How To Clean Your Home With Vacuum Cleaners? Types & Comparisons

All-rounder for every household: cylinder vacuum cleaner

Cylinder vacuum cleaners are what you typically think of as a vacuum cleaners. As a rule, the classic vacuum cleaners are connected to the power supply via a cable. To clean the surface, the user pulls the vacuum cleaner behind him on rollers while manually guiding the suction attachment over the surface.

Thanks to its high, adjustable suction power, the floor vacuum can also handle coarse and heavy dirt particles. Its capacity is usually very high so that users do not have to change the vacuum cleaner bag or dust box too often.

The various suction attachments make it a real all-purpose weapon: With them, the vacuum cleaner can get into every corner, removes cobwebs under the ceiling, cleans various floors, upholstered furniture, or the interior of the car.

However, the radius of action is limited by the length of the cable and the distance to the nearest socket – this can mean a little running back and forth in larger apartments or houses. Another disadvantage that careless users know all too well: While vacuuming, the cylinder vacuum cleaner can collide with furniture, which can cause dents on wooden furniture or painted surfaces. Compared to all other types of vacuum cleaners, cylinder vacuum cleaners also require the most storage space and generate a fairly high noise level.


  • Best suction power
  • Adjustable suction power
  • With various attachments, it can not only be used on the ground
  • Large capacity
  • Corners easily accessible
  • Suitable for every floor covering


  • Depending on the power grid and cable range
  • Loud in operation
  • Need a lot of storage space
  • Possible collisions with furniture

Little helpers for short assignments: hand vacuum cleaners

Handheld vacuum cleaners are characterized by their space-saving design. The suction tube, motor, dust container, and blower unit are built into a compact housing that the user can comfortably hold in one hand. As a rule, handheld vacuum cleaners are battery-powered vacuum cleaners that do not require a dust bag. This means on the one hand and unlimited radius of action but on the other hand only mediocre performance with a low number of watts and little suction power. There are also handheld vacuum cleaners with mains operation, which have a constantly high suction power and an even lower weight, but also have the disadvantage of a limited radius of action.

Thanks to various suction attachments and length-adjustable telescopic tubes, the handy devices are perfect for cleaning the angled interior of cars. But the benefits should not be underestimated in household use either:

Households with small children or pets in particular benefit from the quick availability of compact helpers. If the hearing pet has laid down on the sofa or the offspring has dumped the sugar bowl, the traces are removed in seconds. This is why this type of device is often referred to as a table and car vacuum cleaners. A retractable cord vacuum also comes in handy in such solutions as it is quick to grab and you can easily clean the surface. A list of some of the best retractable cord vacuums can help you to find the best choice for your home or commercial use.

However, the filter performance often leaves something to be desired with the handheld devices. Tests show that these devices emit up to ten percent of the fine dust, which is why they are less suitable for allergy sufferers.

They are the fastest and most efficient option for hard-to-reach places in the home or for coarse dirt spread over small areas. Since cleaning larger floor areas with a handheld vacuum cleaner would hardly be possible in a back-friendly way, they are more of a  supplement to the cylinder vacuum cleaner.


  • Lightweight
  • Every corner reachable
  • No need to buy a bag
  • Ready to use quickly
  • Hardly any space is required for storage
  • Favorable purchase price


  • Not suitable for cleaning large areas
  • Small dust box
  • Mediocre performance
  • Mostly poor filter performance

Particularly mobile compact devices: stick and stick vacuum cleaners

This vacuum cleaner design is known, among other things, as a stick vacuum cleaner, stick vacuum cleaner, or also an upright vacuum cleaner. They are often referred to as “handheld vacuum cleaners”, which is due to the fact that some devices are actually handheld vacuum cleaners with attachable telescopic handles and floor nozzles. As 2-in-1 devices, they can easily be converted into a compact handheld vacuum cleaner. In these vacuum cleaners, the device unit is combined with the suction tube and the handle to form a one-piece body and sits either near the floor above the nozzle or within easy reach of the handle part.

What the various models have in common is the elongated design, reminiscent of a broom or mop, which enables comfortable, back-friendly operation while standing. The devices are mainly available as a battery variant, and more rarely as a version with mains operation, optionally with cyclone technology or with a bag.

As a battery variant, stick vacuum cleaners are very flexible, so that even overhead use, for example, to remove cobwebs, is possible. However, this is more difficult than with conventional cylinder vacuum cleaners due to the higher weight of the suction tube. At 0.25 to 3 liters, the dust box is also smaller than the floor vacuum cleaners. Their absorbency and deep cleaning ability, especially on carpets, are generally weaker than their larger competition.

