Vacuum Cleaner Types, Pros and Cons


In older times, people used to mob and scrub the floor with hand and it took a lot of time in cleaning. Technological advancements have made human life easy. Nowadays, cleaning has become effortless and effective with invent of vacuum cleaners. This article focuses on different types of vacuum cleaner. Before getting in detailed description of each vacuum cleaner type, let’s explore vacuum cleaners basic working.

Vacuum cleaner works on basic Bernoulli’s principle of physics. It uses suction to collect dirt, debris and pet hair from hardwood floors, carpets, upholstery, car interior and stairs. Modern vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters improve air quality of room and remove allergens, reducing allergy prone disease.

Vacuum cleaners are classified into five basic types. They are classified on basis of size, shape and features. Some vacuum cleaners are designed as 2 in 1 vacuum cleaners.

Following are five types of vacuums, followed by description, pros and cons of each type.

  1. Canister vacuum
  2. Upright vacuum
  3. Handheld vacuum
  4. Stick vacuum
  5. Robotic vacuum

Canister Vacuum

Canister vacuum cleaners are popular in European countries. These are powerful, versatile and can have several attachments. Canister vacuums have motor and dust collector packed, in a separate unit mounted on wheels. This unit is connected to vacuum head by a flexible hose. This design makes this type of vacuums versatile and convenient maneuverability. Vacuum head can access under furniture areas and can perform effectively on above ground. They are recommended for hardwood floors, corners, stairs and vertical walls. Canister vacuums don’t suck dirt from carpets as effectively as of upright cleaners. But, many canisters come with beater brushes as additional attachments that give improved performance over carpets and rugs.

canister vacuum with rotating brush


  • Flexible and versatile
  • Provides easy maneuverability
  • Gives good cleaning performance for bare floors, upholstery and stairs
  • Bagged and bagless options


  • Less compact as of upright cleaners
  • You need to assemble the unit before using it.
  • Don’t give good results over carpets

Upright Vacuum

Upright vacuum cleaners are popular in USA and Britain. They are also referred to as traditional vacuum cleaners. All the components i.e. motor, filter, dust cabin and the power head are integrated into single unit in an upright manner. They employ motor driven beating brush to dislodge and collect dirt through powerful suction. Upright vacuums come with several attachments increasing its versatility. They have wider cleaning path, motorized bristles and large dust bin for deep cleaning of thick and dense pile carpets. Additional features include height adjustment options, enabling it to be used for different floor types. You may easily shift from carpet to bare floors with click of a button. These attributes makes upright vacuum cleaner, best vacuum cleaners for hardwood floors and carpets.


  • Good for carpeted floors
  • Performs well on high pile carpets and rugs
  • Offers wider cleaning path
  • You don’t have to bent down, as while using canisters


  • Difficult to clean under low profile furniture
  • Heavier and large
  • High operational volume

Handheld Vacuum

Handheld vacuums are lightweight and easily maneuverable cleaners. They are ideal for tight corners and hard to reach areas that need urgent clean, also good at cleaning small spills and car interior. They are available as corded and cordless designs

handheld vacuum


  • Lightweight and easy handling
  • Ideal to clean tight spaces and hard to access corners
  • Good for small messes, spills and car interior
  • Easy storage


  • Less powerful than canister and upright
  • Cordless handheld vacuums have limited operational time
  • Less capacity than other vacuum types

Stick Vacuum

As the name suggests, stick vacuums use long sticks for cleaning narrow corners and nooks in kitchen and bathrooms. They lie in middle of handheld and upright vacuums. They offer convenience as of handheld and are designed in an upright construction. They perform well on low pile carpets, hardwood floors and walls. Lightweight and compact design makes storage easy. Dyson offers efficient stick vacuums equipped with cyclonic technology giving powerful and uniform suction over the duty cycle.

Stick vacuum cleaner


  • Lightweight and portable
  • May be used as handheld vacuums
  • Ideal for picking up small messes
  • Good surface cleaning offered


  • Not recommended for deep cleaning
  • Compromised performance for carpets
  • Battery powered stick vacuums have limited operational time
  • Lacks useful features and attachments

Best Stick Vacuum Cleaners

Robotic vacuums are latest and modern addition to vacuum cleaner types. They navigate around home freely and perform cleaning jobs on their own. They are equipped with programmable features, giving you complete freedom. You may feed the complete layout of your house and assign cleaning tasks to your smart robotic vacuum cleaner. It will take care of your cleaning requirements and will also recharge itself when needed. Although, they are not powerful as compared to traditional vacuums, but they do offer convenience and easy clean.


  • Hands-free vacuum cleaning
  • Navigates in entire house on its own
  • Sensors detects dirt and collects easily
  • Ideal for busy persons


  • Programming can be difficult for layman
  • Not recommended for thick and high pile carpets
  • Not powerful as of upright and canister vacuums
  • Less operational time on battery

Best Robotic Vacuum Cleaners

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I choose a vacuum cleaner?

There are so many vacuum cleaners available in market to confuse the user. They are classified into different vacuum type depending on size, style and features. Few important parameters are listed below for consideration before buying a vacuum cleaner.

  • Type of cleaning surface
  • Carpet type
  • Traffic
  • Durability and quality
  • Performance of vacuum
  • Type of filtration
  • Capacity
  • Additional attachments offered

Which vacuum cleaner type is good?

As we have discussed above the vacuum cleaner types. Best vacuum cleaner type depends on your particular requirement. Below are the few applications of each type, to give you a generic idea.

  1. Canister vacuum: Hardwood floors, small carpet area, stairs
  2. Upright vacuum:   Carpets, Rugs, Hardwood floors
  3. Handheld vacuum: Car interior, corners, edges, small carpet areas
  4. Stick vacuum: Corners, under low profile furniture
  5. Robotic vacuum: Automatic cleaning of multi-surfaces

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