The Best Cheap Vacuums for Moms on a Budget

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As a rule, keeping the house clean isn’t fun.  Not even a little bit.  But it is necessary, and having the right tools for the various jobs can make cleaning easier and more effective.  A good vacuum cleaner can make cleaning all of our floors and various other surfaces one of the best ways to control dirt, dust, and allergens like pet dander in our homes.  Finding the right vacuum cleaner can seem impossible, given how many different makes and models are out there today.  Knowing what sets different models apart and what to look for in terms of your needs is a good start to finding the right vacuum cleaner for you and your budget.


The first thing you should do is forget about looking for the most powerful motor or the machine that claims to have the best suction.  In reality, a vacuum cleaner’s airflow is what determines how well it performs.  A more powerful motor will produce more suction initially, but if the airflow system isn’t efficient, that suction won’t last for more than a few minutes after startup.  The machine’s motor powers a fan that pulls in air and accompanying dirt from the outside.  This dirt-filled air is moved through the machine, passing through one or more filters before the clean air is sent out through the vacuum cleaner’s exhaust port.  If this path is leaky at any point along the way, suction will be compromised, meaning less pickup power and a greater chance that the air exiting the machine isn’t as clean as it could be.  Since airflow is measured in cubic feet per minute, CFM, look for a model with a high CFM rating.


Next, consider your flooring.  Vacuum cleaners designed for carpet are made differently than those designed for bare floors.  Machines designed for carpet employ roller brushes that stir up dirt from below the carpet’s surface.  Bare floor models rely more on suction close to the surface to get the job done.  Bare floor models aren’t terribly effective at getting below a carpet’s surface, and carpet models tend to scatter more dirt across bare floors than they pick up.  Additionally, some roller brushes can be damaging to delicate hardwood floors.


When it comes to choosing a corded versus cordless model, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Corded models can be a pain to plug in and unplug multiple times as you move around the house, and who hasn’t had to deal with a plug being yanked out of the socket on multiple occasions?  Obviously, cordless models solve this problem, but are generally not quite as powerful as their corded cousins.  Also, if you’re leaning toward a cordless model, it’s important to know how long the unit will run on a single charge.  Vacuuming is even less fun if you have to do it in multiple sessions just to get through the house once.

When it comes to filtration, HEPA filters have pretty much become the standard, but aren’t actually necessary to manage most allergens, including pet dander.  You will want to opt for a HEPA system if the best control of bacteria and other microbial pathogens is a concern for you.


The choice of an upright versus a canister model is largely one of preference these days since most uprights come with an assortment of attachments that allow you to tackle furniture, stairs, baseboards, ceiling fans, etc.  Some newer vacuum cleaners even convert from an upright to a canister with very little effort.  Be sure to look for a model that will allow you to get under any furniture you don’t want to move.  Some models have a low enough profile to accomplish this, but some will rely on attachments for this task.


Visit for reviews of several of the top-rated wireless, battery operated, and rechargeable upright and handheld vacuum cleaners.  Handheld models aren’t the best choice for whole-house cleaning, of course, but can be a great adjunct to your main machine.  They’re ideal for the occasional dry mess or keeping your pet’s sleeping area(s) clean.  Since they’re usually cordless, they’re also great for vehicles.