These are the signs you need to replace your vacuum cleaner

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

Taylor Martin CNET Contributor
Taylor Martin has covered technology online for over six years. He has reviewed smartphones for Pocketnow and Android Authority and loves building stuff on his YouTube channel, MOD. He has a dangerous obsession with coffee and is afraid of free time.
Taylor Martin
3 min read
Vacuum buying guide

Vacuum cleaners don't last forever. You can deep clean a vacuum all you want, but at some point, you have to admit that it's time to sit it on the curb and spring for a new one.

So how do you know when it's time to replace your vacuum? How long should vacuums actually last? Is it finally time to upgrade to a stick or robot vacuum? Here's what you need to know about replacing your old vacuum cleaner.

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How long do vacuum cleaners last?

According to Consumer Reports, vacuum cleaners last a median of eight years. But the lifespan varies wildly by not only brand but your own personal use. If you have a small one-bedroom apartment to yourself, you won't use your vacuum nearly as much as a family of five with two pets in a 3,000-square-foot home.

So if your vacuum is past eight years old and has seen a lot of use, it may be time to upgrade. 

If you're not ready to give up on ol' faithful or want to slow its decline while you save for the vacuum of your dreams, there are some things you can do to try and salvage your old vacuum — at least for a while.

Is it time to replace your vacuum?

If your vacuum cleaner isn't picking up dirt like it should, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that it's time for a new one. But even if your vacuum is several years old and has seen a lot of use, it doesn't mean it's time to trash it yet.

Before you consider spending several hundred dollars on a new vacuum cleaner, consider what it would take to fix your existing one. There's a solid chance it's just clogged or needs a replacement part — fixes that won't break the bank. 

Even if you spend some time troubleshooting the problem and it turns out the vacuum does need to be replaced, you won't have lost anything but a few hours of time, at most.

Watch this: Pick the right vacuum to make cleaning less of a pain

Before tossing your old vacuum, check these things:

  • Make sure the hoses aren't clogged. If you find a clog, there's an easy trick that can remove it in a pinch.
  • Clean or replace the filter. A clogged filter will restrict the air flow, meaning there may not be enough suction to pick up dust and dirt. A simple filter change might be all your vacuum needs.
  • Your vacuum should be cleaned every so often, as well. So when you check the filter, if it's dirty, there's a chance the rest of the vacuum needs a solid scrubbing, too. You'll be amazed at what a deep clean can do.
  • Check the drive belt. Drive belts can stretch out, dry rot or come off track. Replacing the drive belt is a cheap and easy fix that could make your vacuum work like new again.

If none of these help your vacuum clean better, it may be time to upgrade. While that's bad news for your bank account, it can be a blessing in disguise. Vacuum cleaners have changed a lot in recent years.

Stick vacuum cleaners are much lighter and more nimble than the vacuums of yore. They can bend around corners and fit under furniture easier, and if you splurge for a slightly more expensive model, you can also get a battery-operated vacuum, so you won't have to deal with tripping over the cord or yanking it out of the wall when you try to reach that one far corner of the room.

Robot vacuums have also come down in price and will take care of the busiest areas in your home, so you won't have to worry about vacuuming the worst parts of the house yourself ever again.

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Not sure where to begin your search for a new vacuum? Check out our vacuum cleaner buying guide.

Also, consider CNET's picks for best vacuums of 2018 so far.