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Which Central Vacuum Is The Best?

Which Central Vacuum is The Best?

It is the single most asked question at Vacdepot, and for good reason. If you browse the web for central vacuum power units you will find dozens of products that claim to be the best. There are many brands and models of central vacuum power unit, and each one may be best for someone - but not every model is best for every user. If you are installing your own central vacuum or replacing an old unit you have a clear advantage over a builder installed vacuum system - you have the power to choose. The information available below will help you find the best vacuum for you, and only you.

To answer which model is best, first you need to start with another question which you may have not thought applied to central vacuum systems: Bag or Bagless? Often the question of filtration and collection receives little or no consideration in central vacuum equipment selection. All too often central vacuum shoppers become entangled in a question of motor power instead of vacuum efficiency and easy of use. Some just assume that all central vacuums are made the same way or that they have no choice of how collection and filtration is performed. Some may even believe that it does not matter. Filtration and collection is the center of all central vacuum design and determines every aspect of usability, performance and even durability. Understanding central vacuum filtration and collection is the answer to which central vacuum is best.

For many of us the question of filtration and collection depends on WHO is maintaining the vacuum, WHAT is being picked up with the vacuum, WHERE the power unit will be located in the home and HOW maintaining the central vacuum will affect the performance of the system and the well being of the person doing the cleaning.

A long time central vacuum standard, the majority of central vacuum systems are still bagless. Bagless central vacuums collect their vacuumed debris into a removable bin that is dumped when full. For some new central vacuum owners and many more of those replacing an old unit the disposable bag collection system is the more convenient choice. More central vacuum systems are now available in the Hybrid design which can be used with or without a disposable bag. There are even a few models which exclusively use a disposable bag for the truly dedicated. While there are but two methods of collection, bagless or bagged, there are many methods of filtration including cloth filter, metal screen, pleated media and others. Every method has it's pros & cons to consider and all methods have more than a few myths that are popular with supporters and sales people alike. For many homeowners more than one method may be viable for their application. By learning about each method available you can quickly identify which is best suited for your home.

There are no shortcuts to finding the best vacuum power unit for your application. This article and the related article: Central Vacuum Review - Collection & Filtration Systems will hopefully give you the information needed to select the correct vacuum for your own application. There are plenty of websites and interesting sources online where you can find the traditional hard-sell for a particular brand or model, this article is not one. Everyone who shops the internet despises the "top ten list" and websites with biased reviews claiming "5 out of 5 Stars!" for the products they want to sell you. Vacdepot authored this article to promote a better understanding of central vacuum systems - not promote a particular vacuum. This article purposely does not reference any brands or model numbers.

3 Steps to Select the Perfect CVS
There are many brands and many more models of Central Vacuum power units, which can make selection of just one a daunting task. In reality the selection of a CVS power unit is simple once you understand just what it is you are looking for. Think of these three steps as a screening process. Apply each screen one at a time. The models that remain on your list after the third step are good candidates for your application. From there your choice may be influenced by personal factors such as brand preference, cost or availability. Instead of looking for which model is for me, look for what model does what I need. Find the right central vacuum(s) using this simple three-step process:

Decide Which Filtration & Collection System is Right For You.
The second article in this series Central Vacuum Review will provide the information needed to know which filtration and collection method is best for you.
Find Models With Appropriate Power for Your Home.
Use the manufacturers suggested square footage and air watts ratings to find a vacuum of appropriate power. Every central vacuum will list both and most all vacuums fall into the small, medium, large and XL flavors.
Select Other Features You Want or Need.
A particular brand name, a style of utility inlet, the length of warranty, the vacuums color. Once you find the filter system you want with the power you need you can usually find all the extra features you would like.

 

Purchasing a new or replacement central vacuum system can be as simple or as detailed a decision as you would like. Which filtration and collection system you choose should be based on your personal preference. There is not a single best method and all designs work very well but the most popular method may not be the best for you.

Central Vacuums Dirty Secret
Many central vacuum shoppers start at the second step and can get bogged down in power unit selection by the confusing and numerous technical terms that describe a central vacuums motor power. Air watts, sealed lift, CFM, motor stages, db level, tangential exhaust and other specifications are important to be sure. But take a step back and you will find that many of the central vacuums within a given size class offer similar performance, function and features. Many of the CVS power units available today share the same motor systems and offer identical power specifications. Look deeper at the central vacuum models available and you may even realize that a few brands of central vacuum are produced by the same OEM, using the same components with only small differences between them. Knowing which central vacuum has the correct power for a given application is not as hard as some would have you believe.

And the secret to central vacuums: you cannot buy a bad central vacuum. Central vacuums from most any major line manufacturer that you might find browsing online or at your local vacuum showroom are great products - many times stronger, more efficient and (for the most part) more reliable than products produced just a decade ago. Even the wrong central vacuum for your application will likely clean very well but may leave the homeowner unsatisfied with the function or usage of the system overall. Shopping for your new central vacuum power unit will be simple now that you know the secret. Determine the best filtration & collection system for you, find the models with appropriate power for your home and get the extras you want. Remember these steps and you are guaranteed to have a lifetime of cleaning satisfaction.

What Vacdepot Recommends
The second most asked question by Vacdepot customers and the answer is simple: we recommend the best quality central vacuum power unit. Our central vacuum power unit pricing is the same for everyone and it is listed right up front. We recommend you get the best quality for your budgeted vacuum system dollars. Buy quality and you will never regret it. Notice we do not suggest you spend the most money, but simply buy the best quality. In todays market you can not conflate higher prices with better quality. Yes, manufacturers know that some folks will just buy the most expensive product assuming it's the best without doing any research. Manufacturers will gladly help you in this endeavor with more expensive products that do not actually clean any better or last any longer.

Spending more for a lesser product is the worst kind of feeling. Before you buy it's best to know what components or system design are important in the manufacture of a quality central vacuum power unit. Just a small bit of research will yield many times the effort in value and savings. Back in the 60's you could rely on a brand name to be assured of value. Unfortunately in the new millennium manufacturers have moved on from the agreement that "brand loyalty" would be rewarded, and that brand names should define a specific quality standard. A brand name is now just a feature like any other feature of the vacuum. Brand is no longer an unspoken guarantee of quality it once was. Vacdepot recommends that you look for actual value in the components and design, not the name badge. Central vacuums are rather simple machines and a quality system is easy to identify by it's quality components. What's inside matters, and if the manufacturer can not (or do not want to) tell you how the vacuum is designed to work better and last longer or show you the quality of components used to build the vacuum, that too is an indication of it's quality - just not a good one.

Vacdepot sells many models of power unit and most every brand of central vacuum built for the USA market. Ask us for our opinion about any particular model and you will likely get an ear full. Our professional recommendation is our subjective opinion acquired and adjusted over decades of sales, service and installation of central vacuums. We equally respect your desire to own a particular brand name for no other reason than to possess the name itself. We value your need to have a central vacuum of a specific color to match other appliances or decor. We perfectly understand the need to purchase a model of vacuum for it's one cool feature, even if that feature is unrelated to quality, performance or value. While we default to a position of quality first, then all else, we conceded this is not the only methodology for central vacuum power unit selection. It is your money - it is your choice, you should above all be happy with your selection. These days there are many great models of central vacuum available to everyone and your geography no longer dictates your selection of central vacuum equipment. The variety of choice is a wonderful thing and we believe that education is our highest goal and makes for the happiest customer. Start your central vacuum power unit education with the second article in our series: Central Vacuum Review.

 
An Original Vacdepot Article. © 2014
 

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