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Tips for Choosing the Right Floor Brush for Your Vacuuming Job

How many times did you hear from your dad (or mom) “use the right tool for the right job”?  It’s true – a butter knife is not a screwdriver or a chisel.  It might get the job done in a pinch, but those of us who have used a butter knife like it was a Swiss army knife know it would have been easier just to go and get the screwdriver in the first place.

In the same way, though it’s a chore, you can make vacuuming a lot easier on yourself by using the right tool for the job your doing.  Here’s a quick rundown on the different floor tools and their (proper) uses:

Hard Floor Brush

This is a flat suction-only brush with small wheels and bristles around the base.  Bristles may be made of nylon, but the best quality brushes use horse hair or boar’s hair, which actually dust and polish the floor while you’re vacuuming.  Hard floor brushes do a much better job cleaning wood and tile than any upright or power nozzle can.  

Use this tool if you have: Wood, tile, or laminate flooring.

Advantages:  Small and lightweight.  Dusts and polishes flooring while cleaning.

Rug & Floor Tool

This is the primary tool used throughout Europe.  It’s a flat floor bush with a mechanism that retracts the bristles so the tool can be used on hard floors as well as area rugs and flat carpeting.  Usually, there are a set of velveteen thread-lifting strips that whisk away hair and lint using just suction. There is no rotating brush, and while that makes it great for delicate carpets, it’s not suitable for thicker U.S. style carpet.

Use this tool if you have:  Wood floors, area rugs, delicate specialty carpets (frieze, wool berber, sisal).

Advantages:  Simple, lightweight and gentle.

Turbo Brush

This tool is a rotating brush for carpets that is spun by an air turbine driven by the suction of the vacuum.  A turbo brush adds some agitation action to help loosen dirt from carpet fibers, and can be easier to push on large areas of carpet than a power brush.  But it has a distinct disadvantage when compared to a motorized brush:  as the turbo brush contacts the carpet surface, it can slow down or even stop if the carpet is too dense.  This makes it useful only for very flat or looped carpet.

Use this tool if you have: Very flat looped carpet or lots of area rugs
Advantages:  Less expensive than a motorized brush, more carpet agitation and easier to push than a rug and floor tool.

Motorized (Power) Brush

A motorized power brush is a rotating brush that is driven by a small motor in the brush nozzle.  Different kinds of brush rolls are available, varying from super soft bristles for expensive wool carpets, to very aggressive stiff nylon bristles for thick plush pile synthetic carpets.   Regardless of the type, they provide very good agitation to loosen dirt from carpet fibers and help restore the pile as they clean.

Use this tool if you have:  Standard or thick-pile carpet.  Pet hair.

Advantages:  Deep cleaning and carpet pile restoration.

Be careful when choosing an electric brush!  Choosing a brush that is too harsh or aggressive for your carpet can lead to premature wear or even severe carpet damage.  An in-depth review of how to choose the right power brush for your type of carpet will follow in an upcoming post.

Category: Vacuum Cleaners

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