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Saving money on a vacuum cleaner

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 favorite. 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 afterward, 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 odor, 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 upfront. 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, 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?


  1. Steve Zussino

    My wife and I bought a Dyson – so powerful and makes you really enjoy cleaning!

  2. Samantha

    I own a dyson, and the price tag wasn’t very much fun, however it is a great vacuum, that never has any burning smell (which is normal for a dirt devil, but smells awful). It was worth the money thats for sure.

  3. ken

    We have a maid once a week, so the vacuum is her arena. Currently we have a Hoover for her, but it may not last too much longer. I told her we were considering getting a Dyson (DW is sucked in by the ads). The maid said “Please don’t, I hate them”. A couple of her houses have them and she considers them much heavier. Also she has broken the plastic housing bumping into things. She told me to get the home duty Oreck. Apparently Walmart has ’em. Lifetime guarantee.

  4. Liquid

    “I’m not going to vacuum ’til Sears makes one you can ride on” – Roseanne Barr

  5. Thomas

    Good points on how to get a cheaper Dyson! We found that most people who use Dysons either love them or hate them. There are almost no 3 star reviews…

    Vacuums that mostly get positive reviews are Miele, SEBO and Panasonic.

  6. Charles Killin

    Check the consumer ratings on these products before you buy. Consumer Reports rates Dyson very low, even though their marketing and their price gives them a high perceived value. On the other hand, Sears Kenmore canister vacuums have a consistently high rating.

  7. David Toccalino

    We’ve had a sebo for 5 years and have been very impressed with the quality job it does. in this case you get what you pay for!

  8. Funny about Money

    The burning odor may be caused by the belt. If you catch the edge or fringe of a throw rug in the beater bar of a vacuum that has a belt, it will overheat the belt and create an obnoxious singed smell that may come back to haunt the next time you use the machine. Try changing the belt to get rid of the stink.

  9. Anish

    I have a handheld used hoover vac – I’ve had it for months and it still works perfectly well and I’m satisfied with it 🙂

    P.S. I got it off gumtree! You guys should look for one there if you’re in need of a good used vac. Saves a lot of money too.

  10. Hans

    …may I be forgiven if the following sounds too patriotic or brings in too much of a “German touch”:
    we have been using the same MIELE S227 from the late eighties without any problem whatsoever – not sure about the US; here in Germany/Europe most of their models do sell at reasonable to high prices, but it´s been one of the best investments we have ever made for the house.-
    Keep enjoying a clean one &: “happy hoovering”


  11. Alex

    Although I agree that spending a bit more money to buy a good quality vacuum is a good idea, I don’t think it is a simple as buying a specific name brand, Dyson or otherwise. Dyson has a good reputation, but I’ve seen both good and bad reviews of specific models. A little more research is needed to find the brand and model of vacuum that meets your needs and your budget.

    When buying a second-hand vacuum, I’d also wonder why it is being sold if it is such a good vacuum. Could it be that it is no longer performing or is close to wearing out and the cost to repair it is not worth it to the current owner?

  12. Logan

    Although many people have very positive opinions about Dyson you were right on to avoid the machine. A Dyson is quite overpriced for the service it provides, and there are many better machine for the money.

  13. Bejo Suharto

    Cleaning the stairs in your home does not have to be frustrating. All you need are the right tools for the job. Any one of the three vacuums listed here is perfectly suitable for handling the job effectively although some may be better for certain homes than others.

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