Which type of vacuum cleaner is best for you?

Vacuums, they are one of those necessary expenses that we all have to replace someday. These days there are so many on the market, where do you even start?

Most Australians own a vacuum cleaner and are arguably one of the most common household appliances. However, when the vacuum cleaner first entered the market, there was only one model available. 

These days, there are so many models and types available it’s hard to know where to start. Are stick vacuums better than those with a drum? What about robot-vacuums? Find the answers to all your questions and more in our list of the 6 types of vacuums to compare before you buy your next one.

Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

6 Types of Vacuums to Compare in Australia

1. Cordless handheld vacuums.

Handheld vacuums are perfect for cleaning small areas and quick touch ups! They’re tiny and compact, which makes them great for cleaning your car.

Pros of handheld vacuums:

  • Size.
  • Manoeuvrability
  • Storage 

Cordless handheld vacuums are really easy to store, often not exceeding the size of a box of Weetbix. Making them the perfect option for those living in small homes or apartments. Many also come with wall hooks, so they can be easily hid away in a cupboard. 

Due to their compact size, these tiny vacuums are ideal for picking up debris in corners and small spaces.

Cons of handheld vacuums:

  • Must be charged.
  • Can’t clean the entire home. 

One of the cons of cordless handheld vacuums is you must remember to charge them! When shopping around for one, ensure you get a model with a long enough battery life to suit your needs.

Due to their size, these vacuums also aren’t very powerful. While they’re great for picking up crumbs, they won’t be capable of cleaning your entire home.


Cordless handheld vacuums vary greatly in price, ranging from $20 to $100+. 

A handheld cordless vacuum is a great addition to your home, especially if you’re often cleaning up small messes. They’re great value for a small price, but unfortunately you’ll still have to purchase a larger vacuum


2. Canister Vacuums

Canister vacuums are one of the most common vacuum types in Australian homes. They consist of a tank with a long hose and many detachable head options making them extremely versatile.

Pros of canister vacuums:

  • Lightweight.
  • Powerful.
  • Easier to manoeuvre than other types 
  • Retractable cord.
  • Quiet 

These vacuums are great for cleaning almost anything. They have a motorised brush head, which allows for a deep clean of all surfaces, including those pesky carpeted floors. The canister vacuum is one of the most powerful options on the domestic market.

Sometimes known as barrel vacuums, canister models are designed to be compact, making storage easy, especially if you live in a small apartment. They also come in a variety of sizes, so there is bound to be one to suit the size of your home. 

The barrel and hose design allows for easy manoeuvring, even up stairs and under the couch.

Cons of canister vacuums:

  • The canister 
  • Frequent bending required 

Like everything, there are a few cons to the classic canister vacuum. The first one is the most obvious; you have to be pulling something around behind you at all times, which can become awkward. Not to mention the possibility of the canister running into things and damaging them. 

If you’re someone who suffers from back pain, this type of vacuum is probably not for you. Due to the nature of the design they do require you to bend over frequently.


Pricing for canister vacuums varies drastically. Depending on the suction power desired, size, weight, noise level and attachments you’re after will fluctuate the price a lot. On average, a good canister vacuum will set you back between $150 to $1,500, depending on your preferences.


3. Robotic Vacuums

Robotic vacuums are a relatively new addition to the domestic cleaning market. They allow users to ‘set and forget’ their vacuums while they go about the more fun aspects in their lives. Their popularity is growing rapidly, as is the range and types of robotic vacuums available in Australia.

Traditionally, robotic vacuums are a circular shape with invisible wheels on the base for ease of movement.

Pros of robotic vacuums:

  • ‘Set-and-forget’ nature.
  • Small and compact
  • Intelligent mapping 

Naturally, the most appealing advantage of robotic vacuums is not needing to physically vacuum — who wouldn’t want that! Many of these robotic vacuums now have intelligent mapping, which allows the robot to know where it has already cleaned. 

Robotic vacuums also connect to your wifi allowing you to remotely control when your home is being cleaned. Furthering on this you’re also able to set up a cleaning schedule for your robot. 

While the robot’s ability to clean corners was once a major concern of many consumers, most robotic vacuum cleaner manufacturers have now rectified this. Robotic vacuum cleaners are now even able to spot clean small spills.

Cons of robotic vacuums:

  • Price
  • Pre-cleaning 
  • Risk of getting stuck 
  • Frequent emptying required 
  • Shorter battery life
  • Can’t go up stairs 

It’s well known that good robotic vacuum cleaners are not cheap. This is most likely the reason they are not a standard in Australian homes. However, while they have become more affordable over the years, they still retail significantly higher than more traditional models, on average.

Furthermore, robot vacuums also have a habit of running into things, and getting stuck. So, it’s likely you’ll be required to do a ‘pre-clean’ before you let your robot do the rest of the work. Also, if you have multiple floors, you’ll need multiple robots as they are unable to navigate stairs.


Robotic vacuum cleaners can be put into two categories; smart and non-smart. A non-smart robotic vacuum will set you back between $200 to $500, depending on your model of choice. If you’re after a smart robotic vacuum, expect to pay between $500 to $2000, depending on the features you’re after.


