How Long Do Vacuum Cleaners Last

When you invest in cleaning equipment, you expect it to last at least a few years. You must have a question in your mind “How Long Do Vacuum Cleaners Last?” Unfortunately, many devices don’t even make it that long. Such is often the case for vacuums, some of which break down far too soon. This doesn’t have to happen, however; many elite cleaning systems are designed to last years — even decades.

How Long Do Vacuum Cleaners Last?

If longevity is a priority, you’ll definitely want to do your research. You need to understand not only how many years most users are able to get out of specific vacuum models, but also, which components are most likely to break down. It also helps to understand each vacuum’s warranty, plus opportunities for getting repairs once that warranty coverage has ended.

This is a lot to consider, so it’s easy to see why you may feel tempted to simply opt for the most affordable model available. This might not be the best long-term investment, however; any short time you spend on research now could pay dividends in the future.

To that end, we’ve compiled a detailed guide that explains what, exactly, makes some types of vacuums more durable than others. Keep reading to learn which vacuums are the most — and the least — reliable. 

Short-Term Vacuums

Some of today’s most popular vacuums are, quite simply, not built to last. Names such as Dirt Devil, Shark, and Bissell have all been guilty of producing shoddy vacuums that simply cannot hold up to heavy use. Quality can vary dramatically from one vacuum to the next, so it’s tough for consumers to know what they’re getting when they purchase vacuums from these seemingly familiar brands.

Numerous issues prevent these vacuums from providing the many years of cleaning power that users deserve. Top sources of trouble include:


Testing from Consumer Reports reveals that seven percent of vacuums suffer issues with suction. This is a common complaint for a variety of Dirt Devil models. Weak suction also tends to limit cleaning power for vacuums from Eureka and Bissell. While a loss of suction often simply indicates that the vacuum bag needs to be cleaned, it may also mean that the seals are damaged or the filters are clogged.

Power switches

Some users have been surprised to discover that, when they try to turn on their vacuums, nothing happens. If the vacuum is actually plugged in and the cord is in decent condition, a broken power button could be the main culprit. This issue is frustratingly common and can be annoying to fix.


These days, a growing subset of vacuum owners prefer the convenience of cordless models. These are certainly easy to maneuver but at the clear cost of reliability. In the aforementioned Consumer Reports survey, ten percent of vacuum users dealt with limited battery life. What’s more, 6 percent of vacuum batteries ultimately died.


Do you detect a burning smell while vacuuming? This should be an immediate cause for concern. This is typically indicative of a broken belt. Running a vacuum without a functioning belt can lead to motor trouble, so it’s important to replace problematic belts as soon as possible.

With many vacuums, lower prices are associated with the problems highlighted above. That’s not to say that these issues can’t occur in high-end models.

Every vacuum, no matter how durable, is bound to run into issues with its belts or brushes over time. The key is to avoid these problems for as long as possible. With a cheaper model, major malfunctions can be expected within just a year or two of consistent use, with replacements typically needed within a few short years.

If you want to keep your investment to a minimum but also want to get several quality years out of your vacuum, be sure to avoid cordless models or anything primarily constructed from plastic components. These two simple considerations could add years to the life of your vacuum cleaner. Beyond this, however, it’s worth your while to stick with a brand that’s known for constructing the most durable vacuums. 

Lifetime Vacuum Cleaners

As you examine your options, you will likely realize that a few brands get a definite edge over the competition. Kirby vacuums, for example, are known for their exceptional durability. Many proud Kirby owners continue to use their trusted vacuums years after their initial purchase. It’s not uncommon to see Kirby vacuums from the 80s still keeping homes impeccably clean.

Several factors contribute to a desirable vacuum cleaner. The materials certainly matter; while many manufacturers are happy to opt for cheap plastic components, consider sticking with an American-made vacuum for peace of mind. 

Kirby is not the only name associated with durability. Within the canister vacuum category, Rainbow has a strong following. Canisters have long been known for their durability, to the point that some loyal users once avoided uprights for fear that they wouldn’t stand the test of time. Thankfully, brands such as Kirby provide the best of both worlds: the mobility of an upright and the durability of a heavy-duty canister.

Warranties and rebuilds are a core part of the lifetime vacuum proposition. Brands such as Miele, Royal, and Rainbow offer greater warranty coverage, so users can feel confident that repairs or replacements will be available if they have issues with their vacuums early on.

Kirby also has a solid warranty, but its real value lies in its Lifetime Rebuild Program. Centered around the confidence that Kirby vacuums truly can last a lifetime (if given the proper care), this program restores heavily-used models to like-new condition.

No one vacuum model is right for every user, but durability should be a priority if you intend to make the most of your investment. When in doubt, focus on models built with longevity in mind.

Yes, those technological bells and whistles are fun, but they shouldn’t come at the cost of reliability. With a strong build and a straightforward design (not to mention a great warranty or rebuild program), you should definitely get your money’s worth. You’ll never regret investing in a sturdy vacuum to keep your home spotless.


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