Do you have a spacious home? Does that make your vacuuming more difficult? Does a standard vacuum seem to make vacuuming even worse than normal? Central vacuum systems are actually one of the most efficient systems available and are like using your house to help with cleaning. Central systems can make cleaning more accessible and easier than traditional vacuums.
How Do Central Vacuum Systems Work?
Central vacuum systems are pretty straightforward to operate. Standard vacuums need to be carried with you when you clean, but central systems essentially turn your entire house into a vacuum system.
A central vacuum system will require that a power unit be permanently installed into your home, usually somewhere like your basement or garage, where it won’t be intrusive or get in your way. These power units are like the motors of normal vacuums.
The power unit works through pipes that are hidden in the walls of the house, sending suction to each wall outlet. When you insert the vacuum house in the outlet, the suction power will engage. You can also personally control the suction power through a switch located on your vacuum’s handle.
This suction pulls debris and dirt into the unit, where a filtration system is located. Then, all the debris will travel to a container to be stored, just like any other vacuum. The vacuum can also remove dirty air and circulate clean and fresh air back inside.
If you need to vacuum a different room or part of your house, you’ll need to unplug and re-plug the vacuum back into another outlet.
Why Invest in a Central Vacuum System?
Central vacuums are probably not the most popular vacuum style these days, but they’re worth understanding so you can see if this system is right for you. Plus, they do offer some specific advantages over standard vacuum models.
Central Vacuums are More Convenient
What is likely the top advantage to central vacuums is their ease of use and convenience. With traditional vacuums, you need to push your unit along when cleaning different areas. Some standard vacuums do offer stick or handheld versions that are lighter and easier to maneuver, but these can have less suction power and range than normal.
Central vacuums offer the advantage of only requiring you to move their hose and wand. They are easy to plug into ports and can even be stored near them for your convenience.
Central vacuums definitely save you and your muscles some effort and strain. Traditional units can be bulky, a limiting factor when you want to be mobile during cleaning while also avoiding injury or dropping your vacuum. Central vacuums eliminate this issue.
Standard vacuums can require a lot of time for maintenance and cleaning. By contrast, central vacuums require far less upkeep. This is because they use dust canisters that can hold far more dirt than a standard vacuum, meaning you’ll probably need to empty them out once every three months. Emptying these canisters also doesn’t require that you take your whole vacuum apart.
In addition, central vacuums have more longevity because they’re built into your home. This means they’ll likely not need to be replaced as often as a standard vacuum, which saves you a lot of money.
Improved Air Quality
HEPA vacuums actually offer far fewer features and capabilities than central vacuums. They also offer less suction power and require more upkeep. Most importantly, HEPA vacuums are inferior to central vacuums in the filtration department. Since central vacuums are larger and connected to your house, they have the ability to suck air out of your home which purifies it. This particular feature is great for people with allergies, asthma, or those who have pets. People with sensitivities to dust and allergens might also benefit from not having to maintain their vacuum as much, since cleaning vacuums and emptying dust bags exposes you to dust and irritants.
Increases Your Home’s Value
Here’s an interesting perk: Houses that have central vacuum systems built in are worth more than homes without them. This is probably due to the added convenience and features that it provides. Maybe this isn’t something that’s relevant to you now, but it’s something you might want to remember for the future. This perk is mostly applicable to someone considering putting their house up for sale, since it’s an investment that could serve you well in the future in terms of property value.
They’re More Efficient
Earlier, it was mentioned that central vacuum systems offer better suction power. This is because traditional vacuums are limited by their size and their power capacity. With their smaller motors, they can’t generate as much power as central vacuums.
Increased suction power is important because it makes your cleaning more effective and efficient. If you have carpet in your home, you’ll appreciate a stronger suction power and the ability to purify your indoor air.
Simply put, central vacuums do their jobs better than traditional ones. They just clean better! If you’re feeling convinced by these perks, keep reading to find out how to pick the vacuum system that’s right for you.
How to Choose a Central Vacuum System
Purchasing a central vacuum system isn’t the same as buying a traditional vacuum, though some things remain the same. We’re looking for something with power, value for money, and features that complement your particular situation.
One thing you won’t really need to consider are the aesthetics of your central vacuum, since you’ll rarely see most of it. These vacuums are also very storage friendly, since a wand, hose, and vacuum attachments are easy to store compared to traditional vacuums. However, you’ll still need to keep in mind some technical points when choosing your central vacuum.
Are You Buying a Reliable Product?
Let’s say you bought a cheap traditional vacuum, and the thing breaks in a month. This isn’t necessarily a huge deal since there are so many cheap models available on the market, so you can probably just easily replace it.
