Central Vacuum Cleaner — Your Guide For The Best Fit

Are you tired of pushing upright vacuums all over the place when you need to clean your floors? Cordless vacuum cleaners are lightweight but the battery rarely lasts long enough. One solution that will solve both problems is a central vacuum cleaner.

You won’t have to deal with pulling a canister behind you either. All you have to contend with is the hose and the brush head. That sounds like something you can deal with, doesn’t it?

All you have to do is connect the hose to an inlet valve on the wall and start vacuuming away. Best believe it is as easy as that.

This approach spares you the noise you have to endure with the portable vacuums. With a central vacuum cleaner, you also don’t risk inhaling the dust and allergens you were trying to get rid of since they are going into “the wall”.

These vacuums are also a lot more powerful than the ones you are used to. They have bigger motors and it is not uncommon to find some with dual motors for even more power.

Due to their size, they have bigger filters too that reduces the resistance to the airflow. The better the airflow, the more efficient the suction power. A good airflow also helps the motor cool down better which lets it last longer and use power more efficiently.

As you continue reading, we will enlighten you in details how the central vacuum cleaner works and its advantages over the portable variants. Of course, we won’t leave you without telling you how to choose the best one for your needs.


central vacuum cleaner

The Central System

A central vacuum cleaner works differently from all the other vacuums we have talked about before. The “central” is what makes all the difference. As the name implies, the vacuuming happens from a central location.

Unlike other types of vacuum cleaners where all the components, whether single or double units, are in one place, this one is not. The unit that runs the most part of the show, motor, suction, dust bag, etc. is located remotely.

You can see it as a canister vacuum cleaner only that you don’t get to see the canister.


How It Works

The way a central vacuum cleaner works is similar to how electricity is distributed in your home.

There is a single point where the electricity is coming from. It is that point that is in turn connected to the grid in one fashion or another. We are not concerned about that latter part.

To make things clearer, if you switch off the electricity from this point in your home, no other part of the house gets current.

This is how the central vacuum cleaner is designed. The unit that does most of the vacuuming work which is the source which is often located in the garage or the basement.

If you are going to ask how the cleaning is done if the vacuum is located remotely, we have the answer, just stay with us. Back to the electricity analogy, the power point too could be located in the garage or the basement but then you get power in the living room.

That happens because a wire is run from that source to the living room which outputs as wall sockets, lighting sockets, etc. This is the same way the central vacuum cleaner is connected to different parts of your home.

The Analogy

In the vacuum case, you connect the central vacuum cleaner with PVC pipes to different locations in your home. The same way you have electric sockets in different parts of your home.

central vacuum cleaner-- installation pipesHowever, the location of these “vacuum sockets” has to be strategically located such that you can reach every part of your home you need to clean.

If you really think about it, that can be deeply strategic if vacuuming is the only way you want to clean your floors.

That might not be much of a problem since the vacuum hose is quite long and can cover a lot of ground from one socket.

They are often 30 feet long; with that, just 3 outlets can cover a 3,000-square-foot house depending on where the central vacuum cleaner is located.

The hose plugs and sockets are often standardized but there might be some slight changes by manufacturers. To be on the safe side, you might want to get all the fittings from the same brand.

Now that you have an idea how a central vacuum cleaner works, you are probably thinking of how it compares to the regular ones.

Well, we won’t leave you in wonder, keep reading and you will find out if installing a central vacuum cleaner is a good option for you.



On average, a central vacuum cleaner is not as expensive as a portable vacuum cleaner if you consider the value they can provide. There are portable vacuums that cost well over $1000 while it is only the high-end central vacuum cleaner models that cost that much.

A central vacuum cleaner for an American home will start at about $500. If you consider other advantages of using this system, that’s a great price.

By the way, the price of a central vacuum cleaner often includes installation and other accessories.

Central vacuum cleaners are often designed to be installed DIY. If you feel you are good enough with your hands and can follow instructions to the letter, you can even save some money on installation.


Always Lightweight

The weight of a vacuum cleaner is a big factor for some people, it can be so important it might turn out to be a deal breaker.

central vacuum cleanerWith central vacuum cleaners, you won’t even need to consider the weight at all.

This is because all you have to deal with is the flexible hose and brush head which is always lightweight.

You don’t have to pull around canisters that might have obstructive wheels. Neither would you have to push around any heavy upright vacuum.

