A Vacuum Cleaner Filter - How Clean is Clean Enough?

By: Abigail Franks

How good, necessary and important is a filter when talking about vacuum cleaner filters. Every vacuum cleaner on the market today seems to push that they have some kind of special filtration or even use HEPA type filters and are the cleanest vacuums available. My question is how much of this filter mania is a marketing gimmick, versus what is actually needed by the consumer.

Understand that we're not talking about folks that have allergies or suffer from asthma. It's understood and completely reasonable that people living with respiratory difficulties would want in demand the absolute cleanest air filtration available. For the rest of us however, I simply wonder if there's any benefit to paying for that type of absolute clean air filtering from a health perspective.

We know that any dirt not captured by the vacuum cleaner bag were filter will end up back in the house. This by itself justifies at least some interest in a good filtering system for any new vacuum cleaner under consideration. After all, why vacuum the house only to have the dirt redeposit itself back onto the furniture and carpets?

Also consider that a vacuum cleaner filter is critical to the efficient suction and dirt handling ability of the unit. A good filter will keep the dirt and grit from entering critical mechanical parts, which in turn will cause unnecessary abrasion and premature part failure.

Another point is that many vacuum cleaner filters are considered consumable items. This means like vacuum cleaner bags, they may need to be replaced regularly with the new filter. This is an added ongoing cost and should be considered when looking for a new vacuum cleaner. Many units on the market today have washable filters that remove this ongoing expense.

Still, how important is a vacuum cleaner filter to the average consumer that doesn't have allergies or an asthmatic condition to consider? Do we really need that high efficiency particulate absorbing HEPA type filter that catches 99.7% of all particles that are 3 ? or less in diameter?

The answer surprisingly, is yes and the reason has nothing to do with not having asthma or allergy symptoms.

It has everything to do with:

1. We want a cleaner house and want to capture all the dirt possible
2. A good filtration system will protect our vacuum cleaner investment
3. Many HEPA type filters are now washable which saves us money

In the end, most consumers should be very interested in obtaining the best available vacuum cleaner filter in a given price range when shopping for new equipment. A good vacuum cleaner filter system makes it easier to keep our house cleaner. As a side benefit, it probably also better protects our health

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