Allergies affect millions of people every year. Allergy triggers include animal dander, mold, dust mites, and even normal dust particles. When these fly around, they cause health problems. That usually happens when cleaning floors and other damp or dusty surfaces.
Investing in a vacuum that can deal with allergens reduces airborne particles, protecting your family from consequent health issues.
But what’s the best vacuum for allergies and asthma? I believe your first thought when searching for such vacuum is related to its filtration level. A good vacuum for allergies should be airtight, capable of trapping over 99% of airborne particles, and a host of other qualities that make a cleaning device effective. Usually, when speaking of anti-allergy vacuums, HEPA filtration technology is the most prevalent feature in the discussion. A high-quality filtration system such as HEPA prevents the dust and other foreign particles from being blown back into the air. HEPA has been designed to support the suction at its best level while filtering tiny air particles (which are sometimes even less than 0.3 microns).
There are several filtration options available out there, so getting the right vacuum can be a daunting task for many people. In this guide, I will show you how to choose the right vacuum for your family in 2019, the type that keeps allergens trapped.
- 1 Best 10 Vacuums for Allergy & Asthma Sufferers
- 2 How to Buy a Vacuum for Allergies and Asthma
- 3 Important Factors to Consider
- 4 Other Factors to Take into Account
- 5 Certified vacuum cleaners for allergies
- 6 Final Comments
Best 10 Vacuums for Allergy & Asthma Sufferers
Here are the best vacuum cleaners for allergies. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to read about the logic behind my choices, use just this information, it’s enough to get you going.
|Product||Type||Looks||Final price||Last updated|
|Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog||Canister||$1,098.95||2019-12-14|
|Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction||Canister||$399.00||2019-12-14|
|Dyson V11 Torque Drive||Cordless stick||$498.99||2019-12-15|
|Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean||Upright||$447.00||2019-12-14|
|Shark APEX Upright||Upright||$299.99||2019-12-14|
|Shark APEX UpLight||Corded stick||$239.99||2019-12-14|
|Sirena Royal Line||Canister||$1,601.00||2019-12-14|
|Tineco Pure One S12||Cordless stick||$649.00||2019-12-14|
Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog
Miele Complete C3 is one of the best canisters out there. It comes with a hospital-grade filtration and a plethora of models and attachments that can cover any cleaning need. My favorite C3 model is the Cat & Dog, for several reasons (electric brush roll, specific pet accessories, price tag).
Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction
Miele Compact C1 is a line of vacuums that comes to replace the Classic C1 models. The C1 has always been an entry-level canister vacuum, affordable and which doesn’t make compromises. It features awesome suction, good filtration, and excellent maneuverability.
Dyson V11 Torque Drive
Dyson V11 is the latest cordless released by this premium brand. The V11 has the best autonomy of all cordless Dysons, the most professional design and best filtration. It even features a colored OLED screen that provides various information (power level, time remaining).
Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean
Dyson Ball Animal 2 is the latest upright from Dyson. I don’t think they will be releasing any new uprights since the new policy of Dyson is to fully focus only on cordless sticks. Even so, there’s not much left to improve: you have one of the highest suctions, the best agitation, and a HEPA machine ready to capture microscopic allergens.
Shark APEX Upright
Shark APEX Upright showcases several outstanding technologies, such as the dual brushroll (titled DuoClean) or the tangle-free system (titled Zero M). Being so versatile, this upright is perfect for regular US households. If we also bring allergies into the discussion, it’s worth to say the anti-allergen seal does the job.
Shark APEX UpLight
Shark APEX UpLight is a corded stick vacuum derived from previous Rocket models. Besides the obvious lighter weight and the use of all Shark technologies, the new UpLight came up with better suction, thanks to a suite of systems. Besides, the vacuum is completely sealed and its filters are HEPA.
Rainbow E2 needs no introduction. The latest model has a body slightly different from the previous versions. The product allows you to do a lot, from air cleaning to actual vacuuming. If you have problems with allergies, consider investing in this vacuum. It will be cheaper than paying for medical care.
