Best Central Vacuum System

Portable vacuum cleaners are better and lighter than ever, but they lack the power of a central vacuum system. Vacuum units fixed to a middle area of the home such as the kitchen or the garage, offer a way to increase capacity and suction power.

Central vacuum systems also mean that there is less weight to drag around. Some central systems offer far superior air filtration. And if installed in a garage, all the exhaust from the vacuum canister does not end up coming back into the area you cleaned.

We have looked at many of the best units on offer, and to make it simpler for you, we reduced the list down to the 10 best central vacuum cleaners.

10 Best Central Vacuum Cleaners

1. OVO — 700ST


  • Suction — 132 CFM, 140” water lift.
  • Power — 700 air watts.
  • Coverage — 9,000 sq. ft.
  • Filtration System — 3-layer disposable bags or HEPA Filter 99.97%
  • Noise — 65 dB.
  • Canister Size — 9.25 gallons (35.02 l), 12.5 × 12.9 × 30.2 inches.
  • Warranty —10 years.
  • Rating — ****1/2


  • Quiet and when installed in a garage or cupboard, the vacuum is even quieter.
  • Clean, the filtration bags will filter up to 99.97% of the particles.
  • 2-stage motor for added suction.


  • Delay time from triggering to activation.
  • Needs special pipes to fit the unit.

OVO has made a simple and compact central vacuum unit, the way it should be. The canister is of a stainless-steel construction, which will make it durable and able to take some abuse. And being a hybrid model, there is the choice of using a vacuum bag or a permanent filter.

700 air watts does not sound like a lot for a vacuum cleaner, but this is more than enough to power a central unit. There is an economy of scale at work here, because the larger the unit, the more efficient the efforts of the motor. With the capacity to clean 9,000 square feet, this unit will even suit a small business. There is an LED light to show when the canister is full.

Soft foam insulates the motor from the canister, which helps to reduce vibration. The foam also reduces the noise that makes it out of the unit, making 65 decibels. Even though this is a tall unit, it has a small girth of a little over 12 inches. The OVO will struggle to fit under a kitchen countertop, but it will be at home in a garage.

It is possible to replace the 3-layer bag with a permanent HEPA filter, using the steel canister to collect the dust. Some owners have had an issue with the 2-3 seconds of delay when turning the unit on to getting before any suction. And it is worth buying the accessories and pipes with the unit since it needs special attachments.

  • Price – $

2. Electrolux — QC600


  • Suction — 124 CFM, 127” water lift.
  • Power — 600 air watts.
  • Coverage — 8000 sq. ft.
  • Filtration System — Gore-Tex HEPA Filter 99.97%.
  • Noise — 72.3 dB.
  • Canister Size — 4 gallons (15.14 l), 14 x 14 x 42 inches.
  • Warranty — 10 years.
  • Rating — ****


  • Good floor area coverage.
  • Long warranty.
  • HEPA filter.


  • Noise level is high, and 72 decibels is like running a car.
  • Automatic shutdown for authorized serving after 65 hours of use.

Electrolux’s QC 600 is a narrow central vacuum cleaner, with plenty of power and reach. The machine is strong enough to clean floor areas of up to 8,000 square feet, with its 4-gallon dirt canister. Intended for installation in a garage, under a stairwell, or in a utility room.

Electrolux has some heritage behind it as a label. Because of the size of the Electrolux, they can economize on manufacturing in a way that bespoke brands cannot. This is another hybrid unit that can work with or without a vacuum bag. Electrolux wants to service the unit every 65 hours, and owners have noted that this measure stops the vacuum from working.

8,000 square feet is a vast area for a home, and the vacuum will manage it with ease. Using a vacuum bag will reduce the 4-gallon dust canister’s capacity. A Gore-Tex HEPA filter will remove particles as small as 0.3 microns and is a self-cleaning filter.

