Thread Number: 15853
Tristar Compact Hepa Filter - How Much Is Enough?
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Post# 168850   2/8/2012 at 16:59 (2,974 days old) by sanifan ()        

Hi, all!

Can you tell me if it's a good idea to use both the dome shaped pleated Hepa motor pre-filter in conjunction with the outboard mushroom Hepa output filter on a Tristar CXL, or is that too much?

I understand that any type of fine pored-filter will negatively impact suction and airflow. Is it better to use both? If only one, which is the better choice? The dome filter protects the motor, of course.

What would you do?

Post# 168852 , Reply# 1   2/8/2012 at 17:12 (2,974 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

I'm using the dome filter on it's own in my Tristar, the "buttplug" filter is stored for safekeeping (you can't buy hem new at all any more, only the little "Filter fresh" filters which are severely restricting), and the amount of carbon dust blowing out the back end is negligible so only needs the diffuser to stop the thing blowing pictures off the wall and ornaments off shelves... :P

You can use both if you like, but the big filter sticking out of it's exhaust can get caught up on furniture which could end up breaking it, which wouldn't be good... :)

Post# 168859 , Reply# 2   2/8/2012 at 18:07 (2,974 days old) by sanifan ()        
I have the Filter Fresh...

So the Filter Fresh is not so good? Agh! Would you recommend using it at all if it's so constricting?

Post# 168864 , Reply# 3   2/8/2012 at 18:20 (2,974 days old) by danemodsandy ()        
What I Use:

I use the standard motor filter and the standard flat-disc afterfilter. I do not have allergies that require HEPA.

Since there are four levels of filtration in a TriStar (paper bag, cloth bag, motor filter and afterfilter), I do not see dust again for a good while after vacuuming thoroughly. It is a very noticeable difference from my Luxes, which have only one level of filtration - the paper bag. And the inside of the vac stays clean, as well, so I don't think any dust to speak of is blowing into my motor and fan. The motor filter collects a very light residue of dust that I wash away a couple of times a year. It's not enough dust to knock off the filter, more like a slight soiling - something like dirty clothes.

My personal feeling is that since I don't have allergies, and since I'm a frequent vacuumer, I don't need any more than the standard TriStar filtration, which is already four times more than many vacs give you.

Post# 168865 , Reply# 4   2/8/2012 at 18:23 (2,974 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

Just get an exhaust diffuser and a HEPA dome filter and you'll be sorted... :)

There's a part of the filter that you can pull out to open it up a bit, but, I've forgotten what part it is, I think it's the black foam pad, but heck, there's only three parts in there, so easy to do trial & error testing... :)

Post# 168866 , Reply# 5   2/8/2012 at 18:35 (2,974 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        
HEPA filter

I ONLY use the pre-motor HEPA dome filter AND the regular flat disc exhaust filter on the TriStar & Compacts because I have allergies; & there hasn't been a significant reduction in airflow & suction.

Post# 168868 , Reply# 6   2/8/2012 at 18:39 (2,974 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        
Exhaust filter

Has anyone tried this filter here on the TriStar's exhaust? If so, how good does the vac work?

This filter is washable, but VERY expensive.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO floor-a-matic's LINK

Post# 168869 , Reply# 7   2/8/2012 at 18:49 (2,974 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

I have that "VacFX" filter in my Tristar, and yup, no loss of suction, and the filter is still a pristine white, even with single-layer paper bags & the cloth bag... :D

That 2nd filter looks pretty darned ugly though, probably works, but, I wouldn't want to try it myself... :\

Post# 168894 , Reply# 8   2/8/2012 at 21:18 (2,974 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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I have a few of these early 'Space Needle Restaurant' IEC after-motor filters that contain a replaceable pleated ring cased in a metal diamond mesh with rubber gasket rings, inside the transparent smoked plastic 'tower'. Reminds me of a Holley carb air filter and may very well be with IEC roots in industrial aircraft standards.The tapered end is a match for the hose coupler and and does fit the angled exhaust port but really only looks good and right on a Compact with the oval vertical exhaust port.

It does not pretend to be HEPA and even so I have yet to see one blackened by carbon.

But because of it's precarious exposure to obstacles, whatever the mounting angle, they are usually found with the lower tube snapped off.


The 'butt plug' mushroom filters I've examined are nothing more than a black scouring pad disk sandwiched between two open cell foam discs of slightly different porosities - hardly HEPA in my books.


But if you are one who believes in the advertised effectiveness of domestic HEPA what does it matter how ugly it is?

