Belts And Performance

The belts for vacuum cleaners can come in many styles
and hundreds of different sizes. Normally, vacuums
use a belt to drive an agitation device, which
is also known as a brush roller. With very few
exceptions, most vacuums will use either a flat
belt, round belt, or a geared style belt.

The type of belt that your vacuum uses is very
important, not only for durability, but performance
as well. The condition and type of belt your
vacuum uses will have a lot of impact on the systems
ability to clean carpet. The proper use of
agitation is almost 70% of the cleaning ability of
a vacuum cleaner.

Suction is also very important. The suction is
what pulls the dirt that is removed from the carpet
into the collection area of the vacuum. The
suction, or airflow, is the key when cleaning
hard surfaces or when using attachments. Without
suction, a vacuum cleaner could only bring more
dirt to the surface of carpet. Even though both
agitation and suction are important with vacuuming,
the agitation is what actually cleans them.

Almost all manufacturers use brush rollers that
are made of wood, metal, or even plastic that
is driven by a suction or brush motor through
the use of three different kinds of belts - round,
geared, or flat.

The round belts are the earliest type as they
were easy to produce and easy to engineer. The
round style, unfortunately, is normally run in
the same space as vacuumed dirt. What this means,
is that almost all of the dirt, staples, and
hair you vacuum up will pass around the belt;
cutting, nicking, or even scratching it along the

Vacuum cleaner belts have to stretch quite a long
way, placing even more stress on the roller and
the motor bearings. The round belt is still
common, and used even today.

The flat style of belts are most often run in a
circular fashion as well, unlike the twisted
route the round belt takes to deliver the
performance in the proper direction.

The style allow manufacturers to run the belt off
of one side of the brush roller, instead of the
center where all of the dirt is. This is truly a
great innovation, as you can eliminate premature
failure due to the soil and dirt in the belt path.

The latest belt design is considered to be the
best in the industry. Even though there are many
variations out there, the geared belt is the
most efficient means to drive a brush. The
geared belt is also known as a positive brush system
because the energy of the brush motor is
transmitted directly to the brush.

Both the brush and the motor are locked by
fixed teeth to each other through a cogged belt
without tension. The resulting direct connection
results in higher cleaning efficiency because
the brush can be driven at a faster speed
regardless of the age of the belt.

The flat style can stretch as they become warm,
which will cause them to lose tension. When
you use your vacuum, the belt is always going to
stretch. Believe it or not, it will lose it's
tension the moment you put it up to rest in the

There is however, one real drawback to geared
belts - the cost of the vacuum. Geared belts
are normally used on two motor vacuums. Not
only does this require a separate suction and
brush motor, but it also requires electronic
sensory systems to tell you when something is
wrong with the brush.

Bagged Versus Bagless

As with most things in life, there is really nothing
free. The two most claimed advantages to bagless
vacuum cleaners were lower operating costs and
better performance. As far as the cost issues go,
all vacuums must filter the exhausting air they use
to carry the dirt into the collection area, as they
would otherwise simply pick the dirt up from the
floor and spit it right back out.

Whether you have a bagless HEPA filter, a pre-filter,
or disposable bags, they all need to be changed at
some point. With the average life of a vacuum
cleaner, you can expect to spend the same on either
collection system for filters, but if you value your
time, you can expect to spend quite a bit more on
a bagless system.

To keep your bagless vacuum cleaner operating at
peak levels, you'll need to empty the dirt container
when it is full and perform regular maintenance on
the filter. The type of filter the vacuum uses will
determine just how much service will be required,
although most use a pleated HEPA filter.

Even though the claim of better airflow performance
with bagless vacuums is true in a sense, over the
life of the vacuum you'll get the same, or maybe
even better performance from a bagged vacuum cleaner

With bagged vacuum cleaners, the performance will
start at 100% with each new bag then slowly drop
as the bag starts to fill. Just how quickly the
performance drops depends on how well the bag is
constructed. With the average vacuum and the average
bag, you may replace the bag every 3 - 4 weeks
with 90% of performance the first week, 70% in
weeks 2 and 3, then 50% of less in the fourth week.

The short cycle will insure that you get a 100%
peak cleaning every 3 or 4 weeks from the vacuum
cleaner. The filtered cyclonic machines have
filters that are designed to last 6 months, 12
months, and even up to 18 months before they need
to be replaced.

If you have dogs or cats, whether you see it or
not, almost all domestic animals shed their fur
on a regular basis throughout their lives. Pet
owners often wonder as well, which vacuum is the
best to remove pet hair.

For pretty much the same reasons that fur sticks
to the carpet, it will also stick to your bagless
vacuum's pleated filter cartridge. The fur will
reduce the performance of airflow, and is also a
pain in the neck to clean off the filter.

Over time, the fiber that makes up the filter can
retain odor from pets, even if you clean the
filter well. If your filter requires replacing
only once a year, you could end up with a vacuum
that spits odors that will stink up your house
pretty bad.

Bagged up
Those vacuums that use bags will often provide
for neat disposal of a full bag. There are some
brands such as BOSCH that actually engineer bag
disposal into the system. With BOSCH canister
vacuums, the replacement of bags is a single
dust free step. The new mega filt bags have a
built in closure system that upon removal,
will slide shut and trap the dirt and debris
inside of the bag, making removal quick and easy.

Still, there are many people out there who love
bagless machines. Bagless vacuums will continue
at a slow place to gain market share, and people
will continue to buy them. For many, a bagless
vacuum can be the right vacuum to have.

Bags are the technology of the past, while bagless
is the technology of the future. There are many
reasons as to why you should go bagless. For
the vacuums of tomorrow, cylinder and bagless
is the key.