A Complete Guide to Floorcare

This is your buying guide for barrel vacs, stick vacs, robot vacs, carpet washers, multi-surface cleaners, steam cleaners and spot cleaners.

Keeping your floors clean is essential for maintaining a healthy and comfortable home. With a wide variety of floorcare appliances available, it can be hard to choose the right one for your needs.

Barrel vacuums, stick vacuums, carpet washers, spot cleaners, which one is which? We're here to help! This a complete guide to floorcare appliances to help you choose the best ones for your needs.

Barrel Vacuums

how to choose a barrel vacuum

Barrel vacuums are a classic style of vacuum that plugs into the wall, with a long hose, handle and cleaning head. Barrel vacs are often more powerful than other types of vacuum. This makes them ideal for cleaning large rooms, deep cleaning carpets and picking up pet hair.

A barrel vac will either have a bin or a bag for collecting the dirt and dust sucked up by the vacuum. Each model has their own method for emptying the bin or changing the bag when it's full.

They often come with a variety of attachments suitable for most cleaning jobs.

  • Crevice tools used for cleaning narrow spaces like door tracks.
  • Upholstery tools used for cleaning the couch or car upholstery.
  • Combination tools used for carpet, tiles or timber flooring.
  • Dusting brush for dislodging dust or cleaning around vents.
  • More expensive models will come with turbine-driven attachments for even deeper cleaning.

How to choose a Barrel Vac

    Here are some things to consider when buying a barrel vacuum.


    Check the size of your space, is it a large space? Make sure the cord and hose length of the barrel vac will reach every corner of the room/s.

    Floor Type

    What kind of floor do you have? Carpet, tiles, laminate or timber? If you have a lot of carpet, make sure you get a barrel vac with more power. More power = better at sucking up dirt and dust.


    Make sure the attachments cover all the cleaning tasks you'll use the barrel vac for. Here's a list:

    • Floors - kitchen, bathrooms, lounge, bedrooms, rugs.
    • Car - do you intend to use it to clean the car?
    • Crevices - door tracks, etc.
    • Pets - do you have any?


      Barrel vacs come in a range of price points to suit every budget.


      Consider if you can lift and manoeuvre the unit with your current strength and mobility.
      In small spaces a barrel vac can take up a lot of space that you might need for other things.

      Barrel vacuums are good for...

      • Large areas because of their larger bin/bag capacities.
      • Bagged vacuums are good for those with allergies because the dust stays in the bag when emptying.
      • Big cleaning jobs because they have a constant power source without the need to recharge.
      • Pet owners who have a lot of hair lying around.

      Barrel vacuums are less suitable for...

      • People with limited strength or mobility.
      • Small homes with limited space.
      • Small spot clean jobs.
      • People who live in apartments where loud noise might be an issue.


      Stick Vacuums

      how to choose a stick vac

      Cordless stick vacuums, or "stick vacs", are a lightweight and portable option for cleaning floors. They are easy to manoeuvre and are ideal for quick cleanups and small spaces. They are great for cleaning hardwood floors, low-pile carpets, and area rugs.

      A stick vac will collect all the dirt and dust in a bin contained in the handle. Stick vacs use rechargeable batteries, so they are not limited by cords or power points. Many stick vac models will have telescopic handles to make them as long or as short as you need them to be. This means you can clean in high or hard to reach spaces.

      With most models you can detach the hose and use the handheld unit for small jobs like cleaning inside the car.

      Stick vacuums will come with many of the attachments that a barrel vac comes with:

      • Crevice tools used for cleaning narrow spaces like door tracks.
      • Upholstery tools used for cleaning the couch or car upholstery.
      • Combination tools used for carpet, tiles or timber flooring.
      • Dusting brush for dislodging dust or cleaning around vents.
      • More expensive models will come with turbine-driven attachments for even deeper cleaning.
      • Some models come with mop head attachments.
      • Some models come with a charging station that can be wall mounted.


      How to choose a Stick Vac

        Here are a few things to consider when buying a Stick Vac.


        Is your space very large? Consider if you will need to clean for a long time and how long the Stick Vac's battery will last. If you have a large space you can opt for a model with two batteries. Having two batteries means you can charge one battery while you use the other, doubling your cleaning time.

