Thread Number: 18722
What innovations have made Vacuum Cleaners clean better and what are the best examples of these?
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Post# 205953   11/5/2012 at 23:44 (2,710 days old) by mieles7 (DFW, TX)        

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Vacuums have obviously changed a lot over the years, and many different designs have come about. Does tandem air actually help? Is "no loss of suction" evident in a vacuum's cleaning ability? I'm curious about what Vacuumland thinks, as I only have experience with a small variety of vacuum designs.

Post# 205956 , Reply# 1   11/6/2012 at 00:42 (2,710 days old) by madabouthoovers ()        

Gotta say it would be the techdrive on the Kirby generation models, makes such light work of pushing a very heavy and bulky vacuum around.
Also, the Sebo X4's computer control system which automatically adjusts the height of the brushroll to the floor, and also shuts off the motor if the bag is full or the brush gets jammed - even alerts you to a worn out brushroll. A very intelligent cleaner!

Post# 205961 , Reply# 2   11/6/2012 at 03:25 (2,710 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Filtrete type bags!

Post# 205962 , Reply# 3   11/6/2012 at 03:48 (2,710 days old) by vintagerepairer (England)        

I think it does not matter what the vacuum cleaner has, the person using it has got to know how to clean for it to be of any use.

Post# 205968 , Reply# 4   11/6/2012 at 06:52 (2,710 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

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I'd have to say that Eureka's top fill F&G dust bags for uprights really helped increase air flow and performance. Not sure if Eureka was the first to do this, but I think the design greatly improved cleaning performance for uprights.

I alsi think that Panasonic's belt-less brush roll with its own internal motor is a wonderful invention! It seems to perform very well and offers users an easy way to electronically shut off the agitator for bare floor cleaning. It also offers a way to easily slow down the agitator for gentle cleaning of delicate rugs. And this is all achieved without any belts or clutches!

Post# 205973 , Reply# 5   11/6/2012 at 07:33 (2,710 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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Handy question! Having had my new Panasonic MC-UG522 upright for nearly a month now, I'd say the brush roll is definitely an improvement to other big box brands I've used. I now have a new cat to care for and the brush roll on the Panasonic with its well spaced out bristles and wooden brush roll seems to just whisk all manner of hair away without it getting wrapped around the brush roll. Of course it may also have to do with the fact that the Panasonic has a direct round suction channel after the brush roll where it measures the same diameter as the hose that feeds into it. Pity the same couldn't have been said about the smaller Vax Mach Air brush roll.

Thus, Other things that make vacuums clean better:

1) Brush roll removal - Sebo's ET1, ETH and uprights with their button release to take out the entire brush roll for cleaning.

2) The Vax Mach Air - two clips to take off just the floor head cover to clean the brush roll.

3) A bigger or large dust channel that takes away the dust the brush roll picks up, with again, user areas to get any trapped dirt out (Trapdoor, cue SEBO!).

4) Edge cleaning ability on both sides. Until the Powerplus Ranger and Junior U1104 came along,, I didn't find that many previous Hoover uprights to clean edges very well. I know the Hoover Deluxe Compact claimed to do so, but mine doesn't seem to be able to do it properly unless from the front and not the sides. Most Panasonic uprights I have used however have excellent side brushes built into the brush roll, not the ones you have to constantly buy and replace with the Oreck XL experience.

Post# 205983 , Reply# 6   11/6/2012 at 10:19 (2,710 days old) by Kirbysthebest (Wichita, KS)        

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In my opinion, the single change that made vacuum cleaners more effective was the revolving brush. Be in by many names, the agitation provided by the brush roll greatly improves the vacuum's cleaning effectiveness.

There are a lot of other evolutions that have improved vacuum cleaners overall with dust retention, ease of handling, reduced weight. But for cleaning ability, I feel it's the brush roll.

Post# 205991 , Reply# 7   11/6/2012 at 12:13 (2,710 days old) by sanifan ()        

The electric motor has to be the biggest innovation in vacuum cleaners. It's really hard to vacuum while you're stoking the steam engine with coal.

