What Is A Vacuum Cleaner?

A vacuum cleaner is a household appliance that is generally used to pick up dirt and dust from carpet or flooring. There are many different types of vacuum cleaners, and what you choose will depend on what kind of surfaces you need to clean. We'll go over what vacuums do and how they work below!

How Does A Vacuum Cleaner Work?

It may look like a complicated machine, but the conventional vacuum cleaner is actually made up of only six essential components:

  • An intake port, which may include a variety of cleaning accessories
  • An exhaust port
  • An electric motor
  • A fan
  • A porous bag
  • A housing that contains all the other components

When you plug the vacuum cleaner in and turn it on, this is what happens:

The electric motor rotates the fan which pulls air through the intake port.

Once drawn into the vacuum, this air is pushed past what's called an impeller blade (the spinning blade you can see in many vacuums).

The blades create a cyclonic action that causes tiny particles to separate from larger ones by weight and size. This causes what is called a "cyclonic separation" and what you're left with is the larger debris that will clog your vacuum's exhaust port if it's not removed.

The air then travels through the porous bag which traps what has just been separated out in its tiny pores, and this airflow continues to be cyclonically drawn into itself until all of the  air has been exhausted back into the room.

Vacuum cleaners are able to filter what is left through a fine cloth bag or filter. This helps trap any microscopic particles that can cause allergies and respiratory problems like asthma, but it cannot eliminate them entirely because most vacuum filters don't fit tightly enough around what's called the "HEPA (high efficiency particulate filter)" standard.

This is what gives the vacuum cleaner its name – it creates a low-pressure area (or "vacuum") that helps sucks up dirt, dust and other debris from surfaces like carpets, floors and furniture.

When you turn on the vacuum cleaner, the electric motor starts to spin. This in turn spins the fan, which creates a powerful suction force.

The dirt and dust is drawn into the vacuum cleaner through the intake port, and it is held there by the porous bag. Once the bag is full, you simply remove it and replace it. Doing so allows the vacuum to have space inside to keep the messes that it sucks up when in use.

What Are The Parts Of A Vacuum Cleaner?

A vacuum cleaner is a device that is built with several different components. If you're curious about what all the different parts of a vacuum cleaner are and what they do, take a look at this list.

- Base: This is the part that a vacuum cleaner stands on. It includes a motor and a power cord, as well as wheels so that you can move it around easily when you're using the machine to clean your floors or other surfaces.

- Tube: This is what sucks up dirt from one end of the tube through suction created by the vent in your vacuum's base into the other end of the tube.

- Receptacle: This is what you put what's sucked up into as it comes through the vacuum cleaner and into your home or office space. It can be a dustbin, an airtight bag for larger particles like dirt and so forth.

- Hose: This lets you use tools to suck up debris like pet hair from furniture or dirt from under your car.

- Nozzle: This is the end of the tube that you put against what needs to be cleaned in order to suck up the dirt, dust and other particles.

- Brush: There are a variety of brushes that come with different vacuum cleaners for cleaning different surfaces like carpets or hard floors.

- Cord wrap: This is what keeps your vacuum cleaner's cord tidy and out of the way while you're cleaning.

There are several other accessories for vacuum cleaners, including hoses and attachments with brushes on them so that you can clean upholstery or edges along walls with ease.

Vacuum Cleaner Variables

In the previous section, you learned that vacuum cleaners pick up dirt by driving a stream of air through an air filter (the bag). The power of the vacuum cleaner's suction depends on a number of factors:

Different vacuum cleaners have different suction strengths, and the amount of power that they use to operate can also affect how much suction you get.

The size of what's being sucked up is another factor in how well it will be cleaned up by your machine; smaller particles like dust or powder are easier for a vacuum cleaner to pick up than larger particles like peanuts, so you may need to empty your vacuum more frequently if what you're picking up is large.

The type of design used for the machine also affects how powerful its suction will be. You can look at a typical upright or cylinder model and compare it with an animal-shaped device that has rotating brushes and swiveling heads on either side.

An upright vacuum will typically use more power than an animal-shaped model, but it may not clean as deeply into carpets.

Read More: How To Remove Slime From Carpets

The method used to control what's sucked up by your vacuum is another factor in how powerful its suction will be. Some models allow you to adjust the level of suction via a dial or sliding bar.

This can be helpful if you're cleaning delicate surfaces like curtains or if the vacuum cleaner is having trouble sucking up something because it's too large.

The age and wear of your vacuum cleaner's parts will also affect how powerful its suction is.

Over time, filters may get clogged, tubes may become blocked and other components may deteriorate as they're used more and more. If any of these parts aren't cleaned or replaced regularly, the vacuum cleaner's suction will be weaker.

What Is A Shop Vac And How Does It Work?

A shop vac is a vacuum cleaner that is specifically designed for industrial or commercial use. It has a much higher powered motor than most residential models and it can be used to suck up large debris, such as water or sawdust, from a variety of surfaces.

Shop vacs usually have longer tubes and nozzles so that they can reach into tight spaces and clean hard to reach areas.

