Choosing the right commercial vacuum cleaner 3 Feb, 2014
Natalie Dowse, Marketing and Product Manager for Truvox International Ltd, gives advice on the issues to consider when investing in vacuum cleaners for commercial settings.
Vacuuming is one of the mainstays of any cleaning regime – but there is a big difference between domestic and commercial situations. While at home we only vacuum around twice a week - unless we are particularly fastidious or house-proud - in work situations, vacuuming may take place every single day.
This means that commercial vacuum cleaners need to be hard working, hard wearing, and able to handle a variety of different surfaces, dirt and debris. Some models are designed for specific sites and tasks. For example, in factories or warehouses it makes sense to use vacuums that have been built for particular jobs such as picking up metal such as screws and other hard materials – but when it comes to other, more multi-purpose buildings, a multi-tasking vacuum is preferable.
Vacuums are predominantly designed to deal with carpeted areas, but these can vary significantly throughout a location. Whereas boardrooms may benefit from deeper-pile carpeting, surfaces in corridors or other places that experience heavier footfall may be ‘shallower’, having been worn down through continuous use. The latest vacuum designs feature brush heads that ‘sense’ differing carpet pile heights, self-adjusting automatically to ensure they float evenly over all carpeted surfaces. This helps to ensure a more thorough clean, and also makes life easier for the cleaning operative, who does not have to worry about making manual adjustments to the machine. If your vacuum does need to perform on a variety of floor surfaces then models that can work at a range of different speeds could be a good option. As a general rule, a low speed is better for thick carpeting, while a higher speed is more effective and efficient on bare floors.
Upright or cylinder designs both have their advantages so it is mainly a question of personal preferences. Don’t assume that upright vacuums are less manoeuvrable than cylinders, as again the newest designs have made great progress in this area. The most versatile ones can lay almost flat, enabling them to clean the most hard to reach areas, under beds or desks, for example. On-board accessories and tools also give access to stairs and ceilings or curtains, as well as enabling a thorough clean for upholstery and seating.
One particular advantage of an upright vacuum is its wide cleaning path. This enables a greater expanse of carpet to be cleaned than via the smaller ‘footprint’ of a cylinder vacuum. Many upright models also have the ability to clean right up to the edge of a surface, without the need to employ crevice tools to clean the area beside the skirting board or wall edge.
Vacuums mainly deal with dry dirt, so filtration systems are also vitally important. A vacuum cleaner that exacerbates allergies for employees or customers is far from ideal, so models incorporating HEPA filtration are now the norm. Models can incorporate various numbers of filtration stages, but, for example, a three-stage filtration, including HEPA 10 filter, will provide a high filtration of all particles of 0.3 microns and larger.
Another issue to consider is noise – does this need to be kept to a minimum due to the nature of the workplace being cleaned? Also think about the weight of the vacuum, and the positioning of carry handles, as this will have a bearing on how easily it can be transported around the building. Hose and cable length is also crucial. Being unable to reach the area that has to be cleaned without unplugging and finding a new power outlet will do nothing for productivity.
Vacuums play an important role in any contract cleaning regime, but don’t be fooled into thinking that ‘one size fits all’. Advances in technology and design mean that vacuums are now more versatile and adaptable than ever.