Part of the trouble with having pets is the amount of hair and fur they tend to shed around the house. I thought that when we moved to a home with hardwood floors I would have an easier time to get rid of the hairs tend to get embedded in carpet fibers. However, I discovered that pet hair, dust, and dirt stick to wood floors just as much as they do carpet. I tried using different wood floor cleaners and mops, such as Swiffer, but none of them provided lasting results. Until I started looking for new cleaners and products online, I was not aware that vacuums could be effective on hardwood floors.
I decided to go ahead and purchase a vacuum cleaner for my hardwood floors. To make a long story short, it took me three different vacuums to realize that they are not all made equal when it comes to cleaning wood floors. There were several things that I didn't even consider when making the first purchase, but now I know exactly what to look for the next time I am in the market for a vacuum. I would encourage any future consumer looking to purchase a vacuum to clean their hardwood floors to make sure they look for all of these qualities as well.
Flexibility might seem like a strange requirement for a vacuum but when you think of all the areas that you will need to clean, it becomes pretty straight forward. You need to make sure that any vacuum you purchase comes with the attachments necessary to get into every crack and crevice of your home. Most vacuums for hardwood floors will not be able to reach into the corners of the floor where dust tends to accumulate. The vacuum that you buy should include a standard G-vac attached hose that you can use to reach areas that you cannot get to with the vacuum itself. If you also want to use your vacuum to clean other areas like heating ducts or dryer vents, you will want to look for one that also includes a flexible crevice tool. This typically attaches to the end of the G-vac hose and can get into even more narrow and hard to reach spots.
The air flow in a vacuum is the flowing of air from one area to another. It typically refers to the movement of air through the vacuum cleaner or main vacuum system. Combined with agitation, airflow is the most vital part of cleaning with a vacuum. This is the force applied by the moving air that actually lifts up the dirt and dust relocates it into the bag or dirt container. The easier it is for the air to flow throughout the vacuum system, the more detailed the cleaning performance of your vacuum will be.
When looking for your new vacuum, you may see the air flow shown in cubic feet per minute (CFM) as a rating for the appliance. For canister vacuum cleaners with an airflow of 100 CFM or more and water lift of 90 inches or more is generally recommended.
Upright vacuum cleaners can come in a various forms, but two designs are more common. First is the direct air design in which the dirt passes through the motor prior to any filtration on its way to the dust bag. The second design contains a by-pass motor where unfiltered air does not pass through the motor. With this design, only filtered or entirely clean room air passes through the motor in order to cool it. By-pass uprights usually provide airflow but not water lift specifications and a high performing upright will offer 60 CFM or better.
Suction power shows the actual capability tugging power of a vacuum motor. Powerful suction power is necessary to remove any dust, dirt, or allergens that exist on your hardwood floors.
The thing to keep in mind when comparing suction power from model to model is to not necessarily base your decision off of the amount of amps the vacuum uses. The suction motor takes the electrical power from the power source and converts it into mechanical power in the form of suction with air flow. The number of amps simply indicate how much energy the suction power of a vacuum uses, not how powerful it is. For example, if a vacuum uses three fans to create good suction power, it will require more energy or amps to run properly. This does not necessarily mean that it will perform better than a vacuum with one fan and less amps. The suction motor accounts for most of the current flow while the power nozzle motor typically has 1.5 amps flowing through it. The maximum rating permitted for household vacuums is 12 amps. If you happen to see anything higher than that, you are most likely looking at the Cleaning Performance Rating.
To get a good idea of the suction power of a vacuum, you should look at the CFM rating which measures air flow. Since good suction power is needed to provide adequate air flow, a high air flow rating means your suction power will be strong.
The reliability will be dependant on the brand that purchase. Well known brands like Dyson and Hoover produce consistently dependable and high quality vacuums. In addition, the well known brands typically have higher standards and back their products up with some sort of guarantee. Although a vacuum may be inexpensive in the short term, you could end spending more for repairs or even having to replace the vacuum in less than five years if it is of low quality.
That being said you should never just accept that a company's reputation will always mean they are going to produce reliable products. Like with any product, you should be sure to check consumer reviews before purchasing a specific model.
There are some extremely great hardwood floor vacuums on the market and it can be tempting to purchase the most powerful and fully loaded vacuum. However when shopping for your vacuum, you need to keep your own personal needs in mind. If you only plan on vacuuming every couple of weeks or sporadically, you really do not need to spend a large amount on a vacuum; but, if you vacuum a couple of times a week, have pets and children, or just clean frequently, then you will need to invest in a more expensive and higher quality vacuum.
Be sure to keep in mind that getting the best value does not mean getting as many features and add-ons as possible on your vacuum. It simply means that you are going to get be able to use the problems to meet your needs. There is no need to spend extra money on features you will not be able to use.