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Internal Design - performance Internal Design - performance


  • Failure mode Poor design causes poor performance; bags can fill to quickly and noise levels can be high.
  • Durability feature Need to meet minimum performance requirements.
  • Cost

Good practices

  • Good practicesTest new designs

Bad practices

  • Bad practicesNarrow air pathways

Key facts

  • 28% of vacuum cleaners failed to meet customers’ expectation of a 5-year lifetime.
  • Which? surveys show that the most common faults are loss of suction, blocked filters and brushes.

Icon key

  • Failure mode Failure mode
  • Durability features Durability features
  • Cost saving Cost saving
  • Low cost Low cost
  • Cost neutral Cost neutral
  • High cost High cost

Key failure modes

Poor cleaning performance -

  • The cleaning performance of a vacuum cleaner is not dependent on any one part and is affected by design features.
  • This includes the dimensions of internal parts through which air is sucked and travels through the cleaner & the bag’s surface area.
  • High power rating motors do not always give better performance and can be noisier.
  • Blockages are often exacerbated by poor design.
  • The air flow velocity should be sufficiently high to ensure that dirt particles are suspended in flowing air throughout its passage through the cleaner until trapped by the filter or cyclone, even when the bag filter or cyclone dust collection vessel are full.
  • Blockages should be unusual in normal use.

Bag and filters fill too quickly

  • The bags and containers used to collect dirt in vacuum cleaners should be as large as possible within the design constraints to avoid filling too quickly. Bag’s with too small surface area will restrict air flow so dirt is no longer suspended and can clog the internal parts.
  • Most vacuum cleaners have secondary filters to remove fine particulates, which need to be cleaned or replaced regularly to maintain performance.
  • User guidance should explain how and when to change / clean bags or cyclones and warn that overfull bags can damage cleaners.

Noise level

  • Noise volume depends many features including the dimensions of internal parts, the power rating of the motor (if this is too large) and the effectiveness of sound insulation.

Specification for improved performance

The specification below provides the recommended improvements needed to improve product durability. They are ranked from bronze to gold based on the effectiveness of the change in improving durability, with bronze being the minimum and gold being the maximum.

Good design tested to meet minimum EU standards

  • EU Regulation 666/2013 on the Eco-design of vacuum cleaners will require that vacuum cleaners placed on the EU market from 1 September 2014 to have minimum cleaning performance for carpets of 70% and on hard floors 95% measured using the standard test method.
  • Maximum of 1.0% dust re-emission – this should be easily met
  • Many cleaners can achieve a maximum dust emission (through filters) of no more than 0.04 mg/m3.
  • Noise limit: 666/2013 will require a maximum noise limit of 80dB

Achieves  75% cleaning performance on carpets and 98% on hard floors; <0.01mg/m3  max. dust readmission; Noise limit  <75dB

  • Some cleaners achieve a maximum dust emission (through filters) of < 0.01 mg/m3.
  • The quietest vacuum cleaner on the market achieves a noise level of only 62dB, so specify an arbitrary value of, e.g. <75dB.

Testing to demonstrate performance

  • European standard EN 60312:2013 specifies the procedure used to test the performance of vacuum cleaners. Tests are carried out on hard floors, carpets and upholstery.
  • It is important that the performance with a loaded dust receptacle is measured as well as when empty, the total emissions of dust while vacuum cleaning and the filtration efficiency of the vacuum cleaner are also measured as well as any of the miscellaneous tests that are included in the standard.
  • EN 60704-2-1 specifies the test method to measure noise levels of vacuum cleaners.

Cost implications

Improved reliability of components can reduce early returns and improve brand reputation which, in turn, can lower business costs and increase long-term sales.

To calculate overall cost savings for your business, use the WRAP cost/benefit analysis tool (currently in draft form and available on request).



Minimum performance

Minimum performance requirements will be mandatory so cannot be regarded as an additional cost option. Suppliers will incur R&D costs to improve performance but knowledge gained will benefit all future models so be spread between all future products and the cost per vacuum cleaner will be relatively small.

Low cost

High cost