What Parents Need To Know About Vacuum Cleaners

If you are like me then you are constantly worrying about the best ways to keep your children safe and protected. I may even go overboard and am probably a little too overprotective. This was probably the case when it came time for me to get a new our community. When it was time for our newborn to start crawling I got to think how close they were to all of the dust and allergens that were in the carpet and I started to research what I could do to remove it. Getting the right vacuum can make a world of difference. There are also certain precautions you should take as well.

What You Should Look For

The one thing that your new vacuum should have is a HEPA filter. This will remove most of the fine particles and keep them inside of the machine. It does not matter if you get an upright or a canister model, this will probably be the most important feature. For convenience you also want something that is easy to use. Bags can be a hassle which is why a lot of parents go with an upright. They are also easier to manuever around tight corners and will probably save your table and chair legs from scratches and dents.

Precautions For Your Babies

There is a slight risk that the dust that is kicked up and released by your vacuum may pose a risk to children. You should keep them out of the room until well after you are done to reduce this risk and let whatever dust may be floating in the air to settle.

You should also remember to keep your vacuum put away and out of reach of your kids. They are curious creatures that like to touch, pull, and climb on things and an upright machine can topple over and injure them. It is always hard to constantly keep an eye on them so keeping a heavy vacuum locked up is a good idea.

Which Type Should I Get?

For a lot of people, deciding on whether to buy an canister or an upright vacuum cleaner can be a little difficult, especially if it is the first time you are shopping for a new vacuum. It can be a little confusing trying to find a model that will be best for you. There is not one right answer for everyone as there are many factors that come into play.

  • What type of floors will you be cleaning?
  • Where to plan to store your vacuum? Is space tight?
  • Do you have pets that shed all over the place?
  • Do you have allergy concerns?
  • How much are you looking to spend?
  • How big of a house or apartment do you need to vacuum?
  • Do you have stairs that you need to clean?
  • What is your budget?

The answers to these questions can ultimately lead you to choose one type of vacuum cleaner over another. They both have their pro’s and con’s, but generally, they both can get the job done. So what are the differences between them?

Canister Vacuum Cleaners


Canister vacuums are smaller and able to get under furniture with greater ease. Vacuuming under beds, tables and chairs is usually less of a hassle. Most of the weight is based in the canister, which is on wheels, and the vacuum attachments are not that heavy. This makes cleaning stairs, or harder to reach places easier. A lot of people find that canister vacuums maneuver with less effort.

Retractable cords are another advantage as most of the newer models come with this as a standard feature. You do not have to waste time wrapping your cord around two hooks as is the case with most upright vacuums. A simple tap of a pedal or button on the canister and the cord gets sucked back into the machine. Very convenient.

Canisters are also typically smaller than uprights and take up less square footage to store. However, they can be a little cumbersome to get the hose and the upright attachments to stay upright and out of the way. Some people find that neither type of vacuum has a greater advantage over the other in this regard.

Canisters typically are better than uprights on hard surfaces floors such as wood and tile. With attachments they are also better to clean upholstery, drapes and furniture.


One of the biggest drawbacks of a canister vacuum is that you have to drag it behind while cleaning. It is hard to look at what your vacuuming while also keeping track of the canister behind you making sure that it does not bump into walls or furniture. It can also get hung up if you turn a corner in a hallway, putting a dent or ding in walls and baseboards.

Another knock that users have with canisters is the need to mess with vacuum bags. It is an added cost as well as a bit of a hassle to remove and install when compared to uprights.

Upright Vacuum Cleaners


Upright vacuums are generally thought to do a better job on carpets while having a little less success on harder surfaces. Having an adjustable roller brush that can be turned on or off can greatly improve hard floor performance however. They also have a wider path and can cover more ground.

Convenience is also a personal choice when it comes between uprights and canisters. While uprights may feel a little bit heavier to use since you are pushing the entire unit around, some folks like how they can just get the upright out of the closet, wheel it over and vacuum and then put it back as one unit. It may be a bit more bulky is some regards, but not having to drag the canister around is a big plus for upright owners.

Also pushing the unit in front of you, instead of dragging a canister behind you, enables the user to better control the vacuum and avoid putting minor dings or scratches in the walls or furniture. In this sense it is a lot easier to control.

A lot of today’s new models are also bagless, which saves on overall cost and time. Dirt and debris is collected into a dust cup whose contents can easily be dumped into the garbage. More bagless units today also have started incorporating HEPA filtration which is a big advantage for allergy sufferers.


Cleaning stairs, under furniture and getting into tight places are areas where uprights tend to struggle. Doing each individual step of a staircase can be a cumbersome chore. Cheaper uprights may not come with all the attachments that a canister might so cleaning drapes or upholstery is nearly impossible.

Unless you get a model that is able to fold almost flat, getting under tables and beds with a typical upright is not something that can easily be done.

Some folks also find that a tall and bulkier upright is not as convenient to store in a closet when compared to an canister vacuum. Like we stated earlier, this is more of a personal choice between the two when it comes to storing the vacuum as some people prefer uprights to canisters when it comes to putting the unit in closet and out of the way.

Bottom Line

Knowing the strong points and weakness of canisters and uprights can ultimately save you a lot of time, money and hassle. It all depends on which factors are most important to you and what type of home environment the vacuum will be operating in. Hopefully this will help make the decision a little bit less confusing and you can find the vacuum that is perfect for you.