Have you got a large home that takes an immense amount of effort to vacuum? Do standard machines just add to the hassle rather than solving it? Then we’ve got a solution for you.
Central vacuum systems may not be much to look at, but they sure are the most efficient machines you can find. With them, it’s almost as though your home helps you clean. They make vacuuming as quick, easy, and accessible as possible.
How Do Central Vacuum Systems Work?
It might sound a little bit like rocket science, but understanding central vacuum systems is relatively straightforward. Instead of carrying a vacuum unit with you every time you need to clean, one of these will turn your house into a vacuum.
In a central vacuum system, a power unit — comparable to the motor of a standard vacuum — is installed permanently. These are typically placed somewhere out of sight, like in a garage or a basement.
This unit sends suction to wall outlets across your home through pipes in your walls. On your side, all you have to do is connect a hose to the outlet, and you’ll have suction when and wherever you need it. The power of the suction is controlled by a switch on the hose’s handle (1).
As you vacuum, dirt and debris are drawn into the pipes and through a filtration system. The collected dirt is then deposited into a large canister or container — much the same as a standard vacuum. Finally, contaminated air is sent out of your home while fresh air is circulated into it.
When you’re ready to vacuum the next section of your home, all you have to do is unplug the hose, move it to your preferred outlet, and fire up the system again.
Why Invest in a Central Vacuum System?
We won’t pretend that central vacuums are the most popular way to clean, but more people should know about them. They have benefits that moveable vacuum units will never be able to match. If you don’t believe us, see for yourself.
1. They’re the Most Convenient
Without a doubt, the most appealing aspect to a central vacuum system is how easy it is to clean with them. The biggest drawback to traditional vacuum units is that you have to carry (or push) them to where you need them to be. Fair enough, this effort is reduced in handhelds and stick vacuums, but in that case, you sacrifice range and suction power.
With a central vacuum system, however, the only components you have to move are the hose and wand. Connecting them is the easiest thing in the world. Plus, if you wanted to, you could store them close to the outlets for even faster access.
This means that you will exert less effort in cleaning, and you’re less likely to strain your muscles. In heftier machines, there’s a possibility that they’re limited to one floor and could potentially cause injury if you carry or drop them. But these threats are removed with a central vacuum system.
2. Less Maintenance
You’ll also save so much time on maintenance. Traditional vacuums have pea-sized capacities compared to central ones, and you waste so much time cleaning them out.
Central vacuum dust canisters, in comparison, can hold as much dirt as possible. On average, you’d only have to empty them every three or so months. Again, this is easy to do, and you won’t have the hassle of dismantling your entire vacuum.
One more benefit is that central vacuums are built into your home, so they’re made to last. You don’t have to worry about replacements nearly as much as you do with a single unit. This means that central vacuums save you time and money in the long run.
3. Improved Air Quality
Though HEPA vacuums are great, they’re still single unit vacuums that can be a hassle to clean and require more maintenance. The suction in these models is also weaker than in central vacuums. Plus, their capacities are smaller, as we mentioned.
Additionally, when it comes to filtration, HEPA vacuums aren’t as perfect as most people think.
They aren’t inefficient, but they are limited. Central vacuums, though, because of their size and capacity, purify your space better. They flush polluted air right out of your home, so the air inside will be much cleaner.
This is a significant advantage for pet owners, those with allergies, or asthmatics. You’ll be exposed to fewer allergens too, on account of how little maintenance these systems require.
4. Increases Your Home’s Value
If the above benefits haven’t won you over yet, this one is sure to. A home with a central vacuum system is worth more than one without. It’s suspected that this is because of the convenience, which compels buyers to pay more for the property (2).
It might not apply to everyone right now, but it could serve you well in the future. It’s something worth considering if you are putting your home on the market. Central vacuum systems are a small investment that could make a massive impact on your property’s worth.
5. They’re More Efficient
Central vacuum systems have superior suction power to traditional vacuums. The latter are typically limited by size and electrical capacity. Their motors are much smaller, so they generate less energy and therefore have a weaker suction (3).
Central vacuums don’t have these restrictions. The suction power of one will be significantly stronger, and so more effective when you clean. This is especially helpful in carpeted homes and compliments the air-purifying capabilities we mentioned.
At the end of the day, a central vacuum system cleans more. Isn’t that why we buy vacuums to begin with? So if you want what can be considered the ultimate cleaning power, you should look into having one installed.
How to Choose a Central Vacuum System
Buying a central vacuum system will be quite different from shopping for a traditional vacuum. The premise is the same — you want a powerful, value for money system that suits your needs. However, the considerations are different.
