Vacuum cleaner reviews: Features explained
What to look for in a vacuum cleaner
Vacuum cleaner filters can clog up and need cleaning or changing at least once a year. Spare filters are often included in replacement packs of bags.
Their long hoses make cylinder vacuum cleaners harder to store than uprights, but some cylinders now have a clip to attach the nozzle to the body so the hose stays upright.
The manufacturer may claim that a vacuum cleaner's capacity is greater than it really is. When we test vacs in our lab, we look at how much dust they really can hold - rather than how much space there is in the container.
Most of the vacs we've tested have a capacity of 2-4l, which we would call medium. A small capacity is under 2l and we'd consider a capacity of 4l or above to be large.
A vacuum cleaner with a long cord and hose is handy for cleaning stairs, or if you're short of power sockets around the house, you'll be able to clean a larger area without having to unplug and find a nearer socket.
We’ve found a vacuum cleaner's reach can range in length from 6 to 15 metres – a big difference when tackling a large room.
Accessories for vacuum cleaners
Some vacuum cleaners come with extra nozzles and brushes for cleaning upholstery and curtains, or around the edges of skirting boards. Some cleaners have space to store any additional nozzles on board, with others you have to store accessories separate from the appliance.
A turbo brush may improve dust and pet hair pick-up but in some cases standard nozzles can be just as effective. Don't buy a vacuum cleaner purely because it has a turbo brush – check our cleaning performance ratings to see how well a vacuum cleaner picks up dust and pet hair.