Cylinder or canister models dominate Continental European market. Electric motor and dirt collector (with or without bag) are constructed as separate unit with wheels. This unit is connected with cleaning head with flexible hose. Their main advantages are:
- Flexibility – it is possible to quickly and easily attach different cleaning heads for cleaning various surface,
- Maneuverability – cleaning head can reach places that are problematic for upright vacuum cleaners: under furniture, stairs, vertical surfaces etc.
To achieve cleaning efficiency of upright vacuum cleaners, many canister vacuum cleaners have different power heads containing the same type of mechanical devices as upright vacuum cleaners do. Such mechanical add-ons are usually powered with:
- separate electric motor,
- air turbine that uses suction power of vacuum cleaner,
- power head with wheels that rotate brush roller via drive belt.
Air turbine is used most often as it requires least moving parts and is very durable.However, it must be regularly cleaned since dirt like hair and similar can get into turbine blades and slow down or even fully stop the turbine.
Separate electric motor adds weight, need additional cabling, but it is also very efficient solution in terms of cleaning even dirtiest surfaces.
Power heads with wheels that rotate brush roller via drive belt are not used often since in that configuration, brush roller doesn't rotate if power head is stationary.
Bagged vs Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaners
Dirt can be stored on board vacuum in the dirt bin (bagless vacuums) or in the vacuum bags.
Vacuum bags add additional layer of air flow filtration, but as the bags fill with the dirt, suction is decreased, increasing energy consumption required for proper cleaning. Replacing disposable bags is relatively easy (just thrown them in the garbage), but certain vacuums have reusable and expensive bags - cleaning bags can be rather dirty job.
Bagless canister vacuums use mostly cyclonic air and particle separation. Dirt bins are usually transparent and the user can easily see when it is time to clean the dirt bin. Most of the vacuums with dirt bin has a way of easy and clean disposal of the dirt from dirt bins.
Note that bagless systems with dirt bin (canister) don't lose suction, regardless of the amount of dirt in the bin - until the canister is fully filled with the dirt. However, it is advisable to clean the dirt bins after each use, especially after cleaning larger area.
Full dirt bin or full vacuum bag can be noticed due to weaker suction, however, many models have sensors and indicator lights that warn the user to empty the dirt bin or vacuum bag.
To achieve better level of air filtration, both bagged and bagless canister vacuum cleaners use several layers of filtration, with the last layer being in the form of fine, often HEPA grade, air filter. Such filters can be washable, but in any case after certain period (read the manual, please, of your vacuum cleaner), it must be replaced in order to continue to achieve desired level of air filtration.
Which canister vacuum cleaner to choose? Which is the best canister vacuum cleaner depends on many things, mostly on personal preferences and needs, area that needs to be cleaned, surface type etc.