vacuum cleaners for elderly people

The 5 Best Vacuum Cleaners for Elderly People

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Mom likes to think she’s an older young woman, whatever that means. And who on Earth has the right to deny her such a harmless indulgence?

If you’re anything like my 65-year-old mom, you own a medium-sized to a large home. You likely also own an old uber-powerful vacuum cleaner.

My old girl’s ancient Miele vacuum still tidies up your 3,500-square-foot home insanely fast and thoroughly. And that’s great.

She’s aging gracefully. And that’s awesome. But it isn’t 2001 anymore. But truth be told: she’s not as strong and agile as she was 20 years ago.

For Mom, carrying her cadillac-heavy upright Miele to clean her high-pile carpet upstairs was never fun. But it’s been getting worse over time. These days, moving that beastly workhorse up the stairs is proving to be an even harder chore. And you know why.

If you’re increasingly finding it difficult to drag a heavy piece of powerful cleaning equipment from room to room, you’re at the right place.

Because this vacuum-cleaner-for-seniors buying guide also includes brief reviews of 5 lightweight vacuums that even older folks can push without killing their back and limbs.

What’s the Best Vacuum for Elderly Folks?

It’s hard to say which specific vacuum model is the absolute best option for seniors. That said, some models are better suited to the unique needs of those who’re older but still young in spirit.

I picked the Kenmore BU4050 Intuition as the best vacuum cleaner for an elderly person. I chose it because for a powerful full-size bagged upright vacuum that filters the air that well, it’s surprisingly light and compact.

Besides that, the BU4050 is easy to use. Since it’s an upright vacuum, an older user doesn’t need to bend over that much.

And the best part? It comes in at a reasonably good price point. But it’s not the cheapest vacuum ever built. Also, being an upright vac, it’s definitely not the quietest option out there.

The Best Vacuum Cleaners for Elderly People

Let’s get down to business right away.

1.Best Upright Vacuum for Aging Users[Best Overall]: Kenmore BU4050 Intuition Bagged

kenmore intution bagged vacuum

Most upright vacuums are bagless, but not the Kenmore BU4050 Intuition Bagged Vacuum. It offers HEPA-grade filtration, making it a good choice for folks with allergies.

What makes this 200W vacuum a good choice for older users is that it’s quite light, weighing just 14 pounds. Also, it’s an upright-style option. You won’t need to bend your back too much when cleaning.

What’s more, its lift-off design converts its top part into an even lighter handheld vacuum for cleaning upholstery, steps, and windowsills.

Its self-sealing double-walled dust bag at full capacity holds 3.1 liters of debris. That’s not too heavy, and you won’t need to constantly toss it. And no, you won’t deal with pressure dips when the bag nears its full capacity.

A 30-foot power cord combined with a 6-foot extension wand makes for a decent cleaning range. And an LED headlamp lights the path ahead.

Other attachments the unit offers include: 

  • A crevice tool for taking care of hard-to-reach spots
  • An off/off brush (Hair Eliminator Nozzle) for cleaning medium pile carpets. Also cleans plush pile and bare floors when it’s turned off
  • A pet hair removal tool (Pet Handimate Tool)
  • Upholstery tool for collecting fabric lint and dust from sofas and cushions

The Kenmore BU4050 Intuition Bagged Vacuum Cleaner is better designed compared to previous models BU4018, BU4020, and BU4022. Unlike them, it’s a bagged model. Aside from that, less hair gets caught in the on/off rotating power brush roll.

It’s a feature-rich and easy-to-use bagged model from a respected vacuum brand. Whether you’re 25 or 55, you’ll love how easy and fun homecare becomes.

Older users will definitely love being able to lift off the upper portion for above-floor cleans. 

Mom cleans her entire 3500 sq. ft. house in no time. She loves the provided attachments because they’re good quality. Plus there’s onboard storage for the tools. She doesn’t need to remember where they are, not that’s lost her memory.

Oh, and it’s not whisper quiet. But a sub-75dB rating isn’t considered harmful noise. You won’t need ear protection even when it’s running at full throttle.

Pros

  • Really long power cord          
  • Less bending when using
  • Trusted brand that makes great vacuums
  • Double-walled bag that loses no suction
  • Lift off design for lightweight above-floor cleans
  • LED lamp
  • Brush roll has on/off switch
  • Ideal for carpets and bare floors
  • On–the-unit tool storage

Cons

  • Not easy to push on plush carpets
  • Affordable but not the cheapest
  • Not the quietest

Luckly, a suction-release valve helps solve the problem.

