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Sears.ca>Resource Centre>Buying Guides>Appliances> Vacuums Buying Guide – Glossary

Vacuums Buying Guide – Glossary

Canister? Upright? Carpet cleaner? With all the options available, make sure you pick the vacuum right for your home and cleaning needs.

 

Glossary

Upright Vacuums

An all-in-one integrated vacuum with a motor and powerhead located on the bottom. A handle on the top is used to guide the machine.

    Agitator Style

    The agitator is a cylinder brush located in the powerhead. It comes in three styles - plastic, wood or metal. There is little difference in the performance of the materials.

    Amperage

    Refers to the amount of electrical current the machine takes. A higher amperage has little impact on how well a vacuum works.

    Attachments

    Combination Brush: One tool with two functions - suitable for use on furniture or upholstery.
    Crevice Tool: A long narrow tube that fits on the end of the wand. Great for getting at the cracks and crevices where crumbs fall.
    Dusting Brush: A soft brush made for cleaning furniture, blinds and bookcases.
    Extension Hose: Whether you've got a large room to clean or a high molded ceiling to reach, an extension hose is a handy accessory to have around. It simply attaches to the main hose to increase the cleaning radius.
    Floor Brush: Floor brushes trap dirt in nylon or horsehair bristles where it's held until it can be sucked up into the vacuum bag.
    Upholstery Brush: A small palm-sized brush designed to clean dirt and dust off of chairs and sofas.
    Wand: The wand is a tube-like pole that attaches to a vacuum hose and a floor, drapery or upholstery brush. Wands may be made of durable plastic or metal. On some models of vacuums the length is adjustable. People with cove-style ceilings or high shelving should consider selecting a model with a telescopic wand.

    Bare Floor Switch

    This switch turns off the vacuum's agitator so you can easily move the machine from carpet to bare floor.

    Belt-Less

    Some vacuum models are able to run without a belt.

    Cleaner Type

    Direct Air: Air is sucked directly through the motor and into the vacuum bag.
    Clean Air: Dirty air takes a bypass around the motor to get to the vacuum bag, keeping the motor clean and cool. Belts and motors last longer.
    Cyclonic: Dirt and dust are sucked into a clear container where constant airflow keeps debris from clogging the vacuum. There's never a need to buy bags.

    Cord Length (Ft.)

    Consider the cord length if you have a large room to clean. With a longer cord it's easier to move about a room without having to switch electrical outlets.

    Dirt Sensor

    Even when you can't see dirt or dust, a dirt sensor finds it for you. After cleaning a section of carpet or floor, an electric light on the vacuum indicates if the area is clean or needs to be gone over again.

    Dust Bag

    Bag is located in chamber area to collect everything the vacuum picks up. Must be disposed of when it becomes full, or vacuum will perform at less than 100% efficiency.

    Edge Cleaning

    Clean right up against baseboards or furniture without having to use a wand attachment. Brushes are located inside the edge of the powerhead..

    Filtration Types

    Filters are designed to trap household dirt and dust. The performance of your vacuum cleaner depends on the type of filter and how it's maintained. Tip: Don't wait until a bag is full to replace it. Even a half-full bag will reduce the cleaning efficiency of the vacuum. The build-up of dust and dirt eventually reduces airflow, affecting the ability of the machine to perform at its peak.

    3M: The brand name of the top-of-the-line cloth-like filter bag. Ideal for allergy sufferers or people who forget to check and change bags. Even when it's full, airflow and suction won't be affected.
    5 Stage Micro: A type of filtration system.
    HEPA: High Efficiency Particulate Air. Allergy sufferers will be relieved to know that a HEPA bag filters out virtually all pollens, household dust, mites and other allergens in a home. This patented form of filtration catches particles invisible to the naked eye.
    Micron: The name for a tightly woven filter bag.
    Triple: There's no escape for dirt with triple filter action. Dust and dirt are sucked into a paper filter bag in the chamber. The bags, which are made of a porous material, allow air to flow through and circulate through the vacuum chamber. Any dirt that escapes the bag filter will be caught by a second filter built in to the vacuum chamber and a third filter located near the machine's air exhaust. Furniture Guard

    A rubber guard mounted on the vacuum powerhead helps to protect your valuable home furnishings or base boards from unwanted bumps and scratches.

    Handle

    Molded Plastic: The grip of the vacuum is made of durable molded plastic.
    Back-Saver: This ergonomically designed handle takes the pressure off your back while you're operating the vacuum.
    Looped: Designed for comfort, the looped handle allows your hand to rest comfortably while your arm is in motion.
    Three Positions: Adjusts the vacuum into three different positions for easier cleaning in hard-to-reach spots such as under a bed or dresser.

    Head Light

    Helps to illuminate any dirt and dust that may be hiding in dark corners.

