Vacuum Cleaners for SmartStrand Carpet

SmartStrand carpeting from Mohawk and Karastan is becoming very popular because it both looks and feels good. But it can be a little tricky to clean.

Our favorite vacuum cleaner for cleaning SmartStrand Carpeting for 2016 is the Miele C3 Complete SoftCarpet.

Cleaning SmartStrand High-Pile Carpet

Miele SEB228 Power BrushMany vacuum cleaners get “stuck” in high-pile SmartStrand carpeting. Either the wheels will sink into the carpet, or the long, soft fibers stop the brush from rotating. To find which Mohawk SmartStrand vacuum can overcome the challenge, we tested over a dozen vacuums from Miele, SEBO, Dyson, Electrolux, Sanitiare, Hoover, Eureka, Kenmore and Bissell.

The first thing we found is that while some upright vacuums will move through the carpet, pushing and pulling a 15-20 pound upright on high-pile SmartStrand carpet can be very tiring. The second is that most vacuum cleaners with height adjustment will not clean deep down past the surface when raised high enough to be easy to push.

In order to push the vacuum through the SmartStrand, you have to raise the cleaner head so far off the carpet that you lose a great deal of suction. Most machines just don’t have the airflow to create enough suction to compensate. So you end up just “sweeping” the top of the carpet. You never get deep down into the fiber where the dirt gets embedded.  Lowering the head back down increases the suction and cleaning performance, but then makes the machine difficult to push.

The best all-around performer we found is a Miele canister vacuum coupled with the SEB228 power brush. The power brush nozzle on a canister-style machine weighs only a few pounds, so it won’t push the brush down into the matting of the carpeting as much as an upright, and the design of the SEB228 offers the best balance of “deep down” clean and “able to push without a torn rotator cuff.”

The Miele SEB228 power brush is different from other canister power brushes because it has extra-wide wheels that won’t “sink” into the carpet. It also has a height-adjustable bottom with a suction sealing strip that allows it to be raised very high to accommodate ultra plush weaves with minimal suction loss. These features combine with the powerful suction of a Miele canister vacuum to let you push the power brush easily and safely across the carpet, picking up dirt and debris without it getting stuck or damaging the carpet fibers.

The SEB228 power brush is standard with the Miele C3 Kona and Miele C3 Cat & Dog vacuums. It also is available as an option on any other Miele canister vacuum equipped with an electric brush, including the Miele C1 Delphi, Miele C1 Titan and Miele C2 Topaz canister vacuum cleaners.

Cleaning SmartStrand Loop-style Carpet

Miele SEB285 Floor ToolVacuums with rotating brushes should not be used on SmartStrand loop-style carpets. A floor tool with a spinning brush is too abrasive. It can break the fibers so that they stand straight up, detracting from the look as well as wearing the carpet out long before it otherwise would.

Instead, use a suction-only nozzle that deep cleans with intense suction, but has gentle velveteen thread lifters to help guide dirt and debris off the carpet and into the suction nozzle without harming the loops.

Both Miele and SEBO brands make excellent tools for this type of carpet. The Miele 285-3 Combination Rug & Floor Tool has no rotating brush. Large rubber wheels and a smooth metal bottom plate help glide the tool safely across the top of the rug. In addition, two thread lifter strips around the intake gently work through the carpet fibers to pull debris towards the intake.

This floor tool also has retractable synthetic bristles used to sweep smooth floors surfaces. It’s standard on several Miele canister vacuums and can be added as an option to any Miele canister.

The Sebo Kombi Tool, included with the Sebo K2 and Sebo D1 canister vacuums and the Sebo Felix Kombi, is another suction-only floor tool that works well to safely clean these delicate carpets. The Twin-Stream suction system and the crescent-shaped stripes with natural bristles guarantee dust will be collected for edge-to-edge cleaning on hard floors, as well as delicate loop pile. It also has two lint removers also pick up thread and fluff.

