What is the best central vacuum system on the market in 2018? That’s exactly what we will look in to today.
Whether you need a powerful new motor for an existing installation, or a complete system with everything included to get started, you will find a solution here.
We have carefully selected 5 top rated central vacuums to cover a range of budgets and requirements.
For our findings at a glance, just head to the table below. For an in depth review of each of our choices, plus a comprehensive buyer’s guide, keep on reading.
Best Central Vacuum System 2018 – Top 5
|CENTRAL VACUUM||NAME||DETAILS||OUR RATING|
|TOP RATED:Prolux CV12000Central Vacuum PowerUnit with 2 speedmotor||25 Year Warranty!2 Speed, 150 CFMmotor. Capacity:12,000 square foot.Bagless Filtration|
|GV Central VacuumKit, with Power Head30 foot hose||Fits all CentralVacuum Cleaners3 way switchETL Certified2 Year Warranty|
|Electrolux 4B-H403Honeywell CentralVacuum SystemPower Unit||Capacity:3,000 square foot,Self-cleaning HEPA filter, 5 YearWarranty|
|Universal CentralVacuum Kit withTurbo Nozzles||30 foot hose2 way switch1 Year Warranty|
|PP500 PurePower 500Air Watts CentralVacuum SystemPower Unit||Capacity:4,000 square feet,Sound Suppression,Easy Mount|
- 1. TOP PICK: Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum System
- 2. GV Central-Vacuum kit with Power Head 30 foot hose
- 3. Electrolux 4B-H403 Honeywell Central Vacuum System Power Unit
- 4. Universal Central Vacuum Kit with Turbo Nozzles by GV
- 5. TOP PICK POWER UNIT: Broan PP500 PurePower Central Vacuum System
- Central Vacuum System Buyer’s Guide
Central Vacuum System Reviews
There is a wide range of models, makes, and brands of central vacuum systems being sold today.
For the 5 that we have selected, we have graded them based on their operational efficiency, durability, maintenance costs, and compatibility with standard cleaning accessories.
What follows is our in depth analysis of each using the above criteria.
1. TOP PICK: Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum System
Our top pick Prolux CV12000 is a high-performance, high-quality bag-less filtered central vacuum power unit that comes with a powerful Amtek 2-stage high-speed motor.
It uses bypass cooling to prevent motor seizure in case of filter failure, which rarely occurs as it uses high-quality and durable filters.
In fact, this model uses 3 levels of high-performance filtration to remove dirt and eliminate allergens in the air that is circulated in the house.
This is made possible mainly by the use of High-Efficiency Particle Arrestor (HEPA) filtration which ensures that the occupants breathe an allergen-free air.
Likewise, this filtration has made this model suitable for home-owners who want to live in an allergen-free and (bad) odor-free environment which ultimately improves the health of the home occupants.
Furthermore, this power unit comes with 3 suction ports and a black cylindrical canister with a view window which serves as the dirt collection chamber.
This dirt chamber has a capacity of 5 gallons, which would take a significant period of time to fill hence allowing the owner to empty it less frequently.
This power unit model is designed and manufactured by Prolux, LLC. The model number (CV12000) alludes to its ability to clean 12,000square-feet (sq.ft) per session.
This compact and well-designed power unit weighs about 22pounds and is 17inches long, 11.5inches wide and 38.5inches tall. Its edges are all curved hence giving it a cylindrical shape and appearance.
This model uses a 2-stage, 2-speed high-performance Amtek motor to generate enough vacuum power to clean a surface measuring 12,000sq.ft.
Furthermore, the motor benefits from a 10-year warranty guaranteed by its manufacturer.
The high-capacity motor can also generate a maximum airflow of 150 cubic-feet of air per minute (abbreviated as CFM).
This also serves as the measure of vacuum power generated by the power unit. The unit owes its ability to generate such a large amount of suction power (vacuum power) to the 2-stage capability of its motor.
This means that the fan assembly fitted on the motor has 2 levels of fans, which in turn means that it produces more power than a motor with only one fan fitted to it.
This unit has a bag-less HEPA filtration which allows it to use a dirt canister instead of filtration bags to store the dirt.
Its 3-levels filtration system encompass HEPA filtration, filtration through a micron filter, and filtration through another high-quality filter.
Sometimes, the user can remove the HEPA kit in order to enhance the suction power of the unit, but this is not usually recommended.
The Prolux CV12000 is safe for use in rooms occupied by people suffering from allergy caused by airborne allergens such as pollens.
