Features Galore – Buying A Vacuum Cleaner With The Right Features

Have you shortlisted the type of vacuum cleaner already? Now it is time to look at features that can help improve performance. Beware, not all features are designed to improve your experience, some are just smokes and mirrors designed to hoodwink consumers into paying extra for decade old technology.

Buyer’s Guide Table of Contents:

Add-On Tools

Many brands actually boast of all the free tools they offer to make life easier for consumers. Think twice before you splurge on these extras. What you actually need the most are a crevice tool, upholstery brush and a round brush for dusting. Canister vacuums also come with a power nozzle to increase suction power. These are the basic accessories that ought to suffice for any cleaning task. Therefore, if you find various types of attachments with weird names or two different sizes for each attachment, stay away from them, it is all a gimmick to hike up the price.


The attachment reach of a vacuum cleaner translates to the length of the suction hose along with all the included hose extensions. Obviously, longer the reach, the more you can do with your vacuum cleaner.

Bare-Floor Specific Option

When a vacuum cleaner is said to be adept at cleaning bare floors, it means it has features that help improve its efficiency with bare floors such as a manual shut-off for the vacuum brush, height adjustment for the nozzle head and so on. Any vacuum without a suction height adjustment or the ability to switch off the beater head is not designed for bare floor cleaning.

Brush Agitator

Underneath the machine you may find a roller brush with bristles on it. This brush usually extends over a large space and will spin when the machine is switched on. It helps in dislodging dust, grime and dirt from thick pile carpets so that the subsequent suction hose can pick it up easily. Models without the option to turn it off cannot be used on hard floors as it will eventually scratch and damage the finishing. A switch to turn this agitator brush however lets you quickly move from a carpeted area to a bare floor. Similarly, having control over the brush lets you clean upholstery, throw rugs, bedspreads and so on.

Height Adjustment

Not all carpets have the same depth or feel. Some carpets have deep pile while others have a near bare surface. To ensure maximum cleaning efficiency, make sure that you can change the height of the machine. Some newer models actually adjust the machine height automatically depending on the surface you are moving across.

Dirt Sensor

No the vacuum won’t seek and destroy dirt on its own. Dirt Sensor translates to the additional ability of a vacuum cleaner to alert users when it no longer picks up dirt but this doesn’t mean that the floor area is clean.

Easy On And Off

Where is the power switch? Is it located on the suction hose right where you would ideally hold it? Does it come on the base that can be operated with your foot? Make sure you can quickly shut down or turn on the machine without having to bend down.


Every new vacuum cleaner will say that it does a better job than the rest in eliminating allergens from the exhaust air. Some say they use bags and hence maintain a cleaner air others say they use filters to clean the air up. Here is what you need to learn.

Micron level filters offer a high level of filtration followed by standard filters. Naturally, micron bags will provide better filtration. However, HEPA or High Efficiency Particulate Air filtration is the best you can get. HEPA is designed for folks with allergies or asthma and these filters actually help reduce emissions. Nevertheless, some models that don’t use HEPA filters too manage to come close in performance.

Edge Cleaning

Models (both canister and upright) that offer this feature can actually pick debris from the side of the cleaning head. This is useful in end to end cleaning, be it on carpets or bare floor.

Bag Level Indicator

For bagged variants, an indicator light which alerts users when the bag has reached its full capacity will prevent losing power and performance. Remember that the fuller it gets, the lower the suction is. With bagless versions, opt for a see-through canister design.


Having lights or a headlamp helps in improving visibility under furniture. Usually most upright models have such a feature.

Retractable Cord

Usually seen in canister vacuums, a retractable cord lets you rewind the entire cord automatically with the push of a button. Since a vacuum cleaner cord can extend over 2o or even 30 feet, having this feature saves a lot of time at the end of a long day, when the last thing you want to do is manually wind the cord back up.

Self Propulsion

Now don’t think that your vacuum cleaner will drive itself or actually comes with automatic gears. Robotic vacuums however do clean an entire room on their own but they are automated. Self propulsion refers to a drive system that assists in pulling and pushing the vacuum, hence reducing most of the effort exerted by the user. Unfortunately, this feature adds a lot of weight to the machine, which in turn isn’t good for stair cleaning.

Suction Control

How much suction does the machine produce in the hose? While a lot of suction is great but not having the ability to regulate this means you can’t use your vacuum with all kinds of upholstery, rugs, curtains, carpets and more.

Remember that not all features are necessary. The one’s I mentioned here are well worth having but if you don’t have some and have a reliable vacuum cleaner don’t fret about it. At the end of the day, it is not how technologically advanced the vacuum cleaner is, rather how efficiently it cleans out your home.

For those who wish to learn more about the different vacuum cleaner brands and the pricing policy followed by them, visit the next part of our buying guide – Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide – Primer To Vacuum Cleaner Brands