If you suffer from allergies, asthma or just really care about indoor air quality then you should be looking for a HEPA Vacuum Cleaner. Maybe your doctor even suggested you purchase one. We will be covering the definition of “HEPA”, what features to look for in a vacuum cleaner and then go into the vacuum brands known for their filtration abilities.
Definition of HEPA
HEPA stands for “High-Efficiency Particulate Air”. The vacuum suction forces air through mesh or filter paper that removes pollen, dust, dander, smoke and more. To meet the HEPA standard, a filter must remove 99.97% of micron 0.3 and smaller. This standard is defined by the United States Department of Energy.
Vacuum filters typically remove the pollutants in 2 different manners:
Interception - Particles are trapped when they come within a certain radius of the filter fibers
Impaction - Particles adhere to fibers because they cannot navigate the curves in the filter
What features to look for in a HEPA vacuum
Cleaning ability - Many vacuums might have fancy filters or bags, but if the vacuum does not do a thorough cleaning job then it doesn't really matter. Your vacuum needs to be able to lift dust, pollens and dander from your carpeting, hard flooring, furniture and anywhere else it might collect.
HEPA filter - This is the most important feature as it removes the the smallest particles. It is the last filtering mechanism the air passed through before it is released back into the home.
HEPA bags - Not all vacuum bags are created equal. Some vacuum bags are paper and others are made of a “cloth like” composite. The cloth like composite is far better at filtering out pollutants. Multiple layer paper bags would be the next best followed by single layer paper bags.
Pre filters - These are generally felt or foam and are used to trap larger particles. They usually are placed in front of the vacuum motor to help keep these pollutants from damaging the vacuum motor.
Sealed systems - This is often overlooked, but might be one of the most important factors. It ensures that air does not escape the vacuum before it is put through the entire filtration process. If air is allowed to escape before going through all of the filters, then the filtering ability of those filters is rendered useless.
Bagged system (not bagless) - We find that bagged vacuums retain the dust much better. The reason is disposing of the dust and dirt is much cleaner with bags. Pollution particles are released back into the air much easier when a customer empties the dust pin instead of a sealed bag. Also, filters need to maintained more frequently in bagless systems.
Our recommended HEPA vacuum brands
#1 Miele - No company does it better than Miele, they check all of the boxes as far as filtration is concerned. They offer different levels of filtration between their vacuum models, but all of the C3 models have everything you would look for in a HEPA vacuum.
#2 SEBO - Another German made vacuum cleaner, SEBO is well known for being used in the White House and also in many hospitals. SEBO offers customers different grades of filters and bags so customers can decide how much filtration they want.
#3 Dyson - Dyson vacuums filter great for a “bagless” vacuum. Just be sure to keep your filters clean and empty your dust bin outside of the home to maintain suction and filtration levels.