Sirena Royal Line
Sirena Royal Line is very similar to the E2 from Rainbow. A large pile of accessories comes with the product, allowing you to clean virtually any type of surface. The water filtration might be the perfect feature for allergy sufferers.
Tineco Pure One S12
Tineco Pure One S12 is a direct contender of the Dyson V11. Tineco crafted a machine that can run for as much as 100 minutes (using both replaceable 2 batteries). It can even be connected to Wifi, so you can see in realtime the stats of the product. The machine is completely sealed and the filter is HEPA.
This top wouldn’t be complete without a robot vacuum in it. The Roborock S6 has one of the best suction powers, a very good filtration, SLAM movement (thanks to its LIDAR laser), wet mopping and capabilities and a very large bin. Allergy and asthma sufferers can program it to do the work when they’re outside.
How to Buy a Vacuum for Allergies and Asthma
While most people can clean using just any vacuum, allergy sufferers risk developing complications if they use the wrong cleaning device. Allergens are everywhere, from floors, carpets, upholstery, to ceilings. A vacuum picks these particles as you use it. If the exhaust filter is too porous, the allergens pass through and re-enter the air, ending up in your lungs.
To prevent air contamination by vacuums, manufacturers use high-efficiency filters. These are capable of removing the tiniest of particles from the exhaust air. Using high-efficiency filters isn’t the only way to keep allergens inside a vacuum. Its body also needs to have all openings sealed.
Filtration is a crucial factor when looking for a vacuum that offers safe cleaning. But you also want a device that matches your cleaning needs. That means you will be looking for features that suit specific requirements alongside filtration, which brings us to the next section, which deals with all essential things to look for in vacuum for allergies.
Important Factors to Consider
Type of Vacuum
You will be faced with many options, which may overwhelm you. You could choose a canister, stick, or upright. All these can make good cleaners, but your needs and preferences will dictate what type to go for. Some situations call for certain vacuum types, though, which can limit your options. This usually applies when convenience and performance are dependent on the type of vacuum used. That said, knowing the pros and cons of each can help you decide from an informed point of view, so here we go.
Canister vacuums are lightweight and quiet. Being corded, they can also be powerful and effective, especially when used with a motorized attachment. If you have delicate flooring, canisters make suitable cleaning devices. They do not damage the surface with their wheels, plus you can use a nozzle that doesn’t scratch the floor. But canister vacuums usually require you to bend low when cleaning, which takes away comfort. If you have a back problem, I wouldn’t recommend a canister.
The traditional upright is a powerful vacuum, corded, and full-sized. It cleans different types of carpets with ease — area rugs and bare floors too. Because uprights usually use power from an outlet, you can clean with them for long hours. Heavily carpeted homes need these types of vacuums — the same case with high traffic homes that have a lot of debris to clean. The downsides of uprights include their large size and weight, which makes them cumbersome to use or carry around. Their dependence on an outlet also limits their reach and versatility.
The other alternative, stick, is the most popular today. These devices are lighter and more compact. As a result, different members of your family can use them comfortably. It also means you can use a stick vacuum for extended periods, an advantage if you have a large home.
Battery-powered sticks are called cordless vacuums. Not having a power cord makes them highly portable. You can use them anywhere, even in areas that do not have an outlet. Recent ones come with innovative technologies to improve suction. The most powerful can also clean carpets. The problem is many cordless vacuums don’t really pay too much attention to filtration. The concept of whole-machine filtration (or anti-allergen seal systems) is relatively new. Which brings us to the next point.
After you’ve determined the type of vacuum suitable for your home, filtration is the next essential consideration. Different filtration options are available today. They include high-efficiency filters, air purifying filters, and even water. Different manufacturers use different systems to clean the air passing through a vacuum, and it’s upon you to choose wisely. The most used filtration – and one of the most reliable – is HEPA.
