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Product Review 2: Carpet Cleaning

Best Vacuum Cleaner Review for Home – Jan 2013

The very best vacuum cleaners for home – or, any type of – use are those that are engineered to be airtight. This is the single most important factor in determining the quality of a vacuum cleaner. Any other characteristics – i.e., how maneuverable, whether upright or canister, length of cord, position of switch, etc. – while a consideration,
pale beside the importance of airtight design and construction. We cannot emphasize this enough.

The simple reality is that, if a vacuum cleaner is not airtight, the pressure inside the machine while operating will result in high numbers of critically small particles being forced out of the vacuum. These tiny particles, due to their small size and concurrent lack of weight, will typically float for hours or days in the air. This results in the occupants of that indoor environment – you, your family, your pets, etc. – breathing in quantities of pollutants (bacteria, dust mite allergens, dander, pollens, molds, etc. – whatever has been removed from the carpet, upholstery, etc.) that, from the most basic health perspective, are best left out of the breathing zone.

To look at it another way, a residential vacuum cleaner is – in its simplest perspective – a tool. Just like any other tool, if it cannot perform essential functions it is not a good tool. No one would buy a screwdriver that had an improperly formed end on it – in like fashion, if a vacuum cleaner cannot remove and retain the most critically-sized particles – i.e., those in the bacteria, dust mite and dander-sized range – it is not properly fulfilling its function as a tool and it is endangering the health of the occupants of any given indoor space.

Very few manufacturers have ever made airtight vacuum cleaners. Most early vacuum cleaners evolved to use, as a mechanism to capture (dirt) particles, shake-out cloth bags. Some manufacturers still offer this design (mainly for commercial use) as an incentive to save money normally spent on replacement bags. This was and still is an incredibly filthy design. Besides the obvious limitation in having only the most basic abilities to retain particles, the bag assembly immediately becomes a haven for the propagation of bacteria. Odors, anyone?

Subsequently, paper bags were used – sometimes inside of cloth bags whether in upright or canister design. Paper bags were and continue to be used and in more recent years the use of microfiber bags appeared – a considerable advance in bag technology. Interestingly enough, around the same time bagless vacuums came into vogue – a design at least in part embraced by the manufacturers as a way to entice customers to buy new vacuums – the premise being that no money need by expended on the purchase of bags. The reality is that the first mechanism to capture particles in a vacuum cleaner is the bag, and, without the bag the machine is assailed with huge numbers of particles which is highly detrimental to the well-being of the vacuum cleaner. At the same time – without any bag – emptying the vacuum
dirt chamber is an asthmatic’s nightmare.

Typically, the best vacuum cleaners for home use today are made in Germany and Italy. Names like Miele, Sebo, Lindhaus, etc. ensure that the vacuums are airtight, powerful, smooth and easy to use. Plus, they’re durable – a major distinction from the throw-away Chinese machines.