And they are unnecessarily ugly lumps on such a sculptured and powerful vacuum. In the end the Compact/Tristar  is an extremely well made and functioning machine from its inception, that needs only the pre-motor filter as preventive maintenance should either of the bags inexplicably leak. As Sandy points out The Compact was ahead of the competition from the get-go such that decades later the tweaks to the system seem to be more marketing department driven - to keep up with the fads - than engineering mandated.



Post# 168902 , Reply# 9   2/8/2012 at 21:54 (2,974 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

Somehow I don't think that Compact was meant to have a buttplug filter fitted, it obstructs the power switch, rendering it somewhat ineffective... :\

Anyway, the pictured filter is what I refer to as the "buttplug" filters, seeing as it is inserted into the exhaust, with the small engine air filter fitted (seriously, I've actually found filters, though not bought, to match meant for engines!!), and engine air filters are pretty much HEPA rated (after all you wouldn't want fine dust entering and ruining your engine) so are perfect for the job, that is until the dome filters came along removing the need for the external filter, just an exhaust diffuser cap... :)

The FilterFresh filters though as mentioned are not as effective as the dome or the buttplug, but as the former is easier to come by, then I'd recommend the dome filter and a plain and simple exhaust diffuser... :)

Post# 168942 , Reply# 10   2/9/2012 at 06:14 (2,974 days old) by danemodsandy ()        
Dave's Right -

The Filter-Fresh afterfilter is really, truly UGLY - a horrible excrescence that detracts from the beautiful looks of the Compact/TriStar design.

Comments here about the afterfilter obstructing the switch pedal and its susceptibility to damage are also correct.

One of the problems with a Filter-Fresh getting knocked off is that the filter basket (the plastic exhaust port the Filter-Fresh mounts into) can also be cracked or broken; my CXL had that problem when I got it. The filter basket is pop-riveted into place, meaning I had to drill out old rivets while being careful not to damage the gasket for the basket, and rivet in a new one, re-using the gasket. It was a lot of trouble, but I wanted the machine right.

Post# 168963 , Reply# 11   2/9/2012 at 11:28 (2,974 days old) by Sanifan ()        

Yikes! I paid $28 for my Filter Fresh outboard filter. But now I'm hesitant to use it. I think I'm careful enough to keep it fron knocking into things. I'm mostly worried about the constriction and impact on airflow and performance. Anyone have any positive experiences with this filter? It's the cream colored mushroom/knob shaped outboard filter.

Floor-o-vac, that filter you posted looks totally homemade. It's giving me an idea, actually. One could find a fiber-reinforced automotive-type rubber hose that friction fits into the exhaust port of the Tristar. On top of that, one could fashion some sort of cage that would accept, let's say, a replaceable Eureka Hepa filter.... oh, wait, that's what they've made, there. It just gives me a light bulb moment that I could probably fashion my own outboard Hepa filter with some thought and tinkering.

My GF has a lot of allergies, so good filtration is a must in my situation. At this point I'll just try the pre-motor dome Hepa filter and see how it goes.

Post# 168969 , Reply# 12   2/9/2012 at 12:10 (2,974 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

Talking about home-made filters, I remember seeing a home-made filter on someone's rather barstewardised Compact (sprayed silver too, badly!!) on ebay, they used an older-style Kirby elbow tool, sprayed silver, glued it into the exhaust, and glued an automotive cone-shaped filter onto it, and as the Kirby elbow was free to rotate, the thing was bound to catch on something and break immediately... :S

I'm not sure you'd be able to friction-fit a filter onto the tristar's exhaust, the volume of air it blows out is immense, enough that you could stand behind it and dry your hair without kneeling down (yeah, I've dine that!!), so any friction-fitting device would most likely be blasted into the next room via the wall... :S

As I've said about the FilterFresh though, if you remove I think the sponge part, it'll work better and allow the vac to breathe more, but like I say, I prefer to use the dome filter and exhaust diffuser... :)

I really should get pictures of the two... :P

Post# 168972 , Reply# 13   2/9/2012 at 12:41 (2,974 days old) by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

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we keep talking tri stars and I may have to get one! 59 in the closet, more memories, had an 81, loose feeling power head put me off then. maybe different now

Post# 169053 , Reply# 14   2/9/2012 at 23:36 (2,973 days old) by kirbylux77 (Orillia, Ontario, Canada)        
Patriot Medik-Aire HEPA filter....

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Khoi, I would not use the Filter Fresh filter on a TriStar. I have one, but never use it....It DOES restrict airflow signifigantly, plus I also found that the pleated filter clogged quickly with fine dust, too. And Sandy makes an excellent point of how easily the filter basket can be damaged if the Filter Fresh gets knocked off while in use.

