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Please browse our Glossary for help understanding the terms and specifications used in the products we offer. The most asked about terms are below, but these are just a sampling of what's in the complete Glossary. If you don't find what you're looking for, have suggestions for ways to make it better or need any other assistance, please call us, toll-free, at 1-888-205-3228.

Active HEPA Filter

This is a Miele trade name for their HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter that not only captures and retains tiny, lung-damaging particles (including dust mite feces and pollen), it also includes the same Generally Activated Charcoal filter (GAC) that the Active Air Clean filter uses to absorb odors. This Miele filter conforms to the new stringent European standard for filtration (EN 1822) which means that it actually traps 99.99% of all particles as tiny as 0.3 of a micron.

Brush Roll

The brush roll is the revolving brush that provides the agitation or brushing action on the carpet fibers. Sometimes known as an agitator or revolving brush, it may be made of wood, metal or plastic resin and generally has brushes either molded in or inserted in the form of brush strips (also known as agitator strips) that fit into slots on the brush roll. The brush roll may also include beater bars that may be either molded in or inserted like the brush strips. Brush rolls are found in most upright vacuums and the power nozzles (also referred to as Powerbrushes or Power Heads) of canister vacuum.

Electrostatic Filter

A filter that is made up of synthetic fibers that develop an electrostatic charge as friction is applied, which in vacuum cleaners, air purifiers and furnace filters is produced by air flowing across the filter. This electrostatic charge is generally effective in trapping particles 1 micron or larger making electrostatic filters capable of capturing house dust, skin flakes, animal dander, pollen and mold spores.

Filtration Efficiency

This term indicates the percentage of particles that a filter captures as air moves through it. Filtration efficiency is typically stated with regard to a specific particle size. For example, a HEPA filter retains 99.97% (filtration efficiency) of particles 0.3 microns (particle size) or larger. In order to make an informed decision about how well a vacuum cleaner or air purifier cleans the air, both specifications are necessary.

HEPA Filter

HEPA is an acronym that stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air and is used to indicate a very high level of filtration achieved by vacuum cleaners and air purifiers. A HEPA filter must remove 99.97% of all particles as small as 0.3 microns in size from the air that passes through it.

Park System

This is a feature on some vacuum cleaners that allows the wand and cleaning tool to be connected to the canister in an upright position when the user has to step away for a moment. Upon returning to the vacuum cleaner the user does not have to bend over to retrieve the wand and cleaning tool. Some Park Systems also turn the vacuum cleaner off automatically when engaged and turn the vacuum back on when the wand is retrieved.

Power Nozzle

A Power Nozzle is a cleaning nozzle used with a canister vacuum cleaner that has a separate electric brush drive motor and a revolving brush. A Power Nozzle is sometimes referred to as a Power Head.

S-Class Filter

This is the European designation for what we refer to in the U.S. as a HEPA filter. S-Class filters meet stringent standards such as the EN1822 standard for filtration performance. These standards state that the filter must remove 99.97% of all particles as small as 0.3 microns in size from the air that passes through it. (See "HEPA".)

Sealed System

A vacuum cleaner's filtration is only effective on air that passes through the filter. Even vacuum cleaners that utilize HEPA filtration may leak air before the filter, defeating the whole purpose of HEPA filtration in the first place. A sealed system is one that uses special seals made of rubber (or other materials) and a design that does not allow air to leak before the filter system.

Turbine Nozzle

Sometimes referred to as a Turbo Brush or Turbo Nozzle, a Turbine Nozzle is a cleaning nozzle used with canister vacuum cleaners where a revolving brush is powered by the airflow of the canister's suction motor. Turbine Nozzles are not as powerful or effective as electrically powered power nozzles but do provide excellent cleaning in certain environments, carpet types and soiling conditions. The air used to drive the Turbine Nozzle is removed from the primary airflow, therefore decreasing the suction power of the vacuum system to some degree.


UPLA is an acronym that stands for Ultra Low Penetration Air and is a level of filtration significantly more efficient than HEPA and is used in clean rooms, labs, hazardous materials clean up and other environments where the highest levels of filtration must be utilized. An ULPA filter must remove 99.999% of all particles as small as .12 microns in size from the air that passes through it.

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