Different Types of Vacuum Cleaners and their Utilities

Vacuums have come a long way since their invention and are a lifesaver for deep cleaning tasks. In fact, they have become so advanced over the years and come in different variants with several smart and innovative features.

While cleaning your home may seem like a no-brainer, getting one of the right types of vacuum cleaners can actually be important. 

Here, we will discuss different types of vacuum cleaners, their features, and their utilities so that you can invest in the right type for all your cleaning needs. 

Upright Vacuum Cleaners

The upright vacuums are one of the most common even the earliest one amongst the different types of vacuum cleaners. 

Upright Vacuum


These vacuum cleaners stand straight or in an upright position; that’s why named as upright vacuums. They have a tilt and push design, plus the combination of powerful suction allows easy back and forth cleaning of your house floors. They also come in bagged and bagless options that you can choose according to your needs.

Best For

  • They include a motor-driven beater brush, that with powerful suction helps in loosening and removing dirt and dust thoroughly.
  • The Upright vacuums are a great choice for cleaning carpets as they come with a brush roll. You can turn off the brush roll for cleaning hard floors as well. 
  • With the height adjustment option, it allows you to clean rugs of various pile thicknesses.
  • Since the upright vacuum stands on its own, managing them is very easy.
  • This type of vacuum is best for cleaning large areas in one go due to its wide cleaning path.
  • Various onboard attachments make these vacuum cleaners a versatile appliance.
  • The latest models come in cordless variants also, which makes dealing with them very easy. 


  • They are quite bulky, so pushing and pulling the machine is quite difficult.
  • A bit noisy as well while in operation.
  • The upright design makes it difficult to reach the narrow and tight spaces like under the bed or sofa. Well, you need special attachments to clean these areas. 

Bottom line- If you have wall-to-wall carpet or lots of rugs, upright vacuum cleaners- especially the bagged models are the best choice.

Canister Vacuum Cleaners

The canister vacuum cleaners are better than the upright vacuums in terms of amazing airflow and suction power.

Canister Vacuum


The canister vacuum cleaner comes with a separate canister or tank with a long retractable hose and wand attached to it. The separate canister ensures easy maneuverability and flexibility of the vacuum. 

Best For

  • Featuring the motorized brush roll head, they can clean carpets, bare floors, stairs, cars, and under furniture very easily and effectively.
  • An array of attachments make these vacuum cleaners an ideal choice for cleaning upholsteries, draperies, and ceiling corners too.
  • This type of vacuum cleaner works best on a variety of surfaces and flooring (bare hard floors, carpeted areas, wooden floors, tiles, stairs, walls, ceiling)
  • Since they have a compact body and long hoses, you can easily clean stairs using them.
  • Best of all, these are easier to use as you only need to maneuver the flexible hose of the canister.
  • They ensure smooth and quiet operation.


  • Pricier than the upright models.
  • Dragging the canister around for cleaning the larger rooms and up and down the stairs is pretty difficult.
  • Quite bulky and so storage is also a bit difficult.
  • You need to assemble and disassemble the device before and after each cleaning session. 

Bottom line- Canister Vacuums are best for homes with a lot of stairs. Their performance is excellent, even on floors made of hardwood or tile.

Handheld Vacuum Cleaners

If cleaning hard-to-reach places is your main concern and you want maximum comfort while cleaning, the handheld vacuum cleaners are best to invest in. 

Handheld Vacuum Cleaner


These are lightweight vacuums that you can easily carry in your hand. There are no separate canisters, no hosepipe; the portable and compact design makes them ideal for cleaning small areas. They come in corded and cordless models with or without rotating brushes.

Best For

  • Handheld vacuums are lightweight and easy to use, suitable for on-the-go cleaning and cleaning of hard-to-reach corners.
  • These are battery-powered and are very handy for light and small spills, quick surface cleaning on short-pile carpets and bare floors.
  • Some smart models can handle pet hair and upholstery too.
  • With these vacuum cleaners, you can easily clean car interiors between the couch cushions and underneath the furniture. 
  • These are quiet in operation.
  • The best of all is that these are cheap and affordable compared to other types of vacuum cleaners.


