How to Shop for a Vacuum Cleaner

How to Shop for a Vacuum Cleaner

Sarah Coffey
Mar 12, 2012

We've officially entered spring cleaning season, so now seems like a good time to update our vacuum guide. Shopping for a vacuum can be confusing, so we're trying to make the process a little easier by providing key points on where to look and what to look for.


Many people prefer upright vacuums because they cover a larger area, they fit well in a largish closet, and they're generally the best option for cleaning carpeted rooms.

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Located in Manhattan, this store is a good source for reliable information and reasonable prices on high-end vacuum cleaners. They carry Miele, Sebo, Pullman, and Dyson, as well as specialty brands like American-made Riccar vacuums, which come with 5-year household warranties. (Shown left is the Riccar Radiance.)

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Always a good source for deals, Overstock has a rotating supply of upright, canister, and handheld vacuums. They sell new and refurbished models, which are offered at deep discounts since they've been returned by customers, then examined by Overstock to make sure that they're in like-new condition.


The attachment makes it easier to clean upholstery, curtains, and other hard-to-reach areas. Canister vacuums are also recommended for bare floors, since they can easily suck the dirt that collects near baseboards, but are more difficult to maneuver over a fully carpeted room.

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Based out of Chicago, this online store has detailed reviews of their products, as well as guides to which vacuum is best for pet owners, allergy sufferers, people with thick carpets, or people with wood floors. For instance, they recommend the $680 HEPA Miele Pisces for people with allergies. (Apartment Therapy blogger Aaron has one if you want to read his take on it.)

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This ubiquitous online retailer is a great place to comparison shop, since they carry most major brands. Do your research and check out the prices on Amazon versus other stores, since their deals vary. We found a good price ($330 compared to $400 and above at other retailers) on the Electrolux Oxygen, a canister vac that's recommended by Consumer Reports (although reader comments seem to be split between strong positive and negative reviews).

Hand-Helds and Small Vacuums

Handheld vacuums are good for light jobs, but don't expect the coverage or power of an upright or canister. They're useful in small apartments that don't have a lot of carpeting, and they're great for upholstery or curtains.

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Headquartered outside of Chicago, this online store has received good customer service reports from Apartment Therapy readers. They carry the full range of vacuums, from uprights to handhelds, and their prices are on par with and sometimes below other electronics stores. The popular Dyson Handheld DC35 Multi Floor Vacuum is listed at $329.

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On the West Coast and in the Southwest, Fry's is a go-to source for household electronics. They sell a bunch of different vacuums, including the $100 Electrolux Ergorapido 2-in-1 Sweeper, which is actually a stick model with a built-in handheld vac. Gregory has one and he recommends it for pet owners with hard floors.

There are TONS of product reviews and information out there on Vacuums. Here are a few good sources if you want more information and recommendations.

Vacuum and Floor Care Stores on Marketplace
Best Vacuum Roundup: Dyson, Miele, Electrolux, Airider...
Vacuums on Unplggd
Consumer Reports also does a good job with their vacuum guides.

Photo: Miele S2 Olympus

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