Types of Vacuum Cleaner Filters

The primary purpose of any vacuum cleaner is to remove dust, dirt, debris, pet dander, and other particles from the surfaces in your home or business. The secondary purpose is to clean the air and prevent debris from spilling back into the room’s air. These two SEBO vacuums do an excellent job of cleaning surfaces and filtering the air.

SEBO 91620 AM Airbelt E2
Turbo Canister Vacuum
SEBO Automatic X7 Premium
91543AM Upright Vacuum (Graphite)

Anyone who owns a vacuum knows that filtration quality is a major concern and the last thing you expect is to have dust particles and dirt exhausted into the air stream after a vacuum investment. This would lead to heightened allergy symptoms, less clean floors, and a musty system. To prevent this, your vacuum needs high-quality filters to trap dirt and dust before escaping back into the room and keep your machine running efficiently at peak performance.

It’s essential you replace an old filter with the correct new one. The filter’s construction and strength must match the suction power of your vacuum’s motor. If the filter is paper and is too thin and weak, it will rip and allow the dust back into the atmosphere. TIP: Use recommended filters and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when replacing them. Also – do not buy the cheapest ones you can find because they won’t last as long or work as well as high-quality ones.

If you're confused about purchasing a new vacuum, let our experts at ThinkVacuums.com help you make an informed decision. Here's a look at the various types of vacuum cleaner filters.

When to Change Filters

We highly recommend using HEPA filters in your home or commercial vacuum. Residential filters should be changed under these conditions:

  • They may last two or three years before they must be changed.
  • Change them with you detect a musty odor when the vacuum is in use.
  • Change carbon pre-filters every two to three years.
  • If the filter or filter housing is damaged, change it immediately.
  • If your vac is equipped with a pre-filter, check or change it every three or four months.

The recommendations for checking and change commercial vacuum filters are similar:

  • Check the HEPA filter every six months when the vacuum is used daily.
  • If you find the filter is heavily soiled, replace it immediately.
  • If the filter catches only minimal dust and dirt, change it every year.
  • Change the filter if you detect a musty odor when using your cleaning machine.

Here are some valuable ideas on how to clean filters.

Types Of Filters

Selecting the Right Replacement Filters is Essential

You should know the type of filter required for your vacuum brand and model and how filters work in general when buying a new vacuum. The following guidelines will help you find the right one and spend less on it.

“Use the recommended filters and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when replacing them. Also – do not buy the cheapest ones you can find because they won’t last as long or work as well as high-quality ones.”

Primary Filters – Most vacuums manufactured today are fitted with more than one filter. One serves as the primary filter and the other serves as the secondary. The primary collects most of the dust and dirt so it won’t go back into the room.

Secondary FiltersSecondary filters serve to trap the remainder of dust and dirt before they make contact with the working parts of the vacuum. This further reduces any pollutants from releasing back in the environment. The most common types of filters are shown below.

Cartridge Filters – This type is typically disposable and can be reused after thoroughly cleaning them by tapping off the dust. When the dust and dirt still cling to the filter after tapping, it’s time to replace it. Cartridge filters can serve as primary or secondary and are made from different types of materials.

Cloth Filters – This type of filter works well in large vacuums that need to pick up larger and normal-size particles. They are heavy-duty, last longer, can be washed, and reused.

Foam filters – Foam filters general serve as secondary filters to filter the air that has already been separated from dust, dirt, debris, pet dander, and allergens. Some of them can be clean, washed, and reused. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s manual to see how to clean them.

Disk filters – These filters serve as primary ones and resemble coffee filters made of cloth or paper. You find them in portable vacs like cordless models and robotic vacs. They hold less dust and dirt than most other types of filters and tend to be more expensive than other types.

Desirable Features of Vacuum Filters

There are many variations of the basic types of vacuum filters. What some vacuum users call filters can actually be a feature of filters you should understand such as the following:

  • HEPA Filters are used when high-efficiency is required. They can remove as much as 99.99% of all air particles down to 0.3 microns in size.
  • MicroFresh Filters use a non-hazardous chemical to prevent the development and accumulation of pollutants such as bacterial and algai.
  • Allergen Filters are designed to trap the smallest particles but not as well as HEPA filters.
  • Pet Filters are engineered to attract more pet hair than ordinary filters. By adding baking soda you can use them to get rid of pet odors.
  • Washable Filters can be cleaned, washed, dried, and used again many times when properly cared for.
  • Scented Filters are used to freshen a vacuum’s bags, collection canisters, or contents.
  • Wet/Dry Filters are used with wet/dry vacuum cleaners that provide more versatile uses. TIP: Never insert a standard filter in a wet/dry vacuum or you will cause problems.
SEBO Airbelt C-Series Canister
HEPA Service Box 6432ER

Now that you know more about vacuum cleaner filters you see each has its unique properties. When you purchase a new vacuum cleaner and filters keep the following in mind:

  • The environment for vacuuming
  • Any health concerns you have
  • The kind of vacuuming you will be doing
  • If your vacuum is a wet/dry model
  • Your household or business budget.
  • Don’t forget to stock up on a few extra bags if your model is bagged.

Sources and References