The compact stick vacuum cleaners are particularly suitable for floor cleaning in small apartments with little storage space or for quick cleaning in between. They are therefore to be understood as a kind of cheap interim solution or as a hand-held vacuum cleaner with an extended floor cleaning function.


  • Back-friendly vacuuming
  • Little effort required
  • Little space required for storage
  • Often convertible to handheld vacuum cleaners


  • Relatively low dust holding capacity
  • Weak deep cleansing
  • Lower suction power than cylinder vacuum cleaner

Independent helpers in daily use: Vacuum Robots

Consumers who are busy at work, in particular, like to rely on the small household robots, which largely make manual vacuuming superfluous. The robotic vacuum cleaners take over the work during the day so that you return to a clean apartment at the end of the day, but they also have their little problems in terms of mobility.

The devices have sensors,  by which they orient themselves in space and measure the distance to obstacles. They get their energy from a rechargeable battery that they charge at a base station. The cleaning is done by means of various rotating brushes or rollers fitted with rubber wipers. Smaller apartments with hard floors and little furniture are primarily suitable for using vacuum robots. Higher thresholds or stairs are often insurmountable obstacles for them. There is also the risk that they get caught in cables and tear down-sensitive objects.

A vacuum robot can be a great relief in everyday life, especially for allergy sufferers who depend on frequent vacuuming. Even if the robot does not reach all corners and does not achieve deep cleaning of deep-pile carpets, it still considerably reduces the amount of dust that is generated every day.

For people with pets, the vacuum robot can be a curse and a blessing at the same time: Although the device continuously picks up dog hair, four-legged friends sometimes pick up the humming intruder in their territory a little ungraciously. Ultimately, even users of a vacuum robot can not avoid purchasing a cylinder vacuum cleaner, the performance, and versatility of which remains unmatched by other types of the vacuum cleaner.


  • Work independently
  • Remove coarse dirt continuously
  • Cleaning hard-to-reach areas
  • Quiet in operation
  • No need to buy a bag


  • Helpless at high doorsteps
  • Problems with crowded, small rooms
  • Mediocre suction
  • Relatively low battery power
  • Low capacity
  • Comparatively expensive

With or without a bag?

A distinction is not only made between the design of different vacuum cleaners, but also the way in which the devices collect the dust. There are basically two methods: vacuum cleaner with a bag and bagless vacuum cleaner

Bag vacuum cleaners – the particularly powerful ones

Vacuum cleaners with bags catch the sucked-up dirt in an air-permeable container. With a market share of around 70 percent, they are still ahead of the bagless vacuum cleaners. In these models, a turbine draws in the air. It flows through the suction nozzle, the suction tube, and the flexible suction hose and reaches the bag, which filters out and collects the dirt it contains.

The air sucked in passes through at least two filter stages in the bag vacuum cleaner.

After the air has passed through the bag and given off the coarse-grained dust in the bag, it goes through the exhaust air filter for the smallest particles. The vacuum cleaner releases the sucked-in air through an exhaust air grille, now freed from coarse and fine dust particles as far as possible, back into the environment.

Vacuum cleaner bags have to reconcile two actually incompatible properties. Your shell should be so air-permeable that it offers little resistance to the air and hardly minimizes the suction force. At the same time, it should be tight enough to hold even the finest grains of dust in the bag.

A distinction must be made between bags, which consist of two to five layers of differently grained paper, and those made of non-woven fabric.

The classic consists of multi-ply paper with different coarse grains and provides sufficiently thorough and hygienic cleaning. Thanks to the recyclable material, they are more environmentally friendly than the alternative made of special fleece with a plastic component. The fleece bags are able to separate up to 99.9 percent of the dust particles.

Fleece dust bags are usually more expensive than paper bags, but they promise a high degree of separation.

Finding the right bag for the vacuum cleaner is anything but easy: there are around 8,200 different vacuum cleaner models from different manufacturers on the market, compared to a variety of 1,200 different bag types. The problem: There is no DIN standard for vacuum cleaner bags.

Bag chaos!

Vacuum cleaners in connection with high-quality bags are a good choice, especially for allergy sufferers, as they can be disposed of without further raising dust. As a rule, they also work more quietly than cyclone models  (58 to 70 decibels), although they achieve greater suction power when the bag is empty or less full. However, this decreases with increasing bag filling, since the sucked-in air encounters increasing resistance when flowing through the bag and the filter system. This can also cause unpleasant smells and blow them back into the room.

