Central vacuum cleaners have been around since the late 19th century, but just because they have a long history, that doesn’t mean that central vacuum systems are well-known. Today we will discuss the central vacuum system in detail, providing everything you need to know before you purchase one for your home. We will also tell you the best central vacuum systems to purchase in 2019.
Read on to find out more about these interesting products.
What is a Central Vacuum System?
Central vacuum systems also go under the name of built-in or ducted vacuums. These machines are permanent installations in your home. They are run by a central motor or central vacuum powerhead. The motor typically also holds the debris container in the same location.
The motor of the central vacuum system is connected to tube installed in your walls. These tubes end at suction ports in each of your rooms. You then connect some of your central vacuum system accessories to the suction port to vacuum a particular room.
Although we discuss the pros and cons of central vacuum systems later in this article, the biggest advantage of a central vacuum system is the fact that it is installed in your home. You no longer need to move a vacuum from room to room. Instead, every room has a suction port, so all you need to do is to hook up the central vacuum system accessories and get to vacuuming.
History of Central Vacuum Systems
The central vacuum system has a long history (in some ways, it is almost a longer history than the traditional vacuum). The central vacuum system was invented in the late 19th century. I was a ducted machine, like the modern central vacuum system, with suctions outlets throughout a house’s rooms. The problem with these early models was the lack of suction power, and so they were not very popular at the time.
The central vacuum system did not become popular in the United States until the 1930s when a motor was created that was powerful enough to create the suction needed to clean an entire home. The 1960s invention of PVC piping made the central vacuum system more affordable for middle class homes. And the rise of allergy prevention in the 1990s saw the central vacuum system rise even more in popularity.
Today you can find home with central vacuum systems already installed. But in order to ensure that you have one of the top-rated vacuum cleaners, you should consider installing a new product. Thankfully, there are a number of central vacuum systems available for purchase. Our central vacuum comparison chart below lays out all of the top options.
Do I Need a Central Vacuum System?
Before we discuss central vacuum systems in detail, you may be wondering if you even need one of these products. Doesn’t a traditional upright or drum vacuum work just as well?
Yes, a traditional vacuum may get the job done for most people, but it lacks a number of advantages that the central vacuum system has. You need to consider a few factors to decide whether or not the central vacuum system is for you.
1. If you or someone in your home has trouble pushing a traditional vacuum cleaner around, you may want to consider purchasing a central vacuum system. Because the system is wired into your house, there is no pushing needed.
2. Central vacuum systems are the best options for homes with people that have severe allergies or asthma. The more powerful motor and external venting system means that less dust gets recirculated into your home.
3. Do you like convenience? If so, a central vacuum system may be for you. They are the most convenient home cleaning option available today.
Central Vacuum System Pros and Cons
- Central vacuum systems are the most convenient vacuuming option. They save you time and, ultimately, money. Once they are installed, all you have to do is to upkeep them and change the dustbin liner occasionally, and you will always be ready to vacuum any room of your house.
- Because central vacuum systems are designed to make much less dust and exhaust dirt and debris out of your home, they are wonderful for people with severe allergies and asthma.
- Central vacuum systems are designed to be much more powerful than upright or drum vacuums, which means your home gets cleaned better and more thoroughly with these machines.
- Central vacuum systems will raise the value of your home. One of the reasons why central vacuum systems became popular again in the 1990s was because of the value they added to any home. If you are planning on selling your house sometime down the line, you may want to invest in a central vacuum system. It can do wonders for your house’s resale value.
- Central vacuuming systems are significantly pricier than their upright cousins. The exact cost of the central vacuum system will depend on the size of your home. But most moderately sized houses (2000-2500 square-feet) will run around $1500, a significant price-tag for most people.
- You need to make sure that you get your central vacuum system looked at by a professional multiple times per year.
- Central vacuum systems require the use of number of accessories, which means more parts that can be lost or damaged.
- Central vacuum systems use ducts inside the walls of your house. Thus, if you add a room or change the layout of your home, restructuring the central vacuum system’s ductwork can be costly and time consuming.
What to Look for In A Central Vacuum System
Once you have decided that a central vacuum system is for you, then you need to begin looking for the best product that you can find. Below we’ve listed some of the most important things to look for when choosing a central vacuum system.
