If you’re a sort of person that constantly looks for easy ways to carry your vacuum cleaner about and you don’t like heavy cleaning contraptions, in the first place, perhaps the best way to clean your house would be to install a thing called – the central vacuum system.
Even though this type of vacuum cleaner has been around and readily available on the market for decades, not many people know about it. This mostly has to do with the fact that this sort of contraption may appear to be way too professional for some folks, and the price isn’t too budget-friendly, either.
The thing is, a central vacuum system works similarly to how central heating works. The difference is, of course, that, instead of heat, you get suction. To make this happen, you have to install a powerful suction apparatus (which is the vacuum cleaner itself) in one spot in your house, and then proceed to drill your walls to make a net of tubes with a sort of socket at the end of each. This way, you can connect the hose and the suction head to these sockets (you should have at least one in every room), and vacuum clean there and then, without having to haul the entire vacuum cleaner from the room where you’ve placed it initially.
In this article, we’re going to talk about these curious machines and present to you the top 10 products in this particular category. Also, we’ve devised a brief buyer’s guide to help you figure out what to look for when buying one of these complex contraptions. Last but not least, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions on this topic, for good measure.
Right then folks, let’s get straight into it, shall we?
Central Vacuum Cleaner Buyer’s Guide
When it comes to filtering out the dirty exhaust air that comes out of the other end of a vacuum cleaner during use, it’s important to mention that these are as important with central vacuum systems as with conventional vacuum cleaners. (In fact, these machines don’t differ that much from upright vacuum cleaners, or canister models, other than the fact that central vacuuming systems are more powerful.)
So, if you’re about to buy a vacuum system, make sure it has a powerful filtration system. Several stages are desirable, with the HEPA filter being the most popular and probably the best overall filtration system for vacuum cleaners nowadays.
Since central vacuum systems can afford to be larger than their upright or canister cousins, so to speak, you can expect them to have a larger dust bin than just your regular cleaning contraption. Also, since the essential construction of the vacuum system doesn’t differ that much from ordinary vacuums, there are bagged or bagless models you can choose from in this department, as well.
So, the deal would be the same as with other bagged or bagless models. With the vacuums with a tank, you need to empty it yourself, while with the ones with bags – you can throw away the bag altogether once it gets full, but you’ll need to keep buying new ones for the future uses.
Similarly to any other vacuum cleaner (except the handheld ones and the upright one)… ehm, well, similarly to a fair deal of vacuum cleaners out there, central vacuum systems also come complete with hoses.
The main idea of a hose with a central vacuum system is that you can take it to any room of your house and stick it in the wall, from whence you can vacuum clean the room you’re in. After you’ve done that, you simply detach it, go to the other room, attach it there and vacuum clean there, as well. As simple as that. So, try to find a model with a hose that’s at least 30 feet long. (Depending on how big your house is, you might need it.)
A vacuum cleaner system that has a powerful motor can truly do wonders when it comes to suction power and overall success of your cleaning session, as well. So, to be able to do well with your central vacuuming contraption, make sure to buy a model with powerful suction. Otherwise, you will have made a big investment for something that isn’t that efficient for cleaning floors, which can be rough, indeed.
For the record, the power of a vacuum cleaner is measured in the motor’s Amps, or in air watts – which is the official measurement unit of the effectiveness of vacuum cleaners.
Even though most of the important stuff with these central vacuum systems happens somewhere in the basement (or wherever you’ve decided to install the vacuum cleaner, in question), there are still many attachments and accessories that you can use while vacuuming to make your experience easier.
For example, items such as extension wands, wall mounts, special brushes, squeegees, and other suction head attachments can all be a part of the overall offer for a particular contraption. Also, many manufacturers nowadays offer a special wall mount, which allows you to hang your vacuum hose and head at a certain place so that it doesn’t take up space.
Best Central Vacuum System – A List of 10 Products
1) Prolux – CV12000 Central Vacuum Unit System
Considered possibly one of the most if not the most powerful central system vacuum cleaner in North America, the Prolux CV12000 is a contraption that can do wonders for a large home of up to 12,000 square feet. (Hence its name.)
The fact that this model can cover the needs of such large a home is owed to the fact that it comes with a mighty 150 CFM motor, which can be operated at two speeds. This motor is housed in the extra-durable powder-coated steel body, which will ensure this vacuum cleaner will last for a long time and never get broken. (From the outside, at least.)
