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What Are the Best Vacuums for a College Dorm?

Updated on July 26, 2012
Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannie has been writing for over 7 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—anything from hamsters to office work.

You Might Just Want a Vacuum

If you are leaving for college and you will be living in a dorm, you are probably wondering a number of things. One of your questions is, no doubt, what is needed for the dorm? Most specifically, if you have severe dust allergies like me, you are probably concerned about the cleanliness of the dorm. Well, OK, maybe no college student really thinks about that until you get there, but you are going to want to get a vacuum at some point.

If you are moving in with a roommate and you contact that roommate before moving in, make sure to see if either of you are bringing any type of vacuum. Your roommate might be bringing one (my first roommate brought a Dust Buster) and you may not need to purchase one. Perhaps you can provide a Swiffer Duster or Sweeper instead.

If you are considering buying a vacuum for the dorm, this should be a helpful guide since you do not want to buy anything that takes up too much space or is too costly. Remember this is a dorm, not a mansion. You are not going to have too much space for storage. Plus, the room does not need to be spotless at all times. Furthermore, when you have a vacuum, you are going to be a popular person on your floor. Dormmates will want to borrow it on a regular basis, and if you are feeling generous, you never know how long that person may keep it or what condition it will be in when it comes back. Spending too much money is a big no-no!

The Shark

Oh, how I love the Shark! I bought a Shark many, many years ago when I lived in a dorm. It is a hand held Shark, but it is corded. It was my first vacuum and it still runs! I've had numerous types of vacuums since then and thrown many out. Whenever one breaks and I have no vacuum, I break out the Shark and start crawling around on my floor again cleaning up.

Since this is for a dorm room, you are not going to be vacuuming a large space, so a hand held vacuum is fine. As I said before, the only downside to the Shark I own is that it is not a rechargeable hand vacuum. Other than that, it is great.

While living in the dorm, the Shark was used repeatedly and borrowed repeatedly. Here are some of the items it has vacuumed:

  • Dirt from a potted plant
  • Food spills
  • Glitter
  • Beads all over the floor
  • Dust bunnies
  • And much, much more!

It has been dropped. It has been packed up and unpacked. It has basically been tortured, and roughly ten years later, it still runs as well as it ever did. For the dorm, you want something durable, and this is it.

Dirt Devil

If crawling around all over your floor is simply not your thing, you probably want to buy a stick vac for the dorm room. Stick vacuums are really low-priced and usually use a "bagless" system which helps you save money. You simply vacuum the floor, dump the reusable bag, and it is ready for use next time.

I recently purchased a stick vac for my apartment that was on sale for around $20. It is a Dirt Devil and it picks up pretty well. If you are living in a dorm or you are moving into your first apartment, this is a good, basic vacuum for a very reasonable price. Most stick vacs are corded, so if you want a rechargeable vacuum, this is not going to be for you.


Last but never least, if you want a vacuum that is rechargeable, I would highly recommend a Eureka. I've had some rechargeable vacuums in the past, but this was by far the best one. Of course, you will notice the price is not so low for this vacuum. This is exactly why I no longer own one. Mine stopped working last year and, because I am thrifty, I have not yet replaced it. Let me tell you about the good old days with this vacuum.

I worked part-time at a store that had the Eureka cordless vacuum. We used to vacuum dressing rooms with it and it was a major life saver. It would charge all day and we would use it at night. Without cords, it was a dream come true. I bought my own for my apartment and it worked well for a few years. I am assuming I probably was not following the correct instructions when it comes to recharging it, so you may want to read that carefully and it will last longer for you. When it did work, it worked extremely well.

Honestly, I don't believe that you must have this for a dorm room since they tend to be small, but it is excellent for anyone moving into an apartment instead. It picks up well and it is so easy to use without an annoying cord. Also, since it lasted a few years, the price is OK. I would recommend it to anyone that just does not want to deal with getting tangled in cords. Also, it helps if you read the owner's manual, unlike me. It pays to follow the instructions!


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