How Long Do Vacuum Cleaners Last For?

Alex Mcil author
Alex Mcil

Do you take into consideration one of the main factors of a vacuum cleaner before making your purchase?

Brand, suction power, price, style, filters, and even weight are all likely factors you’ve considered as important (and indeed they are). But what about the life expectancy of your cleaning unit? How long does it last for and do you find yourself needing a new one sooner than expected?

The answer might be a resounding YES, and it’s not only because of brand quality, durability, or even the type of vacuum you chose to use around your house. It’s also about the way your treat your machine.

Change vacuum bag

Are you doing anything to reduce your vacuums longevity? Well probably!

“With regular maintenance and occasional part replacements, a high-quality vacuum cleaner should ideally serve you well for 8-12 years. This estimate is based on countless tests and inspections we’ve conducted over the years in multiple settings and environments.”

Kelson Vanwyk, Appliance Lifespan Analyst

What’s The Average Lifespan Of A Vacuum Cleaner?

The average life expectancy of a vacuum cleaner is approximately 8 years [R], however, it goes without saying that some will last a few years less while others a few year longer.

An other factor that determines the life span of your cleaning tool is the type of vacuum cleaner it is. This can vary, as each type of machine is designed for a specific application and ultimately results in varying life spans.

Quick answer

Vacuums usually last 8 years approximately. You might start seeing performance issues after 5 years.

So which type of vacuum cleaner lasts longer?

Vacuum cleaners are classified into four types. The more traditional one which everyone thinks of, the upright cleaner. The second type of machine available on the market is the canister. They are popular because of their low center of gravity, they can be pulled (rather than pushed) everywhere.

Then we have the stick cleaner, which is almost a combination of the standup and canister machine but tend to be battery powered and much lighter too. We then have the Robotic vacuum cleaners, which can be automated to do the cleaning and uses sensors to steer around obstacles. And finally, we have the less common but up and coming water filtration vacuum cleaning machine that use water as a filter, rather than a HEPA filter. Due to the weight and awkward nature of water, these cleaning units tend to be canister in design as they have a lower center of gravity.

Due to each type of machine being designed to accomplish the cleaning exercise differently, they each have their own pros and cons which ultimately means varying life expectancies.

For example, hardwood floor cleaners are tailored to be powerful enough to suck debris without damaging or scratching the wood, whereas other machines may be more catered for rugs, with a powerful roller brush to “dig” into the fibers.

As a general rule though, out of the four, the upright machine tends to be the more durable, with the canister coming a close second. Then comes the stick, and lastly the robot vacuum cleaner life expectancy coming in last. In general, you should replace your vacuum cleaner every 5 years.

Itraditional upright vacuum cleaner life expectancy
Canister vacuum machine life span
Cordless battery powered stick vacuum
Automated Robotic Vacuum durability
8 years +
8 years +
5-8 years
3-5 years

What Factors Can Influence How Long A Vacuum Last?

The lifespan of your vacuum cleaner may not be guaranteed, however, it’s not completely hit and miss. Having said that, users of these machines can easily contribute to bettering or worsening their longevity.

So let’s take a look at the factors that influence how long vacuums cleaners can last for.

Brand of vacuum cleaners

It goes without saying that some vacuum brands are better than others. Some machines are built to last and others no so much.

It’s also worth noting, cheaper does not necessarily mean saving on money, and likewise, paying more doesn’t necessarily mean costing less in the long run. Whatever the case, you must definitely avoid spending less than $100 dollars.

Having said all that, as a general rule, you usually cannot go wrong if purchasing a brand with a reputation for being good in the field of vacuuming.

Such brands have been huge players in the vacuum industry and often have enough funds left over for research and development while also investing in premium parts for longevity.

Here are (in no particular order) 4 of the most popular brands on the market. Ones that you should consider buying from, if you want to balance quality with acceptable pricing.

  • Dyson
  • Hoover
  • Shark
  • Bissell

Regularly emptying canister or bag

Not emptying the canister or bag reduces the airflow through the machine and will ultimately affect its suction strength and performance.

