You may already know about the best vacuum cleaner for carpet. And the best vacuum cleaner for hard floors may already be in your home. But what if you want a great all-round performer that can work wonders on ALL your floors?
Thankfully, there’s more choice out there than ever before. Modern vacuum cleaners are designed to perform at their very best on a range of household surfaces. From carpets to tiles to upholstery, the best machines move from one job to the next seamlessly.
But how do you know what’s best for your home? How can you be sure that you’ve chosen the right kind of vacuum? There are many different options to choose from, and making the right decision first time requires a little research.
But don’t worry; we have you covered. We’ve put together a few pointers that should allow you to choose the best vacuum for mixed floors.
Upright vacuum cleaners
If you have a lot of space to work with, the fastest way to vacuum is usually to use an upright. In most cases, it delivers the best suction power. And it comes with a range of different accessories that allow you to adapt it to the space you’re cleaning. If you have a lot of carpet in your home, you’ll need that suction for removing dirt and dust from deep within the pile.
There was a time when uprights were quite heavy and cumbersome, but times have changed. Modern uprights are lighter than ever, thanks to new technologies and bagless operation. Not only that, they have swivel heads and ergonomically designed handles. If you’re pushing your vacuum over thick carpet, these features will help you greatly.
Transitioning from carpet to hard flooring should be seamless. Imagine you’re moving from your carpeted living room to your tiled kitchen. The last thing you want is to have to spend a few minutes changing settings. Or worse still, switching vacuums.
There should be a hard floor setting on your upright that can be activated with a single action — usually pushing a button. Alternatively, a hose accessory with a hard floor attachment can do the job.
If you’re looking for a complete solution for an entire house, an upright is perhaps the best option. If possible, choose something with an independently powered detachable unit. This handheld unit can make vacuuming stairs far safer and quicker.
Canister vacuum cleaners
If space is tight in your home, think about buying a canister vacuum. While they usually don’t deliver the power of uprights, they’re lightweight and agile. And they can squeeze into the tightest of areas. However, as you’re dragging the main unit around at the end of a hose, they can cause a tripping hazard.
Canister vacuums are decent all-round performers on a range of surfaces. However, they probably perform best on hard surfaces such as wood and tile. But there are some downsides. For example, you need to be careful that the wheels or the chassis of the machine don’t scratch softer woods.
If you use your vacuum to clean lights, curtains and areas at height, canisters make these tasks a little simpler than many uprights. They usually come fully loaded with a range of accessories, including upholstery brushes and crevice tools. And the smaller models are well suited to stairs.
If you have lots of small spaces and wood flooring, a canister vacuum may be the way to go. Just make sure you think about storing it before you take the plunge. It’s often difficult to stow away canisters neatly.
Stick vacuum cleaners are proving increasingly popular with people who live in apartments. However, as they become more powerful, they are being used in larger homes as the main vacuum.
If you’re someone who likes to keep on top of grit and dirt on real wood floors, a stick vacuum is ideal. You can often simply lift it of the wall it’s mounted on, and start vacuuming straight away. They’re lightweight and agile, so it’s easy to use them several times a day in order to prolong the life of any real wood floors you have.
Stick vacuums are great for people with lots of vinyl, laminate and tile in their home. These surfaces are easy to clean, but they tend to show up dust and dirt more readily than carpet. As a result, homeowners often find themselves vacuuming several times a day. With a cordless stick vacuum, you can perform spot cleans with ease.
However, if you have lots of thick carpet in your home, stick vacuums aren’t always the best choice. They don’t have the same suction power as uprights, and they need to be emptied more regularly.
Handheld vacuums aren’t suitable for use as a main vacuum in a busy family home. However, they do have their uses. For example, if you want to remove a few crumbs in the kitchen after meal times, they’re great. They’re also ideal for cars and mobile homes.
Unfortunately, a lot of handhelds struggle when it comes to deep-pile carpet. And they don’t deliver the range of accessories you’d need to keep your upholstered furniture in tip-top shape.
But handheld vacuums are often included as part of an upright or stick system. With the push of a button, the handheld section comes away instantly. You then have all the power of a standard vacuum cleaner in the palm of your hands. You can also use the full range of attachments to perform tricky cleaning jobs around skirting and underneath furniture.
The best vacuum for carpet isn’t necessarily the best vacuum for laminate floors. And in truth, there probably isn’t one machine that performs perfectly on every imaginable type of surface. You have to think about how you use your vacuum. You also need to consider which is the dominant floor type in your home.
Other issues that might come into play include any pain or disabilities you might have. Your decision might also be swayed by a vacuum’s ability to pick up pet hair from thick carpet. What’s your priority? What’s the most important job your vacuum is going to do for you?
Vacuuming lots of carpet
A home with more carpet than hard flooring will probably benefit most from a powerful, fully accessorised upright. But this is only the case if there’s lots of floor space. If there isn’t, a stick or canister might be better options. If possible, make sure anything you choose has an independently powered brushroll. A lot of canister and stick vacuums don’t have them, which means you can’t dig down into deep pile in order to disturb the debris that lies beneath.
Vacuuming lots of real wood
If you have mostly real wood floors in your home, you should use something lightweight and mobile. Canisters are dragged around on wheels, so they may not be ideal. On balance, a corded stick vacuum with a detachable unit is probably the best option. Just make sure you go for something with either a hard floor setting or a hard floor attachment.
Vacuuming lots of vinyl and tile
This is probably your call. However, it’s relatively easy to vacuum these surfaces, so even a cordless stick vacuum will perform a good job. But if you’re also going to be vacuuming curtains, mattresses, stairs and furniture, it’s probably best to get a vacuum cleaner with a detachable, handheld unit and a full selection of tools.
The best all-round vacuum cleaner for mixed floors
For a home with several different floor types and lots of floor space, an upright vacuum cleaner is definitely the best option. But not all uprights are created equally. Look for a complete system that offers a detachable cleaner, accessories, a motorised brushroll and bagless, cyclonic suction power. If you have something like this in your cleaning arsenal, there’s not a domestic surface in the world you won’t be able to vacuum.