Cleaning your house can be a pain, and fewer jobs are more inconvenient than vacuuming. This task requires that you purchase an expensive piece of equipment that is relatively large for an appliance. Then, not only must you find a place to store it, you also have to lug it around during use.
However, choosing the right central vac can be a difficult process. With a plethora of specs and features to examine, not to mention plenty of deceptive advertising tactics, it can be easy to get confused.
That is why we have put together a list of the ten best central vacuum systems available. Furthermore, we have provided a convenient and easy buyer’s guide to help you become an informed consumer and choose the right central vac for you.
Top Central Vacuum Systems in 2019
|HEPA filtration bags||15||740|
(Best for the money)
|3 levels of filtration:|
1. Bagless dirt chamber
2. Washable Micron Pre-Filter
3. Washable HEPA Filter
|OVO 700ST-35H||HYBRID Filtration System||10.8||700|
|Allegro MU4500 Champion|
/Hose & Powerhead Kit/
|Self cleaning Fibro-Tex Filtration Systems||15.7||600|
|Electrolux Quiet Clean PU 3900 C||Permanent self-cleaning filter||15||640|
|Honeywell 4B-H803 Quiet Pro||Self-cleaning Triumph HEPA filtration||15||630|
|VacuMaid P125p||Cyclonic System||13.5||525|
|Nutone PP650 PurePower||1. HEPA filter|
2. Exhaust filter for cleanest indoor air
|Beam SC375A||HEPA CleanStream™ Filtration System||14.5||600|
|Ultra Clean SC200||1. Filtration bag |
2 .Micro-fiber permanent filter for enhanced motor reliability
What Else I Need to Buy Together with the Central Vacuum Unit?
To help answer this question, please, read our detailed reviews of the best-selling accessories for a successful installation and use of your central vacuum unit:
What is the Best Central Vacuum System on the Market?
Answer: List of the Best Central Vacuum Systems
1. Imperium CV300 – Quiet and Excellent Power
The design of the Imperium CV300 make it a bit quieter in practical terms than other CVS in our list. The decibel levels are determined by the motor’s noise, which those two products are only separated by a single decibel. However, the Imperium further smothers the sound of the dirt in movement with a bag that features its own filter.
However, this is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it muffles the sound of the dirt as it is sucked into the container. On the other hand, it makes the filtration a bit worse than other models which have dedicated filters. Moreover, this means you will need to change the bag – which is a bit more expensive than most due to the filter requirement – more often.
2. Prolux CV12000 – Best Central Vac Warranty
The Prolux CV12000 can be a bit underwhelming – especially in regards to its power. However, it is also one of the most reliable central vacs, offering a 25-year warranty. That is more than double the next closest competitor. Moreover, the Prolux utilizes a 3 step filtration system which also removes more allergens from the air than most of the other entries on this list.
Considering the Prolux does not offer information on its drive diameter, this feature coupled with the low motor amps is probably responsible for the lower suction rate.
3. OVO 700ST-35H – Powerful Central Vacuum System
This well-made OVO central vac comes with some impressive features, including 700 airwatts of power, a 2-stage Ametek Lamb motor, and 140-inch waterlift capacity. It’s undoubtedly a powerful central vac and it’s made from heavy-duty steel.
This vac is designed for large spaces and can cover areas of up to 9,000 square feet. To further extend the unit’s lifespan, OVO has integrated Soft-Start technology into it, which gives the unit a 3-second delay so that debris doesn’t fall out after you’ve closed the power unit.
On top of that, the filtration bags come with three layers of purification which allows them to get rid of debris without causing mini dust storms. There’s also an air-containment gasket that allows the unit to maintain the same suction level while eliminating air loss.
Most users say the LED status indicator is their favorite feature because it’s designed to let you know whenever the debris container is at capacity so that it doesn’t overflow.
The package also includes an installation bracket for easy mounting, noise-canceling inserts for noiseless operation, and heat protection safety so the motor doesn’t overheat no matter how much you use it.
All told, the OVO Large Capacity central vacuum system comes with all the features you need to clean a large home. It has the capacity to clean 9,000 square feet of space, an incredibly powerful motor, LED status indicator, noise-canceling technology and even a mounting bracket so that you don’t have to struggle with the installation.
