Central Vacuum Systems Ratings

The ratings used to classify central vacuum systems can sometimes be confusing if not overwhelming. Trying to find the right central vacuum system for your home can be a challenge if you’re not properly equipped to interpret the central vacuum systems information. For this reason, let’s do a breakdown of the different suction ratings you’ll find with most central vacuums, and how they apply to your home. Then we’ll finish up with a comparison in ratings vs. price to see which central vacuum is the best deal.

Here is an example of the technical specifications and ratings for a central vacuum. So let’s break down the different ratings:

Home Size: Self explanatory, the home size is the square footage of your home. This rating is designed to show you how many square feet the central vacuum is designed to handle. This is not always correct though. Within the central vacuum industry it is a common rule of thumb to take you’re the square footage of your home, double it, and then find a central vacuum that is rated up to that size. This is due to the way these central vacuums are tested for suction power. When they are tested at the factory and rated, the suction meters are placed directly at the valve on the central vacuum. In a real home, you should test the suction power at the end of the hose connected to the valve. You will have some suction loss along the way. For this reason always find a power unit that is rated for double your home’s square footage.

Water Lift: The water lift on the central vacuum is how many inches of water the central vacuum can suck up in a special testing tool. The water doesn’t actually enter the central vacuum, but is lifted in a tube. The amount of inches the central vacuum lifts the water shows you how strong of a vacuum the central vac is creating within the tube.

Air Watts: Air watts are a special term in the central vacuum systems ratings. The air watts will most often be correlated with the actual suction power of the central vac. This is the most important factor when deciding which central vacuum has the strongest suction.

Air Flow: The airflow of a central vacuum system is also important, and is measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute). This is the rate at which the air moves through the central vacuum hose, and how fast dust and dirt will reach the dust bin.

These are the essential central vacuum ratings that you should be paying attention to when choosing a central vacuum unit for your home. Now it’s time to take a look at these ratings and compare them. To find the top rated central vacuums, we will want to compare apples to apples, so all of the central vacuums should be rated for around the same square footage.


  Home Size Rating Air Watts Air Flow (CFM) Water Lift (in.) Warranty Price
Canavac 911 XLS 10,000 sq. ft. 800 166 134’’ 20 years electrical $799.95  
Canavac 511XLS 8000 sq. ft. 800 166 110’’ 20 years electrical $749.95
Canavac 700LS 8000 sq. ft. 700 139 132’’ 15 years electrical $649.95
Beam 375c 8000 sq. ft. 600 125 140’’ 10 years electrical $649.95
Electrolux PU3650 8000 sq. ft. 600 125 140’’ 10 years electrical $649.95

These power units all have quality central vacuum systems parts. This is essential when you are going to choose a new unit for your home. You don’t want to get a cheap unit that is only going to last you five years, when you could have one that lasts you a lifetime. The central vacuum systems cost is another factor that will come into play, but always look at the ratings and warranty to determine if it’s worth it. A good central vacuum will pay for itself in home equity if you purchase a quality unit that lasts a long time.

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3 Responses to Central Vacuum Systems Ratings

  1. Pingback: Commercial Central Vacuum Systems | Central Vacuum Direct Blog

  2. Martha says:

    What is the difference in Suction power and performance of the machine if the Water Flow in the Canavac 511 is 110 ” which seems significantly lower than the Canavac 911 at 134″. Is the 511 not a good. I have a 3000 square ft home but want the best quality for my money. Thanks!! 🙂

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