The belts for vacuum cleaners can come in many styles and hundreds of different sizes. Normally, vacuums use a belt to drive an agitation device, which is also known as a brush roller. With very few exceptions, most vacuums will use either a flat belt, round belt, or a geared style belt.
The type of belt that your vacuum uses is very important, not only for durability, but performance as well. The condition and type of belt your vacuum uses will have a lot of impact on the systems ability to clean carpet. The proper use of agitation is almost 70% of the cleaning ability of a vacuum cleaner.
Suction is also very important. The suction is what pulls the dirt that is removed from the carpet into the collection area of the vacuum. The suction, or airflow, is the key when cleaning hard surfaces or when using attachments. Without suction, a vacuum cleaner could only bring more dirt to the surface of carpet. Even though both agitation and suction are important with vacuuming, the agitation is what actually cleans them.
Almost all manufacturers use brush rollers that are made of wood, metal, or even plastic that is driven by a suction or brush motor through the use of three different kinds of belts - round, geared, or flat.
The round belts are the earliest type as they were easy to produce and easy to engineer. The round style, unfortunately, is normally run in the same space as vacuumed dirt. What this means, is that almost all of the dirt, staples, and hair you vacuum up will pass around the belt; cutting, nicking, or even scratching it along the way.
Vacuum cleaner belts have to stretch quite a long way, placing even more stress on the roller and the motor bearings. The round belt is still common, and used even today.
The flat style of belts are most often run in a circular fashion as well, unlike the twisted route the round belt takes to deliver the performance in the proper direction.
The style allow manufacturers to run the belt off of one side of the brush roller, instead of the center where all of the dirt is. This is truly a great innovation, as you can eliminate premature failure due to the soil and dirt in the belt path.
The latest belt design is considered to be the best in the industry. Even though there are many variations out there, the geared belt is the most efficient means to drive a brush. The geared belt is also known as a positive brush system because the energy of the brush motor is transmitted directly to the brush.
Both the brush and the motor are locked by fixed teeth to each other through a cogged belt without tension. The resulting direct connection results in higher cleaning efficiency because the brush can be driven at a faster speed regardless of the age of the belt.
The flat style can stretch as they become warm, which will cause them to lose tension. When you use your vacuum, the belt is always going to stretch. Believe it or not, it will lose it's tension the moment you put it up to rest in the closet.
There is however, one real drawback to geared belts - the cost of the vacuum. Geared belts are normally used on two motor vacuums. Not only does this require a separate suction and brush motor, but it also requires electronic sensory systems to tell you when something is wrong with the brush.