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Disclaimer: The information on this page reflects our opinions based upon our many years of experience in the industry.

Compare Central Vacuums For Yourself
We've done all the research for you...

Up To 3,500 Square Feet

Some are better than others

Simply Put...
The Higher The Air-Watts, The Better The Pickup.

More Airwatts = More Suction Power

BrandModelSuction PowerAir WattsWarrantyFiltrationTypeSoundRatingSee Price
Drainvac   727 Lifetime* Teflon HEPA Bag / Bagless 58 Click
DuoVac Air 10 694 True Lifetime HEPA Tycomparetable-pricepe Bag / Bagless 58 Click
Drainvac 670 Lifetime* Teflon HEPA Bag / Bagless 58 Click
Purvac Stringray 670 Lifetime* Teflon HEPA Bag / Bagless 58 Click
Drainvac Pro 1 600 Lifetime* SilverBlock Bag / Bagless 59 Click
Cana-Vac 700-LS 625 20 Years Micro-Tex Bag / Bagless 55 Click
Aspirtech 1500 591 Limited Life* Double HEPA Bagless 56 N/A
Purvac 562 Lifetime* Teflon HEPA Bag / Bagless 60 Click
Drainvac AC15-L 562 Lifetime* Teflon HEPA Bag / Bagless 60 Click
Simplicity SCU-H3 600 Lifetime* HEPA Media Bag / Bagless 55 Click
Powerstar UPS500A 560 5 Years* Safety Filter Bag / Bagless 55 Click
Cana-Vac 399-LS 465 15 Years Micro-Tex Bag / Bagless 57 Click
Valet ATQ160 561 5 Years Teflon HEPA Bag / Bagless 60 Click
Riccar RCU-H3 600 Lifetime* HEPA Bag / Bagless N/A Click
Powerstar Genesis 533 5 Years* Aller-X Bag 58 Click
Nutone PP500 500 5 Years* Regular Bag 70 Click
Aggresor Alpine 500 15 Years Micron-Cloth Dump-Out 61 Click
Eureka ECV5200A 550 7 Years Triumph HEPA Bag / Bagless N/A Click
Beam 325C 550 10 Years Gore-Tex Bagless 67 Click
Orbit AU200 550 N/A Micro-Fiber Bagless 64 N/A
Centralux Aerus 518 5 Years Cartridge Cyclonic 79 Click
Zenex 257 485 7 Years Kant-Klog Bagless 70 Click
DuoVac SIG1465 465 Lifetime* HEPA Type Bag / Bagless 62 Click
Easy-Flo SQ9010 533 Lifetime* Cloth Bagless N/A Click
Nadair M1 550 N/A Good N/A N/A N/A
Honeywell 540 3 Years Teflon HEPA Bagless 67 Click
Orbit AU100 525 N/A Micro-Fiber Bagless 64 N/A
Royal CS620 520 Lifetime* Cartridge Cyclonic 64 Click
Element 1300 520 Lifetime* Permanent Filter Dump-Out 66.7 Click
Eureka CVMini 500 5 Years Triumph Bag 63.8 Click
Hoover S5626 465 5 Years Teflon Bagless 68 Click
Nutone VX475 475 2 Years Teflon Bag / Bagless 71 Click
Dirt Devil CV1800 422 Lifetime* Cartridge Cyclonic 73.7 Click
AirVac AVP3000 537 10 Years Micron Bag / Bagless 72 Click
Hayden SV2400 404 5 Years Cartridge Cyclonic 84 Click
Eureka CV1004B 425 7 Years Triumph Bag / Bagless 75 Click
Signature 427 412 5 Years Cloth Bag / Bagless N/A Click
Powerlux Condolux 410 5 Years Cloth Bagless N/A Click
Walvac 243 362 Lifetime* Cloth Bag 69 Click
Vacuflo FC300 422 Lifetime* Cyclonic Bagless 73.7 Click
Honeywell 500 3 Years Teflon HEPA Bagless 67 Click
Budd 5807 396 5 Years Cloth Bagless N/A Click
Vacuflo 260 443 Lifetime* Screen Cyclonic 70.1 Click
Nutone CV400 400 2 Years Micron Bag 71 Click

*Lifetime typically means the whole body of the machine. Manufacturers warranties may differ, check specifications for complete details.

