Cleaning your floors thoroughly and effectively requires the right tool for the job. You may be vacuuming thick and comfy carpeting, traditional hardwood, area rugs, berber carpet, tile, or some combination of all of these. But your vacuum can’t perform if you don’t choose a suitable attachment. In some cases, using the wrong attachment could even damage delicate flooring or rugs.
For bare floors, i.e. tile, wood, or linoleum, the best attachments to use (in order of effectiveness) are the bare floor brush, combo tool, and power nozzle.
Bare Floor Brush: usually comes standard with canister and central vacuums, the brush has rows of bristles to gently sweep the floor while the suction removes the debris. This tool is made specifically for bare floors, and will not work on carpeting. Bristles may be a combination of natural and nylon hair, and width ranges from 10” – 16”.
Combo Tool: standard with vacuums like the Miele S6 Contour, the combo tool has bristles that retract with a rocker switch – bristles for bare floors, no bristles for low pile carpeting.
Power Nozzle: this tool is the least effective option for cleaning bare floors as there are no bristles like a bare floor brush or combination tool. However, it will suffice if the agitator is turned off, but keep in mind the agitator on some power nozzles cannot be adjusted.
There are three main attachments for cleaning carpeting. The effectiveness of the tool depends on the pile of carpeting, and the presence of animal hair.
Power Nozzle: this tool goes by many names including: power head, power brush, and beater bar, but no matter what you call it it’s the best tool for cleaning low-, mid-, and high-pile carpet. The agitator is powered by a separate motor and an electrified hose and wand is needed to support this attachment. The power allows the brushes to spin and loosen trapped dirt and pet hair from deep fibers to provide a thorough cleaning.
Turbo Nozzle: the agitator in this light duty floor attachment is driven by the air flow of the vacuum and a turbine inside the nozzle. It does not require an electrified wand or hose. This type of brush head is best for cleaning low- to medium- pile carpets, but is not the most effective for removing animal hair.
Combo Tool: Again, the bristles on a combo tool retract for cleaning mid- to low-pile carpet but do not provide agitation for the loosening of trapped matter. The tool will simply glide over the top of the carpeting, while the vacuum provides the suction to remove loose debris. Please note: this tool is not effective for eliminating pet hair on carpeted surfaces because it does not have an agitator.
Most upright vacuums are designed for use on carpeting and only come with a power head. As mentioned above some power heads can be turned off which will allow for use on bare flooring, however, this is not available on all uprights. Since the floor tool on a canister can be changed based upon the flooring type, we find the canister vacuums to be the most versatile for homes with a mix of carpeting and bare floor surfaces.