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

Central Vacuum Power Units

Compare Central Vacuums For Yourself
We've done all the research for you...
 Comparison Charts for Large Sized Homes

From 10,000 Square Feet & Up

Let's compare facts...

Universal Rule of Thumb

Breaking News!

Let us help you find the right vacuum for you!

Some are better than others

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

More Airwatts = More Suction Power

True Suction Power Meter

Suction chart for smaller sized homes

Model Suction
Warranty Filtration Type Sound Rating See
PurVac Killer Whale 1347 Lifetime* Teflon HEPA Bag / Bagless 63 5-Star Rating! Click
Drainvac TwinTurbo 1340 Lifetime* Teflon HEPA Bag / Bagless 63 5-Star Rating! Click
Powerstar UPS900A 1210 Lifetime* Teflon HEPA Bag / Bagless 73 5-Star Rating! Click
Simplicity Ultra 1160 10 Years HEPA Type Bag 71 4 1/2 Star Rating Click
Riccar Ultra 1160 10 Years HEPA Type Bag 71 4 1/2 Star Rating Click
Drainvac Summum 1040 Lifetime* Teflon HEPA Bag / Bagless 63 Click
Drainvac Generation 1040 Lifetime* HEPA-Type Bag / Bagless 63 4 Star Rating Click
Valet ATQ4000 1040 5 Years Teflon HEPA Bag / Bagless 74 Click
Easy-Flo EF2300 1098 Lifetime Cloth Bagless 73 Click
Signature 3000 1060 Lifetime* Cloth Bag / Bagless N/A Click
Honeywell H902 1000 3 Years Teflon HEPA Bagless 72.5 Click
Beam 3500C 1000 10 Years Gore-Tex Bagless 72.5 Click
Nutone VX1000 1040 8 Years Teflon Bag / Bagless 71 Click
Vacuflo 960 990 Lifetime* Screen Cyclonic 70.9 Click
Vacuflo Max Air 903 Lifetime* Screen Cyclonic 71 Click
Dirt Devil MaxAir 903 Lifetime* Screen Cyclonic 71 Click
Honeywell H803 630 3 Years Teflon HEPA Bagless 65 Click
Dust Care 4000 962 7 Years Teflon Bag / Bagless 68 Click
Royal CS1200 848 Lifetime* Cartridge Cyclonic 66 Click
Dirt Devil CV3200 848 5 Years Cartridge Cyclonic 67 Click
Walvac 475 778 Lifetime* Cloth Bag 71 Click
Canavac 911-XLS 675 20 Years Teflon HEPA Bag / Bagless 59 Click
Eureka CV6500i 590 5 Years Triumph Bag 68 Click
Sequoia SV-700 743 N/A Cloth Cyclonic N/A Click
Eureka ECV5600A 640 10 Years Triumph HEPA Bag / Bagless N /A Click
Beam 395C 640 10 Years Gore-Tex Bagless 70 Click
Aggresor Fiji 640 15 Years Micron-Cloth Dump-Out 61 Click
Electrolux PU3900 640 10/Limited N/A Bagless 70 Click
Powerstar Opt. Plus 650 Lifetime* Teflon HEPA Bag 63 Click
Electrolux CV3391D 550 5 Years Cartridge Bagless 67 Click
Eureka 550QA 550 5 Years Teflon HEPA Bag 68 Click
AirVac AVP24000 627 10 Years Micron Bag / Bagless 72 Click
Hayden SV9000 620 10 Years Cartridge Cyclonic 84 Click
Allegro MU6000 610 10 Years Dump-Out Bag n/a Click
JohnnyVac Super XL 576 n/a Cloth Bag Bagless n/a 2 Star Rating n/a
*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.
If you can't find a vacuum brand on this list, chances are it's private-labeled.
Why is private-labeling bad? Click here for information.
Click for more info
Click for more info

Our Top 16 Most Frequently Asked Questions

"Which central vacuums sell the most?".................................................................. More Info
"As experts, which central vacuum would you recommend for me?" ......................... More Info
"I'm a pet owner, is there a central vac designed specifically for pet hair problems?" More Info
"What is the most environmentally friendly top of the line central vacuum system?" More Info
"My family has severe allergies, which vacuum provides me with the best filtration?" More Info
"How can I learn the differences between motors?"................................................. More Info
"Bag, bagless or cyclonic? Which is best for me?" ................................................... More Info
"Will my old attachments work with any new central vacuum?"................................ More Info
"I'm a builder and my client is on a budget; I want the best bang for my buck!
 Powerful suction matters. I don't want something that will break down every year."
More Info
"Why is it important to buy a quiet central vacuum?" .............................................. More Info
"What is the longest lasting/best warranted central vacuum on the market today?" More Info
"If I'm replacing my central vacuum, am I stuck with the same brand?
 Can I get one from a different manufacturer?" .......................................................
More Info
"How do I measure and choose the correct suction power for my home?" ................ More Info
"Can I trust buying a central vacuum from a private-labeled company?".................. More Info
"How do I get service for my vacuum after buying from you?"................................. More Info
"What's the difference between ABS and metal central vacuum units?" ................... More Info

Bonus Question!

"Should I vent my central vacuum system?".......................................................... More Info

 Thinkvacuums.com is the largest distributor of central vacuums in the United States via the Internet!

Bagged Style

It All Depends on Just
How Close You Want To
Get To Your Dirt..
Click here to learn more

Dump Out Style

Bagless vacuums are easy to clean, simply throw the bag out!

Simply unclip and empty!

Clean & Easy

Unclip & Empty!




Hepa-Teflon is typically a lifetime filter that doesn't need to be replaced. Teflon is a registered Trademark of E.I. do Pont company. * Lifetime warranty pertains to canister & casing, motor warranties may vary. * Lifetime warranties are considered the best in the industry.


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.
Click here for more consumer reports information

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. Dr. Vacuum

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.

Bagless is a dirty word...

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

Now...The Truth...Click Here

Cyclonic vacuums are truly unhealthy.

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.


AirwattsThe higher the airwatts, the better the pickup

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!


Airflow or CFM
Cubic Feet per MinuteThis 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.


Air watts  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.
Truth 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.
Truth 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.
Truth 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
Central Vacuum PVC Pipe vs Plumbing PVC Pipe100% 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.

FastTube - or Bell End Style - PVC Pipes

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