* The data represents peak air watts with motor tolerances as set forth by Ametek-Lamb/Domel/Electro Motor. Individual motor performance may vary due to normal manufacturing variations, accepted ranges, voltage, apertures, altitude and installation circumstances.

Bagged Style

Clean & Easy


It All Depends on Just
How Close You Want To
Get To Your Dirt..

Dump Out Style

Unclip & Empty!

Consumer Publications

The first consumer publications on central vacuums came out in 2004, which means all machines were tested in 2003. This particular publication was generally not accepted in the central vacuum industry as accurate. There was a very small amount of vacuums tested at this time, therefore limiting the results they could of had. A lot of variables such as filtration type, bag or bagless style, quietness, etc. were left out of the equation. This means any vacuums that were featured in this publication were not compared to all the other central vacuums on the market and can be misleading. This industry changes rapidly with stronger, more quieter vacuum units and with more advanced technology going into central vacuums, consumer report magazines simply can't keep up with the changes. Our staff continuously attends vacuum conventions and seminars to make sure we are aware of all the latest advances in the central vacuum industry. The question is, do you want to make your investment based on something a writer for a magazine wrote or from the advice from a central vacuum expert? With over 30 years of experience, we eat and breath this business.

Although the different consumer magazines can be a good guide to purchasing a good central vacuum, many individual needs are not taken into consideration. For example, if you have a child that suffers from asthma you may need a certain filtration. Another example would be the sound level of a central vacuum. You may need to install the unit in a interior closet, requiring a quiet unit. They also do not talk about the units track record of service or repairs. These are just some examples of individual needs that make a in depth comparison chart a better guide when purchasing a central vacuum.

We were approached in the fall of 2009 by two popular and leading consumer magazines because of our unbiased, comprehensive and truthful knowledge of the central vacuum industry. They wanted the most of complete overview of the central vacuum industry so they could form their own opinion based on thousands of hours of research. They actually purchased the majority of the vacuums they tested. Seven of the 13 units that were purchased from us were to be tested for future publications. They choose our site to buy that day, and when we got that phone call we felt like we were on cloud 9


There are 10 universal factors that go into these ratings. These factors are power, warranty, quietness, convenience, longevity, durability, maintenance, state-of-the-art materials, number of service calls and best dollar value.

Cyclonic Central Vacs

You will hear sales people make many claims such as..100% Efficiency At All Times, No Loss of Power, NoFilters To Clean, Always Constant, No Bags To Buy,Always Cleaning With Full Power, etc.

Now...The Truth...Click Here

Selecting the Right System

When choosing a built-in central vacuum system, the process begins with the power unit. Power units vary in size, motors, separation techniques and filtration methods. All these elements directly affect the overall performance and cleaning power of any central vacuum system.

In order to evaluate and compare the different manufactured power units in the marketplace, it is important to know and understand the industry's standards by which they are measured and assessed.


Amps represent the amount of electrical current consumed by the motor during use. This implies that the more electricity the motor uses, the more powerful it is. However, this is not necessarily true. A motor that uses more electrical current does not always mean the current is being used more efficiently. Amps has nothing to do with the power of a central vacuum. Period.


Horsepower measures the power of a motor. (Central vacuums are not rated in horsepower)

Horsepower can vary according to voltages, motor loads and temperature variances, and is not an accurate measure of how well a vacuum system will pick up dirt.

Airwatts is a combination of water lift (suction) and CFM (airflow). This is the truest measure of cleaning power. 97% of all central vacuum manufactures measure the power of their units by Airwatts. Maximum Airwatts is recognized by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) as the best way to measure the actual cleaning power of a central vacuum system. Other misleading terms such as Airflow, CFM's and Waterlift are not a true measurement of power, but rather part of an equation that equals Airwatts.

Airwatts is the only recognized testing method as set forth by the American Society of Testing and Materials. F558-98 Standard Test Method for Measuring Air Performance Characteristics of Vacuum Cleaners that tests the actual (suction) cleaning power of a central vacuum.

This measures the suction strength of a central vacuum motor. Essentially, it tells how much "pull" or "lift" power the motor has. This measurement is always taken at its maximum value, the 0" inch orifice (sealed vacuum) where suction is at it's greatest. Since this measurement is taken from the 0" orifice, it is very misleading. This measurement does not take into account piping, hoses or accessories etc., thus giving a false measurement of power. Often referred to as Inches or Waterlift or Vacuum, Suction is vital to overall system performance since it is the "pull power" that maintains Airflow though the complex network of vacuum pipe, hose and accessories. While Airflow is necessary for a vacuum cleaner to work, suction creates the lift and velocity of air which sweeps dirt away.

