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(Last Updated On: February 2, 2020)

Have you ever looked underneath your vacuum? If you have, you’ll notice the spinning roll beater brush. This brush is meant to help you clean more efficiently, but well, it’s not always the most helpful little tool.

Like when you use it on your hardwood floors and notice scratches. Using a vacuum without a beater bar on your hardwood is the only way to avoid scratching, and will ensure that your vacuum really sucks everything up instead of throwing debris everywhere.

You probably don’t want to use a vacuum cleaner with a spinning brush for shag, frieze, or Berber style carpets. Even tile or other non-carpet surfaces can be problematic if you have that brush, since the brush will only fling dirt away.

Okay, but what do you do if you have both hardwood and carpet? You want a beater brush to handle the carpets without scratching up your hardwoods. That’s why certain vacuums that can be used on both surfaces are the best option; just click the one switch if you want to use the beater bar. Or you can buy an option that work specifically well for odd types of carpeting.

See the top cordless vacuums for hardwood

Take a look here to learn more about your options for cleaning all types of flooring without scratches or getting your vacuum cleaner stuck.

Your Best Bet

Overall, your best bet will be to choose a canister-style vacuum. These vacuums sit on the floor and have a long hose that sucks up everything, making them easy and light to use. They suck up everything without using a beater brush.

I personally like using the Bissell Zing Canister Vacuum cleaner myself, mostly because of the features and the price. Canister vacuums are great no matter which one you choose though. They’re easy to push around and since you’re just using a hose to clean, it’s easy to get underneath furniture than lots of upright options.

Try – One and Off Switch

You might also have both carpeting and hardwood floors, and want to turn of the beater brush while you clean your hardwoods. Being able to shut off the beater brush will allow you to clear up everything without spreading debris instead.

This type of vacuum cleaner is ideal if you have something like cat litter to suck up. There are other ways to suck up cat litter too, which you can find at my post here.

Within this category of the on/off vacuum cleaner, you can also find options that will clean carpets, hardwoods, and have a mop-style tool to clean up smaller particles on your solid floors. I’ve personally used the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional.

This vacuum can turn the roller brush off and on since it has a separate motor for the brush. Older types of vacuums would have the motor together, but by separating the brushes and the motor, you can just turn those brushes off when you don’t need them. This makes this option pretty ideal.

Why Should You Avoid The Beater Brush?

You probably know by now but the beater brush is problematic on hardwood flooring. Debris just gets thrown around instead of being sucked up, not to mention that you might end up scratching up your hardwood floors in the process.

Roller brushes can be annoying when cleaning them too. Just think of all the hair they get stuck around them that you need to pull out. Even the vacuum cleaner options that try to make this easy for you are still a bit of a pain. Not having a beater brush at all saves you the trouble of dealing with all of us, and rest assured that it will actually still suck up all of your hair.

Unless you have a Berber-style carpet, you can also use something like a Carpet Rake to help you out. This little tool will loosen up the fibers to get the hair out, and then you just have to run over the carpet with your vacuum.

Like the Berber-style carpet, there are other carpets that don’t work well with beater brushes. The brush just ends up getting snagged, or can actually break the fibers of the carpet. This ruins the carpet over time, and can cause the carpet to shed.

You also might have a carpet that requires suction control, since suction that’s too strong can damage the carpet or kill the warranty. Just be sure to read the warranty information on your carpeting before you use your vacuum. Does Roomba work well on Carpet?

Benefits of Beater Brushes

I’ve spent a lot of time here telling you why to avoid the beater brush. But vacuums with beater brushes aren’t all bad. These brushes help to free up the dirt in the carpet, making it easier for your vacuum suction to suck everything up. Dirt can get pretty suck down in there, so having that brush can really help lift everything out.

See Roomba Alternatives

Vacuums To Avoid

Overall, you’ll mostly want to avoid vacuum cleaners that have “auto” height adjustments. Honestly, there’s nothing automatic about these adjustments, sadly. The auto height adjusters just use a plastic plate to guess how high the rollers should be when you’re vacuuming. This is great if you have a home with basic cheap carpets and floors like linoleum, but this type of vacuum certainly doesn’t work well for all types of flooring. You’ll have to use one at your own discretion.

You might just find it easier to use a vacuum cleaner that has a manual adjuster for the height. It would be even better to have an option that turns the beater brush off. Try to pick out a vacuum cleaner that has both of these abilities. If you can find one that controls suction too, there’s no doubt about it: you’ll have the best vacuum cleaner around. 

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