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Vacuum filters are commonplace today - so common, in fact, it may be hard to remember that these have only become standard on most vacuums in the last twenty years.
Prior to that, most vacuums used only a single layer bag and no filters. A few had a small flat disc filter, but the only purpose of that was to keep all of the dirt from entering the motor if the bag failed.
Filters in vacuums didn't really take off until the 1990's, and then what may be the best and worst thing to happen in this industry happened - HEPA filtration. With no standards in place, and with H.E.P.A. being the new buzzword, the manufacturers jumped right on the bandwagon, slapping that logo on all of their boxes and vacuums.
The problem was that most of them simply didn't work. Flat filters, cardboard holders, and filters not actually designed to withstand the airflow/pressure of the vacuum they were going to used in. The design of many vacuums were still leaking air (and dust) before they even reached those final filters, which were only added as an afterthought for marketing purposes.
Today, some of these companies have, sadly, not improved. If filtration and air quality are important to you, you may be surprised to know that only a couple of companies actually test their entire vacuum to achieve a HEPA rating. One of those being Miele, which we are proud to offer to our customers needing the highest filtration standards.