What is a Vacuum Hose?

Malcolm Tatum

Vacuum hoses are flexible hoses that are utilized in a number of devices that are designed to remove dirt and debris from a given area. While the vacuum cleaners used in many homes and offices are considered the most common appliances to use a vacuum hose, the accessory is also an integral part of equipment used to clean pools, upholstery and manufacturing floors. A vacuum hose of a different type is used to establish the connection between vacuum brake pipes between vehicles such as railway cars.

A house vacuum utilizing a vacuum hose.
A house vacuum utilizing a vacuum hose.

Because of the different tasks and types of machinery that make use of the vacuum hose, there are a number of variations on this simple flexible hose. A typical vacuum cleaner hose is likely to be no longer than eight to ten feet (2.44 to 3.05 meters) in length. The construction is normally PVC cord enforced to make the hose sturdy while still relatively light. Some hoses made for basic home vacuums feature a round nozzle that allows for easy exchange of various attachments. For example, a canister-style vacuum cleaner may have several attachments that make the appliance useful in vacuuming upholstery and draperies as well as carpeting.

A vacuum hose designed for a shop vacuum is usually heavier in construction and texture than the hoses used with household vacuums. Often, these retractable hoses are wire reinforced. This is because a shop vacuum is designed to pick up heavier objects that would damage the interior of a lightweight hose. The suction created by the motor of the shop vacuum is also stronger than that of a household vacuum, requiring a heavier grade of hose in order to control the hose while in use.

For cleaning pools, the vacuum hose is normally made of waterproof polymers that are flexible enough to allow the hose to travel around the pool and clean the sides while still strong enough to withstand constant exposure to sunlight, pool water and any chemical residue present in the pool. As with all types of vacuums, a pool vacuum hose is normally designed to allow different types of nozzles to be attached to the hose, making it easy to adapt the hose for any type of pool cleaning task.

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While there are some manufacturers that design vacuum hose products that are meant to be interchangeable with many standard models, it is not unusual for the makers of vacuum cleaners to require custom vacuum parts such as a particular design of vacuum plate. As an alternative to purchasing the often more expensive replacement hoses offered by some makers, adapters are sometimes sold to allow a standard hose to be fitted onto a cleaner that would normally require the custom piece. However, even custom hoses and attachments have dropped in price in recent years, minimizing the savings realized by using the generic hoses with adapter kits.

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