This power unit features a reset switch and a port for low-voltage wires. The reset switch protects the motor from overheating. The dirt chamber is latched to the bottom of the power unit using metal latches. The dirt chamber must be washed after every emptying.
This model features a durable construction; its corrosion-resistant, scratch-resistant powder-coated steel body gives it a durable frame.
In fact, the manufacturer provides an incredible 25-year warranty for this steel body. That just demonstrates the level of faith the company has in their product.
The power unit is shipped alongside a Prolux 30feet long power hose, mounting hardware, and an exhaust muffler to reduce noise in the power unit itself. The muffler is fitted in the exhaust port of the power unit hence reducing the exhaust noise. It can be mounted on walls.
The Prolux CV12000 is a high-performance, high-quality bag-less filtered central vacuum power unit that comes with a powerful Amtek 2-stage high-speed motor which gives it a suction power of 150CFM that allows for cleaning of a surface measuring 12,000sq.ft.
It uses 3 levels of high-performance filtration, including HEPA filtration, to remove dirt and eliminate allergens.
Its high operational efficiency, durability, low maintenance costs, and compatibility of its power hose with standard cleaning accessories makes the Prolux CV12000, in our opinion, the best central vacuum system on the market today.
The GV Central Vacuum is a kit that comes with a 30-foot long vacuum hose as well as cleaning tools to fit most central vacuum systems, especially the Beam, Nutone, Electrolux, Canavacs and Hayden designs, (that are bought separately).
There is a high-end carpet power nozzle and the vacuum hose is equipped with a 3-way electronic control switch.
The tools in this kit are designed to fit well with central vacuum systems that use non-electrical connections, 2-prong direct connect systems and pigtail connections in their vacuum inlet ports.
It also features an extensible wand and a well-designed hose-and-kit hanger. This deluxe kit is packaged by GV, and it benefits from a 2-year warranty guaranteed if one purchases the kit from GreatVacs or an authorized dealer.
Overall, this is a competent, high-end carpet cleaning tool with several unique features.
To begin with, it has a locking pivot which ensures that the vacuum hose is well secured to the carpet cleaning head.
Secondly, the carpet cleaning tool requires electricity to operate, and electric power is provided via the dual power-supply cable that is fitted on the power hose.
When connected to a power source, one can adjust the height of the cleaning brush in the cleaning tool.
In fact, one can set the height to any of the six pre-determined height levels. Also there are long-lasting LED lights which can illuminate the surface being cleaned during poor lighting conditions.
There is also a brushroll viewing plate which allows one to see the state of the brushroll and decide whether it is time to clean it.
Regular cleaning of the brushroll, especially removal of strings lengthens its lifespan. Likewise, there is an auto shut-off feature which protects the unit from overheating.
At the front edge of the carpet cleaning tool is a rubber bumper which protects the unit from damage after it inadvertently and forcefully hits a hard surface.
The 30-feet long power hose is designed as a double-reinforced crushproof hose that comes equipped with a powerhead control unit (for regulating the operation of the cleaning tool) and a suction bypass valve for bleeding off excess suction power from the central vacuum power unit.
This hose is ETL-certified, and allows for the vacuum motor to be switched on using its 3-way switch.
There is also a cloth caddy pouch for storing 2 cleaning tools; a brush with removable bristles and a cleaning tool for hard floors.
The GV Central-Vacuum kit is a deluxe kit that comes with a 30-foot long vacuum hose as well as cleaning tools that can fit into most central vacuum systems, including popular models from the Beam, Nutone, Electrolux, Canavacs and Hayden designs.
There is also a high-end carpet power nozzle and its 30feet long vacuum hose is equipped with a 3-way switch.
If you already own a vacuum suction unit and want to take its functionality to a whole new level, this kit is definitely worth a look.
The Electrolux 4B-H403 is a corded, high-performance and high-quality bag-less filtered central vacuum power unit system.
It comes with a powerful 120-volts, 13.7amperes dual-stage high-speed motor that can deliver an air power of 500airwatt, which is equivalent to 38.7CFM because its suction power is rated as 110inches of water.
It uses bypass cooling to prevent motor seizure in case of filter failure, which rarely occurs as it uses high-quality and durable filters.
It also uses high-performance filtration to remove dirt and eliminate allergens as well as noxious odors in the air.
Its filtration efficiency is improved by the permanent self-cleaning (and hence clog-free ) HEPA triumph-air filter. It comes with dirt receptacle with a capacity of 4 gallons. Furthermore, it can clean a surface of 3,ooo sq.ft per session.