But also, it’s not about maintaining performance, it is also about reducing the strain on the electric motor as it needs to work harder through all the dust that’s blocking sufficient airflow.

You should empty your canister or bag every month.

Cleaning out the filter

As the name suggests, the filter on your vacuum is designed to capture dust, pollen, and other tiny particles and prevent them from being push back out into the atmosphere.

This means your filter will getting clogged up and ultimately need cleaning. Similarly to not cleaning out your canister or bag, leaving your filter clogged up with affect the performance of your machine and add strain to the electric motor.

You can dry clean your filter using a plastic brush, but sometimes when it’s been unclean for extended periods, the dirt can really get compact.

vacuum cleaner being maintained

This is when you can use water to break it down and remove it easier. However, be sure to let the filter dry for 3 hours before fitting it back, as a moist filter can promote mold grow and encourage spores to be release into your home.

Mold growth within your home can be detrimental to your health and trigger asthma, cause eye irritation, sore throats, and nasal congestion. As a result, removing mold from your home is far harder than preventative measures.

Maintaining motorized roller brush bar

Bear in mind the motorized brush gets put through the paces. In time, it gets clogged up (with hair being the main culprit), resulting in a reduction in revolutions, poorer performance in picking up debris and even adds strain to the motor.

However, it’s not only an issue of poorer performance, but how this can greatly reduce the machines life expectancy. You should clean it at least once every three months.

The motor is hooked up to a rubber drive belt, that is then attached to the brush which ultimately makes it spin.

If long hair, carpet fibres or even objects like paper clips get tangled up in the brush and interferes with its revolutions, then the motor struggles to turn the brush, and that in turn adds stresses to the motor.

This will also put stress on the drive belt, which is why you often smell burnt rubber when the brush is restricted. It’s also the reason for having to replace the belt more often than not.

Power cord abuse

We can get caught up in the moment thinking about things while vacuuming, reaching the limited distance of the power cord and continuing to pull the vacuum cleaner.

Adding pressure like that on the cord could eventually loosen the connection between the cord and machine.

An other more common issue is users being too lazy control where the cord is while vacuuming. We’ve all be there and ran over our cord, but remember, a brush revolving over 2,000 of RPMs over a cord can sever it rendering the machine useless, or can expose the live wire and result in electrocution.

This cord is in the top 3 motives to replace a vacuum machine. Take care of the cord if you want to improve on your machine’s life expectancy!

Vacuuming Up My Final Thoughts

If it’s time to purchase a new vacuum, I would say that longevity is one of the top factors to consider… the longer the machine last, the more you get your money’s worth.

My personal choice would be between purchasing an upright vacuum or a canister one, if having a corded machine is of no issue to you.

Next to consider is the brand. There are many good brands out there, some of which are very expensive and high end, but also have a lifespan of up to 15+ years.

However, it’s worth noting, to reach this life expectancy requires regular maintenance. If you feel you cannot give your machine this attention, then it might not be worth the extra investment. Purchasing a model that averages 8+years might be more suited for you!


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5 thoughts on “How Long Do Vacuum Cleaners Last For?”

  1. I remember my grandmother had this old canister vacuum cleaner that probably outlasted three generations of our family pets. It was a beast, hefty, but just kept going. I think its longevity was rooted in diligent maintenance and moderate usage. Grandma always said, “Anything mechanical will last, provided you give it a proper care and don’t overwork it”.

  2. Avatar
    Maverick Graysmith

    Incidentally, I had a client who used to replace her vacuum cleaner annually because she used it so excessively, but since I advised her to use it moderately and maintain it regularly, her current vacuum has now been going strong for three years.

  3. Often people undervalue the importance of regular cleaning and minor repairs to prolong the lifespan of appliances. In my many years of selling such equipment, I’ve seen laziness being the main culprit behind reduced appliance life spans.

  4. Back in my day, folks didn’t just throw out a vacuum at the first sign of trouble – we’d dig into it, look for the problem, fix what we could. I’ve managed to increase the lifespan of my devices significantly using just a few trusty tools and some old-fashioned elbow grease.

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