Last Updated September 21st, 2023
We all know that with age comes wisdom, but with age also comes physical decline. Our bodies change; we lose some of our natural strength and energy. It’s no wonder people look specifically for lightweight vacuum cleaners for seniors.
Housework can become difficult or even unmanageable. Cleaning the bathroom is a struggle, and maneuvering a heavy vacuum cleaner is a chore in itself. Many seniors suffer from arthritis, which alone makes lifting anything heavy virtually impossible.
Why Housekeeping is a Bigger Challenge with Age
As we age, the actual shape of our body undergoes natural changes. As we move past the age of 30, organs such as the liver and kidney lose cells. We lose muscle and bone power and invariably gain body fat surrounding the internal organs. And both men and women lose height as “shrinkage” occurs. All these changes can impair our balance and make it easier for us to fall and sustain injuries.
Diet and exercise do help seniors, but the body will invariably become weaker. And doing the housework will become more difficult.
Most seniors grew up in an age where cleanliness was a given. It was a matter of pride and habit. At a certain age, seniors still demand that certain level of neatness, but it becomes far more challenging to achieve. This is where a lightweight vacuum cleaner can help.
However, there are many choices available, all with different features and at different price points. It’s our hope that this article will help you navigate those choices and ultimately lead you to find a lightweight vacuum cleaner that best fits your needs.
How to Choose a Vacuum Cleaner for the Elderly
There are several things to consider before purchasing the type of lightweight vacuum cleaner that a senior can carry, maneuver, push, and pull. Does it need to be moved up and down a staircase? That just adds to the problem, and some seniors actually have a lightweight vacuum on each floor of their house, which is a great idea if the funds allow for it.
- A lightweight design. The weight of the vacuum is the prime consideration. It needs to be easy to handle.
- The vacuum’s filtration system should prevent allergens from getting into the air. Hepa filters can help with this.
- The machine should turn on and off with ease. The bag or canister should detach and empty without difficulty. The brushes need to be simple to clean, and a vacuum with a self cleaning brush roll is even better. All these issues are particularly critical to sufferers of arthritis.
- The vacuum handle should be of proper height. This makes it easier to push and pull the vacuum without having to bend over in uncomfortable positions.
- Select a cordless vacuum option, if possible. Vacuum cleaners are available both with cords and in cordless form. Seniors may benefit from going with a cordless vacuum to lessen the risk of tripping over a power cord.
Vacuum Types & Terms
Modern technology has brought about far more product choices than many seniors may have encountered growing up. Today, there are many different brands and types of products available, each with unique features to better suit various lifestyles.
- A lightweight vacuum cleaner is simply referring to the weight of the vacuum cleaner. Given that these are the easiest types to manage and maneuver, these are oftentimes the best options for seniors. However, there is give and take with this practical feature. Lightweight doesn’t necessarily equate with powerful, so it’s important to beware of what you’re potentially giving up with this option.
- Cordless vacuums (battery-operated vacuums without cords) are a safer option for seniors as they eliminate the possibility of tripping while vacuuming. They are also efficient in maneuvering into tight corners and stairs, making them a versatile vacuum cleaner for seniors.
- Stick vacuum cleaners are a lightweight, less powerful type of vacuum cleaner that does not have a bag. The debris gets trapped in a canister which needs to be emptied after each cleaning session.
- Bagless vacuum cleaners that come with a canister are usually more lightweight. One simply needs to ensure that he or she can fasten and unfasten the canister to empty it.
- A portable handheld vacuum cleaner has the obvious advantage of being small and light. There is no problem carrying them around or up and down the stairs as most of them weigh under five pounds. They can easily be stored anywhere. The size makes them ideal for smaller living spaces as well as hard-to-reach areas, and these small machines often come with crevice tools to help clean hard-to-reach places.
As an additional benefit, most handheld vacuums are also cordless and make a quick cleanup a snap without having to haul a larger vacuum cleaner out of its storage space. Seniors may be interested in a standard-sized vacuum that can be adapted to hand-held. The problem with handheld vacuums is that they do not have the powerful suction or capacity of larger units.
- Upright vacuums will serve most seniors better than canister vacuums. Some buyers may wonder about the difference between a canister vacuum versus an upright vacuum cleaner and which model is more suitable for seniors.
A canister vacuum has separate parts, such as the container, the handle, and the nozzle, while an upright vacuum is an all-in-one machine. The canister vacuum tends to be quieter, more powerful, and more expensive, but there is more to carry around if the goal is to vacuum an entire house. Upright vacuum cleaners work well on carpets, are cheaper, and are easier to maneuver and store.
