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best lightweight vacuum cleaner for elderly people

The Best Lightweight Vacuum Cleaners for Elderly People and Seniors

​Keeping a clean house isn't just important to many elderly people, it is mandatory. They grew up in a generation where women were judged based on the cleanliness of their home. Right or wrong, it's a fact. However, as they age, become weaker, and even begin to lose mobility, it seems that housekeeping becomes harder and harder. This often leads to a sense of failure and embarrassment. But with the proper tools elderly people can still take care of their daily tasks. One tool to consider is the vacuum cleaner. Most are too heavy and klunky to be functional for seniors. Here is how to find the best lightweight vacuum cleaners for elderly people.

Comparison Chart of the Best Lightweight Vacuum Cleaners

Photo
Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Anniversary WindTunnel Self Propelled Bagged Corded Upright Vacuum U6485900
Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS 8 Pound Vacuum with 4 Bags Bundle - Blue
TOP PICK!
Eufy HomeVac Lightweight Cordless Upright-Style Vacuum Cleaner, 28.8V 2200 mAh Li-ion Battery...
Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright Vacuum, Orange (HV302)
Dirt Devil Vacuum Cleaner Featherlite Corded Bagged Upright Vacuum UD30010
Product
Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Anniversary WindTunnel Self Propelled Bagged Corded Upright Vacuum U6485900
Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS 8 Pound Vacuum with 4 Bags Bundle - Blue
Eufy HomeVac Lightweight Cordless Upright-Style Vacuum Cleaner, 28.8V 2200 mAh Li-ion Battery...
Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright Vacuum, Orange (HV302)
Dirt Devil Vacuum Cleaner Featherlite Corded Bagged Upright Vacuum UD30010
Weight
18 lbs
9 lbs
5.8 lbs
7.6 lbs
9.8 lbs
Power Switch
Handle
Handle
Handle
Handle
Foot
Power Source
Plug In
Plug In
Battery
Plug In
Plug In
Retractable Cord?
-
Uses Bags?
Self Propel?
Bag Full Indicator?
Light?
Photo
Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Anniversary WindTunnel Self Propelled Bagged Corded Upright Vacuum U6485900
Product
Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Anniversary WindTunnel Self Propelled Bagged Corded Upright Vacuum U6485900
Weight
18 lbs
Power Switch
Handle
Power Source
Plug In
Retractable Cord?
Uses Bags?
Self Propel?
Bag Full Indicator?
Light?
Photo
Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS 8 Pound Vacuum with 4 Bags Bundle - Blue
Product
Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS 8 Pound Vacuum with 4 Bags Bundle - Blue
Weight
9 lbs
Power Switch
Handle
Power Source
Plug In
Retractable Cord?
Uses Bags?
Self Propel?
Bag Full Indicator?
Light?
TOP PICK!
Photo
Eufy HomeVac Lightweight Cordless Upright-Style Vacuum Cleaner, 28.8V 2200 mAh Li-ion Battery...
Product
Eufy HomeVac Lightweight Cordless Upright-Style Vacuum Cleaner, 28.8V 2200 mAh Li-ion Battery...
Weight
5.8 lbs
Power Switch
Handle
Power Source
Battery
Retractable Cord?
-
Uses Bags?
Self Propel?
Bag Full Indicator?
Light?
Photo
Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright Vacuum, Orange (HV302)
Product
Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright Vacuum, Orange (HV302)
Weight
7.6 lbs
Power Switch
Handle
Power Source
Plug In
Retractable Cord?
Uses Bags?
Self Propel?
Bag Full Indicator?
Light?
Photo
Dirt Devil Vacuum Cleaner Featherlite Corded Bagged Upright Vacuum UD30010
Product
Dirt Devil Vacuum Cleaner Featherlite Corded Bagged Upright Vacuum UD30010
Weight
9.8 lbs
Power Switch
Foot
Power Source
Plug In
Retractable Cord?
Uses Bags?
Self Propel?
Bag Full Indicator?
Light?

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 18:51 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Important Vacuum Cleaner Features to Consider

​A vacuum is a critical part of keeping a home clean. Shopping for a vacuum cleaner for an elderly person is different than what you may think. There are many factors to consider depending on the elderly person's needs and abilities, It will also be important to take into account future needs if their abilities are decreasing.

The vacuum cleaner an elderly person needs is much different from one a younger, healthier person might choose. Safety while using a vacuum must be taken into account also. Here are the important features to consider for a senior.

Table 1: Summary of Vacuum Cleaner Features

Type

In most cases, an upright lightweight vacuum cleaner is best for elderly people.

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Weight

Lightweight vacuum cleaners are best but weight needs to be balanced with power.

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Power

Decide whether the user can deal with cords or if a battery powered model is better.