For one, you won’t really have to look at your central vacuum system, so style isn’t a priority. Storage isn’t a problem either because the components you use (the wand, hose, or other attachments) won’t take up room at all.
Still, investing in a central vacuum system will require some technical focus. To make sure you aren’t wasting your money, think about the following.
1. Is It a Trusted Product?
It’s not the end of the world if you buy a cheap standard vacuum cleaner and it gives in not long after. There are thousands of models to choose from, they’re easily replaceable, and you can try them before you buy them.
But central vacuum systems don’t work that way. They’re built into your house, so if they are faulty, flimsy, or just don’t work, it could cause irreparable damage. You’ll also waste a lot of money.
Quality is not something you want to skimp on here. It’s far better to pay more for a reputable brand than to settle for less to save money.
Do Your Research
2. Who’s Installing It?
Whoever installs your central vacuum system will do serious work on your home’s structure. The last thing you want is to compromise the integrity of your walls, electricity, or plumbing.
A lot could go wrong if a central vacuum system isn’t installed properly. If you don’t trust the ones responsible for this, it’s just not worth the risk.
Some people who have the knowledge and experience install these systems for themselves. We don’t recommend this unless you are qualified. Don’t even bother trying to figure it out.
3. Do the Specs Match Your Home?
This is where things become just a little bit complicated because you will have to figure it out on your own. You must make sure that the central vacuum system you buy will fit in and throughout your home. This directly affects how much suction you get from it.
The most important thing you will have to determine is if the square footage covers the area of your home. Central vacuum system manufacturers typically list the maximum square footage for the system. Your home should fall well within this range, or else the system won’t work well for you.
4. How Much Electricity Will It Consume?
It’s great that central vacuum systems have so much suction power, but it’s made possible by consuming more energy. Don’t be surprised by the hidden cost of it, and make sure you have budgeted accordingly.
Note that some central vacuums come with plugs that may not be standard in the USA. You can still use them, but you’ll have to buy adapters.
Also check if your vacuum system will run constantly, or if you will have control over when it uses power. It shouldn’t be common for one to run perpetually, but make sure, just in case.
5. Is the Design Optimal?
Not all central vacuum systems are made equal. Some of them have design flaws. You could save money going for one of these, but they might cost you effort to compensate.
The best central vacuum systems use bags to collect dirt and have their motors placed above both the bag and filter. These are the least likely to clog, and therefore last the longest and work most efficiently.
Common models are often bagless and users still enjoy them. It only means that you have to invest a little more time into maintenance and monitoring its status.
Considerations Before Buying a Central Vacuum System
Central vacuum systems are life-changing in their efficiency, and we completely understand if you’re eager to install one. But before you do, you must take a few things into account. There are some drawbacks to central vacuum systems, and they could influence how well one will work for you:
- Installation is necessary: As mentioned, you can’t just buy a central vacuum and have it up and running as soon as you bring it home. Your home will have to be renovated and there will be drilling involved.
- Not everyone can install them: It’s possible to install a central vacuum system into a pre-existing home. In fact, it’s easier than you may realize. The problem, though, is that if you’re renting your property, you will need permission to do so. So make sure that you can install one before you spend your money.
- They use more electricity: These systems aren’t the greenest option out there. If you’re environmentally conscious or are hoping to save money on utilities, you may want to settle for a less complex cleaner.
- There are extra costs: Central vacuums don’t necessarily cost more than standard ones. But bear in mind that installation might cost you extra. Plus, if you ever need repairs or replacements, it may cost more. Also, consider that routine maintenance is something you may have to spend on too.
- Potential re-installation: If you have one installed and decide to move house, you could take your system with you. The catch is that if your new home isn’t set up for one, you’ll have to repeat the installation process. Alternatively, if your new home is larger, you might have to replace the entire system.
The Best Central Vacuum Systems of 2020
If the shoe fits, wear it, and if the central vacuum system fits, buy it. Our recommendations are based on efficiency, features, and customer feedback. We’ve spent hours reading product specifications and customer reviews and have chosen our top five.
1. Honeywell Quiet Pro 4B-H803
This unit can cover up to 12000 square feet, which is practically as good as it gets. It will fit and work effectively in almost all homes. And, at 630 air watts, you’re getting a great amount of suction power too.
This system was made for thorough cleaning. It makes little noise and the case is built from heavy-duty steel. It has a motor protection feature and a handy wall mount to keep it secure.