When choosing the best vacuum for seniors, one needs to consider safety, ease of use, price, versatility, suction power, cleaning performance, as well as storage.
The more lightweight the machine, the more suitable it will be for an elderly user.
7 Great Lightweight Vacuum Cleaners for Seniors
1. Eureka Airspeed Ultra-Lightweight Compact Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner
This vacuum cleaner includes a brush for vacuuming upholstery, a washable filter, and powerful suction capability. It is 10.5 inches wide and can reach into most corners making it ideal for smaller living spaces. At only 7.7 pounds, this Eureka vacuum cleaner can be carried almost anywhere.
- Quick release handle for effortless above floor cleaning. Attach the crevice tool or dusting brush to the end of the handle for cleaning upholstery, windows and other hard to reach places.Specific uses:hard floor,carpet,dual action
- Powerful all floor suction extracts dirt and hair from hard floors and carpets ease. It’s 10.5” wide cleaning path gets the job done quickly
- Can be easily stored in a small closet space.
- Excellent suction power.
- Could be easier to push around.
- The power cord is not retractable.
2. Dirt Devil Vibe 3 in 1 Vacuum Cleaner
This very lightweight vacuum cleaner is only 3.4 pounds with an easy-to-handle compact design. It switches easily from hardwood floor to carpet and has an easy-to-use dirt cup. It is perfect for smaller spaces.
- LIGHTWEIGHT DESIGN: Easy clean from room-to-room and up-and-down stairs with the lightweight and compact design
- ON/OFF BRUSHROLL: Easily transition from carpet to hard floor cleaning with the touch of a button
- Has a long, 15-foot cord.
- Is very inexpensive, priced around $50.
- Is probably not suitable for a large house.
- Could have more suction power.
3. Shark HV322 Rocket Pet Plus Corded Stick Vacuum
This lightweight upright vacuum weighing 8.6 pounds is designed to pick up pet hair with two brush attachments. It cleans bare floors and carpets. LED lights highlight dirt that otherwise might be missed.
- POWERFUL SUCTION: Thorough deep carpet cleaning, and powerful pet hair pickup on all surfaces.
- LIGHTWEIGHT VERSATILITY: Ultra-lightweight and converts into a handheld vacuum for versatile floor-to-ceiling cleaning.
- Converts to a handheld vacuum.
- Deep cleans well enough for thick carpets.
- Requires little storage space.
- The cord is non-retractable.
4. Kenmore DU2012 Bagless Upright Vacuum
The Kenmore DU2012 has two special pet hair tools and cleans both carpets and hardwood floors. The vacuum includes a crevice tool and brush. The HEPA filtration system suctions dirt inside the vacuum to alleviate pollutants and dust particles floating through the air. It’s a powerful vacuum with great suction power, and the power can be adjusted for a variety of carpet weights making it suitable for deep carpet cleaning. There is also a tool for deep cleaning upholstery.
This vacuum cleaner weighs under 14 pounds and comes with swivel steering for easy operation.
- BAGLESS UPRIGHT VACUUM: Remove pet hair, dirt and more with this multifloor, multi-surface designed vacuum for use in your home, den, or kitchen with a wide sweeper path.1200.0 watts
- HEPA FILTER SYSTEM Enhanced HEPA filter system traps 99.7% of dirt, trapping dirt inside the vacuum reducing pollutants in the room
- The Kenmore has extraordinary suction power.
- An attached light draws attention to small hidden objects and dirt.
- There is no wand extension for reaching high areas such as curtain rods.
- The cylinder should be emptied after every use.
5. Bissell 3061 Featherweight Cordless Stick Vacuum
This 5.8-pound Bissell featherweight stick vacuum includes a rechargeable battery rather than a power cord (no plug-in), a crevice tool, and a brush. The battery provides up to 40 minutes of cleaning time. It recharges in under 5 hours.
- Every Purchase Saves Pets. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet Foundation and its mission to help save homeless pets..Runtime: 20.0 minutes
- Cordless, Lightweight Vacuum. 10.8V lithium-ion battery provides up to 20 minutes of run time and charges in just 4.5 hours.
- The vacuum is cordless.
- Converts to a hand vacuum.
- Reaches well under furniture.
- A red light warns against low battery power.
- Runs only on battery power.
- Does not have enough power for a heavy shag carpet.
