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Thread Number: 34128  /  Tag: Recent Vacuum Cleaners from past 20 years
What's Most Important To You: Filtration, Airflow, or Ergonomics?
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Post# 369798   4/2/2017 at 13:49 by wyaple (Ohio, USA)        

You are only allowed to pick one (please play along). And please give at least a 1 sentence reason for your choice.

Let's define what each one means in this case:

1) Filtration: Miele and Rainbow videos constantly tout their exhaust filtration, so that's what I would like to concentrate on. In fact one Miele video I saw proudly claimed, "filtration is THE most important thing when considering a vacuum". So to reiterate, filtration is referring to the quality of the exhaust, not dust/dirt separation of the bag/cyclones.

2) Airflow: The almighty CFM from the nozzle head is what we're referring to. Dirty air machines typically have the most and bag less machines the least.

3) Ergonomics: In other words, usability. How well does a machine have to fit the typical user's ability to feel good when using the vacuum.

My answer: Airflow wins every time until there comes a time when I can no longer physically handle the most powerful beasts any longer. I hope to be the only 100 year old man still pathetically attempting to push a Kirby Heritage II Legend and a 70's Hoover Custom Convertible if only to prove just how wimpy a society we've become.


Post# 369800 , Reply# 1   4/2/2017 at 13:59 by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

sebo4me's profile picture
Firstly you need good airflow to pull the dirt and allergens out of the carpet and then an efficient filter to keep them in the cleaner. So airflow and filtration are
Of equal importance to me.

Post# 369838 , Reply# 2   4/2/2017 at 19:33 by Tseg (World Traveller)        

Getting dirt off the ground, 1st. Keeping it out of the air, 2nd. Enjoy using it painlessly, 3rd. The problem is many excel at 1 or 2 of the 3. Very few are very good at all 3. A vacuum without all 3 is deficient. Related to the ergo category is also usability... If it lacks tools to get to places that need cleaned it remains a poser. If the floor around my bed is clean but I have 5 inches of dust under the bed I cannot get to, my house remains unclean.

Post# 369839 , Reply# 3   4/2/2017 at 20:23 by kenkart (Mocksville, NC)        

I use only very vintage machines, true some are no where near as powerful as some of todays plastic, but I get the house clean, you just vacuum slower and get the same result, I just cant stand to look at a cheap clunky pile of plastic and I REALLY hate a pistol grip, Give me my AirWay, Electrolux G , Saniway or Compact anyday, the newest upright I use is a Kirby Classic 3, or Electroluxes first upright, A monstrosity but a real piece of engineering, More often than not I use a 1958 801 Royal, a 510 or 561 Kirby or a U-4 GE from 1964, I wouldn't trade any of them for all the new Mieles and Sebos made.

Post# 369849 , Reply# 4   4/2/2017 at 22:20 by n0oxy (Saint Louis Missouri, United States)        
most important

First, let me say that I am a total canister fan, I don't like uprights and don't have any. So, I would rank them in this order. Airflow first, or to broaden it a bit, cleaning ability. If the vacuum does not clean well, the filtration and how it feels to use it are meaningless. It doesn't have to suck the paint off the wall, but it needs to get the job done. For example, my electrolux 1205 probably would not win a suction or airflow contest, but it still cleans well. Second would be how the hose feels when holding it. I much prefer a pistol grip as opposed to the gas pump grip. A few of my vacuums have the gas pump grip and I can deal with it, but it's not what I prefer when holding a hose. I would have toput filtration at the bottom of the list. Having said that, I don't want a vacuum that is blowing dust all over the place, if your vacuum is doing that, then using it serves no purpose. I don't like bagless vacuums and would never have one, they are a mess to empty and will clog the filters very quickly. I also suggest always using cloth bags instead of paper bags if possible. That said, I would not pay extra for a hepa exhaust filter. For example, on Miele vacuums, a standard exhaust filter is included with each package of bags, you can also pay extra for a hepa exhaust filter, I'm quite content to use the standard exhaust filter since I don't have any allergies. So, that's my order of priority for these vacuum characteristics.

Post# 369851 , Reply# 5   4/2/2017 at 22:28 by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
1 Airflow--That's why I like my Kirbys
2 Ergonomics--It needs to be designed for a human to use
3 Filtration--HEPA's not a big concern

Post# 369857 , Reply# 6   4/2/2017 at 23:23 by Mixman (Central NJ)        
Ergonomics is everything!!!

Ergonomics!!!!! Let's face it guys most of the better vacuums have more than enough airflow for most home tasks. Filtration is important too, and most of the best bagged vacs are good enough, but if you can't stand the usability, you will not use that great filtrating, best airflow vac. So the others will not matter if you can't stand to use it.