2.Budget Corded Canister Vacuum (Bagged): Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G

Eureka corded canister vacuum

If you live in a small home and seek out a budget corded canister that cleans reasonably well without costing the whole world, this is the deal.

Weighing in at just 9 pounds, it’s hard to imagine any older guy or girl finding this too heavy. Indeed, few canister options are this compact.

You’re getting 20 feet of cleaning range with this, just as you do with the even lighter canister, the Oreck BB1200. Here, you’re getting not one but two extension wands so you’ll never leave any low or high corner of your home unattended ever again.

This unit comes highly recommended for older folks who favor apartment living or small-home living. Because when it starts sucking up dirt and debris off hard floors and other uncovered surfaces, you’ll be impressed.

But if you think this low-cost compact canister will dive deep and get the pet dander and other allergens living in your thick, soft carpeting, think again. You won’t like it, and I discourage you from choosing this vacuum unless you’re willing to remove your thick, soft floor coverings.

Do you know why the Eureka sucks at cleaning deep-pile carpets? It’s because it doesn’t come with the right cleaning tool — a motorized brush roll.

But don’t expect HEPA-grade filtration here. Fortunately, there’s a 2.5 dust bag so you won’t deal with a messy canister. And like the pricier ORECK BB1200, this little guy gives you leaf-blowing capabilities.

Listen good: If you only like vacuums that last a lifetime, BUY something else. Because at a sub-$100 price point, you’ll be lucky if ANY vacuum won’t die on you 6-12 months after purchasing it.

Pros

  • Very attractive price point
  • Bagged option
  • Comes with an extra bag
  • Not too loud

Cons

  •  No HEPA filtration
  • Blowing capability

3. Lightest Compact Canister Vacuum for Unyoung Users: Oreck BB1200 Compact Canister Vacuum

Oreck vacuum for unyoung users

Canisters are notorious for being bulky and unwieldy. But not the Oreck BB1200.

Weighing just 5.5lbs, this ultra compact canister vacuum is extremely light. I’ve yet to see a lighter canister vacuum.

I wondered why Oreck added a shoulder strap to a cleaner this light. But then I remembered you and your need for a highly maneuverable canister and muttered, why not?

At that price, you don’t get many bagged vacuums with a HEPA filter, but this Oreck offers that and more.

To make it even easier to carry around and easily clean above-floor spots, this vac offers a shoulder strap.

As for the power cord, it’s 20 feet long. You won’t keep looking for the nearest socket.

Its telescoping extension wand lengthens so you can suck in high-sitting spider webs. With this increased cleaning radius, no crevice on window frames, chandeliers, ceiling fans will remain unloved.

Nothing is easier than picking cookie bits lodging in awkward nooks on car seats and strollers. And a switch on the hose enables conversion to a blower. 

Hubby recently bought this for my MIL. It sucks up debris off bare floors and low-pile carpets admirably. But when my MIL tried cleaning her plush pile with it, she didn’t think it deserved a pat on the back.

The aging but happy girl said this to her son, “I love it, but I guess I needa remove all this carpeting.”

She also thinks Oreck should start providing a more comfortable shoulder strap. Also, some reviewers reported that the handle that came with their vacuum (bought on Amazon) needed improvement.

Pros

  • Features a car adapter
  • More affordable than most
  • Telescopic extendable wand
  • Can be used as a blower
  • OK price
  •  Bagged + HEPA filtration
  • Pretty quiet

Cons

  • Shoulder strap could be better
  • Handle could be better quality
  • Not ideal for the largest cleans

4.Best Convertible Cordless Vacuum For Elderly Folks: Eureka Stylus NEC380

Eureka convertible vacuum

The Eureka Stylus NEC380 weighs just 6.4lbs. It’s really light.

It’s an upgrade from the Eureka RapidClean Pro Essential NEC180. But is there really a difference between these two vacs?

As far as design and build quality, these two are pretty similar. But there’s a difference between them. And I’ll tell you about it in a bit.

When I tried lifting fine debris off low-pile carpeting and bare floors with the Stylus NEC380, it performed great. I also saw decent cleaning performance when I used it on bare floor and low-pile carpet to collect medium-sized dry spills.

Performance tests (by others I’ve watched on YT) show the Eureka RapidClean Pro NEC180 to be equally good at sweeping fine and medium-sized debris off bare floors and short-pile carpeting.