6. INSE Cordless Vacuum Cleaner, 6-in-1 Powerful Cordless Stick Vacuum, 45 mins Runtime, Ultra-Quiet, Lightweight, Rechargeable 2200mAh Battery
This vacuum cleaner is conveniently cordless and comes with a rechargeable battery. It comes with a motorized brush head, long crevice tool, power adapter, extra filter and hose, wall adapter, and a special brush for ceilings and curtains. With all that, this vacuum weighs in at 3 pounds making it one of the best lightweight options. It can be used on hardwood floors, carpets, and upholstery.
- The detachable can be charged singly or on its main body. Battery cordless vacuum with powerful suction, long-lasting runtime engineered for whole-home, deep cleaning!
- Is ultra-quiet.
- The battery runs for 45 minutes.
- The swivel allows for easy cleaning under beds and furniture.
7. Tineco A10 Essentials Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
This cordless and lightweight vacuum converts to a handheld vacuum, has a 4-stage HEPA filtration system, multi-use handheld modes to easily clean cars, stairs, and furniture, and weighs in at 5.2 pounds. There is a one-click canister release making emptying the canister extremely easy, and it has many of the same features of the popular Tineco pure one vacuum cleaner, but at half the price. It has LED headlights to easily see what’s in front of you, along with a wall-mounted dock, making it an attractive option and one of the top lightweight vacuums for seniors.
- POWERFUL AND CORDLESS CLEANING: Provides great cleaning performance for all your everyday cleaning needs on carpets and hard floors.
- CONVERTS TO A CONVENIENT HANDHELD VACUUM: Versatile attachments included for cleaning hard-to-reach corners, as well as furniture, stairs, and mattresses.
- The filtration system seals in dust particles to ensure healthy air quality.
- Cleans in hard-to-reach places.
- Fully rechargeable in 3 hours.
- Only 25 minutes of continuous run time.
A robot vacuum.
For those looking to really minimize the lift of regularly vacuuming, a robot vacuum operating on a pre-set schedule could be a great option. Robot vacuums are some of the best vacuum cleaners for seniors as they require little to no effort or intervention.
iRobot Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum
- MORE THOUGHTFUL THAN YOU THOUGHT - The Roomba 694 takes vacuuming off your mind with personalized cleaning suggestions powered by the unique intelligence of IRobot OS. Learns your habits and your routines..Runtime : 90 minutes
- 3-STAGE CLEANING POWER - The 3-Stage Cleaning system lifts dirt, dust and debris from carpets and hard floors while an Edge-Sweeping brush takes care of corners and edges. Auto-Adjust Cleaning Head automatically adapts its height to effectively clean carpets & hard floors.
- Battery life: Runs for 90 continuous minutes before automatically docking and recharging.
- Completely cordless design.
- Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, meaning you can start a cleaning session with just your voice – so you never have to lift a finger.
- This vacuum stays on the ground only and doesn’t do any above floor cleaning.
- Doesn’t come with any additional items such as a crevice tool, dusting brush, etc.
- Does best on hard floors; loses performance ability on thick pile or plush carpets.
Ways for Seniors to Maintain a Tidy Home
Spoiler alert: It may take some extra help.
Despite the wide variety of lightweight vacuums available to seniors, sometimes even those are too much. For the senior still living independently but needing some help, there are ways to make domestic chores easier.
Caretakers and families can help seniors take better care of their homes by doing the following:
- Create a prioritized list of cleaning chores.
It can be easy for an elderly person to become overwhelmed with household tasks and just give up altogether.
- Create a schedule (perhaps 15 minutes at the end of each day) to clear clutter, hang clothes back in the closet, and reduce fall risks.
Clutter can accumulate quickly. This schedule should consider which rooms are used the most and make those a priority. Perhaps a basket in each room for discarded items can help reduce unnecessary and dangerous accumulation.
A schedule can be quite specific. It can list necessary daily tasks, such as making the bed and doing the dishes. Weekly tasks can include scrubbing all flat counter surfaces, vacuuming floors and carpets, and dusting. If the home is too large, this can be done one room at a time.
Maybe a Cleaning Service is Better
Another option is a cleaning service. While seniors may need to adapt their lifestyle to the aging process, when it comes to cleaning, perhaps they should also consider the benefits of hiring a home cleaning service.