I have the VacFX Dome HEPA filter, & I use it with my Miracle Mate, as there is no way of using an external filter with either Miracle Mate or Vortech Force. They are a good quality filter & seems to do it's job well, but the only thing I don't like about it is you don't get much filtering material- after all, there's only so much they can stuff inside the dome. And the dome filters also have to be replaced every 6 months. Also, there is no way to filter carbon dust. So, as much as they are good, I would only use it on a vacuum that there is no way to use an external filter.

There is another option here that I'm sure never entered the minds of my fellow posters here. One of the TriStar copies, the Patriot vacuum, has the Medik-Aire HEPA filter. It was basically Patriot's take on the "buttplug" filter. It does look massive- it literally looks like they put a balloon on the back of the vacuum- but it does an excellent job of filtering! I would dare anyone on here to find a better HEPA filter than it on ANY're not gonna find a better one. The filter comes mounted onto a metal tube, & it twists into place same as if you were to use the TriStar as a blower with the hose attached. The filter fits very tightly- it does not come off easily while in use. Patriot claims this filter will last for 3 years before it needs changing, but I feel that's being conservative....I think it should last at least 5 years before it needs changing, if you were to wash the cloth filter bag & foam filter inside the dome every 6 months. The only drawback is the filter is VERY expensive....they ask $200 dollars for it brand new, whether purchased direct or thru a distributor. But to me, it's worth it, especially when you consider what some other HEPA filters from other manufacturers, such as Miele, sell for. You would find that over the course of 5 years you would easily spend over $200 dollars replacing HEPA filters in some other vacuums.

If you are worried about the filter basket on the TriStar becoming damaged, the filter basket from the Patriot can be used on the TriStar. They are identical, with the difference being the Patriot's filter basket has a metal pin, not plastic.

Another option would be to use the Vortech Force MicroFilter. This is essentially the same thing as the dome HEPA filter, except larger. But, again, you would have no way of filtering carbon dust from the motor.

The link below is to Patriot's website, showing the Medik-Aire HEPA filter.



Post# 169057 , Reply# 15   2/10/2012 at 00:35 (2,973 days old) by Sanifan ()        

Thanks for the suggestion, Rob. I did, in fact, just find out about the Medik-Aire filter today as I was looking around on the web for information. It looks serious! And like a seriously good hepa filter. Like you say, the price is a head turner. When something costs that much upfront, it takes some convincing of the self before you are comfortable making the purchase. From the look of it, it may be the one to get. I'm sure I'm going to purchase one sooner or later. I just have to get comfortable with the idea of spending that much in one felled swoop, even if it works out to a reasonable cost over time. I wish I hadn't purchased the Filter Fresh. That's $28 that could have gone towards a better filter.

How much of a concern is the carbon dust from the motor, btw? I've never heard it mentioned before. As most motors are of a similar design, I'm assuming it's an issue not unique to Tristar. Are there any serious health implications?


Post# 169058 , Reply# 16   2/10/2012 at 00:51 (2,973 days old) by Sanifan ()        
Another Medik-Aire link...

Here is another link to the Medik-Aire, but this one is on the same site that Erik provided for the homemade-looking filter. Curious that the home website for it is Is this website officially tied to the Patriot company? If so, could the homemade-looking filter be any good? Even at $45 it's a lot less expensive than the Medik-Aire. And actually not that much more than the Filter Fresh, which folks so far dislike. The question is, is the filter actually any good?

It's curious that the two Medik-Aire filters look different on the two sites. One has a foam filter around the circumference, of course, but they still look slightly different.


Post# 169105 , Reply# 17   2/10/2012 at 14:30 (2,973 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

There's a fun fact about filters:

Every filter has to be replaced or cleaned when it's pores become blocked, be it a $7.95 filter or a $200 filter... :P

With the VacFX one, you can wash it, just a half-cap of straight bleach and some washing liquid in warm water, drop the filter in, slop it about for a bit, soak the filter in there for about 20 minutes, then slop it about some more and then rinse under cold water, and allow to dry thoroughly before refitting... :)

I did just that with the filter from that vax foldaway I had, cleaned it up nicely and allowed it to breathe, the vac was still a POS but it was good to have something to practice on... :P

Post# 169135 , Reply# 18   2/10/2012 at 18:50 (2,972 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

When you refer to the filter basket, are we talking about the same part?

Below is a detail from the parts diagram for the CXL/DXL/EX-20 machines. On the diagram, the filter basket is part No. 34. This piece is molded black plastic; it fits into the exhaust port, which has a flange drilled to accept two pop rivets that hold the filter basket in place. The filter basket also has rivet holes. The filter basket has twist-lock tabs on it to allow an afterfilter (standard or Filter-Fresh) to be locked into place. Those tabs are what break if you let your Filter-Fresh hit something with any force.

