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Tip of the Day: Your broom and dustpan can still come in handy

Consumer Reports News: February 12, 2009 12:09 AM

A hand or stick vacuum like those in our latest report (available to subscribers) is great for quick cleanup tasks and can be especially useful for allergy and asthma sufferers. But there are some good reasons to keep your trusty broom-and-dustpan duo on hand:

• Sweeping will get you off the couch. Sweeping burns only a few calories a minute, but you could probably use the activity that comes from bending and stretching when using a broom and dustpan.

• The environment will benefit. While the amount of electricity you'll save by not using a vacuum is negligible, think of the collective savings if everyone skipped the vacuum. What's more, improper disposal of NiCd batteries, found in many cordless models we tested, is hazardous, and it can be a hassle to dispose of them safely.

• The battery might not last. If a cleanup job will take more than 10 minutes or so, you might need to get out the broom and dustpan since the battery in most hand and stick vacs runs down after that little time.

• Some cordless models lack smart-charge capability.
None of the three cordless sweepers we tested has a smart-charge capability, which switches a charged unit to trickle charge to avoid overheating, a potential fire hazard. What's more, the battery on some cordless vacs isn't replaceable, so once the power pack no longer takes a charge, the vacuum is useless.—Ed Perratore

Essential information: Visit our vacuum product page for more information on all types of vacuums. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, Use our Ratings of small vacuums (available to subscribers) to find models that scored best at trapping small particles. And if you have any breathing problems, always wear a dust mask before emptying the dustbins of any of the tested models.


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