4. Wet & Dry Vacuums

Wet and dry vacuums are great if you’re in need of a commercial-level vacuum. As the name suggests, this type of vacuum is capable of vacuuming both wet and dry surfaces, just make sure you clean them out well.  

Traditionally these vacuums encompass a similar design to canister vacuums. Having a large barrel on wheels connected to a hose and vacuum head.

Pros of wet & dry vacuum cleaners:

  • Versatility.
  • High manoeuvrability 
  • Can clean any surface or substance 
  • Very powerful 

Wet and dry vacuums are extremely versatile! You can clean up practically everything, from small to large debris. The best part, you can even vacuum up liquids, which is great for cleaning out chest freezers. 

This type of vacuum is also very powerful. As they are designed for commercial use, their power trumps most domestic vacuums. They are also highly maneuverable, with specially designed wheels allowing for full 360 degree movement of the barrel.

Cons of wet & dry vacuums:

  • Often larger in size.
  • They may smell.
  • Weight. 

Due to their commercial heritage, wet and dry vacuums are usually quite heavy, even when they are empty. This is something important to keep in mind if you suffer from injuries or ailments which may hinder your ability to lift some heavier weights. 

Wet and dry vacuums do tend to smell too, which is a given due to the nature of the vacuums intended use. However, it is something that can be avoided if the vacuum is cleaned out well after every wet use.


Pricing for wet and dry vacuum cleaners is often slightly more than your average canister vacuum. There is a model available for any price point with prices starting from $200 and going to upwards of $1,000. 

In short, it is unlikely  you will require one of these in your home. However, in a small commercial business, they will likely be of great use.


5. Upright Vacuums

Upright vacuums are often considered the ‘traditional’ vacuum as they are the closest in design to the flagship vacuum designed in the early 1900s. They are arguably the simplest vacuum design on the market. 

Pros of the upright vacuum cleaner:

  • Simple and easy to use.
  • Easy to store.
  • Better for large areas.
  • Easy to empty.
  • Greater suction.
  • Often bagless. 
  • Quicker clean.

These vacuums come highly recommended for those with back problems as there is little bending involved in its use. Traditionally, these types of vacuums have greater suction and a large head than other types allowing for a quicker and more in-depth clean. They pick up stubborn pet hair and dust and dirt with ease.

Cons of the upright vacuum cleaner:

  • Often loud.
  • Heavy 
  • Can’t get into small spaces.

While these vacuum cleaners are great at getting up all the dirt that makes its way into your home, they will most likely struggle to clean under things such as couches and tight corners due to their size. If your house has stairs and lots of nooks and crannies this vacuum may not be the best choice for you.

Depending on your home these vacuum cleaners may be hard to store, their often large size and weight make them hard to hide away unless you have a big enough upright cupboard. In saying this, some upright vacuums will come with a wall attachment to hang them from your wall in a large pantry or cupboard. 

Due to their power, upright vacuums are one of the loudest vacuums on the market. So, if you’re looking to purchase one, try and find a model under 75 decibels.


Due to the wide range of upright vacuums available on the market, there is an upright vacuum to fit everyone’s budget. A very basic low-end upright vacuum cleaner could set you back as little as $50, whereas a top-of-the-range model can be upwards of $1,000. Don’t worry though, as there are plenty of great upright vacuum cleaners available for a reasonable cost.

6. Stick Vacuums

Stick vacuums are easily the most maneuverable vacuum designs on the market. They are extremely popular as they are very lightweight and their rotating brush head allows debris to be easily sucked up into the often bagless canister.

Pros of stick vacuums:

  • Lightweight.
  • Highly functional head.
  • Often bagless

Stick vacuums are very high in popularity due to their lightweight nature. They’re the perfect choice for anyone who struggles to lift heavy items or cannot strain their backs. This aids in their ability to maneuver easily around furniture. 


Cons of stick vacuums:

  • Cleaning ability is less.
  • Battery life can be short 

Due to the lightweight nature of this type of vacuum, it is fitted with a less powerful motor. As a result, suction power of the vacuum is often less than a higher-powered model. This may prove as a problem if you’re looking to clean thick surfaces, such as carpet.

Another issue for many is a low battery life. Like all cordless appliances, stick vacuums require charging. The battery life may not be great enough to vacuum an entire home in one go.


As with all vacuums, the prices vary greatly depending on the features you require. If you’re looking for one with good suction and a long battery life, be prepared for a higher price. The average price for a stick vacuum sits between $70 and $450. 

Note: While cleaning your home with a vacuum cleans the carpet surface it is recommended that carpets be professionally cleaned once a year.


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      Katrina Stapleton

      Senior Digital Content Specialist

      Katrina Stapleton is a Senior Digital Content Specialist at Localsearch with a background in social media and marketing. Although most of her experience lies in the entertainment sector, Katrina has written content for a vast array of industries including tourism, hospitality, retail and property development. Katrina is an avid dog lover, who finds a way to weave her fur-baby, Mylo, into most conversations. Aside from being a self-confessed bookworm, Katrina can often be found checking out the Gold Coast's latest coffee nook, paddle-boarding or baking up a storm in her free time — all with Mylo by her side, of course! As a Senior Digital Content Specialist, Katrina enjoys sharing her knowledge and passions on the Localsearch Blog.