As I previously stated, HEPA filters retain as high as 99.97% of particles and which are as small as 0.3 microns. Most allergens fall in that size category, which means the air leaving the vacuum will be free of allergy triggers. Not every manufacturer will install a HEPA filter in their vacuum cleaner. Some popular companies use proprietary filters or unique filtration systems. These are usually as effective as HEPA and will adequately protect you and your family from airborne particles.
Some vacuums come installed with low-quality exhaust filters. These include regular types such as foam and felt. These are porous materials that cannot retain allergens and only suitable for pre-motor filters. When these are used in a vacuum’s exhaust, it means allergens will pass through and return into the air. Such devices do not provide a safe cleaning experience, and you want to avoid them when buying a vacuum for allergies. But that’s if the filter is the only technology the vacuum uses to clean the exhaust air.
Air Tight Construction
In addition to the filters and systems to remove particles, a vacuum for allergies should be fully sealed. Openings or loose points create escape routes for particles. In such situations, using high filtration systems cannot be of much help. Allergens will still contaminate the air in your home when cleaning and cause allergies.
An airtight vacuum ensures allergens do not find a way out and keeps the air in your home clean. But how can you know that a vacuum is airtight? Manufacturers usually indicate that in the details about specific models. The usual terms used include “fully sealed”, “100% sealed,” and others. Some reviewers also test different vacuums for this feature. Their results can provide valuable insights regarding the filtration abilities of a particular model.
Some vacuums go a step further to clean the air in your home, ridding it of odors and microorganisms. Air purifier systems come in different types, with the most popular being activated charcoal. These types of filters absorb foul smells to leave their air fresh and healthier. Working mechanisms vary. One vacuum will remove odors when actively cleaning and another with its engine switched off.
Besides activated charcoal, there’s also a special type of filter known as micro-fresh. This type removes bacteria from the air for a sweet-smelling, allergen-free home. If you have pets, odors are a problem you have to deal with daily. Using a vacuum that removes smell can help reduce these odors, in addition to eliminating microbes. For better results, choose a model that can be placed in a room to clean the air for as long as you want it to.
Air purifying vacuums will make the air in your home clean. However, you also need to maintain your cleaning device. Dirty filters are breeding places for bacteria, mold, and other microorganisms. If the filters are washable, clean them regularly, especially if you use the vacuum frequently. Replacing the filters on time is also necessary. Other parts that need cleaning to prevent bacteria and mold growth include the beater bar and dustbin.
Vacuum cleaners are meant to keep your home clean and smelling fresh, but you’ll also need return favor by keeping them on regular maintenance. This may include replacing the filters, cleaning the brush bar, emptying, and cleaning the dirt bin.
However, away from the regular maintenance, you should consider getting a vacuum cleaner with the best odor filtration technologies. Some of the top available technologies include the UV-lighting and active carbon-charcoal that are designed to remove pet odors and other foul smells that may affect the quality of your allergen-free air.
Bagged Vs. Bagless
I made a small round-up on this theme a few years ago. The result was trivial: bagless vacuum cleaners are still very allergy unfriendly. You will inevitably have to choose between a bagged and bagless vacuum cleaner. To make the best decision, you must understand what each option means. You will avoid later regrets that often result from buying items without adequate information. Here is what to expect from every vacuum type.
Bagged vacuums come with bags to store dirt. The bags use a sealing mechanism to keep them tightly shut throughout (they only open to let in dirt) That means the person using the vacuum doesn’t come into contact with the dust when removing a filled up bag. There are are no particles flying around either. For allergen sufferers, the mechanism to keep allergen trapped is a significant advantage. There’s always very little to worry about. A disadvantage of bags is that they need replacing, which means higher maintenance costs.
Bagless vacuums have become the most popular choice for many people, including those who suffer from allergies. Dust cups can cause dust and allergens to blow into the air when emptying them. For people with allergen problems, that can be a health risk. Manufacturers have developed technologies to counter that, though. For starters, some have sealed-tight all the openings and use HEPA filters to take care of the remaining air exhausted by the vacuum. I am talking here about the concept of whole-machine filtration. Other manufacturers design dust bins that feature a bottom lid so you don’t have to touch the contents during emptying. The bin opens when you press a button on the side, which allows you to dispose of the dirt hygienically.
