What are the best brands of vacuums?

While it sounds like a very simple discussion and I was expecting it to go a little something like this:

  1. Dyson
  2. Electrolux
  3. Shop-vac
  4. Hoover
  5. To 1500. etc

I couldn’t have been more wrong. There really is no way to simplify the list and be accurate, as there are more than the expected number of brands available in North America, and the fact that each brand tends to be problem specific and vacuum typed.

What do I mean by this? Let me give you an example. Everyone understands what a Shop-vac is. Basically they are wet/dry, big mess, canister style vacuums. We know that they are great for in the garage, the car and for cleanups you wouldn’t want to use your $2000 Electrolux for or your $300 Roomba robotic floor cleaner. So how do you go about making a fair comparison? You really can’t. At least not unless you break it down into categories first, which is what we are going to do.

To make it fair, I went to Wikipedia, and here is the list of the “Modern Configurations” they use: Upright, Canister, Drum, Wet/Dry, Pneumatic, Backpack, Hand-held, Robotic, Cyclonic, Central, Vehicle, And Other.

This makes for an incredibly large list if we do a top ten for each type, so instead we are simply going to focus on the top one in 6 categories and a brief description of each vacuum and why it is considered the best in its category. This will make it easy to read and a bit faster than scrolling through what could potentially be a 120 vacuum list.

Let’s start with the Upright category. Getting straight to the point, the upright vacuum is Miele Dynamic U1 Twist. This Miele vacuum with HEPA filtration is ideal for allergy sufferers and people who just like a house that smells clean. With a completely sealed system, there really is no chance for debris, mould and allergens to find their way back into the air. Unlike cheaper models that have leaks, like most wet/dry types, you will never see anything coming out of the exhaust. With huge vacuum power, easy portability, and an extra-long electrical cord, this is a shoe-in for best in class.

While canister vacuums aren’t known for their ease of use as you have to drag the “meat” of the system behind you, the Dirt Devil Feather Lite SD40100 is definitely the obvious choice for this category. While it is one of the most maneuverable types of vacuum in its class, it also is the lightest. Adding a perfect hose length for stairs, attachments for corners and a name that is synonymous with quality, this sucking machine is the best choice for multiple surfaces and allows for seamless transitions between them.

Drum vacuums aren’t necessarily for everyone. As the majority of these are used for industrial use, and is a version of the home use wet/dry on steroids, getting as much feedback from the public for a fair comparison is a little harder. But we think the Australian manufactured Drum Top Vac is definitely the top of the list. With the ability to fill its 205 liter drum in as little as 90 seconds, nearly 10 feet of hose, additional tools and HEPA filtration options, there really is no better alternative in our books.

Next we look at every handy man’s favorite, the wet/dry vacuum, which has been increasing in popularity over the last 20 years, and has become so affordable that almost every home has one now. But once again the comparisons are difficult because of the wide spectrum of prices, specialties and add-ons. Given the overall number of reviews that have been made, is it any wonder why the Rigid WD 1450 is the top of the list? With a 14 gallon capacity, an over performing 6HP motor and ultra-strong construction, this model is the best in class by far.

Robot vacuums were the stuff of sci-fi not long ago. Every geek and nerd got excited by the mention of the idea, and when they finally came out everyone felt let down. But given a little time, and a knowledge that there was a huge market, research and development teams went all out getting us to the point we are now. iRobot, being at the forefront of this technology has impressed yet again with their HEPA filtered remote and auto, Roomba 880. For ability, cleanliness, and overall ease of use, the 880 is our pick in this category by a landslide. One of the biggest questions to robot vacuums are their ability with carpets.

The final category we are going to look at today is the vehicle vacuum. Black & Decker has been a leader in vacuum technology since it started. Their PAV 1200w Cyclonic-Action powerhouse is leaps beyond its nearest competitor. Between the lightweight design, pivoting nozzle and cyclonic suction system it will be the standard for quality for years to come. While it includes some great accessories, it really is the consistent power and easy handling that makes it our number one.