Now is an ideal time to undo the damage done to your carpets during the Christmas break and freshen up your home ready for the new year.
The January sales are offering some fantastic deals on vacuum cleaners and carpet washers at the moment, with many models at half price or less. No matter how good the deal, it’s important to research the machine on offer to make sure it’s right for your needs.
Whether you choose an upright or cylinder vacuum cleaner tends to come down to personal preference and which type you find the most comfortable and effective for you and your home. Uprights tend to be kinder to your back during vacuuming and have a rapidly rotating brushbar that grooms the pile while you push the machine across the carpet. Cylinders are often less effort to carry up and down stairs and are easy store away after use, due to their compact size. Whichever you prefer, there are a number of factors you should think about when picking the right model:
If you have cats or dogs you’ll know just how difficult it can be to banish their hair from your carpets and furniture. Vacuum cleaners designed for homes with pets typically have a special tool with rotating bristles that pick up pet hair as it spins. Some pet models may also have an anti-bacterial filter to trap and neutralise germs. Look out for models with a HEPA filter if you have allergies, as these high level filters trap small dirt and dust particles, helping to reduce the allergens in your home.
If you regularly vacuum a tall flight of stairs you’ll find a model with an extra long stretch hose a real bonus, as you can reach right to the top of the staircase without having to unplug the machine and move it halfway through cleaning. Check the length of the power cord too, as a longer cord will make it much easier to vacuum stairs and multiple rooms without having to stop to swap plug points, saving you both time and effort. The capacity of the dust container can also vary widely between models, so look for a larger one if you don’t like having to empty the container too often.
- Floor types
If you have a mixture of carpets and hard floors in your home you should check the vacuum cleaner you choose is suitable for use on hard floors. Some uprights have a brushbar control so you can switch off the rotating brushes and vacuum hard floors without risk of damage. Some have a hard floor tool that you attach to the hose for doing the same job. Many cylinder vacuum cleaners have a combination floor head that has a switch for changing between hard floor and carpet modes, and some models may have a dedicated hard floor tool.
There are typically two types of carpet cleaners you can choose from – canister models, some of which are multi-functional and can also dry vacuum, and upright models. Canister models tend to be robust with large capacity tanks. They usually have castor wheels, so they are very stable and easy to pull along as you clean. Upright models resemble an upright dry vacuum cleaner and are typically manoeuvrable and easy to use.
- Upholstery and stairs
Many carpet washers have a flexible hose and tools for cleaning upholstery and stairs, but do check the product specification carefully, as some upright models don’t have a hose and so are only suitable for cleaning flat areas of carpets. Canister models operate much like a cylinder vacuum cleaner, with a selection of tools that attach to the hose for cleaning carpets, upholstery and stairs.
- Spots and stains
If your carpets have areas with a lot of wear and tear, or have stubborn spots and stains, it’s worth investing in a model that is specifically designed to tackle these problems, so check the specification carefully. Upright models with brushes that gently scrub the carpet fibres, either on a rotating brushbar or on individual spinning brushes, will tend to give a deeper clean and better results than those with a static row of brushes. Some carpet cleaners have a pre-treatment system with special stain-busting solution that gets to work on soiled areas before washing with the machine.
- Quick clean, quick dry
If you want the quickest results from your carpet cleaner and need your carpets dry again as soon as possible, look out for models with technologies designed to speed up the washing and drying processes. These could include heated cleaning, where heat from the machine is applied to the carpet during washing, and dual air path technology, which delivers consistent suction across the entire width of the floor head.