What Is The Working Principle Of A Vacuum Cleaner?

(Last Updated On: September 22, 2022)

A vacuum cleaner is a device that sucks up dust and dirt from floors and carpets through an air duct. There are two types of vacuum cleaners: the portable type and the central-type.

Central Vacuum Cleaners

A central vacuum cleaner has a motor, fan, and filter bag located in the house.

A flexible hose or piping system connects the motor, fan, and filter bag to a variety of cleaning tools.

When switched on, the central vacuum cleaner sucks air through the piping system to create a partial vacuum inside the bag or dirt tank.

Dust is then pulled into the vacuum cleaner’s bag or dirt canister.

Depending on the suction power required, vacuums utilize different powerful electric motors to cause a air pressure difference.

This atmospheric pressure different helps suck in fine particles into the dust bag.

Air then leaves through the exhaust port.

Portable Vacuum Cleaners

A portable vacuum cleaner contains all operating components in its base unit.

The main components are an electric motor that drives a fan, which generates suction to pick up dirt. A fine mesh screen filters out dust particles from being sucked into the machine itself.

Most portable cleaners have crevice tools attached either directly to their body, or beneath their nozzle which allows them access to harder-to-reach places such as upholstery, stairs and corners.

How does suction work for a vacuum?

A vacuum utilizes electric power with a centrifugal fan, this creates air pressure inside.

Whilst all suction mechanisms aren’t the same, the higher pressure created, helps draw in dirt particles through the intake port.

As you get deeper into the vacuum you have more space for air passing through and it has a much lower pressure.

At the suction side, the dirt is sucked through the suction port at high speed. With some cleaner attachments the pressure may be even greater.

As the dirt travels through the air inside the vacuum, the pressure decreases. Eventually at the exhaust you have a negative pressure, expelling the excess air out.

An ideal vacuum cleaner uses a air pump behind the fan which helps push the air stream out just as quick as it comes in.


I hope you enjoyed and learnt how vacuum cleaners work.

This basic mechanism to create suction was originally thought of by Mr James Dyson and the same principle is still used today.

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