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Choosing a vacuum cleaner

Vacuum cleanerTypes of vacuum cleaner

Uprights are good for wide, flat spaces. They take less strength to push and can give support if you want something to lean on.

Cylinders are easier if you have steps and stairs. You need to assemble the tubing the first time you use them, which might take some strength. They can sometimes get tangled up in wheelchair wheels.


Moving and carrying

  • Is it light enough to lift, and to push/pull around when cleaning? Models that weigh under 6kg will suit most people.
  • Are handles comfortable to hold? Is there space for two hands if necessary?
  • Is it small enough to be carried close to the body?
  • If it's an upright, does it fold down easily to fit under furniture?


  • Is it easy to get the different attachments in and out of storage?
  • Can you attach tubing and attachments easily?
  • Does the cord rewind automatically? If not, is it fiddly to do?

Bag and filter

  • Is there a bag that needs emptying or replacing?
  • Is it a filterless system, or does the filter need changing too?
  • Are the bag and/or filter easy to get at and remove without needing too much strength or fiddly movements?


  • Can you push the on/off control with your foot?
  • Are labels and markings large and do they contrast well with their background?
  • Are buttons easy to press? Large buttons that stick out are better.
  • Are the controls well-spaced, so that you don’t press the wrong one accidentally?