There is no pin involved in this part of the TriStar, metal or otherwise, so I'm just curious to know if you're referring to the same part I was talking about.

Post# 169142 , Reply# 19   2/10/2012 at 19:30 (2,972 days old) by twocvbloke ()        
"There is no pin involved in this part of the TriStar, m

Take another look, there should be a plastic pin within the basket to lock either the buttplug filter or the hose end in place, if it's not there, your basket is broken...

Post# 169147 , Reply# 20   2/10/2012 at 20:00 (2,972 days old) by kirbylux77 (Orillia, Ontario, Canada)        
Patriot Filter Basket....

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Sandy, when I mention the Filter Basket, Part #34 is EXACTLY the part I am referring to. If you take a look at the Filter Basket on your TriStar, on the inside there is a plastic "pin" or "nub" that catches onto the slot on your hose connector when you insert the hose for blowing. That "pin" or "nub" on the Patriot's filter basket is METAL, not plastic; it's a metal pin that's been riveted in place on the inside of the filter basket, same as the pin that's on the inside of the bag cover of the TriStar or Patriot. The Patriot's filter basket is otherwise IDENTICAL IN APPEARANCE to the TriStar filter basket; it has the same tabs the Filter Fresh filter attaches onto that can be broken, & the company does supply a cap, same as TriStar's that is attached when the Medik-Aire HEPA filter is not in use. The Filter Basket is riveted in place on the vacuum, same as a TriStar would be.

As a matter of fact, I have seen an Ebay shop that sells Patriot vacuums & they include the Filter Fresh filter from the TriStar, not the Medik-Aire HEPA filter.


Post# 169148 , Reply# 21   2/10/2012 at 20:01 (2,972 days old) by danemodsandy ()        
Oh, That.

Okay, now I understand what you're talking about.

But does this mean that the Patriot's filter basket is all metal? That little pin was not broken on the original filter basket of my CXL - the locking tabs and flange took the hit.

Post# 169150 , Reply# 22   2/10/2012 at 20:11 (2,972 days old) by kirbylux77 (Orillia, Ontario, Canada)        

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Sandy, the Patriot's filter basket is black plastic, same as the TriStar. Like I said, the two are IDENTICAL, with the exception of the metal pin on the Patriot's filter basket.


Post# 169153 , Reply# 23   2/10/2012 at 20:18 (2,972 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

Thanks for the info. That means using the Patriot basket instead of the TriStar one would not have prevented the damage that was on my particular machine.

Post# 169154 , Reply# 24   2/10/2012 at 20:21 (2,972 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

All the more reason to use a dome filter and an exhaust diffuser... :D

Post# 169155 , Reply# 25   2/10/2012 at 20:29 (2,972 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

That's what I do. The filter basket was broken by the previous owner. You'd never catch me with a Filter-Fresh fitted; I personally dislike the looks of the things so much I am very glad the standard afterfilter is available. The Filter-Fresh is ug AND lee.

Post# 169158 , Reply# 26   2/10/2012 at 20:51 (2,972 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

I think the Buttplug filter looks pretty cool, kind of like hotrods of old where they had the air filters sticking out of the bonnets, just doing the job in reverse, but like the hotrods, the exposed filter is more of a hindrance than a help, especially in the average british home where there's just so much useless loose furniture crammed into small terraced houses that were built in the mid 1800's for miners or millworkers, so plenty for my poor tristar to get caught on, and that's without the buttplug attached!!! :S

Post# 169160 , Reply# 27   2/10/2012 at 21:18 (2,972 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

Britons have no monopoly on small houses. My own, built in 1950, is all of 480 square feet, though there is a basement of equal size. It was an intentional downsizing; my former house was nearly ten times the size of the present one, and I was heartily sick of caring for it. My front lawn is thirty feet by thirty - a far cry from the old house's half-acre.

Do I have room for everything I used to have, or might like to have? No. But I have much less work, and more free time than before. To say nothing of extremely reasonable bills for gas and electricity.

Post# 169208 , Reply# 28   2/11/2012 at 11:34 (2,972 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

My first house was a lot smaller than that, it was an old back-to-back cottage type thing, the living room & kitchen were one room, and upstairs was even smaller being poorly split up into a bathroom & bedroom and a rather over-sized landing & stairwell, it was to small even for me, and had no heating system... :S

May as well have lived in a shed for what it was worth... :\

Post# 169214 , Reply# 29   2/11/2012 at 13:03 (2,972 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

....It's small by American standards, even in its day. The average size of an American house in 1950 was 850 square feet, making my house a bit over half the normal size for its time. Today the average size of a new American house is around 2700 square feet.

Durham County is fairly close to Yorkshire, isn't it? The Pennines make for beautiful country in that part of England. Whenever I watch "Last of the Summer Wine," I sigh at the scenery.

