're searching for your next chore-busting sidekick, and you'll be kicking back after cleaning up in no time.

How should I tailor my budget when shopping for a canister vacuum cleaner?

Canister vacuums are powerful. Because the motor and turbines are housed in a separate standalone unit they tend to offer higher airflow and suction rates than upright vacuum cleaners, which need to sacrifice power for compactness. This means even lower-priced canister vacuums pack a seriously hefty power punch. Higher-priced models will often feature multiple tiers of cyclones to capture finer dust particles, as well as include additional bells and whistles such as an assortment of changeable tips and heads. Set your budget early and stick to it; you can find great performance regardless of your price range.

Should I go bagless?

The bagged versus bagless debate is the vacuum cleaner world's great divide. Bagged canister vacuums offer a high level of filtration and are often significantly quieter in operation than their bagless counterparts. Grabbing a bagless canister vacuum, however, means saying a hearty sayonara to a life spent purchasing pesky replacement bags (or not having a new bag around when you're already halfway done cleaning the house). If you want to wield the ultimate dirt-busting weapon -- a bagless vacuum with great filtration and lower noise output -- expect to pay a bit of a premium but consider it as a good long-term investment.

Are canister vacuums easy to use?

The added power and versatility of a canister vacuum certainly comes with a bit of an asterisk. Because the motor and turbines are housed in a detached canister it means lugging, dragging, and wheeling the vacuum around behind you while you work. As such, the weight of various models might be of preeminent concern for you. If you live in a condo or if space is an issue then pay special attention to the overall size of the canister. Automatic cord rewind, meanwhile, is one of the simpler yet most satisfying features you can find in a canister vacuum.

Are there any special features I should be looking out for?

High-level features in canister vacuums include built-in HEPA-grade filtration systems and pet grooming functions. The former ensures that only clean air is exhausted from the vacuum, while the latter gives you the tools to keep your hair-shedding pooch or kitty cat under control. Other perks you'll find on some of the more premium models include low noise output levels, ball-jointed floor wands for tight turning, and even headlight attachments for navigating dark spaces, such as under a bed.

Want more info about canister vacuum cleaners? Check out some of our resources:

Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide
Plug-in Blog: Spring Cleaning Made Easy
Dyson DC46 Motorhead Canister Vacuum Overview
Dyson DC78 Turbinehead Animal Canister Vacuum 
Dyson DC78 Turbinehead Animal Canister Vacuum