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On/Off Switch

Make sure the location of the on/off switch is in the best location for the senior's abilities.

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Retractable Cord

Cords that wind up into the machine at the touch of a button are a benefit to elderly people.

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Bagged or Bagless

Bagged vacuum cleaners are sometimes easier to maintain and change for elderly people than bagless.

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Self-propel

Self-propelled vacuum cleaners can also be of great benefit to elderly but there are some dangers you should be aware of.

Read More

Full Bag Indicator

A full bag indicator light is important to let the elderly person known when to change the bag to keep the machine running at its best and prevent accidents.

Read More

Light

A light on the front of the vacuum helps seniors see dirt, lint, and debris they may have easily missed.

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Other Features

Add-ons like adjustable height levels and on-board tools are nice to have and will make the job easier. 

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​Type of Cleaner

The type of cleaner is the first important consideration for the elderly. Is a upright vacuum, a canister style or one of the stick cleaners the best?

Canister vacuums should probably be ruled out for most elderly people. Canister vacuums are heavier than other vacuum cleaners. The hose and canister section that drags behind are also trip hazards and could be dangerous.​

Upright vacuums may be a better choice. But some can be heavy and hard to maneuver. Lighter weight models are a better choice,

Stick type of vacuums are the lightest weight options and can be good for elderly. But many of these machines lack good suction for a thorough cleaning.​

elderly man using a vacuum in his bedroom

CC BY-ND 2.0 Cleaning Up by George Redgrave at Flickr

Weight

The weight of the vacuum cleaner is a very important factor. Weights of vacuum cleaners vary greatly from type to type and from model to model. As discussed above, canister vacuums tend to be the heaviest, followed by upright vacuums, then stick models. 

For elderly people, the lighter the vacuum, the better. But, the weight must also be balanced with the suction power of the unit. Many of the extremely lightweight models lack suction. Look for a model that is a weight the elderly person can manage while also doing the job needed.

Plug in Power or Batteries

Vacuums offer several power options but the most popular are ones with rechargeable batteries and AC powered (plug in style). The ones that plug into the wall generally offer more powerful motors. Battery powered models though may be safer because there is no power cord to trip over. The challenge here is to balance power with safety.

​On/Off Switch Location

While on the subject of power type, the location of the on/off switch should be considered. Some vacuums turn on with foot switches and some use hand switches. If the elderly person has arthritic hands or painful joints, the foot switch is sometimes the best choice, There are models though that have easy to use hand switches. On the other hand, if there are foot problems or deformities, the hand operated switch is the best choice. This is an important factor that many people may not have considered.

Retractable Cord

Some vacuums come with a cord that is automatically wound back into the machine at the press of a button. ​This can be very helpful to an elderly person - especially one with a balance problem. The up and down, back and forth motion required to wrap a cord on a vacuum can be difficult - if not dangerous - for some elderly people.

vacuum cleaner on a hardwood floor

CC BY 2.0 Vacuum Cleaner Cleaning by R Nial Bradshaw at Flickr

​Bagged or Bagless?

​This is the great debate among everyone looking at vacuum cleaners - elderly or not! Each style has advantages and disadvantages. I am not going to get into great detail about that here. I am mostly going to look at this issue at it applies to the elderly. If you want to look into this subject more, here is a detailed article about bagged vs bagless vacuums.

Generally, bagless vacuums are cheaper to use because you don't have to buy bags. They are also a little dirtier because the dirt collection canister must be dumped. This can be a dirty process. Also, most bagless vacuums require the purchase and cleaning of HEPA filters too.

Bagged vacuums cost a little more to run because bags must be purchased as they are emptied. They are a little cleaner though because (most) of the dirt stays in the bag and the entire bag is thrown away.​

Bagged vs Bagless for Elderly People

Here is my take on bagged vs bagless vacuums as it applies to elderly.​ If the vacuum will be maintained by the elderly person, I recommend a good ole cleaner with a bag. In most cases this is what they are used to any way.

The difficulty with bagless vacuums is that they must be cleaned periodically. To do this, the cleaner must be taken apart and the filter and intakes must be cleaned very well. Eventually, these filters clog causing the vacuum to lose power and suction. I personally have a bagless vacuum, and I have to take it apart monthly into 4 pieces and clean it well. (Full disclosure: I have a dog and most of what I clean out of it is dog hair!) ​

Putting the vacuum back together after emptying the canister or cleaning is the most difficult part. If the parts aren't lined up correctly or the rubber seals aren't put back in the right place, the cleaner will not work as well. ​A bag is easier to install in a vacuum. It usually just requires fitting the bag over the suction tube. If you want a bagless model, look for one that takes the fewest steps to empty.

