In recent years there has been big talk about little vacuums. While their size might be small, battery operated vacuum cleaners can pack a punch … but only if you select the right one, and use it for the right jobs.
Older style cordless vacuums use ineffective rechargeable batteries. This resulted in vacuums that simply sucked – and not in the good way! Most of the inexpensive cordless vacuums currently found on the market are using this outdated technology.
New Lithium Ion batteries, which are used in most current day machines, do not develop a charge memory. This means you do not have to fully drain the battery before recharging. As well, these higher quality batteries can be recharged a greater number of times and are more powerful helping the vacuums last longer and perform better. Combine this with advancements in the motor department and now we have powerful battery operated vacuums that actually work.
There are three main types of secondary vacuums, which depending on the style can be corded or cordless:
Stick vacuums can be handy in a busy home or when the operator physically can’t use a larger, full size machine. They are ideal to use ‘in between’ cleans and are great for spot cleaning and quick daily tidying.
Most stick vacuums do not have on board tools, or if they do the attachments are limited. This means they are only capable of cleaning the floor surfaces. Compare this to full size vacuums which come with, or have the option of adding, multiple different types of tools allowing you to clean virtually all areas of your home with one machine.
As well, stick vacuums are designed to be lightweight and compact. Because of this the motors and floor tools are usually smaller meaning they aren’t as powerful. When purchasing a stick vacuum it is important to understand that they were not designed to be a whole-home vacuum, and that they are intended to be used to compliment a canister, upright, or central vacuum.
Handheld vacuums are great for cleaning confined or tricky areas. Carpeted stairs, upholstery, and vehicle interiors are perfect examples. Much like stick vacuums, hand vacuums are designed to be used in addition to a primary vacuum, and can make cleaning a lot easier.
When cleaning areas with fibers (i.e. upholstery or carpets) it is important to choose a handheld vacuum that has an agitator or brush bar that spins. Many hand vacuums are considered ‘dust busters’ and are not as effective as their counterparts with a motorized head.
Robot vacuums have been pegged as the end-all-be-all of vacuums lately. Robotic vacuums can be very handy for busy people, or individuals who enjoy coming home to freshly cleaned floors. However, they have their limitations, and as mentioned with the stick vacuums they are meant to be a supplemental vacuum.
In most rooms the dirt and dust tend to accumulate around the perimeter, where the floor meets the wall, and on the baseboards. As well, many people use their vacuum to clean: cobwebs, windowsills, banisters, lampshades, upholstery, bookshelves, walls, and ceiling fans. Without a hose, attachments, or the ability to clean anywhere other than the floor itself, you really need more than just a robot vacuum to remove unsightly debris from these areas and clean your whole home.
Depending on the cleaning style of the individual, and cleaning needs of the home, you may or may not benefit from having a secondary machine like a stick vacuum, hand vacuum, or robotic vacuum. In previous generations it was common for several hours each week to be dedicated to housework and cleaning. So only having one machine capable of doing everything made sense.
The make up of today’s homes and families look very different. With our schedules getting busier and fuller it’s nice to have a smaller vacuum that can be used to quickly clean the areas that need the most immediate attention. Then when the time is right, having a more powerful, full size machine, to do a complete and thorough deep clean.
At the end of the day it’s about picking the right tool for the job, and knowing the strengths and limitations of each vacuum.