What's a vacuum powerhead, power bar or power nozzle and what is it used for?
A. Although there are some vacuum models that come with a powerhead that is designed for either hard floors or carpets, generally a powerhead attachment is used for enhanced cleaning of carpets. Some canister vacuums come with a standard floor tool for hard surfaces plus a powerhead for carpets. Also referred to as a power head, power nozzle, beater bar or power bar, this vacuum accessory is designed with either a motor or air-driven brush that lifts and pulls hair and dirt from deep within carpet fibers. Since powerheads usually have stiff bristles, they're not a good tool for hard surfaces or wood floors because they could scratch while cleaning. Your product manual will confirm whether your vacuum's powerhead is designed for carpets only, or is safe for hard floors.
While you can vacuum carpets with a standard floor attachment and remove surface dirt, a powerhead is much more effective for deep cleaning. A mini powerhead (available with certain vacuum models), is very convenient for vacuuming carpeted stairs, upholstery or vehicle interiors.
Powerheads generally increase the purchase cost of a vacuum by as much as $100, but are worth the cost if your home has carpets. If you have mostly hard surface floors, look for a vacuum with a large standard floor tool instead, which would be more practical for your needs.
Vacuum powerheads require routine care and maintenance to keep them in good working order. Learn more about vacuum powerheads and caring for one in Powerhead Basics.
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