Signs You Need to Buy a New Vacuum Cleaner

When was the last time you purchased a vacuum cleaner? If you answered, “never, I inherited mine from my great-grandparents,” then wow, that’s one long-lasting vacuum!

Signs You Need to Buy a New Vacuum Cleaner

On a serious note, vacuum cleaners need to be changed frequently, or at least every four to five years, since newer technology drains less energy while offer better cleaning results compared to ancient models.

In this guide, we’ll show you what signs to look for in an ageing vacuum. If your vacuum cleaner is experiencing any of the points mentioned, it’s time to toss out your old reliable and get a new, even-more-reliable vacuum cleaner.

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General Signs of a Busted Vacuum Cleaner

MOOSOO Stick Vacuum

Loss of Suction Power

One of the most obvious signs that your vacuum cleaner has surpassed its life expectancy and should be put down for good is a loss of suction power. As a vacuum cleaner ages, its electric motor becomes less and less effective. No matter many times you pass over the same spot, if it’s not picking up dirt, hair, or debris, then your vacuum is as good as dead.

Burning Smell

Another clear indicator is that you can smell a whiff of burning paper or plastic whenever you turn the motor on. This isn’t something that will go away on its own. If it smells like it’s on fire, it most likely is. Turn the vacuum cleaner off, unplug it from the wall outlet, and place it somewhere safe and away from flammable objects. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, just in case.

Miele Canister vacuum
Miele Canister vacuum

Strange Sounds

If you hear buzzing, that’s the soul of your vacuum cleaner asking to be put down for good. Strange buzzing, ringing, whirring, rata-tata-tatting, and other sounds that aren’t associated with the high-pitches screams of dog-scaring vacuum cleaners may indicate that something incredibly wrong is going on underneath the hood.. Turn the vacuum cleaner off and call a priest.

Aged 5 Years or Older

However, if such things occur within the first five years of use, it’s possible that you can salvage your vacuum cleaner by taking it to the vacuum cleaner fixer-upper guy. They’ll be able to offer a real diagnosis on what’s going on in your reliable vacuum cleaner.


If your vacuum is older than five years old, don’t worry about trying to fix it; it’ll most likely cost twice as much as a newer, more powerful model.

Signs of a Busted Upright Vacuum

If you have an upright vacuum cleaner (most households do), there are three things to keep an eye out for: first, is the vacuum’s able to produce adequate suction power; second, is the dirt cup (if it’s a bagless model) cracked; and third, how is the beater brush? We already talked about the first point, so let’s discuss the dirt cup and beater brush.

Bissell 24899
Bissell 24899

The dirt cup is the storage compartment where all dirt, hair, and debris are collected. If the cup is cracked or damaged in any way, then you’ll have a messy time cleaning up after the initial vacuuming session. See if the manufacturer provides replacement dust cups; if not, you need to consider upgrading to a more durable model.

Next, how is the beater brush? Is it still intact, and are its bristles still where they belong?

A balding beater brush or brush roller means your vacuum will rely solely on suction power to remove debris from carpeted surfaces. Many companies offer replacement beater brushes, but if it’s built into the floorhead, you need to replace the floorhead entirely (not a part carried by many retailers) or purchase a brand-new upright vacuum instead.

Upright Vacuum | Bestseller

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Signs of a Busted Canister Vacuum

Canister vacuums are beefier than uprights but are also prone to experiencing more damage due to its size and weight. If the outer shell of the canister vacuum is cracked, then there’s no hope that its filter can trap all dust before air exits through the exhaust port.

Busted Canister Vacuum
Miele Classic C1 Turbo

Also, the weakest point of a canister vacuum is its suction hose. Due to kinking or being stepped on, the hose can crack and ultimately impair the canister vac’s cleaning performance. You might be able to find a spare hose somewhere—even an off-brand one will do—but if not, then you already know what to do.

Canister Vacuum | Bestseller

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Signs of a Busted Robot Vacuum

Robot vacuums come with some pretty high-tech features, including cliff sensors and map storage. However, they’re also incredibly delicate electronics, and falls from a foot or less can cause its sensors to go haywire.

Roomba 692 Robot Vacuum
Roomba 692 Robot Vacuum

The clearest indication that your robot vacuum is busted is when it moves in a circular pattern while not in spot/spiral mode. This shows that the navigation system detects everything as obstacles, forcing the robot to turn in order to avoid collisions with nonexistent objects.

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Signs of a Busted Stick Vacuum

In a stick vacuum, the weakest point is its battery. Overcharging the battery pack can lead to reduced runtime and suction power, rendering it practically useless.

Signs of a Busted Stick Vacuum

The worst thing is if the battery pack is built into the stick vac and non-detachable, so you can’t just swap out a pack with a fresh one.

Also, like bagless uprights, stick vacs rely on dust cups to store all of the suctioned dirt and debris. Cracks in the cup will cause dust to fall back down onto the floor, especially when holding the tool horizontally or pointing it overhead to remove spider webs or dust off of drapes. In this case, your only hope is to replace the stick vac entirely.

Stick Vacuum | Bestseller

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Signs of a Busted Handheld Vacuum

Handheld vacuums fail a lot faster than other types. Their short life expectancies aren’t unexpected, seeing as how most of these units cost a fraction of the cost of the cheapest upright or stick vac.

Busted Handheld Vacuum

Most handheld vacuum cleaners experience faulty motors and broken dust cups after six to twelve months after purchase. Even the more premium-quality handheld units have a max life expectancy of around 18 months, give or take.

The worst ones are wet-dry handheld vacs that do a poor job at preventing moisture from reaching the electric motor. However, thanks to their low cost, replacing a handheld vac isn’t usually a source of heartache.

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This website is supported by readers. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Last update on 2020-11-29 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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