They also have large receptacles so that they can hold what's sucked up, and many models come with wheels or even small motors to help you move them around easily.

A shop vac is a useful tool for cleaning workshops where heavy duty equipment like saws and drills are used regularly, but it may not be suitable for home use because of its design.

A shop vac has a large cylindrical container that's similar to what you'll find on professional vacuum cleaners. The best thing about this type of receptacle is its size; it can hold a lot more dirt and debris than the average bag, so there won't be as many trips necessary to empty it out.

However, shop vacs have some downsides, including:

- Noise: Shop vacs are probably the loudest appliances in your home. Their engines run at an extremely high speed, which means that they're very powerful but also quite noisy to use.

- Motor size: A shop vac's engine is usually larger than what you would find on a residential vacuum cleaner because it has more power and needs more energy to run.

This is what gives it its suction strength, but it also means that the motor will burn out after a few years unless you use your vacuum cleaner regularly.

- Weight: Shop vacs are heavy due to their size and large engines. This can make them difficult to maneuver around tight spaces or when cleaning stairs. They may not be great for home use for this reason.

- Price: Shop vacs are usually more expensive than residential vacuum cleaners, but the prices do vary depending on the brand and model.

A shop vac is a powerful vacuum cleaner that's designed for industrial or commercial use. It has a much higher powered motor than most residential models and can be used to suck up large debris on a variety of surfaces.

What Is A Robot Vacuum And How Does It Work?

A robot vacuum is a type of vacuum cleaner that you can program to clean your floors for you.

a robot vacuum on the carpet

It uses sensors to navigate around furniture and other obstacles in your home, and it has a tank or bin that collects the dirt and debris that it picks up as it goes.

Robot vacuums typically have one or more brushes on them to help loosen dirt and debris from floors before being sucked up.

They usually have a docking station where the robot vacuum will go to recharge its batteries and wait for you to program it again so that it can continue what it's doing.

Read more: Are Robot Vacuums Worth Buying?

How Do Roombas Work?

Roombas work by using a combination of sensors and mapping technology to create a map of what's in your room.

This map is then used by the Roomba to plan its course around the room as it cleans.

The Roomba also uses sensors to detect obstacles in its path and will adjust its course accordingly.

Roombas are able to clean your floors on their own because they use what's called "random-access cleaning."

This means that the Roomba will start at one spot of your floor, but it won't return to this same place after it moves onto another area.

a robotic vacuum cleaner cleaning hard floors

Instead, it follows a pattern of overlap and then randomness as it moves around your home.

The Roomba will also adjust its path depending on what it's picked up. If the robot vacuum senses that there are objects in its way, it may simply move around them or try to suck them into a dustbin.

It can even avoid areas where it has already cleaned if you don't want these spots getting dirty again. In short, Roombas are able to clean your floors by using a combination of sensors, mapping technology and "random-access cleaning."

This allows the robot vacuum to navigate around obstacles and plan its course as it cleans. Roombas are also able to adjust their paths depending on what they've picked up, so you don't have to worry about them running over the same mess.

What Is A Central Vacuum System And How Does It Work?

A central vacuum is a type of vacuum cleaner that's designed to be installed in your home's ductwork.

This means that the vacuum cleaner is hidden away in a closet or another out-of-the-way spot and all of the tubing and hoses run from there to each room in your house.

Central vacuums have a motorized unit that's connected to the tubing and hoses. This unit sits in your home's attic or basement and is what powers the vacuum cleaner.

When you want to clean a room, you simply turn on the central vacuum motor and attach one of the hoses to the port in that room. The suction from the motor will then power the vacuum cleaner and clean the room for you.

Central vacuums are a great option if you have a lot of pets or allergies, as they help to keep dust and other allergens out of the air.

They're also a good choice if you have a lot of hardwood floors, as some regular vacuum cleaners can damage them by scratching them.

Vacuum Cleaner Filters

One of the most important components of any type of vacuum is its filter. There are three types of filters:

The first type of filter is what you'll find on most upright or cylinder models. It works by trapping larger dirt particles in a net-like bag inside the vacuum cleaner's body.

Another kind of filter is what you might see if you take apart an animal-shaped model, such as one that has rotating brushes and swiveling heads. This type of filter is usually a foam or fabric pad that's designed to catch smaller dirt particles.

The third type of filter is what you'll find on robot vacuums. It's typically a plastic screen that traps larger debris while the vacuum is in operation.


In conclusion, a vacuum cleaner is a machine that's designed to pick up dirt and debris from the floor of your home.

Vacuum cleaners work by using suction power to pull in larger pieces of dust, pet hair and other objects through an intake port where they're trapped inside what's known as "the bag."

These bags can be disposable or reusable. Some vacuum cleaners also have filters that help to keep dust and other allergens from entering the air. Robot vacuums typically have a plastic screen filter that traps larger pieces of debris while the vacuum is in operation.

Finally, central vacuums are a type of vacuum cleaner that's designed to be installed in your home's ductwork.

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