If something should go wrong with this vacuuming system, however, you should understand that this model fares well in the department of warranty, for example. The motor itself is secured by a hefty 10-year warranty, while the aforementioned steel body is warrantied to last at least 25 years. So, buying this model from Prolux can be considered a long-lasting investment.
- A long 30-foot hose
- Can cover the needs of a 12,000-feet home
- Comes with an electric power nozzle
- 2-speed motor
- 10-year warranty on the motor
- 25-year warranty on the metal casing
- Some users have complained about the low quality of attachments
- The instruction sheets could have been more detailed
2) OVO – Powerful Central Vacuum Cleaner
Rocking the appearance of a water heater, and power of one of the strongest domestic vacuum cleaners out there, this OVO central vacuum cleaner contraption can do wonders for everyone interested enough in purchasing it and drilling their walls to use it.
This model comes with a mighty 2-stage motor, which is capable of producing more than enough power to makes this contraption into a high-efficiency cleaning tool that can function with equal results in all rooms of your house. Similarly to the product above, this mighty motor is also protected by a heavy-duty steel body, so you can rest assured that this motor won’t be compromised by any external damages, so to speak.
One of the more interesting innovations with this model that the folks from OVO decided to include would be the rather clever soft-stop feature. This is a type of timer that turns off the vacuum cleaner 3 seconds after you’ve pressed the OFF button. This way, no debris, and dust can get left behind in the hose or the pipes during this period.
- A powerful, 2-stage motor
- Can cover up to 9,000 square feet
- Soft-stop and soft-start technology
- Washable permanent filter
- Noise-blocking foam is included in the build of this model
- Some users have complained about missing parts from the package
- Fairly expensive
3) OVO – Large Capacity Hybrid 700 Airwatts System Power Unit
If you liked the product from above, we’re going to tickle your imagination with a similar deal – this time with some additional equipment, like a cherry on top. So, for the main part, this product at OVO looks the same as the central vacuum cleaning system from above. The only difference would be the fact that this vacuum cleaner comes with more attachments and additions than the product from above.
Together with this central vacuum cleaner, you’re going to get a special bundle of accessories including top air intake, a plug-in, as well as a bottom load easy-to-remove canister. All of these are designed to make your contraption easier to control and maneuver when it comes to setting it up and using it in case you’ve already owned one or more central vacuum cleaners in the past.
- LED status indicator
- Powerful, 2-stage motor
- Heavy-duty, protective steel body
- Soft-start and soft-stop technology
- Permanent filter
- Overheating protection
- The price together with accessories ends up being quite steep indeed
- Some users had problems with the shipping of this unit
4) HP – HP Products 9880 Dirt Devil Central Vacuum System
Featuring a simple construction and a powerful HEPA filter, this model from HP represents one of the best central vacuum systems for medium to small homes and folks working with a smaller budget. What makes it so desirable would be the fact that this thing comes with a decent build at a reasonable price, so you can use it for many different uses whenever you feel like it.
Its dust cap capacity amounts to something like one gallon, which is more than enough to enable you to vacuum clean your entire house without ever being forced to empty it in the meantime. Other than this amenity, so to speak, there’s also the hose length, which can be expanded from 7 feet to 35 feet, depending on how much of it you need for the cleaning task at hand.
Also, this offer includes additions such as an upholstery tool, a dusting brush, a mesh tool bag, and some other accessories, for good measure.
- Expendable hose
- The one-gallon capacity of the dust canister
- Comes with several tools and accessories
- A powerful, 100 feet per minute flow rate
- Does not take up too much space
- Mighty HEPA filtration
- 5-year warranty
- Some users may find the stretch hose a bit heavy
- Some users may not like the design of this unit
5) Allegro – MU4500 Champion
A tough steel construction, a powerful two-stage fan system, as well as a powerful motor makes this model a great centralized cleaning contraption that can take care of a wide variety of messes on multiple surfaces. Responsible for giving this central vacuum cleaner system its power is the mighty 2-stage motor, which produces some 600 air watts and about 1,855 regular Watts.
