Cleaning & Restoration Tools and Gadgets / Carpet/Rug/Upholstery Cleaning

Taking a Hard Look at Hard Locking Connectors

Be your connectors hard or soft, there are solutions for you. But more and more, I see professionals moving to the hard plasticized connectors.

When I order tacos for lunch, I’m always asked, “Would you like that in a hard or soft shell?” You may find yourself getting the same question from your local distributor when you say, “I need a 2-inch cuff for my hose.”

“Well,” he answers. “I can get you that in the soft pliable cuff or the hard locking connectors. Which would you like?” 

More and more, I see professionals moving to the hard plasticized connectors, locking cuffs that give a sure connection for just about any carpet cleaning hose configuration. To the best of my knowledge, there are currently four different brands of these types of connectors:
  • Cool Cuffs by Wanders
  • Snap N Lock by Masterclean
  • Cuff Lynx by Mytee
  • Flash Cuffs by Hydro-Force

Instead of trying to wade through a morass of “this is better than that,” I asked representatives of each company to simply tell me about the advantages of using their version of a hard locking connector over the typical vinyl cuff and barbed connector system, and then let their customers (and my readers) decide for themselves what makes the most sense for them.

Durability seems to be a consistent theme.  “Our connectors have an 8-year track record of proven durability,” Wanders’ Joe Bristor said. “Anyone who has ever used vinyl cuffs has experienced frustration as the cuffs age and stretch, and then won’t hold onto the barbed connecters or the cleaning equipment.  This won’t happen with the new hard connectors.”

 “We’ve driven a truck over these, and they don’t break,” Hydro-Force’s Jared Twitchell said of his company’s connectors. “We’ve thrown them full force at the concrete after freezing them in sub-zero temperatures, and they just won’t break.”

Working in cold weather with the old-style cuffs has caused many a nightmare for the professional cleaner. What is pliable in hot weather can become immovable and impossible to work with when it gets cold. Almost all hard connectors snap or screw together with ease no matter the temperature.

Depending on the manufacturer, hard connectors are designed to fit different brands and sizes of hose. They will also attach to truckmounts, portables, filters and most wands to give professionals as much flexibility as possible. Sal Muscarella with Masterclean says that his connectors “include the hose-to-hose connection, the starter that attaches to the 2-inch Leaf Trap inlet, and the 2-inch-to-1.5-inch hose reducer.”

We all understand the importance and keeping the vacuum flow at the maximum level. When you use the old-style barb connectors, by inserting it between hose sections you cause restriction because it reduces the inside diameter of the hose at that point. In studies I have both seen and been a part of, it has always been shown that increasing air flow to your wand will decrease drying times.  Leaky hoses, cuffs that leak, and restrictions in your hoses must be reduced to speed up the dry times and keep your customers happy.

We are seeing more professionals incorporate the new connectors in their unique hose runs where they use 2.5-inch hose or run two 2-inch hoses to the door of the home before reducing back to a single 2-inch run. If you are curious as how you might try one of these set ups, most local distributors have the products in their showrooms and are more than willing to put on a demonstration for you.

When discussing air flow with Mytee Products’ John Lebarbera, he reminded me that “the swivel assemblies on most hard locking connectors are so much better than those available on the vinyl cuffs. They have a much better seal so leaking air, and loss of vacuum just isn’t a problem.

“Working in the winter is hard enough,” Lebarbera said. “I’m glad I can make it just that much easier by reducing the strain of working with stiff vinyl cuffs.”

Everyone who’s been in the business for any length of time has experienced having sections of vacuum hose coming apart and upsetting the flow of the job as you work to get it back together.  If you’re like me, you’ve been hit in the head one too many times when reeling the hose into the truck, having the hose come loose between sections and whipping back to smack you solidly where your hair used to grow.

Our early solution to this problem and still a viable option to keep vinyl cuffs together: the Vac Strap.  It’s a simple Velcro strap invented by a carpet cleaner to keep the hose sections together.   But to achieve a more compact and sure connection, consider using one of the new hard locking connector sets. It is practically impossible for them to come apart unless you want them to. You can drape a hose over the balcony 10 stories up, and the better connectors will hold all the hose weight and more; fact is, the hose is more likely to fail and split before the connector.

We all owe our thanks to the inventors of these time- and hassle- saving connectors.  When looking for them at your local distributor, consider durability, ease of use, flexibility in meeting different applications, and availability when choosing the connector system that is right for you.

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Recent Articles by Gordon Hanks

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