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Joined: Aug 1, 2007
Points: 34

Beater Bar vs. No beater bar
Original Message   Oct 31, 2007 2:02 pm
Is there a really big difference in cleaning performance?
Replies: 1 - 4 of 4View as Outline

Dyson, Sebo and Bissell user

Joined: Jul 25, 2007
Points: 294

Re: Beater Bar vs. No beater bar
Reply #1   Oct 31, 2007 5:00 pm
I personally think beater bars dont give any better performance if you mean a beater bar on a brush bar.  I aways think they flatten the pile of the carpet where as the brushes groom and lift the carpet pile getting more out!

Joined: Jul 23, 2007
Points: 1900

Re: Beater Bar vs. No beater bar
Reply #2   Oct 31, 2007 9:04 pm

Beater bars were intended to agitate and brushes to sweep and groom.  In earlier times, the ideal working of an upright vacuum was its employment of suction to lift carpeting slightly off the floor up to the base of the nozzle instead of leaving it to lie flat.   While the carpet was held up against the revolving brush chamber the beater bar on the brush roll emulated the action of the old fashioned rug beater disturbing embedded dirt while air was allowed to flow up through the back of the rug and aid the travel of dirt down at the bottom of carpet tufting and fibers to the fan chamber.  The brush strips used on the beater bar swept dirt and debris brought to the carpet surface into the air stream the running vacuum produced.  This is all representative of good old Hoover's long time slogan, "It beats as it sweeps as it cleans." And it worked well.

This method is still considered the ideal for an upright vacuum -- beater bars or no.  It is always recommended that you lower an upright vacuum just enough to hear a change in sound indicating that your rug's surface is being pulled up against it.  That said, please make note that many canister vacuum power nozzles and many of the "automatically" adjusting clean-air uprights may not achieve that though yet manage to clean well.  As well, the beater bar does not "flatten" carpeting if you've properly adjusted your vacuum.  I would also add that the better uprights without beater bars still manage a beating action of sorts by employing firmer brush strips in place of hard plastic or metal agitators.


Moderator Mike_W

"There is no BEST or PERFECT vacuum cleaner"

"Take care of your vacuum, then your vacuum will take care of you"

Joined: Dec 1, 2004
Points: 1683

Re: Beater Bar vs. No beater bar
Reply #3   Nov 1, 2007 4:44 am
vaclov wrote:
Is there a really big difference in cleaning performance?
It all depends on the brand and model of vacuum cleaner you are talking about.

Vacuum cleaner manufacturers have made great strides to design a brushroll w/o a beater bar that would create results close to a brushroll/agitator w/a beater bar.  They have added brush stiffeners or brushes w/different degrees of stiffness.  Different brush lengths also play a factor. 

Vacuum users wanted to use their uprights to clean their floors.  The only problem was, they did not know how to use the vacuum cleaner properly.  Example, they would lower the height of the upright to the lowest setting; causing the beater bar to knock against the floor.  Or, they would run the vacuum over those metal thresholds.  Boy, what noise that makes.  Vacuum makers, who made agitators w/beater bars slowly started making agitator w/o beater bars.  The main players for the change were Eureka and HOOVER.

There is no fact that beater bars damage or flatten carpeting.  It does not matter what height the vacuum is set at, it will not flatten it.  While the beater bar goes by hitting the carpeting, pushing the fibers away from the brushroll/agitator.  The fibers then snap back up. Plus the brushstrip follows; lifting the nap into place.  HOOVER created the beater bar in 1926 with its principle of "positive agitation".  Even before the invention of the beater bar, competitors of HOOVER "badmouthed" them saying that HOOVER machines damaged carpeting.  This, of course, was not true, because carpeting actually looked better.

Even in the distant past, some vacuum cleaner salesmen like Kirby salesmen would promote their beaterless brushroll as better, because it does not destroy carpeting like a vacuum cleaner w/a beater bar would.  There is one point that I will make and that is that there is an instance when a beater bar will/could damage carpeting.  If a plastic beater bar is gouged or a nail gets caught in the bar, then that could then cause damage to carpeting.

HOOVER continues to top the list for very good carpet cleaning, even w/o a beater bar.  Matsus-h-ita and Tacony Corp. also have very good brushrolls.
This message was modified Nov 1, 2007 by Mike_W

Joined: Nov 2, 2007
Points: 409

Re: Beater Bar vs. No beater bar
Reply #4   Nov 2, 2007 4:47 pm
DC18 wrote:
I personally think beater bars dont give any better performance if you mean a beater bar on a brush bar.  I aways think they flatten the pile of the carpet where as the brushes groom and lift the carpet pile getting more out!

I really believe that is purely subjective; to me it depends on what you're cleaning.  There were many instances where I thought my Hoover 62 gave better performance than my Dyson DC21 or Kirby Ult. G, and vice-versa...I've found it depends on the pile type.  I've used beater bar machines on plush before, and they always did good job of lifting the nap and leaving visible marks.  However, on berber/low-pile I've found that an aggressive brushroll does a better job of loosening ground-in dirt.  I've also found that on high-pile carpets (frieze, shag, etc.) a more gentle brushroll (without stiffeners) works better.  Here I have mostly bare floors which warrant canister use, with the exception of some rugs and low-pile carpeting in one room which I use an upright or power nozzle on.  The beater bar is the first choice for the rugs simply because it lifts it up during the beating action, yet at the same time the brushroll seems better at tackling pet hair. 

What's fascinating to me, though, is comparing the action of different beater-bar equipped machines.  My 700 Special's action is a very gentle tapping, whereas my Kenmore Powermate or 1400-series Eurekas have more of a loud vibration when it comes into contact with the rug.  With the 700, it was so gentle I thought I had the height adjusted wrong until I double-checked it, however, it proved just as effective as the more aggressive Eureka.  I also agree with what Mike said about the plastic beater bars possibly damaging the carpet after being nicked.  I was putting together one of my Eurekas that arrived when I turned it over, and noticed quite a few chips there.  It amazes me what people do to their cleaners; that's never happened to me since I've always been careful of what I pick up.  A little fine-grit sandpaper and elbow grease, though, and it was good as new again.

I've grown to like the brushroll a lot, but I still wish the beater bar was more prevalent on new machines...seems everyone who previously had beater bar machines is going to a 4-row brush these days, although at least the VGI/II-equipped Sanitaires have them.  I'd love to adapt a beater bar P/N to my DC21, it would probably do an even better job than it does now.  
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