​Self-Propel Option

Some vacuums even have an automatic drive system that helps propel the vacuum forward and backward. This can be very helpful to a senior who is weak and finds pushing a vacuum on carpet difficult. I would advise against this option though if there are balance problems to think about. The vacuum could pull away too quickly and cause a fall if the elderly person cannot react quick enough.​

Bag Full Indicator

We all know that vacuums lose efficiency as their bag gets fuller. Once a bag is completely full, the cleaner can lose all suction and look like it isn't working. Keep running a vacuum with a full bag, and it could burst causing a huge mess. So, having a "bag full indicator" light could help a forgetful senior know when to change the bag. This will keep the vacuum running at its best and could prevent a mess too!

​Light

Having a light on the front of the vacuum could be a handy feature. Especially for a person with failing eyesight or bad vision. This may help them see lint and dirt on the carpet that they might have missed. This would also be a benefit if their house is poorly lit. Not mandatory, but a nice feature to have.

Other Features​

lightweight vacuum cleaner on carpet

CC BY 2.0 Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don't do it by Kate Ter Haar at Flickr

​The following features aren't a major factor in the safety of a vacuum for the elderly. Most of these though are convenient to have and will make using the vacuum a better experience.

  • ​Agitator beater bar - This the rotating black bar with the little brushes at the front of a vacuum. It spins quickly to beat dust and lint off of the carpet for better cleaning. It is standard equipment now on most vacuum cleaners. 
  • Edge cleaner - this is a feature that allows a vacuum to clean all the way to the edge without any dead spots at the ends. This just makes the cleaner more efficient and could help clean areas the elderly person may miss.
  • Pet hair feature - these are usually special features or cleaning heads that are designed specifically for picking up pet hair. This is a nice feature to have for seniors with pets.
  • Adjustable height levels - this allows the vacuum's height to be adjusted based on the thickness of the carpet, This allows the cleaner to run more efficiently depending on the floor surface. This setting is usually a standard feature. Often this includes a setting for bare floors which keeps the cleaner from spitting dirt out the back. Many elderly people may not use this feature though because it typically requires bending over. This is difficult for elderly with balance or back problems.
  • Accessories and tools - on board tools such as crevice and upholstery tools are nice to have too for a thorough cleaning. It is important to know whether or not the senior can safely use features like this. It could also be difficult for arthritic hands to attach and detach accessories.

Lightweight Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

Best Self-Propelled Vacuum for the Elderly

Hoover Anniversary WindTunnel Upright Vacuum

Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Anniversary WindTunnel Self Propelled Bagged Corded Upright Vacuum U6485900

While this vacuum cleaner does not have everything I recommend for the elderly, it does have most of it. The vacuum is a little heavier than some of the others but the self-propelled feature more than makes up for it. The self-propelled drive is operated when pressure is put on the handle. It even senses push and pull motion and changes the direction automatically. The weight will really only be an issue if there is a reason to pick it up and carry it. 

I also like the location of the power switch on this one. It is located right on the handle and can easily be pushed with the thumb while using the vacuum. If there are arthritis problems or other joint issues, it can be moved with other fingers or even the palm.​

Important features:

  • ​Upright, AC powered, Corded Vacuum
  • Self-propelled for less effort to push and pull
  • Sensor lets you know if floor is still dirty
  • Bagged vaccum that lets you know when it is time to change the bag
  • Power switch is on the top handle
  • Weighs: 18 lb
  • Model #U648590
  • Accessories: 2 Extension Wands, Crevice Tool, Upholstery Tool, Dusting Brush and Air Powered Hand Tool

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 18:51 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

My Overall Rating:


Best Upright Vacuum for the Elderly

Oreck Commercial Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS 8 Pound Vacuum with 4 Bags Bundle - Blue

What this vacuum lacks in features, it excels in usability for the elderly and seniors. It is the perfect combination of lightweight vs. power. Oreck has a great reputation for making quality vacuum cleaners. This model has commercial grade motors and only weights 8 lb. It is light, nimble, and easy to maneuver. The Arthritis Foundation has recognized this vacuum due to its easy to use ergonomic handle.

This is the best lightweight vacuum cleaner for elderly with balance problems. The hooks for storing the power cord are up high which means less bending over for the elderly person. Another ease of use feature is the vacuum automatically adjusts to the flooring level - this also means no bending over to adjust the cleaner during use.​ Even the power switch is easy to use and is located high on the handle.