As the name suggests, this power unit model is designed and manufactured by Electrolux.
It is a sturdy and well-designed power unit that weighs about 22.8pounds and its cylindrical body has a diameter of 11 inches while its height is 33inches. This makes slightly smaller than our number one pick, Prolux CV12000.
The Electrolux 4B-H403 Honeywell features a durable construction, like our top choice system, this also features a corrosion-resistant, scratch-resistant powder-coated steel body.
Relatedly, its use of bypass cooling protects its motor from being flooded with organic particulate matter that can create a sludge within the motor housing.
Like the Prolux CV12000, the Electrolux 4B-H403 Honeywell uses a 2-stage, 2-speed high-performance motor.
This motor generates enough vacuum power to clean a surface area measuring 3,000sq.ft. Likewise, it has a bag-less HEPA filtration which allows it to use a dirt canister instead of filtration bags to store the dirt.
Also, if the HEPA kit is removed, the suction power of the unit can increase significantly, but this is not usually recommended.
The 4B-H403 Honeywell is a UL-certified, and (indirectly) an OSHA-approved product that is safe for use in rooms occupied by people suffering from allergy caused by airborne allergens such as pollens.
Its dirt receptacle is latched to the bottom of the power unit using metal latches. This dirt chamber must be washed immediately after it is emptied. The receptacle features a viewing window which allows the owner to know when the canister is full so that it can be readied for emptying.
The system benefits from a 5 year warranty.
The Electrolux 4B-H403 Honeywell is a corded, high-performance and high-quality bag-less filtered central vacuum power unit that comes with a powerful 120-volts, 13.7amperes dual-stage high-speed motor that can deliver an air power of 500airwatt.
It uses high-performance filtration to remove dirt and eliminate allergens as well as noxious odors in the air.
Another universal kit from GV has entered our list. This also comes with a 30-foot long vacuum hose, Turbo nozzles, and cleaning tools that can fit into most central vacuum systems, making it a very versatile option.
The turbo nozzles work well with the accompanying carpet cleaning mini-head. This allows it to vacuum hardwood floors, tiles, plush carpet, and low-pile carpet. Its vacuum hose is equipped with a 2-way switch.
Just like the deluxe GV Central-Vacuum kit packaged by GV, the tools in the GV Universal Central-Vacuum Kit are designed to fit well with central vacuum systems that use non-electrical connections, 2-prong direct connect systems and pigtail connections in their vacuum inlet ports.
It also features an extensible wand and a well-designed hose-and-kit hanger. This universal kit is packaged by GV, and it benefits from a 1-year warranty guaranteed if one purchases the kit from GreatVacs (see their Amazon store here), or an authorized dealer.
Its carpet cleaning tool has a locking pivot which ensures that the vacuum hose is well secured to the carpet cleaning head.
Also, because this carpet cleaning tool requires electricity to operate, the electric power is provided via the dual power-supply cable that is fitted on the power hose.
When connected to a power source, one can power on the spinning brushroll and clean the carpet or floor. The brushroll viewing plate allows the user to see the state of the brushroll and decide whether it is time to clean it.
Just like the deluxe GV Central-Vacuum kit, the GV Universal Central-Vacuum Kit comes with a 30-feet long double-reinforced crushproof power hose that comes equipped with a powerhead control unit (for regulating the operation of the cleaning tool) and a suction bypass valve for bleeding off excess suction power from the central vacuum power unit.
This ETL-certified hose allows for the vacuum motor to be switched on using its 2-way switch.
There is also a cloth caddy pouch for carrying up-to 3 small cleaning tools. The wall-mountable hose hanger and wand-mount tool caddy provide for easy storage of the hose and extensible wand respectively.
There are also the combination floor tool for cleaning hard floors, the crevice tool for scrapping off sticky dirt, and upholstery tool for lifting off the legs of tables and chairs off the ground.
GV Universal Central-Vacuum Kit is a complete universal kit that comes with a 30-foot long vacuum hose, turbo nozzles, and cleaning tools that can fit into most central vacuum systems.
The turbo nozzles work well with the accompanying carpet cleaning mini-head to vacuum hardwood floors, tiles, plush carpet, and low-pile carpet.
If you already own a power unit, or wish to choose from the many options available, this kit represents a very good purchase.
5. TOP PICK POWER UNIT: Broan PP500 PurePower Central Vacuum System
The Broan PP500 is our top pick standalone central vacuum power unit for good reason. Not only is this a high-quality, filtered central vacuum power unit, it also comes with a 6-gallon disposable bag and powerful dual-stage high-speed motor that can deliver 500airwatt of vacuum power.