4. Allegro MU4500 Champion – Central Vac Motor with Most Amp
Our first central vac is the Allegro MU4500 Champion, which has a specific niche in which it excels but is a bit subpar beyond that. One of the best things about the Allegro is its motor. It features a tangential bypass design which allows it to generate a pretty solid suction.
This would be okay, except the Allegro is also one of the more expensive central vacs on our list, which makes its value questionable unless you have a specific type of space for its intended use. Still, the 5.7” drive diameter is nice, though not exceptional, while the 2 stage motor may make it a bit more prone to needing repairs.
While the bagless container with an inverted filter is good, the micro fiber filter will need to be cleaned.
5. Electrolux Quiet Clean PU 3900 C – Best Central Vac Motor
If you never want to worry about your motor, then the Electrolux Quiet Clean PU 3900 C central vac is likely your best bet. It is tied for first with a 7.2” drive diameter that utilizes a tangential bypass motor design. The only flaw with the motor is that it is 2 stage, but it still uses 15 amps.
All of this may have something to do with the fact that the Electrolux is rated for a 12000 sq. ft. house, which, while the largest rating, may spread out the Electrolux’s suction power a bit thin.
6. Honeywell 4B-H803 Quiet Pro – Best for a Large House
Honeywell 4B-H803 Quiet Pro with a 7.2” drive diameter corrects all the mistakes the Electrolux makes, though its motor is not quite as good. However, both the Electrolux and the Honeywell feature a tangential bypass drive design on a 2 stage system.
The total air watts are pretty much the same as is the water lift at 630 and 135” respectively. The CFM is even an identical 125. However, this central vac is actually quieter than the Electrolux while still being able to service the same gargantuan 12000 sq. ft.
7. VacuMaid P125p – Cyclonic Central Vacuum
The VacuMaid brand has established itself as a reliable name in the central vacuum manufacturing industry. This P125p Cyclonic Central Vacuum Power Unit is a testament to their commitment to continually innovate in this field. Its pure cyclonic system can separate heavy particles to protect the motor while expelling the dust in a similar way to clothes dryer.
This makes for a very efficient filtration system that doesn’t require the addition of a foam filter or paper bag. It’s easy to install for both existing and new constructions and it has the capacity to cover an area of up to 7,500 square feet. Did we mention that it’s made in the USA? Yep, and it features a powder coated heavy-duty galvannealed steel construction which also happens to be corrosion resistant.
The VacuMaid P125p Cyclonic Central Vacuum Power Unit is rated as one of the best central vacuum units on the market and for good reasons. It’s very well-made, thoughtfully designed, offers no-nonsense installation and works noiselessly. Plus, it provides all of this at an accessible price point. What more could you ask for?
8. Nutone PP650 – Best Small to Mid-Size House Central Vac
The Nutone PP650 PurePower is a bit of a solution without a problem. Its power is somewhat less than ideal. A CFM of 113 is one of the worst, while a water lift of 130” is disappointing at best. Still, this central vac somehow manages to generate an average rated 560 total air watts from its adequate, if not great, 13.5 amp motor.
The motor may be part of the problem, though it is not genuinely a weakness. The thru drive definitely helps explain some of the water lift issues, but the Nutone at least uses a single stage system, so wear and tear will be minimal.
9. Beam SC375A
The SC375A central vac is one of Beam’s best-selling models and it comes with 600 air watt motor and a capacity to clean a large space of up to 7,000 square feet. Its motor is designed to provide optimal airflow to speed up the cleaning process. You can use it to clean bare and hardwood floors with the same ease. In fact, this is the type of central vac that will clean out an entire area with one swipe, which means there’s no need to go over the same spot over and over again when cleaning with it.
Like other Beam units in the Serenity and Classic range, this one has a soft start motor that’s designed to prolong the unit’s overall lifespan. For filtering purposes, this unit comes with a bagless dirt receptacle with a 15-liter capacity and all you have to do is twist it off when you’re ready to empty it. Plus, the receptacle is lined with an antibacterial agent called Alphasan which helps to minimize odors as well.
You’ll be glad to know that this unit is backed by a lifetime warranty to cover the permanent filter so that you won’t have to replace dirty filters at your own cost. The HEPA filter has a long lifespan and can maintain the same airflow throughout. Beam has thought of everything as this unit also features a utility inlet right on the canister so that you can easily plug it into the can when you need to.
Thanks to the sound insulation system, this unit runs very quietly. This is in addition to the carbon filter and sound insulation wrap, of course.
