While the primary function of a vacuum cleaner is to suck up dust and debris, many vacuums do just the opposite and end up spreading particles around. When these particles get into the air, the people living in your home will inevitably inhale them, which can lead to -- or exacerbate -- respiratory conditions like asthma. Fortunately, several manufacturers produce vacuums with air cleaning functions, the best of which utilise high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) technology.
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The Miele S5981 Capricorn is a canister vacuum cleaner, which means its motor and debris storage system are housed in a compartment -- or canister -- that is separate from the actual apparatus you use for cleaning. As YourAllergyConsumerReport.com notes, the vacuum derives its air-cleaning power from its multilayered, Active HEPA filtration system. The system is "active" because it uses activated charcoal for removing odours in addition to using standard HEPA technology for removing tiny airborne allergens like dust mite faeces and pollen. Further improving its ability to clean the air, the Miele S5981 relies on specialised hygienic collection bags, which utilise static electricity to trap microscopic debris. The 12-amp vacuum is available with two different power brushes or motorised attachments for vacuuming carpets: the SEB217-3, which Miele recommends for low- to medium-thickness carpets; and the SEB236, which the company recommends for medium- to high-thickness carpets. As of 2011, the vacuum costs around £650.
Unlike the Miele S5981, the Dyson DC25 All Floors vacuum is an upright vacuum, which means its motor, debris storage system and cleaning apparatus are integrated. The vacuum is equipped with a lifetime HEPA filter, which is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Unlike with standard HEPA filters -- and the Miele's Active HEPA filter -- you never have to replace a lifetime filter: just clean it out periodically. As Bestcovery notes, the 11-amp Dyson DC25 also features excellent suction -- due to its patented Root-Cyclone technology -- and is easy-to-manoeuvre, thanks to its wheelless system wherein the vacuum rolls and pivots on a ball. The vacuum does not use bags, but features a reusable collection container. As of 2011, the DC25 costs approximately £325.
The Eureka 4870MZ Boss Smart-Vac is a 12-amp upright vacuum cleaner, which -- like the Dyson DC25 -- uses a reusable debris container instead of bags. According to Vacuum Wizard, in addition to using a HEPA filter for removing allergens and other particles from the air; the Eureka 4870MZ features a separate, 3-stage filter for trapping dust. The vacuum also includes a specialised nozzle attachment for sucking up dust and pet dander from upholstery. As of 2011, the Eureka 4870MZ costs around £97, which makes the vacuum considerably less expensive than other air-cleaning vacuums.
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