Thread Number: 15548
Metal or Plastic Fan?
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Post# 165304   1/9/2012 at 12:50 (3,011 days old) by vacmaster0000 ()        

Replacing a fan in my friend Oreck because it dosent seem to have much airflow, and the fan is chewed to bits, so would a metal fan withstand coins and stuff better than a plastic? Stuff gets swept up all the time on accident, so would a metal be better or plastic?

Post# 165319 , Reply# 1   1/9/2012 at 15:38 (3,011 days old) by jmurray01 (Scotland)        

jmurray01's profile picture
If you can, fit a metal fan! They are so much better.

I have a metal fan in my 1977 HOOVER Ranger, and it is the original from when it was new, not that you'd know, as it looks 100% new, not a single chip.

Unless it is a clean fan motor, metal is the only way to go!

Post# 165323 , Reply# 2   1/9/2012 at 16:11 (3,011 days old) by bravokid ()        

Metal is always best where availible lol but the real question is what the fan chamber is made out of and will it hold up to the projectiles picked up.

Post# 165384 , Reply# 3   1/10/2012 at 04:16 (3,011 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

For Orecks-the FANCASE is the weakest part.It will break if you hit something with either the metal or plastic fan.Overall-I prefer METAL fans and FANCASES all the way.

Post# 165413 , Reply# 4   1/10/2012 at 09:18 (3,011 days old) by jmurray01 (Scotland)        

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That is the problem with new dirty fan cleaners - They are all plastic!

The older dirty fan cleaners were made when quality was all that mattered, and thus fully metal.

Post# 165535 , Reply# 5   1/11/2012 at 03:51 (3,010 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Notice how a lot of the older metal direct air vacuums still work-the all plastic ones----imagine having an Oreck that would be 50yrs old?Other plastic direct air vacs are waiting their date in hydraulic hell in the dumpster.

Post# 165536 , Reply# 6   1/11/2012 at 05:25 (3,010 days old) by jmurray01 (Scotland)        

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Personally, I think if they can't make a Dirty Fan motor of all metal, like they did in the "good old days", they should just stop making them and focus on making Clean Fan motors with better carpet cleaning abilities.

A plastic Dirty Fan motor is a ticking time bomb for shearing fan blades.

Post# 165564 , Reply# 7   1/11/2012 at 10:31 (3,010 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

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I don't know guys - I used a basic, bottom of the line, Eureka Dial-A-Nap upright (model 1925 I think) for over 20 years and never had a problem with the plastic fan blades. I guess I never abused it..... "Eureka. The very best in vacuum cleaners." :-)

Post# 165639 , Reply# 8   1/11/2012 at 17:24 (3,009 days old) by Rolls_rapide (-)        

I had a Hoover Junior U1104 that had a plastic fan and metal agitator, and it was useless at picking up particles of grit, particularly the larger pieces of 2-3mm.

Yet older metal fan Juniors coped fine - with a metallic "ping" as the grit was sent on its merry way to the bag.

Post# 165662 , Reply# 9   1/11/2012 at 21:27 (3,009 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        
Metal Vacuum fans are NOT always superior...

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One thing for you guys to consider is that metal is not ALWAYS best for ALL fans in vacuums. Virtually everybody on this site never hesitates to say metal is good and plastic is bad (or cheap). In instances beyond household vacuums, plastic is frequently MORE strong than metal. Take for example those yard vacuums that Stihl and Echo and Poulan make that are gas powered and used to vacuum up yard debris such as leaves, sticks, pine cones, acorns, and frequently rocks that are mixed in. Those vacuums are a LOT more powerful than any house vacuum could even dream of being, and vacuum up enough stuff in seconds that would ruin any household fan-first vacuum (all metal or not) for GOOD. What are the fans and fan cases in these yard vacuums made of? Plastic, not metal! Why? Those materials are stiffer and won't bend, rust, or corrode, and they are much lighter. Nor do they shatter or even so much as crack whey they suffer serious impacts repeatedly. I have worked with these yard vacuums for years (I collect them as well as household vacuums), and I have NEVER seen a broken plastic fan or fancase, but I have seen older aluminum fans bent from large branches.

Bullet proof vests are not made of metal, either. Just thought I'd point that out.

I am not saying this applies to all Orecks (although it might), and I am not trying to stray off topic, I just had to point this out.

