Guest Post by James Hall.
Stable cleaning is a vital part of daily life when you have horses. It can even be a rewarding experience – although there are times when it would be nice to have someone else to do it!
Cleaning with a broom or even a standard vacuum cleaner can be inefficient though. If you want to speed up the process for you or your staff, you’ll need something more powerful. Here’s a quick guide to choosing a vacuum cleaner for your stables.
1. Understand the Unique Challenges of Stable Cleaning
The average home vacuum cleaner is built to handle dust, dirt, hair and the occasional small stone. These models are great for cleaning carpets and hard floors, but they don’t have the strength for industrial jobs or stables. Most home vacs, for example, won’t be able to cope with sucking up nails from horse shoes.
Most vacuums also have a small capacity. A dust canister of 2-3 liters is plenty for cleaning a home, but is quickly filled when cleaning large or dirty areas. For this reason, the average Dyson or Miele probably isn’t a good choice.
2. Decide on Your Requirements
There are two options when it comes to buying a vacuum for your stable:
• Wet and Dry Vacuum. “Shop Vacs,” as they are also known, are designed for industrial jobs. They usually have a larger capacity, durable design and can cope with liquids along with dry debris. Nearly all wet and dry vacs use bags, when in dry mode, rather than cyclonic action.
• Farm Vacuum. There are also vacuums designed specifically for use on farms or in stables. These are even bigger than shop vacs, have long hoses to reach into tight spaces, and have a strong exterior to withstand the rough farm environment.
Wet and dry vacuums are much more common, so they are cheaper and easier to find. The best models are also durable – although they can’t match the size and strength of farm vacs. If you have a small stable or just need a vacuum for speeding up your cleaning tasks, a wet and dry vac is probably the best choice.
Farm vacuums are much more “niche,” so there are fewer on the market and they are more expensive. They are more powerful than wet and dry vacuums and have extra features for cleaning barns and stables. These can include a wider floor head for faster cleaning, huge capacity so you don’t need to empty them as often, and a quiet motor to avoid scaring horses.
If you have a large stable with lots of stalls, a farm vacuum is probably the better choice. They make cleaning much faster and safer, so your staff can spend less time maintaining the facilities and more time on other jobs. Two of the most popular are the Elgee Power Vac (in the US) and Big Brute (in the UK).
3. Compare Specifications
Now you know the type of vacuum you need, the next step is to make a shortlist. This could take some time if you’re looking for a wet and dry vacuum. It’ll be a faster process for a farm vac, as there aren’t many on the market!
Always keep in mind your requirements when searching. Here are some factors you might want to consider:
• Do you need to clean large amounts of hay and caked debris? If so, a large vacuum with a filter designed to prevent clogging is a good choice. There’s nothing more frustrating than a vacuum that lose suction every time you use it.
• Do you regularly need to clean liquid spills? If so, look for a wet and dry vacuum that can handle large amounts of water. Bonus points if it can switch between wet and dry modes without changing the filter!
• Which types of floor do you need to clean? A stable vacuum should be able to handle wood, concrete, pavers and rubber, but not all can.
• How big is the area you need to clean? For large areas, look for a vacuum with a wide sweep width. It should also have a hose so you can get into tighter areas.
4. Check Spare Part Availability
Something that’s often overlooked when buying an industrial-strength vacuum is how easy it is to find spare parts.
Home vacuums are cheap in comparison, plus they are mass produced, so it’s often easy to get them repaired. The most powerful vacs – especially farm models – are far less common. Before you buy, make sure you visit the manufacturer’s website and check whether they sell spare parts for a reasonable price.
Bonus Step: Get a Reliable Vacuum for Your Home Too
Vacuuming a stable requires a durable machine that’s powerful and has a large capacity. Home vacuums don’t need to be as strong, but if you spend time in stables you probably bring a lot of animal hair, straw other debris back into the home. For this reason, it’s a good idea to buy a powerful home vacuum too.
Fortunately, there are plenty of great home vacs that excel with hair and larger debris. The Miele C3 Cat and Dog is my top pick, as it has a turbo brush for carpets, large bagged capacity and is great on pet hair.
The right vacuum can make cleaning safer and faster. Whether you run a small stable or a commercial enterprise, a stable vacuum can make your work more efficient. It’s important to consider your requirements before you buy though, as a farm vacuum can be an expensive investment. Factors such as the size of the stable, type of floor and your budget all affect the best choice.