(January, 2010)

Got a Question? Ask Alice!
Queen Vacuum's mascot, Alice, is the go-to gal for all your vacuum-related questions!

Q: Elizabeth” from Lincroft asked:
I just moved into my first house and I want to get myself a good vacuum. But which design of vacuum is better? The kind that is upright, or the “pull behind” canister style?

A: Congratulations on your new home, Elizabeth! And great question - we actually get it here Queen Vacuum all of the time...but it’s a trick! This question does not really have a cut and dry answer. It all depends on what type of job you’re looking to do - how your house is set up and such. A certain amount of personal preference plays a role too.

Put it this way: A vacuum cleaner is a tool. Like many other tools they come in a variety of different forms, each for a slightly different purpose. Take saws for example. A chainsaw is indispensible for hacking off branches or cutting down a tree, but it’s not the best choice for making a clean, angled cut for your crown molding! Similarly, every vacuum cleaner has its own share of strengths and weaknesses.

Vacuums have come a long way, and some quality brands like Miele offer models that I call full-fledged, multi-tasking “hybrids!” But generally speaking, most upright vacuums do a better job on large expanses of carpet, but usually do not perform well at all (or may even cause damage) on bare/hard floors. Canister vacuums are typically more versatile, cleaning a variety of floor surfaces effectively, as well as dusting above-the-floor. The downside is that they can be cumbersome to drag around and usually run more expensive than uprights. Yet regardless of a machine’s performance features or abilities, it is useless if its user can’t physically handle it, has no place to store it, or just doesn’t like it (ah, the personal preference part).

If you’re contemplating the purchase of a new vacuum, I implore you to do a little “homework” first. For example, at Queen Vacuum, we offer our customers a simple pre-purchase questionnaire to fill out. It’s pretty cool! Your honest answers allow us to see what type of cleaning challenges your vacuum will need to face, what your likes and dislikes are, and how all of these criteria rank against each other in priority. This allows your salesperson to make a much more appropriate suggestion for which vacuums fits your personal criteria best. The rest is up to you.

Indeed, there are a number of other important characteristics that can have a dramatic effect on how well a certain model of vacuum will perform in your home, aside from the general format (upright vs. canister). In fact, If you’ve ever bought a vacuum and later come to hate it for any reason - you should understand how the smallest overlooked criteria can come back to annoy the heck out of you later! That’s why it always pays to think carefully ahead of time, and consult experts to help you understand your options.

- Alice

If you have a specific/interesting question about vacuums, cleaning, maintenance, product reviews, etc., that you would like to be featured in this segment... send an e-mail to: info@queenvacuum.com (Subject: "Ask Alice")
One lucky question will be selected for every issue!


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