One of the most frequently asked questions that I am asked is "what vacuum should I buy"
The answer is: That depends on what type of carpet you have and whether or not you have rugs, wood floors, and tile as well.
There are a varying number of vacuum cleaners on the market with hundreds of designs and manufacturers, so choosing a vacuum can be as difficult as buying the floor you are cleaning. Below, we will list a few categories and what their best uses are.
Ebay has a great article that simply explains the different types of vacuums. I have sited a portion of the article below:
Canister Vacuum Cleaners
"A canister vacuum consists of a long wand that is attached to a canister by a flexible hose. The components in the canister include a motor and receptacle that collects the dust. The canister is mounted on wheels, which enables individuals to pull the vacuum cleaner around the room as they clean. This type of vacuum cleaner is easier to use than a traditional upright vacuum cleaner because a person only has to maneuver the canister's flexible hose.
A canister vacuum is highly versatile and capable of cleaning numerous surfaces because it has a variety of attachments. In addition to vacuuming tile, wood floors, and carpeting, a canister vacuum can be used to clean draperies and upholstery. It is also easier to clean stairs with a canister model than with an upright. The amount and type of cleaning that must be performed will help determine whether the machine requires additional attachments.
Upright Vacuum Cleaners
The name of this vacuum cleaner is derived from its ability to stand in an upright position. An upright vacuum cleaner is one of the best cleaning tools for heavily carpeted areas. The key components of this appliance are intake and exhaust ports, a motor to drive the fan, and a bag or receptacle to collect the dust and debris. These components are attached to the handle that controls the unit. The motor, fan, and intake port are located in a compartment at the bottom of the unit. The motor may also power a series of rotating bristles. When the vacuum cleaner's power is turned on, the rotating brushes sweep the carpet as the fan suctions the dirt and debris. The dirt is deposited into a bag or receptacle located just above the motor compartment. The air exits the dust collection area through the exhaust port. This port has a filter that keeps the dust in the bag or receptacle.
Some manufacturers equip their upright models with flexible hoses and attachments. These vacuum cleaners provide the power of an upright and the versatility of a canister vacuum cleaner. The tools can be used to clean tight corners and stairs. HEPA filters can reduce the amount of dust released from this vacuum cleaner's exhaust port.
Handheld Vacuum Cleaners
A handheld vacuum is a small appliance that many people use along with an upright vacuum cleaner. The compact size and portability makes it easy to clean small spills and access hard to reach areas, such as stairs, corners, and car interiors. There are models that have rotating bristles in addition to the normal suction action. Some models are specifically designed to pick up debris in a shop or remove pet hair from upholstery.
Handheld vacuums are relatively inexpensive and are available in cord and cordless models. Battery operated models have charging stands that enable the devices to be stored and charged when it is not in use. The battery life varies between cordless models. If a handheld vacuum is intended to clean a car interior, a model with a cord might be a better option. Vacuums that are equipped with cords are usually more powerful, but the length of the cord will limit the range of use. Battery operated models cost slightly more than those that operate using an electrical cord.
Robotic or Automatic Vacuum Cleaners
An automatic vacuum cleaner is a lightweight device that is designed to operate with minimal assistance. It cleans the floor based upon the instructions that the owner enters into its program. The cleaning instructions can be entered using the device's console or a remote control. The vacuum can clean floors while the members of the household are away from the house or performing other chores. Some models have settings that enable the owner to select the intensity of cleaning. The machine will make the predetermined number of circuits around the room. After the task is complete, the machine will automatically turn off. The robotic cleaner is equipped with electronic sensors that enable it to avoid walls, furniture, and other obstacles as it maneuvers in the room. It also has rubber bumpers that soften any impact that might occur with objects in its path.
Robotic vacuum cleaners can clean wood, carpet, and tile flooring. The compact size enables the device to operate beneath beds, chairs, and other furnishings. The robotic cleaner must be charged between each use because the device is cordless. The machine does not require vacuum cleaner bags and generates less noise than traditional vacuum cleaners. Many people who own these devices clean their flooring more often because the vacuum cleaner can operate without assistance. Frequent cleaning improves indoor air quality by removing allergens that can worsen certain medical conditions.
Stick, or Electric Broom, Vacuum Cleaners
An electric broom, or stick, vacuum cleaner is a type of lightweight upright vacuum. The motor is usually located in the handle or along the wand, which connects the handle to the cleaning heads. These devices are best suited for homes with small areas of carpeting or that have outdoor or low-pile carpeting. The lightweight design makes it easy to clean up dust and small amounts of debris more frequently. Electric brooms lack the versatility of canister units and the power of upright vacuum cleaners. They usually lack attachments and the suction power required for deep carpet cleaning. Some handheld vacuum cleaners have attachments that enable the devices to operate like electric brooms. There are models that resemble non-motorized carpet sweepers.
Central Vacuum Cleaning Systems
Some homes have a central vacuum system system that deposits dirt and dust in a receptacle located in a seldom-used area, such as the basement or garage. A channel runs to each room from the central location where the motor and dust collection receptacle are installed. Instead of using a regular vacuum cleaner, a flexible hose is attached to a specially designed wall outlet. When the power switch on the vacuum cleaner handle is engaged, the motor is activated. Like a canister vacuum, a central vacuum has a variety of attachments that provide the flexibility to clean different types of surfaces and hard to reach areas.
This vacuum system has several advantages for people with physical limitations and respiratory conditions. It is lightweight and easy to maneuver. The dirt collection bin does not have to be emptied as frequently as a bin used with a conventional vacuum cleaner. The system is less likely to worsen allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems because of the dustbin's remote location and low maintenance requirement.
A central vacuum cleaning system is usually installed when a home is under construction. "
So to explain even further and to help answer the question which vacuum is best for you, it depends on what your cleaning. A good choice for a home with multiple types of flooring and a set of stairs and possibly rugs would be a canister vacuum because it is very diverse and portable. A one story home with mostly carpet would be better off with an upright hand held or a robotic. A home with no carpet would be best with a robotic or a stick vacuum. In large homes with different types of carpet and floors there may be a need for 2 types of vacuums. I always recommend a canister for rugs because they have less problems getting caught in the fringe, but if your carpeted areas are really thick you might want to go with an upright. The best uprights in my opinion for thick pile carpets are Kerby Miele Riccar and Sebo . I have had a lot of success and been very happy with the Miele canisters and have heard good things about the Rainbow .