But when it comes to picking large debris such as spilled dry cheerios, the improved model wins the contest. Because the Stylus NEC380 features some lever that enables you to detach the cleaning wand. With the detached wider wand, picking larger debris gets remarkably easier.

Also, the NEC380 has a more powerful motor: a 350WDC motor vs. a 150W DC motor of the RapidClean Pro.

I like how the Stylus NEC380 converts from a stick-style vacuum to a handheld option that conquers bigger debris while busting above-floor dust like a dream.

And because the Stylus’ neck swivels, you’ll never struggle cleaning under and around furniture legs.

However, neither unit cleans plush pile carpeting well. But it’s not like handheld vacuums were ever the quintessential deep-carpet cleaner.

The Stylus’ lithium ion battery lasts about 40-45 minutes on the lowest of three suction modes. But the unit’s staying power declines to just 10-15 minutes on the highest suction setting.

So, the Stylus (and its older version) is ideal for quick, small cleans.  Like when your furry friends or kids mess up. Or when picking up debris from car seat cracks.

Pros

  • Convertibility from a stick to a handheld vacuum
  • Super light and maneuverable
  • Good performance picking fine and larger debris
  • Neck swivels, which makes cleaning tight spaces easy
  • Decent lithium ion battery
  • Great for tidying up car seats

Cons 

  • Not good for large cleans

5.Best Robot Cleaner for Long-lived Consumers: iRobot Roomba i7+

robotic cleaner for long-lived consumers

The i7+ and ALL Roombas have two multi-surface, self-cleaning rubber brushes which make it a good choice for auto-cleaning long pile carpeting. It also features a HEPA-style filter. I emailed the manufacturer for clarification as to whether it’s a True HEPA filter in there, and they confirmed it’s a  HEPA-like filter.

Carpet deep cleaning tests show that the Vacuum has 10 times stronger suction than IRobot’s standard model 675.

Like i3+, S9+, and other advanced iRoomba robot models, the i7+ is a self-emptying robot. And it can last up to two months before you need to empty its dust bag into the unit’s base.

This top-of the line robot vacuum cleaner connects to Wi-Fi and offers remote control. Unlike cheaper models that seem weird or disorganized in their cleaning patterns, this more recent generation boasts intelligent one-row-after-another navigation.

Additionally, its dirt-spotting sensor ensures it makes more passes over dirtier areas. I’m talking about those small areas you might have forgotten about or didn’t have enough time to tidy up.

Throw in Amazon Alexa skills, and suddenly you can speak to your i7+ and tell it precisely where, when, and how frequently you need it to clean.

Older people may forget to clean their carpet or floor, but this unit always remembers to clean your surfaces. It never complains of overwork, disruption of plans, or even exhaustion. It shows up every time and picks up the messes decluttering your home so you can focus on higher-value tasks such as growing your career.

Also, you can input stay-out-these-zones boundaries into your i7+ so it won’t keep gliding striking at hard objects like furniture legs and walls. 

What’s more, the i7+ has an automatic battery charging system. This self-charging mechanism propels the vacuum toward the charging dock when its battery power starts running low. No need to worry about running out of juice. Or looking for misplaced chargers.

Pros

  • Smart floor mapping
  • HEPA filtration
  • Self emptying & self-charging
  • Integrates with Wi-Fi and Amazon Alexa: obeys verbal commands
  • Cleans without tiring or forgetting
  • Multi-surface cleaning
  • 2 rotating rubber brushes instead of one
  • No need to push or bend

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Bin emptying though infrequent still necessary
  • Filter replacement required
  • HEPA-like not True HEPA

A Quick Guide to Choosing a Vacuum Cleaner If You’re Older

Choose a vacuum with:

  • A handheld model for quick clean-ups of counters, stairs, and upholstery; a stick vacuum that converts to a handheld vac should also a good choice
  • A long-reach hose that supports cleaning those hard-to-reach spaces: under beds, under furniture, under tables, and tops of bookshelves
  • An adjustable/telescopic handle that allows you to set up a comfortable handle height
  • Extension wands that are extendable so that you can dramatically increase their cleaning reach.
  • A brush tool that allows you to tidy up surfaces such as upholstery and carpeted stairs.
  • An LED headlamp so you can see dirty spots and objects that can clog the unit while tidying up dark-lit areas
  • Automatic head adjustability so you can fiddle around less with the controls.
  • A motorized powerhead vacuum over an air-driven vacuum. Because air-driven vacuums clog more often. Plus they’re aren’t as powerful at picking up filth.
  • A bagged design because you’ll encounter less dust when tossing the bag. Also because bagged options have better filtration,and generally have greater suction. Plus they need less maintenance and are typically more durable.
  • A swiveling neck if your home is like a furniture mart.