    Height Adjustment

    Adjusts the height of the vacuum for different surfaces, such as carpeting, ceramic tiles or wood floors.

    Hose Type

    5.1 Stretch: Refers to the length the hose will stretch, in this case 5 feet for every 1 foot of hose.
    7.1 Stretch: Refers to the length the hose will stretch, in this case 7 feet for every 1 foot of hose.
    Blow Molded: A light, flexible hose that is crush resistant.
    Stretch Hose: With a little more give, this combination of plastic and rubber lets you maneuver around furniture to get at those hard to reach corners behind sofas and tables.

    Nozzle Size (In.)

    Nozzles range in size from 12 to 15 inches. Smaller nozzles have a greater concentration of suction power. But if you have large rooms to clean, consider a machine with a 15-inch nozzle. It will cover a greater area of floor with fewer strokes of the vacuum.

    Performance Indicator

    A light on the vacuum that tells you when the bag is full or if the airflow is restricted by something that's just been picked up.

    Speed Control

    Versatility in cleaning is available when the suction of the vacuum can be adjusted to suit a variety of surfaces, including drapery.
    Single Speed: The vacuum operates on one speed.
    Two Speed: The vacuum operates on two speeds.
    Variable Speed: With variable speed control the vacuum's suction can be adjusted to suit the surface you're cleaning. Reduce the suction to prevent damage on fabric surfaces such as drapes and blinds.

Canister Vacuums

The powerhead and floor tools are attached to a canister by wand(s) and a hose.

    Agitator Types

    Beater Bars: In addition to bristles, plastic strips are imbedded into the agitator to make it easy to get dirt out of deep carpet.
    Chevron Brush: Twin spiral brushes are geometrically placed to enhance cleaning performance.
    Tufted Brush: The agitator is a cylinder brush located in the powerhead. Brush styles can vary. A tufted brush simply means the bristles of the brush are imbedded into the agitator bar.

    Amperage

    Refers to the amount of electrical current the machine takes. A higher amperage has little impact on how well a vacuum works.

    Attachments

    Combination Brush: One tool with two functions - suitable for use on furniture or upholstery.
    Crevice Tool: A long narrow tube that fits on the end of the wand. Great for getting at the cracks and crevices where crumbs fall.
    Dusting Brush: A soft brush made for cleaning furniture, blinds and bookcases.
    Floor Brush: Floor brushes trap dirt in nylon or horsehair bristles where it's held until it can be sucked up into the vacuum bag.
    Upholstery Brush: A small palm-sized brush designed to clean dirt and dust off of chairs and sofas.
    Wand: The wand is a tube-like pole that attaches to a vacuum hose and a floor, drapery or upholstery brush. Wands may be made of durable plastic or metal. On some models of vacuums the length is adjustable. People with cove-style ceilings or high shelving should consider selecting a model with a telescopic wand.

    Bare Floor Capacity

    The ability to turn off the beater bar on bare floors; it may also come with straight air suction.

    Cleaning Path (In.)

    The actual size of the cleaning width of your vacuum, also referred to as the size of 'cleaning path' the vacuum covers in each pass.

    Cord Length (Ft.)

    Refers to the length of the electrical cord attached to the vacuum canister.

    Cord Rewind

    With the press of a button, the electrical cord automatically slips into the vacuum canister for easy storage.

    Dirt Sensor

    After cleaning a section of carpet or floor, an electric light on the vacuum indicates if the area is clean or needs to be gone over again.

    Dust Bag

    Bag is located in chamber area to collect everything the vacuum picks up. Must be disposed of when it becomes full, or vacuum will perform at less than 100% efficiency.
    Bagless (Cyclonic) - Dirt and dust are sucked into a clear container where constant airflow keeps debris from clogging the vacuum. There's never a need to buy bags. When the machine is off, open the container and shake the contents into the garbage. Snap the container in place, and the machine is ready to get back to work.

    Edge Cleaning

    Clean right up against baseboards or furniture without having to use a wand attachment. Brushes are located inside the edge of the powerhead.

    Filters

    Bag Chamber Filter: A porous bag that traps dirt and dust while allowing air to pass through.
    3M: The brand name of the top-of-the-line cloth-like filter bag. Ideal for allergy sufferers or people who forget to check and change bags. Even when it's full airflow and suction won't be affected.
    Micron: The name for a tightly woven filter bag.
    Exhaust filter: Located outside of the bag chamber area to filter air leaving the bag before it exhausts back into the air.

    Handle

    Molded Plastic: The grip of the vacuum is made of durable molded plastic.
    Back-Saver: This ergonomically designed handle takes the pressure off your back while you're operating the vacuum.
    Looped: Designed for comfort, the looped handle allows your hand to rest comfortably while your arm is in motion.

    Head Light

    The headlight helps to illuminate any dirt and dust that may be hiding in dark corners.

