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Is It Time for a New Vacuum Cleaner? Here's How to Tell

Look for these warning signs to know if it's time to replace or upgrade your vacuum.

Macy Meyer Editor I
Macy Meyer is a N.C. native who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2021 with a B.A. in English and Journalism. She currently resides in Charlotte, N.C., where she has been working as an Editor I, covering a variety of topics across CNET's Home and Wellness teams, including home security, fitness and nutrition, smart home tech and more. Prior to her time at CNET, Macy was featured in The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer, INDY Week, and other state and national publications. In each article, Macy helps readers get the most out of their home and wellness. When Macy isn't writing, she's volunteering, exploring the town or watching sports.
Expertise Macy covers a variety of topics across CNET's Home and Wellness teams, including home security, smart home tech, fitness, nutrition, travel, lifestyle and more. Credentials
  • Macy has been working for CNET for coming on 2 years. Prior to CNET, Macy received a North Carolina College Media Association award in sports writing.
Macy Meyer
4 min read
Woman cleaning house with wireless vacuum cleaner.

Is it time to upgrade your vacuum? Or does it just need to be deep cleaned? Here's how to tell.

Tatyana Maximova/Getty Images

Unfortunately, vacuum cleaners don't last forever. Your trusty machine gets up the worst dirt and grime from your floors, but at some point, you'll have to admit that it just simply isn't working as well as it should -- meaning it may be time to spring for a new one. 

It's important, though, to make sure it's actually time for an upgrade, considering vacuum cleaners are an investment ranging anywhere from about $150 to $1,500. Is it time to purchase new hardware? Or does your vacuum just need to be deep cleaned? What kind of vacuum do I buy, should I need a new one? This guide will show you how to tell, and offer some pointers for when you do decide to replace your old vacuum cleaner. 

If you're just starting your buying process, check out CNET's top vacuum cleaners, robot vacuum cleaners, cheap vacuums, vacuums for pet hair, and cordless vacuum cleaners of the year. 

Is it time for a new vacuum cleaner?

If your vacuum isn't picking up dirt or pet hair as efficiently as it once did, that doesn't immediately mean it's permanently out of commission. Before spending what could be hundreds of dollars, first make sure the machine isn't just clogged or in need of a part replaced -- small fixes that won't put a dent in your wallet. 

Before tossing out your old vacuum cleaner, do some troubleshooting and look out for these things:

  • Scan the hoses for clogs. If you do find a clog, explore CNET's guide for removing it in a pinch.
  • Clean or replace the filter. If your vacuum doesn't sound as powerful as usual, the filter could be the culprit. A clogged filter will restrict the airflow, preventing enough suction to pick up pet hair, dust and dirt. A simple filter change might be all your vacuum needs.
  • Deep clean your vacuum. Your machine needs to be deep cleaned every so often to remain working properly. So when you check the filter, if it's dirty, there's a chance the rest of the vacuum needs a solid scrubbing, too. And definitely make sure to clean out the roller brush. 
  • Check the drive belt. Drive belts can stretch out, dry rot or come off track, but finding a replacement part is a cheaper and easier fix that could make your vacuum work like new again.

If you run through the above checklist with no luck, then it is probably time for a new vacuum. While it's never the most fun to drop money on cleaning supplies, there's a ton of great vacuum cleaners on the market that are sure to work for your needs and within your budget. 


Make sure you troubleshoot your vacuum before buying a new one. 


So which vacuum should be my new replacement? 

Vacuum cleaners have changed a lot in recent years -- and it can be overwhelming to look for a new one since there are hundreds of different options on the market, ranging from nifty cordless vacuums to self-navigating robot vacuums.

To help with your vacuum buying needs, I've compiled a few helpful guides:

Watch this: How we test all types of vacuums in our custom-built lab

How much can you expect to spend on a new vacuum?

The final figure of what you spend for a new machine can range drastically from a few hundred dollars to well over a thousand dollars. 

However, you really don't have to break the bank to acquire a powerful vacuum. CNET has tested many vacuums over the years, and you can likely find excellent upright, cordless or (basic, but still good) robot vacuum cleaner for around $150. 

The Anker Eufy robot vacuum (CNET's favorite bargain robot vac) is just $96 right now, for example. Another great option, the Moosoo XL-618 cordless stick vacuum cleaner (another CNET pick), retails for just about $150 and is frequently on sale for closer to $100. 

While these are bargain finds, you can expect to spend between $350 and $1,500 for a robot vacuum, and between $300 to $750 on a quality cordless model. 

dyson cordless vacuum

If your vacuum cleaner is past eight years old and has seen a lot of use, it may be ready for retirement. 


How long do vacuum cleaners last?

Vacuum cleaners last about eight years, according to a Consumer Reports survey. The lifespan can vary widely between five to 10 years, though, based on how often you use your vacuum.

A vacuum cleaner used once a week to tidy up a small studio apartment will likely have a longer life than a machine that is up against a larger household with kids and several pets.

So if your vacuum cleaner is past 8 years old and has seen a lot of use, it may be ready for retirement. 

For more vacuum tips, explore the proper way to vacuum your floors, the best Roomba alternatives to keep your floors clean and the best robot vacuum deals available now

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