Included in this package are also the items you’ll need to make this thing viable as a central vacuum system. This would include a noise-dampening exhaust muffler, which will ensure you can use this vacuuming system during the night, for example, without your neighbors calling the police on you.
Among other items in this deal, you’ll also get a 30-foot electric hose as well as an electric powerhead, so you can rest assured that this thing will work wonders on a wide variety of surfaces. Also, there’s a non-scratch cleaning toolset, which you can use to clean the vacuum cleaner and its parts after you’ve used them for a while.
- Made out of high-quality Canadian steel
- Comes with a noise-dampening exhaust muffler
- Electric powerhead
- 30-foot electric hose
- 1,855 Watts of power
- Some users have complained about the low quality of some of the peripheral parts
- The floor brush could have been larger
6) VacuMaid – Professional Wall Mounted Garage and Car Vacuum
For all of the folks who are after a powerful and good-looking vacuuming contraption, this VacuMaid professional wall-mounted model can be just what you’ve been looking for. (Especially if you like red home appliances, because this model is quite red, indeed.)
This model excels in one property in particular – it’s dust container capacity. Namely, this thing can house up to 7 gallons of dirt, dust, grime, and whatever other pollutants can be found on your floor. This means you can vacuum clean pretty much all of your rooms in a single go, without having to empty the dust canister along the way.
Also, this model fares fairly well in the department of motor protection, so to speak. Namely, the powerful motor that the VacuMaid folks installed in this particular vacuum cleaner is thoroughly protected by the galvanized steel body that’s further been powder-coated, so that this unit can resist corrosion, as well.
- HEPA-style sealed bag
- Powder-coated body
- Comes with a dusting brush and some upholstery tools
- Crevice tool
- Noise suppression
- Cannot pick up any liquid
- Some users were dissatisfied with the upholstery tool (it can be too big to be squeezed in between the seats)
7) Nutone – PP650 Pure Power 650 Air W Central Vacuum System Power Unit
With some 650 air watts of sheer suction power, this Nutone PP650 central vacuum system power unit represents one of the mightiest cleaning contraptions coming from Nutone. One of the biggest strengths of this model, in particular, would be its mighty filter, which tackles potentially harmful exhaust fumes in several different ways.
Namely, there’s the main HEPA filter, which takes care of the main pollutants and sorts out the microorganisms by trapping them before they can exit the vacuum cleaner and join their ‘brethren’ still lingering on the floor. On top of that, there’s the secondary filter responsible for filtering the carbon dust let out by the motor itself during operation.
Other than this excellent filter and the powerful motor, which work beautifully hand in hand, it’s worth mentioning that this model also enables you virtually noiseless operation, ensuring you won’t wake your neighbors and break the sound barrier whenever you decide to clean your carpets a little bit.
- Features a secondary exhaust filter
- A powerful main HEPA filter
- Emits only a low level of noise
- Bagged and bagless design in one unit
- 6-gallon dust container
- Corrosion-resistant build
- Filter replacement can be a pain in the neck
- Some users have reported problems with the motor
8) Imperium – CV300 Central Vacuum Power Unit
Possessing an appearance of a fruit brandy-making contraption from Eastern Europe, this central vacuum cleaner model from Imperium represents a powerful cleaning contraption that you can use in your entire house for years to come. So, even though the initial investment may not look that attractive, it’s well worth it in the long run if you think about it.
As far as the actual area this thing can cover is concerned, the designated space where this thing will work stands at some 7500 square feet, which is more than enough for small to medium-sized homes. Also, this model boasts quiet operation producing only about 58 dB while it’s turned on. The power rating is 740 air watts, which gives you excellent suction that can take care of pretty much any mess.
When it comes to accessories, you can count on all of the mounting hardware, as well as a paper bag of 6,25-gallon dirt capacity.
- 740 air watts
- Quiet operation (the motor produces only around 58 dB)
- Comes with all mounting hardware
- One 6,25-gallon paper bag included
- 10-year motor warranty
- Quite pricey
- The bags can be expensive in the long run (you’ll have to buy new ones all the time)
9) OVO – Large Capacity Hybrid 630 Airwatts System Power Unit
When it comes to taking care of carpeted areas, this central vacuum cleaner model from OVO can be a perfect example of a high-efficiency cleaning contraption that can be used throughout the house. Thanks to the multitude of various attachments this model comes with, you can rest assured that it will be able to work wonders on carpets because there’s a special carpet-oriented suction head that possesses 6 height settings.