What A Good Vacuum Cleaner for Elderly Users Looks Like

The best vacuums for seniors are lightweight, compact, easy-to-use, and highly maneuverable. They’re typically backpack-style, upright, stick, some canisters, handheld, and robot vacuums.

Self-emptying, self-charging robot vacuums are particularly great choices for elderly homeowners and apartment dwellers. Because you never need to push the vac at all.

Automatic vacuum cleaners do all the heavy lifting with little human input. Which saves human backs from the drudgery of cleaning floors and carpeting.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Vacuum for an Elderly Person

Choosing the right vacuum cleaner for anyone can be a daunting process. But, things get a tad trickier if you’re not very young anymore.

Armed with the information in this buyer’s guide, you’ll easily pick a vacuum that’ll clean your spaces well without being too unwieldy.

Here’s what to be vigilant about when buying the right vacuum for seniors:

What Surface Type Will You Mostly Clean?

Some carpets clean hardwood floors and soft surfaces exceptionally well. So, if it’s a multi-surface home, get a vacuum that’s optimized for multi-surface cleans.

But if the entire house is carpeted and you don’t see yourself removing the carpeting in the future, consider a carpet-focused vacuum.

Also, consider the carpet type you have before purchasing. Because vacuums that work well for low-pile carpeting may not always work well for medium and high-pile carpets.

Here’s a list of decent thick pile carpets. Some of the picks I reviewed are light enough for older users.

Weight and Size of the Vacuum Cleaner

Small vacuums are easier to use because they can easily fit into tight spaces and corners while maneuvering around furniture. Smaller, lighter models are also easy to carry up and downstairs.

Large vacuum cleaners are typically more powerful. But they may be difficult to use if you’re well past your youthful years. If you’re not strong enough to carry a big bulky vacuum around the house or up and down stairs, you won’t enjoy using it much.

A heavier vacuum will tire you out more quickly than a lighter one. Such vacuums may also be harder to steer around the house. This can make them difficult to use if you have weaker hands.

If you have a weak back and hands or live with mobility issues, choose a vacuum that’s not too heavy. A lightweight vacuum in a compact size with decent suction power will encourage you to vacuum more regularly. And you’ll have a blast while doing it.

Always pick the lightest, most compact, affordable vacuum available that gives you decent suction power.

Vacuum Weight Varies from Model to Model

If you’re choosing a handheld option, stay in the 3-5 pounds neighborhood. And if buying a canister-style vacuum, you want it to weigh significantly less than 20 pounds. Choose a unit that allows for easier portability without compromising on cleaning power.

Before buying a vacuum cleaner, it may be helpful to compare its weight to that of similar models. A lighter model will be less tiring to carry around than a heavier one.

A 20-lb canister vacuum would be too heavy for most seniors. Even though one part of a canister unit stays on the floor as you clean, you still have to drag the heavy vacuum. 15lbs and below should be light enough without sacrificing too much cleaning power.

If you’d prefer an upright vacuum, choose one with a lift-up design. Such uprights typically have a button that once pressed releases the top part. You can then use the lift-off portion as a handheld vacuum.

A good example of an upright vac that’s available in this highly maneuverable design is the Kenmore 2040. The lift-off side of this vacuum weighs just 8 pounds, making it a great choice for both young and unyoung folks.

Is the Vacuum Easy to Use? 

If an older clean freak has back problems or other age-related issues, give them a vacuum that’s easy to use. Older people, especially those who don’t do household chores regularly, might struggle to locate the power switch and other features in certain vacuums.

But they shouldn’t have to fight with their vac every day trying to locate features. And they shouldn’t have to consult the user manual every time they want to do some housework!

Critical features such as the on/off switch or height-adjustment foot lever should be easy to find and reach. Also, the control panel on electronic vacuum cleaners shouldn’t be too finicky.

If your doting grandpa can’t access the button quickly, they’ll likely ask you to help clean the room.

