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Vacuum marketers are pushing allergen relief along with the usual cleaning as claims move beyond carpets and floors. But our tests show that those promises mean less than they suggest.
Some uprights, including the Bissell Healthy Home, the Dirt Devil Ultra Vision Turbo, the Electrolux Intensity, the Oreck XL21-700, and all Dyson uprights, claim to filter allergens. Dyson also touts an Asthma Friendly seal from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America certifying that its uprights are "proven more suitable for people with asthma and related allergic sensitivities." In addition, many of its vacuums carry a Seal of Approval from the British Allergy Foundation for products that "restrict or remove allergens from the environment of allergy sufferers."
But practically any vacuum should be able to handle pollen, mold spores, and other typical allergens. At roughly 100 times larger than the smallest specs we measure, allergen particles are large enough to fall to the floor, where they're easy to capture. We expanded our emissions tests to include allergen-sized particles for some vacs that make those claims. Those we tested whisked them away, but so should others. Our topscoring Kenmore upright …