Since vacuuming with a central vacuum cleaner is permanently lightweight, anyone can do the vacuuming. Even grandma won’t have any problem handling the vacuum.


No noise

Another painful thing users have to deal with when vacuuming is the noise. As you might have experienced, some portable vacuum cleaners require ear protection to stay safe.

We are not claiming that central vacuum cleaner models are a quieter type, though there are some that operate silently. Some central vacuum cleaners produce just 55 decibels of noise which is acceptable even if you install it in the garage.

The way a central vacuum cleaner is set up, you might not hear the noise even if the vacuum is noisy as it is located remotely.

Imagine that the central vacuum cleaner is located in your basement, cleaning the floor in your living room will not be a noisy affair. Even if you get to hear the vacuum work, it will just be a hum and nothing disturbing.


Great Investment

Let us say that you decided to install a central vacuum cleaner in your home and it works great helping you deal with dirt.

There comes a time that you need to put your house up for sale. You would agree with us that just by having a central vacuum cleaner installed makes your house more valuable than if it wasn’t there.

That’s not all, the vacuum system will also make it easier to get a buyer for the house. The installation just makes the house more attractive to potential buyers.

Think about it, wouldn’t you be more interested in buying a house that has a central vacuum cleaner than one that does not?

Another way to consider a central vacuum cleaner a good investment is its durability.

Generally, you would need to change your portable vacuum after some years depending on which brand you buy. But a central vacuum cleaner can last the lifetime of the house.


Better Performance

Central vacuum cleaner units are way bigger than portable vacuums. This means one thing, the motor in a central vacuum cleaner is bigger too. When it comes to motors, the bigger it is, the better.

If you know about vacuum cleaners, you will agree that a bigger motor will produce better suction.

central vacuum cleaner -- allegro performanceGenerally, the motors in a central vacuum cleaner unit are about 2 to 3 times as big as the portable ones especially since the latter has to consider weight.

With that, it is safe to say that central vacuum cleaners are 2 to 3 times as powerful as their portable cousins.

This does not only affect the suction, it also means that the central vacuums can move air way better than the portable ones.

Now that you have an idea how the motor affects a vacuum cleaner’s performance, imagine how effective a central vacuum will be if it has 2 motors.

Another way central vacuum cleaners perform better is because they have larger filters. These filters allow more air to pass through while reducing restrictions. What this means is that central vacuum cleaners rarely lose suction power.

Since their motors are stationary and the unrestricted air cools the motor better, they will last longer and perform better.



Some portable vacuum cleaners claim low maintenance and are rightfully so. Every central vacuum cleaner requires even less maintenance.

central vacuum cleaner -- pipe and hose sheetsThey have bigger dust bags so you will not need to change or empty them often; definitely not as often as you would their smaller cousins.

Central vacuum cleaners come as bagged, bagless, or hybrid. The level of maintenance required by these vacuum systems might require your attention about twice a year depending on how you use it.

Changing or washing the filters also is not something you will need to do often. Those central vacuum cleaners that have reusable filters will even save you a lot more as you will rarely have to buy replacements.

If you don’t want to bother yourself about nursing your vacuum every now and then, a central vacuum cleaner might be a good choice to consider.


Air Quality

We already talked about how great the suction of a central vacuum cleaner is. This makes it effective for deep cleaning your hard floors and high-pile carpets. These vacuums are not only good for debris, the can also vacuum dust and allergens from the air.

With its premium filtration process, these contaminants are trapped in the bag with no chance of escape. The filter and dust bag are not even within your vicinity, remember?

You can rest assured that this type of vacuum will keep the atmosphere in your home clean as the exhaust is remote. Even at that, central vacuum cleaners have their exhaust channeled outside the house.

This is a great way to keep the air in your home fresh and clean. You can breathe deeply and safely now as there is no fear of allergic or asthmatic attack.



You might be wondering how a central vacuum cleaner will be able to do those small versatile cleaning you can do with the portable ones. Like we said earlier, we won’t leave you with questions.

central vacuum cleaner -- accessoriesWhen it comes to accessories, you will get way more than you would with the portable vacuum cleaners.

There are attachments for different floor types, furniture, upholstery, stairs, etc.

Any type of cleaning you need to do with a vacuum, it is available with a central vacuum cleaner.

The versatility of this type of vacuum is unprecedented. You can get a flexible hose with your system that is as long as 60 feet. Just imagine how much ground you will cover.