Giving Grandpa a hand is perfectly OK and actually encouraged. But wouldn’t it be even better if they could clean the entire house without asking for help all the time?

Bagless or Bagged Vacuum for an Elderly Person?

A bagless design may not be the best choice for an older person because it entails quite a bit of maintenance.

The machine’s dirt canister needs to be dumped out from time to time. If the dust bin gets too heavy once it fills up with debris, emptying it can be a pain for an older person.

Also, most bagless vacuums tend to use a washable filter. These washable filters typically necessitate weekly cleaning. Well, I’ve not yet heard of any washable vacuum filter that cleans itself!

Why Choose a Bagged Vacuum for an Aging Person?

A bagged vacuum cleaner is a better choice all around for older clean freaks. Because there’s no dealing with flying debris during emptying.

If you can detach the dust bag and dispose of it once it’s full, buy a bagged vac. Taking a full dustbag off a vacuum is hardly a big deal for most seniors. It’s definitely easier and less messy than constantly emptying a canister.

Disadvantages of a Bagged Vacuum for Older Users

Bagged vacuums often come highly recommended, but there are downsides, too. For example, installing a new dust bag in some bagged models sometimes has a bit of a learning curve.

I’ve handled quite a few bagged vacuums over the years. And putting in a replacement bag has been utter frustration in some cases. So, consider how easy bag replacement would be if you opted to buy a bagged HEPA vacuum.

If you think you might face hurdles when replacing dust bags, don’t worry. Instead, pick a bagged vacuum that’s designed to compress the dirt.

With such a choice, the bag fills up that much slower. The unit won’t have the user tossing a full dirtbag every other cleaning session.

In a nutshell, bagged vacuums are better for the elderly versus bagless options because:

  • They’re better at filtration compared with bagless vacuums.
  • Tossing dust bags is less messy versus emptying dirt canisters.
  • They’re easier to maintain.

Downsides of Bagged Options:

  • Bagged vacuums require regular bag replacement.
  • Swapping out full dirt bags for new ones isn’t always easy.

Vacuum Air Filters

If you have asthma or allergies, choose a vacuum cleaner with a good filtration system. Pick one with a True HEPA filter which traps at least 99.97% of particles 0.3-microns in size.

The HEPA standard is the best protection against dust, pet dander, mold spores, pollen, and other allergens that could trigger allergy symptoms.

Many bagged vacuums and some bagless options use HEPA filters. Bagless vacuums typically use washable HEPA filters while bagged vacuums mostly use True HEPA filters. True HEPA offers better filtration than washable HEPA.

Those who love bagless vacuums argue that they’re cheaper to run but that’s not entirely true. A bagless vacuum uses both a washable filter and a replaceable filter. So, you still have to replace the filter down the road. With a bagged vacuum, you also replace the HEPA filter, but you do that less frequently because the dust bag handles some of the filtration work. Plus there’s no filter to clean. And many vacuum technicians report that bagged vacuums don’t burn the motor as often as bagless ones.

What about that unpleasant smell that wafts from full and even half-full dust bags? If you have long-haired dogs that shed, your dust bag will start smelling sooner than later. To solve this problem, choose a vacuum with a grayish bag because it has activated charcoal woven into its fabric.

If your unit comes with a charcoal-less dust bag, use the following trick that I learned from this community: Use your vacuum cleaner to suck up activated carbon before vacuuming anything else into the newly installed bag. You won’t notice odors for some time.

When the bag starts smelling again, vacuum up some more activated charcoal. Problem solved!

But why activated charcoal?

Ancient Egypticians used carbon to deodorize festering-wound odors. And sailors thousands of years ago would smear some charcoal on the inner side of water-storage barrels to preserve its taste and freshness.

Today, we have activated carbon/activated charcoal, a better version of what those early Egyptians and sailors used.

Dust Container Capacity

You shouldn’t be lifting heavy weights all the time. So, get a vacuum whose dust bin empties and cleans easily.

You want the dust container to detach easily from the vacuum’s body. If your house doesn’t need frequent cleaning, a dirt canister or bag that’ll hold several days’ worth of dirt before needing emptying is best.

Some cleaners have a clear dirt compartment. With such an option, you get to see when it needs dumping out and cleaning.

Handheld vacuums come with really small dirt cups (about 0.5-0.6L). Full-size vacuums have bigger dirt holders, usually 1.5 liters to over 3 liters.