So, whatever you have a low pile or a high pile carpet in your house, you can be sure that this model will be able to take care of any mess that can be found on it quite easily, indeed. This is mostly thanks to its powerful motor, giving you some 630 air watts. This motor also works in 2-stages and is protected by a heavy-duty steel body that will protect the motor for years to come.
- Works great on carpeted areas
- The suction head can be adjusted to six different heights
- A powerful, 2-stage 630-Airwatt motor
- High-quality steel body
- Soft-start and soft-stop technology onboard
- LED status indicator (it shows the degree of fullness of the dust container)
- Some users complained about not received all the necessary accessories
- Fairly pricey
10) Nutone – PP500 Pure Power 500-Airwatts Central Vacuum System Power Unit
Representing the PP650’s smaller brother (the model we’ve described at entry number 7), this Nutone vacuum cleaning contraption is a smaller, compacter version of the PP650 perfect for small homes. As its name suggests, this contraption will grant you 500 air watts of suction power, which is enough to satisfy the needs of a smaller household for the most part. (Up to 4,000 square feet is what this model can take on comfortably.)
As far as the dust-disposal part is concerned, this model is bagged, so you’ll have to buy new bags now and then to be able to use this thing. As far as the dust bag’s capacity’s concerned, every bag can take in as much as 6 gallons of dust and other debris, which is more than enough for you to vacuum clean your entire house without having to change the bag in the meantime.
- Every bag can take in as much as 6 gallons of dust and debris
- Self-cleaning filter
- Powerful motor delivering 500 air watts
- Quiet operation
- Comes with convenient pail handles for easy handling
- Not big enough for medium to large houses
- Some users complained about low-quality plastic parts on this contraption
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) How Long Does Central Vacuum Cleaner Last?
Since the main idea of a central vacuum cleaner system is to cover the cleaning needs of a user in a single swift motion, where one can vacuum their entire house with just one cleaner, it’s easy to see that these machines are built to last.
Even the lowest-rated vacuum cleaning system out there on the market will be able to last at least 20 years if not more. (Of course, the lifespan of individual accessories and other items will vary.)
2) Can You Install a Central Vacuum After You’ve Built Your House?
Yes, you can.
Of course, since setting up this arrangement would require you to do some changes to your house structure, so to speak, you must take into consideration the additional costs of this.
To be fair, though, these costs will only have to do with the holes you need to drill for the hoses to go in, so it’s nothing too expensive.
3) How Much Does It Cost to Install a Central Vacuum Cleaner?
As we’ve mentioned somewhere above, installing a central vacuum cleaner is more of a large initial investment than anything else.
So, if you take into account the price of the vacuum cleaner itself, its accessories and the fact that you need to drill through the walls and fit the PVC pipes – the whole price can range from 2,000 to 3,000 dollars. (Of course, the size of the house will play an important role in this number.)
4) How Often Should You Empty a Central Vacuum?
This would be one of the biggest strengths of central vacuum cleaners.
Thanks to their large canisters or bags, central vacuum cleaners only need to be emptied every couple of months – depending on how much you’re using the vacuum cleaner itself.
So, for example, emptying the canister or changing the bag every three months would be the average rate at which you’d have to take care of this.
5) How Do You Clear a Central Vacuum?
If your central vacuum system has got clogged (due to a rogue sock that got sucked in, or a fair amount of debris), you first need to determine where the clog is. As you already know, central vacuum systems are spread throughout your house, so the first thing you need to do is figure out where the blockage is.
Sometimes all you need to do is built up the pressure and let the vacuum suck in the offending object. (You can do this by placing a hand on the suction head and blocking the suction. As the suction power builds up, simply release the hand and see if it works.) On the other hand, you can try taking a thin wire and physically removing the obstacle. If that doesn’t work, you may need to call in a plumber to help you out.
All things considered, installing a central vacuum system in your house may be somewhat of initial investment and may take some labor. However, if you’re in it for the long haul, the ability to easily clean all your rooms with a single vacuum cleaner that’s not even in the room itself may prove well worth the invested money. We hope this article helped you learn more about these powerful vacuuming systems, and wish you a merry and completely hassle-free purchase.