You can purchase a central vacuum motor or a central vacuum system with a number of accessories. Oftentimes the central vacuum powerhead by itself is more common than a central vacuum system including accessories. You will likely find the central vacuum system accessories sold separately.
The number of products in your central vacuum system will depend on your preferences. Since the motor is the more important part of the central vacuum system, it may make sense to buy that alone and then decide on the accessories later. The choice is your own.
Dirt Separation Method
Two dirt separation methods are common in central vacuum systems: cyclonic and filtered. These two methods may seem familiar since they are the same as on traditional vacuums.
Cyclonic dirt separation central vacuum systems do not use a filter. Instead the machine spins the air at a high speed, which separates the dirt and debris from the clean air. This dirt separation method was made famous by the Dyson company. Central vacuum systems for pet hair can even separate out pet hair. Most of these systems send the cleaned air out of your home, so you never have to worry about that dust getting back into your house.
The other dirt separation method common in the top-rated vacuum cleaners is filtration. This is the older and more common dirt separation method for vacuums. Filtration systems use a filtered bag in the dirt collection bin that catches dirt. If you get a filtered central vacuum system, you should look for one that is HEPA certified.
The is also a new dirt separation method in some modern central vacuum systems, and that is the hybrid method. Hybrid central vacuum cleaners use some cyclonic motion in the dirt collection bin but do include a filter bag as well.
Central vacuum systems are not cheap home products. They are up there in price with refrigerators and other essential home products. This means that you need to ensure that the central vacuum system you choose comes with a good warranty.
Warranties for top rated vacuum cleaners can last anywhere from five to twenty-five years. You should not buy a product with a warranty less than five years. Always make sure to read the warranty agreement in order to know exactly what is allowed. You should always use the correct care products and recommended repairmen so that you do not void your warranty. You want your central vacuum system to be with you as long as possible.
Size of Home
Central vacuum systems are designed for a specific house size or range of sizes. Thus, you need to get the right sized central vacuum system for your home. In order to choose the right central vacuum size, you should look at the number of suction inlets and the central vacuum powerhead—how much power the machine generates.
Experts recommend at least three or four suction inlets for a 3,000 square-foot home. You don’t necessarily need an inlet in each room of your house, as long as you have a couple on each floor. You will need to be able to get the accessories to each of the rooms in your home, so some math may be needed to discover the best places to put each inlet to get the most coverage area.
The motor of your central vacuum cleaner also has to be strong enough to suck up all the dirt in your home without losing any power. Thus, you should look for motors that have been rated for your sized home. Most central vacuum companies or central vacuum system consumer reports will be upfront about the size rating of each product.
Unfortunately, for the majority of customers, price will be a determining factor in your purchase of central vacuum system. These are expensive appliances that need to fit into your budget. More expensive is not always the best option, as the top central vacuum system for you is one that fulfills all of your wants and needs. We recommend making a list of what you need your central vacuum system to do, and then using that to find the best product possible.
Top Five Best Central Vacuum System 2019 - Comparison table
Weight and Dimensions
25 years body warranty & 10-year motor warranty
Hybrid filtration system
Our Top 5 Best Central Vacuum System Recommendation:
#1 HP Projects 9880 Dirt Devil Central Vacuum System
HP’s 9880 Dirt Devil Central Vacuum System comes with everything you need to get started. Your purchase of the product includes the motor, dirt collection bin, 7-35-foot expandable length hose, and multiple cleaning heads. HP also provides a five-year warranty with this product. But you will likely never need to use the warranty because of the product’s all-metal construction.
One negative with the 9880 Dirt Devil Central Vacuum System is the dirt collection bin, which only holds one gallon. This is the smallest of the central vacuum systems on out central vacuum system rating list, which means that you will have to empty the system more often. But the small size of this product means that it is a great introduction to the central vacuum system. You can decide if you like this type of vacuum, and then size up to a larger system later.
#2 Nutone PP500 PurePower Central Vacuum System Power Unit
Nutone’s PP550 PurePower 500 Air Watts Central Vacuum System Power Unit only includes the motor and dirt collection bin of this central vacuum system. All hoses and accessories have to be purchased separately. But that does not mean that you don’t get a good product from Nutone. In fact, the sound deadening alone makes this central vacuum system on of the top-rated vacuum cleaners on our list. The noise level of this product is only 70 dB (decibels).
