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ABS vs. Metal Body Construction
It really doesn't matter what's on the outside, what's on the inside is what counts the most.
Are all central vacuums created equal?

All central vacuum units, regardless of construction materials, are designed to last. You might have heard or read many ABS Materialdifferent claims from different vacuum companies about the strength and durability of their vacuum unit's outer casing. These claims are based on their own biased opinions and are said to try and influence the consumer. There truly is no good or bad side, but rather a matter of customer preference. Another important factor when trying to determine the quality of a vacuum unit's body is the warranty offered. The length of the warranty is a great indicator of the strength and durability that can be expected from it's material. Similar to the garbage can industry, which saw the widely used iconic metal trash can virtually disappear overnight and replaced by the much more durable, longer-lasting and lighter plastic/rubber injection-molded garbage cans. Did you know that approx 95% of every manufacturer has a lifetime warranty on their housing? This is a very common practice today. Bottom line it's like a car - what's inside is what counts the most, meaning motor or engine and features that should be taken into consideration when buying a central vacuum.

Injection-Molded ABS vs. Metal


Total ABS Construction

Nutone vacuums are full-body ABS


Eureka is also using ABS materials to build their central vacuums.

Some of America's Top Sellers
What is ABS Resin?

ABS, also known as acrylonitrile-butadiene styrene, is a very common type of Polyethylene/ Polypropylene used to make light, rigid and durable injection-molded products for a variety of uses. When used in the construction of central vacuum canisters, it is specifically molded to improve impact resistance, toughness and most importantly heat resistance. 97% of all vacuum companies use ABS injection molding, and 50% of central vacuum companies have already switched over to using either full ABS or a combination of metal and ABS in the past 5 years. Central vacuums with ABS canisters are made to last a lifetime. Injection-molded plastic ABS materials are also used in products like motorcycle/ bicycle/football helmets, piping, automotive parts and even furniture. In fact, micron-sized particles of ABS materials are sometimes used in ink, which makes the color appear much more vivid.

Before any ABS production even starts, all of the components are put through a series of rigorous tests and are subjected to enormous stress and strain that exceeds typical residential household use. ABS is globally recognized for it's durability and longevity and is used in a large number of products. When applied to central vacuums, it helps greatly reduce the decibel level of a unit, making for a quieter operation. It also gives you an advantage over metal because the canister is much lighter, so taking it down to change a bag or dump it out becomes much easier. And because of it's vibration-free construction it's much less likely to fall or drop down from the rest of the unit due to excessive vibration, which would cause dents in a metal canister. The companies who have put ABS material to work in their vacuums have already recognized the futuristic advantages over metal designs, and all the benefits using ABS has to offer. The German engineered Miele Vacuum Cleaner Company, Bosch Vacuums, and Sebo are some of the finest household portable vacuums in the world, and they use ABS material in their vacuums. Dyson, Hoover, Eureka, Oreck, Electrolux, Kenmore, Riccar, and Simplicity all use ABS materials in their vacuums as well. This isn't your child's toy material!

World famous vacuum companies
use ABS resins, such as Miele, Electrolux, Oreck,
Hoover, Dyson, Bosch, and so many more...

Drainvac uses total ABS material in their central vacuums

Impact Resistant

Hayden is another company in a growing list that uses ABS materials

Miele, the best vacuum cleaners on the market, are made with injection-molded ABS materials. Electrolux has been using ABS materials for a few years. Oreck also utilizes ABS materials in their vacuums Dyson puts ABS materials to use in their vacuums as well

Compare Features ABS Vacuums Metal Vacuums
 Dent-Proof Includes this feature! Nope :-(
 Scratch Proof Includes this feature! Nope :-(
 Fingerprint Smudge Proof Includes this feature! Nope :-(
 Rust Proof Includes this feature! No Comment
 Corrosion Proof Includes this feature! Nope :-(
 Vibration-Free Includes this feature! Nope :-(
 Recyclable, easy for the environment, better for landfills Most ABS
Central Vacuums
Some Metal
Central Vacuums


Beam uses a combination of both metal and ABS components in their central vacuums

Some companies still use 20g metal as a sign of durability and strength. Metal canisters tend to be much heavier and more difficult to deal with. The vibrations caused by the metal design will increase the decibel level and make the vacuum unit much louder. Metal constructed central vacuum canisters are essentially trash cans. They dent and scratch easily, rust, corrode and gather fingerprints. Metal material and paint over metal may start to chip over time and flake off. Metal is also susceptible to rust in some cases, which in time can cause problems with hinges and latches. Heavy metal canisters tend to vibrate quite a bit, and may also vibrate themselves right off of the mounting bracket, falling on the floor and possibly causing dents and scratches. Certain manufacturers use both metal and ABS materials in combination with each other to eliminate some of the weight and for additional acoustic properties. Here are two examples of using a combination of ABS and metal materials. Beam, the largest central vacuum manufacturer in the world, used to make all-metal Metal machines. Now, Beam understands the importance of an ABS canister which creates less weight for the vacuum, helps handle the vibration better, and is resistant to cracks and dents should it fall when being emptied. AirVac also understands that using ABS material in combination with metal is to their advantage because it allows them to create a lighter, more durable canister. Some other companies that use a combination of metal and ABS are Cana-Vac, Honeywell, Vacuflo, Hoover, etc.

AirVac uses a combination of metal and ABS components in their central vacuums

Real-Life Comparison: Metal vs. ABS
ABS is far superior to metal canisters. This video is a great example of just one reason why.


Our Popular Selling All-Metal Body Vacuum Units


Central Vacuums


In Conclusion

Is the old metal style central vacuum canister going away fully? We doubt it, but with newer technology other options are available with better results. In conclusion, there are many differences between metal and ABS central vacuum systems, some good and some bad. Hopefully the information shown above will help you make a sound decision on the type of central vacuum you want to purchase. Although the canister design of a central vacuum will not effect it's performance, it can effect the sound level, hinge or latch problems, denting etc. A good rule of thumb is to check the central vacuum manufacturer's canister warranty and this will tell you what to expect. You can find warranty information and more on our central vacuum comparison chart. For more information about the difference between metal and ABS made units, please contact our team of experts at 1-800-322-2965 for assistance.
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