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Vacuum Cleaner Accessories: What They Are & How to Use Them

Written by James Hall |

vacuum cleaner accessories

Vacuum cleaners come with a range of tools and extras to make them more versatile. In this article, we’ll go through the most important vacuum cleaner accessories and how to use them.

It’s easy to forget about your vacuum’s tools and accessories when rushing to finish cleaning the home. This is a mistake, as vacuum accessories can help you to clean faster and more efficiently.

The wide range of tools and attachments can be confusing though. So, if you’re not sure what your vacuum’s accessories are for, this guide should help!

The Three Most Common Vacuum Accessories

There are many vacuum accessories available, but there are three that are included with almost every model: crevice tool, dusting brush, and upholstery nozzle. If you want to vacuum effectively, you need to know how to use these tools!

Crevice Tool

Crevice tool

The crevice tool is probably the most important vacuum accessory, which is why it’s included with pretty much every vac we’ve reviewed. This tool has a thin design and an angled end, allowing you to get into tight corners, edges, and other tricky areas.

Use For: Skirting boards, floor edges (including the edge of stair steps), between furniture cushions, other awkward locations

Dusting Brush

Dusting brush

Dusting brushes have soft bristles for cleaning areas that might be scratched by the crevice tool or hose. They are an essential accessory if you want to clean more than just your floors.

Use For: Windowsills, blinds, lampshades, shelves

Tip: Standard dusting brushes are soft and designed for delicate surfaces. Some vacuum brands also sell dusting brushes with stiffer bristles (such as Dyson’s “stubborn dirt brush”) for removing dried dirt, mud, and other tough jobs. These are useful, but don’t use them on surfaces that are easy to scratch!

Upholstery Tool

Upholstery nozzle

Upholstery tools are wider than the bare hose or crevice tool, but don’t have rotating bristles that could damage delicate fabrics. Many upholstery tools also have a lint catcher and are great for removing debris from furniture.

Use For: Sofas, cushions, carpeted stairs (if your vacuum doesn’t have a turbo tool)

Other Vacuum Tools and Accessories

Along with the three standard tools, most vacuum manufacturers sell a range of other accessories. These are often more specialised than the regular tools, but can make your vacuum more versatile.

Turbo Brush

Turbo brush

This tool has a rotating brush that helps to remove more dirt and hair. It’s an essential tool for pet owners, as you can use it to get rid of hair that’s caught on dog beds, carpeted stairs, and sofas.

Don’t use a turbo tool on delicate fabrics though. The rotating brush can cause damage.

Use For: Removing pet hair in carpets and upholstery that can’t be cleaned by the main floorhead

Hard Floor Sweeper

Hard floor nozzle

Hard floor sweepers are wide attachments with soft bristles. They are great for quickly cleaning large areas of tile and hardwood floors without causing damage.

Use for: Hard floors (hardwood, tile, laminate, vinyl)

Flexible Crevice Tool

Flexible crevice tool

Crevice tools are an important tool for vacuuming down small cracks or other awkward locations, but they are often limited in length. They also have a rigid design.

To combat this issue, you can buy a flexible crevice tool. These are often longer than standard crevice tools and can bend to get into tight locations.

Use For: Cleaning between cabinets, down the side of a fridge, other tight locations

Extension Wand

Extension wand

As the name suggests, an extension wand gives you greater reach for cleaning ceilings and other high locations. The rigid design means you don’t need to hold your arm up so high, which is useful for preventing strain.

Use For: Cobwebs, fan blades, light fittings, tall furniture

Extension Hose

Extension hose

An extension wand also increases the reach of your vacuum. Unlike an extension wand, the bendy design of a hose means that this tool is useful for cleaning in car interiors and behind furniture, rather than high locations.

Use For: Car interiors, behind furniture

Mattress Tool

Mattress Tool

Mattress tools are often similar to upholstery nozzles, with a wide design and non-motorised construction. The best mattress tools are designed to avoid sticking on the surface though, which is a common issue when vacuuming mattresses.

Use For: Mattresses, sofas

Radiator Brush

Radiator brush

Radiator brushes have stiff bristles in a cylinder pattern. This makes it a useful tool for cleaning column radiators, especially when there is a stubborn dirt build-up.

Use For: Column radiators

Adjustable-Angle Tool

Adjustable angle tool

If you have high furniture or cabinets, then an adjustable angle tool can make it much easier to clean the tops. You can usually attach other tools to this accessory, such as a dusting brush. The tool in the picture above is the Dyson up-top adaptor, but other brands sell similar accessories.

Use For: Cleaning above furniture, on-top of cabinets, and other high surfaces

Car Nozzle (Wet and Dry Vacuums Only)

Nozzle tool

Some wet and dry vacuums come with a wedge-shaped vacuum tool. This is a thin tool that’s designed to maximise suction, so it can pick up grit and other debris that can be difficult to remove with a regular attachment.

Use For: Car interiors

Pet grooming attachments use your vacuum’s suction power to remove loose hair from your pet. We don’t recommend these tools, as they can be frightening for the pet and may be dangerous in some situations. Instead, use tools that are designed for pet grooming.

What is a Combination Tool?

Some vacuum cleaners come with a combination tool rather than separate accessories. These usually combine the dusting brush with another accessory.

For example, the Shark AZ910UKT has a combination tool that acts as both a crevice tool and a dusting brush, depending on whether you slide the brush down.

While combination tools are common and can still be useful, we prefer separate tools.


Vacuum cleaner attachments are essential for making your machine more versatile. That’s why the included accessories is one of the key categories we rate when reviewing a vacuum cleaner.

Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to make the most of their vacuum cleaner’s accessories. We hope this article has helped you work out which tools can help clean your home.

Do you have any questions about vacuum cleaner accessories? Please use the comments form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. You may also want to read our guide to choosing a vacuum cleaner.

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