Understanding Vacuum Cleaner Specifications

Understanding a big number of complicated specs is among the most difficult elements of choosing a brand new vacuum cleaner. Before everything, shoppers need vacuum cleaners that supply one of the best cleansing means. And most shoppers usually equate cleansing means with “energy” or “suction”.

Cleansing means is not only about energy and suction, regardless that these attributes are vital components of vacuum cleaner efficiency. With a bit info and schooling, it is possible for you to to sift by way of the numbers and higher perceive what the specs imply and which of them are vital to you.

Sadly, there isn’t any single ranking that signifies cleansing means. Nevertheless, there are a selection of main specs, that when clearly understood, enable shoppers to make educated choices regarding which vacuum cleaner can have one of the best cleansing means.

These main specs embrace watts, amps, volts, water carry (or sealed suction), horsepower, air watts, and airflow.

There are additionally quite a lot of different, secondary specs that affect cleansing means that we’ll additionally look at. These embrace filtration, cleansing instruments (agitation), capability, high quality, noise, options and price.

With the intention to make sense of all this we first want to know the fundamentals of how a vacuum cleaner works.

AllĀ  Shark vacuum cleaners function primarily based on air flowing from the opening on the cleansing head or software, by way of the vacuum cleaner and the bag and/or filter system after which out the exhaust port. This airflow is created by the vacuum motor, which additionally could also be known as the suction motor.

The vacuum motor consists parts connected to a fan or a number of followers. When the followers spin, a partial vacuum is created and the strain contained in the vacuum cleaner drops beneath the ambient (or current) air strain within the room. As a result of air strain is larger exterior the vacuum cleaner than inside, air rushes by way of the vacuum cleaner.

So, it’s straightforward to see that the vacuum motor is the center of a vacuum cleaner. In spite of everything, the extra highly effective the motor, the larger the strain differential and subsequently the extra suction and airflow, proper? And it is for that reason that many of the specs you see regarding cleansing means relate both straight or not directly to the motor.

However here is the place it will get difficult. Specs for parts such because the motor don’t essentially relate to the efficiency of your entire vacuum cleaner, and subsequently are solely part of the story.

Let’s check out the first specs one after the other:


The enter energy of the vacuum motor is measured in watts. Though this specification does not take note of the effectivity of the motor, the variety of followers or the general vacuum cleaner design, motor wattage is a legitimate method to consider and examine the ability of the motor.

Whereas the best comparability is motor enter energy in watts of Product A in comparison with motor enter energy in watts of Product B, some producers don’t present motor enter energy specs within the type of watts however as a substitute fee your entire vacuum cleaner in amps. This could make it laborious to check throughout manufacturers.

Nevertheless, you may convert amps to watts by the method, amps x 120 (volts) = watts. Or conversely, you may convert watts to amps by the method, watts/volts (at all times 120) = amps. For instance, a 1400-watt motor converts to 11.67 amps (1400/120=11.67).

Evaluating machines rated in amps with these rated in watts shouldn’t be a precise comparability as a result of producers which might be utilizing watt rankings usually fee the motor solely whereas amperage rankings use the whole electrical consumption of the vacuum cleaner together with the motor within the energy nozzle (the motorized revolving brush cleansing head), mild bulb, and so on.

Which means that a Energy Group (a canister vacuum cleaner with an influence nozzle) with a specification of 12 amps is perhaps fairly comparable to a different Energy Group with a 1200-watt motor that converts to solely 10 amps.

It’s because the ability nozzle motor consumes 1.5 amps, the bulb makes use of further amperage and so forth. So, if we subtract the amperage utilized by the ability nozzle motor from our 12 amp machine, we give you 10.5 amps for the motor and light-weight bulb. On this instance, the 2 motors each have rankings of very near 10 amps, and subsequently, equal motor enter energy.

Subsequently, it’s best to both examine motor enter energy in watts of each machines or if you need to examine a machine rated in watts with one rated in amps, attempt to get the amperage ranking of the motor solely as a substitute of your entire vacuum cleaner. You’ll be able to then convert this to watts and have a significant comparability.