    Height Adjustment

    Adjusts the height of the vacuum for different surfaces, such as carpeting, ceramic tiles or wood floors.

    Hose Length (Ft.)

    Refers to the length of hose attached to the vacuum canister.

    Hose Swivel

    Refers to the ability of the hose to move right or left of the vacuum canister. The radius of the hose may range from 150 to 360 degrees.

    Nozzle Types

    Air Turbo: Airflow directed into the nozzle supplying power to rotate a brush, which sweeps the carpet surface.
    Electric Power: Nozzle has a dedicated motor providing power to rotate an agitator, which sweeps the carpet surface while suction airflow draws litter into the main canister unit.
    Straight Suction: Suction powered airflow channeled through the nozzle and directed to the carpet surface.

    Overload Reset

    Allows you to restart the vacuum after the agitator shuts down. Strings, cords or carpet fringes sometimes get wrapped around the agitator. If not removed, they can cause a belt to break, or worse a motor to burn out. When an object is caught in the agitator, stop the machine, remove the object and press the overload reset button to start the vacuum.

    Performance Indicator

    A light on the vacuum let's you know when the bag is full, or if the airflow is restricted by something that's just been picked up.

    Quick Release Power Head

    With the touch of a lever, the powerhead releases from the wand. This Kenmore®/MD exclusive feature is a time-saver for those who switch from a carpet to a bare floor brush.

    Variable Speed Control

    Allows you to adjust the suction strength for different surfaces (e.g. lower to when cleaning curtains).

Specialty Vacuums

    Hand Vacuum

    A hand-held vacuum available in a variety of styles, and designed to clean upholstery, stairs and other small cleaning jobs. Some run on batteries, while others are plug-in models. Choices include electric driven brush rollers or straight air suction, and dirt cups or paper bags.

    Stick Vacuum

    A lightweight vacuum designed like an upright, but without the power. Great for small, quick cleaning jobs. Features include rechargeable battery or plug-in option, and electric driven brush roller or straight air suction.

Carpet Cleaners

A machine that uses a combination of water and chemicals to get the dirt out of carpets. There are two style models – upright and canister.

Upright: On an upright carpet cleaner, the motor, powerhead and water tank or tanks are attached to the handle grip to form a single unit.

Canister: In a canister model, the motor and water tanks are contained in a separate unit from the powerhead. A hose connects the canister with the powerhead.

    Agitator Types

    Air suction from the agitator loosens dirt and dust by lifting the carpet fibres with a cylinder brush, or series of round brushes, located in the powerhead.
    Motor Driven Rotating Brush: A belt-driven motor rotates the agitator. The agitator is equipped with a brush that grabs dirt and dust from carpet fibres.
    5 Rotating Brushes: Powered by air, the agitator is composed of 5 circular brushes that rotate clockwise and counterclockwise to clean a (12)-inch strip of carpet or bare floor in one sweep.
    6 Rotating Brushes: Powered by air, the agitator is composed of 6 circular brushes that rotate clockwise and counterclockwise to clean a 14-inch strip of carpet or bare floor in one sweep.

    Attachments

    Bare Floor Tool: A special sponge tool for cleaning bare floors, such as ceramic. A carpet cleaner should never be used on hardwood floors.
    Crevice Tool: A narrow tool for cleaning areas that upholstery nozzles and larger brushes can't reach.
    Powered Hand Tool: Ideal for cleaning stairs and upholstery.
    Upholstery Nozzle: A non-brush tool for cleaning upholstery.

    Automatic Tool Conversion

    The hose is automatically connected to the carpet cleaner. With the handle in the upright position, accessories, such as the powered hand tool and upholstery nozzle, can be attached for use on stairs, furniture and draperies.

    Cord Length (Ft.)

    Refers to the length of power cord connecting the carpet cleaner with an electrical outlet.

    Hose Length (Ft.)

    Refers to the length of hose connected to the carpet cleaner. Cleaning tools for stairs and upholstery are attached to the hose.

    Solution Control

    Built-in Measuring Cup: A measuring cup for cleaning solutions is built-in to the carpet cleaner.
    Clean Surge: For heavy cleaning jobs, 50 per cent more cleaning solution can be dispersed through the rotating brushes by pressing a button on the handle.
    Smart Mix: The cleaning solution mix is automatically adjusted for heavy cleaning jobs when a control knob is adjusted.

    Tanks

    Separate Solution/Recovery Tanks: Warm clean water and waste water are kept separate in two removable tanks.
    Tank in Tank: A liner in the tank separates the warm clean water from waste water. As the clean water is dispersed out the bottom of the tank, the liner slides down, making room for the dirty water coming in through the top of the tank. Eventually the dirty water fills the tank.

    Temperature Control

    Adjusts the height of the vacuum for different surfaces, such as carpeting, ceramic tiles or wood floors.