The difference with central vacuum systems is that they’re built into homes. Consequently, a bad central vacuum system could result in serious and irreversible problems for your home, not to mention a bigger waste of money.
For the above reasons, you’ll want to pay a lot of attention to quality when choosing a central vacuum system, lest you end up paying much more in repair costs.
Always Do Research
It’s important to buy from a manufacturer that is reputable and respected. If you plan to pay someone to install the vacuum cleaner for you, you should research them, too.
Who’s Installing Your Vacuum?
As mentioned before, central vacuums are installed directly into your home, so installers will be interacting directly with the structure of your house. The structure of your house includes crucial systems like electricity and plumbing, things you don’t want to mess around with. If you don’t have the know-how to install your vacuum yourself, it’s best to hire a qualified professional rather than tinkering with potentially dangerous and permanent damage.
Do the Specs Match Your Home?
This question could potentially be a difficult one, since you’ll likely be responsible for the answer yourself. Making sure that your home is a fit for your vacuum system is important because compatibility will have a direct impact on the amount of suction you can achieve.
The square footage of your home is particularly useful here, because central vacuum systems have a maximum square footage that their system can handle. Otherwise, the system isn’t going to be effective in your home.
First, you’ll need to know your home’s measurements. Then, double it and use the resulting number to check your vacuum’s compatibility. It’s better to overestimate here because a system that covers too little of your home will be unusable or less effective.
How Much Electricity Will the Vacuum Use?
Central vacuum systems get their suction power from electricity, so more power means better suction. This cost might come as a surprise to some people, so you’ll need to budget appropriately and adjust your expectations.
Another thing to note is that not all central vacuums have USA standard plugs, but this issue can be easily fixed with some adapters.
You should also know if your vacuum system will be constantly running or if it only runs when you turn it on. The latter will allow you to save power. It’s quite rare that a vacuum system will only be able to run continuously, but it’s always best to be sure. Save money and power by turning your central vacuum off when you don’t need it. Usually, this just takes a quick trip to the basement or garage. This might also preserve the life of your vacuum, keeping it in better condition and saving you cash in the long run.
Is the Vacuum’s Design Optimal?
Like all other vacuums, there’s some variety in the design of central vacuums. This includes the occasional design flaw. A red flag might be a better price, but you’ll probably have to spend time and effort long term.
Top quality central vacuums collect dirt in bags and have motors located above said bag and filter. This design minimizes clogging, which in turn should last longer and be more effective than inferior designs.
There are some vacuums available that are bagless but still enjoy positive reviews from customers. The drawback means spending more time maintaining and ensuring that the vacuum is in good condition.
The Best Central Vacuum Systems of 2021
If central vacuum systems sound like a good fit for your house and lifestyle, keep reading to see our top recommendations. This list evaluates the features, customer feedback, and most importantly, efficiency of central vacuum systems. Here are the top five vacuums for your consideration:
Imperium CV300 Central Vacuum Power Unit
Best for: Medium-Sized Homes Central Vacuum System
The Imperium CV300 can work in houses up to 7500 square feet. It provides 740 air watts of power, complementing a dirt capacity of more than 23 liters. This vacuum has pre-packaged filters included, which are micro-lined. However, you can also use it with HEPA filters.
A feature that’s made this vacuum a favorite is its noise level. It’s only 58 decibels when operating, so its relatively quiet. This makes it a great choice for pet owners, whose pets might be startled by the sound of the vacuum. HEPA filter compatibility is also ideal for pet owners who want to reduce allergens in their home.
This vacuum can also vacuum directly into the hose, so you don’t necessarily need to mount it. Generally, this vacuum works with two-story homes. It’s finished with a rust-resistant coat to prevent deterioration over time and boasts a whopping 10-year warranty that applauds its quality and durability.
Why We Love It
A lot of central vacuum systems rely on sound-proofing builds or mufflers to reduce noise. This vacuum doesn’t need extra components to keep it quiet, since it already runs at 58 decibels. It might actually be one of the quietest available central vacuums. Children and pets can be disturbed by loud noises, so this vacuum is a great choice for those concerns.
HEPA filters specifically address air purification. This unit supports HEPA filters, so you can change filters depending on your concerns. Of course, HEPA filters will come at an extra cost to you but are easy to get ahold of and fairly convenient to switch in your vacuum.
While most central vacuums should be expected to hold up for several years, this model is extra durable. Its rust-resistant coating is effective at warding off deterioration. The 10-year warranty offered is probably more than you need, but it’s great for security and quality assurance.
Things to Keep in Mind
Growing in the Industry
The Imperium CV300 is a somewhat less popular model in the market, so it’s hard to tell how it’ll fare competitively in the long term. Currently, though, most customers have returned good feedback. This could change in the future, when long term issues become more apparent. Despite this, relying on existing reviews shows that the CV300 has been a good experience and has produced many satisfied customers.