        Floor Type

        Determine if a Stick Vac is best for your floor type. Stick Vacs are ideal for low-pile carpets, rugs, tiles, laminate and timber floors.


        Make sure the attachments cover all the cleaning tasks you'll use the stick vacuum for. Here's a list:

        • Floors - kitchen, bathrooms, lounge, bedrooms, rugs.
        • Car - do you intend to use it to clean the car?
        • Crevices - door tracks, etc.
        • Pets - do you have any?
        • High ceilings and curtain tops.
        • Upholstery - do you need it to clean the couch?


          This is one appliance where there is a model to suit every budget. Decide on your budget before looking for a Stick Vac or you will find yourself overwhelmed by choice.


          Consider if your space is too big to clean in one go with the batteries supplied. If you have pets with long hair consider if the power of a stick vacuum will be enough to pick all the hair up. Think about where the stick vacuum will live and if there's a power point to charge it.

          Stick vacs are good for...

          • Those with limited strength and mobility, like the elderly or those with a disability.
          • People who live in small spaces or those with all hard flooring.
          • Parents of small children who need to quickly and frequently freshen up the floor.
          • Small businesses who clean the floors every day.

          Stick vacs are less suitable for...

          • Deep carpets! You need all the power you can get to pick up dirt and dust from deep carpets.
          • Very large spaces like big offices or multi-level houses.
          • Very dirty areas because you'll have to empty the bin a lot.


          Robot Vacuums

          how to choose a robot vacuum

          Robot vacuums are automatic cleaning devices that vacuum the house for you. These devices use sensors and software to navigate around your home and clean floors, carpets, and rugs. Robot vacuums can save you time and effort by cleaning your home while you relax or do other things.
          Robot vacuums can come with a range of features depending on model and budget. To name a few:

          • Advanced navigation and mapping systems.
          • App or voice control.
          • Auto-docking and charging.
          • Mop function.
          • UV sterilization.
          • Automatic carpet detection.
          • Self-emptying dustbin.
          • Cliff sensors (when it dramatically falls down the stairs).

          How to choose a Robot Vacuum

            Here are some things to consider when choosing the robot vacuum model that's right for you.


            Robot vacuums can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the brand and features. To decide on a budget for a robot vacuum, consider your cleaning needs and the features you need. If you have pets or allergies, choose a model with a powerful motor and an efficient brush system. Consider the brand and warranty to ensure you get a quality product that lasts.


            If you have a large home with many rooms, consider a model with advanced sensors and mapping capabilities.

            Floor Type

            Most robot vacuums will be suitable for both hard floors and carpet. A robot vacuum is good for a daily clean, but if you need a deep clean then a barrel or stick vac will be better suited. If you need light daily mopping, some robot vacuums will come with that function.


            Decide which features are the most important to you.
            Do you have pets or anyone who suffers from allergies? Find a model with HEPA filters.
            Do you want to be able to schedule when the robot vacuum cleans? Make sure the app has that.
            Is convenience the most important? Get a model that auto-docks and self-empties the dustbin.
            Do you have many transitions from hard floor to carpet? Make sure the model you choose can detect that.


            A robot vacuum is good for a daily clean, picking up general dust and crumbs. It is not good for a deep clean or anything wet, squishy or gross. A robot vacuum also can't clean stairs, so you'll need to keep doing the stairs yourself.

            Robot vacuums are good for...

            • Saving Time: Robot vacuums can clean your home while you focus on other tasks, saving you time and effort.
            • Cleaning tight spaces. Robot vacuums can fit under furniture and into small spaces.
            • Robot vacuums can remove dust, pet hair, and other allergens from your floors, lessening allergy symptoms.
            • The elderly. Robot vacs help keep the house clean without having to put in too much manual work.

            Robot vacuums are less suited for...

            • Deep cleaning. A barrel or stick vac will outperform a robot vacuum in suction and deep cleaning.
            • Cleaning up leaves, sticks, toys or any other big bits.
            • Stairs.
            • People with cats who are easily startled.


            Carpet Washers

            how to choose a carpet cleaner

            Carpet washers deep clean carpets by using water and cleaning solution to lift dirt and stains. They are also sometimes called "carpet cleaners" or "carpet shampooers". Carpet washers work by using a brush to agitate the carpet fibres and suction to remove the dirty water.

