The 10 Best HEPA Vacuums
This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Allergies are no joke, especially when they flare up in your own home. If you're constantly being bothered by your sinuses, investing in a quality HEPA vacuum is a good way to get some relief. Our selections are more than powerful enough to suck up and retain dirt, dander, pet hair, and more, so you can breathe freely — and you may even stop resenting the cat. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best hepa vacuum on Amazon.
Understanding The HEPA Vacuum
The vacuum's suction forces particles into the fiberglass mesh, but once they are in there, they cannot escape.
For years people have been vacuuming their homes thoroughly, and not understanding why their allergies would still act up. It was most likely because their vacuum cleaner was leaving tiny particles behind. A High-Efficiency Particulate Air filter vacuum can pick up any molecules as small as 0.3 microns. HEPA is really a type of filter more than it is a vacuum, and can even be found in many air purifiers. It can trap particles that are so small the human eye cannot see them. These particles hide in people's carpets long after they've been exposed to a regular vacuum. A piece of cat dander, for example, can be as small as one micron.
Many vacuums contain filters that cannot hold a particle that small. As a result, statistics show that 100 percent of American households test positive for some amount of pet dander. Other particles that HEPA vacuums are very effective at sucking up include mold spores, dust mites, and pollen, each of which is a common allergy and asthma trigger. The HEPA filter consists of very small fiberglass fibers. The vacuum's suction forces particles into the fiberglass mesh, but once they are in there, they cannot escape.
The filters in standard vacuums often have large enough openings that they allow particles out after they've sucked them in. For this reason, people often feel that the air quality in their home has improved immediately after vacuuming, but deteriorates quickly within the next day. A HEPA filter keeps contaminants from traveling out of the vacuum and back into the air and carpet. It can contribute to overall better air quality in a home and peace of mind that one's vacuum is doing a thorough job.
What To Look For In A HEPA Vacuum
If eliminating all allergens and bacteria in the home is already a concern, it's important that one's HEPA vacuum can reach into the tightest spaces. Even if people do not eat or even spend time in certain areas, that doesn't mean that allergens don't travel there. Think about fleas, for example, which do not stay in one place. Many of them hide under couch cushions and furniture after they hatch. Households with pets should purchase a HEPA vacuum that is either very compact or has slender attachments that can reach into tight places.
Environmentally conscious homes might appreciate a bagless HEPA vacuum cleaner.
Spending the day vacuuming the entire house can be very tiresome, and it can cause back pain. Many HEPA vacuums come with shoulder straps and allow the user to wear the filter portion on their back, like a backpack. This not only relieves some strain on their back and shoulders but also leaves both of their hands entirely free to move the suctioning portion of the vacuum. It's not always easy to see if one has collected all of the dust in dark corners, which is why some HEPA vacuums include a lighted nozzle that illuminates the floor while you work.
Environmentally conscious homes might appreciate a bagless HEPA vacuum cleaner. These eliminate the need to throw away a bag after every vacuum cycle, contributing to the already massive amounts of waste households produce each year. While powerful, HEPA vacuums can also be very quiet. Those who live in small apartment buildings and don't want to disturb their neighbors should look for one with a 65-decibel or less rating.
History Of HEPA
The HEPA filter does not have its roots in domestic cleaning but rather in nuclear weapons. In the 1940s, the United States was involved in the Manhattan Project, a development initiative that created the first nuclear weapons during World War II. The HEPA filter's first job was to filter microscopic particles that had been contaminated by radioactive sources. The team behind the Manhattan Project discovered that the condensation of gasses and liquid aerosols created tiny solid particles about 0.3 microns in size, which is why modern HEPA filters can trap molecules of that size.
HEPA filters were a critical part of the first U.S. moon landing.
HEPA filters did not become available for non-war purposes until after World War II. In the 1950s many medical facilities like pharmaceutical labs and surgical rooms began using them. HEPA filters are in fact required for the cleanup of asbestos, the removal of toxic lead and any sort of chemical cleaning. They're even utilized in computer chip manufacturing.
HEPA filters were a critical part of the first U.S. moon landing. This technology provided the air supply and recirculation astronauts need to survive in space. Without the HEPA filter, the development and testing of many devices, including the first silicon chip, would not have been possible. Today manufacturers recognize the value of HEPA filters in air purifiers, vacuums and other home devices.
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