Post# 369891 , Reply# 7   4/3/2017 at 10:54 by sptyks (Woburn, MA)        

sptyks's profile picture


1  Airflow / Cleaning ability


2  Filtration / No dust leakage


3  Ergonomics / Comfortable to use


And that's why I love my Kirby's



Post# 369897 , Reply# 8   4/3/2017 at 12:26 by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

Airflow is most important to me. I feel like so many companies like Dyson and Shark tout their filtration and ease of use, but their airflow really suffers due to all of the paths and tubes on them. Kirby is a great vacuum that nails two of the aspects right on the head. It has excellent airflow and it's Micron Magic filtration system is top of the line. However the newer units with TechDrive PowerAssist and Toe Touch Control are harder for some people to use. Don't get me wrong, I love Kirby, but it is confusing for non experienced users. The one company I think nails all three right on the head is Aerus Electrolux. Their products have excellent airflow, a four ply filter bag and no fancy bells and whistles to confuse people. Their machines, like Kirby's, are extremely durable.

Post# 369908 , Reply# 9   4/3/2017 at 13:54 by matt8808 (Teesside - North East - UK)        

Ergonomics first for me.

I have a Kirby Sentria II that I bought brand new but rarely use these days as it is much quicker and easier to vacuum the house with my cylinder Miele C3 Cat & Dog. Noise level is also an issue for me.... I much prefer the silent power of the Miele.

Post# 369922 , Reply# 10   4/3/2017 at 19:01 by Blackheart (North Dakota)        

Without a doubt performance is my biggest concern.

Post# 369949 , Reply# 11   4/4/2017 at 02:17 by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

I feel that all THREE of these work together to make the vacuum work for you.

Post# 370013 , Reply# 12   4/4/2017 at 13:38 by dysonman1 (Rolla, Missouri)        

dysonman1's profile picture
I'll say airflow, but it has to be qualified.
When the machine is down on the carpet, properly adjusted and in cleaning mode, the airflow through the machine is important as it removes the dirt which the brush roll beats and sweeps out. When the machine is not on the carpet, airflow is unimportant. That's why I consider Kirby's 'suction tester' plate that covers the bottom, as well as the Baird meter, to be 'tricks'.

That's one reason I have a Vacuflo central vacuum - nothing to stop that all-important airflow.

Post# 370016 , Reply# 13   4/4/2017 at 14:07 by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

sebo4me's profile picture
Yes airflow is very important. But I wouldn't want a cleaner that sucked in lots of dust at one end but threw it all back out at the other. So airflow and filtration are equally important as is ergonomics. They all go together to make a good vacuum cleaner.

Post# 370018 , Reply# 14   4/4/2017 at 14:08 by sptyks (Woburn, MA)        

sptyks's profile picture

It seems to me, that with a direct air machine the more airflow you have when the machine is not on the carpet, the more airflow you will have when the machine is in use on the carpet.

Post# 370029 , Reply# 15   4/4/2017 at 14:51 by wyaple (Ohio, USA)        
I Think Tom G. Means...

When cleaning things other than flooring, like drapes, couches, etc?

BTW, Tom if you are able, can you enlighten me with two things from your VacuFlow central vacuum.

1) What are the motor specs (or what's the make and model of the motor and I can look them up I suppose)

2) And what does a Baird meter (or other anemometer) read when connected to the end of your hide-a-hose?

I'd like to see how much airflow is lost from the motor through all your piping to the end on the hose.


Post# 370487 , Reply# 16   4/11/2017 at 13:36 by hooverkid (PA,USA)        

hooverkid's profile picture
Well I'd say that airflow is important but so is filtration. Personally I like to use my Filter Queen when filtration is important and my Kenmore branded Singer twinfan or Kirby D50 when filtration is less important

Post# 370541 , Reply# 17   4/12/2017 at 09:25 by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

suckolux's profile picture
Gosh tough call as I have issues handling machines?
Ergonomics? Air Flow and Noise level are all about even for me.Everything after that is less important in my home. I think

Post# 371822 , Reply# 18   5/6/2017 at 03:00 by Shrink1982 (Indianapolis)        

shrink1982's profile picture
I think agitation should have been added to the options. For me, airflow and agitation are the most important. Why? Because without proper cleaning ability, there won't be any dust to put into the air. The vacuum must clean well before we can consider filtration and ergonomics.

I am looking forward to getting the Maytag 1200 as it follows Riccar's tandem air model. Not only does it have a bypass motor, it also has a dirty fan motor, that, when combined provides powerful suction at the floor and though the hose. It also agitates well. I am not sure on the ergonomics. It is a but old fashioned in regard to the style. Many uprights have a base that swivels which makes the vacuum easy to turn corners. I do wish Tacony had thought of this. I also think there should be a way to turn the suction down on the maytag.

