Why Do Vacuum Cleaners Have Headlights?

It seems there is a running joke that vacuum cleaners having headlights is silly and pointless.

The truth is that having lights on your vacuum cleaner is quite a helpful feature.

The reason why vacuum cleaners have headlights is to reflect dirt, dust, spider webs, and other debris at a lower angle than what the overhead home lights can deliver.

Also, the lights on the vacuum cleaner will reflect objects you shouldn’t vacuum, like coins and jewelry that tend to hide between the fibers, so you don’t vacuum them up and damage your vacuum cleaner.

Where Did Lights For Vacuum Cleaners Come From?

The origin story of why vacuum cleaners have headlights is a bit washy.

Some report that homes of the past didn’t have many power outlets, so they would use an adaptor made to screw into a light socket. With no light in the light socket, you needed light from somewhere, and thus many vacuum cleaner manufacturers included it in the vacuum cleaner.

Another report was that light bulbs were never that bright, and many still are not to this day, and the extra light from the vacuum cleaner was needed, especially cleaning under furniture.

The last reason I could find why vacuum cleaners started getting headlights was that it was a sales gimmick. It could certainly be seen as a gimmick and seen as “cool,” but it’s shown itself to be helpful in our modern world.

Are Headlights On A Vacuum Cleaner Useful?

If you have a choice of getting a vacuum cleaner with or without headlights, always go with the one with headlights.

This is especially true today since many vacuum cleaner lights use bright LEDs; some even now have lasers; the brighter the light, the better.

To understand why having lights on your vacuum cleaner is so great, take a look at the pictures below.

As you can see, even with regular household lights on, the headlights of the vacuum cleaner show more dirt that you would otherwise miss. How many more crumbs do you now see since the headlights were turned on?

The reason why the headlights are so effective is that they are at a different angle and brighter than the overhead lights.

While you can buy brighter light bulbs for your home, most people don’t. Bright lights are fine in the kitchen and bathroom where you need them, but most people don’t like bright lights in their bedrooms or living room as it’s harder to relax and it hurts your eyes.

Headlights Allow You To See Under Furniture

Let’s not forget that the light on a vacuum cleaner allows you to see under furniture.

All those dust bunnies and clumps of dirt you may miss if you don’t have headlights on your vacuum cleaner.

The lights in the room can’t reach under your bed, but the lights on the front of your vacuum cleaner can. So it’s a no-brainer to have lights on your vacuum cleaner if you need to vacuum under furniture.

But I Clean Everything, I Don’t Need Headlights!?

I get this one often; many people think headlights on a vacuum cleaner are pointless because they clean everything anyway.

The problem is that you don’t clean as well as you think you do.

People are predictable; they vacuum in the same pattern and direction. People are also lazy and often skip corners and sections without realizing it.

I see people vacuum and often stop or avoid a particular section of walls. But give them a vacuum cleaner with headlights, and they start to see the spider webs they missed in the corners along with the other dirt.

Or I let them vacuum like normal under their bed, but then I tell them to get the flashlight out after they thoroughly clean, and they can still see the hair and dirt that shines back that they missed.

Getting a vacuum cleaner with headlights can be a real eye-opener.

Headlights Also Show You Things You Shouldn’t Vacuum

The headlights on vacuum cleaners are not always about what you miss, but what you should avoid.

Headlights on a vacuum cleaner will shine on objects that shine back, so you avoid vacuuming them up and potentially damaging your vacuum cleaner.

Things like coins and jewelry will shine when hit with a light.

These are things you should avoid vacuuming up, especially jewelry, as it can damage them and your vacuum cleaner. These objects tend to hide in the carpet fibers, especially high-pile carpets, and sucking them up is not good.

What Should You Buy – Light Or No Light?

It’s not the end of the world if you get a vacuum cleaner without headlights.

But you won’t regret getting a vacuum cleaner with headlights.

The vacuum cleaners with headlights these days have bright LEDs, or some even have a laser that works vastly better than the old school filament bulb ones.

Once you go with headlights on your vacuum cleaner it’s hard to go back.

What Is The Best Vacuum Cleaner With Headlights?

My favorite vacuum cleaner, in general, has headlights, and it’s the Shark APEX Upright Vacuum*.

I’m not the only one who loves this vacuum cleaner; here is an excellent video on it here.

If Your Vacuum Has Lights Does It Mean You Can Vacuum In The Dark?

Having headlights on your vacuum cleaner is not an excuse to vacuum in the dark.

The headlights on a vacuum cleaner amplify what your home lights miss. However, they’re not a replacement for not having lights on when vacuuming.

Do Dyson Vacuum Cleaners Have Lights?

It’s not common for Dyson vacuum cleaners to have lights, but on a few models, they’re starting to come with a laser light.

You can learn more about the laser system Dyson uses here in this video.

LED vs. Laser vs. Lamp

If you get a vacuum cleaner, you’ll find that there are many headlight options.

The best option will be LED, but the laser is cool and often finds dirt the LED will miss.

The old-school lamp lights are okay and better than nothing, but you can’t beat the brightness and longevity of LED.

The good news is that most vacuum cleaners will have an LED for a headlight these days, so there is no need to worry too much.

How To Replace Vacuum Cleaner Bulb?

Most vacuum cleaners that use LEDs don’t have an option to replace the LED bulbs and must replace the whole assembly.

For the old-style lamps, you can easily replace the bulb, as this video shows you how.

2 thoughts on “Why Do Vacuum Cleaners Have Headlights?”

  1. I use a canister vacuum. Been trying fruitlessly to put a flashlight on the want without using duct tape. It’s difficult to attach a tube-shaped item to a tube. Any ideas?

    • You could try LED Strip Lights, they have a sticky back and will hang onto the vacuum cleaner. You’ll need battery powered ones, and you can cut them to the size you need.


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