Post# 165687 , Reply# 10   1/12/2012 at 01:49 (3,009 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

HMMMM-some of the yard blowers and vacuums I have seen-like B&D,Lowes generic,and Troy Built-have been going to METAL fans-because the plastic ones break or erode from the dirt and debris.The Troy-built has a Titanium blade ahead of its plastic fan.I have an older B&D yard blower-vacuum-and its plastic impellor is eroded to almost useless.Note on the very large truck mounted-or truckloader debris blowers-their fans and fancases are STEEL-blades-quarter to half in thick.So--metal is better here,too.For Kevlar-its VERY strong as a fiber-like for a bulletproof vest-but remember----bullet proof-not 100%If you are wearing one-better know its capability and what is being shot at you----TAKE REAL COVER-that means behind something that can stop the bullet.For the Kevlar fan-its rigid instead flexible as the fiber.I think someone fired bullets at one time at kevlar Oreck fans--they broke.

Post# 165750 , Reply# 11   1/12/2012 at 19:49 (3,008 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        

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The only metal fans I have seen are from Toro and one in a B&D, both companies considered to be at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to leaf vacuums.

Post# 165770 , Reply# 12   1/13/2012 at 01:50 (3,008 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

The Lowes brand blower has the metal fan-and at the Lowes place I saw them at the metal fanned Toro was the higher priced one.And the B&D Leafhog with the metal fan was a higher priced machine.The machines that I saw with plastic fans were the low priced ones made to be blowers only-not vacuums.

Post# 165893 , Reply# 13   1/14/2012 at 21:15 (3,006 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
Electric Lawn Mowers w/ Metal or Plastic Fans?

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture
What about electric lawn mowers? I mean, did you like the electric lawn mowers of the '50s-'80s when they had metal fans as opposed to plastic fans?

What I am talking about:
Black & Decker steel-deck single-blade electrics (1970-1987) and all twin-blade electrics (1967-1978)
Sunbeam/Aircap/Mastercut single-blade and twin-blade electrics (before 1986)
NOMA (Canada) single-blade and twin-blade electrics (before 1992)


Post# 165987 , Reply# 14   1/15/2012 at 19:59 (3,005 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        

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Echo and Stihl blower/vacuums outprice them all, and are commercial equipment as opposed to homeowners equipment, and they don't use metal fans.

Post# 165997 , Reply# 15   1/15/2012 at 20:45 (3,005 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        

Metalmetalmetal METAL! They can take a lot more abuse than a plastic fan. Heck, my next project is to fit my Sanitaire with a metal fan, (if you can do that)
Heck, I love anything metal. :)

Post# 166013 , Reply# 16   1/16/2012 at 05:17 (3,005 days old) by jmurray01 (Scotland)        

jmurray01's profile picture
Oh I love that pinging noise!

I find myself steering into bits of grit just to hear it bounce of the metal blades on the Ranger!

Yes - I am a bit strange...

Post# 166021 , Reply# 17   1/16/2012 at 08:19 (3,005 days old) by Blackheart (North Dakota)        
I can see either side

blackheart's profile picture
I like metal fans and i think they increase power (at least on a kirby) but i feel that a well made plastic fan can withstand a pretty good amount of abuse, growing up we had a Kirby Legend II we had both plastic and metal fans in it, i think the plastic ones lasted us a while longer my parents have never taken great care of the Kirby, i've seen plastic ones destroyed i've seen metal ones destroyed.

I know the G3 i gave them in exchange for the Legend II has sucked up a lot of loose change i want to say it had a grey fan in it and when i came home i would shake out the emptor finding all sorts of change and metallic objects, eventually the fan gave way, i think i once found about 3 nickles 4 dimes and 7-8 pennies in the emptor

While i feel the metal fan is the superior performer i feel that the plastic ones are made to withstand the abuse from neglectful users a bit better.

Post# 166119 , Reply# 18   1/17/2012 at 04:50 (3,004 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Yes,for electric lawnmowers-prefer the metal motor fans in those-since the fan is in the blade-cutting compartment-it is subject to abuse from lawn debris.I have a cordless B&D electric lawnmower with a plastic motor fan-one blade from it is broken off.Metal mower fans may BEND blades-but you can fix them.Another Toro cordless mower I own has the metal motor fan on the TOP of the motor-out of the blade chamber.It can get clogged with grass,though-but can be cleaned out.To sum up--ANY fan metal or plastic will not take abuse.Yes,I too like the dinging noises from the metal fans-and its instant feedback-the debris has been picked up!so far of the vacuums in my collection--the NSS M1 fans have held up the most-these have eaten just about everything the machine picks up!The blades are quarter in thick on the trailing edges and the M1 fancase is steel strip lined.the real industrial grade lawn-garden equipment-deck vacuums,truckloaders and such have the STEEL fans and fancases.Only one--Cyclone Rake-has a SOFT plastic fan.the fancase on the machine is steel lined.This machine is a mower deck vacuum.