Tip: Some bagged vacuums such as the Kenmore BU4050 have no-touch dust bags. Once the bag fills up, lift off the top part of the vacuum which holds the bag and walk over to the trash can. Once there, press the bag release button and the bag drops into the bin. Nice and clean!

Robot Vacuums Can Be Great Choices for Seniors

A robotic vacuum cleaner can be a terrific choice if you’re a long-lived person. These intelligent cleaning systems are acceptably efficient at cleaning all types of floor surfaces.

Some robot vacuums such as the iRobot i7+ even empty and charge themselves! Better ones utilize a sensor-based house-mapping technology that enables them to execute specific instructions.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could say to your vac, “Clean under the bed?” Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled automatic vacuums make cleaning that much easier for elderly folks.

One downside to robo-vacs is that they can be too expensive for low-income seniors. But nothing prevents you from picking an automated cleaning system that works while spending wisely.

Cordless or Corded Robot Cleaners for Elderly Folks?

Most people, both the young and unyoung, prefer cordless automatic vacuums over corded ones.

Because running power cords increases clutter.

Plus, there’s no tripping hazard to worry about.

Handle Height of the Vacuum Cleaner

Older people (actually everyone) often need to bend down or crouch to reach different parts while cleaning floors or carpets. But being in such positions feels more tiring if you’re a little advanced in age. And things worsen a tad if you have weakish knees.

Fortunately, many vacuum manufacturers sell options with height-adjustable handles. Such vacuums help you access low and high places with ease and suck up dirt.

If you can pull the handle out and elongate it, you’ll bend less during cleans. And if it’s possible to shorten the handle, a shorter person in the family or a kid can help with the cleaning.

If the handle isn’t adjustable, it should at least be telescopic.

Lots of Furniture Around? Choose a Swivel Neck Style Vacuum

This kind of vacuum helps you maneuver around furniture legs removing as much dirt as possible.

Some vacuums work great when it comes to cleaning in straight paths. But when cleaning tight spaces such as under the bed & furniture or around table legs, they leave some areas dirty. And that’s where a vacuum with a swivel-neck design comes in handy. 

Suction Power of the Vacuum

A vacuum cleaner that sucks at sucking up dust (pun intended), dirt, pet hair, and fine debris isn’t much use to older users. So pick a vacuum model that sweeps off surfaces with ease.

Pick a model with a high-quality, powerful motor. Well, the most powerful vacuums also tend to be pretty heavy. But there’s always that unique piece of floor cleaning equipment that offers great suction without being buick-heavy.

For short cleans such as when picking up dry debris spilled on the carpet or floor, a decent DC motor should be adequate.

But for heavy-duty cleans that take longer than 30 minutes, definitely pick a vacuum that runs on an AC motor. I’m talking about a good corded canister vacuum here.

Some battery-powered handheld vacuums these days can handle relatively large cleans. But these pro floor cleaners are few and far between.

Select a Unit With a Headlight

When tidying up a part of the house that’s darkly lit, a headlamp makes it easy to spot everything the vacuum needs to devour.

I bet you don’t want to hold a flashlight while pushing a powerful vacuum with the other hand. Luckily, most vacuums these days come with an LED headlamp that misses nothing.

Leaf Blower or Mulching Function

Some vacuum models come with a built-in leaf blower as well as a leaf mulcher. Many decent garage vacuum cleaners and shop vacs have a blower port. But these types of vacuum cleaners aren’t ideal for most elderly folks. Because they tend to be too heavy for comfort.

Having these extra features isn’t always a good thing though.

In some vacuum cleaners, simply pressing a button avails the blower mode or leaf mulcher. With other vacs, you may have to set up the desired configuration manually.

Manual configuration can be tough in some cases if you’re not as strong as you used to be.

My parents once owned a multi-feature unit that necessitated using a mallet to get the vacuum mode to work. My old man returned the hard-to-use cleaning equipment, of course.

The Length of the Vacuum’s Power Cord

Cord length determines how far from the power source you can clean at any time. What I’d consider decent cord length may be too short for you. So, consider how much reach you need given the actual location of your power supply.

A longer cord gives you greater freedom in terms of movement around different rooms and larger homes. What’s more, longer cords are somewhat easier to maneuver.

Cord length of 20-30 feet should work for most apartments and homes. With a cord that long, there’s less risk of the power being cut off while you’re vacuuming. And you won’t need to change outlets frequently during the cleaning session.