Important features:

  • ​Upright, AC power, corded vacuum cleaner
  • Weighs only 8 lb
  • Handle has received the Ease of Use Commendation from the Arthritis Foundation
  • Automatically adjusts to flooring height
  • Commercial grade motor and cleaning power
  • Cord is easy to manage since hooks are high on vacuum
  • Includes 4 bags
  • Model# XL2100RHS

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 18:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

My Rating:


Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaner for the Elderly

Eufy HomeVac Lightweight Cordless Upright-Style Vacuum Cleaner

Eufy HomeVac Lightweight Cordless Upright-Style Vacuum Cleaner, 28.8V 2200 mAh Li-ion Battery...

This is my recommendation for the safest lightweight vacuum cleaner for the elderly and my Top Pick overall! There are tons of safety features built right in. First, there is no cord to deal with. This means no tripping over cords or bending over to roll them up.

Second, the vacuum is extremely lightweight at 5.8 lbs which means most any senior can use this vacuum. It can easily be picked up for storage - it can even stand by itself allowing it to be stored in the most convenient location.​ Carrying the vacuum up or down stairs is a snap.

The controls are simple too. The on/off button is located right on the handle and requires very little pressure to operate.

This lightweight cordless vacuum is bagless but the collection cup seems pretty simple to empty. A large button is pressed to release the cup then the top filter is removed. After the dirt is dumped, the filter sits back on top of the cup. Then this whole assembly is snapped back into the machine. Most elderly and seniors will be able to do this after being shown a few times. ​

Important features:

  • Upright, battery powered, cordless vacuum cleaner
  • Batteries provide up to 50 minutes of vacuuming
  • Bagless with easy to remove dirt collection cup that requires only 2 steps
  • Simple on/off switch and no cords to manage
  • Headlight on front
  • Weighs only 5.8 pounds

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 18:51 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

My Rating:


Best Multi-Function Vacuum for Elderly

Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright Style Vacuum CleanerName & Description

Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright Vacuum, Orange (HV302)

The SharkNinja Rocket vacuum is a multi-functional cleaner that is also extremely lightweight and easy to use. Right out of the box, it acts like an upright vacuum cleaner and converts quickly to a hand vac by popping off the extension and vacuum head. Even better, this is done with a single button. The entire unit weighs 7.8 lbs and the hand vac only weighs right at 3 lbs.

Here's a quick video that gives you an idea of how this vacuum can be used:

I recommend this one for a few different reasons. First, it is extremely lightweight. Second, it is so versatile from cleaning up quick spills to vacuuming the whole house. Finally, it is easy to use and has large buttons that most any senior can operate.

Important features:

  • ​Upright-style, AC power, corded vacuum cleaner
  • Weighs only 7.6 lbs
  • Converts quickly to a hand vac for quick pickups
  • Switch from hard floors to carpet at the touch of a button
  • Easy to control with swivel steering
  • Dirt collection cup can be emptied at the touch of a single button and is clear so that the user will know when it needs emptied
  • 3 colors to choose from
  • Includes home and car detail kit
  • Accessories: (1) Wide Pet Upholstery Tool (2) Dusting Brush (3) 12" Crevice Tool (4) Accessory Bag (5) Wall Mount Storage Hook (6) Dust-Away Hard Floor Attachment with 1 Microfiber Pad
  • Model#HV302

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 18:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

My Rating:


Best Budget Vacuum for Seniors

Dirt Devil Featherlite Vacuum Cleaner

Dirt Devil Vacuum Cleaner Featherlite Corded Bagged Upright Vacuum UD30010

For those who don't want to spend a ton of money but want a decent vacuum, I recommend this one. It is very light and easy to push and maneuver. The bag is easy to change and can be purchased anywhere that sells bags. It has good power and cleans well too. All of the basic accessories are included.

Of course, because this is a budget product, it doesn't have some of the features I would prefer. The on/off switch is located at the bottom although it works easily with the foot. The cord will be a bit hard for someone with arthritis to handle and wind back up.

Important features:

  • Upright, AC power, corded vacuum with bag
  • Weighs less than 10 lbs
  • Bag full indicator light
  • Model #UD30010
  • Accessories: Includes a dusting brush, crevice tool and extension wand

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 18:51 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

My Rating:


What's my Top Pick of Lightweight Vaccum Cleaners for the Elderly?

OK, so if you pinned me down and made me give you an overall best pick, it would have to be the Eufy HomeVac - hands down! It has nearly every feature I look for. It is so lightweight and extremely simple to use too.

So, do you have a vacuum cleaner you recommend for seniors or the elderly? Is there a particular product you like to use? Let me and my readers know in the comments below!​

About the Author Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

I work daily with seniors and the elderly in my position as a wheelchair specialist at a home medical company. I see the struggle they have maintaining their independence and living their daily lives. Most are completely unaware of the options and products out there that can improve their independence, mobility, and safety in their home. I created this site to help seniors, elders, and their caregivers make smart buying decisions about the many independent living aids on the market.

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