  • These are not ideal for general floor cleaning as it takes too long to clean it.
  • Not as powerful as the full-sized upright or canister vacuum cleaners. 

Bottomline- The handheld models are very handy and are great for lighter cleaning tasks. 

Stick Vacuum Cleaners

Like the handheld models, stick vacuum cleaners are also light in weight and handle lighter cleaning tasks. These work the same way like an electric broom.

Stick Vacuum Cleaner


Like the name, these vacuum cleaners feature a stick-like handle with the motor located along it. They are somewhat between handheld and upright models of vacuum cleaners. Well, featuring a slim and lightweight design, these vacuums use a rotating brush and light suction to pick dirt and debris into the dustbin or bag. Plus, you also have the option to choose from corded and cordless models. 

Best For

  • The small size and maneuverability of this vacuum cleaner make it suitable for cleaning around furniture and tight spaces. 
  • They are most commonly used for quick cleanup areas, such as kitchen and bathroom, small carpeted areas, or hardwood floors.
  • You can also clean bare floors by turning off its brush roll. 
  • You don’t need to bend over to clean a mess on the floor, thus a biggest benefit for those with back pain issues. 
  • For more convenience, you can also convert it into a handheld model by detaching its wand.
  • The slim design of the stick models ensures easy storage.
  • Best of all, these are reasonably priced. 
  • The stick vacuums have longer handles to reach longer areas.


  • This type of vacuum is not very powerful like the full-sized vacuum cleaners.
  • Not ideal for deep cleaning, best for only quick touch-ups.
  • Comes with lesser attachments for different cleaning tasks.
  • Small dirt bin capacity, so you need to empty it frequently.
  • A bit noisy.

Bottomline- Stick vacuums reach easily to tighter spots and perform a great cleaning job on hardwood floors, area rugs, and light carpeting.

Steam Vacuum Cleaners

Steam cleaning is the best way to remove dirt and debris from various surfaces, and so the steam vacuum cleaners are there for it. The vapor emitted from these appliances not only removes tough stains, dirt and dust but also kills 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms to offer a clean environment. 

Steam Vacuum Cleaner


These vacuum cleaners come in two variants- Steam Mops and Cylinder Steam Cleaners. 

The normal steam mops are compact and light in weight for easy usage at your home. They come with in-built water tanks on their handles to clean up the messes and disinfect various surfaces. Some also come with a swivel head so they can clean under furniture and other difficult-to-reach areas. 

On the other hand, the cylinder steam cleaners are good for places like schools, railway stations, hotels, shopping malls, etc. They are a bit heavy, but the swivel wheels make them easy to move around. Plus, the oversized water tanks allow a longer cleaning session without refilling it again and again.  

Best For

  • These are great for removing tough stains and marks from the floors. The steam emitted from it helps in loosening the dirt particles, which are then cleared away using the mop. 
  • You can also use them to sanitize sealed floors, windows, tiles, and wall carpeting.
  • Some come with smart attachments to work best on carpets, curtains, and upholstered furniture too.
  • It takes less time to clean than conventional vacuum cleaners.
  • This type of vacuum cleaner requires less maintenance.


  • Chances of hot water spillage from it, so requires a lot more attention while using it to avoid any accidents.

Bottomline- Steam mops and vacuum cleaners are great for removing dirt, grime, and tough stains from floors and disinfecting them as well. 

Robot Vacuum Cleaners

If you want the hands-off convenience to clean the messes and spills on the floor, investing in a robotic vacuum cleaner is the best deal. It thoroughly cleans your house floor with no need to lift your finger. Just program it, and it will do the job for you, no matter whether you are in or out of your home.

Robot Vacuum Cleaner


These are compact disc-shaped vacuum cleaners that sucks dirt and debris through a retractable dustbin on the top of it. It works on an intelligent programming system that allows it to navigate rooms for cleaning. And the cleaning mechanism is enhanced by two rotating sweepers that are placed side by side. 