The second biggest innovation that made vacuum cleaners work better, in my book, has to be the invention of carpet. Before that the brushroll would really scratch up the floor. ;)

Post# 205994 , Reply# 8   11/6/2012 at 13:54 (2,709 days old) by Trebor ()        
Clean better...

can mean absolute most removal of dirt/debris, or it can mean most removed for time/energy spent. The original Hoover Junior is hard to beat for most dirt removed for least effort expended and least energy consumed

Post# 206039 , Reply# 9   11/6/2012 at 21:04 (2,709 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

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I forgot to add the following innovation: the sideways-oriented motor in uprights. Up until this innovation was introduced in the sleek Singer upright of the 1950's, all upright motors either faced "fan down" or "fan to the front.". By orienting the fan to the side, Singer offered an upright that could provide two fans and two suction channels. It also resulted in a much sleeker profile. This configuration formed the basis for the "bag first" Hoover Dial a Matic, which eventually inspired most other vac-makers to orient the motor in the same way for their uprights (except Kirby and Royal). This design is seen in Elites, Bravos, Panasonics, Dysons, WindTunnels, Sanyos, Sharps, Riccars, etc.

Indeed a real turning point in upright vac design was created by that first Singer upright!

Post# 206041 , Reply# 10   11/6/2012 at 21:23 (2,709 days old) by mieles7 (DFW, TX)        

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To me it seems that there are 3 main styles of direct fan vacuum.

Kirby/ Royal Style
Elite/ Oreck Style
Convertible/ Sanitaire Style

Which one is the most efficient? Also, is it better to have a powerful motor and normal brushroll bristles or stiff bristles and a normal motor?

Post# 206044 , Reply# 11   11/6/2012 at 22:10 (2,709 days old) by DysonKing474 ()        

ITS OBVIOUSLY THE BALL, becuase its veryt efficient easy to use, and lots of people use it, but i have to say that the lighter more compact designs on some of the vacuums that come out now arent nearly as good as the older more durable RELIABLE vacuum construction, however in a matter of ease, i have to say dyson has REVOLUTIONIZED vacuums

Post# 206045 , Reply# 12   11/6/2012 at 22:26 (2,709 days old) by vacu-finder ()        
......have made Vacuum Cleaners clean better.........

Correct me if I'm wrong. But my 2 cents on this subject is this;

1)Vacuums over the years have really not become that much more powerfull.
And how much power do you need, Old Kirbys, Luxes, Hoovers and you name it were just fine.
2)THe only major and most Prolific advancement would be the introduction of the Hepa Filter (Hence that does not make it clean better though, just pointing it out)
3)Having the suction tube on Uprites in the center of the brush roll......but then again this would only be pertaining to uprites. Cannister Vacs have always had the swivel neck centered.
4) Central vacs using the Sebo P/N or Oreck P/N, very efficient, durable and reliable.

So having said that it's hard to beat a modern "Miele Vacuum" for cannister or a "Ricaar" uprite..
I know......I know.....I know.....some will argue this but..:)

Post# 206052 , Reply# 13   11/6/2012 at 23:04 (2,709 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        

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changed so much.....creating the "triple action".. Beats as It Sweeps as it Cleans.

Post# 206054 , Reply# 14   11/6/2012 at 23:14 (2,709 days old) by vacu-finder ()        

True the beater bar did that. "ok"
Seriously in the last 20 years.....what significant change has really made an impact on cleaning performance.

"OH" "OH" just saw a commercial where a women was sitting on this acrylic cylindric chambler been lifted up from the suction power of a Vacuum"

Post# 206060 , Reply# 15   11/7/2012 at 01:08 (2,709 days old) by kirbylux77 (Orillia, Ontario, Canada)        
No Loss of Suction....

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That's what I personally feel is the best recent invention. The fact that there's a vacuum with no bag or filter to clog, no expense in filters or bags, is great because the main problem with most conventional vacuums has been they lose power quickly. Thus, having to change & clean bags & filters often, & not getting the carpet as clean as it could be. And I think the fact that Dyson's invention has been copied so widely proves this.