Post# 169215 , Reply# 30   2/11/2012 at 13:08 (2,972 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

"Durham County"

I meant County Durham, of course!

Post# 169217 , Reply# 31   2/11/2012 at 13:23 (2,972 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

"Durham County"

I meant County Durham, of course!

Post# 169227 , Reply# 32   2/11/2012 at 15:25 (2,971 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

Yeah, north of Yorkshire, no canals up here though, that's one thing I miss from living in Lancashire... :\

We're pretty much at the top of Co. Durham, bordering with Tyne & Wear, but not so far north that anyone can get away with calling us Geordies cos you have to live north of the Tyne to be called that... :P

The thing about the pennines is yes, they're nice when it's sunny, but most of the time, it's not, it's rain, fog, snow, ice, all that cold & wet stuff... :P

Post# 169231 , Reply# 33   2/11/2012 at 16:31 (2,971 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

You see, that's the thing I like best about Britain - that blessedly cool, rainy, foggy climate.

I grew up in a place where that sort of thing didn't happen half often enough; it's sort of the reverse of rich Brits loving Mustique for the sun they never get at home. I grew up in America's hot, sunny South, and recently moved eleven hundred miles north to Iowa because I could not take ONE MORE DAY of Georgia's weather. I have snow four months a year now and love it.

Post# 169323 , Reply# 34   2/12/2012 at 10:39 (2,971 days old) by danemodsandy ()        
Just Occurred to Me....

....The HEPA dome filter would be essentially useless.

Why? Because it's in the wrong place in the filtration line-up.

The filtration order on a TriStar is: Incoming air and dirt hit the paper bag first, and a little dust might get through, so the cloth bag is there to catch as much of it as possible. Next comes the motor filter, which helps catch as much as possible of what gets through the paper and cloth bags. And last is the afterfilter, which helps with any remaining dust. So far, so good.

But the problem is, the motor generates a small amount of particulate dust from its brushes, and the dome filter is filtering what's going INTO the motor, not what's coming OUT. And my experience with TriStars tells me that very, very little dust from vacuuming even makes it to the dome filter in the first place. You're simply not getting any significant amount of motor protection from the HEPA dome filter, because there just isn't that much dust left by that stage in the filtration process.

So, in order to catch particulates originating from the motor, the correct place for a HEPA filter would be the vac's exhaust, not the intake side of the motor. And an exhaust filter would not only help take care of motor brush particulates, but also help with anything getting through the three stages of filtration preceding it.

Post# 169331 , Reply# 35   2/12/2012 at 12:55 (2,971 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

That's why they created the Buttplug and the FilterFresh addon filters, but the amount of carbon dust coming from the motor is so negligible that a post filter really isn't required outside of a hospital environment, and just serves as a catalyst to cause problems like asthma which often develop from lack of exposure to fine particulates, so a little bad stuff does the world of good for the human immune system to build it up... :)

Post# 169333 , Reply# 36   2/12/2012 at 13:11 (2,971 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

Amen to that. On this side of the pond, our schools are seeing more and more kids with asthma and other immune system problems, and current thinking is that it's caused by over-use of antibacterials and HEPA filtration. The poor little sods are venturing out into a dirty world with immune systems that have never been primed to do their jobs, it seems.

I personally think that reasonably dust-free and soap-and-water clean are enough for healthy people, and that yesteryear's children were better off playing in the yard and getting dirty than today's hospital-clean darlings.

One good sign - manufacturers of dish soap (washing-up liquid to you) are taking antibacterials out of their products here in the States. Perhaps the hysteria over normal germs is abating. Perhaps.

Post# 169335 , Reply# 37   2/12/2012 at 13:40 (2,971 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

There's always going to be people who over-clean and over-sanitise, and so long as there are TV ads going on about chopping boards harbouring more germs than a toilet seat, then the clean freak mentality will remain...

Heck, Listerene was originally meant to be a floor cleaner, but they failed to convince people to buy it, so they ended up creating the fear of Halitosis, so they could sell their product as a mouthwash to combat this nasty trend that nobody at the time cared about... :S

Over here in the UK, I get sick of seeing the ads for automatic antibacterial soap dispensers, claiming that regular bars of soap or standard hand-pumped dispensers are coated in germs, but they forget the logic that when you put soap on our hands and wash them, then it doesn't matter what's on them, cos you're washing your hands either way, and under hot water too, hot water being a great way to kill off bacteria on it's own!!!

But anyway, it's kind of straying from the filter discussion now... :P

Post# 169338 , Reply# 38   2/12/2012 at 13:52 (2,971 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

....There are a lot of Edie Pegdens in this world, aren't there?

