Vacuum cleaner buying guide


Choosing your vacuum cleaner

Whether you live in a big house, apartment or cosy suburban semi, a high quality vacuum cleaner is an essential home appliance for anyone who wants to keep their flooring clean.


Here at Homebase, we have a fantastic range of durable vacuum cleaners in a variety of styles, models and price brackets, making it simple and straightforward to find the perfect vacuum for your needs.


Here’s everything you need to know to choose the right model.

Which is the best vacuum cleaner for me?


Ideal for use in larger rooms, upright vacuum cleaners are a great choice for busy households and large properties.


The adjustable head gives upright vacuums excellent cleaning power, while the short distance that the dirt has to travel through the appliance ensures a powerful clean and means that wattage is less important (great news now that wattage is capped at 1600w.).


Whilst they’re great at cleaning large areas of carpet and removing pet hair, upright vacuum cleaners are a little noisier and heavier than cylinder cleaners and may not clean hard surfaces quite as thoroughly.



Generally smaller, lighter and easier to manoeuvre than upright cleaners, cylinder vacuums are perfect for cleaning under and around obstacles like furniture and ornaments.


Great for cleaning upholstery, stairs and hard floors, cylinder cleaners can be less efficient at cleaning pet hair and carpets as they rely solely on suction rather than a revolving brush.



Small, light and easy to control, handheld vacuums are perfect for quickly cleaning up crumbs, dust, cobwebs and dry spills.


Though less powerful than cylinder or upright vacuums, handheld cleaners are great for small jobs, and provide a quick and convenient way to keep your stairs, sofa or car looking great.


Wet and dry cleaners

Wet and dry cleaners are incredibly versatile appliances, able to do everything from removing debris to unblocking your sink.


Generally supplied with a range of tools, wet and dry cleaners have relatively large capacities and can be bagged or bag-less. However, thanks to their hard working motors, these innovative cleaners can be a little on the noisy side.


Steam cleaners

Ideal for use on carpets, ovens, windows and upholstery, these cleaners use the power steam to remove dirt and stains. Though you won’t need to use any detergent, steam cleaners do need ‘steaming time’ which can limit the amount you can clean in one session.


What should I ask before buying a new vacuum cleaner?

Should I choose a bagged or bag-less vacuum cleaner?

Once you’ve decided on a style of vacuum cleaner, the next decision you’ll need to make is whether to choose a bagged or bag-less model.


In general, bag-less vacuum cleaners are more expensive than bagged versions, however you could find that this difference in price is more than offset over the years by the savings you make on not buying bags.


Bagged vacuums are more hygienic than bag-less cleaners thanks to the fact the dirt is collected straight into a sealed bag, however bagged cleaners can become less efficient as the bag fills up.


Bag-less cleaners don’t lose suction as they fill up either; although a few dust particles can be re-released into the atmosphere when the container is emptied.


What power level do I need?

In general, the power of a vacuum cleaner will give you a good idea of how well it will clean your home. Measured in watts, the higher the wattage of the motor, the better the performance.


As cylinder cleaners rely on suction to clean, they are more affected by power levels, with less powerful cylinder vacuums offering less efficient cleaning. A good wattage for a cylinder cleaner is around 1400w, while upright cleaners can operate well at 1300 watts.


Like many household appliances, vacuum cleaners also come supplied with energy ratings. These ratings range from A to G and show how efficient the appliance is.


The current EU regulations for vacuum cleaners require all appliances to operate at less than 1600 watts, to have an electricity consumption of less than 62 kWh per year and to have a dust removal efficiency rating.


What type of vacuum cleaner is best for people with allergies?

A good vacuum cleaner can make a huge difference to the wellbeing of people who suffer from asthma or allergies. If this is a concern, make sure you choose a model with the British Allergy Foundation seal of approval.


The quality of filtration of a vacuum determines the size and number of particles left in the air when it’s expelled from the cleaner, something that’s very important for anyone who suffers from asthma or is sensitive to dust mite or pet allergens.


S-class or HEPA

S-class or HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters retain even the smallest allergy causing particles, and capture up to 99.97% of allergens. This helps to improve the air quality in your home, making them ideal for allergy and asthma sufferers.


Stage filters

Stage filters usually vary between three and seven stages. Each filter helps to trap dust, hair and particles resulting in clean, fresh air being expelled from the appliance. As a rule, the higher the number of stages, the better the quality of the air expelled.


Charcoal filters

The charcoal layer in these filters helps to remove odours from your carpet and furnishings, making it a great option if you have furry pets.


Lifetime filters

Staged, HEPA and charcoal filters need to be changed periodically to ensure they continue to operate efficiently. However Lifetime filters are designed to last as long as your vacuum cleaner does – normally seven to ten years.


Homebase top buyer’s tip

Vacuum cleaners can vary hugely in capacity, so make sure you opt for a larger model if you have big areas to clean.


If you need to move your vacuum cleaner upstairs and downstairs on a regular basis, ensure you opt for a lightweight model or invest in multiple appliances.

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