When it comes to buying a vacuum cleaner, there are many aspects to consider. Whether you’re looking at latest features, the noise output, or your budget, there’s one other key consideration to keep in mind with vacuums – filtration. ‘HEPA’ filters in a vacuum cleaner are a necessity if your allergies and asthma are triggered by dust and cleaning. To find out where you can get your hands on a HEPA filter vacuum, read on as Canstar Blue brings you the following guide to HEPA filter vacuum cleaners and how they work.
What is a HEPA vacuum?
HEPA stands for both ‘High-Efficiency Particulate Air’ and ‘High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestor’. A ‘HEPA vacuum’ is defined as a vacuum cleaner that’s equipped with a HEPA filter for its filtration system.
Why do I need a HEPA air filter?
Filtration in a vacuum is important for hygiene and there a many types of filters available, with HEPA filters being most common. Generally, a filter is used to filter the exhaust air in a vacuum cleaner. It’s important you choose a filter that is up to your health standards and requirements, keeping in mind that some entry level vacuums don’t feature filtration at all.
HEPA filtration ensures that micro particles are extracted from the exhausted air, meaning you will have cleaner air coming from the vacuum than the air you breathe. If you suffer from asthma and allergies, a HEPA filter might provide some relief.
How do HEPA air filters work?
HEPA filters trap fine particles including pollen, mould spores, pet dander and dust mite faeces, which trigger asthmas and allergy symptoms. A HEPA filter works by forcing air through a fine mesh that helps to trap these pollutants. The vacuum cleaner must have a fully sealed air system for the HEPA filter to be effective.
How often should I replace a HEPA filter?
A number of retailers sell replacement filters for a variety of brands. How often to replace the filter will depend on how often the vacuum cleaner is used. It’s suggested that a HEPA filter may last two to three years before it needs changing. Some models such as in the Dyson and Miele ranges boast lifetime filters that won’t need replacing.
Where to buy HEPA filter vacuums in Australia?
For a vacuum to be classified as a HEPA vacuum, it must trap particles as small as 0.3 microns in size, 99.97% of the time. Generally this means the vacuum is more costly. You’ll also need to consider how often the HEPA filter will require replacements, so check the manufacturer’s instructions before you purchase. We list a few brands that offer vacuums with HEPA filters below.
Dyson Gen5 Detect Absolute Vacuum
The Dyson HEPA filter is said to provide an extra safeguard for allergy sufferers, trapping microscopic particles down to 1/5,000 of a pinhead. In other words, Dyson claims its vacuum will capture particles smaller than human skin cells, dust mites, and even dust mite excrement… Dyson barrel, upright and compact vacuum cleaners have been approved by the National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice program – developed to help asthma and allergy sufferers find products ideal for their lifestyle.
The Dyson Gen5 Detect is boasted as the brands most powerful HEPA cordless vacuum, perfect for deep carpet cleaning, capturing allergens and expelling cleaner air. It’s multi-stage and whole machine HEPA filtration system traps particles as small as 0.1 microns, while its anti-static carbon fibre filaments allow it to remove dust from hard floors as well as carpet. It uses 262 AW of suction power, lasers to detect particles, sensors to count them and Radial Cyclone technology to suck dust and dirt into the bin with enough power to avoid clogging the filter.
The V15 weighs 3.5kg and has a suction time of up to 70 minutes, allowing for a thorough house clean that doesn’t wipe you out.
- RRP: $1,499
Miele SKCR3 CX1 Blizzard Excellence PowerLine Vacuum
While it seems all Miele vacuums are designed with the HEPA AirClean exhaust filter, the CX1 Blizzard Excellence PowerLine Vacuum in particular is boasted for a few additional features to help keep the air clean. Miele’s Vortex technology is stated to provide air flow of more than 100 km/h, ensuring coarse and fine dust is collected “perfectly”. It also provides a 11m operating radius.
The model is boasted for hygienic emptying with an innovative dust separation system that allows to empty coarse soiling and fine dust separately without unsettling the dust. In addition, the dust container can be removed with a simple motion – pull the dust container upwards and press the release button to empty the contents from the bottom into the waste bin. Emptying is particularly hygienic as no direct contact is made with the dust, according to Miele. You’ll find an integrated three-piece accessory set included for a variety of cleaning tasks.
- RRP: $749
Electrolux PC91-ANIMAT Pure C9 Animal
Designed for both hard floors and carpet, the Electrolux Pure D9 Animal is a bagless vacuum, equipped with an Easy Empty system to hygienically get rid of dust when the bin is full. The PC91ANIMAT model is equipped with a tightly sealed, 7-stage filtration system using a HEPA 13 filter 3D dust detection.
Other features include 155km suction speed, 1.6L dust bin, easy roll wheels and a turbo nozzle to deliver efficient results. It comes with three tools in total – brush, crevice nozzle and upholstery tool – and has a lightweight design for moveability with a total weight of 5.9kg.
- RRP: $599
Vax VX71 Power 6 Barrel Vacuum Cleaner
Along with Vax HEPA Filter upright vacuums, the brand’s barrel options are also equipped with the same filtration. The Vax VX71 Power 6 model (pictured) features an 7m cord, Cyclonic Technology and 2000W of power. It weighs 5.5kg and is equipped with wheels for easy movability.
As another option, you might also like to consider Vax VX74 Pet Pro Barrel vacuum ($229RRP). It’s equipped with an antibacterial HEPA filter stated to reduce the growth of bacteria and the presence of allergens and pet-related odours. You’ll also find a turbo brush for picking up pet hair from all kinds of surfaces, including stairs, upholstery and car seats. It’s slightly heavier than the VX54, coming in at 6.3kg, boasts an 8m cord length with 2400W of power and a 4L dustbin capacity.
- RRP: $179
Should I buy a vacuum with a HEPA filter?
Having asthma provides a great excuse not to do the dirty work! But if you want to do the vacuuming and avoid any nasty reactions, a HEPA filter vacuum should help by reducing the number of microscopic allergens emitted during vacuuming. Finding one that fits within the budget might be a consideration as some of these models come at a high price. While standard filtration is naturally less expensive, it might not be suitable for those who are sensitive to dust.
There are other long-term solutions you might consider such as having carpets professionally cleaned on a regular basis or having a carpet-free home. To see how Australian consumers rated some of the brands mentioned in this guide, follow the link below to our vacuum cleaner ratings.
Meet our appliance experts
Megan Birot: Home & Lifestyle Editor
Megan is Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Editor, leading the team that focuses on consumer products and services, ranging from supermarkets and groceries to home and personal appliances and retail stores. She interprets Canstar Blue’s bespoke research on the thousands of brands that we compare, rate and review, to help shoppers make better purchasing decisions.
Samantha Howse: Consumer Research Specialist
Samantha Howse is Canstar Blue’s Consumer Research Specialist, coordinating the consumer research program behind our customer satisfaction awards across Canstar and Canstar Blue in Australia and New Zealand. Sam has earned a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) from Griffith University and, with seven years in market research and 2 years in marketing, she is experienced in survey design, implementation and analysis, coupled with an understanding of marketing principles and best practice.