Unless you choose a bagged vac, ensure the dust cup uses a convenient method to empty contents. It will help to protect you from dust and other particles, which is what you wanted when you bought the vacuum. Bagless vacuums offer many advantages. They’re easy to maintain, only requiring water to clean. Most are made from a clear material, which allows you to monitor the contents as you clean.
A clear dustbin tells you when it’s time to dump the dirt. Emptying the bin on time helps to maintain suction, and ensures the vacuum remains effective throughout. You’re also able to detect clogs as soon as they happen. When choosing a bagless vacuum, ensure the bin capacity is adequate for the places you will be cleaning. Ensure, too, that the dust cup uses a hygienic emptying mechanism.
Other Factors to Take into Account
The best vacuum for allergy and asthma should be efficient at trapping allergens. But that’s not all. It should also clean different surfaces effectively, be easy to use, and last a long time. In that regard, these are the features to look for.
It’s recommended to choose the suction based on the types of floor in your home. If most surfaces are carpets, high motor power is essential. Floors that are mostly bare do not need immense suction. Choose a vacuum with a moderate airflow if you have such surfaces in your home. Some manufacturers indicate values for cleaning power in the descriptions of their cleaning devices. Others don’t, leaving you to guess it. In most cases, a vacuum’s wattage can be used to give an idea of the suction level. Reviewers also carry out airflow tests on selected vacuums. The results they provide can a good guide when selecting the right model for your home.
The vacuum you buy will either be battery-powered or classic type, the one that uses an outlet. Each power source suits certain situations and your choice should depend on many factors. For large spaces with lots of carpets, an outlet powered canister or upright would be the right choice. These are heavy-duty cleaners capable of immense suction. They also allow you to clean for long hours without worrying about running out of power.
In case you go for a corded vac, ensure the cable is long enough. It should reach the furthest ends when connected to the nearest power source. Other things to look for include cord storage. Some models use cables that retract at the touch of a button. Others feature a hook that you can wrap the cord around. The retractable type is more convenient, although not necessary. Wrap-around cords are time-consuming. However, cable length should be your main worry when choosing a corded vacuum.
Battery-powered vacuums are loved for their portability and the unlimited places you can use them. Mostly sticks, they suit the cleaning needs of most homes. Some can even deliver enough airflow to vacuum carpets. A downside of choosing a cordless vacuum is that some are not powerful enough and will not clean high-pile carpets. Runtime is also a common issue, with a majority of vacuums cleaning for less than 30 minutes. However, you can work around this drawback by choosing a model that uses a removable battery. Such vacuums allow you to prolong cleaning time by investing in an extra battery.
If the floors in your home are mostly bare floors, a cordless stick is the best choice. Find a vacuum that can clean for more than 40 minutes or more (or one whose battery can be replaced). Another feature to look for is how long the battery takes to charge. You don’t want to spend hours waiting for the vacuum to be ready only to clean for a few minutes. Consider also the type of battery. Lithium-ion batteries are less demanding to maintain, plus they have longer lifespans.
This refers to how easy a vacuum is to steer. A swiveling neck lets you guide the cleaning nozzle around furniture and other obstacles. The higher the angle through which it rotates, the better. You will not encounter difficulties using the device, especially if there are not many open spaces in your home. In addition to swivel, consider the height of the nozzle. It should be low enough to let you clean under furniture. You don’t want to be moving things every time you want to clean floors.
Different vacuums come with different levels of comfort. Some will have a handle you can grip for extended periods without numbing your hands or developing blisters, while others will not. Ensure the type you choose has an ergonomic handle that will not tire you within minutes. Stick vacuums and uprights allow you to clean floors without bending. If you have back problems, choose one of these types. Sticks offer the added advantage of being lightweight and compact. They make the best vacuum if you want a device that most members of the family can use.