Post# 371851 , Reply# 19   5/6/2017 at 21:05 by cocobird5 (Laguna Hills)        

I have asthma,so filtration is the most important to me. My Miele also does fine with the other two criteria.

Post# 371861 , Reply# 20   5/7/2017 at 15:43 by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

eurekaprince's profile picture
Definitely airflow: that's what gets the dirt moving into the bag. But for carpet cleaning, agitation and brushing is more important than airflow because airflow alone won't disconnect dirt that is buried and entangled in the fibres.

This suggests another aspect of cleaner design is very important: nozzle/tool/brush design.

Post# 371872 , Reply# 21   5/8/2017 at 01:29 by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

gsheen's profile picture
For starters let me explain why. While like everyone here I love my vacuums and vacuuming I am also Husband and Dad in a busy household were vacuuming is not a fun acrivity but a nessesity and chore. We have a few animals and genrally the house , main areas get vacuumed 2 or 3 times a day.
The vacuum needs to be easy to use have easy to access on board tools and do carpets and hardfloors It must be able to get the job done as quickly as possible with as little hassel as possible

I have always felt Filtration is overplayed. Yes its important but are you trying to tell me my Grans house was filthy because her choice of vacuum was a clothed bag upright vacuum with no hepa filtration. She would smack you silly if you dared to think it. I live In Cape Town South Aftica with genrally pleasent weather yesr round. Unless it is absolutly pouring down with Rain our patio doors are always open . More impuritys blow in through the open doors than any hepa filtration could ever remove from my home.
Airflow is important but again if you vacuum as much as we do even a orek can keep the carpets clean as the dirt never gets a chance to settle

Post# 371887 , Reply# 22   5/8/2017 at 15:24 by Real1shep (Walla Walla, WA)        

I'd have to go with airflow. But it's not really a fair question to just pick one attribute. Becuase right behind airflow in my consideration is filtration and then behind that is WEIGHT. Weight and ergonomics should go hand-in-hand. However, I'm not so concerned about ergonomics as I am about weight. I would hope that when I look at a vacuum, I can suss out whether the ergonomics are OK, or just bat shite crazy.


Because with weight, usually comes bulk and there's nothing worse to me than a heavy, bulky vac. Why I don't have Kirby, but have a Royal upright. And I do NOT ever want a vac that has any kind of self-propulsion drive. I drag around metal canisters most and maybe I have muscle memory, because other than bumping into stuff, I don't consider them to be a weight problem.



Post# 371892 , Reply# 23   5/8/2017 at 16:28 by wyaple (Ohio, USA)        
The Results So Far

I wish we had a survey function on this website as it would make questions like this much easier...Some of the answers were difficult to interpret.

Filtration = 1/22 = 4.5%
Airflow = 11/22 = 50%
Ergonomics = 4/22 = 18.2%

Refused to answer/Multiple answers/Disliked the question = 6/22 = 27.3%

So without a doubt, AIRFLOW is by far the most important to posters here on this website. With that being established, I have one BIG question:

Where is the outcry to insist/demand that manufacturers post airflow specs? Dyson posts airwatts and claims their vacs have the most suction (which they do), but airflow never enters their marketing equation because it is so very poor (think 50-ish CFM at the nozzle).

Even though bag less machines are all the rage, all of them are plagued with really lousy airflow because the cyclones, the very thing everybody can't seem to get enough of, eat up nearly half of the nozzle airflow.

Will this trend of lousy performance/efficiency with bag less vacs ever end? Does anyone outside of Vacuumland care?


Post# 371894 , Reply# 24   5/8/2017 at 16:41 by Real1shep (Walla Walla, WA)        
That's a.....

resounding NO. The vacuum buying masses don't give a damn about airflow. They want trendy convenience at a price point. And if a trendy convenience manufacturer has sold enough units over a period of time, they can/will start to raise prices.'s not uncommon to see vac junk sold at the $400 mark. 


And I'd be fine with that if it didn't affect old vacs, but it does. More and more of the older vac companies were merged or bought out completely. And that almost always translates into NLA parts. You can't sell all the trendy, convenience price point vacs you want if there are still older vacs lingering about with parts support. The fastest way to kill an appliance's reign is to stop the parts flow.....



Post# 371895 , Reply# 25   5/8/2017 at 17:57 by mixman (Central NJ)        

Yeah the masses only care about the ease of use (ergonomics) and how well it can clean the pet hairs. As long as a vacuum is easy to use for what they need it to do and it can get the pet hairs and mess off the floor, they are fine with it.

Post# 371926 , Reply# 26   5/9/2017 at 12:41 by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

gsheen's profile picture
Well then the Masses must be telling you somthing

For your avarage home owner vacuuming is a chore not something fun to do.

