Studies show dusting floor care like using a vacuum cleaner on a weekly basis will significantly decrease harmful allergens that pollute your home and lungs. However, we have found that not all models are great at floor care. In fact, the best feature what is referred to as a sealed system and utilize a HEPA filter. The sealed system prevents air leaks and the HEPA filter is used to control vacuum emissions. Without the HEPA filter, much of the dirt vacuumed up is blown right back of the vacuum into the air you breath and will likely exacerbate your allergy symptoms. Our industry-leading, product team tests, evaluates, and reviews each of the HEPA models we sell to ensure our selection is equipped to meet and surpass our stringent, cleaning expectations. To offer you the best perspective when considering a HEPA model, we have expert ratings and helpful customer reviews written by product owners. While our HEPA selection is a result of many criteria, ultimately we want to empower you to make the best choice for your family’s health.
Upright Vacuums - best for homes that have primarily wall to wall carpet.
Canister Vacuums - best for homes that have primarily hard surface floors.
Sebo Pet Vacuums - best for homes that you share with pets.
HEPA Vacuum Cleaners Buyers Guide for Allergies
Nowadays, allergy sufferers can choose from a wide selection of HEPA vacuum cleaners and brands. It is our experience that this is one of the few appliances where paying a bit more, yields dividends in terms of reliability, convenience and performance. Choosing a new vacuum can now be a daunting prospect, as all the major cleaner manufacturers seemingly offer the same choices. It is only when you take a closer look can you distinguish between them and choose one that best suits your needs and is helpful if you suffer from allergies.
Some Possible Considerations:
- Basic Style. Do you want a HEPA canister or an upright model? Do you have mostly carpets? If you have wall to wall carpets, then a traditional upright type might be the best choice for you as uprights have a beater bar which churn up dirt embedded below the surface of carpeting. On the other hand, if you have mostly bare floors and a few scatter rugs, then a canister can move seamlessly from one to the other and not make wheel marks on your hardwood floors.
- Specialty Vacuum Cleaners. Perhaps you have a special need like being easily lifted and lightweight for the elderly or disabled. Manufacturers have made huge strides in the handheld and categories in recent years, bringing them up to a level where they actually do a credible job. They are especially useful for the elderly or disabled such as those with back problems.
- HEPA Filters. Allergy and Asthma sufferers used to suffer when dust was emitted from the exhaust system but nowadays a good post motor HEPA filter and if possible an entire sealed unit, [the encasing] will do the trick. Unfortunately, we have found in our testing that they are not all made equally, and we have rejected far more from prominent manufacturers than we care to name. Many times a vacuum is HEPA in name only and wrongly placed within the machine and the dirt still comes spewing out the exhaust system. There are a very few models with washable HEPA filters but be warned they do degrade over time.
- Weight and Comfort. Many upright designs are very heavy while typically canisters are lighter weight. However, even some canisters are clumsy with no real maneuverability. Location of controls on the handle can be more convenient than controls that may require bending down all the time.
- Maneuverability. A number of manufacturers have made extraordinary strides in this area: both HEPA canister and upright vacuums in better models have heads that have almost 360 degree swivel making much easier to use and the heads lie flat so you can get underneath couches or beds.
- Attachments. Are you a basic, floor-only user? If so, then attachments will not be of importance to you. For those looking to vacuum upholstery and other surfaces, we have found that both Miele and Sebo offer the best selection of attachments to their HEPA models. Attachments to uprights used to be an afterthought, but now upright vacuum cleaner manufacturers are putting a few attachments onto the machine and using longer hoses so you can vacuum your couch or use the dusting brush.
- Noise. Consumers have become far pickier about the noise level of their vacuums and do not like it when the rest of the family or their pets flee at the sight of it. The better models of vacuum cleaners come with insulating materials and better made motors and fans, so they will operate far more quietly.
- Performance Motor Power (amps). Measures the amount of current used by the motor. A higher amp doesn’t necessarily mean more cleaning power. Airflow is a truer test of effectiveness. Interesting facts on air flow: Bags clog up and should never be used until full.
- Powerhead or Turbo head? Our rule of thumb is that if you have mostly carpets and a few scatter rugs, opt for a turbo head because they can go seamlessly from carpet to bare floor. On the other hand, a power-head has a brush roll and an additional motor which gives it extra power when it comes to sucking up the ground in dirt in carpets. Turbo heads are purely air-driven.
- Emissions. We have tested the room emissions right at the exhaust of a HEPA version. Newest HEPA models now say that the room particle count actually goes down after using them so you get some air cleaning benefit as well.
- Ease of Changing Tools. You will use tools if they are conveniently stored on board your machine, and if you can get them on and off easily. We particularly dislike those tools, which expect you to squeeze and push them to get them to fit or fall off once we started vacuuming. Miele vacuums win the ease of changing tools prize along with Sebo.
- Automatic Height Adjustment. Need to keep going from bare carpets to rugs? This feature will make life a lot easier.
- Air Volume Adjustment. Tired of sucking the curtains off the window or your precious Persian rug off the floor? This is a really necessary feature especially if you intend to use your accessories.
- Intuitive Controls. When we test, the first thing we look for is whether we can just plug it in and go without looking at the manual for assembly instructions and whether we can figure out the on/off switch and how to change the bag without it being a major production.
- Performance. Let’s face it you want to get up the dirt as fast as possible so you can put the it back in the closet. One of the most annoying demonstrations by those door to door sales people is to have you vacuum your carpet until you think it is clean, and then show you how theirs then picks up more dirt. Actually that trick will work with all models because none of them do a perfect job.
- Air Flow. Usually measured in cubic feet per minute [CFM] bigger is better.
- Dust bags or Bagless. Type of bag and size of bag. Bagless models in our opinion are still very allergy unfriendly and the non-allergy sufferer in the family should handle the dirt disposal. The quality of the bags does make a difference and the bags offered by Miele and more recently by Sebo are exceptional and improve the performance of the machine.
- Construction Quality. ABS plastic non-shiny finish. When you have spent a lot of money on a vacuum cleaner, we suspect that you would prefer if the finish is scratch resistant, so that it does not have a banged up look within a month. It is like having a new car with it its first scratches on it - it always feels like a let down.
- Cord Length and Automatic Rewind. Putting your foot down on an automatic rewind of twenty feet of vacuum cleaner cord can be a startling experience! A longer length cord is handy if you do not want to plug and unplug once you have started vacuuming. Upright vacuum cleaners do not have automatic rewinds and you have to remember to neatly wind up the hose after use.
- Brush Agitator (roller brush). The roller with bristles under the machine that spins when the machine is on. It increases the cleaning effectiveness on carpets.
- Edge Cleaner. Some upright models have a special edge extension tool for carpet edge cleaning; Canisters simply use one of the attachments.
- Optional Tools. Never be as foolish as to think if you have tools which you do not carry on board you will ever use them, but in the case of car cleaning or computer cleaning Miele has special tools and is king of the tool options but Sebo is closing in on them fast in terms of tool selection.
- Small Niceties. Place to hang the floor tool, parking, under the bed fold down flat. The Sebo upright can fold down flat for vacuuming under furniture which is something very few uprights can do, although all canisters can get at dust bunnies underneath furniture very easily.
Durability & Warranty
Your choices are simple; pay less and replace more often or pay more and keep it for years. Those people who are into durability should opt for Miele or Sebo vacuum cleaners. These brands will often last 10 to 20 years.