A vacuum’s main nozzle cannot be used everywhere. It’s usually wide, which means it won’t fit tight spaces. Most nozzles also feature spinning brush rolls, and may not be suitable for certain surfaces. That’s why vacuums come with additional attachments. The most common are the crevice tools, upholstery nozzles, and dusting brushes. Should you feel that you need your vacuum to be more versatile, consider a model that offers extra attachments such as a pet tool, a mini-power brush, or a multi-angled tool. The pet tool helps groom your pet and pick up the fur or hair. A mini power brush cleans tight areas while the multi-angled tool helps you vacuum the areas behind things.
No one wants a noisy cleaning device. If you have a toddler or seniors in your home, a loud sound is the last thing you want. Some pets can also be stressed by loud appliances. When choosing your vacuum, consider the dB levels and if it’s what you can tolerate in your home. If you’re unable to make a choice, I would advise you to check out my top list regarding this matter or to look for a vacuum that produces less than 70dB. Noise levels mostly depend on the amount of suction strength. Powerful models are generally noisy and vice versa. However, manufacturers use different insulation and noise-reduction to make a vacuum quieter. Look for a model that’s powerful but adequately quiet.
Suction and Height Adjustment
Different floors need different nozzle height levels and airflow strengths. The vacuum you go for should have these settings. Height adjustment allows you to use the most appropriate nozzle level for efficient cleaning. Bare floors may require you to lower the cleaning head. It ensures every bit gets picked up. When vacuuming high-pile carpets, you need the right height for the cleaning head. A combination of low floor head and high suction can cause the nozzle to pull at the carpet, making pushing the vacuum difficult. Some models adjust height automatically, while others require you to do it manually.
Variable suction, just like height adjustment, lets you clean different surfaces and messes using the most suitable airflow strength. You get to use high power on carpets and stubborn debris, low suction when cleaning hard floors or low traffic areas. Adjustable suction also allows you to conserve power when using a cordless vac. You switch to low power when vacuuming low traffic surfaces and high motor speed when using the vacuum in dirtier areas.
This construction is one of the most useful features that a vacuum can have. Usually, it involves combining an upright and a handheld in one unit. Using the upright version makes the vacuum a powerful cleaning device for floors. The handheld a versatile cleaner for different surfaces. With that design, you will not need separate vacuums for general cleaning quick tasks. Most cordless sticks are 2-in-1 vacuums – one of the many reasons why they are so popular.
Certified vacuum cleaners for allergies
Vacuum cleaner producers often appeal to 3rd party organisms for certifying their products. One such initiative is the Asthma & Allergy friendly™ Certification Program. As you can imagine, these services are paid by the manufacturers. This should raise distortion/misrepresentation issues, but I believe the 3rd party services maintain an undeniable quality standard. Excluding the financial part, if the products pass the tests, they get a badge that certifies their compliance with the organization’s standards, such as the one from the left image.
With so many different vacuums on the market, finding a model that protects your family from allergens can be an uphill task. Filtration levels vary and cleaning abilities differ across brands. The right vacuum should not release dust and other allergic particles into the air. But filtration isn’t the only consideration when looking for a vacuum that traps allergens. You also need it to clean effectively. That depends on the type of floors you will be using it on and the kind of dirt you will be picking up. Usability also comes into the picture. You do not want a vacuum that’s uncomfortable or hard to operate. Use the buying guide to direct you to the right model. I also included a collection of top vacuums for people who suffer from allergies.
Using a vacuum that’s designed to keep allergens trapped is just one way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. If you have serious allergy problems, additional measures are necessary. Wear a mask when cleaning extremely dusty places such as rooms that you rarely use, or when vacuuming damp areas where mold has grown. If you have kids, avoid using the vacuum when they’re around. Alternatively, you can send them out to play. Other things to avoid include cleaning just before you retire to bed or when the whole family is indoors. Always keep windows open the entire time you use the vacuum. Ventilation helps to reduce airborne particles.
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