Power: 740 air watts
Square feet: 7500
Capacity: 23.6 liters
Filter: Micro-lined; HEPA compatible
Special features: Utility for direct use by unit, rust-resistant finish, noise-controlled
OVO Heavy Duty Central Vacuum
Best for Large Homes
The OVO Heavy Duty Central Vacuum comes with a 2-stage motor that is encased in steel. It boasts suction power for up to 9000 square feet, making it a great option for large houses.
Soft-Start and Soft-Stop technology means that your system’s lifespan is extended, and clogging issues are minimized and prevented.
In terms of filtration, the OVO Vacuum uses a hybrid system. This system is a blend of high-efficiency cyclonic filtration and the use of triple-layer disposable bags. It has a permanent filter that can be washed and reused. The effective hybrid system makes this a good option for those concerned with allergies.
This vacuum also features a heat protection system that prevents the vacuum from overheating. It also employs air-containment gaskets to stop it from losing suction. The LED screen lets the user monitor the vacuum’s function while using it.
Finally, this vacuum comes with soundproofing to keep its noise level at a mere 65 decibels.
Why We Love It
It’s a fact that central vacuums use somewhat more energy. While it’s rare for vacuums to overheat, prevention is better than cure, and a bit of extra protection can set your mind at ease. Heat protection can also reduce the stress on your vacuum, which can preserve the quality of your unit and save money on potential repairs.
Using this unit’s soft stop feature guards against clogs and also stops debris from re-circulating indoors, making for an easy start to cleaning. The most important function of anti-clogging is still that it keeps your vacuum in better condition, saving you some money.
This vacuum is one of the most noise-friendly units available on the market, coming in at only 65 decibels thanks to sound-proofing foam. It’s a good choice for pets and toddlers who are noise averse.
Keep In Mind
This Vacuum is for Larger Homes
While this doesn’t seem like a serious drawback, consider this a warning. The OVO is a high-powered vacuum that was designed to do aggressive cleaning. If you have a smaller house or less area to clean, you might not really need such a powerful vacuum. If so, you’d be better off saving your money by buying a more suitable vacuum.
It’s always good to have options and versatility, but most of the top-quality central vacuum systems on the market will be ones that have bags. Forgoing bags will require more upkeep on your part, and this vacuum offers that option.
Power: 700 air watts
Square feet: 9000
Capacity: 35 liters
Filter: Bag OR bagless
Special features: Sound-proofing foam, heat protection
Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum Power Unit
Most Durable Central Vacuum System
Much like the first item on this list, this vacuum is capable of covering a maximum of 12000 square feet. It provides 400 air watts of suction, making it one of the best central vacuum systems offered.
This vacuum delivers a 2-stage motor combined with built in sound proofing. It supports both a washable HEPA filter and a washable Micron Pre Filter. These two working in conjunction provide highly effective filtering, which could benefit people with allergies.
The Prolux is also highly durable and powerful enough for deep cleaning. However, the most interesting thing about this vacuum is that it offers a 25-year body warranty alongside a 10-year motor warranty.
Why We Love It
Offers Great Suction
With the ability to manage 12000 square feet, this vacuum really makes an impact with its 2-stage motor. Remember, suction is what’s really making the difference in your cleaning.
Even if you’re not someone with allergies, asthma, or if you don’t own any pets, you might still appreciate having better air quality indoors. The washable HEPA filter available with the Prolux can provide that improvement.
With a warranty like that, the manufacturers really meant business when they set out to make a durable vacuum. These long warranties are pretty unusual with machines, but it’s set to save you big bucks in the long run. Similarly, the 10-year warranty provided for the motor should set your mind at ease about the quality of this unit.
Keep In Mind
This is a Higher Cost Model
Yes, this vacuum is a bit more of an investment than the other items on this list. However, it’s worth the money for the extra power and quality assurance of the warranty.
This Unit is Bagless
Most central vacuums come with bags which save you time and effort on maintenance. The fact that this model is bagless might be considered a design flaw, and you’ll need to pay for it by inspecting your unit routinely to ensure that it’s holding up over time.
Power: estimated 400/500 air watts
Square feet: 12000
Capacity: 18.9 liters
Special features: Sound-proofed, washable HEPA filter, 25-year body warranty
Nutone Purepower 500 Central Vacuum System
Best for Small Homes
Are you someone who lives in a smaller home, but is still considering a central vacuum? The Nutone Purepower 500 might be the vacuum for you. With a limit of 4000 square feet, it doesn’t compromise in suction and dirt collection by offering 500 air watts of suction power. It also comes with a 22-liter disposable bag.