            Traditionally, carpet washers were heavy and bulky. Modern carpet washers have come a long way and have a more streamlined design, making them easier to use. They are great at removing stains and odours, making them perfect for pet owners or high-traffic areas.

            Regularly washing your carpets can extend the lifespan of your carpets over time.
            Carpet washers come with a range of attachments to suit different cleaning jobs.

            These include:
            • Stair tool for stairs
            • Tough stain tool
            • Upholstery tool
            • Pet hair tool

            Some brands recommend only using their brand of cleaning solution with their carpet washers. Check with the manufacturer to see which brand of cleaning solution will work with your specific model.

            How to choose a Carpet Washer

            Here are some things to consider when choosing which carpet cleaner model is right for you.


            Check the size of the room and make sure the hose and cord will be long enough, or that you have power points available. Check to make sure you have enough space to store the unit when not in use.

            Floor Type

            Make sure you know which type of carpet you have and that machine cleaning it won't damage the fibres.


            Make sure the attachments that come with the carpet cleaner will cover all the jobs you intend to use it for.

            • Do you have pets? Make sure the model you choose is good for cleaning up pet hair.
            • Upholstery - do you want to use it on the sofa or in the car?
            • Stairs. If you have stairs you might want to make sure there's a stair tool.


              Consider the ongoing cost of buying the cleaning solution. Check with the manufacturer to see which cleaning solution they recommend.


              Some brands may only recommend their brand of cleaning solution.

              Carpet washers are good for...

              • People with high traffic carpet areas.
              • People with light coloured carpets that need frequent cleaning to look nice.
              • People with severe allergies who need their space to be especially clean.

              Carpet washers are less suitable for...

                Those who only clean their carpets once a year, unless you have the space to store it the rest of the year.
                Renters - a spot cleaner would be better suited to a renter.


                Hard Floor/Multi-Surface Cleaners

                how to buy a hard floor cleaner

                A hard floor cleaner is a machine used to clean hard floors such as tile, hardwood, and laminate. Hard floor and multi-surface cleaners clean a wide range of surfaces, including hardwood floors, tiles, and carpets. These cleaners are designed to remove dirt and grime from the floor without causing damage or leaving residue.

                Similar to a hard floor cleaner, a multi-surface cleaner combines the functions of a hard floor cleaner and a carpet cleaner. Both types of cleaner combine cleaning agents and water to remove dirt and grime from the floor.

                Hard floor cleaners replace the mop and bucket in your cleaning routine. Some go a step further and replace the broom too with models that vacuum, mop and dry in one.

                Aside from their convenience, hard floor cleaners are excellent for cleaning timber floors. Mopping timber floors can be tricky, knowing which cleaner to use and being careful not to scratch the floor. There are hard floor cleaners on the market now which specialise in cleaning timber flooring.

                A multi-surface cleaner can replace the entire routine too, with some added benefits. A multi-surface cleaner can be used on area rugs and upholstery.
                • Both hard floor and multi-surface cleaners come with attachments for different cleaning jobs.
                • Regular brush roll for use on most hard surfaces
                • Pet brush roll for cleaning up pet messes - sometimes these come with anti-microbial properties
                • Area rug brush roll for cleaning rugs
                • Wood floor brush roll for cleaning timber floors without scratching.
                • You can also buy replacement filters and parts to keep the machine running well for many years.

                How to choose a Hard Floor/Multi-Surface Cleaner

                  Here are some things to consider when choosing the hard floor cleaner that's right for you.

                  Surface Type

                  Consider the surfaces you have before choosing between a hard floor cleaner or a multi-surface cleaner. Include upholstery!


                  • Do you have pets? Make sure your model has a pet attachment
                  • Do you have timber flooring? The model you choose should have a wood floor brush roll.
                  • If you have area rugs, double check to see if your model can do rugs too.


                    This appliance is a significant improvement over the mop and bucket method. A hard floor/multi-surface cleaner is an investment in your life, but it is not a one-time cost. You'll need to buy cleaning solution for the machine. Check which solution the manufacturer recommends and ensure that you can easily buy more.
                    You'll also need to replace the brush rolls every 6 months or so as they will get dirty and gross over time.


