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Vacuum School is the place to learn about vacuums.
Educate yourself before shopping for a new vacuum cleaner.

ARTICLE: English 101

Dust Mite: Thousands of these cute little creatures are in everyones home, and so small that you can't see them. The live mostly in the mattresses and on furniture, and feed off the dead skin cells that we humans constantly shed. It's not the dust mites themselves that cause problems for people with allergies - it's their 'droppings'.

Belts: Most vacuum cleaners use a belt, which comes in two varieties -

(a) Geared, which are reinforced belts with 'teeth' which ride on gears in the machine. Geared belts are found on higher quality machines, and tend to last for years before needing replacement, making maintainence easier for the consumer. Brands that use geared belts include Miele and Sebo.

(b) Flat belts are made to wear out, meaning you'll have to replace them every several times a year. They are also prone to breakage, meaning more work for you.

Bags: Vacuum bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Beware of cheap machines which offer 'high filtration' bags for a higher price tag. These machines were not designed to filter well, and a higher quality bag won't solve the design problems of the machine.

Bagless vacuums: These have become the newest craze over the last few years. Bagless machines are no better than their 'bagged' counterparts. Also, the filters on bagless machines tend to 'plug up' faster (since there's no bag in the machine to help with filtration), meaning you'll have to replace the expensive filters more often.

HEPA Filtration: A rating of filtration. To have a HEPA rating, the filter has to be able to capture 99.97% of the particles down to .3 microns in size. (Which is about 300 times smaller than the end of a human hair.) Unfortunately, there's a lot of misleading things done by the manufacturers, which you'll find our about in our filtration section.

Also beware of companies that advertise 'HEPA type' filtration. This is like saying you are 'sorta pregnant'.....there's no in between, either you are or you aren't. When you see this on the package, smile to yourself and walk away.

Amps: An abbreviation for 'amperage', which is a form of electrical measurement. Companies mislead consumers with 'amp ratings', which you'll learn more about in our power section.

Upright: One piece vacuum systems. These are the machine of choice for most people, and a good choice if you have mostly carpeted surfaces. Uprights generally perform poorly on hard surfaces, and canister type vacuums have more power simply because there is a room for a larger motor.

Canister: Two piece vacuum systems. These systems have a pull-behind canister (or tank), and usually a seperate motorized attachment for cleaning carpets. Canisters can excel on both hard floors and carpeting, and generally have more power than uprights because they have larger motors.

Watts: See the notes on amps (above).

More Vacuum Cleaner related classes...
Homeroom Vacschool: Vacuum cleaner Ratings
English 101 (You Are Here)
Psychology 101 Tricks Of The Trade
Economics 101 How much do I need to spend
Enviroment 101 The truth about vacuum air filtration
Math 101 Vacuum Power Ratings
Ratings 101 See the vacuums we like (and some we don't)!
Shopping 101 Learn to be a wise online shopper and save money!