If you were to give a 4 year old a carton of crayons and paper and ask him or her to draw a “vacuum cleaner” he or she would draw a picture that would resemble an upright vacuum. This is by far the most popular style in the U.S. These vacuums are pushed in front of the user and have a handle extending from the main body. Most have a spinning brush roll, and many have onboard tools for cleaning upholstery, stairs or hard to reach areas.
This type of vacuum is usually identified with its long hose and separate motor and filtering unit, usually rectangular or oval shaped, and wheels that allow it to be pulled behind the user. Canister vacuums come with several types of nozzles. One type is a “straight suction,” usually a combination floor/rug tool. This type has no brush roll and is used primarily for hard style floors and/or throw rugs. Some canisters are fitted with a “turbo brush,” which is driven by the power and speed of the air moving through the nozzle much like the action of a windmill. No electric motor is present in these types of heads. Many canister vacuums are equipped with a “powerhead.” These heads are driven by a separate electric motor (separate from the motor inside the canister housing) and are used where thicker carpets are in place. Most “powerheads” have a switch that can be turned “off” so that hard floors can be cleaned with the same head. This is the most versatile of vacuum types as it can accomplish nearly all household vacuuming jobs (not suitable for wet/dry applications).
Central Vacuum System
This type of vacuum system is typically mounted in the basement or garage and has 1 or 2 larger and more powerful motors. These systems have the air routed through the walls via PVC pipe and wall outlets with a 30’ long hose inserted into the vacuum inside the house. Some systems use a “turbo” brush and others permit the use of a separate “powerhead” to provide the same cleaning performance as upright or canister type vacuums. With this type of system, the dirt and allergens are exhausted outside of the house. Some people do not like having to hang or store the 30’ hose and powerhead.
These are small vacuums that are used for small or quick jobs around the home. They can be made with an electrical cord that must be plugged in or may be “cordless” with a rechargeable battery.
This type of vacuum is a misnomer, as these carpet cleaning systems do not actually produce steam. However, this is the label that has typically been applied to these types of cleaners. They are more correctly household “extractors.” In most cases, these cleaners inject carpet cleaning solution into the carpet through one or more jets, the solution is agitated by the use of a brush to loosen the embedded dirt in the carpet and then a vacuum motor “extracts” the dirt and water based solution and deposits it inside an internal tank in the unit where it can then be emptied.
Stick vacuums are usually small and lightweight in their design. They have a long handle and can have an electrical cord or can be powered by a rechargeable battery. They are used primarily for small areas or for quick pick ups.
Vacuums of this style are very portable and are carried on the back with a shoulder or waist harness for equal weight distribution. They are quite powerful and are used mostly in commercial applications as they can do a wide variety of jobs. These types of vacuums can be used with a turbo brush or a powerhead (the vacuum must be manufactured or retrofitted with an appropriate plug for use with a powerhead).
These vacuums are typically referred to as a “Shop Vac,” but this is actually the name of the company whose name has become synonymous with the wet/dry vacuum, just as Kleenex has become synonymous with tissue. These vacuums are used for a variety of industrial or heavy duty jobs. The vacuums can be used to pick up water or wet solutions as well as large particles of a dry nature. Some wet/dry vacuums have multiple motors for additional power, and some can be fitted with a squeegee to funnel water or wet material into them more easily. Some units may be fitted with advanced HEPA filtration when being used for hazardous material cleanup. They come in a variety of sizes—from a few gallons to those that can be fitted to a 55 gallon barrel.
Although technically this is not a vacuum as it has no motor to createair flow, we include it as another means of cleaning your floors. Many of you have seen these in use at restaurants. During the time when patrons are eating, it is not desirable to turn on a vacuum cleaner and have the noise and the potential churning up of a lot of airborne dust. This mechanical device utilizes a brush, or rubber vanes, to sweep particles on top of floors or carpets, and brush them into a holding compartment to be emptied later.