Best For

  • You don’t need to put any manual effort while vacuuming as it automatically does the job for you. 
  • With smart built-in sensors, the robot vacuum cleaner can navigate any space for cleaning.
  • Some hybrid robot vacuums supports both dry vacuuming and wet mopping.
  • The compact disc-shaped design allows it to easily reach under furniture or tough to reach spots for better cleaning.
  • It comes with the option of scheduled cleaning, so you can program it for a definite cleaning time. 
  • Many advanced models include a spot-cleaning feature that cleans out messes and spills on a specific area only.
  • Some models can be controlled via your smartphone or voice for added convenience.
  • A nice feature of it is that it can easily locate the charging dock when the battery is running low.


  • Expensive over the other types of vacuum cleaners.
  • The robot vacuum cleaners are not stair-friendly 
  • Sometimes they get stuck under the furniture or in tight corners.
  • Not ideal for shag carpeting or area rugs.

Bottomline- Robotic Vacuums offer ultimate convenience with their hands-free vacuuming and are best for cleaning dirt, dust, debris, and pet hair. 

Backpack Vacuums

The backpack vacuums are immensely getting popular these days that you can wear like a backpack while vacuuming. Thus, it offers ultimate convenience to people with back pain issues, as there is no need to bend down for cleaning and vacuuming. 

Backpack Vacuum


It comes with a canister that you can strap on your back, thus leaving your hands free to operate the vacuum hose and the attachment head.

Best For

  • These are ideal for cleaning different floor surfaces more quickly and efficiently.
  • It can hold large amounts of dirt and debris due to its high bin capacity. So no need to empty the dirt bin frequently.
  • The backpack vacuums are typically meant for commercial settings; some models are ideal for home use too.
  • It has a more powerful motor and a wider array of cleaning attachments compared to most household vacuum cleaners.
  • Ensure safety and don’t strain your back muscles.


  • Not ideal for cleaning thick and high pile carpets.

Some Specific Considerations for Vacuum Cleaners

Bagged Vacuum or Bagless Vacuum

One of the most important questions before buying a vacuum cleaner is whether to choose a bagged vacuum or bagless vacuum. Well, both have their pros and cons. 

The bagged vacuum cleaners come with a bag to collect dirt and debris into it. It also includes an indicator light, so when the dirt bag gets full, it lights up to notify you for the bag replacement. 

Bagged vacuums are best for allergy sufferers as no dirt, dust, and allergens escape back into the air. Plus, the maintenance of them is very easy.

On the other hand, bagless vacuums collect all the dirt and dust inside a transparent bin or cup, so that you can get a clear view inside when to empty the dust cup or dirt bin. These are eco-friendly options and less costly, but on the downside, when you empty the dirt cup, some particles escape into the air causing problems to allergy sufferers.

Corded Vacuum or Cordless Vacuum

In terms of performance, corded vacuum cleaners are the best option. To use them, you need to plug them into the power socket. They have powerful suction and give better results in cleaning. Here, you don’t need to worry about the battery life as you can use them for as long as you want. 

On the downside, they are heavier, and you need to plug the cable into different power points as you change rooms.

Contrary to this, cordless vacuums are light in weight and very convenient to use around the house, car, furniture, stairs, corners, crevices, and crumbs. But their small dust holding capacity and limited battery life is a limitation for cleaning bigger homes.

Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaners

Wet and dry vacuum cleaners are the best consideration for cleaning both the liquid spills and dry dirt. The best part is that these are not only good for homes but also for industrial and commercial places as well. 

They come with specialized attachments (powerhead, bare floor brush, dusting brush, upholstery brush, crevice tools, roller brush, etc.) to cater to various cleaning needs using a single tool.

Read Next: How to Clean and Maintain a Vacuum Cleaner?

One comment

  1. I really liked reading the segment of your article that talked all about stick vacuums and how they can be great for variable spaces. Those kinds of areas are really tough to clean around, so having an appliance that can work through those tight corners could keep our home clean very easily. As soon as I find a vacuum retailer in the area, I’ll look for stick models for sure.

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