Despite the enormous amount of vacuums out there, there are only two "types" available. Suction machines and Airflow machines. Also referred to as bypass (suction) or direct air (airflow) machines. Most everything with a hose has a Suction system in it. There are a few exceptions, but the rule holds true for the most part.
One of the most common questions people have that come into the store other than, "this vacuum really sucks, right?" (yeah, heard it a thousand times) is "how many amps does that vac have?". Well the short answer is that it really does not matter much. The only thing the rating tells you is how much you will pay for electricity when you use it. A 12 amp machine will cost you over twice as much to run as a 5 amp machine. It usually has nothing to do with cleaning ability. You can have two machines with the same rating and find a huge difference with how one cleans over the other. Wattage or amps does not equal suction. What affects cleaning on the base level is the speed of the motor and configuration of the fan. You will also have things like air-path length, hose size, bag or filter cleanliness, condition of the belt and/or brushroll, even cleaning technique. The two most important points are suction and airflow. They really do not exist without one another if you want to clean anything. But of the two airflow is the most important. Want a demonstration? If you have a vacuum with a hose attachment, upright or canister, take a penny and put it on your palm. Take the end of the hose and carefully put it flat on your hand over the penny. Hold it tight and turn on your machine or have someone turn on the machine for you. Plenty of suction, right? Run it for a few seconds and without moving the hose turn the machine off. Lift up the hose and you will find the penny still there. You had a lot of suction from the motor at the hose, but without any airflow, you can't pick anything up. Generally the more airflow, the better the cleaning ability of the vacuum cleaner. You have to move a high volume of air to pick up deep down dirt embedded in carpet.
Machines such as the Royal Metal Upright, most Sanitaire uprights, Kirby, and Oreck and a few others are examples of airflow machines. The dirt picked up by these machines goes through the fan assembly (not the actual motor), and up into the bag. The only downside that this type may have is if you pick up a bolt or piece of metal, it may break the fan if it is made of plastic or even lexan. The Royal has an metal (aluminum) fan and fan chamber. I have only seen one of these broken here at the shop among the hundreds that we see. You can see examples of both types here in our store. Come in and find out what it's all about.
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