HOW STUFF WORKS
QUIZZES

FOLLOW US
Vacuum Cleaner Quiz
by Staff
Grab your favorite vacuum attachment and follow us on magic carpet ride to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the most upright (or canister), true-blue and hardworking cleaning accessory in your home, the vacuum cleaner.

Currently, what's the most popular style of vacuum cleaner on the market?

  • Robotic
  • Upright
  • Canister

Although stick vacuum cleaners and cordless sweepers can both be convenient for light cleaning, what one big advantage does a sweeper have over a stick vac?

  • They're more lightweight.
  • They're quieter.
  • They're a lot less expensive.

Robotic vacuums can be convenient because you don't have to be in the room (or even in the house) when they're operating. In tests conducted by Consumer Reports, what was the biggest weakness in the way robotic vacuums clean carpet?

  • They fray carpet fibers.
  • They're less effective than more conventional vacuums at getting into corners and along walls.
  • They have trouble cleaning a conventional living or dining area without recharging.

What's the biggest difference between a cordless stick vacuum and a cordless sweeper?

  • The stick vac is more expensive than a cordless sweeper.
  • A stick vac uses suction while a sweeper utilizes a rotating brush.
  • A stick vac has a disposable bag instead of a reusable cup or other dirt receptacle.

What's the biggest disadvantage of using an upright vacuum cleaner?

  • Cost
  • Portability and maneuverability
  • Longevity

What are two big determiners of how easy a vacuum will be to use on a regular basis?

  • Weight and pushing force
  • Cord length and number of attachments
  • Motor size and wheel diameter

Some vacuums come equipped with filters designed to trap particulates that would otherwise vent back into the room through the machine's exhaust. A common filter standard is HEPA. What does the acronym HEPA stand for?

  • High-efficiency purification amplifier
  • High-efficiency particulate air
  • High-emissions power actuator

What's one of the biggest advantages of using a vacuum cleaner with a bag over a bagless vacuum?

  • It's easy to get shocked by static electricity buildup when emptying a bagless vacuum.
  • Emptying the cup or holding bin in a bagless vacuum can release dirt back into the air.
  • Bagless vacuums aren't as sturdy as standard vacuum cleaners.

When reading the specifications on a vacuum, you'll sometimes see the term "attachment reach." What does that mean, anyway?

  • The length of the cord
  • The combined length of the suction hose and attachments
  • The width of the beater bar

Some vacuum cleaners can get pretty noisy, and a few have been tested at 89 decibels, which is loud enough to cause hearing loss if you aren't wearing ear protection. Of the standard vacuum varieties, which is typically quieter?

  • An upright vacuum
  • A canister vacuum
  • Neither

If your vacuum cleaner has a retractable power cord, you'll spend less time winding, unwinding, uncoiling, detangling and unkinking it. On what type of vacuum are you most likely to find this feature?

  • An upright vacuum
  • A canister vacuum
  • It's a feature widely available in both.

Where's the most convenient spot for a vacuum's on-off switch?

  • Near the beater bar
  • On the handle
  • On the body

What's one of the most convenient features to look for in a vacuum if you have wall-to-wall carpeting?

  • A headlight
  • An edge cleaner
  • Suction control

Self-propelled vacuums are easy to push and maneuver around corners, but you may be sacrificing something important. What?

  • Suction
  • A lightweight unit
  • A wide beater brush

Where vacuums are concerned, one size does not fit all. What do the experts recommend you do if you're thinking about buying a new vacuum.

  • Ask friends and family.
  • Take one for a test run in the retailer's showroom.
  • Rent before you buy.

When was the first vacuum cleaner patented in the United States?

  • 1790
  • 1860
  • 1900

According to Consumer Reports, the noise level of some vacuum cleaners can reach 89 decibels. At what decibel level will you typically start to risk hearing loss?

  • 50 decibels
  • 85 decibels
  • 75 decibels

Canister vacuum technology is beginning to rival that of uprights. Where do canisters really show their stuff?

  • They're lightweight, powerful, maneuverable
  • They're powerful, reliable and the replacement bags are inexpensive.
  • They have great attachment reach and use less energy than uprights.

Using a vacuum with good suction helps get dirt and pet hair out of carpet and also helps keep these two invaders under better control.

  • Fleas and ticks
  • Mold and dust mites
  • Grease and dust (air pollution)

When you're using a cordless vacuum, what should you do to protect the battery?

  • Remove the battery occasionally and let it cure at room temperature.
  • Recharge the battery after each use.
  • Run the battery down periodically.