Do you have pets? That is not even a problem, you just need to get attachments that are specialized for handling pet hairs and you are good.

There’s more…

You can get crevice tools, dusting brush, and all other attachments you can use for above the floor cleaning.

It does not end there, some brands have some extra add-ons. A particular brand has vacuum inlets you can install. Instead of using a dustpan to clear those small messes, you can just sweep it into these inlets and the debris gets vacuumed away.

There are also mini cleaning stations with their hoses that you can use to do spur-of-the-moment cleaning. Just pull the hose from where it hangs, vacuum what you need to and you’re done.

The level of convenience you can get with a central vacuum cleaner is enough to excite you to want one. With the few advantages we have highlighted, you are probably contemplating your options.



How To Choose The Right Central Vacuum Cleaner

Getting a central vacuum cleaner is one thing, getting the best one for your needs is another. Choosing a central vacuum cleaner to install is not as straightforward as choosing a canister vacuum cleaner or an upright.

Some factors need to be put into consideration and they are not the same as the ones you are already used to. As always, we are here to hold your hand all the way to the finish line so you can be confident about your choice.

How big is your house?

This is one of the most important factors to consider. You don’t want to install a central vacuum cleaner only to find out that it is not powerful enough. As you might have figured, the larger your home, the more powerful the vacuum you need.

You need to find out the size of your home in square feet as these vacuums have a limit to the space they can cover. We will advise that you don’t totally believe the numbers the manufacturers throw at you.

central vacuum cleaner -- proluxOne pro tip we can give you is this, divide the manufacturer’s suggested coverage by two.

For example, if a brand says a particular model will cover 10,000 square feet, you can rest assured it will work great for a 5,000 square feet home.

Once you know the size of your home and you apply this logic, you can’t go wrong with the power of the central vacuum cleaner you need.


How many inlet valves?

If your house is large, you might need multiple valves per floor but for a small house, one inlet valve might be enough.

If you don’t want to have multiple inlet valves, you can go for longer hoses. With a 60 feet hose, you will be able to cover the entire floor with just one valve. The downside of this approach, however, is how to store the hose when you are done.



Before going all out buying accessories for your central vacuum cleaner, it is important to be clear on how you would be vacuuming.

central vacuum cleaner -- accessoriesYou need to consider what floor types you have, if you have stairs to vacuum, if you would be doing above the floor vacuuming, etc.

These considerations are what will determine the type of accessories you will need.

Another reason is that if you purchase the accessories you need with the entire installation package, you can save a lot of money. I’m sure you will agree that it is always a good idea to save money.

If you have carpets, you will need a motorized brush tool to add to the wand for deep cleaning it. But if it’s a hard floor, a floor brush might be more suitable.


Consider maintenance

Central vacuum cleaner models too need some maintenance. It won’t be as often as with the portable variants though. But it is important that you maintain it if you want to it to last and be reliable.

You should be clear on the maintenance procedure and how often you would need to do it. Failure to do this might be setting yourself up for a lot of hassle.

You should be clear on how often you would need to empty the dirt receptacle. You would also need to be clear on the process of changing or washing the filters and when.

When you get this information, you have to be honest with yourself. Will you will be able to carry out the maintenance like you should?

If you won’t be able to, perhaps you can consider the option of paying someone who can. This is because, with some brands, you will void your warranty if you don’t perform maintenance like you should.


Brand name

This might seem a bit trivial but it should not be overlooked. Central vacuum cleaners are more expensive with some brands than others.

central vacuum cleaner -- honeywellFirst of all, it is important to patronize brands that have a reputation to protect. This is because they often stand by their products, in the form of customer service and honoring warranties.

Secondly, go for high-quality vacuums even if they are more expensive initially. Trying to pinch a little money with less reputable ones can cost a lot in the long run.

We’re not to saying that all inexpensive central vacuum cleaner models are not up to par. We are only suggesting that it is better safe than sorry.


Now you have it – a top class central vacuum cleaner guide. It is our hope that you have all the information you need about these robust types of vacuum cleaner. We said we won’t leave you with any questions and we hope that we did not.

With this guide, you will be able to determine which vacuum is best for you based on important considerations.

Now you can confidently choose a central vacuum cleaner that will suit your need and your pocket. Now go and make your purchase and start experiencing vacuuming at its finest.











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