The Honeywell can contain up to 26 liters of dirt. It includes a permanent self-cleaning HEPA filter, so it’s also an option if you need to take care of allergies. The unit comes with a five-year limited warranty.
Why We Love It
Stretching for 12000 square feet, 630 watts is powerful. This system will take care of all your deep cleaning needs. Plus, if your home is carpeted, it will make vacuuming so much easier.
The system includes a motor protection feature to add to its durability. Repairing or replacing this component could cost you a lot of money. So it’s good to know that this one is built to last.
The HEPA filter, combined with the excellent suction and reach makes this unit a perfect choice for allergies. Pet owners can appreciate it too, as it will effectively remove pet hair and dander from the air.
Keep In Mind
It’s a Bagged Model
As we mentioned, bagged units aren’t the most convenient. Users love this machine, but you’ll have to keep an eye on it. Extra maintenance may be required to prevent clogs and prolong the unit’s lifespan.
You’ll pay for a quality system but bear in mind that this is one of the priciest we found. It’s our top choice, but we must note it’s not a budget-friendly option.
|Power||630 air watts|
|Special features||Self-cleaning HEPA filter, motor protection system, steel body|
2. Imperium CV300
This vacuum system is suitable for homes up to 7500 square feet. It gives you 740 air watts of power and a dirt capacity of over 23 liters. One of its best qualities is that it’s surprisingly quiet, running at only 58 decibels.
Though it comes with pre-packaged micro-lined filters, it’s compatible with HEPA filters. This, complemented by its low noise level, makes it ideal for pet owners. One function enables vacuuming directly by it — handy if you don’t have a garage or basement to mount it in.
It’s suitable for two-story homes and is coated in a rust-resistant finish that won’t easily degrade. The 10-year warranty you receive upon purchase is a testament to how durable this unit is.
Why We Love It
Most other central vacuum systems use mufflers or other sound-proofing devices to control the noise. This unit, however, does not require any special installations or components. It runs at only 58 decibels and is perhaps the quietest central vacuum system on the market.
This is excellent for homes with children or pets who might be frightened by the excessive noise that other systems make.
If you need air purification, you can switch out this unit’s standard filters and upgrade to HEPA. With many other vacuums, you’re stuck with the filters supplied. This unit gives you a choice and we like that.
Bear in mind that it will cost extra, but if you need a HEPA filter, they’re readily available to suit your needs.
All central vacuums are designed to last for a few years, but this one goes the extra mile in its coating. It will resist rust and other wear and tear for longer than other units will.
We also like that it comes with a 10-year warranty, which is more than enough for most homes.
Keep In Mind
Growing in the Industry
This model isn’t as popular or widespread as others are, so more time is needed to gauge how well it holds up against competitors. For now, buyers have only had good to say about it. However, perhaps in time, more criticism will emerge.
As far as we can see, though, those who have given it a chance can’t find fault with it. Customer satisfaction is extremely high, and we think it will remain that way.
|Power||740 air watts|
|Special features||Utility for direct use by unit, rust-resistant finish, quiet|
3. OVO Heavy Duty Central Vacuum
This unit features a 2-stage motor, cased in steel. It can provide suction for up to 9000 square feet, so it’s a fantastic choice for larger homes. The system implements Soft-Start and Soft-Stop technology that preserves the lifespan of the unit while preventing clogging.
It uses hybrid filtration which combines a high-efficiency cyclonic filtration and triple-layer disposable bags for more efficiency. It’s efficient for those with allergies, and the permanent filter is washable.
This unit has a heat protection feature that guards the system against overheating. Air-containment gaskets prevent suction loss and an LED screen allows easy monitoring. Plus, sound-proofing reduces noise to 65 decibels.
Why We Love It
Given that central vacuums use up more energy, overheating is a reality even if it’s rare. It’s better to be safe rather than sorry, so we appreciate the heat protection in this unit. It could save your system from damage, and spare you money in repairs.
The soft-stop function in this unit not only stops dirt and debris from re-entering your home, but also prevents clogging too. Combined with the soft start that eases you into cleaning, it preserves the condition and lifespan of your system.
The sound-proofing foam incorporated into this unit drops its noise to only 65 decibels. It’s one of the quietest central vacuum systems you can find, and it makes a significant difference in your sessions. It’s also better for pets who might be frightened by louder systems.
Keep In Mind
For Larger Homes
This is more of a warning than a drawback. This high-powered machine is intended for heavy-duty cleaning throughout larger homes and may be unnecessarily large in smaller settings. If you don’t need its range, you could save money by going for a better-suited system.