Post# 169356 , Reply# 39   2/12/2012 at 17:48 (2,970 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        

Will the Vac FX HEPA filter fit the EXL & MG Series TriStar vacs?

Post# 169384 , Reply# 40   2/12/2012 at 22:09 (2,970 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

They should do, they all use the same bags and pre-filters, so should fit fine, especially looking at the parts diagrams for the said models (see link)... :)

Heck I think the VacFX ones were made for those models for aftermarket parts, so, yeah... :)


Post# 169389 , Reply# 41   2/13/2012 at 00:56 (2,970 days old) by kirbylux77 (Orillia, Ontario, Canada)        

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David, the Dome Filter, or "prefilter" as you refer to it as, was slightly changed when the EXL came out. It is very similar though to the CXL/DXL/EX20 Dome Filter.

Erik, if you have the EXL or MG1 that uses the 2 stage motor, the Dome HEPA filter should fit fine. However, if you have the MG2, I doubt it will fit....starting with the MG2, they changed to the Aerus VM3 motor which is a single stage motor, & is junk! That motor is not well-made & has a VERY short lifespan, especially compared to the Ametek motors used years ago. They probably changed the size of the Dome Filter to accomodate the new motor, so the Dome HEPA filter for the old models likely won't fit.


Post# 169390 , Reply# 42   2/13/2012 at 01:04 (2,970 days old) by Sanifan ()        

Correct me if I'm wrong, but is VacFX just one brand selling the same OEM Hepa dome filter? The reason I ask is that the Hepa dome filter I bought is Dustcare brand and it appears to be exactly the same thing. Are they the same product?

Post# 169391 , Reply# 43   2/13/2012 at 01:22 (2,970 days old) by Sanifan ()        


So all new Aerus vacs have the faulty VM3 motors? I heard these were quite powerful and offered better performance than the older Electrolux tanks, but haven't heard about poor build quality or short life. Is this true of all VM3 motors? Is it a commonly known fact? I have an 80th Anniversary Ultralux tank that has the VM3 in it, so I'm keen to find out more.

Regarding the Hepa filters, I went with just the Hepa dome and left the Filter Fresh off. The CXL works great with it. My GF, who is hyper-allergic to dust, didn't have an issue during our big cleaning project.

Post# 169398 , Reply# 44   2/13/2012 at 02:49 (2,970 days old) by kirbylux77 (Orillia, Ontario, Canada)        

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I did not say that the Aerus VM3 motor was faulty. It's just my personal opinion that the motors are junk....that they are poorly-made Chinese motors, & they do have a relatively short lifespan. It's VERY COMMON in my area to see Tristar MG1's & MG2's with the VM3 motor come into the repair shop with dead motors, & they are only about 5-7 years old. The owner has told me he won't even put a new VM3 motor in those machines- he immediately orders the motor seal from the EXL & puts the Ametek motor the CXL/DXL used, or occasionally a Domel motor if he has one on hand. So that's pretty bad when even a repairman has no faith in the motors. They may (supposedly) have better performance, but if so, I haven't seen it, & that performance comes at a cost....namely much lower quality & a signifigantly reduced lifespan.

It's my understanding that all new Aerus vacuums are using the VM3 motor now across the entire line of canisters they sell. Considering I tried the Perfect canister over the holidays & they were MUCH MORE powerful than the Aerus Guardian Ultra, & the Perfect sells for about $100-$200 less depending on which shop you buy from. Even with the lack of direct-connect wands, headlight, no HEPA filter on the exhaust, & no Sidekick included (although you do get an air-driven turbo brush included), I would take the Perfect over any new Aerus canister vacuum.


Post# 169427 , Reply# 45   2/13/2012 at 12:50 (2,970 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

My Tristar has a chinese copy of an Ametek motor, and has been designed so that it has tapered fins & fan chamber which gives it that little bit more oomph that the original motor didn't have, cos apparently, when I stuck the hose on the palm of my hand and it held itself there (can be seen in my video of the Tristar, see link), the previous owner couldn't do that with it's original motor, so, some clone motors are good, can't say anything about the Aerus motors though as we haven't got them here, and trying to find a 240v Tristar to compare with is nigh on impossible here... :)

I can understand why someone would want to replace an Aerus single-stage motor with a proper 2-stage motor though, all the single-stage motors I've tinkered with have been high-wattage and low-efficiency, and often had that ear-splitting whine that seems to be the thing these days... :S


Post# 169435 , Reply# 46   2/13/2012 at 15:46 (2,969 days old) by Sanifan ()        

Yes, I understand. Not faulty, just lower quality build. I don't use my Ultralux too much, so I'm not terrribly concerned. Still, what a bummer.