Pick a Vacuum With Onboard Storage for Cleaning Tools

Having onboard storage that holds small, easy-to-lose tools is a good idea for everyone. But it’s even more important if you’re older.

With such an option, every tool you need for a thorough clean will always be within easy reach.

No more wasting time and energy looking for a misplaced crevice tool or dust brush!

Quiet Vacuums Are Best for Elderly Users

Vacuum cleaners exist to keep households tidy, not to be a noisy distraction. Or to cause noise pollution and annoyance. Or to destroy over-the-hill eardrums. Or to be a nuisance to good neighbors.

According to theUniversity of Michigan, any loud enough sound heard over time can harm hearing. Or even cause hearing loss.

Make sure to check what dB rating the unit you’re looking at has. dB stands for decibel by the way.

Select one that gives off less than 75dB of noise. But how loud is 75dB? The University of Michigan gives two sources that produce the same amount of noise as 75dB:

  • The standard full-size vacuum cleaner
  • The average radio

It appears that most vacuum cleaners should be safe for most users, older or younger.

Obviously, the quieter the better.

Manufacturers usually provide noise level information on the package. You can also find most models’ dB figures on the seller’s website.

Noise levels past 85dB are considered harmful. Leaf blowers are harmfully loud. The UoM says that leaf blowers produce between 106-115 dB! That’s way louder than what’s considered healthy noise levels. They’re as loud as a chainsaw or snowmobile.

If you must use a leaf blower or any vacuum that’s louder than the recommended dB rating, use ear protection. You may also consider a vacuum with a muffler. But this noise-reduction feature costs a certain amount of suction power.

Upright vacuums tend to be noisier and less powerful than canisters. But they’re less bulky, plus there’s less bending when using them. That makes great for older homeowners and apartment dwellers.  

Fortunately, there’s a bunch of vacuums that operate at low noise levels without compromising on cleaning capability.

Automatic Shut-off in Vacuum Cleaners

Automatic shut-off is one of the most important pieces of vacuum technology. Many vacuums these days come with this safety feature.

This technology turns the vacuum off automatically when you’re using it. That prevents the cleaner from overheating or becoming a fire hazard.

Stories of vacuums catching fire aren’t common, but they happen. A few years ago, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission slapped Hoover with a staggering civil penalty of $750,000.

The company had failed to disclose to consumers that its self-propelled upright models had defective on/off switches that made them a fire hazard.

Further, the CPSC ordered the brand to recall the affected models. The company had to recall self-propelled Hoover vacuums manufactured between May 1998 and November 1999.

None of this means Hoovers aren’t safe or that they catch fire. The whole point of this example was to demonstrate how important it is to have auto-shut off on your vacuum.

An Ergonomic Design Equals Less Physical Stress

Handling heavy objects can be difficult to haul around for older adults. Weak backs, muscles, and joints often complain when an older person carries a full dirt canister for emptying.

An ergonomic vacuum design can help reduce physical strain and increase vacuuming efficiency.

So, pay attention to the handle, especially when choosing backpack-style vacuum designs. The handles need to have a comfortable grip. And it shouldn’t be positioned at an awkward location that causes discomfort during use.

Price Range: Buy an Affordable Vacuum That Actually Works

If you’re buying in-store, you already know that price varies across locations. If you’re a senior living in a high-cost state, expect to pay a little more for the same model than someone living in a more affordable state.

On average, a good quality vacuum can cost from $100 to well over $1000. But some cheaper vacuums with elderly-user-friendly features can be had for slightly under $100.

Just don’t expect dirt cheap options to last forever. Or to have every extra feature high-end vacuums offer.

I’ve seen cheap vacuums that perform at a similar level to pricier models. But the cheapest vacuums of any kind are almost always duds with a ridiculously short lifespan.

Often, little-known, newish companies tend to sell more affordable options compared to more established brands such as Miele. But how reliable are they? Will they cooperate when you need replacement parts or to ship the vac back?

Choosing a Vacuum Cleaner As An Older User: Conclusion

If you’re an older youth looking for something that won’t be too hard on your back, the buying guide above should be helpful.

Some older people rely on a family member or friend for help with vacuuming. But no one seems to have enough time these days.

But why not buy a vacuum whose design and features make floor-to-ceiling cleans easy work even for long-lived seniors?

If the vacuum design is ergonomically sound, lightweight, and versatile all while boasting decent suction,pick it. The gift receiver will want to sweep off their surfaces more often.

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