I don't have a lot of experience with vacuum cleaners. Growing up, I hated vacuuming the house. If there were other chores I could “trade” for in order to get out of vacuuming, I would. Dusting, actually, was my favourite. We had a central vacuum system, so I didn't even have to drag a large vacuum around – just the hose. Still, when forced to vacuum, I would do the quickest job possible, literally running the hallways and skipping corners just so that I could be done with it. The worst part was hanging the hose up afterwards, as it would inevitability get tangled and take forever to coil properly. Once I moved out of our house I found out that a central vacuum system is quite rare. Obviously the apartments that I lived in did not have such a system, and older or cheaper houses did not either. Throughout college, I would forgo using a vacuum cleaner for three or four months, and then perhaps borrow someone's if our place got really bad.
Getting married, however, means that I don't have the luxury of living without a vacuum cleaner. Even if I wanted to go a month or two without vacuuming, living in a basement suite with an entrance that leads directly outside means that I am now tracking in a lot more dirt. Previously, my shoes would get clean simply by walking down a carpeted hallway outside of my apartment door. So, shortly after we got married, we went out and purchased a vacuum cleaner.
We got this Dirt Devil model from Canadian Tire. It had some of the most positive reviews online, and we could afford it at the time. My wife told me that she wanted a Dyson, and I laughed repeatedly because there was no way that we could afford a $500-600 vacuum cleaner. After all, I thought, how much are we even going to use it? Thankfully, our vacuum cleaner has thus far worked out quite well. It sometimes emits a strange burning odour, which I am assuming means that it is on its way to the great vacuum graveyard, and it is rather fantastically loud, but it does manage to pick up quite a bit of dirt and dust from our place.
My wife and I have briefly talked about what will happen when this Dirt Devil bites the big one, and she of course still wants a Dyson. Being a personal finance “guru”, I thought for sure that this would be a ludicrous option, until I did a little bit more research on vacuum cleaners. Here are some tips and tricks that I've learned.
Buy a Good Vacuum.
Yes, it will actually save you money in the long run if you purchase a more expensive vacuum up front. Don't be fooled, however, simply by the pricetag. Purchase a model that has a history of reliability and quality. Two of the best I've heard of are Dyson and Kirby. People who have purchased a high end model have gone 7-10+ years on a single vacuum. If something did end up going wrong with the model, it was quickly and easily repaired. Cheaper vacuums are more difficult to repair, so as to encourage purchasing a new model once the old one develops problems. You could conceivably end up purchasing a $100-250 model every 1-3 years as the vacuum fails shortly after its 1 year warranty.
Buy a Used Vacuum
While you don't want to buy some department store knockoff vacuum off of craigslist or eBay, a quick search for “Dyson” shows me tons new and used Dysons ranging from $200-450. If one of those used vacuums was lightly used, it could easily cut the cost of a new Dyson vacuum in half. Likewise, a search for “kirby vacuum” shows me a couple of models around the $200 mark. Depending on how much you vacuum, and the age of the used model, purchasing a preowned model could be a fantastic way to save money on a Vacuum.
Buy a Refurbished Vacuum
If you are American, you are lucky enough to get access to woot.com, a site where I often see refurbished Dyson vacuums on sale. If you are in Canada, like myself, you can see if you can purchase a refurbished Dyson vacuum directly from Dyson. Other retailers may get some refurbished machines in as well, you will just have to keep an eye open for deals and sales on them. Like most quality products, the refurbished Dysons are still backed by a warranty, and many customers have reported success purchasing a refurbished model.
What vacuum cleaner do you use – or did you just rip out the carpet and acquire a broom?