Other advantages of this central vacuum powerhead are its large six-gallon size. It also includes big ergonomic latches on the dirt collection bin that makes emptying central vacuum system much easier for everyone. Nutone does not list their warranty information, but you can contact the company to learn more about that. Over all, this central vacuum system is a solid product that will last for many years to come.
#3 Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum Power Unit
Prolux is a big name in the central vacuum system industry. Their CV12000 Central Vacuum Power Unit is known as the most powerful product in the industry. This amazing product is rated for up to a 12,000 square-foot home. The motor is a 150 CFM two speed, which means that it can handle any vacuuming job. Plus, this central vacuum system comes with a HEPA filter to create the cleanest air possible in your home.
The amazing Prolux CV12000 is backed by the best warranties in the industry as well. The central vacuum powerhead comes with its own ten-year warranty. The entire product comes with a twenty-five-year warranty, so you never have to worry about this one breaking.
#4 Honeywell 4B-H803 Pro Central Vacuum System Power Unit
Honeywell has also created a powerful central vacuum powerhead with their 4B-H803 Pro Central Vacuum System Power Unit. Again, this product only includes the motor and dirt collection bin, so all hoses and accessories will have to be purchased separately. Like the Prolux central vacuum system is rated for a 12,000 square-foot home.
The 4B-H803 as all of the features that you would expect on a central vacuum system of this caliber. It is ultra-quiet; although, Honeywell does not list the decibels that it creates. You will also receive an ultra high-performing HEPA filter and five-year limited warranty with this product.
#5 OVO Powerful Central Vacuum System
OVO is the one of the most experimental companies on our central vacuum comparison chart. Their Powerful Central Vacuum System comes with a two-stage motor that makes 700 air watts and 140-inches of water lift. This allows the central vacuum system to be rated for homes up to 9000 square-feet. The motor also includes OVO’s patented Soft-Start technology adds years to the life of your product.
OVO’s Powerful Central Vacuum System also uses a hybrid filtration system, which OVO claims will improve the air quality of your home. And the dirt collection bin is 9.25 gallons, by far the largest on our list, which means you can go a long time without emptying the bin. Essentially, everything about this product indicates the high-level of detail that OVO has put into their central vacuum system.
How to Use Your Central Vacuum System
While the end result is the same, central vacuum systems do not vacuum your home in the same way as a traditional vacuum. Instead, they are used differently than other types of vacuums. But if used correctly, the end result is the same: a sparkling, clean house. Here are the steps to follow when cleaning with your central vacuum system.
1. Attach your vacuum hose to the suction inlet in the room where you need to vacuum. You may have a traditional vacuum hose that need to be plugged in with every use or you could have a hide-a-hose that is stored into the wall piping until it needs to be used.
2. Attach your needed cleaning head to the hose. This where is a wide variety of central vacuum system accessories comes in handy, as you will have a lot of cleaning head options available.
3. Turn on the central vacuum system. In modern products, the suction inlets all have an on/off switch. If you have an older central vacuum system, you may need to turn the vacuum on at the motor.
4. Vacuum and then properly put away all of the central vacuum system accessories. If your system is not self-storing, make sure that you have a set location for storing the central vacuum accessories so that you don’t lose them.
Tips and Tricks for Upkeeping Your Central Vacuum System
As with all appliances, your central vacuum system will run better and last longer with proper care. We’ve included the top tips and tricks for caring for your central vacuum system below.
1. If your central vacuum system has a filter, make sure to change it regularly. A clogged filter will not work well or clean out your home properly.
2. You will need to empty the dust collection bin two or three times per year not matter what type of dust collection method you have. A full bin may overflow, creating a mess. If you have a central vacuum system, you clearly do not want more messes in your home.
3. Experts recommend having a professional check your central vacuum system every few years. These professionals can fix problems and foresee any potential future problems with your central vacuum system. Their care is essential for the proper running of your product.
Central vacuum systems are pretty amazing products. They can save you a lot of time and energy, and raise the value of your home. There is very little not to like about that. But central vacuum systems also come with more intensive care instructions than traditional vacuums. If you are ready to take on the responsibility of a central vacuum system, then we highly recommend choosing on of the products from our top five list. These are the best central vacuums systems available on the market today, and they will serve you well for many years to come.