Review of Cordless Vacuum Cleaners
A cordless vacuum cleaner is convenient.
You can use it to clean up spills, small messes, and even take it out to the car to clean up the seat and carpet. They come in two different packages: the hand vacuum (Dust buster, Dirt Devil, etc), and stick models (also called stick sweepers, stick vacuums, and electric brooms). The whole point is to make your life easier and spills more convenient to clean.
Unfortunately, some cordless vacuum cleaners won’t help you as much as they should!
Stick Cordless Vacuum Cleaner Types
Believe it or not, there is a distinct difference between all the cordless vacuum cleaners. The basic types are called stick sweepers and stick vacuums. It might sound like semantic trivia, but you need to know the difference because one almost always came out with a higher rating in tests.
A stick sweeper is just a stick and the bottom part that houses the motor and a little compartment where the dirt goes. It looks a lot like the manual carpet brooms that were around thirty years ago, only stick sweepers are electric.
A stick vacuum looks like a mini vacuum cleaner where the collection container (and/or bag) is on the stick part, higher up than the motor housing. If it’s the type that includes a detachable hand vacuum, it’s probably a stick vacuum if they share the same collection container.
Stick sweepers outperform stick vacuums in tests on both carpets and bare floors. In almost every trial, the sweepers came out on top. Cordless vacuums are not as powerful as corded vacuums. The less distance there is between the suction mechanism and the collection container, the better. Because sweepers have a container right next to the ground, you are better able to pick up dirt and particles. The stick vacuums that are more like regular vacuums make the dirt travel farther, so not everything is as likely to end up in the container.
Which Cordless Type Is Best?
Your cordless vacuum cleaner selection problems are not yet solved, however, because there are still dozens of models available with comparable suction and ability. There are some key features you should look for on cordless vacuums. If you can try the vacuum in the store (not many stores allow this these days), it is best. If you want to take advantage of the better selection and lower prices available online, be sure your cordless vacuum can be returned. You might not know if it’s the right one for you until you actually try it for yourself.
- Look for a longer use time. Some charges only last 15 minutes. Stick sweepers should last around 30 minutes.
- Look for “low emissions” or “superior dirt suction.” Many cordless vacuums end up blowing around small particles because the exhaust is so close to the spill. Try the “rice test” (the “kitty litter test” for cat owners) – spill some rice on the ground and see if your cordless vac picks up all of the rice. If it’s blowing around or missing the rice, return it.
- Look for a floor clearance measurement. Some stick vacuums are so low to the ground that you’ll end up pushing around your toddler’s Cheerios instead of sucking them into the container. Most of these cordless stick sweepers have a large rotation of the head to the stick, so it’s difficult to lift up to get on top of the Cheerios.
- Consider the problems with a wet/dry stick vacuum. If you have liquid spills or pet accidents, there are some cordless vacuums designed to handle liquids. This might end up being more trouble than it’s worth once you clean out the collection container after every use. Ask yourself if you’re buying it for convenience or because it’s a cool gadget. A mop might save you time and money.
- If allergies are a problem, be sure your cordless vacuum has a filter. Most now offer washable filters that don’t have to be replaced.
- If you want to use your cordless vacuum on carpet, look for a brush bar to get down into the carpet, especially since suction on cordless vacuums is usually not as strong.
Handheld Cordless Vacuums
Handheld cordless vacuums are not new. Dust buster-style hand vacuums have been around for decades. What is new is the new technology available to make handheld vacuums more powerful than before. They now often have stronger suction, filters, and run longer on a charge.
Handheld vacuums are great for tackling dry spills on floors. They are also good for cleaning your car. People use them to suck the unidentifiable crumbs out of keyboards and to pick up needles around the Christmas tree. They are definitely handy little items.
The main problem with handheld cordless vacuums is that, like stick vacuums, they are not as powerful as regular vacuums. You shouldn’t rely upon them to clean stairs, rugs, under the couch cushions, or mattresses. They aren’t able to get the powerful suction that traditional canister and uprights can achieve. They also cause you to bend down to pick up spills. If you have arthritis or other mobility issues, a cordless stick vacuum might be more convenient. Don’t bother with the accessories packages on cordless handhelds. The longer the dirt and particles have to travel, the less effective the hand vac becomes. Bite the bullet and pull out your more powerful machine for an attachment job.
Cordless vacuum cleaners are more convenient, but they are still only good enough for minor jobs like spills. You shouldn’t depend on them for regular carpet vacuuming or picking up things like dust mites and other allergens. They are for between cleaning only, but they often come in handy during those times. If you can think of at least one time in the past week one would have come in handy, it would be a worthwhile investment for your home.