~Belts And Performance

The belts for vacuum cleaners can come in many styles

and hundreds of different sizes.  Normally, vacuums

use a belt to drive an agitation device, which

is also known as a brush roller.  With very few

exceptions, most vacuums will use either a flat

belt, round belt, or a geared style belt.

The type of belt that your vacuum uses is very

important, not only for durability, but performance

as well.  The condition and type of belt your

vacuum uses will have a lot of impact on the systems

ability to clean carpet.  The proper use of

agitation is almost 70% of the cleaning ability of

a vacuum cleaner.  

Suction is also very important.  The suction is

what pulls the dirt that is removed from the carpet

into the collection area of the vacuum.  The 

suction, or airflow, is the key when cleaning

hard surfaces or when using attachments.  Without

suction, a vacuum cleaner could only bring more

dirt to the surface of carpet.  Even though both

agitation and suction are important with vacuuming,

the agitation is what actually cleans them.

Almost all manufacturers use brush rollers that

are made of wood, metal, or even plastic that

is driven by a suction or brush motor through

the use of three different kinds of belts - round,

geared, or flat.

The round belts are the earliest type as they 

were easy to produce and easy to engineer.  The

round style, unfortunately, is normally run in

the same space as vacuumed dirt.  What this means,

is that almost all of the dirt, staples, and

hair you vacuum up will pass around the belt; 

cutting, nicking, or even scratching it along the


Vacuum cleaner belts have to stretch quite a long

way, placing even more stress on the roller and

the motor bearings.  The round belt is still

common, and used even today.

The flat style of belts are most often run in a

circular fashion as well, unlike the twisted

route the round belt takes to deliver the

performance in the proper direction.  

The style allow manufacturers to run the belt off

of one side of the brush roller, instead of the

center where all of the dirt is.  This is truly a

great innovation, as you can eliminate premature

failure due to the soil and dirt in the belt path.

The latest belt design is considered to be the

best in the industry.  Even though there are many

variations out there, the geared belt is the 

most efficient means to drive a brush.  The

geared belt is also known as a positive brush system

because the energy of the brush motor is 

transmitted directly to the brush.

Both the brush and the motor are locked by

fixed teeth to each other through a cogged belt

without tension.  The resulting direct connection

results in higher cleaning efficiency because 

the brush can be driven at a faster speed

regardless of the age of the belt.  

The flat style can stretch as they become warm,

which will cause them to lose tension.  When

you use your vacuum, the belt is always going to

stretch.  Believe it or not, it will lose it's

tension the moment you put it up to rest in the


There is however, one real drawback to geared

belts - the cost of the vacuum.  Geared belts

are normally used on two motor vacuums.  Not

only does this require a separate suction and

brush motor, but it also requires electronic

sensory systems to tell you when something is

wrong with the brush.

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