Most vacuum cleaners are supplied with numerous specialized attachments, such as tools, brushes and extension wands, which allow them to reach otherwise inaccessible places or to be used for cleaning a variety of surfaces. The most common of these tools are:
- Hard floor brush (for non-upright designs)
- Powered floor nozzle (for canister designs)
- Dusting brush
- Crevice tool
- Upholstery nozzle
The performance of a vacuum cleaner can be measured by several parameters:
- Airflow, in litres per second [l/s] or cubic feet per minute (CFM or ft³/min)
- Air speed, in metres per second [m/s] or miles per hour [mph]
- Suction, vacuum, or water lift, in pascals [Pa] or inches of water
Other specifications of a vacuum cleaner are:
- Weight, in kilograms [kg] or pounds [lb]
- Noise, in decibels [dB]
- Power cord length and hose length (as applicable)
The suction is the maximum pressure difference that the pump can create. For example, a typical domestic model has a suction of about negative 20 kPa. This means that it can lower the pressure inside the hose from normal atmospheric pressure (about 100 kPa) by 20 kPa. The higher the suction rating, the more powerful the cleaner. One inch of water is equivalent to about 249 Pa; hence, the typical suction is 80 inches (2,000 mm) of water.
The power consumption of a vacuum cleaner, in watts, is often the only figure stated. Many North American vacuum manufacturers give the current only in amperes (e.g. "6 amps"), and the consumer is left to multiply that by the line voltage of 120 volts to get the approximate power ratings in watts. The rated input power does not indicate the effectiveness of the cleaner, only how much electricity it consumes.
After August 2014, due to EU rules, manufacture of vacuum cleaners with a power consumption greater than 1600 watts were banned within the EU, and from 2017 no vacuum cleaner with a wattage greater than 900 watts was permitted.
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