Central Vac Ratings

A recent couple was searching for the latest central vac for their home when they contacted us to get some more information on central vac ratings. They expressed that while showing all the technical information was fine and dandy, it did nothing to help them understand the differences between these ratings and what they actually were. To respond to this we decided to make a blog post regarding the different specifications that are listed for built-in vacuum systems, what they mean, and how they relate to your home.

Typically when you’re going to see a central vacuum online you’re also going to be shown the technical information, specifications, and other numbers which show the efficiency of the machine and how powerful it actually is. Most of the time this will be shown in chart form with the info displayed in a similar format to an excel spreadsheet. Here is a great example of a comparison of different central vac ratings and how different brands stand up to one another.


You’ll find that in this particular table the author shows the brand, model, airwatts, waterlift, airflow, warranty period, and the particular type of machine the central vacuum is. This pretty much includes all of the major specs and shows a great comparison between them. But how do you know which of these ratings are important? Here is a breakdown of what each one actually means:


The waterlift on a built-in vacuum system is a measurement of how many inches of water a vacuum will pull up a vertical tube. This measurement gives a good representation of how strong the vacuum is, but is not necessarily  the most important factor in the overall suction of a machine. There are several other components that will determine this.


One of the most critical components of a central vac is the airflow of the machine. The airflow is rated in cubic feet per minute (CFM) and is a measurement of how much volume of air is passing a certain point at a certain time. The airflow is extremely important and has a lot to do with the overall suction of the machine.


The Airwatts of a central vacuum is a term used by manufacturers to show the overall performance of the vacuum itself. Technically the airwatts is a mixture of the airflow and waterlift. These two values are put into a formula which then comes up with the airwatts of the machine. This number gives a good impression of the overall suction power of the machine, and how well it’s going to perform in a home.

Warranty Period:

Typically with most central vacuums your going to see the term “lifetime warranty*”. Note the asterisk. When you read the fine print you’ll see that the outside casing of the unit is covered for life, and the important parts such as the motor and electrical components are only covered for 5-10 years. Only one brand, Canavac, offers a 20 year warranty on their motor and electrical.

Overall these are the most important central vac ratings and what they mean. When your shopping for a new unit you should keep all of these in mind!

Happy Cleaning & Happy Holidays!

– Central Vacuum Direct

This entry was posted in central vacuum systems and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s