I would be interested to know how many of those here on Vacland who reponded have Kids, Ie under 17 years old.
When I was single and even before Joanne and I had kids , life was busy , I thought it was atleast but it was not. Been a petrol head I had time to wash and detail both our cars, do all maintanatce myself, I had a fantastic garden that I tended to myself, Grass cut every week, never a blade out of place. My vacuum collection was up to date, in perfect condition , I used a Kirby because it was the best I had at that time, I could spend the time it took to clean each room disasembeling half the machine every few minutes to fit the attachments.

Then we had Joshua , The kirby was quickly replaced by a Hoover elite and then a Electrolux widetrack, I no longer had the time to spend a hour just vacuuming every day. The garden while still neat was no longer the masterpiece it once was, The cars get washed when dirty , the maintenance is done by the workshop now.

My point is that as someone who lives in the world of Kids, Homework assignments, and all that goes with that, like the rest of the masses Air flow means nothing if I dont have the time to use it.A average vacuum does a good enough job for the masses.

Its one thing that most vacuum collectors fail to see, yes Kirby is has great airflow, Yes it will last a life time ( most of the time ) but it will lats even longer in your average household because after the novelty wears off it either ends up in the cupboard or on Craigslist and Ebay when its replaced with a Eureka that is easier to use, Or even worse the carpets get ripped up and hardfloors replace them because they are easier to manage

Post# 371935 , Reply# 27   5/9/2017 at 15:21 by Mixman (Central NJ)        

I totally agree for most people vacuuming is a chore and whatever makes that chore a vacuum that is easy for them to use is the most important thing. Everything else is a distant second.


Post# 371997 , Reply# 28   5/10/2017 at 11:29 by Real1shep (Walla Walla, WA)        

But the fallacy in that argument is that the masses are always correct. I raised two boys and now I'm raising my grandson.  I know all about homework, balancing a business and losing the ability to manicure everything I owned, as I had done previously without kids. But despite all that, we always sought the best vacuum we could find.....which in our case were Elux canisters. That plastic crap has been around for decades now...never felt even the slightest impulse to take the plunge.


You don't have to follow the masses' choice toward trendy convenience and price point. Sometimes it's about stopping and using your; should we pay $300 for some plastic POS that will probably be used up in three to five yrs or plunk down $1,500 for a vac system that will last for generations?  Same in major appliances, cars and everything else.  In the US basically, you get what you pay for, although the choices for quality products always seem to be dwindling with China making about everything we touch.


I have some dear friends that raised five children and I've been a part of their lives since their kids were small.  I've watched them go from one plastic fantastic vac to the next. They started a driver's ed school and they have a plastic fantastic vac there too. They might take a vac for repair ONE time and after that, it's down to WallyWorld to get the next one.  We've never had THE vacuum discussion. In part because I know their mindset. They are not going to buy an Aerus or anything like that...even if it would outlast them. They consider vacs disposable and anything more than that is just kooky. Oh and their carpeted floors are filthy too....I wouldn't lay on them for a bet. They're not getting any deep cleaning with those vacs and the dirt has built up over the yrs.....their rugs just look bad.





Post# 372002 , Reply# 29   5/10/2017 at 13:39 by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

gsheen's profile picture
I Hear you Kevin . I too get the best I can. Not the most expensive but the one that worked the best.
With my business and my vacuum collection and I not at a loss of which vacuum to use. I do however tend to use a light weight bagless upright for every day cleaning and a Royal for a good deep cleaning every 2nd week on the weekend

What I was getting at was ergonomics. It must be easy to use. A Lux canister is easy to use. Most canisters are easier to use in a multi floor home. I prefer uprights though.
In my home i must admit that since iur first dyson cordless vac a dc 35 and we have had every model since then with the old models been passed on to various family members or doing duty elswere in the house. I tend to grab a upright and use the dyson v6 with a crevice tool on the end of the pipe for the edges.

As for filthy carpets, if you have kids and animals you need to get those carpets washed regularly by a profecional company with a truck mount. No vacuum is going to get rid of the mess that kids bring to a carpet with spilt food and drinks

Post# 372042 , Reply# 30   5/11/2017 at 10:56 by Real1shep (Walla Walla, WA)        
That's true....

if kids are spilling stuff on the carpets and dog accidents happen, the carpets need to be professionally cleaned. However, there are a fraternity of people here that have their own machines for shampooing carpets and the like. I can't make a call one way or the other on that, since I don't do it. When I was younger and still moving around, I'd always rent those 'steam' cleaner devices before I moved in and when I was leaving....out of economic necessity (to get my deposit back). After that when married, I just hired a service. I guess they still argue about chem clean or steam clean......I read the verbiage, but I'm not sure there are any clear winners. 


In the big farmhouse in MO, we had carpeting in the kitchen and eating area. That was about the dumbest idea I ever saw with kids. I soon pulled that up and went back to hard floors.





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