Part three of this three-part article looks at other advantages of commercial vacuum cleaners.

End users often will scoff at the price of a commercial vacuum as compared to a consumer vacuum. However, the features on commercial vacuums far outweigh the benefits of consumer machines.

In order to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use, commercial vacuums are designed with durability in mind.
 
“Commercial vacuums are generally heavier, more heavy-duty and can take more of a beating,” says Griffin. “People are in a bigger hurry in a commercial setting. It’s not as delicate a setting as you’re going to find in a residential market, so they tend to be a little harder on the equipment. They bang into things more. They drop it around, beat it around, throw it around.”

Manufacturers of well-built commercial vacuum cleaners also take into account the amount of time the unit will be in use. An example would be the on/off switch. A good commercial vacuum is built with the knowledge that the switch will be turned on and off as many as 50 times a day, five days a week. A vacuum built for consumer use may only be turned on and off 10 times in a week.

Motors in commercial vacuums are manufactured for more cycles and are meant to be run for extended periods of time when cleaning large spaces. Some commercial machines are even equipped with dual motors — one for the vacuuming, and the other for the agitator brush, lessening the workload for one motor and extending its life.

Another major benefit commercial vacuums have over their consumer counterparts is air flow.

“Commercial units have much higher air flow, which means they pull more soil out of the carpet,” says Smith. “As you’re running it across the carpet, you’re agitating it, you’re pulling that dirt up out of there.”

Filtration is another area where commercial vacuums best consumer vacuums. Commercial vacuums often go through rigorous certification processes to test their filters, ensure they meet the needs of allergy-free environments such as hospitals, remove 99.99 percent of unwanted material from a facility, and ensure that they do not disperse particles into the air.

“With commercial vacs, that dirt is caught in the bag and it’s kept in the bag,” says Smith. “A lot of the cheap vacs exhaust all that dirt right back out into the room. So if you need to have a HEPA filtration, you need to have high-particulate filtering that is available in commercial units.”

Other notable features on commercial vacuums: they have longer cords, weigh less, have larger-capacity filter bags that enable end users to vacuum longer without stopping to empty the bag or container, and have tool kits used for high vacuuming or high dusting — all major productivity enhancers for professional end users.

Cords on commercial machines run 50 feet in length, 30 feet longer than standard consumer machines, so it decreases the need for the end user to plug in and unplug the machine numerous times in a large area.

Handle weight on commercial machines is also a key productivity feature.

“A lot of times, handle weight is a big deal,” says Smith. “Commercial units are designed for someone to use it for longer periods at a time, so manufacturers will design them so that the handle weight isn’t as heavy and you don’t have as much fatigue on the worker.”
 
Although commercial vacuums are built to outlast their consumer cousins, proper maintenance still should to be taken into consideration.

“It’s just like buying a car. You can buy a $30,000 or $40,000 car, but if you don’t take care of it, it’s a junker in three years,” says Smith. “If you spend the money [on a commercial vacuum], you maintain it, you take care of it, you train your workers on how to use it, it will last a long, long time and give great service. Very few times do any of these units ever just fail. Parts typically will wear out over a period of time, but they don’t just fail.”

Nick Bragg is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee. He is a former Deputy Editor of Sanitary Maintenance, a sister publication to Contracting Profits.