8 Tips for Buying a Used Vacuum Cleaner

Like most appliances in your home, vacuum cleaners are an investment that can make your daily chores easier. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford to buy a new vacuum cleaner with all the bells and whistles. Instead of buying a cheap vacuum cleaner that won’t do a good job at cleaning your floors, perhaps you should look into buying a used vacuum cleaner that does have some of the accessories you want.

8 Tips for Buying a Used Vacuum Cleaner


There’s no shame in buying a used vacuum cleaner, and if you do it by following the tips listed below, you could potentially save a great deal of money on a vacuum cleaner that was way over your budget. However, if you go out and buy the first vacuum cleaner you find at a garage sale or without properly analyzing the unit, you’re likely to get something that’s not worth the money or effort.

The Pros & Cons of Buying a Used Vacuum

Let’s first look at the pros and cons of buying a used vacuum cleaner, and then dive deeper on a few tips to ensure you get a pre-owned unit that’s worth the effort.

  • Pros: If you do find a used vacuum cleaner that fits your lifestyle, you are pretty much guaranteed to save a huge chunk of money. This will not only give you a unit that was previously over your budget, but likely include other many features and accessories that you wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise.
  • Cons: The overall selection of vacuum cleaners for you to choose from is going to be significantly limited than if you were buying a new one. Not only does this hinder you getting the best vacuum cleaner for your home, but you may end up with a stinker that costs more in time and repairs than its worth. Plus, you’ll have to give it a thorough cleaning, which includes getting your hands dirty with debris that accumulated in somebody else’s home.


Buying Tips You Should Follow

If you’re buying a used vacuum cleaner, you should take the following tips into consideration during the process. This will help ensure that you get a device that will not only last you for a few years, but get the job done just as well as a new vacuum could.

1. Know What You Want

This is important. The last thing you want to do is go out and buy the wrong type of vacuum cleaner. This is nothing more than a waste of time and money. Research the type of vacuum cleaner that you want, and don’t settle. This will help you be prepared when you are shopping, and allow you to save yourself time.

If you know the make and model of the vacuum cleaner you want, that will make the process easier. However, you may have a difficult time finding a used version of the exact model you want. The chances that a used version of the model you want going on sale is very much like looking for a needle in a haystack. It can happen, but it’s a long-shot.

Instead of going for the exact model, research by brand or type. This will open up more opportunities when looking around for used devices. If you go by the brand or type, you will have a larger inventory to choose from.

2. Determine Cleanliness

Vacuum cleaners are supposed to, well, clean. And in this case, clean other people’s homes. This is the worst part about buying a used vacuum cleaner.

Used machines run the risk of introducing new bacteria, molds, and allergens into your home if they weren’t properly treated in their last one. Taking apart the dirt-collecting canister is a great way to view what’s been happening inside the vacuum and to diagnose the state of its hygiene. It’s also wise to analyze the filters, hoses and any attachments that come with the unit. This will give you a good idea of the general state the unit is in.

If you do buy a used vacuum cleaner, it’s strongly recommended to give it a thorough cleaning before you bring it inside your house. You don’t know what’s inside the previous unit, or what the previous owner cleaned-up with it.

3. Determine Age

Look for signs of wear and tear that seem organic to aging versus obvious accidents. Fading, scarring, and tearing are all symptoms of an older vacuum. If proper maintenance was followed, older vacuums can serve your purposes perfectly well, but they do tend to have less suction power.

This is important to note when buying a used vacuum. You will likely never get the optimal amount of suction that a new unit can provide. The loss of suction may be due to a cracked hose, or simply the rather more dignified age of the unit itself.

Just like buying a used car, the vacuum cleaner you’re looking at may have been treated great or terrible throughout its lifetime, so make sure to ask the seller about their condition and usage history.

4. Take a Whiff

This might not seem immediately relevant, but in fact, vacuum exhaust odors are a simple way to detect potential near-future problems, as well as the general health of the vacuum as far as bacteria and allergens are concerned.

Smells of mildew can indicate a vacuum that was not designed for use with wet flooring being used for wet flooring. A burning odor can mean a burnt-out motor is in its future, and a smell of pet dander can be demonstrative of a previous owner with lots of pets. All three of these smells should be a deal-breaker when it comes to used vacuums. Do not buy these units.

5. Ask for the Warranty

Warranties for vacuum cleaners are a gift from heaven, especially when you don’t have to pay for them. Warranties can cost up to half the price of the original vacuum cleaner itself, meaning that while if the machine does have a mid-life crisis and crashes on you, you’re safe and sound.

However, chances are that if you, or the previous owner, treat your vacuum cleaner right it won’t have a warrant-worthy issue. When it comes to buying a used device, a warranty is icing on the cake, representing a guarantee that even if the vacuum cleaner is faulty, you are fully protected.

Be sure to check if the vacuum cleaner has a warranty that comes with it, and if it does, it might be worth choosing over the slightly shinier warranty-less cleaner next door. Just keep in mind, not all used vacuum cleaners will come with a warranty. In fact, most of them likely won’t.

6. Take it for a Spin

No, it’s not a used car. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t ask to try it out, and by all means, you should before you pay anything. The best way to determine the functionality of any used vacuum is to actually use it on a surface that has an appropriate level of uncleanliness.

Beware of sellers who refuse to let you experiment with the vacuum cleaner. This should be an immediate deal-breaker as this likely indicates a dishonest trade and you may be purchasing, like a used car, something that you’ll have to spend more money on to fix than to buy.

Purchasing a used vacuum cleaner online also poses a problem, because you can’t try it out before you buy. If you find yourself in this situation, be sure to read reviews on both sellers and the vacuum cleaners to decide whether you should go ahead with your transaction.

7. The Accessories

Checking out the components and attachments of a used vacuum can also be a great way to determine how well it was treated in its past life as well as to clarify what parts and pieces you might need for it in the future.

In particular, you need to take a look at the cord and the plug on the vacuum, which are used in an outlet to power the cleaner. These often show wear that is easy to miss unless you’ve looked for it specifically, and if these simple components are damaged, it’s highly likely that there are other parts and pieces missing or in a state of disrepair.

Keep in mind, depending on the brand and model, you can likely buy many accessories online. We’d definitely recommend buying a new filter, as this is one of the most important parts of a vacuum cleaner, and are relatively cheap to buy new.

8. Find a Service Technician Nearby

Vacuum cleaners might be easy to take in and have fixed, but you need to have someone nearby that can do so. And if you buy a used vacuum cleaner, it would probably be wise to take it to a technician to check it out and possibly clean it up for you. Really, this is optional and likely not necessary. But since you’re investing into a used appliance, it may be wise to do just to make sure you get the most out of it from the beginning.


Should you buy a used vacuum cleaner?

Whether it’s a car or vacuum cleaner, buying anything used comes with their own set of pros and cons. Yes, you can save some money by buying used, but you may also inherit a device that is on its last legs or filled with toxic debris. If you buy one of these, it’ll just end up being a waste of your time and money.

Personally, I would recommend you always buy a new vacuum cleaner, but I also understand that that might not be an option for everyone. If your situation or budget forces you to settle for a used vacuum, then be sure to follow the tips listed above. This will help protect you and ensure that you’re not getting sucked into a bad deal.