Post# 206062 , Reply# 16   11/7/2012 at 02:02 (2,709 days old) by Blackheart (North Dakota)        

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There have been quite a few changes which have increased the performance of vacuums over time. I do feel some of the more recent ones are actually set backs in terms of overall performance though, I do agree with some of the posts already made such as:

The hepa cloth bags have been a huge leap forward maintaining much more airflow as the bag fills.
The beater bar or brush stiffeners which allows for better agitation.
Brushroll design even if a roller lacks a beater or stiffener a good design can still reach pretty deep.
Let's not forget crushproof hoses, while they may not seem quite as flexible, the smoother interior allows for better airflow (tested on an entry level beam central vac with the baird guage 0 with my wire enforced Broan hose 5.5 with a Hanmi crushproof hose)

Hmm i feel i'm forgetting something

Post# 206067 , Reply# 17   11/7/2012 at 04:38 (2,709 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        
Hmm forgotten something?

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A lighter weight to push the actual machine, perhaps? 


Maybe not so in the U.S with the established metal heavy brands like Kirby etc, but certainly from a European point of view, uprights are now lighter than classic examples from the 1970s. 


Much as I'd like to think Dyson has revolutionized vacuums with the BALL, I don't feel the Ball brings anything new. It might look obvious and original, but the swivel action on uprights has been around for years if you take into consideration stick vacuums with electric power nozzle heads. Dyson eventually tapped into that niche already with the cordless hand held. Same kind of design, same kind of swivel when it comes to use. The BALL may well prolong suction and improve cleaning quality per use, but the actual function has been seen before, not just from brands like Sebo, but also before Sebo - the Miele stick vacuums are probably one of the best compact "uprights" on the market. It's easy to say they're not a proper upright, but their design infers an upright design in general. 

Post# 206072 , Reply# 18   11/7/2012 at 07:19 (2,709 days old) by thevacuumman (Borger, TX)        

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I think as far as bagless vacuums go that the dual cyclone that the Fantoms used were good

Post# 206081 , Reply# 19   11/7/2012 at 08:54 (2,709 days old) by kirbykid (Horseheads,New York 14845)        

i dont think it is possible for any vacuum to loose suction. i do know that after vacuuming a litle, the vacuum looses airflow. and there isnt a vacuum in the world that doesnt loose airflow. i cant think of anything that i can compare this to but they have made it as if the the most important part of a vacuum is the suction when it is actually the airflow. it is the suction that maintains the airflow though.

Post# 206153 , Reply# 20   11/8/2012 at 01:59 (2,708 days old) by Durango159 (State College, PA)        
Vacu-Finder--which Oreck Power nozzle for Central Vacs?

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You mention that the Oreck power nozzles for central vacs are great. Are you perhaps referencing the Allegro Smart power nozzle that has styling on the hood resembling a hybrid mixture of Hoover Windtunnel and Quadraflex power nozzles? See link.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO Durango159's LINK on eBay

Post# 206155 , Reply# 21   11/8/2012 at 02:10 (2,708 days old) by appliance_att (London, England)        
Filtration is key

I think the improvement in filtration is a key area of improvement. No matter how powerful a vacuum cleaner is, with poor filtration you get a poor cleaning result as all the expelled dust settles again.

One of my earliest vacuum memories is of my mother's Hoover Junior from the early 80s which worked OK (the edge cleaning was particularly impressive) but the top of the motor housing was always covered in fine dust that leaked from the bag.

When that died it was replaced with a Miele S280i which was from the first set of Mieles to have the Air Clean filter which was a big improvement. It always used to gross me out that the filter was white when it went in and after five bag changes was nearly totally black.

Post# 206209 , Reply# 22   11/8/2012 at 18:02 (2,707 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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I was cleaning with my Miele S6 tonight. Big spillage of coffee powder on the kitchen floor. A real waste of instant coffee which some may well disagree isn't a waste. However totally dismayed to find the AAC filter does not absorb the smell of coffee. Shame when it does so well with pet hair and tobacco though. Still, I don't mind the smell of coffee emanating from the Miele each time I clean now lol.

