General Information :
The amount of hype and performance claims for upright vacuums has exploded in recent years. Manufacturers are constantly one-upping one another with this or that latest feature. Before spending hundreds of dollars on a new upright vacuum here are some things to consider.
A more powerful vacuum is not necessarily better. For upright vacuums efficient design is much more critical than power. Also, do not be mislead about motor amperage. Amps, as a measure in vacuum motors, simply indicate how many amps the motor pulls from the wall socket. Often, a more powerful motor can run on fewer amps. If possible, try to obtain the airflow or C.F.M. – cubic feet per minute – and the water lift ratings. Common on commercial vacuums, these are more accurate measurements of performance.
Consider whether the unit has one or two motors. Two motor uprights have one for suction and one to drive the beater brush. In single motor vacuums one motor does both jobs. As might be expected, dual motor uprights perform better but are more expensive. Also, single motor uprights will not shut down the beater brush if an object gets stuck – a feature found in some dual motor models.
Most uprights nowadays feature on board tools and a suction hose. Consider how easy it is to use the accessories or even if you will use them at all. If you already own a canister vacuum you may not need these extra features.
Consider how the beater brush is set up. How easy is it to change the belt and is it sealed from debris? Can you change the brushes on the beater, or do you have to replace the whole assembly when the brushes wear?
Consider how you empty the vacuum. Many units now have a permanent plastic dirt cup rather than disposable bags. Although more expensive to start, for those who do a lot of vacuuming it may be more economical over time.
Pay careful attention to the type and amount of filtering the vacuum has. New models claim to have extremely efficient filters. Make sure they are easy to clean or cheap to replace. High filtration can only be achieved with very tiny pores, which by nature will clog often and reduce performance. If filtration is a real concern models with dual or triple layer paper bags work very well.
Always test-drive a vacuum before purchasing. Make sure it rolls well. Is it easy to wind and unwind the cord? How adjustable is it for different carpet pile heights? Is the dirt cup or paper bag easy to dump or change? How quiet or loud is the machine?