Waterlift is NOT a true measure of suction, however it is a form of measurement and part of the equation when measuring Air Watts. This is the most misleading measurement of suction power. Please note certain companies will inflate this number to influence a consumer by making the suction power appear stronger - Wrong!

This measures the maximum volume of air the motor is capable of moving and works in tandem with "Suction". Maximum CFM ratings occur when the vacuum system if operating without restrictions to airflow. In normal vacuuming conditions, hoses, cleaning attachments, bags, filters and accumulated dust create restrictions to airflow, reducing the CFM.

Airflow can be a bit confusing however, since performance measurements are taken from the motor and do not factor any resistance found in a typical central vacuum system. Filtration, piping, hoses and accessories all restrict and reduce the amount of actual Airflow a system has. While Airflow is important to system performance, Suction or the "pulling of air" maintains the Airflow velocity necessary to sweep dirt and debris away at the hose end where vacuuming takes place.

CFM alone is NOT a good indicator of vacuum cleaning performance, or a true measure of suction, however it is a form of measurement and part of the equation when measuring Air Watts. This is a misleading measurement of suction power. Please note certain companies will lower this number in order to inflate the waterlift. This is done to influence a consumer by making the suction power appear stronger - Wrong!

What is an airwatt anyway? This is the truest measurement of suction power.

An "airwatt" is derived by mathematically combining two crucial performance measures for any vacuum. These are "Waterlift", which measures the power of a vacuum, and "CFM" - Cubic Feet of Air Moved per Minute. Both measures are important to the performance of your vacuum. In order to get a full picture when comparing two vacuum units, it is always advisable to compare all three parameters.


Airwatt is the only recognized testing method as set forth by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM)* F558-98 Standard Test Method for Measuring Air Performance Characteristics of Vacuum Cleaners that tests the actual cleaning power of a vacuum.


HEPA rated media helps remove microscopically small dirt particles, much more so than conventional filter materials. The very best filtration in the central vacuum industry. Ideal for allergy and asthma sufferers, a must-have for every central vacuum.

Installing the right power unit in your home is critical to the overall performance of a central vacuum system, and insures you the customer having total satisfaction.


We recommend the power unit based on the size of a home, the longest run of tubing and the number of inlet valves. These figures are estimates, and need to be used in conjunction with the actual tube layout and valve placement.


When determining the number of inlet valves it is important to provide maximum coverage with a minimum number of inlet valves. However, there is not a maximum number of valves per unit. As a general rule of thumb, the approximate number of inlet valves needed for a home can be calculated by dividing the total square footage by 600 (if a 30-foot hose is being used).


Excessively long tube runs can affect performance. Therefore, the length of tubing running from the exhaust location to the furthest inlet valve from the power unit should be no longer than the recommended amount.

False Built-in systems are hard to install.

Built-in systems can be installed during construction of a new home or can easily be retrofitted in existing homes! It's extremely easy to install. Any central vacuum unit may be installed virtually anywhere in your home: a basement, garage (preferable), closet pantry, or a crawl space. Most companies prefer using a bagged system versus bagless for more hygienic reasons.

False Installation can't be completed in one day.

Installation of the thin wall PVC piping and the PVC fittings, installing the wall inlet valves, running the low voltage wire to the valves and mounting the power unit can be accomplished in most homes in less than one day!

False Built-in central vacuum cleaning systems are a rich person's indulgence.

Innovation in designing and function continues to bring greater convenience and superior cleaning results for considerably less money than might be expected, in many cases for less than the cost of portables.

Central Vacuum PVC Pipe vs Plumbing PVC Pipe

100% of the companies in America will tell you; never use regular plumbing pvc when installing a central vacuum system in your home. Plumbing pvc inside wall surfaces are too rough and elbows are too tight, and will provide insufficient air flow. Central vacuum pvc pipe has a thin wall and will prevent clogging for many years to come. This thin wall is a schedule 20 gauge as apposed to a schedule 40 gauge. We will only sell you the highest

quality virgin thin wall pvc tubing (new style easy fit bell ends). NO REGRINDS. We only use top quality fittings which are made in stainless steel molds and are 25% heavier than inferior fittings.

*none of the manufacturers listed on this page are sponsoring, or affiliated with Think Vacuums or