The are many different types of vacuum cleaners and carpet cleaning machines but they all work by using the same principal or idea. A vacuum is created in a tube or system and air is drawn into the system through a filter which catches debris and then the air is diffused from the unit out of an exhaust.
The residential upright unit uses the suction principal combined with a spinning brush at the suction opening which is located on the bottom of the vacuum cleaner. As the brush, which is commonly known as a beater bar, spins at a high rate of speed this beats the carpet and pushes and debris toward the suction opening. Once the debris has reached the suction opening air forces the debris into a filter bag which catches the debris but lets the air pass through. Once the air moves passed the filter bag it is expelled through an exhaust vent usually located on the handle box unit of the vacuum cleaner. Residential units are given this name because they usually have one vacuum motor that runs the whole vacuum cleaner. This vacuum motor spins the brush and also operates the suction fan. Due to increased stress on one vacuum motor these types of vacuum cleaners do not have the longevity of a commercial vacuum but are priced relatively low.
Commercial units work on the same principal as residential vacuums but are built for abuse and constant operation. Commercial vacuum parts are usually readily available and can be replaced by a certified technician. Most commercial vacuums utilize two vacuum motors, one running the beater brush and the other running the suction fan or fans. These types of vacuums also utilize that latest technologies by using circuit boards to distribute the power to two vacuum motors only when needed. On some newer commercial units when the suction wand is used the beater brush motor will turn off or divert extra power for suction utilizing the entire motor potential of the vacuum.
Wet dry vacs work on the same vacuum suction principal but extra safeguards must be put in place so that water does not come in contact with any electrical components or the vacuum motor. Wet dry vacuum motors are usually positioned on top of a debris canister and air is drawn in through the hose and up through the vacuum motor to an exhaust vent positioned on top. If water starts to reach the motor at the top of the canister a floating ball will close of the opening into the motor saving the motor from water damage. All on and off switches and electrical components on wet dry vacuums are sealed to prevent water penetration.
Cyclonic vacuums use high powered motors to create a vortex in the vacuum which creates suction. A beater bar pushes debris into the suction tube which is then drawn up into a sealed canister. Once in the canister the debris is moved toward the outer walls using centrifugal forces. The debris then slows down and is dropped into the bottom of the canister by utilizing gravity. Most cyclonic vacuums don’t use filter bags but sometimes this can compromise air quality because of escaping dust particles.
These days different types of vacuums are made for a specific purpose. It is recommended that you purchase a vacuum that fits it’s duties. If you plan to use your vacuum cleaner multiple hours everyday of the week it is not advisable to buy a residential vacuum cleaner. You will save money up front but most residential vacuums will probably not hold up over time and you will have to replace it faster. If wet floors are an issue then your best bet is a wet dry vacuum, most upright dry vacuums can stand some water but it will effect the performance of your vacuum cleaner over time.