Like the Prolux CV12000 and Electrolux 4B-H403 Honeywell, the Broan PP500 PurePower uses bypass cooling to prevent motor seizure in case of filter failure, which rarely occurs as it uses high-quality and durable filters.
However, unlike Prolux CV12000 and Electrolux 4B-H403 Honeywell, Broan PP500 PurePower does not use HEPA as one of its filtration mechanisms.
Still, its high-grade filtration can remove dirt and eliminate allergens in the air.
This makes the Broan PP500 PurePower model suitable for home-owners who want to live in an allergen-free and (bad) odor-free environment which ultimates improves the health of the home occupants. Its disposable dirt collection bag can be emptied after 6 months.
Even so, the frequency of emptying is determined by how fast the bag fills with dirt. This power unit model is designed and manufactured by Broan.
This compact and well-designed power unit weighs about 23.1pounds and is 14.6inches long, 13.2inches wide and 29.8inches tall. This makes smaller than the Prolux CV12000.
Also, just like Prolux CV12000, the edges of Broan PP500 PurePower are all curved hence giving it a cylindrical shape and appearance. Its color scheme is red and black.
The Broan PP500 uses a 2-stage, 2-speed high-performance Thru-flow motor to generate vacuum power to clean a surface measuring 4,000sq.ft.
This Thru-flow motor features a high-quality sound-absorbing padding material that muffles the motor noise during operation.
This unit has a bagged filtration which allows it to use a disposable filtration bag to store the dirt. Its filtration system works well to remove particulate matter from the air that is set to go to the exhaust port.
The Broan PP500 PurePower is a UL-certified product that can safely be used to clean the floor and air of classrooms and living quarters of old people who can be prone to allergy caused by airborne allergens such as pollens.
The disposable bag is fitted on the inner surface of the collection vessel that is latched to the bottom of the power unit using metal latches. This collection vessel can be washed after the disposable bag is removed for emptying.
The Broan PP500 PurePower features a durable construction. Its corrosion-resistant, scratch-resistant powder-coated steel body gives it a durable frame. It comes with a 6-foot power cord.
The Broan PP500 PurePower is a high-quality filtered central vacuum power unit that comes with a 6-gallon disposable bag and powerful dual-stage high-speed motor that can deliver 500airwatt of vacuum power.
Its power capacity is perfectly suited to homes up to 4000 square meters in size, and a long with the unit’s quality build and reliability, you have a robust system on your hands if you do choose to buy it.
Just bare in mind the extra cost of the kit and installation however.
Central Vacuum System Buyer’s Guide
Cleaning a house, office, or factory floor creates a healthy dirt-free environment. There are different ways of cleaning the floors of houses, offices and factories, and one of the most efficient cleaning method is vacuum cleaning.
In vacuum cleaning, one uses a specialized machine called a vacuum cleaner (or vacuum sweeper/hoover) which has an eclectically-powered air pump which creates partial vacuum that sucks dirt and dust from the floor, wall and even upholsteries.
The different types of vacuum cleaner
There are different types of vacuum cleaners, which nevertheless can be broadly classified into 2 groups; portable vacuum cleaners and the central vacuum system.
Portable vacuum cleaners are compact wheeled devices that can be moved around the house to clean it room-by-room.
For a large apartment block with many housing units, it would be tedious to use a portable vacuum cleaner to clean all the houses.
An alternative would be for each house to have its own portable vacuum cleaner, but this would be expensive.
The most viable option for managing cleaning in such an apartment block is to install a central vacuum system which allows all the housing units to enjoy the benefits of vacuum cleaning at the most affordable cost. So, what is the central vacuum system?
The central vacuum system explained
The central vacuum system is a specialized form of a vacuum cleaner that is installed, or fitted, as a semipermanent fixture inside a building. It is also called a ducted or built-in vacuum cleaner.
It has 5 main components;
- the power unit,
- cleaning accessory (usually a brush)
- and dirt collection canister(or bag).
The power unit contains the motor unit, dirt filtration unit, and the vacuum head. The motor powers the large fans in the vacuum head which operates as the vacuum pump to create a vacuum whose strong suction (as compared to the portable vacuum cleaner) can draw in dirt and dust.
This power unit is permanently installed at a remote place in the building, usually the basement, storage room, garage or any remote utility space.
Attached to the vacuum head is a duct, usually made of durable metal piping or the more affordable plastic piping, that terminates as a vacuum inlet in the wall of a living room.
