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How to Choose a Cordless Vacuum for Mom

My mom’s canister Electrolux hit her in the ankles when she pulled the hose too hard. The exact same thing happens to me with my Electrolux canister. I am also a little sick of carrying the canister down the stairs. Either I am going to trip on the cord, or the canister is going to fall to its death. You know what would be nice? A lightweight, battery-operated vacuum cleaner that deeply cleans the carpet and stairs. One that’s as powerful as our trusty — if ancient — Electrolux canisters. No wires, only a little bit of weight, and no cord-tripping hazards.

The battery-operated, cordless vacuum cleaners are finally strong enough to compete with the cleaning power we get from our old canister vacs. You really have to search for a needle in a haystack, but I found one for mom. I know you’re expecting me to say “Dyson” here but their HEPA models (V7 and V8) are controversial. I chose the Dreame T30 Cordless from DreameTech. It checks these boxes:

  1. The vacuum is lightweight
  2. The vacuum doesn’t have a cord to trip over
  3. Its batteries have enough power to give you time to clean the floors
  4. The vacuum has a truly sealed HEPA filtering system
  5. It has enough power and agitation to clean the deep dirt from the carpet

I’m sorry, but a 3.88 lb. vacuum cleaner with true HEPA and a 90 minute runtime is just something Dyson’s going to have to step up to the plate to beat.

What Goes Into the Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaner for Mom

I love the idea of cordless vacuum cleaners.

They are lightweight.

They have no cord to trip over.

They’re easy to maneuver.

You never have to pull a cordless vacuum’s canister into the room with you, or untangle its cord from the chair legs.

It’s Easy to Buy a Cordless Vac for Mom

So you would think that a cordless vacuum cleaner for mom is the easy choice.

Not so fast, because if you buy just any cordless vacuum cleaner, you might really regret your choice.

What can go wrong with a cordless vacuum that will make you regret buying it?

  • Maybe the filter is not sealed, so the vacuum spews the dirt it sucked up right back into the room.
  • Maybe the head doesn’t agitate the carpet, so that it’s impossible to get the carpet clean.
  • Or perhaps the stair accessory is not powered. It’s as wimpy on stair carpet as the bigger head is on the rest of the house’s carpets.

I studied scores of cordless vacuum cleaners. I called vacuum manufacturers. I gathered data about how strong each vacuum really is.

This research is what made me realize that you need more than a cordless vacuum to make a great gift for mom. You need one that meets all of our Mom-Approved Cordless Vacuum Cleaner Requirements.

This is what I want in a vacuum cleaner for mom.

  • It should be lightweight to respect the bursitis
  • It should be HEPA to protect from allergies
  • It should have a strong battery to run long enough to clean the house
  • It should have strong, agitating brushes to get pet hair out of the carpet

The Best Vacuum for Mom is Cordless and Lightweight

Are we in abusive relationships with our heavy, old vacuum cleaners?

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Have you ever picked up your vacuum and thought: “I’ve never been young enough or strong enough to carry this heavy, annoying piece of machinery”?

The new cordless vacuums are amazingly lightweight. We are talking 3 to 8 lb. lightweight.

That is with no cord and no hose to trip you while you move the machine from room to room, or up and down the stairs.

In my old-lady years, I want my house to be clean, but I’d be happy if I never picked up my canister vacuum again.

The Ideal Cordless Vacuum for Mom Doesn’t Make Mom Rush

If you have used a cordless vacuum — maybe a Dust Buster that hung on the basement stairs? — you know that they have a limited use time.

You have just so many minutes before the battery runs down.

The vacuum cleaner is useless until its battery re-charges.

No Tripping While Rushing to Beat the Battery

There are many ways to prevent mom falling. Here’s a new one.

Don’t make mom rush to get the vacuuming done because she’s afraid the battery is going to run down. That rushing around is a fall waiting to happen.

A good cordless vacuum cleaner uses software to change suction based on the surface it’s cleaning. These use less battery power on the small stuff.

Some vacuums recognize when they go from floor to carpet, and increase power. Then they decrease power when going from carpet to floor.

Some vacuums use a dirt sensor to decide how much power to put out. Dirtier surfaces get more power. You can override this feature with your own power setting too.

Avoid Batteries You Can’t Replace

The second key to long battery life is having more than one battery charged and ready to go.

So it’s important to get a cordless vacuum cleaner that allows you to change out the battery. If the battery is sealed in its housing, then you are completely dependent on that battery for your vacuuming time. You’re going to rush, then you’re going to fall, and you’re not even going to give me the chance to say, “I told you so.”

Besides the longer run time, the replaceable battery also gives you more time with the vacuum over the years. When a sealed battery unit dies, you have to throw away the whole vacuum cleaner.

Get a vacuum that lets you replace the battery. Double the battery time with two batteries, and triple it with three. The better cordless vacuum cleaners allow you to charge two batteries at the same time.

The Best Cordless Vacuum for Mom Seals Dirt Inside the Dirt Bin

Is your vacuum cleaner a double agent? Does it pretend to work for you, but it also works for the dirt?

We innocently believe our vacuum cleaners help clear the air, when they’re actually doing the opposite.

We expect a good vacuum cleaner to pull dirt up from the floor and carpet. If it does that, we think, “This is a good vacuum cleaner.”

A good vacuum cleaner doesn’t spit the floor dirt into the air. It seals that dirt in its dirt bin until you are ready to throw it away.

