Vacuum Terms Defined

We have assembled a collection of common vacuum cleaner terms to help educate you as a consumer. This article isn't meant as a straight read, but as a reference guide to assist you with some of common terminology associated with vacuum cleaners.

Agitation - The process of moving in a rapid manner. Carpet is usually agitated by the brushes on a vacuum cleaner.

Air Flow - The movement of air from one location to another. In a vacuum cleaner, this is referring to the movement of air through the vacuum or central system of the vacuum and is measuered in C.F.M.

Amps - The strength of an electrical current flowing through a wire or other electrical conductor is expressed as amps.

Brush Roll - The part of a vacuum cleaner that contains rows of bristles and sometimes beater bars to agitate the carpet aiding in the removal of dirt.

Brushing Action - The act of brushing a carpet's fibers, usually by a revolving brush roll.

Canister Type - The type of vacuum that houses the suction motor a filtering system in a somewhat of a square or rectangular container.

C.F.M. - Represents cubic feet per minute. Typically used to indicate the amount of air flow which will pass through a clean vacuum cleaner power unit when running by itself.

Effeciency Rating - There are two ways of rating efficiency of a vaccum. The most important way has to do with how well the vacuum cleaner filters the air from dust and allergens. The other has to do with the cleaning effectiveness relative to the amount of power used to produce it.

Fan - The fan is the disk shaped structure that creates the actual suction in a vaccum.

Filtration System - The system through which air passes to have particles removed from it.

Graduated Filtration System - A filtering system wherein each filter in the series of filters is designed to remove particles which are smaller then the previous filter.

HEPA - Abbreviation for "high efficiency particle air". Refers to vacuums that are much more effective at retaining all but the smallest particles, as opposed to normal vacuums. HEPA vaccum cleaners are frequently recommended for those suffering from allergies or asthma.

Micron Filter - This filter gets its name from its ability to trap micron size particles at a very high efficiency rate.

Motor Brushes - The motor brushes are carbon rods which are held against the commutator in order to carry the electrical current to the windings on the armature.

Peak Horse Power - An exaggerated rating of the output of a vacuum cleaner suction motor measuring the horse power using a formula which is based on torque per second.

Power Nozzle - A special attachment used to deap clean carpets.

Sealed Suction - The suction measured when there is no air flow through the suction motor.

Suction - The ability of a vacuum cleaner to pick up dirt.

Suction Motor - The motor in a vacuum cleaner which drives the fans to create the suction.

Torque - A force that produces rotation on a axis. In an electric motor, this is the force from the interaction of the magnetic fields produced by the flow of current through the armature and field coils.

Upright Type - A type of vacuum cleaner which is self-contained and has a handle extending vertically from its main case.

Voltage - Electric potential or potential difference, expressed in volts. It is the push and pull of the potential difference between two points which causes electrical current to flow through a wire or device which is connected across them.