Post# 166914 , Reply# 19   1/23/2012 at 23:03 (2,997 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

sebo_fan's profile picture
Yep, metal fan is better if you can do it. In the UK we have very old Oreck models and I had a passed down family owned XL which I hated. I was very pleased when the plastic fan went on it but disappointed when Oreck UK sent me a metal fan and instructions on how to replace it. It went on for another few years - the red commercial XL uses a metal fan and that's the main difference in the UK where their XL models are concerned.

Post# 166948 , Reply# 20   1/24/2012 at 08:24 (2,997 days old) by kirbfan94 ()        

Metal Isint always better. The plastic fans in kirbys are about twice as strong as the metal one it replaced. I broke a metal fan with a tiny screw, yet the plastic one will take on rocks and change and never look back. Eureka plastic fans are just as strong if not stronger than metal. It all depends on the design, and vacuum its being used in.

Post# 260534 , Reply# 21   12/23/2013 at 18:00 (2,297 days old) by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        
Amodel Polymer fans are much stronger than metal fans !!!

sptyks's profile picture
I did some research on this and what I found is very interesting.

The fans that are installed in the newest Kirby's from the G5 through Sentria II are made from Amodel, NOT Kevlar as almost everyone on here has thought.

For a while Kirby used Lexan, which was discontinued when the switch to superior Amodel was made in the G5. Amodel is widely used in the Aerospace industry so Kirby designed the new fan with the aid of NASA so that it would be the most durable and produce maximum airflow(CFM).Many folks on here, confused Lexan and Kevlar with Amodel. There were some problems with the Lexan fans after a few years of use. They would suffer stress fractures and would break apart if hit by any foreign object (not regular dirt).

Amodel is a new type of polymer that is several times stronger than either Aluminum, which is used in the Royal metal upright vacuums, or Kevlar which was NEVER used in any Kirby vacuum. The Amodel fan is tougher than metal and believe it or not, will almost always outlast Lexan and metal fans.

A few years ago, Kirby did a demonstration for some VCCC members during a tour of the factory where they used a Kirby vacuum with Amodel fan to suck up a bowlful of large nuts, bolts, marbles and pebbles. After disassembly, the fan had only a couple of very small nicks on it and deemed fully serviceable.

The Kirby Sentria with it's higher speed motor, and NASA designed Amodel fan, produces more airflow (115 CFM) than any previous Kirby model.

Here is a statement which you can lookup on the internet from Solvay Advanced Polymers who is the manufacturer of AMODEL:

" About AMODEL Polyphthalamide--

With a heat deflection temperature of 536 degrees Fahrenheit (280 degrees
Celsius) and continuous use temperature of 338 degrees Fahrenheit (170 degrees
Celsius), AMODEL PPA retains its exceptional mechanical properties --
strength, stiffness, fatigue and creep resistance -- over a broad range and in
high humidity environments. This versatile family of high-temperature nylons
can give you the strength of aluminum, the stiffness of steel, and the impact
and ductility of hard rubber --"

I hope you all enjoyed the fruits of my research of AMODEL.



Post# 260603 , Reply# 22   12/24/2013 at 03:00 (2,297 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Think Stans Excellent research gave us an answer-the Amodel plastic resin-but still I have a question--how come the vac places here have a BUCKETFULL of the plastic- Kirby Amedol fans-and its the most common repair-fan replacement-the culprit usually a coin,nail,or pebble.And in some cases Erosion-the plastic gets eroded by the fine sandy dirt in this area.Erodes Sanitiare fans,too.
I just like the metal fans better.
I remember the Royal fan test done at the former Vacuum Cleaner Hospital out here-the Royal factory sales rep put the hose adaptor on a metal Royal upright and let the machine pick up several pennies out of his hand.He then opened the fancase and the fan was undamaged-Bill(Vac Hospital owner)commented that would have DESTROYED a Kirby fan.And yes-the Kirby Sentria fans replaced are in many peices after they break.The metal ones-a blade will break off or get nicked badly.The information on the Amodel material is very interesting.The Royal vacs demoed that day were still ones made in the US.The Royal vac in the demo had the Grey cloth dump bag-a commercial machine.The rep said the fans used in the commercial machines were the same as the residentual ones.

Post# 260674 , Reply# 23   12/24/2013 at 19:17 (2,296 days old) by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        
That's interesting...

sptyks's profile picture
Well Rex,

I really don't know how to answer your claim of all those broken fans. However It does make one wonder why Kirby would continue to use Amodel if it proved to be inferior to fans made of metal. Since Kirby have always been known for thier exceptional build quality and has used Amodel to make their fans for 15+ years now, wouldn't you think they would have reverted back to using metal in the G6 or G7 if the Amodel fans proved to be problematic?

