Does Your Vacuum Suck?


What is the difference between an upright vacuum and a canister vacuum?



Canister vacuums are low to the ground vacuums that have a long hose with a wand on the end. As you clean through the hose and wand, you pull the canister unit behind you.


Upright vacuums stand tall
and have a handle, which is used to push the vacuum. When cleaning carpets, the debris is removed through the foot or base of the unit. Most uprights also have a hose and on-board tools, which are typically used for hard to reach places and when cleaning furniture.


At one time, canisters were thought to be easier to use for cleaning hard to reach places and for cleaning a larger variety of floors surfaces. However, the uprights of today have added cleaning features, such as bare floor height adjustments, brush roll on/off switches, and are easily maneuverable. In addition, the on board cleaning tools have made upright vacuums even more versatile.



Although uprights are easier to use and more effective at cleaning larger areas in the home, they can still be a challenge when cleaning stairs.


Which type of vacuum is better — bagless or bagged?


bagNeither type of vacuum is “better” than the other. Testing shows that with proper maintenance, both can clean equally well. The cleaning performance of an individual vacuum depends on many different factors.

A bagged vacuum will lose its cleaning effectiveness as the bag fills with debris. The bag must be changed when it is about 1/2 to 2/3 full for the best cleaning performance. In a bagless vacuum, the clear container captures dirt so there is not a bag to fill up and clog. Plus with the clear dirt container, you can see when you need to empty it. The result with the bagless system is more constant airflow and suction power.

Bagless vacuums will begin to lose suction power when the filters clog with fine dust particles. The filter(s) need to be checked and cleaned, or replaced, as recommended by the manufacturer. Many bagless vacuums today have washable filters that are easy to clean and maintain.

The latest innovation in bagless vacuums is multi-cyclonic technology. By using centrifugal force instead of filters to separate the dirt and particles, the vacuum’s filter can stay clean longer resulting in non-stop suction for superior cleaning.

baglessWith bagless units, convenience is the greatest advantage. There are no more bags to search for, change or buy. The clear dirt container allows you to see how much you have vacuumed up – and accomplished. It is also easy to remove an object that was picked up by accident.

The choice between a bagged and bagless vacuum really depends on your personal preference. 

Does the Amps mean greater cleaning ability?

No. Amps is a measurement of the electrical current used by the motor. Performance depends on a combination of (A) airflow/suction plus (B) brush action to provide (C) cleaning. Therefore, an easy way to remember what is important for good cleaning performance is “A + B = C”.

When do I replace my vacuum bag?

It is best to check the dirt level in the bag before each use. For best cleaning performance, it is recommended that you change your bag when it is 1/2 to 2/3 full. When accumulated, small dust particles can keep the air from circulating, which can reduce the suction in your vacuum. You may need to change your bag more frequently when vacuuming drywall dust, pet hair, other fine particles or new carpet. Some bagged units also offer a check bag indicator to make it easier for you to know when to change the bag.

When do I replace the belt or the filter for my vacuum?

If the vacuum is not cleaning as well as it had before or the brush roll has stopped turning, you may have to change the belt. To change the belt, please refer to your models user guide for installation instructions.

With bagless vacuums, having clean filters is critical to maintain cleaning performance. Over time, filters can become dirty and eventually clog. A dirty or worn filter can diminish the cleaning performance of your vacuum, so it is important to regularly clean and monitor them.

What should I do if the vacuum is not picking up debris?

First, turn off and unplug your vacuum. Give the vacuum a good once over. Check to see if the belt is worn, broke or missing. If the vacuum has a bag, check to see if it is full. For bagless units, make sure the filters are clean. Also, check all the hoses and airflow areas to ensure they are free from, cracks, debris and clogs.

If you are still having a problem, be sure to reference your models user guide for handy troubleshooting tips. Other possible causes include incorrect height adjustment setting, hose not attached to suction opening, twist and snap hose not securely attached, rotating floor brush bristles are worn or jammed, clog in vacuum, dirt container is full or not installed properly, or louvers are missing or installed incorrectly.