Seal the Dirt Inside a Locked Vault

The fact is that many vacuum cleaners are not sealed well enough to contain the dirt in their bins.

These vacuums pollute the air with the dirt they pull up from the carpet.

The best cordless vacuum cleaners hold onto their dirt.

I recently realized that my Electrolux canister was spewing dog fur smell into the air.

While many vacuum cleaner experts claim that you need a bag to get the house truly clean, my dog’s fur disagrees.

Something’s getting out of the vacuum cleaner bag to make that smell. And I’m breathing whatever that bag is letting loose.

I Know It’s Bagged or Bagless, but Think About This

I don’t think bagged or bagless is the key. I think what makes the biggest difference is whether the vacuum cleaner is sealed.

Even vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters are not good for allergies if the HEPA is not in a sealed canister.

In a leaky vacuum, the wind blows the HEPA filter dirt right back into the air!

The best vacuum cleaner for mom is completely sealed.

I don’t care if it has a bag or not. Keep the dirt in the dirt bin to truly clean the home.

Make the Carpet Let Go of the Dirt

Years ago, I searched for cordless vacuum cleaners. They weren’t ready for carpets, and definitely not carpets in houses with dogs.

At that stage in their evolution, cordless vacuum cleaners did not work on carpeted steps. You could use them on floors, but pet hair in the carpet was going to stay in the carpet.

Now that we’re in the 2020’s, I don’t need a flying car. I just a cordless vacuum that’s strong enough to pull carpet dirt from my stairs. I think we’re finally there. In fact, I know we are.

As my new research reveals, it turns out that manufacturers are finally making cordless vacuums strong enough to pull dirt from carpet fibers.

Carpet Vacuums Need Power and Agitation

Good cordless vacuum cleaners agitate the carpet fibers to loosen the dirt.

The vacuum head sends the carpet dirt flying. While the dirt is loose in the air, the powerful vacuum sucks it into the dirt bin.

There are only a few battery-operated vacuums out there right now that can do this.

Even among the best brands, not all of the models can perform well on carpets.

The best cordless vacuum cleaner agitates the carpet to loosen the dirt.

I’m Pretty Sure My Stairs are Not Clean

I avoid things that cause discomfort. That’s why I avoid cleaning my stairs using a heavy, corded Electrolux canister vacuum.

My carpeted stairs are full of dog hair, sand, and dirt.

If there’s one thing I dislike more than the vacuum cleaner hitting me in the ankles, it’s falling down the stairs because the vacuum cleaner’s cord tripped me up.

A heavy canister with a cord and hose is just awkward.

“Awkward” and “stairs” are a bad combination.

If Mom has carpeted stairs, protect her from a fatal flaw. Get rid of the corded vacuum cleaner. Get a cordless stick vacuum with enough power to pull the dirt from that carpeted stairway.

Have you ever carried a vacuum cleaner down each step? Try not to trip over the cord while you’re vacuuming the stairs.

My Electrolux canister is wider than my stair is deep, so the canister is always threatening to tilt and fall down the stairs.

While the Electrolux has not actually pushed me down the stairs yet, it has fallen from the top to the bottom of the staircase. It’s a testament to how they built vacuum cleaners in the 1990s that my vacuum cleaner committed suicide more than once but still works.

It’s a strong, if very annoying vacuum cleaner.

Vacuuming the stairs is a broken neck waiting to happen. The wobbly canister threatening to fall. The cord wrapping around my ankles. The whole procedure is annoying and dangerous.

As a result, my carpeted stairs are dirty, despite my really wanting them not to be that grungy. There’s sand in dirt in those steps dating back to the Clinton administration.

Stick Vacuums that Convert to Handhelds are Perfect for Cleaning the Stairs

A cordless stick vacuum is a bit awkward when vacuuming the stairs. Fortunately the good stick vacuums convert to handheld vacuums with the same power they had when bolted to the mother ship.

The handheld version runs the same motor and brush agitator as the longer version. Most stick vacuums allow you to use the main motor head on the handheld conversion. Some come with smaller heads that still have power and agitation to clean carpets.

Carpeted steps are still carpet. If you don’t agitate the carpet, the dirt will not fly into the dirt bin.

Agitate the fibers, get the stair carpet dirt loose, and suck that dirt into the bin.

Mom Wants a Good Warranty

I worry about getting a Dyson stick vacuum for Mom, because they’re not always that lightweight.

In my search for the best vacuum cleaner for mom, I found a couple of companies that make excellent HEPA vacuums that are lightweight enough for Mom to use.

Plus, they have excellent reputations for customer service and honoring their warranties.

My favorite choices in the reputation department are Tineco and DreameTech.

This is the first time I’ve ever said this, and I hope I never have to say it again: Don’t buy a Dyson on Amazon. The bad reviews on the Amazon pages for Dyson vacuums pretty much boil down to bad customer service. The seller is bringing down the brand.

Mom Wants One of These Vacuum Cleaners

DreameTech, Dyson and Tineco make lightweight, sealed HEPA, carpet agitating, stair cleaning cordless vacuum cleaners with plenty of battery life.

The accessories vary from model to model, but the important accessories come with all the models.

The one thing to watch out for is whether you are getting the proper brush for the floors.

A fuzzy or soft roller brush is best to pick up larger items on wood and tile floors.

If Mom is regularly cleaning up Cheerios and marbles, you’ll want a dedicated floor brush.

I chose my favorite models and put them in the “recommended products” section. My favorite cordless vacuum for mom is listed in the recommendations here.

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