Better for Pets - Upright or Cannister?
Way back in 1907, the modern portable upright vacuum cleaner was invented. They had a motor-driven brush in the nozzle, and cleaned carpeting very well. The attachments were not "on board", and had to be hooked up manually. The suction was not very good with the attachments, and in most cases the attachments remained in the closet, unused. The upright was popular in the North, where it was cold and people had huge room size area rugs.
In the mid 1920's, the tank-type (canister) vacuum was launched in America. It was light weight, had amazing suction to power the attachments, and cleaned hard wood floors like a dream - making it very popular in the South where people had acres of beautiful old hardwood floors to vacuum. Canisters cleaners excelled at doing 'the dusting' of furniture, blinds, and ceiling fans. Not to mention dusting walls, ceilings, and cleaning automobiles. Stairs were no problem for tank-type cleaners.
Fast forward to today. Vacuum cleaners are traditionally upright types with 'on board' hose and attachments sets. This makes the upright very heavy, as the attachments (and their weight) have to be pushed with every cleaning stroke of the upright over the rugs. Using them is more difficult today, as the hoses are made short to fit on the back of the cleaner and stretch when being used. The suction inside the hose 'pulls back' forcefully while in use, so the consumer 'fights' the hose while cleaning the sofa.
For those of us with pets, especially large shedding pets, we find ourselves in hairy situations constantly. Add to that the lack of wall to wall carpets in modern homes as well as the fact our homes are better insulated (keeping all the dust inside the house), a good Canister type cleaner is a Must Have! A canister vacuum will have a bare floor brush attachment - like they did 90 years ago, to clean bare floors without raising a particle of dust, unlike a broom or dust mop. A good canister vacuum will have a powered pet hair attachment for cleaning anything that has pet hair on it. The pet hair tool Also Cleans stairs, car interiors, mattresses, etc.
A good canister vacuum cleaner will have excellent filtration, since it is being used for all the dusting in the home. A HEPA disposable bag to contain the dust, and a HEPA exhaust filter mean the returning air stream is scrubbed clean and air cleaner than you are breathing is returned to the room. The attachments on a good canister cleaner will be high quality and useful, and a good canister will also have a revolving brush attachment (known as a power head) for the carpeting.
If you want an all-around cleaner that will "do it all", a canister vacuum is definitely the way to go. Regular discount and department stores do not carry canister vacuums as they should be demonstrated so the consumer can understand all the things it will do for them. Most stores don't have employees that are so knowledgeable about vacuums, and so cannot explain them to consumers. A vacuum cleaner specialty shop (Vacuum Shop) is a local store with trained staff who can take the time to share their knowledge and make sure you go home with the right vacuum for YOU.
At first glance, it would seen to most consumers that bag-less vacuums are better than bagged cleaners. Bag-less cleaners are the main type of machine sold in Big Box Stores as well as most retailers. The fact that the dust and dirt are both easily seen and easily emptied give the false impression of a completely clean house with almost no work and no additional cost. Both are not true. Let's look at why.
A vacuum cleaner moves air. From the cleaning nozzle hugging the carpet to the exhaust grate on the front (or back), the air has to move. It's that movement of air that picks up and carries away the dirt. The swirling dirt inside a bag-less vacuum means the motor has to move the dirt as well as the air inside the container. As the air moves, the fine dust is drawn to the foam or pleated filter. This is our first problem.
Many people do not know there is a filter. They empty the dirt, but give the machine no other thought. Until it begins to clog. The lack of airflow caused by a dirty filter not only fails to pick up all the dirt, it also causes the motor (which is cooled by the air flow) to overheat. Many bag-less cleaners have a life expectancy of only 2 to 3 years, at most. Vacuum cleaner professionals recommend the pre-motor filter on a bag-less vacuum be washed or cleaned after each full use of the machine.
There is the second problem. The dust and dirt are 'in your face' when you empty the container, plus the filter (dripping with dirt) now has to be removed by hand (nasty) and washed at the sink. The filter must be allowed to dry for 24 hours - good luck if you need to use the machine again within those crucial drying hours.
On the other hand, a vacuum that uses a bag has so many advantages over the bag-less models - not to mention the tripled life expectancy of a bagged cleaner. The moving air stream picks up the dirt, and brings it into a HEPA disposable bag where the air is filtered of all the dust. The air can escape the bag freely since the bag has so much surface area. The motor stays cool. Your rug is clean and the vacuum lasts.
The small cost of disposable bags is likened to the small cost of trash can liners. Imagine a 'bag-less' trash can in the kitchen? Disposable vacuum cleaner bags were invented in 1920 to save people from the disagreeable and dangerous task of emptying cloth vacuum cleaner bags by hand. Dust itself is disagreeable, but the germs and bacteria it contains is harmful to breath. When that dust and its germs are contained in a HEPA bag, you touch NO dirt, you breath NO dirt, and you see NO dirt. It's a clean way to remove the dirt that accumulates in cleaning. Once the bag is replaced, there is no dirt in your machine or on your machine.
When shopping for a new vacuum cleaner, remember your hometown Vacuum Cleaner Professional. He knows all the ins and outs of vacuum cleaners. He can repair vacuums and can make informed recommendations on a new model. There is No One at Big Box Stores to help you make an informed decision. Infomercials and TV ads likewise do not take your own personal cleaning requirements into account. Just because something looks good on TV doesn't mean it will perform that way in your home, nor does it mean it will last.
Make it a point to reach out to your local Vacuum Cleaner Professional when looking for a new Vacuum Cleaner. After all, there's a reason he's a Professional. Let his skill and knowledge guide you to the perfect vacuum cleaner for your individual cleaning requirements.