A quite common vacuum cleaner specification is amps. The amperage ranking designates the utmost quantity present utilized by the entire vacuum cleaner’s electrical parts when working. The largest client present would be the vacuum motor, however the amperage ranking contains the entire electrical parts, together with the vacuum motor, the ability nozzle motor, the sunshine bulb, and so on.

The utmost amp “draw,” (the variety of amps the vacuum cleaner makes use of when working) allowed for any equipment that plugs into an ordinary family outlet is 12. Subsequently, in case you see amperage rankings above 12, learn the nice print, as they don’t seem to be true amperage specs however another producer developed “efficiency ranking” designed to create the impression of a extra highly effective vacuum cleaner.

Though amperage refers to electrical energy consumption and never energy or cleansing means per se, it may be used to check the enter energy of 1 vacuum cleaner to a different. It’s because whereas enter energy is measured in watts, amps are transformed into watts by multiplying by volts. Since volts are fixed at 120, amps signify a legitimate comparability of motor enter energy.

Once more, as talked about above, when making this comparability, attempt to get the amp ranking of the motor solely as a substitute of your entire machine.

Subsequently, amp rankings give us a method of evaluating the enter energy of a vacuum motor and the vacuum cleaner as an entire and are a significant specification for comparability functions. However once more, they’re solely a part of the story. In spite of everything, simply because a motor or vacuum cleaner consumes extra electrical energy, this doesn’t make it a greater cleaner.

The amps specification additionally doesn’t take note of how environment friendly the motor is, in addition to different design elements, reminiscent of whether or not the motor has one or two followers (two shouldn’t be essentially higher than one) and the general effectivity of the vacuum cleaner design.


In america, commonplace family present operates at 120 volts on the meter. Voltage inside a house is usually known as “110” and it is because there could also be voltage drops by way of the home wiring. However to not fear, home equipment are designed to function inside a variety of voltages from 110 to 120.

For the needs of understanding vacuum cleaner specs the one factor about voltage we actually have to know is the method, amps x volts = watts and conversely, watts/volts = amps. When doing these calculations use 120 volts for U.S. home equipment.

Water Elevate (Sealed Suction)

The sealed suction of a vacuum cleaner is measured in inches of water carry. This ranking is taken when the motor is completely sealed, and the time period refers to what number of inches the motor will vertically carry a 1″ column of water.

Water carry is what provides a vacuum cleaner the ability to select up or “carry” particles from the ground floor, whereas airflow then removes it to the mud bag. Vacuum cleaners with extra inches of water carry can have a better time selecting up sand and different heavier soils from carpet and flooring.

Water carry can be a measure of a vacuum cleaner’s means to cope with resistance throughout the vacuum cleaner. That is particularly vital in HEPA or excessive filtration vacuum cleaners which have extra resistance as a result of further filters that the air has to go by way of.

water carry ranking additionally signifies that a vacuum cleaner will maintain acting at excessive ranges because the mud bag or container fills and the filters “load” or steadily fill with nice particulate and change into increasingly proof against air passing by way of.

The water carry of a vacuum cleaner is one other helpful indicator of efficiency in that it’s a technique of evaluating the suction of 1 motor to a different and, typically talking, the extra water carry the higher.


This can be a ranking that was used primarily for advertising functions and had little or no relation to hoover cleaner efficiency in the true world. Fortunately, it has been largely executed away with as a vacuum cleaner specification.

Sometimes called “Peak Horsepower” these rankings had been obtained by eradicating the followers from the vacuum motor and subjecting it to the utmost load attainable earlier than the motor burned out. Then, a fancy method was utilized to give you a Peak Horsepower ranking. Once more, this specification is meaningless by way of evaluating the cleansing means of a vacuum cleaner.

Air Watts

As we’ve mentioned, typical vacuum energy specs reminiscent of watts and amps measure the vacuum cleaner’s enter energy. Central vacuum makers, in addition to another vacuum cleaner producers, have been utilizing the air watts specification to try to fee the vacuum cleaner’s output moderately than enter energy. Air watts are calculated utilizing the method, (Air Circulate (in CFM) x Vacuum (in inches of water carry))/eight.5 = Air Watts.