With a price of 30 to around 400 euros, vacuum cleaners with a bag are a bit cheaper than the bagless version. However, consumers should also take into account the follow-up costs resulting from regular bag purchases. The best-known manufacturers include AEG, Bosch, Miele, and Siemens.


  • Cheaper than bagless models
  • Usually quieter than vacuum cleaners without a bag
  • Slightly stronger suction
  • Optimal filter performance possible
  • Allergy-friendly thanks to hygienic bag disposal


  • Separate bag purchase necessary
  • The suction force decreases with increasing bag filling
  • Greater weight
  • Unpleasant smell of the exhaust air possible

Bagless vacuum cleaners – the environmentally friendly ones

The advantages of bagless vacuum cleaners are that they do not require any consumables such as bags or filters,   show no loss of suction power, and provide a constantly high suction power even when the dust box is almost full. Since the air is not passed through this collecting container, unpleasant odors are also excluded. The disadvantage is that the user has to empty this container regularly and dust is raised, which is a real drawback for allergy sufferers.

Bagless vacuum cleaners do not collect the separated dust in a bag but in a dust collector. This eliminates the bag’s filtering capacity. Instead, most bagless models separate dust and dirt particles using the cyclone principle. A distinction must be made here between single cyclone and multi-cyclone vacuum cleaners and, as a special form, water vacuum cleaners.

Single cyclone vacuum cleaner

The cyclone principle is simple: air flows into a conical container. A cyclone is created there, in which the heavier dust particles are pressed to the edge by the centrifugal forces and separated into the collecting container. The device sucks the clean air in the middle upwards. Since the air only passes through this one cone,  finer dirt particles are not completely removed. In addition, the exhaust air flows through a central paper filter, which the user has to clean regularly so that the device does not lose its suction power.

The operating principle of a single cyclone vacuum cleaner makes use of the principles of physics.

Since the cleaning of the central paper filter is relatively complex and not very user-friendly,  a multiple cyclone vacuum cleaner was developed by Dyson as early as the 1980s  and is standard today.

Does that still make sense today?

Multi-cyclone vacuum cleaner

The functional principle of the modern multi-cyclone vacuum cleaner is basically the same as that of the single cyclone. After the air has been diverted from the first cyclone, it goes through several smaller cyclones in the second cleaning phase. These have a smaller diameter and achieve a higher rotation speed. This also removes smaller dirt particles. The more cyclones are used in the vacuum cleaner, the lower the proportion of fine dust in the exhaust air. A central paper filter is not necessary with this mode of operation. Well-known manufacturers are Dyson, Philips, and Rowenta in addition to the ones mentioned above.

In addition, multi-cyclone vacuum cleaners tend to be more expensive to purchase and louder to operate. The purchase of such a device costs between 35 and 1,400 euros, depending on the model.


  • No loss of suction power
  • No need to buy a bag or filter
  • Lighter weight
  • Odorless exhaust air


  • Louder in operation
  • Not allergy friendly because of dust turbulence when the container is emptied
  • More expensive to buy

Water vacuum cleaners – the hygienic ones

Vacuum cleaners with water filters are a special type of bagless vacuum cleaner and should not be confused with wet vacuums, which are used to vacuum up liquids. Instead of a dust bag, they have a water tank through which the dusty air is passed. Dust and dirt particles remain in the water, the cleaned air escapes through an additional filter; the water takes on the main filter function.

Water vacuum cleaners work with water tanks instead of bags.

The cleaning effort is relatively high with water vacuum cleaners since the user has to pour out the dirty water after each cleaning process in order to prevent the formation of mold, bacteria, and odor. By adding scented oils to the water tank, the room air can in turn be filled with pleasant scents.

There is no loss of suction power with vacuum cleaners with a water filter. However, the water filling makes the devices relatively heavy, which affects handling in larger apartments or multi-story buildings. The devices are highly recommended for allergy sufferers: Although contact with the dust cannot be ruled out when the tank is emptied, the risk is significantly lower than when disposing of a dust bag or emptying the dust box, since the dust is bound in the water. With a  degree of cleaning of up to 99 percent, the vacuum cleaner with a water filter even improves the overall room climate. The price for a new water vacuum cleaner is 40 to 400 euros, with a price of around 150 euros for a high-quality device.


  • No loss of suction power
  • No need to buy a bag or filter
  • Odorless exhaust air
  • Allergy-friendly


  • Frequent emptying and filling of the water tank necessary
  • If handled incorrectly, susceptible to mold and germ formation
  • High weight

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