I don't know the answer, but it sure does make one wonder why Amodel is still being used.


Post# 260687 , Reply# 24   12/24/2013 at 21:51 (2,296 days old) by super-sweeper (KSSRC Refurbishment Center)        

super-sweeper's profile picture

To Sell more fans!

(At least that's the obvious answer)

Post# 260703 , Reply# 25   12/25/2013 at 02:45 (2,296 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Stan: Think Alex may have an answer-yes,just that--to sell more fans to dealers on the replacement market.The fan kits are not sold by Kirby to customers.The repair places here used the Kirby fan kits to replace the blown fans.In the broken fan bucket-you find mostly both Kirby and Sanitaire fans.Hardly any metal ones.I love my Kirbys,too-but I am careful what I let them pick up.Could it be the Amodel is less expensive to Kirby to buy and make fans with-IE the fan molding line with plastic must be less expensive than a metal fan die casting line.Royal still uses the metal fans and emphasises that.For Kirby I just don't like the plastic "creeping" in and replacing metal parts-wether the plastic or metal is best-think this is something we can go round and round on-I just feel if I am paying Kirbys prices-the parts should be metal-fans and attachments.

Post# 260721 , Reply# 26   12/25/2013 at 09:44 (2,296 days old) by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        

sptyks's profile picture
Well Rex,

While I fully respect your opinion, it doesn't mean I have to agree with it.

So I guess we should just Agree to Disagree on this one.

If there is anyone else out there who owns or has worked in a Vac shop and has seen this problem first hand, please feel free to chime in and tell us about your Kirby fan experiences.

Post# 260843 , Reply# 27   12/26/2013 at 13:27 (2,294 days old) by NYCWriter (New York City)        
My two cents ...

nycwriter's profile picture
and I'm not claiming personal experience as either a consumer or a "servicer" of metal fans, but I can tell you that not all metal is created equal.

Just because it's "metal" doesn't mean it's stronger than plastic.

I've had several duffel/gym bags with shoulder straps made from leather, vinyl, and fabric, with elaborate strap systems. Usually the strap is has a buckle sewn onto the end, connected to another sewn-on flap by one of those metal spring-loaded hook-and-eye mechanisms. Every single one of those bags I've ever owned failed when the metal pin itself snapped right off! Not the threads giving way, not the strap fraying -- it's always the cheap-ass METAL that snaps right in half.

Metal can be just as brittle as cheap plastic.

Post# 260849 , Reply# 28   12/26/2013 at 14:04 (2,294 days old) by Blackheart (North Dakota)        
Just from what i've seen

blackheart's profile picture
The metal fans perform a little better but i feel they are more prone to breakage. Using my Legend II and Heritage II along with my trusty baird meter i can see that the metal ones do offer stronger airflow.
The Heritage II is using a plastic fan and pulls an 8.5
The Legend II is using a metal fan and pulled just under 10 probably about 9.75
Now here's the real shocker i switched the crushproof hose for the same Heritage II hose i was using on my other two to test the G6 it pulled about an 8 it was moving a little back and forth from about the 7.5 to the 8 mark

My parents are hard on their vacuum they now have a G3 and a few years back when i would come come i'd take the emptor off and shake it to release the heavier objects i found i'd guess 10+ different coins in the emptor, screws, other objects they should not be picking up with a direct air machine. About 2 years back i had to replace the fan as it had just finally had enough.

I think the biggest thing is the flexibility of the materials the plastic fans allow for some bending which allows them to survive these objects passing through where the metal fan is more brittle and instead of bending it will just snap.

Post# 260908 , Reply# 29   12/26/2013 at 21:00 (2,294 days old) by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        
Sentria airflow

sptyks's profile picture

I believe I have seen videos on youtube of a Kirby Sentria pulling a 10 on the Baird airflow meter. The Sentria which has an Amodel fan is touted as having the most airflow (115 CFM) of any previous Kirby model. The G3 has only 107.5 CFM. Have you tested a Sentria with your Baird meter?

Post# 260924 , Reply# 30   12/27/2013 at 03:16 (2,294 days old) by Blackheart (North Dakota)        

blackheart's profile picture
If you test a kirby at the fan case they will pull a 10 my G6 will pull a 10 and i believe the G3 would too.

I did not test them at the fan case though. All three were tested at the end of the same Heritage II hose (the machine had needed to be swapped out to use with the G6)

To answer your question i have not measured a sentria

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