Post# 206214 , Reply# 23   11/8/2012 at 18:18 (2,707 days old) by pr-21 (Middletown, OH)        
I vote for....

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Kirby's toe touch control, tech drive and belt lifter. I also agree with the people that say filtration, which brings me to the Rainbow. Anyone with allergies should have a Rainbow. Wet dust does not fly. Rainbows with or without a hepa filter as long as you don't pick up non wettable particles, will greatly improve your allergies as well as less dust that settles on furniture after vacuuming.

Sincerely ,

Bud Mattingly

Post# 206279 , Reply# 24   11/9/2012 at 13:42 (2,706 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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Actually Bud, that reminds me, it may sound obvious but one of the things that used to set m Aunt off with her allergies was the use of furniture spray. They can be quite toxic smelling those sprays. Pledge is the worst (J&J company) - she can't stand the stuff when I use it. I wet damp cloth shelves - best way of getting the dust off if I can't be bothered to vacuum.

Post# 206280 , Reply# 25   11/9/2012 at 14:45 (2,706 days old) by sanifan ()        


Yeah, that coffee aroma is not so bad. I had a similar thing happen, however, with some material that had a strong dog smell to it. I was dismayed that the smell seemed pass right through the new HEPA filter that I had on the vacuum.

It made me wonder how small odor particles are that they can get through a HEPA filter so easily. Of course, it may just point out that HEPA filters do not really filter as advertised, or that the airflow in the vacuum was leaky.

It was a Eureka Mity Mite, which has a super simple airpath, so I doubt the smell was bypassing the sealed HEPA gasket in the back. Makes me think either the HEPA filter was not doing its job, or that odor particles are small enough to get through.

I was disappointed to say the least. I really hate that wet dog smell.

Post# 206290 , Reply# 26   11/9/2012 at 15:59 (2,706 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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Good point. Not all HEPA filters are thus the same.

It reminds me of my old Hoover Telios cylinder vac. It used to have the option of a HEPA cartridge that slid in behind the dust bag to where the motor was located, not on top of the exhaust filter at the top of the vacuum. Did the job well but it also cut off the suction pretty drastically, and though it did this, the amount of pet hair odour in the bag seemed to be contained in the bag and no where else. The problem was the lack of power with the HEPA filter slid in place compared to the thinner tab. Hoover eventually replaced the Telios range with the Sensory where they moved the HEPA filter right on top of the exhaust filter to maintain suction and filtration and though it did a similar job, it wasn't as effective in terms of sealing bad odours in.

Hoover eventually improved the problem by designing a newly improved "Pure Filt" high filtration dust bag.

Post# 206748 , Reply# 27   11/15/2012 at 05:31 (2,701 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        

What about the Embedded Dirt Finder?

"Carpet is clean when light turns green"

Post# 206778 , Reply# 28   11/15/2012 at 17:49 (2,700 days old) by Rolls_rapide (-)        

I vote for 2-stage, clean fan motors, or as Electrolux UK used to say, "twin fan".

Twin fans, in-line on the same motor shaft increase the suction efficiency of the motor. No need for 1800 Watt motors - around about 1000 Watts is quite sufficient.

With the crazy energy prices these days, we need efficient machines now.

Post# 206792 , Reply# 29   11/15/2012 at 20:56 (2,700 days old) by vacu-finder ()        
Vacu-Finder--which Oreck Power nozzle for Central Vacs?


I'm referring to the older type P/N...They were very reliable and did a great job for the central vacs.

You mention that the Oreck power nozzles for central vacs are great. Are you perhaps referencing the Allegro Smart power nozzle that has styling on the hood resembling a hybrid mixture of Hoover Windtunnel and Quadraflex power nozzles? See link.

Post# 207476 , Reply# 30   11/22/2012 at 22:56 (2,693 days old) by KirbyUltimateG (Troy Ohio 45373 USA)        

In my opinion, Hoover really improved the Convertible in the 1970s when they introduced the Type A bag and the front conversion attachment set. Does anybody agree with me?

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