There is built in soundproofing in order to cut down on motor noise, meaning the machine will only be around 70 decibels. This unit includes a 6-foot power cord for ease of access, plus a wall mount to help you install easily and securely.
Why We Love It
The disposable bags that come with this unit are meant for efficiency. These bags should last about six months at a time, meaning you can save time on maintaining and changing them. Since a smaller home might entail less vacuuming in the first place, that’s a lot of time and effort saved!
This unit was manufactured with material that can absorb sound. This is in contrast to sound-proofing foams or mufflers that are often added to vacuums, but this vacuum can already do it on its own.
This vacuum really seems built with convenience as a priority. It comes with a strong suction, major capacity, soundproofing, and an extension cord. With the disposable bags, even your maintenance time will be cut down.
Keep In Mind
Only Intended for Smaller Homes
Since this unit has a limit of 4000 feet, its likely unsuitable for anyone with a big house.
Although six months is a long time between bag replacements, you’ll still eventually have to replace your dust bags. Keep in mind that this will come at a cost.
Power: 500 air watts
Square feet: 4000
Capacity: 22.7 liters
Special features: Sound-proofed, disposable bags, 6-foot extension cord included
Electrolux QC600 Quiet Central Vacuum Power Unit
Best Quiet Central Vacuum System
The Electrolux QC600 is arguable one of the most effective quiet vacuum systems available on the market, allowing you to do some early morning or late-night cleaning without waking your whole family.
This unit is great for smaller living spaces, like condos or townhomes. However, it still has the capacity to handle spaces that are over 8000 square feet.
This vacuum comes with sound foam in the motor to ensure its soundproofing, as well as an integrated exhaust pipe with a muffler connection to further lower noise.
Why We Love It
The central feature of this product is its quietness and unobtrusiveness. With a unit sound level of 72.3 dBA, its comparable to a washing machine or a dishwasher.
This vacuum also has a patented insulation system to provide unparalleled noise control.
Bags are Optional
Since this is a hybrid vacuum system, you can choose to use bags or forgo them. In the absence of the bag, this vacuum can hold a maximum of four gallons of dirt and debris.
Safe for Allergy Sufferers
With the inclusion of a self-cleaning HEPA filter system, this vacuum can get rid of 99.97% of dirt, dust, and household allergens indoors. This makes it a thorough and useful choice for those who need optimal air quality.
Finally, this vacuum includes a 10-year warranty on parts and labor, so it’s a worthy investment.
Keep In Mind
Reliability issues: Stops and Starts
There have been a few notable complaints regarding this vacuum’s reliability. The chief issue is its tendency to periodically stop during use, seemingly without any reason. Some people have called customer service only to be told that their system requires a deep cleaning, which won’t be eligible for the warranty.
Power: 600 air watts
Square feet: 8000
Capacity: 15 liters
Filter: Bag or bagless option
Special features: Self-cleaning HEPA filter
What to Consider Before Buying a Central Vacuum System
Eager to get your central vacuum system and enjoy the benefits of their life-changing efficiency? Not so fast. You’ll need to do your research and understand the full range of benefits and drawbacks to these systems before knowing if a central vacuum is truly right for your situation.
Firstly, installation is mandatory before you can start using your vacuum. This requires renovation, drilling, and is a long-term commitment. Notably, not every house can accommodate a central vacuum system. If you’re a renter, you’ll probably need to get the landlord’s permission before a major renovation. But if you’re sure that your home can, it’s not necessarily a difficult process. Just ensure you can before spending money on a vacuum.
Secondly, central vacuums use more electricity than traditional vacuums. Those who just want to save on their power bill or be mindful of the environment might want to opt for a more traditional vacuum.
Thirdly, there could be more costs involved than meets the eye. This is not necessarily because central vacuums are more expensive than their counterparts, but things like installing a central vacuum from scratch could be an unexpected cost. Repairs and replacements will similarly become unexpected as well as additional bills. Finally, troublesome units will result in the need for routine maintenance.
If you’re moving from one home to another and have a pre-existing vacuum installed in your old home, it’s possible to move your whole system with you to the new house. The only issue is that your new home needs to be able to accommodate a central system. If it isn’t already set up, you’ll need to install again from scratch. Also, if you move into a bigger or smaller home, you might need to rethink and replace your system.
Central vacuums are a worthy investment, provided you think it through first. The biggest consideration is the need for your vacuum choice to fit into your home. But after getting the technical details out of the way, it’ll be clear that central vacuums are highly efficient and convenient. These models we’ve showcased above are great investments for you to consider in your quest for the perfect central vacuum system. Let us know which one you’re considering in the comments!