Vacuum Cleaner Features

Shopping for a vacuum cleaner? There can be myriad terms that you may not understand. How do you know if you need or want a telescoping wand if you don't know what it is? Learn about some of the more common options for vacuum cleaners.

  • 01 of 10

    On/Off Brushroll

    Vacuum cleaner
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    This is one of my favorite features. While a brush roll is great when you are vacuuming carpet it can damage hard surface floors and some rugs. Having the option to turn off the brush roll is a great option that increases the usability of the vacuum cleaner. Usually, there will be a button or lever that can be used to turn the brush roll on or off. Many more upright vacuum cleaners are beginning to have this option, although some of the lower priced vacuum cleaners may not.

  • 02 of 10

    Retractable Cord

    Small boy using a vacuum cleaner
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    This option is more common on canister or smaller upright vacuums than full-sized uprights. A retractable cord allows the user to let the cord automatically retract into the vacuum cleaner. If you hate rolling up a cord, this is an option you might want to consider. Keep in mind that a lot of vacuum cleaners with retractable cords may have a slightly shorter cord length than other vacuum cleaners. Be sure to factor that into your decision, and check the cord length to be sure.

  • 03 of 10

    Adjustable Height

    Height adjustment allows the vacuum to be at the perfect level depending on the type of carpet or floor you are vacuuming. This feature can be manual or automatic. Manual height adjustments will have a lever or knob that can be used to raise or lower the level of the vacuum cleaner. Automatic height adjustments will do this automatically raising for high pile carpets and lowering for lower pile carpets and solid floors.

  • 04 of 10

    Electric Hose

    This is a feature that can be important for canister vacuum cleaners. Attachments for canister vacuums can be air powered or electric powered. Electric powered attachments are more powerful at cleaning, but for them to work the hose itself must be electric to provide power to the electric attachments. For more powerful cleaning and suction, look for an electric hose and electric attachments.

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  • 05 of 10

    Telescoping Wand

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    Telescoping wands can be a feature on upright or canister vacuums. This feature allows the wand of the vacuum cleaner to extend giving added length to your cleaning ability. This is great for ceilings, ceiling fans, drapes, and other window treatments. More and more vacuum cleaners are offering this feature.

  • 06 of 10


    cordless vacuum
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    Cordless vacuum cleaners are more likely to be small vacuum cleaners, usually either handheld or stick vacuums. Some may have wall chargers or base chargers where the vacuum is stored to charge in between uses. The charge on one of these vacuum cleaners is not usually very long since they are meant to clean small spaces or quick messes. This feature is all about convenience and being able to take the vacuum wherever it is needed without worrying about a cord.

  • 07 of 10

    Crevice Tool

    Woman removing dust from sofa edge using vacuum cleaner
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    The crevice tool is often tapered to a skinny end that is meant to be able to reach into small areas for vacuuming. This tool is perfect for vacuuming inside upholstered furniture, in corners, under large pieces of furniture, and along any edges. This is also a great tool to use when cleaning out a car.

  • 08 of 10

    Dusting Brush

    Dusting brushes usually have angled bristles designed to sweep and force dust into the hose. These are great tools for vacuuming hard surfaces, delicate areas, and upholstery alike.

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  • 09 of 10

    Upholstery Tool

    An upholstery tool is a great attachment to use on drapes, curtains, and other window treatments. This can also be a good tool when vacuuming sturdy upholstery and mattresses, as well. The upholstery tools do not have any bristles but may have a textured edging designed to allow airflow while still providing movement along the surface.

  • 10 of 10

    Variable Power Setting

    This feature is usually reserved for more high-end vacuum cleaners. The variable power setting allows the user to select the level of suction depending on the type of surface being vacuumed. For delicate surfaces, rugs, etc a lower level of power and suction would be used. Being able to customize the power setting is a nice feature especially if you have concerns about more delicate areas of your home that need to be vacuumed.