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All vacuums do the same job: They eat up dirt. But three features—bag, body and cord—distinguish the different styles. When you’re shopping for one, consider pros and cons for each:

Bag vs. Bagless

- Disposable and clean
- Must be replaced
- Bag styles can be discontinued

- No need to buy any bags
- Emptying cylinder can be messy
- Must wash or replace filters

Upright vs. Canister

- Less expensive
- Easy to push around
- Great on carpet
- Awkward in narrow, low or high places

- Great reach
- More expensive
- May need attachment to work on carpet

Cordless vs. Cord

- Fast and easy light cleaning
- No boundaries for plugs or cord tangling
- Less power and suction
- Must be recharged

- More power and suction
- No battery to recharge
- Limits mobility

Tool Glossary

How do you tell which tool should be used for what?

CREVICE NOZZLE: The narrow end increases suction to clean edges and tight corners.

UPHOLSTERY BRUSH: The head sucks the dirt out of fabric without scuffing it.

DUST BRUSH: The bristles grab dust on windowsills, baseboards and inside shelves.

POWER NOZZLE: This revolving brush head tool cleans carpet (canisters only).

Nestperts: MARK DAVIS of Best Vacuum; PETE DUNCANSON of ServiceMaster Clean
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-- Colleen Rush

See More: Buying Appliances , Buying Guides , Cleaning & Organizing