This article was originally published by Clean Link
Written by Ronnie Garrett
Sally Jobes, EVS supervisor at Little River Casino and Resort in Manistee, Mich., says she cannot fully stress the importance of a quality, well-maintained upright vacuum in the cleaning operation.
"I once had to try and clean a carpet with just a broom and dust pan, which made me realize how much wear and tear this puts on your wrist and back and what having a vacuum saves you," she says. "The upright vacuum is one of — if not the most — important tools for cleaning."
But in a sea of options ranging from bagless to bagged, dual and single motors, HEPA and non-HEPA filtration, selecting the right vacuum for the job can seem daunting. Cleaning operations must fully consider their goals, budget and vacuuming tasks when making a selection, says Glenn Rothstein, president of BioShine Inc. in Spotswood, N.J.
Rothstein advises cleaning operations consider the following:
- Is the primary goal to green the operation? Perhaps a dual-motor vacuum with HEPA filtration operating at a low noise level is the best option.
- Are there large open spaces to vacuum? This scenario likely warrants a wide area vacuum up to 30 inches wide to efficiently perform the job.
- Are there many small spaces in need of vacuuming? A smaller-width upright with crevice and dusting tools allows housekeepers to vacuum in tight spaces.
- What is the budget? If a cleaning operation employs 10 housekeepers and needs 10 vacuums, but its budget is only $2,000, then the best option may be smaller-sized, single-motor vacuums.
- Is the cleaning staff primarily female or individuals of smaller stature? In this instance, vacuum weight may be a primary consideration.
There are many things to consider: Weight, width, ergonomics, dual motor vs. single motor, bagless vs. bagged, filtration and more. Mark Miller, sales manager at Dalco Enterprises Inc., a Minn.-based distributor, recommends cleaning operations tap into the expertise of their supplier when making vacuum selections.
"Like any piece of equipment, it's important to fully explore the options and the productivity each unit offers," he says. "Vacuums range in price from $200 up to $1,000. It's important for cleaning managers to consult with their distributors to maximize the productivity they can get within the budgets they have."
Single vs. Dual
There are two main types of upright vacuums — single motor and dual motor. Single-motor units use one motor to create suction and the same motor turns the brush that pulls debris up and out of the carpet. A dual-motor vacuum, on the other hand, has one motor dedicated to creating the vacuum or suction and another dedicated to turning the brush.
Each upright type offers inherent advantages and disadvantages. For instance, a single-motor unit may be preferable when money is tight because these units tend to have lower price tags. They also weigh less. On the flip side, these units can offer less suction than their dual-motor counterparts, are prone to clogging and are unavailable in wider widths.
Dual-motor vacuums, however, come in up to 30-inch widths and offer more powerful suction, which can also increase their overall weight. Their design has also been known to reduce equipment maintenance needs.
Because the single-motor vacuum uses a single motor to perform multiple tasks, debris passes through a single area on the unit's bottom. As housekeepers vacuum, debris must pass the vacuum belt and fan before hitting its destination.
"Often the belt or fan breaks from the debris passing through," says Rothstein. "Dual-m
otor vacuums do not have this problem because [the vacuum's inner-workings] are protected. You don't have to worry about debris beating up belts because you have a brush motor on the vacuum and a vacuum motor on top."
Even with the dual-motor's numerous advantages, Miller notes that the single-motor upright reigns as king in the housekeeping world.
"Though people recognize the value of the dual motor, single motor sales remain high because (a) the vacuums are lighter weight and (b) they are far less expensive," he says.
When cost is not an issue, most users, distributors and manufacturers state the dual-motor version is preferred.
"The dual-motor vacuum is a more efficient vacuum," stresses Miller. "You can do your vacuuming in single-pass cleaning. In other words, you don't have to vacuum over the same area numerous times to pick up debris."
Ronnie Garrett is a freelance writer based in Fort Atkinson, Wis.