While it’s nice to have a say on the matter, remember that the best central vacuum systems use bags. You’ll have the option to go without it, but there’ll be more maintenance on your part if you do.
|Power||700 air watts|
|Filter||Bag or bagless|
|Special features||Sound-proofing foam, heat protection|
4. Prolux CV12000
Like our first choice, this machine can cover up to 12000 square feet. It has 400 air watts of suction and is a strong contender in the world of central vacuum systems.
It implements a 2-stage motor, and sound-proofing reduces noise throughout your home. A great feature is the washable HEPA filter alongside a washable Micron Pre Filter. Matched with the high suction power, it’s recommended to those with allergies.
This is a durable vacuum that will work well if you want to deep clean. What’s most notable about it, however, is that it comes with a truly whopping 25-year body warranty. There is also a 10-year warranty for the motor.
Why We Love It
12000 square feet is a lot and this vacuum is powerful enough to manage it. Its 2-stage motor supplies an immense amount of suction that makes a big difference in how you clean.
The washable HEPA filter added to this model will help pet owners, and people who struggle with allergies or asthma. Whether or not you need one, it’s a lovely addition that will go above and beyond in improving the air in your home.
The 25-year warranty should tell you that this unit was built to last. It’s rare to see such an extended deal. Over the decades, you’ll save a lot of money. And, the 10-year warranty on the motor is just as impressive.
Keep In Mind
You’ll pay a little extra for this model, but think about what you’re getting out of it. It’s a small price to pay for a unit that’s meant to last for decades.
One flaw is that it doesn’t support the desired design in central vacuums. You may have to spend more time on maintenance, and routine inspections are recommended.
|Power||400/500 air watts estimated|
|Special features||Sound-proof, washable HEPA filter, 25-year body warranty|
5. Nutone Purepower
If you live in a smaller space, this unit will work well for you. It can handle up to 4000 square feet and has a large capacity in both suction and dirt collection. This model delivers 500 air watts and has a 22-liter disposable bag.
Sound-proofing material is built in to reduce noise from the motor, so the machine runs at 70 decibels. Included is a 6-foot power cord for extra convenience. It also comes with a wall mount to make installation easier and more secure.
Why We Love It
This unit has the perfect design for efficiency. What’s even better is that the bags are made to last for six months at a time, so you’ll spend less time on maintenance. Considering that it’s intended for smaller homes, it will save you a lot of time and effort.
An interesting fact about this unit is that it’s built with sound-absorbing material. Other vacuums include sound-proofing foam or mufflers to reduce noise. In this case, none of that is necessary.
Almost everything about this unit is there to make your life easier. It has strong suction, a large capacity, it’s quiet, and it comes with an extension cord. We like that it saves you any hassle — even maintenance is significantly reduced.
Keep In Mind
It Might Not Be Sufficient
This is an excellent example of a central vacuum system. However, it only covers 4000 square feet, so it may not work well in larger homes.
The dust bags in this machine will keep for six months at a time. Still, when they’ve had their run, you’ll have to replace them. It will cost a little extra money, so plan ahead.
|Power||500 air watts|
|Special features||Sound-proof, disposable bags, 6-foot extension cord|
|Product||Award||Power||Square feet||Capacity||Filter||Special features|
|Honeywell Pro 4B-H803||Customer Favorite||630 a/w||12000||26 L||Bagless||Self-cleaning HEPA filter, motor protection system, steel body|
|Imperium CV300||Best For Medium-Sized Homes||740 a/w||7500||23.6 L||Micro-lined/HEPA compatible||Utility for direct use by unit, rust-resistant finish, quiet|
|OVO Heavy Duty||Best For Large Homes||700 a/w||9000||35 L||Bag or bagless||Sound-proofing foam, heat protection|
|Prolux CV12000||Most Durable||400-500 a/w||12000||18.9 L||Bagless||Sound-proof, washable HEPA filter, 25-year body warranty|
|Nutone Purepower||Best For Small Homes||500 a/w||4000||22.7 L||Bagged||Sound-proof, disposable bags, 6-foot extension cord|
Central vacuums are worth considering, but they will require some thought. Buying one is a bit different because you have to plan to make sure that it will fit in your home.
Once you’ve conquered the technical stuff, though, you’ll see that central vacuums are the easiest, most efficient models you can find.
They’re well worth the money and we strongly recommend them. We’ve showcased five of our favorites and we’d love to know which one you like best. Tell us in the comments!