The Perfect canister. Do these look like the old Electrolux tanks? I did a quick search and saw one on Amazon. It looked just like an old Electrolux tank but had a badge that said Perfect on it.

Post# 169437 , Reply# 47   2/13/2012 at 16:31 (2,969 days old) by Elux89 ()        
Aerus VM3 motor

FYI, Aerus stopped using the VM3 motor about two years ago, they are now using a JEI motor. Sure would like to know where some of you guys get your information from.

Post# 169439 , Reply# 48   2/13/2012 at 16:59 (2,969 days old) by Sanifan ()        

Thanks for the updated info. All I know is that the Ultralux used the VM3 as well as the Aerus vacuums that came afterward. I'm not enough of an Electrolux/Aerus follower to know they discontinued use of that motor. So good update.

Does the fact that they changed motors indicate dissatisfaction with the VM3? Reliability and longevity problems? I'm now curious to know if any issues ran across the whole VM3 production run or if some samples are more robust than others.

Post# 169452 , Reply# 49   2/13/2012 at 18:37 (2,969 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

The Perfect is a Chinese-made copy of the last generation of metal-bodied Electroluxes, minus the Automatic Control. It has received very mixed reviews, with some owners I respect saying it's great, and others I respect saying it's cheap junk.

I would urge you to get your hands on one and examine it carefully, vacuuming with it if at all possible, before deciding to buy one. I have never used one myself, so I don't really have an opinion here - I'm just saying that different people have had VERY different reactions to it, so you have to judge for yourself.

Post# 169727 , Reply# 50   2/15/2012 at 23:05 (2,967 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        

What's the difference between a VM3 & a JEI motor?

Post# 169744 , Reply# 51   2/16/2012 at 03:50 (2,967 days old) by piano_god (British Columbia, Canada)        

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VM3 was a single-stage motor made by Electrolux AB, but was referred to in literature as a "Vastervick" (possibly from being made in their former factory in Vastervik, Sweden???).  Not only was this motor found in Aerus machines/TriStar MG1, it was also used in some of the Electrolux and Eureka lines sold here in North America.


The following link shows a VM3 currently listed on eBay...

CLICK HERE TO GO TO piano_god's LINK on eBay

This post was last edited 02/16/2012 at 04:06
Post# 169747 , Reply# 52   2/16/2012 at 04:02 (2,967 days old) by piano_god (British Columbia, Canada)        

piano_god's profile picture

The new JEI motor is a single-stage motor manufactured by Johnson.  This motor is more powerful than the VM3, and has its commutator and carbon brushes located directly behind the fan to help promote better cooling (similar to the Miele Vortex motor).


Post# 169835 , Reply# 53   2/17/2012 at 01:13 (2,966 days old) by Sanifan ()        
Drop-in replacement?

Can the JEI drop right into, let's say, an Electrolux that originally shipped with a VM3? It's a direct replacement that will drop right in?

I get that impression from the JEI link you posted.

Comparing a Tristar MG model with a JEI motor, is the Tristar CXL still considered a superior vacuum due to better airflow? Or does the JEI motor even the playing field? The CXL uses an Amatek motor, I believe. Any idea as to how the JEI and Amatek compare?

Post# 169837 , Reply# 54   2/17/2012 at 02:31 (2,966 days old) by piano_god (British Columbia, Canada)        
Re: Drop-in replacement?

piano_god's profile picture

The motor ships with the gasket/mount, so technically it's a standard swap-out.  Disassemble, remove the old motor, connect the wiring to the new motor and reassemble the machine.


The motor used in the CXL is a two-stage Ametek Lamb motor.  116311-01 and its flow-through design, has proven itself in multiple machines from many, MANY companies.  These operate at reduced RPM compared to today's single-stage motors, thus requiring less electricity and producing less heat.  


While I do not have the specifics on the JEI motor, I would assume that it would outperform the Lamb 116311-01 due to the tapered fan that employs more blades, as well as its increased RPM.

Post# 169843 , Reply# 55   2/17/2012 at 04:20 (2,966 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

I'd go for the Ametek motor, but then I would cos I bought two of 'em (well, chinese clones at least)... :)

Post# 169865 , Reply# 56   2/17/2012 at 10:31 (2,966 days old) by Sanifan ()        
Another motor question...

Since we are talking about motors, I'll throw this question out there though it's not related to Tristars.

Does anyone know what motor the full-size Dyson canisters employ?

I ask because I have a DC23 that I've been terribly impressed with. It sucks HARD. I feel that it pulls noticeably harder than that my CXL or Electrolux Ultralux 80th Anniversary tank. It pulls much harder than the Lux, definitely. I will have to pull the Dyson and try it next to the CXL to check for sure.