This amazing central vac from Beam is incredibly popular and is one of the brand’s best sellers. It’s a high-performance model that can clean large homes with a capacity to cover 7,000 square feet of space. It has a low profile design with a slim body and a front mounted utility valve that makes it ideal for mounting in basements and garages, and it’ll never be too far for you to clean your car with.
Plus, you can’t beat its whisper quiet operation and large capacity filter. It definitely deserves a spot on the list of the best central vacuum cleaners on the market.
10. Ultra Clean SC200 – Good and Cheap
Our budget central vac definitely earns its title. While it may be the cheapest product on our list, it is also riddled with power issues–specifically, it cannot generate enough. This made even more troubling by the fact that the Ultra Clean SC200 is only rated for a 7500 sq. ft. house, which is more medium-sized than anything else.
Central Vacuum System Buyer’s Guide
Central vacs have a surprising number of features that all form together and coalesce into a suction rating. Of course, there is no actual “suction rating” standard, and we are instead forced to figure out which central vac is better based on an understanding of how these specs work in unison.
Ultimately, CFM, water lift, and drive diameter are the most important for determining the central vac’s suction. The motor type, its number of stages, and its amps will determine the motor’s effectiveness.
Finally, the collection, filtration, and materials all play a part in the cleanup, durability, and cleanliness of the central vac.
Collection is either bagged or bagless. Ultimately, you are going to have to empty both types–even if the central vac features an exhaust system. However, bagless collection does not also require you to continuously purchase replacement bags.
There are numerous types of filtration and none of them have been demonstrated to be appreciably better than the others. Ultimately, this factor will weigh more heavily on if you are expected to replace or clean the filter yourself. Obviously, permanent, self-cleaning filters are preferred.
While steel is the most common and most durable material, some manufacturers will try to cut corners by using metal alloys or metallic composites. Other brands may skip metal altogether and just use some form of plastic composite. Keep in mind, any composite will have a higher chance of mildew due to its porous nature.
The 2 types of motors are bypass and thru flow. Generally, bypass is better because it isolates the motor’s part from the debris. Thru flow, due to its design, can have issues with water lift and wet debris in general.
The drive diameter plays a major function in determining the motor’s suction power. In this regard, the bigger the better. 5.7” is a good rating with anything above that being great. Above 7” is stellar. If a manufacturer uses a drive diameter smaller than 5.7”, they will not advertise it.
Air watts is actually best represented as a general term for suction power. However, since it is actually the combination of 2 different specs, CFM and water lift, it can stay the same while one or the other of its particulate factors differ greatly. It can help get an idea of suction power, but is not the end-all-be-all.
Central vac motor systems come in either 1 or 2 stages. 2 stages may be able to generate a modest amount more power, but they also suffer from more moving parts. The fewer moving parts, the fewer things can go wrong. As such, single-stage motors are generally more durable.
CFM is one of the primary factors that measure a central vac’s airflow. Combined with water lift, CFM will influence the central vac’s total air wattage. Keep in mind, a CFM can be high, but the system design may provide more or less suction depending on its design.
Amps are a good way to measure the raw power of the motor. While they do not determine the central vac’s ultimate suction power, they do give you a good idea of what it can be capable of.
Water lift is the other spec that helps determine total air wattage. This quality defines the central vac’s ability to suck water. However, this rating is determined with a top-down flush arrangement, so be sure to keep that in mind when you are using the central vac.
The size of the house will, in part, determine your central vac’s suction. The larger the house, the more powerful your vac must be or suffer from lost suction due to a diffuse air flow. However, many central vacs are rated for houses bigger than their power may truly serve well.
This is purely a personal taste feature. If you have a small house or the central vac will be located in area where people congregate, the noise level will be more important. If the house is larger and the central vac can be stored in a corner, basement, or somewhere else similar, this should not be a concern.
After a thorough look, we see that not all central vacs are created equally, but that does not necessarily mean one is simply better than the other. All of these central vacs fill a niche, and within that niche they are generally superior.
Of course, it does have some limitation in regards to the size of the house for which it is rated, and it is also one of the more expensive items on our list. Moreover, the engine design is a thru flow instead of a bypass.
Still, this does not prevent that vacs from claiming the top water lift rating, and the single stage engine should prevent too many issues with repair. Moreover, it is whisper quiet and generates the most sheer power.