What to look for in a used vacuum

If you own no other gadget to help keep your home or business clean, you need a vacuum cleaner. Unfortunately, buying a new one that actually works well can break the bank. Luckily, you can buy a used vacuum cleaner.

You may find refurbished sales online or in secondhand shops, as well as previously owned vacuums at yard sales and garage sales and on websites like Kijiji. As with any type of appliance, purchasing a used one has it risks, but if you know what to look for, you may just end up with a top-notch cleaner.

Does It Work?
The first thing you need to know about the used vacuum is whether it actually works when you plug it into an electrical outlet. If you purchase it in a shop or at a yard sale, ask the seller if you can test it. Unless there is something to hide, this should not be a problem. Once you are able to power it on, test a small patch of floor or carpet to see if it actually sucks up dirt and debris. If that is impossible, carefully test it against the skin on the palm of your hand to see if the suction feels strong enough for your needs.

What’s That Sound?
Another thing to pay attention to when you turn on the cleaner is the sound it makes. An unusually loud or quiet machine may not be a problem, depending on the type, age, and brand, but listen closely for the sound of loose parts or a motor that does not seem to be operating correctly.

Is the Brand Well-Known?
Brand names are not always better, but in this case they are. Buying a used vacuum with a familiar name makes it easier to purchase bags and accessories. In the future, if the vacuum stops working, you will have better luck fixing it if it is a common brand and model as well. Some of the most common vacuum brands are:

● Dirt Devil
● Bissell
● Dyson
● Panasonic
● Eureka
● Hoover
● Sebo
● Miele
● Kenmore
● LG

How is the Condition?
Judging a book by its cover is never a good idea — unless you are buying a used vacuum. If the cleaner looks as if it is in rough shape, there is a good chance that it is. This may seem strange, but take a whiff of the cleaner, especially while you have it powered on and running. Do you smell mold, mildew, or smoke? These are indicators that the cleaner is not in good condition. A burning smell may mean that it will not last long or could even pose a danger to anyone who uses it in the future.

Other things to look for include rust, an intact power cord, attachments that fit correctly, and working attachments. Rust indicates that the vacuum was most likely left in a wet environment or used to suction wet debris when it was meant only for dry items, and both situations can lead to the cleaner working incorrectly or not working at all in the future. A power cord that is not intact or has kinks or exposed wiring can become a safety hazard. While you may not need all of the attachments, make sure ill-fitting or non-working ones do not expose electrical wires as well.

With a Bag or Bagless?
Trick question! Neither is better, it just comes down to preference.  However, bagless bags will save you some money in the long run as you will not need to purchase bags.  Bagless vacuums are a bit messier though to empty and you have to keep the filter clean.  The best thing about a bagless vacuum is that if you accidentally suck up something valuable you can easily retrieve it.

Always ask how old the vacuum is and see if you can obtain the warranty for it.

Now that you have checked the vacuum, make sure that the accessories are all intact and not broken.   The more popular the brand/model is, the easier it will be for you to find accessories.  Don’t forget to check the hose and the power cord to make sure they are in good condition – these are usually overlooked.

Have any other tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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