I'm very curious as to which motor the Dysons use. Anyone get the same impression of the Dyson canisters?

Post# 169873 , Reply# 57   2/17/2012 at 12:58 (2,966 days old) by piano_god (British Columbia, Canada)        
Dyson motors...

piano_god's profile picture
The DC21 uses the same motor as the DC25 and current Panasonic/Kenmore canisters, which is a Panasonic single-stage motor. As for the DC23, its motor is likely sourced from Panasonic or YDK.

I own both the DC21 and the DC23. The DC23 produces more suction, but runs louder and produces A LOT of heat. The DC21 is quieter and produces slightly less suction.

Actually, it is quite surprising to see what is being used to power these machines considering their price point...

Post# 169874 , Reply# 58   2/17/2012 at 13:15 (2,966 days old) by Sanifan ()        

You mean surprising that these expensive vacs are being powered by inexpensive (I'm assuming) OEM motors?

How is the reliability of those Panasonic motors, by the way?

No, I wouldn't say the DC23 is quiet. It's not super loud, either. Still, if I'm using it for more than a minute I always put on hearing protection as I do with all but my quietest vacs. FWIW, the DC23 is noticeably louder than my Tristar CXL.

Post# 169906 , Reply# 59   2/17/2012 at 17:07 (2,965 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        

I hope a Ametek Lamb 2-stage motor can fit the MG Series TriStar?

Post# 169909 , Reply# 60   2/17/2012 at 17:45 (2,965 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

It should seeing how others have fitted them in the MG series... :)

As for Dyson motors & owners, remember that loads of suction is not as good as a proper balance between airflow & suction, get the balance wrong and you have a poorly performing vacuum... :)

Post# 169951 , Reply# 61   2/17/2012 at 23:49 (2,965 days old) by piano_god (British Columbia, Canada)        
You mean surprising that these expensive vacs are being powe

piano_god's profile picture



The current single-stage Panasonic motors, while better than some, do not last too long.  If it reached five or six years in normal use and did not succumb to a failed bearing or a short in the armature, it would be one of the fortunate ones...

Post# 228511 , Reply# 62   4/15/2013 at 16:50 (2,542 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        
TriStar EXL before/after motor upgrade

My TriStar EXL with the old motor (not sure who makes these motors?)

This post was last edited 04/15/2013 at 20:46
Post# 404249 , Reply# 63   1/18/2019 at 19:22 (438 days old) by ridgidwd0670 (se wood co ohio)        

ridgidwd0670's profile picture
Why did compact/tristar change their exhaust from 'molded-in' vertical port to a angled plastic filter basket?

Post# 404255 , Reply# 64   1/18/2019 at 21:05 (438 days old) by compactc9guy (Bathurst NB)        

compactc9guy's profile picture

Personally i use envirocare paper bag new cloth bag and dome motor filter and the diffuser filter cap.Never had an issue there is so little dust from the carbon brushes i dont have dust allergies so the filter fresh is not needed.Beside it restrics air flow alot so i dont use it period.My Compact C9 did so well in my friends renovation i did use it for picking up dry whall dust 

Nothing   i mean nothing  got past the paper bag .I was impress.

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Post# 404263 , Reply# 65   1/19/2019 at 00:55 (438 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
I'm not even going out on a limb. You can make your own.
Put item in pic 4 in blower port. Get about 1-3 inches of PVC pipe same diameter. Attach PVC to insert.
Pic 3 buy 2 of these.
Put one in the outside of filter in picture yes it is a car cold air intake knockoff. Line outside of air filter and line inside with shop vac foam filter. Use hose clamp to attach filter to PVC.
This setup is plug runs $6. PVC pipe not even $1. Foam filters $3-$5. Intake filter $5-$7.
So the setup there selling in pic 1 is identical to air filter. If you insulate it it will filter dust alot better than that. It's not going to cost you $20. Air filter clean I'd say 3 months and take out foam pieces blow off after each use.
I may have joked before but I know this would work. It's ugly as heck but it will be that $50 filter and not restrict airflow. I don't know about HEPA one this would work. I personally think any filter they sale looks like crap. I've not had a problem with mine.
Glue a felt or similar thick material to the plug insert would be just as effective if not more than any of the goofy over priced non working turds.

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Post# 404913 , Reply# 66   2/1/2019 at 15:35 (424 days old) by compactc9guy (Bathurst NB)        
to : aeoliandave

compactc9guy's profile picture
Does the dome black filter tower reduce air flow from the machine does it run hot ?
I shaw one of those on ebay im interested in buying it for my Compact C9 can you still operate the switch ?Thanks now im more confuse

This post was last edited 02/01/2019 at 20:21

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