HEPA is not a material. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arresting) is a standard of filtration. Specifically the standard requires that (99.97% of all particulate as large as .3 microns is trapped within the filter. The designation of HEPA is awarded by certified testing laboratories. There is nothing however in the rules that defines how long the filter must retain that efficiency. Neither are they rules that define under what rate of air flow the filter must perform.
The movement of air from one location to another, usually measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute). It is the force exerted by the moving air which actually picks up the dirt and moves it into the bag or dirt container. This is one of the most important aspects of determining the true measure of vacuum cleaner effectiveness. Yet, sadly, few manufacturers publish these test numbers.
If you were to give a 4 year old a carton of crayons and paper and ask him or her to draw a “vacuum cleaner” he or she would draw a picture that would resemble an upright vacuum. This is by far the most popular style in the U.S. These vacuums are pushed in front of the user and have a handle extending from the main body. Most have a spinning brush roll, and many have onboard tools for cleaning upholstery, stairs or hard to reach areas.
If you don’t want to pay for a bunch of marketing and a lot of “features” that don’t really help you clean your floors any better, you should buy it from a place that also fixes them. Nobody understands what makes a vacuum work like the people who actually have to repair and maintain them. That’s what we do here at the Vacuum Store in Los Gatos.