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Smart shopping: Choose the right vacuum for your cleaning needs

September 19, 2010
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When it comes to daily/preventative carpet care, vacuums are a vital piece of cleaning equipment — especially when you consider that a vacuum can remove approximately 80 percent of all dry soil in the carpet and prevent it from becoming embedded.

However, in order for a vacuum to remove 80 percent of all dry soil, it has to be the right vacuum. When shopping for a vacuum, take the advice of well-informed cleaners and look for:

  • Superior cleaning performance
  • Effective filtration of dust for better indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • Comfort and ease of use for an extended period of time
  • Affordability

Today, end users have a wealth of options because manufacturers are producing vacuums that have all four attributes, but that hasn’t always been the case.

What suits your operation best?
A common fairy tale helps visualize the evolution of vacuums: Think of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. Papa Bear’s chair was too big, Mama Bear’s chair was too small, but Baby Bear’s chair was just right.

Not long ago, commercial vacuums were very large and heavy, and designed only for durability. Many were so bulky, in fact, they were difficult to use and maneuver, causing operators to fatigue easily and become less productive.

To correct these problems, some commercial facilities began using machines designed for residential use — vacuums that were small, lightweight and more user-friendly.

The problem, however, was that because they were not designed for commercial use, they simply couldn’t withstand the abuse of frequent usage, nor could they handle the volume of dirt often found in commercial settings.

Today, manufacturers are finding that just as with Baby Bear’s chair, there are vacuums that are “just right” for building service contractors and vacuum operators alike. These vacuums are small, lightweight and durable.

Vacuums suitable for commercial use will offer:

  • Superior cleaning performance, with ideal brush rotations of between 4500 and 5000 rpm.
  • Ergonomic design (look for ease-of-use and comfort)
  • The “quiet” factor — vacuums that are less noisy allow for greater flexibility in use, allowing cleaners to use them at virtually any point in their workday.

The best news of all is that while vacuums today are evolving into truly user-friendly pieces of equipment, they are also competitively and affordably priced, allowing the customer to get the most for his money.

Ron Nagle, coordinator of Custodial Services at Penn State University states the three goals he’s set to do his job right: Ensuring his employees have the best tools available to quickly, easily and efficiently do their jobs; having the cleanest carpets possible; and saving money.

The high-tech, low-noise, ergonomically-sound vacuums on the market today make it possible for cleaners like Ron to achieve goals like these.

Fortunately, vacuum manufacturers are creating quality products which address the specific needs of the JanSan industry, allowing for cleaner buildings, healthier tenants, and happier cleaners!


Jeff Fystrom is a senior product manager with Minneapolis-based Tennant Company, a world leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer world.
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