As soon as once more, there may be some query as as to whether this can be a helpful specification or only a new ranking to additional confuse shoppers and make comparisons troublesome. In spite of everything, whenever you do the calculations, an air watt involves zero.9983 watt or simply about the identical as an unusual watt.

It will be important to not confuse air watts with airflow, crucial specification of all.


Airflow is by far crucial specification by way of figuring out the cleansing means of a vacuum cleaner. Measured in cubic ft per minute (CFM), it’s the drive of this airflow throughout a floor that picks up the filth and strikes it to the mud bag or container. Subsequently, the extra airflow, the higher the cleansing means of the vacuum cleaner.

Airflow is a superb specification as a result of it takes into consideration each the ability of the vacuum motor, which creates suction, in addition to the resistance of the bag and filter system that this air should go by way of.

Airflow is mostly measured by way of the vacuum cleaner with out hose or attachments related. Due to this, there are a number of elements that may have an effect on precise airflow, together with turbulence within the hose and wands, restrictions on airflow the place the cleansing software meets the ground or different floor, elevated resistance as a result of bag filling with filth, in addition to filter loading.

Evaluating Major Specs

When it comes to these main specs, there are three components which might be helpful in evaluating vacuum cleaners.

The primary comparability is watts to watts motor enter energy. Ideally, the machines being in contrast will all have motor enter energy laid out in watts for a easy, direct comparability. If one machine is rated in amps and the opposite in watts, a conversion of the amps specification to watts makes comparability attainable however is “apples to apples” provided that the motor amps alone are used for this comparability.

As talked about within the amps part above, if the one specification out there is the amps for the entire machine, a comparability can nonetheless be made nevertheless it is not going to be a direct one.

If each machines are rated solely in amps, a comparability may be manufactured from the electrical consumption of every unit with an assumption that if these are shut or equal, the motors are related in enter energy. It’s because the motor would be the greatest client of the rated amperage.

The second comparability will likely be water carry (sealed suction). This can be a good specification to check how effectively the vacuum cleaner will carry out because the bag fills and the filters load, and is particularly related when selecting excessive filtration or HEPA filtration vacuum cleaners. It additionally gives some concept of how vacuum cleaners examine by way of selecting up heavier soils reminiscent of sand, grit and so forth.

The third level of comparability is airflow. That is crucial specification of all when selecting a vacuum cleaner as a result of airflow is what strikes the filth from surfaces to the mud bag or container. In brief, airflow is one of the best specification that demonstrates cleansing means.

So, now with airflow rated in CFM and water carry rated in inches, what kinds of numbers do you have to be searching for? On canister vacuum cleaners (with or with out energy heads) airflow of 100 CFM or extra and water carry of 90 inches or extra is really helpful.

Upright vacuum cleaners are available in all kinds of configurations, however there are two primary designs. The primary is the “Direct Air” or “Soiled Air” design the place the filth passes by way of the motor previous to any filtration en path to the mud bag. Soiled air uprights are solely rated in amps.

The second primary design is one which encompasses a by-pass motor the place unfiltered air doesn’t undergo the motor. In uprights with this design, solely filtered or utterly clear room air passes by way of the motor in an effort to cool it. By-pass uprights will often present airflow however not water carry specs and a excessive performing upright will supply 60 CFM or higher.

There isn’t a want for water carry rankings on each kinds of uprights, as a result of there may be so little distance for the air and soil to journey. CFM rankings don’t have to be as excessive as canisters for a similar purpose.

Many uprights is not going to supply airflow rankings in any respect and can solely fee the motor by way of amps. As we’ve realized, this solely measures the electrical consumption of the motor, which isn’t a measure of cleansing means. Nonetheless, when evaluating totally different vacuum cleaners of this sort, amp rankings are higher than nothing.

If you select a vacuum cleaner with wonderful airflow and water carry specs, you might be effectively in your method to a machine with excellent cleansing means.