Choosing the Right Humidifier

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There’s quite a bit of confusion out there about humidifiers and how they work. Choosing the right one for your home or office is a matter of knowing the different methods used to create humidity and the benefits and drawbacks of each. Learn about types of humidifiers with our humidifier reviews below.

There are four different types of humidifiers:

1. Disk Evaporator (air washers)

Stacks of thin plastic disks rotate through a water basin. A fan blows air across the water as it cascades down the disks. The Venta Airwasher is an example of this type.

2. Ultrasonic Mist

Water drips onto a plate vibrating at a very high frequency. The micro-atomized water is then sprayed by a small fan into the air. Examples: Air-O-Swiss 7144 humidifier, Air-O-Swiss 7145 humidifier.

3. Steam Evaporators

Water drips into a stainless steel boiling plate. The water turns to steam and is blown by a small fan into the air where it evaporates. Examples: Enviracaire EWM220 humidifier.

4. Wick Evaporators

A paper or sponge wick draws up water from a basin. Air blows through wick and is moistened before entering the room. Example: Air-O-Swiss 2041 evaporator humidifier.

Each method has its pros and cons, as shown below:

Pros Cons
low maintenance
no filters
no white dust
slow to humidify
limited humidity
must be run all the time
choice of warm or cold output
high output
quickly humidifies
white dust
high maintenance filters
germ free
no white dust
high output
high maintenance filters
dangerous around small children
limited or no white dust
high maintenance filters
low output

As you can see, no method is perfect. We all want a silent, maintenance-free humidifier that doesn’t have to be filled with water every day. Unfortunately, no one has invented it yet.

The biggest complaints about humidifiers involve time-consuming cleaning and maintenance and annoying “white dust”.

“White dust” refers to the mineral dust that falls from the air as water evaporates. It’s a nuisance because it has a tendency to collect on plastics and electronic equipment – things most homes are filled with nowadays. If left alone, it can form a tacky residue on surfaces that is difficult to wipe off.

Because they spray a fine mist, all ultrasonic humidifiers and some wick evaporators create white dust. On the other hand, disk and steam evaporators produce no white dust at all. As the water evaporates, the minerals are left behind in the basin and do not become airborne.

It’s obvious from the above chart that we don’t see many pros to using a wicking humidifier, particularly since they have a tendency to breed viruses, bacteria and mold, unless they are kept very clean. Some people like them, and they are inexpensive, but we typically don’t recommend them for general humidification needs.

The humidifiers we recommend here are of excellent quality and each will humidify areas of 400-600 square feet. Choosing the right humidifier for you is just a matter of determining which method has the benefits that are most important to you.

If you’re looking for a quiet unit with high output, moderate maintenance, and don’t mind a little white dust, choose an ultrasonic model. We recommend the AOS 7144 humidifier.

For a permanent high-quality unit that creates no white dust and cleans the air while it humidifies, the Venta airwasher-humidifier is our top pick.

Want absolutely germ-free humidity and no white dust? Go with a steam evaporator like the Enviracaire EWM220 humidifier.

If you still want help choosing the best humidifier for your needs, just call us toll-free at 888.205.3228

ProTeam Sierra Backpack Vac Earns CRI Gold Designation

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ProTeam Sierra Backpack Vacuum
ProTeam Sierra Backpack Vacuum

The ProTeam Sierra backpack vacuum cleaner with commercial electric power nozzle has earned the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Gold Certification under its enhanced Green Label/Seal of Approval vacuums program.

The CRI’s new Seal of Approval/Green Label vacuum program is tiered.  Bronze level requires a 10% improvement of cleaning performance over the existing Green Label program. Gold level additionally requires the machine to meet a higher dust containment standard of no more than 35 micrograms of dust particle emission. The previous CRI Green Label standard allowed for 100 micrograms.

