Vacuum Cleaners at Paperstone

A vacuum cleaner is a cleaning appliance that uses an air pump to create a partial vacuum that sucks up dust and dry muck from floors, upholstery and other surfaces. The dirt is collected in dust bags or in cyclones in bagless devices. In Britain, vacuum cleaners are also referred to as hoovers, a genericised trademark.

Vacuum cleaners can be upright (with handle and bag directly attached to cleaning head) or canister (vacuum head is attached by flexible hose). In addition to suction power, upright cleaners also have motorised brushes to loosen the dirt. Although upright models can be more effective, canister vacuum cleaners such as “Henry” are popular because of the manoeuvrability of the head.

Which vacuum cleaner should I buy?

  • Upright or canister? Upright models use less power as the impeller (the fan which creates the suction) is closer to the vacuum cleaning head. Uprights are easier to control as they are steered directly. The relatively mobile cleaning head of a cylinder model is far easier to use on curtains, furniture and stairs. Cylinders are therefore suited to fiddly hoovering jobs while powerful uprights make good work of large areas of carpet. Cylinders are better suited for hard, smooth floors.
  • Power. The higher the wattage (e.g. 1600W), the more powerful the suction – and this applies especially to cylinder vacuum cleaners where the dust has further to travel. Adjust power for different vacuuming jobs – for example, use a lower setting for cleaning curtains.
  • Filtration. Filters remove particles of various sizes from the airstream in a vacuum cleaner. Stage filters include the skin of the bag and a filter between the bag and the motor. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters retain tiny particles including allergens.
  • Commercial vacuum cleaners? “Commercial” refers to the grade of device and means that it is of a quality suited for use in commerce. Commercial cleaners are generally more powerful and heavy duty than household models. Because they are used in offices and other business environments, they may also have high visibility features.
  • Cable length and cleaning range. Long cables should be a feature of all vacuum cleaners but make sure your model has a range so that it can reach any area which needs to be cleaned from the nearest socket.
  • Dry and wet mess. Some models are equipped to pick up wet spills and blockages.

A very short vacuum cleaner history

Early precursors to modern day vacuum cleaners – carpet cleaners using suction devices – appeared in the second half of the nineteenth century. These included Ives W. McGaffey’s “Whirlwind”, patented in 1869. The first motorised vacuum cleaners appeared around the turn of the century. An asthma-suffering janitor called James Murray Spangler invented the first upright model in 1908. He gave one of his “Suction Sweepers” to his cousin Susan Hoover, the wife of W. H. Hoover. W.H. bought the patent from Spangler and became very rich from it.

Cyclone (bagless) cleaners became popular in the 1990s. Sold for £200 in 1993, the Dyson DC01 upright became the most popular cleaner in the UK. “Robotic” vacuum cleaners – navigating unaided around furniture – emerged in the 2000s.