                    • Some brands recommend only using their own brand of cleaning agents.
                    • Some machines can be bulky so you'll need to make sure you can store the machine somewhere out of the way.

                    Hard Floor/Multi-Surface Cleaners are good for...

                    • People with large areas of hard flooring.
                    • Timber floors.
                    • People with children and/or pets or those looking for an extra hygienic clean.
                    • Area rugs (some models).
                    • Robot vacuum owners - you don't want it running over something super gross.

                    Hard Floor/Multi-Surface Cleaners are less suitable for..

                      Those with only a small amount of hard flooring. A multi-surface cleaner would still be useful, just a bit of an overreaction.


                      Steam Cleaners Including Steam Mops

                      steam cleaners buying guide

                      Steam cleaners are an effective tool to clean various surfaces around your home. They use steam to remove dirt, and bacteria from hard surfaces without using cleaning agents. Steam cleaners come in different sizes, from handheld units to full-sized machines.

                      Steam cleaners can be used for a wide range of jobs:

                      • Tiles and grout
                      • Kitchen appliances
                      • Bathrooms
                      • Windows and mirrors
                      • Door tracks
                      • Upholstery and curtains
                      • Mattresses and bedding

                      How to choose a Steam Cleaner

                        Here are some things to consider when choosing the right Steam Cleaner model for you.


                        Think about what you want to use the steam cleaner for, not just what you could use the steam cleaner for. Make sure you have the attachments that you need to cover the job. Here's a list:

                        • Floor brush for hard flooring.
                        • Upholstery tool for couches and curtains.
                        • Window squeegee for glass and mirrors.
                        • Scraper tool for scraping away stubborn mess.
                        • Detail brush for grout and crevices.
                        • Concentrator nozzle to focus steam on a small area.
                        • Iron attachment for refreshing clothes and linens.


                          Think about the features you need, including warranty and after sales service. This will help set the budget.

                          Steam Cleaners are good for...

                          • Small cleaning jobs.
                          • Cleaning a variety of surfaces.
                          • Hygienic disinfecting without the use of harsh chemicals.
                          • Stubborn grime.

                          Steam Cleaners are less suited to...

                          • Cleaning large surfaces.
                          • Unsealed flooring.
                          • Fine or delicate fabrics.

                          Spot Cleaners

                          spot cleaners buying guide

                            Spot cleaners are designed to clean up spills and stains quickly and easily. They are small and portable, making them perfect for cleaning up messes on a variety of surfaces.

                            Spot cleaners use a combination of water and cleaning solution to lift and remove stains. They also use suction to extract the dirty water and leave the surface clean and dry.

                            Spot cleaners are very effective at removing stains, even those that have been set in for a long time. They can be used on carpets, upholstery, and even car interiors.


                            Spot cleaners usually come with a range of attachments to suit a wide range of cleaning jobs. Some of these include:

                            • A tough stain tool
                            • Standard cleaning heads of various sizes
                            • Crevice tools
                            • Specialist tools that vary by brand.

                            How to choose a Spot Cleaner

                              Here's some things to consider when choosing which spot cleaner is right for you.


                              Decide on which features you need before setting a budget. Think about what you need to use it for, including brand and warranty. Factor in the cost of cleaning agents or replacement hoses or filters.


                              Make sure the spot cleaner you choose has all the attachments you need!


                              A spot cleaner will not be ideal for large jobs. Many brands will also only recommend that you use their brand of cleaning agent.

                              Spot Cleaners are good for...

                              Car owners! People with bougie lounge settings. People with normal lounges that need a good clean. Pet owners. Parents of children of all ages. Messy eaters.

                              Spot Cleaners are less suited to...

                              Large cleaning jobs. People who keep every surface somehow naturally pristine. People without cars or sofas.


                              The right floorcare appliance can make a significant difference in your cleaning routine. Whether you need a powerful vacuum for deep cleaning carpets or a portable spot cleaner for quick cleanups, there's a floorcare appliance to meet your needs.

                              We hope we've given you a bit more information that you can use to make an informed decision on which appliance is best for your needs.


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