Buying guide

If you are considering buying a HEPA vacuum cleaner, this article will give you some useful tips and advice on the main features of vacuum cleaners with a HEPA filter.

How big is your house?

The first thing you need to think about when buying a HEPA cleaner is the size of your house. Common sense should tell you that you do not need a full size industrial vacuum cleaner if you have modestly sized accommodation to clean. Likewise, if you live in a mansion, then a compact, mini cleaner is not a wise choice.

How much do you use your vacuum cleaner?

Industrial vacuum cleaners are designed to be used 7 hours a day five days a week. Normal household vacuum cleaners are designed for 1 to 3 hours per week.

Cylinder or upright vacuum cleaners?

Some people have very strong preferences, but both have advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of cylinder cleaners
- Compact
- Tools included on unit
- Easy to move
- Allows easy transition from carpet to hard floor

Disadvantages of cylinder cleaners
- No so easy to store – needs plenty of room
- Regarded as not being effective as upright models

Advantages of upright cleaners
- Easy to store
- Often provide more suction power than the equivalently priced cylinder

Disadvantages of cylinder cleaners

- Heavy to move around
- Most do not have a fully sealed or post motor HEPA system
- Tools are not integrated into the unit

Other models

HEPA vacuum cleaners come in a variety of other styles and models, including backpack vacuum cleaners and central vac systems. Most of these also come with a variety of brushes and accessories.

Best Hepa Vacuum Manufacturers

Best HEPA vacuum cleaner manufacturers include Bosch, Electrolux, Royal, Fantom, Hoover, Miele, Kirby, Oreck, Eureka, and Sanitaire. All these companies offer a broad range of models incorportating HEPA technology.

For more HEPA vacuum buying tips click here.

HEPA vacuum cleaner feature list

1. Position of the HEPA filter
It is very important that the HEPA filter is located behind the motor to ensure that the exhaust is expelling allergen free air. The post motor feature is not commonly found in upright models.

2. Make sure that the HEPA filter is completely sealed
HEPA filters are only effective if they are completely sealed. Therefore you need to make sure that the bag and motor are sealed by rubber seals so that allergen and dust  laden air does not seep back out into the environment.

3. Two-Fan suction motor
Look out for two-fan suction models as these will have considerably more suction power than a single fan model.

4 The design of the on board tools
Tools are essential for getting into difficult crevices and cleaning upholstery and curtains. There’s not point in having tools is they are kept in the cupboard. Therefore models that have integral tools encourage greater use of these tools. Generally, upright models do not have many integral tools which is a big disadvantage.

5. Make sure the cleaner comes with a variety of attachments
Every cleaner should come with a dusting brush with soft bristles, upholstery tools and tools for getting into cracks and crevices.

6 Power nozzles in cylinder (canister) models
Power nozzles have a built in motor which means they can beat the carpet, much in the same way as an upright model. Cylinder models with this feature are much more efficient that normal nozzles.

7. Rotating brush control in upright vacuum cleaners
This feature is useful when moving from carpet to hard flooring. It is useful to be able to turn the rotating brush on or off at the flick of a switch.  

8. Controls
Regardless of whether or not you are using a cylinder or upright model, the controls should be intuitive and easy to use.

9. Make sure the hose and wheels cylinder models can swivel 360°
For ease of use, the hose and wheels need to be able to swivel 360° without moving the vacuum.

10. Length of power cable
25 feet is a good minimum length. In many models, the cord is retractable for ease of storage.

11. Dust bag change indicator

It is a useful feature to have a light to indicate that the dust bag is full. This encourages efficient use of the cleaner.

12. Type of hose
Make sure that the hose is long and flexible and is not prone to twisting or kinking.

13. Adjustable hose wands
When using tools, you will often need to reach up to high or trick places. Therefore the hose want needs to be easily and quickly adjustable.

14. Carpet height control
Carpets come in many thicknesses and you need to be able to adjust your clearer to suit the carpet type at a flick of a switch.

15. Manoeuvrability
Make sure the machine has large size castor wheels aid movement (smaller wheels are more difficult to move).

16. Weight
Housework can be hard work if you cleaner is too heave. For most people fifteen pounds is a good weight. But remember, you will may need to carry your hoover up and downstairs, so you need to make sure that you are able to lift the whole machine easily. (If carrying your clearer up and downstairs is an issue for you, consider investing in two clearers – one for downstairs and one for upstairs. Re-furbished or second-hand clearers are often sufficient for upstairs use).

17. Suction control switch
This control is important if you are going to use your HEPA cleaner for vacuuming curtains. Curtain hovering requires less suction than carpets, otherwise your curtains will get sucked into the hose. Therefore the cleaner should have an easy to operate suction control switch.

18. Location of the fan
Look out for the location of the fan as it is a better design for the dust and allergens to be sucked into the dust bag first before they hit the blower fan. If the other way round, they can blown into the room. Not all machines are optimised in this way, especially those that have recently added the HEPA feature to the design.

19. Blower control
It is a useful feature that the clearer should be able to blow as well as suck. This can be useful for blowing dust away from areas that are very difficult to reach.

20. Noise levels
Vacuum cleaners then to be noisy machines at the best of times, but it is worth checking out the noise levels with your supplier as some vacuums are less noisy than others.

21. Bagless vacuum cleaners
Bagless vacuum cleaners are not recommended for allergy sufferers as when you empty the dust unit, there is a big risk that dust and allergens will be released back into the room again.

22. Hygienic dust bags

Some cleaners have built in dust flaps which automatically close when you change a bag to prevent dust from escaping.