Vacuum Cleaner Bags
This is an area that, while we engineers have much experience of, we don't concentrate on, probably as so many people choose to repair their own vacuum cleaners or, as they are often called, the hoover. Of course the other reason is that a lot of us cut our teeth repairing cleaners and it's a dirty, horrible job and so, if you have a trainee engineer, guess what they get to do all day?
A typical cheap copy vacuum cleaner "paper" bag
Vacs have always been fairly simple things on the whole, there's no challenge in them for a lot of repairers and so are considered boring. They're cheap as well so if you get anything major wrong, like the motor, then it is often hardly worth repairing them unless the parts are cheap.
This is of course unless you buy a good vac.
But, good vacuum cleaners, like most things that are good in life, don't come cheap. Our pick is the Sebo machines, just brilliant machines that trundle on for years and the performance is outstanding. But then they're not cheap.
Bagless cleaners we don't rate really. We find poor pickup issues and a high failure rate in them, including the more expensive ones on the market.
So, we recommend a hoover with a bag then and, if you're a skeptic, you may well be thinking that we do that as we want to sell bags and stuff that they use. Well, not really, although we do sell cleaner bags obviously but I will explain why we think better of bagged cleaners and either you'll get it or not.
Vacuum Cleaner And Hoover Bags 101
The very basic premise of a vacuum cleaner is to pull in air by creating a vacuum through the piles of your carpet or to simply lift dust and dirt from a hard surface. That air, with all the dirt in it, is then fired up a hose and into a big bag that catches the dirt.
With me so far?
Right, here's the important part of this, after that all happens the air that was sucked up with all that dirt has to be filtered so as to extract as much dirt, dust and whatever other yucky stuff was in the carpet or on the floor is kept in the cleaner. The air is then expelled through means of a vent.
So we have dirty air in, then clean air out, or at least, that's the theory.
In effect I guess you could say that your hoover, or vacuum cleaner, is really a big air filter that tries to remove as much gunk from the air it draws in as possible and, that would be fairly accurate.
What this means for you, the person that has to use the thing, is that the better that dirty air is filtered, the better the vacuum cleaner performs and the more dirt it retains which, in my opinion, is a LOT more important than the power rating of the motor, which is just another "mine's bigger than yours" thing in large part for domestic cleaners.
The most important things to make your hoover suck up the dirt properly and, keep it in the hoover, is to have decent filtration that lets the air out but not the dust and dirt.
In a bagless cleaner you rely on just the filter/s to do the job and, if you want to be really picky, a vortex of air. But until the vortex forms you can get dust out.
In a bagged cleaner you have filters and, importantly, a bag to catch the dirt and dust before it gets out, so more protection and more filtration. We'd argue that this was better, but with a caveat, that the filters and bags are good and maintained.
In a separate article for the future I will explain HEPA filters as, all is not what it seems there as there are different grades of HEPA filters which most manufacturers won't tell you, they just say it's a HEPA grade cleaner and most people think they're all the same. They're not.
It's a long standing joke that when someone asks for hoover bags we ask, which Hoover it is and when we get the reply that it'¢s a Bosch, Goblin, Vax or whatever we politely point out that the vacuum cleaner isn't a Hoover. Hoover is a brand name, the one that was used by the inventor but it's not technically correct to say that it's a "“hoover", it's a vacuum cleaner. Just an interesting little fact.
The problem is that, like most things where there's any volume in spares or consumables, there's good and bad.
Just like most industries where you use a lot of one thing there's loads of people that will produce "cheap" copies of popular items. Sadly, the internet is awash with cheap bags and filters. Frankly, most of them are just cheap rubbish, produced cheaply in China or wherever to meet a price point. Some of the bags I've seem for sale in major supermarkets like Tesco etc. are just garbage in my opinion but then, we're not exactly trying to simply maximise profit per square foot, we don't need to do so. People will either believe us or not but in the end, the proof's in the pudding and our customers come back. We can live with that.
The cheap copies are made from inferior materials, poorly put together and don't filter the air correctly. You end up with performance loss, quicker tail off of lift up and these bags have a nasty tendency to split or tear, especially when they're full and you try to take them out. Apparently we're not legally allowed to use the adjective we'd usually use to describe these hoover bags, but I'm sure you get the idea.
Often the fit will be poor, the seal will be poor, the list is endless on how some people will cut corners to cut costs.
We don't play that game.
We will only sell quality copy hoover bags that we KNOW are as good or better than the manufacturer's bags and that we can stand by as well as warranty. If we can't source a quality alternative, we only supply the manufacturer's bags.
In other words, if they're rubbish bags or you're looking for the cheapest cleaner bags possible, please look elsewhere. If however you're looking for good cleaner bags at a sensible price and no hassles, you've found the right place.
