The best vacuum cleaner (for me)

Dust seems to be one of those things that just invades and clutters your home no matter how much you try to prevent it.  And while it’s a pain to clean it up (and believe me, I don’t consider myself very domestic!), we all have to at some point.

The characteristics of a good vacuum cleaner are:

  1. Runtime – It has to last long enough to get through your cleaning cycle.
  2. Suction – It needs to have enough suction to pull up whatever you are trying to clean.
  3. Disposability – Throwing out a nasty dust bag can create a huge mess of its own.
  4. Accessibility – Can you pull the vacuum out and clean something up on a moment’s notice?  Will you have to find an outlet first?
  5. Size/Weight – it must be light enough to use comfortably.  A heavy vacuum cleaner can be not only unnecessary for the task, but also make you more unlikely to do any cleaning at all.

Based on all of the above, I settled on the Dyson DC35 (there are newer models now … the DC44 and DC59).  Why?  Read on.

  1. Runtime – 12-15 min on normal, 6 on max suction.  Enough to do a quick pass across 1300 sqft.  But it’s easy enough to use that we rarely do full passes.
  2. Suction – On the hardwood floors here, it picks up everything we need it to.  It is MUCH stronger than a dust buster and can easily suck up dust bunnies off a desk or in a corner without having to be right on top of it.
  3. Disposability – The bin simply pops open with a latch release.  More thorough cleanings can be done by disassembling the vacuum.
  4. Accessibility – This is one of the best features of the DC35.  A wall mount keeps the vacuum above the clutter … plus the charger slots into the wall mount so that you can “dock” the vacuum and it is always charged and ready to go.  Additional attachments hanging from the mount allow you to switch between floor and hand vacuum modes as needed.  And, of course, it’s cordless, so you don’t need to find an outlet for it next to wherever you are cleaning.
  5. Size/Weight – The Dyson DC35 is incredibly light and not an appliance where the words “push” or “lug” have to come into play.  You might not want to vacuum several floors with it, but it’s a great choice for cleaning up a single room.

In short, I think this is the perfect vacuum for smaller living areas.  The wall mount saves space, which is by definition at a premium to begin with.  The integrated charging keeps it ready so you can “clean as you go” instead of having to lug out a huge vacuum cleaner.  It’s multipurpose, so you can replace a dust buster and a floor vacuum with just one compact device.

My only criticism of this vacuum is that it requires you to hold the button to vacuum.  This is fine most of the time.  It saves on battery life, because you can just hold the button on the areas that need it.  However, for extended vacuuming sessions, holding the button gets tiresome.

Nevertheless, it really is the perfect vacuum for a smaller space.  And arguably, even a larger one too.  I find the ease of cleaning with it means it actually gets used, as opposed to a larger and more powerful vacuum that nobody wants to dig out of the closet.  Buying the slightly older DC35 may be preferable, since you can usually find factory refurbs or used models for $175-200.  Highly recommended.

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