Understanding Vacuum Cleaner Specifications Part Two

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Secondary Specifications

We have examined the primary specifications that impact cleaning ability. But there are also secondary specifications that should be considered before making a final decision. These include filtration, cleaning tools (agitation), capacity, quality, noise, features and cost.

Filtration

Filtration is very important in terms of cleaning ability because HEPA or other advanced filtration increases the resistance within the vacuum cleaner. Therefore, it is easier for a vacuum cleaner with normal filtration to accomplish higher airflow ratings. In fact, the challenge of coping with higher resistance is one of the reasons that HEPA filtration vacuum cleaners can cost more. The dust bag is also part of the filtration system and a significant factor influencing airflow. Many new materials, as opposed to traditional paper, are being used to manufacture dust bags in order to retain the fine dirt and harmful small particles while still allowing air to flow as freely as possible. The surface area of the dust bag is also a factor because the more surface area the bag has, the more easily the air will flow through it. This translates to better cleaning ability as the bag fills. This is a good reason to choose full sized vacuum cleaners versus medium or compact ones.

Cleaning Tools (Agitation)

The primary cleaning tool must be correctly selected because while airflow is what transports those soils to the dust bag, agitation is what dislodges soil from carpeting, flooring and other surfaces. Therefore, explore the type of cleaning tools that make sense for your home. If you have lots of carpet or difficult soils such as pet hair, choose an upright or a power team with a motorized power nozzle. If you have furniture that is difficult to get under, be sure your vacuum cleaner has a low enough profile cleaning nozzle to reach these areas and so on. If you have a vacuum cleaner with all the airflow in the world but an inadequate cleaning tool, results will be less than optimal.

Capacity

The capacity of your vacuum cleaner has a role in terms of maintaining high levels of cleaning ability. As we saw above, the larger the dust bag, the better the airflow, and therefore, cleaning ability. All other things being equal, a full-sized vacuum cleaner will offer better cleaning ability, especially as the dust bag or container fills.

Quality

The quality of your vacuum cleaner is also important. You can have excellent specifications in a poorly constructed vacuum cleaner that will last only a few years, compared to extremely high quality products that will deliver outstanding cleaning performance and will last many years and even decades. Quality can be partially determined by the length of the warranty as well as the type of materials used, the quality of the fit and finish, how heavy duty the housings are, how tight the seals, how close the tolerances and so on. Generally, mass-market, low-priced products are not designed for long-term use.

Noise

Noise is also a significant consideration. Some vacuum cleaners can be so noisy that they're almost unbearable to use. A high-quality vacuum cleaner will often operate at levels that are quite comfortable and will allow you to hear the phone or doorbell ring quite easily. The amount of noise a vacuum makes while operating is rated in decibels (dB). To give you some idea, a conversation at home is rated at 50dB, a garbage disposal at 80 dB and a motorcycle or lawnmower at 100 dB. Extremely quiet vacuum cleaners can operate at decibel levels in the mid-sixties while cleaners in the 70-77 dB range are still very quiet compared to the vacuum cleaner you grew up with.

Features

Next, you need to consider whether the vacuum cleaner you're considering has all or most of the features that you need for effective and pleasant cleaning.

Consider your cleaning situation and be sure that the vacuum cleaner you choose gives you everything to make the chore of vacuuming as easy as possible. Does it feature a cord rewind, variable speed controls, on-board tool storage, height adjustable wands, an adequate cleaning radius, the proper tools for your flooring such as a soft brush for your slate entry tiles and so on.

Cost

And, last but not least, you need a vacuum cleaner that represents the very best value. As with everything, better quality usually costs a bit more, but is often worth it in the long run.
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