As with all our products, be it spare parts right up to complete machines we don't want to sell things that give us and, more importantly, our customers, hassle and you'll find that all the reputable repairers and stores carry that same mentality.
A Story Of Three Vacuum Cleaner Bags
We carry the Airflo bags, we rate them and they perform great. Generally speaking if Airflo don't do a bag for your cleaner we'll supply originals only as, quite honestly, little else can touch the Belgian made Airflo cleaner bags.
So here's a quick comparison between a simple Numatic bag for a Henry etc. cleaner widely used in homes and businesses across the UK, as it happens we have a Numatic Henry cleaner in the office so this was an easy one to use for our little experiment here. We compared two of the most popular bag makes in the UK against their Airflo equivalent.
Out the gate the first thing was that the Airflo bags were packed flat, properly so that when you fit them they just open as they should, no trapped air. The other two, who shall remain nameless but let's just say that they are easily found on Ebay and from many a cleaner bag supplier, were both folded, almost creased in fact and therefore blocking air out the gate.
The Airflo has a nice thick seal that was virtually perfect, the others were thin and warped out the bag they came in
The Airflo bag material was nice and heavy, the others were not.
The card fitting on the bags were different to the original, bar the Airflo which was as the original is and, therefore, a lot easier to fit and due to the better seal, just worked.
More pictures below as I've made them a good size so you can see (I hope) the differences between the bags.
It's Up To You What Hoover Bag
I'd like to write that the choice was simple, but it isn't. It depends on what you want, cheap or good as all too often you can't have both, as the old saying goes, you can't have your cake and eat it. This article may come across as being perhaps a little condescending and, if so, I apologise as it really isn't intended to be that way, it's just intended to tell the truth without the usual sugar coating that you can have that cake and, eat it.
But, in the end, it's up to you to make your mind up what you want to buy and, ultimately, pay for. Hopefully this article explains why you should pay a little more for a hoover bag as really, to most people, that's all it is, a hoover bag.
They all do the same thing don't they? The only difference is price isn't it?
If only it were that simple and if only some companies weren't out to fleece people by overcharging for rubbish then life would be simple. Sadly, it isn't that simple and you can choose to believe us or not, it really is up to you what you buy and from who, we just won't sell what we consider to be inferior products and neither will most of the independents out there. It's our reputation on the line and we value that far higher than a couple of pounds on a pack of cleaner bags preferring to sell good over cheap, every time.
You can choose to trust experts in the field with decades worth of experience or you can choose to trust Ebay and companies set up to sell you things at what we consider huge markups, the choice as ever, lies with you as the customer.
But I'd bet most people never thought that such a seemingly simple thing like vacuum cleaner bags and filters could be so complex a subject.
Hoover Bag 1
This was one of the more commonly found cheap hoover bags and you can see a picture of it at the top that shows the poor and uneven gluing of the bag very well. The glue has actually seeped through the material so it's easy to spot. It's also pretty clear that it's not the best to the trained eye.
These bags and, those like it, are often seen being touted about on Ebay and a lot of cleaner stores as, like Hoover Bag 2, they can be bought really cheap and sold with a hefty markup.
This was one of the cheap options and as you can see it comes all folded up
The full view a it comes out the pack, you can see the poor gluing and weird folding
Hoover Bag 2
Once again produced to a price. Sure, they're cheap but they're also not very good in our opinion and, again, can be bought really cheap so cheap in some cases that the cost is well under £1 per pack!
You have to wonder what level of quality and engineering you can expect for a pound. Of course you'll pay a lot more than that for them.
Almost the same colour as the Airflo bag, but that's where any similarity stops. The quality just isn't there and again, comes folded right up to reduce shipping costs.
As you can see, again, the seal is warped and is actually pretty flimsy, you can also see how the folds block the airflow
Again, poor gluing and all folded up
Bags 1 & 2 are all about driving down price so you get a "bargain" but in the end, is an inferior product that doesn't work properly really a saving?
Airflo Vacuum Bags
The Airflo cleaner bag comes flat but not folded in half because it hampers the efficiency of the bag, we like detail like that
Beautifully folded to just pop on and work, no messing about, just fire the bag on and go
Basically the Airflo bag works out the pack, isn't a hassle and doesn't burst unless you give it some serious, serious abuse. They filter very well, often better than original bags and they come with a guarantee that they will work. We just love the care and attention to detail in these cleaner bags that we haven't found in any other hoover bags we've seen other than some original bags from the actual manufacturers that care about performance over price.
Okay so they're not as cheap usually, but it's a small price to pay for something that's so much better and probably will let your vacuum clean better and, possibly, even last longer.