Some seniors move into assisted living facilities where the housekeeping is done for them, but congregate housing is usually a more appropriate first step for the elder who just needs sporadic assistance (housekeeping included). This can make housekeeping much less challenging; however, some seniors prefer the independence of living in their own homes. Their own home is familiar and comfortable, and they prefer to remain – it’s the cleaning that is a problem, and that can be an uncomfortable fact to have to face.
A cleaning serving may allow them to stay in their home and ensure that said home is clean. For some, hiring someone to do most of the cleaning can be an indispensable part of aging.
From running a vacuum cleaner to cleaning the top shelves, aging can keep seniors from doing a thorough cleaning job. Just bending down can be difficult.
Seniors need to consider the following when debating the expense of hiring a cleaning service:
- A cleaning service will reduce the risk of accidents.
Seniors frequently experience injuries or falls while attempting to complete cleaning tasks, and just one fall can be critical for someone with fragile, brittle bones. A cleaning service can reduce back injuries or broken bones.
- Even if seniors can muster up the energy and strength to clean, it is doubtful that they can consistently do a thorough and hygienic job.
As a result, they may end up living in a home that gradually becomes more and more unhygienic and unclean – to the point that an elderly person could suffer health consequences.
- Many seniors are quite isolated and lonely. A weekly maid/housekeeper may be their only contact with others and a welcome opportunity to chat for a bit and enjoy some company.
There are cleaning companies that are specifically geared to the needs of the elderly, which may include cooking a meal or sitting down with them for a few minutes, or even taking them for a short walk.
- Merry Maids is a national cleaning company that offers elderly cleaning services, likely in your area. They have a ‘find your local Merry Maids’ tab on their website that will show you their licensed, local service providers near your home.
- Another great option is posting on your Facebook page or in a local Facebook group. There are undoubtedly others in your area who have utilized professional cleaning services, and recommendations from trusted friends and neighbors can be a great way to find and support a local, reputable cleaning company.
Caretakers and families need to pay attention when seniors can do less around the house. Seniors themselves may be reluctant to admit to something they consider an embarrassing weakness. But growing old is a natural process, and there is much a caretaker can do to help the elderly age with dignity and in a safe manner.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the best vacuum that isn’t heavy?
The iRobot Roomba vacuum is our recommendation here, as you never have to lift it other than to clean it. It’s a powerful vacuum that intuitively moves through your home, cleaning hard floors, carpets, and rugs with ease.
Which vacuums are easiest to push?
A cordless, stick vacuum is the easiest type to push, as they don’t require bending down and don’t have a cord which is oftentimes a tripping hazard.
What is the best vacuum cleaner for bad shoulders?
Any of the above-mentioned lightweight vacuums that come with additional attachments such as a crevice tool, dusting brush, etc. are going to work well for someone with bad shoulders, as these tools will make it much easier to clean hard-to-reach places with minimal effort.
How many vacuum cleaners does the average person own?
This is largely dependent on the size of your home, as well as the type of home you have. Someone with multiple floors may prefer to have a vacuum on each floor to avoid having to lug it up and down stairs with every cleaning. Many people also choose to have a portable, handheld vacuum in an easy-to-access place for quick clean-ups of small messes, such as those made while cooking in the kitchen. While it’s not necessary to have more than one vacuum, especially if the vacuum you own is versatile, the average person owns two to three vacuums.
What is the average price of a lightweight vacuum cleaner?
Vacuum cleaners come in a wide range of prices, and it’s oftentimes true that you get what you pay for when it comes to a powerful vacuum with impressive suction power and versatility. However, that’s not to say there aren’t some good deals out there! The average price of the lightweight vacuums we’ve included on our list of recommendations is $115.
About the Author
Dr. Donna Schwontkowski – Starting out in the field of nutrition in the 1970s, Donna Schwontkowski worked as a dietitian and director of food services at several institutions including a boys’ youth home, a community food program for seniors, a 96-bed home for adults with mental retardation, and a 197-bed nursing home in Illinois. She earned her doctorate in Chiropractic Medicine as well as a master’s degree in Nutrition and another in Herbology. She’s worked with thousands of patients to improve their nutrition.
Dr. Schwontkowski has taught over 1,000 classes on topics such as health, nutrition, diets, weight loss, herbs, detoxification, cooking, memory and accelerated learning, natural healing infection control, supplementation, diabetes, back problems, and overcoming various health challenges. She was also a journalist for health and fitness magazines for 15 years and an editor of a top health magazine in Sacramento for 12 years. She co-produced her own health television show for four years in the Sacramento, CA market between 2001 and 2005. She is now a freelance writer and author.