The vacuum inlet is covered by a spring-loaded cover cap/door, and the uncovering of this cap allows one to attach a power/vacuum hose into the wall inlet hence allowing the suction pressure generated by the power unit to be transmitted from the vacuum head to the cleaning accessory.
On the other end of the hose is fitted with the cleaning accessory.
The dirt and dust along with the bad odor can then be sucked from the floor and room air, and then move via the cleaning accessory into the vacuum hose before entering the duct which routes them to the dirt collection unit (either a canister or bag) that is fitted at the bottom of the power unit. If a dirt collection bag is used, then a filter is placed atop the bag.
How to operate a central vacuum system
Therefore the operation of a central vacuum system is quite simple for the house-owner as all they need is the vacuum hose and cleaning accessory.
The house-owner first needs to fit the cleaning accessory to the tool-end of the hose, and then attach the free-end of the hose into the vacuum inlet and then start cleaning the room.
In some models, fitting the vacuum hose to the vacuum inlet automatically turns on the motor in the power unit, while in other models, just opening the cover/door of the vacuum inlet powers on the motor.
Still, there are models that come with an on/off switch placed near the tool-end of the power hose, and these models allows the user to turn on the vacuum when they are cleaning and then turn it off when cleaning is stopped without the need to disconnect the hose from the vacuum inlet.
This allows one to easily clean patches of dirt from the floor and walls.
The central vacuum system power unit
As expected, the power unit of a central vacuum system is the single-most important component as it generates the vacuum power that allows for room cleaning.
The vacuum power generated by most power units are extremely high and they can cause fabrics in mats and curtain to be ripped off and torn away from the material.
This necessitates a reduction of the excess vacuum power, and this is done by fitting a bleed port in the hose (usually near its tool end).
The bleed port
The bleed port (also called bleed slot) allows for air to enter the hose and reduce the vacuum (suction) pressure that reaches the cleaning tool.
This is possible because this air bypasses the cleaning tool hence it can reduce the amount of vacuum power reaching the cleaning tool, and this process is called bleeding off.
Dirt collection units
There are 2 main types of dirt collection units used in central vacuum systems; the cyclonic and filtered dirt collection units.
Likewise, central vacuum systems are classified into 2 types depending on the dirt collection unit that is fitted, and there are therefore the cyclonic systems and the filtered central vacuum systems.
The cyclonic dirt collection unit
In the cyclonic dirt collection unit, there is a detachable cylindrical canister that collects the dust and dirt.
In this unit, the duct is fitted at a right angle, that is tangential, to the walls of the collection vessel.
Therefore, when dust, air and dirt are sucked in at a high speed, they create a fast-spinning vortex which causes the heavy particles to be spiraled outward by centrifugal force so that they hit the vessel wall and decelerate then drop down by gravity into the collection vessel.
Meanwhile, at the center of the vortex is the air along with suspended light particles, and this air can be safely exhausted out of the system.
This mode of dirt separation is called cyclonic separation, and it prevents the system from losing suction power as a result of airflow restriction, unless the canister is filled with dirt at which point there is less volume in the power unit for vacuum generation.
Filtered dirt collection unit
Meanwhile, in the filtered dirt collection unit, filtration bags are used alongside a filter.
Most of the filtration bags can either be cloth bags which are permanently fitted and need to be cleaned, or they can be the replaceable and disposable paper bags. Filters are made from cloth, foam, paper, or any other proprietary material.
In this filtered system, the dirt-air mixture from the ducts go through the filters where the large particles are captured by the filter while the small particles go through the filter.
Issues with clogging
Usually, the filter becomes clogged with time, and sometimes the filter can be torn and this reduces the operational efficiency of the vacuum system.
This is more pronounced in systems where filtered air is used to cool down the motor in the power unit, as the unfiltered air brings in particulate dust which adhere to the bearings, brushes, and windings in the motor hence causing the motor to seize up and consequently fail to generate adequate suction power.
To avert motor failure, some filtered systems use ambient air (and not filtered air) to cool their motors, and this process is called bypass cooling.
The vacuum hose
Generally, central vacuum systems come with long vacuum hoses (most range from 30feet to 50feet long) and standard cleaning accessories/tools as those found in portable vacuum cleaners.
Unlike portable vacuum cleaners which tend to be noisy (because of the motor noise), central vacuum systems are silent because the motor unit is located far away from the room being cleaned.
In some systems, a hide-a-hose mechanism is used to store the vacuum hose, and this is done by causing the hose to retract into the vacuum inlet with the suction power pulling it into the duct.