Secondary Specs

We now have examined the first specs that influence cleansing means. However there are additionally secondary specs that needs to be thought-about earlier than making a last resolution. These embrace filtration, cleansing instruments (agitation), capability, high quality, noise, options and price.


Filtration is essential by way of cleansing means as a result of HEPA or different superior filtration will increase the resistance throughout the vacuum cleaner. Subsequently, it’s simpler for a vacuum cleaner with regular filtration to perform larger airflow rankings. Actually, the problem of dealing with larger resistance is among the causes that HEPA filtration vacuum cleaners can price extra.

For extra info on HEPA filtration vacuum cleaners, click on right here.

The mud bag can be a part of the filtration system and a major issue influencing airflow. Many new supplies, versus conventional paper, are getting used to fabricate mud baggage in an effort to retain the nice filth and dangerous small particles whereas nonetheless permitting air to movement as freely as attainable.

The floor space of the mud bag can be an element as a result of the extra floor space the bag has, the extra simply the air will movement by way of it. This interprets to higher cleansing means because the bag fills. This can be a good purpose to decide on full sized vacuum cleaners versus medium or compact ones.

Cleansing Instruments (Agitation)

The first cleansing software have to be appropriately chosen as a result of whereas airflow is what transports these soils to the mud bag, agitation is what dislodges soil from carpeting, flooring and different surfaces.

Subsequently, discover the kind of cleansing instruments that make sense to your house. You probably have numerous carpet or troublesome soils reminiscent of pet hair, select an upright or an influence staff with a motorized energy nozzle. You probably have furnishings that’s troublesome to get underneath, be certain your vacuum cleaner has a low sufficient profile cleansing nozzle to achieve these areas and so forth.

You probably have a vacuum cleaner with all of the airflow on the planet however an insufficient cleansing software, outcomes will likely be lower than optimum.


The capability of your vacuum cleaner has a job by way of sustaining excessive ranges of cleansing means. As we noticed above, the bigger the mud bag, the higher the airflow, and subsequently, cleansing means. All different issues being equal, a full-sized vacuum cleaner will supply higher cleansing means, particularly because the mud bag or container fills.

High quality

The standard of your vacuum cleaner can be vital. You’ll be able to have wonderful specs in a poorly constructed vacuum cleaner that may final only some years, in comparison with extraordinarily prime quality merchandise that may ship excellent cleansing efficiency and can final a few years and even a long time.

High quality may be partially decided by the size of the guarantee in addition to the kind of supplies used, the standard of the match and end, how heavy obligation the housings are, how tight the seals, how shut the tolerances and so forth. Usually, mass-market, low-priced merchandise will not be designed for long-term use.


Noise can be a major consideration. Some vacuum cleaners may be so noisy that they are virtually insufferable to make use of. A high-quality vacuum cleaner will usually function at ranges which might be fairly comfy and can help you hear the cellphone or doorbell ring fairly simply.

The quantity of noise a vacuum makes whereas working is rated in decibels (dB). To offer you some concept, a dialog at house is rated at 50dB, a rubbish disposal at 80 dB and a motorbike or lawnmower at 100 dB. Extraordinarily quiet vacuum cleaners can function at decibel ranges within the mid-sixties whereas cleaners within the 70-77 dB vary are nonetheless very quiet in comparison with the vacuum cleaner you grew up with.


Subsequent, it’s good to think about whether or not the vacuum cleaner you are contemplating has all or many of the options that you simply want for efficient and nice cleansing.

Think about your cleansing scenario and ensure that the vacuum cleaner you select provides you every little thing to make the chore of vacuuming as straightforward as attainable. Does it function a twine rewind, variable pace controls, on-board software storage, top adjustable wands, an ample cleansing radius, the right instruments to your flooring reminiscent of a gentle brush to your slate entry tiles and so forth.


And, final however not least, you want a vacuum cleaner that represents the easiest worth. As with every little thing, higher high quality often prices a bit extra, however is usually value it in the long term.

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