Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide - Best Buy Canada

Sara Constantineau November 01, 2012

Vacuum Cleaners Buying Guide

One day we’ll have cleaning robots to do our housework for us. But until that time comes, a first-rate vacuum cleaner from well-known brands like Dyson, Roomba and Hoover is the fastest and easiest way to squeaky-clean floors and carpets.

Deciding which vacuum cleaner to choose can be a chore in itself if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Read on to learn exactly which kind of vacuum you need to keep your home spotless.

Types of Vacuum Cleaners

Upright Vacuum Cleaner


An upright vacuum is an all-in-one unit with wheels, rollers, or swivel casters that you can guide around your floor. While its heavy size may be cumbersome for people with mobility issues, it offers the most cleaning power for deep carpets and a large capacity for dust and dirt, so you don’t have to empty it as frequently. They usually come with different attachments such as a detachable hose, extension wand, crevice tool, and dust brush for added versatility so you can clean more than just carpets.

Benefits: Provides the best heavy-duty cleaning for large carpeted areas.
Points to consider: May be more difficult to clean under furniture, in tight spaces, and on stairs.
Best for: Heavily carpeted homes with a lot of cleaning area to cover.

Canister Vacuum Cleaner


A canister vacuum is lighter than an upright, with a canister that is attached to the cleaning head via a long hose. The only thing you move is the long hose and cleaning head, so it’s easy to clean under furniture and other hard to reach spots. It’s also the best way to clean wood floors, tile floors, and other hard surfaces, and it almost always comes with a variety of attachments to clean carpets, blinds, and out-of-the-way areas in your home.

Benefits: Lighter and easier to maneuver than an upright vacuum and versatile enough to clean in small, awkward spaces.
Points to consider: Its large size requires more storage space.
Best for: Homes with a wide variety of floor types, including hardwood, carpets, and stairs.

Stick / Broom Vacuum Cleaner

Stick / Broom

Stick or broom vacuums are designed just like uprights, but they lack the same cleaning power. This makes them lighter, easier to carry, and quiet, so they are ideal for cleaning up quick messes or cleaning on stairs. They are suitable for all types of floors, including hardwood, carpets, and area rugs. Some models are cordless for optimal portability.

Benefits: Lightweight, portable and convenient to use.
Points to consider: Not powerful enough for deep carpet and generally not suitable as a primary vacuum in larger homes.
Best for: Smaller homes, using as a secondary vacuum in-between cleanings, and vacuuming sudden messes.

Stick / Broom Vacuum Cleaner


Handheld vacuums come in a compact design that’s meant to be held in one hand, so you can conveniently clean up small messes without lugging around a full-size vacuum. Some models are cordless, operating on a rechargeable battery so you can take them anywhere. They use a dust cup instead of bags, so it must be manually emptied relatively often.

Benefits: Ultra-portable, lightweight design is capable of cleaning hard-to-reach spaces.
Points to consider: Small capacity compared to other vacuum types.
Best for: Cleaning up small messes in your home and car.

Robotic Vacuum Cleaner


(Hopefully) the way of the future! Popularized by Roomba, a robotic vacuum operates all on its own to clean your floors for you. This little guy moves around the room using sophisticated sensors and mapping systems, sucking up dirt and grime while navigating around stairs, furniture and other obstacles before returning to its home base to recharge.

Benefits: Ultra-portable, lightweight design is capable of cleaning hard-to-reach spaces.
Points to consider: Small capacity compared to other vacuum types.
Best for: Cleaning up small messes in your home and car.

Steam Cleaner

Steam Cleaner

Steam cleaners are designed to clean your floors, carpets, and/or other hard surfaces as thoroughly as possible. Different models are designed for different kinds of surfaces, whether it’s only carpets, only hard surfaces, or both. Pure steam cleaners just use water to steam away dirt and grime, eliminating the need for harsh chemicals. Other carpet cleaners use a hot water extraction method, which deeply cleans carpets by depositing hot water and detergent before scrubbing and vacuuming it up.

Benefits: It removes stains and germs as well as dirt and debris to get your carpet as clean as possible without professional help.
Points to consider: You need to vacuum your carpets before you clean them and it can take a long time to dry, so it’s not a quick fix.
Best for: Keeping carpets and floors looking like new in high-traffic areas.

Things to Consider

Bags vs. Bagless

Performance is not radically affected either way, so it all comes down to personal preference. Using vacuum bags means you must constantly repurchase them, which is an additional cost to consider. However, bagless canisters are much messier to remove and empty, so you might expose yourself to the dirt and dust you just suctioned up.

Allergies and Asthma

Vacuums expel air as they operate, which can launch dust and allergens back into your home. Look for models with True HEPA filtration, which is standardized to trap 99.97 percent of particles as small as 0.3microns, effectively catching pollen and dust mites. You should also use vacuum bags instead of bagless canisters. Bags offer an extra layer of filtration, and you won’t expose yourself to additional dust when you’re emptying your vacuum.


If pet hair is a problem you should definitely invest in an upright vacuum or canister vacuum, because other types won’t have enough suction power to provide a thorough clean. You will also want a variety of attachments so you can clean hard-to-reach areas, including furniture, upholstery and curtains.

It’s also a good idea to supplement your primary vacuum with a handheld model. It’s perfect for getting rid of pet hair in your car or for quickly cleaning your living room furniture before guests come over.

Accessories and Attachments

For maximum versatility, see if your vacuum includes the following attachments to help you clean different surfaces inside your home:

Tips and tricks

  • Depending on use, you should change the vacuum belt 1-3 times a year. A worn-out belt reduces the deep-cleaning power of your vacuum, so take the time to regularly check that it isn’t loose or falling off the drive shaft.
  • You should change the dust bag before it is full, ideally before it is even half full. The more dirt and debris the bag holds, the more it reduces the vacuum’s suction power.
  • Amperage and Watts only indicate how much electricity is consumed by the vacuum. It is not a true indicator of performance and suction, because an efficient machine could provide superior cleaning while using less electricity.
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Take the Next Step

Now that you know what kind of vacuum you need to keep you home spotless, check out Best Buy’s expanded online selection of vacuum cleaners from trusted brands like Dyson, Roomba, Hoover, and more.

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