Are you new to the word ‘Vacuum Filters’ and don’t know how they influence the vacuum you purchase? Are you allergic to various allergens in the air and want to find the best vacuum filter that will help you remove them? A quick look through this article will explain to you everything you need to know.

Vacuum cleaners’ working is simple: they use a fan connected by an electric motor that sucks in air. All the dust particles, hair or debris, are sucked by it and thrown in a separate sack or canister.

However, as vacuum cleaners’ usage increased, it was found that the vacuum cleaners, rather than decreasing, increased dust particles in the air. This caused an increase in allergies, even in healthy people. The cause of this was the attached bags from which the dust and debris escaped.

With the advancement of technology, these bags or sacks are replaced by Vacuum Cleaner Filters.

Why Vacuums Need Filters?

Vacuum cleaners have replaced mops and dusting feathers in the long run. The reason is that mops and dusting feathers, rather than collecting dust, release it back into the atmosphere, causing a rapid air pollution increase.

According to research, indoor air pollution is several times more dangerous than outdoor air pollution. It leads to several heart and lung diseases such as pneumonia in children, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Ischemic heart disease, respiratory tract irritation, and many more.

To prevent these hazardous diseases, vacuum filters are preferred to be put in vacuum cleaners for extra protection. The vacuum filters filter the air from dust particles, hair, and debris and release clean air into the environment. There are several types of vacuum filters used, and the main difference between all of them is the efficiency with which they remove allergens and toxins from the environment.

Classes of Filters

When we think of filters, mostly only cleaning the air and removing dust particles comes into mind, but that’s not true. Filtering the atmosphere is much more complicated than that. The vacuum cleaners suck in air particles and dirt, clear most airborne dust and expel the clean air from its exhaust. The best vacuum cleaners are those that have all the filters that do this task.

Primary Vacuum Filters:

Primary filters are what we can say, the ‘first line of defense.’ They are active when the dust particles, debris, and pet hair are sucked into the vacuum. A large part of the dust particles is cleaned with the help of the primary filter.

The primary filters are mostly made of different materials, such as foam, synthetic materials, pleated paper, etc. The dust particles get stuck on the material, and the clean air passes through easily. Some primary filters are reusable and can be removed periodically and cleaned.

After being cleaned by the primary filter, the air is then exposed to a secondary filter for further purification.

Secondary Vacuum Filters:

Secondary vacuum filters are essential, especially for people with allergies, as it further cleans air already filtered once by primary filters.

Immediately after the primary filter, the secondary filter deals with allergens, pet hairs, and airborne germs that are the primary reason for allergies in people. The filter is connected to protect the vacuum generator. Therefore, the air cannot harm the sensitive parts of the machinery.  It also clears the environment and makes sure that healthy and clean air is ejected from the vacuum’s exhaust.

Types of Filters

Different kinds of filters are readily available in the market for different kinds and models of vacuums. They have their unique shape, composition, and working. It makes them versatile in different environments and also gives customers a variety to choose from.

They are explained as follows.

  1. Bagged Filters: They are most commonly the filters that collect dust particles and debris. Air is passed through the bagged filters. The bag collects the dust particles, and the vacuum pushes clean air outside the pocket. The bag catches all the small particles that the paper filter does not pass, and exhausts throw clean air.

Afterward, the bag is removed and thrown away with the debris collected. Because of the debris catching properties, they are most commonly used as primary filters. Unlike vacuum filters, they are available in several designs.

  1. Cartridge Filters:  Cartridge filters are the most common type of bag filters that are used. They are eco-friendly, meaning that you can use them again and again. Just slide out the filter with the help of rubber casting on the border of the filter. These rubber castings provide a strong close and are also easier to fix. After removing the filter, you can dust out the filter and use them again. This feature makes it favorable for customers.

According to the vacuum model, the cartridge filters can be used as both primary and secondary filters. Not only that, but they are also available in several shapes such as round, rectangle, square, cylinder, and other unique shapes. They are mostly made of a material like paper, foam, pleated paper, fiber, and other synthetic materials.

  1. Foam Filters: These filters are another included in the list of eco-friendly filters used in vacuums. They are mostly used as secondary filters and can only pass air that is already filtered by primary filters and rid of dust, debris, and hair. Being eco-friendly, they can be easily cleaned or washed. However, caution is recommended. Always read the vacuum cleaner’s manual to make sure that it is being handled correctly.
  2. Cloth Filters: In addition to being environmentally friendly, the unique quality of cloth filter is exceptionally durable. They last for a long time and need less washing as compared to other filters. They also have a large size. They are used in shops, malls, construction sites, and other larger offices and buildings. Since they need to be replaced less commonly, they are also cost-effective.
  3. Disk Filters: Disk filters are named after their shape, similar to the coffee filter. They are mostly made of paper or fiber. In contrast to the cloth filter, they need to be changed frequently and are smaller in size. Their compact size is primarily used in robotic vacuum cleaners or portable/cordless vacuum cleaners. Because of their unique shape and association with the latest vacuum models, they are expensive compared to other bagged vacuum filters.
  4. Bagless Filters: These are the filters similar in composition to the bagged filters. The difference is that they have a ‘vacuum’ feature embedded in them. Because of this additional feature, the filtration system is separated by primary and secondary filters. This feature has helped us to get rid of the large and bulky vacuum models. Robotic and smart cordless vacuums now replace them. They are easier to use and carry around.