To earn the CRI Seal of Approval/Green Label certification Gold level certification, the ProTeam Sierra backpack vacuum cleaner had to pass all three of the following independent laboratory tests:

  • Soil removal – using NASA-enhanced x-ray fluorescence technology to measure the precise amount of soil removed from carpet  To pass, the vacuum must remove either 30 oz/sy commercial cut pile carpet or 30 oz/sy loop pile carpet.
  • Dust containment – this measures the ability of the vacuum to keep dirt in and not let it escape into the air you breathe.  This test requires more than 100 micrograms of dust particles per cubic meter of air can escape from the vacuum.
  • Carpet texture retention – The vacuum must not result in more than a one-step change in the texture of the carpet based on a year of normal vacuum use

The Best Canister and Upright Vacuums

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Miele Capricorn.  Our choice for best overall canister vacuum.
Miele Capricorn. Our choice for best overall canister vacuum.

Customers are always asking, “what’s the best vacuum cleaner?”  The answer depends on how and where you’ll use the machine, which is why we encourage you to call us if you have any doubts about which vacuum cleaner is right for you.

Still, we can provide some guidance, and you’ll find our reviews and recommendations for the best canister and upright vacuum cleaners in nine categories on this page.   They range from best overall and best value to best for pet hair and best commercial vacuum.

For example, our choice for best overall canister is the Miele Capricorn with SEB 236 Powerbrush.  With its premium tools, certified HEPA filtration and fingertip controls, we consider this Miele vacuum to be the best vacuum available in the U.S

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Which Vacuum to Buy: Commercial or Residential?

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We sell commercial as well as residential vacuum cleaners, which can make choosing a vacuum cleaner seem like a difficult task. Commercial models are more rugged and durable, so we’re often asked, “Why should I buy a residential vacuum when the commercial vacuums are better and about the same price?”

That’s an attractive idea.  Especially since all the commercial grade vacuum cleaners we sell are very good products. Generally, commercial vacuum cleaners have longer cords and higher capacity dust bags than residential vacuums.  In most cases, the machines are designed with additional structural integrity to better endure the rigors of a commercial environment. And they generally are more powerful than the typical residential vacuum.

But commercial vacuums also tend to be stripped down.  They often don’t have some desirable filters like power controls, top grade allergy filtration and  tools for above-the-floor cleaning.  They may have a reusable cloth bag instead of the home vacuum’s easier to handle and more sanitary disposable bag.

And while commercial vacuums can be more powerful than a residential vacuum, you don’t necessarily need or even want that.  Remember, these machines are designed for offices, restaurants and warehouses.  The may be too aggressive for fine carpets.  They may not have features like rubber wheels to prevent scratching bare floors while cleaning.

Commercial vacuums also may be heavier and harder to move around and under furniture.  Residential vacuums are designed for comfort, to be light and maneuverable.

And the better residential vacuums are designed to be quiet.  Some commercial vacuums tend to be very loud.

That’s not to say you can’t find commercial-type durability in a residential machine.  If that’s what you want, look at the Sebo vacuums.  They have the structural integrity of a commercial vacuum with the usability features that make it a good choice for homes. If you want to buy commercial vacuum cleaners, check out the selection we have at

Humidifiers for Dorm Rooms

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Tje Venta Airwasher LW14 is the ideal size for humidifying small spaces like dorm rooms.
The Venta Airwasher LW14 is the ideal size for humidifying small spaces like dorm rooms.

It’s back-to-school time, and we’ve been getting questions about humidifiers for dorm rooms, and our answer most often is the Venta Airwasher. It won’t be right for everyone, of course, but it’s combination of excellent performance and easy maintenance makes it pretty much the humidifier of choice for the student.

Easy maintenance is the most important point for students and dorms. The Venta Airwasher uses a water treatment solution to prevent lime scale buildup and odors. Just add a capful when you add more water. There are no filters, sticks or bulbs to clean or replace. All you need to do is wipe the unit out with a damp sponge every couple of weeks.

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