Filtration Methods:

We cannot depend entirely upon tools if we don’t know their methods of usage. We should know not only the types of filters but also some filtration methods where these filters are used. They are as follows.

  1. Mechanical Filtration:

This is the method in which air pushes dust particles, dust, and debris through a filter. The filter catches the particles and debris, and so clean air is passed through the filter. Mostly particles that are filtered through this method are 0.12 Pico meter or larger. Primary vacuum filters work on this methodology. They can be used in homes, offices, buildings, malls, and other such places. It does decrease the dust, but toxicity, not so much.

  1. Chemical Filtration:

These are commonly used in industrial areas or highly populated areas where toxic air is very high. They change the chemical properties of air, absorbing in poisonous gases, and releasing clean air. This also helps in preventing and delaying corrosion. Secondary vacuum filters mostly use this method.

Features of Vacuum Cleaner Filters:

Whenever we talk about the types and features of vacuum cleaner filters, misunderstandings always seem to arise. Some vacuum filters that people generalize as ‘types’ are actually just the features of vacuum cleaner filters—some of the features as discussed below.

  1. HEPA Filters: HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Efficiency) is a common standard used for filtration.  All kinds of filters that fill the requirement of capturing 99.97 percent of 0.3 microns dust particles are HEPA vacuum filters. Their efficiency is proved in laboratories. Not only do they decrease dust particles in the air, but they also reduce the frequency with which you clean.

Some people raise the question, wondering whether you can be allergic to the HEPA filter, but it is not valid. There have been no instances that show that the HEPA vacuum filters worsen your environment or your symptoms. They reduce indoor air pollution and are also great for cleaning pet hair, further benefiting people with allergies.  

For highly efficient air filtration, it is a must for the HEPA filter to be airtight. If it is not airtight, the unfiltered air is sure to escape from the sides, reducing its efficiency. Make sure to check the HEPA filter is adequately rated and has a serial number on the vacuum. If it doesn’t have these two things, avoid buying as they may not be up to the correct standards that you want for yourself.

  1. ULPA Filters: Just like HEPA filters, they are also a standard. ULPA stands for Ultra Low Penetration Air and is mostly used where a high level of clean air is necessary, such as clinics, hospitals, and laboratories. On the downside, they have a low lifespan and have to be changed frequently.
  2. Pet Filters: For people allergic to pet hairs, this filter is the ideal option. They remove not only pet hairs but also pet odor. A little baking soda added to such filters makes the air breathable for pet allergic people.
  3. Micro fresh Filters: These are the filters that inhibit microbes’ growth, such as bacteria and fungi. We do not consider it a different type; the chemical used in these filters is applied as a combination with other types of filters. This ensures the sterilization of air in addition to purification.
  4. Allergen Filters: They are said to have an excellent filtration capability to remove the smallest particles from the air. However, according to research, they are still less capable than HEPA filters and cannot capture the smallest particles as HEPA filters can.
  5. Wet/Dry Filters: Unlike other filters that can be used with any vacuum, they are only specific for wet/dry vacuums. If they are used with any different kind, these filters lose their potent efficiency.
  6. Scented Filters: Some filters release an unpleasant odor after vacuuming due to anti-bacterial filters attached to them. These scented filters can be added to regular secondary filters to make air clean and sweet-scented.
  7. Carbon/Charcoal: Just like scented filters add pleasing odor to the environment, carbon/charcoal filters remove the odor-causing particles from the surroundings.
  8. Washable Filters: These filters are eco friendly and are designed to be washed and cleaned after regular intervals. Such filters are cost-effective, and they are always labeled prominently since not all filters provide this capability.
  9. Water Filters: In such filters, water is used in addition to the air to push the dust particles and debris to filter and clean air out. This not only captures dirt but also is useful for microbes and allergens. Of course, the water needs to be replaced at regular intervals properly.  
  10. Lifetime Filters: true to their name, these filters tend to outlive the vacuums they are set in. They don’t lose their efficiency at all and can be used for up to ten years. Due to the high-quality filters, the vacuums are costly, and only a few companies offer such models.


Finally, now, we know all about vacuum filters and the methods used to purify our air. It will be ideal if you consider your surroundings and environment where you will use the vacuum. Level and kind of dust and debris are, of course, very different in populated areas than villages.

Another point you should consider is which filter is feasible. Can you afford a super expensive vacuum with a lifetime filter, or a standard vacuum with a changeable filter is more economical for you?

Another point may be that are there any people with different allergies in your house who will appreciate vacuums with strong secondary filters? There are many types of choices to choose from—the best way to select your favorite vacuum cleaner filter to know precisely what you want.