There is soft foam padding around the motor to reduce vibration and noise. A muffler helps to reduce the noise down to 72 decibels, which is still high. Though this sound level is not an issue when installing the unit in its room. And a 10-year warranty should at ease any doubts over how long the manufacture expects their QC600 to work.

  • Price – $

3. Ultra-Clean — SC200


  • Suction — 121 CFM, 125” water lift.
  • Power — 550 air watts.
  • Coverage — 7,500 sq. ft.
  • Filtration System — HEPA filter or disposable bags.
  • Noise — 68 dB.
  • Canister Size — 5 gallons (18.93 l),11 × 11 × 40 inches.
  • Warranty — 5 years on the motor, lifetime on the powder coating.
  • Rating — ****


  • Quiet, in fact, this is one of the quietest vacuum cleaners.
  • Powder-coated canister to protect from corrosion.
  • Hybrid can use a bag or canister without the bag.


  • The unit is a little underpowered.
  • There is a noticeable lack of suction; 121 CFM and 125 water lift.

A slim and tall design that is easy to use and offers enough power as an economy central vacuum cleaner. Aimed at medium-sized houses or small businesses, the SC200 will suck up dust, but an owner should not expect a lot more.

Ultra-Clean is a Canadian manufacturer, so you would hope the build quality is respectable. Most owners seem happy with this model, as they got what they expected, a small, robust central vacuum unit on a tight budget.

The lower air volume is the biggest downside of this unit at 121 CFM, far lower than other units. The SC200 may be better suited for regular light work, than heavy cleaning. This is a hybrid unit that can function without a bag and rely on a HEPA filter instead.

An acoustic square muffler comes with the unit that aids in reducing the noise of the motor down to an acceptable 68 decibels. Though 68 decibels, compared to a normal vacuum cleaner, is excellent. And a 5-gallon dust canister is more than enough for the 7,500 square feet that this unit can handle.

  • Price – $

4. Imperium — CV260


  • Suction — 137 CFM, 95” water lift.
  • Power — 507 air watts.
  • Coverage — 2750 sq. ft.
  • Filtration System – Disposable bag.
  • Noise — 58 dB.
  • Canister Size — 6.25 gallons (23.66 l), 13 × 13 × 23 inches.
  • Warranty — 3 years.
  • Rating — *****


  • Offered as a bare-bones unit for you to upgrade with the most useful accessories.
  • Quiet, and comparable to the quietest mobile vacuum cleaners.
  • A good flow rate of 138 CFM.


  • Not a hybrid and needs special bags.
  • Uses a flow-through motor.

An entry-level central vacuum cleaner, suitable or homes up to 2750 square feet. The economizing is in the straightforward design and motor layout and made up for in low-noise and ease of maintenance.

The motor works on the flow-through concept to cut down on parts a construction time. This will not be a problem if the dirt-bags are good-quality and changed often. A HEPA bag filters all vacuumed air and then passes it through the motor to cool the rotor and magnets. This method can lead to a short lifespan for the motor.

The capacity of the canister is a lot smaller than most other central vacuum units at 2750 square feet. There are some redeeming factors, such as a respectable airflow, 137 CFM. And mounting this 58 decibels machine in a cupboard will render it near-silent.

If you want a simple introduction you to centralized vacuum cleaners, Imperium is a good place to start. And this simplicity leaves an open wide range of possibilities for you to get the most out of the machine.

  • Price – $

5. Prolux — CV12000


  • Suction — 150 CFM, 120” water lift.
  • Power — Approx. 600 air watts.
  • Coverage — 12,000 sq. ft.
  • Filtration System — HEPA filter.
  • Noise — 75 dB.
  • Canister Size — 4.22 gallons (15.97 l), 11.5 × 17 × 38.5 inches.
  • Warranty — 10 years on the motor. 25 years on the body.
  • Rating — ***1/2


  • Good consistent suction.
  • Quiet, and will run unnoticed in a garage.
  • 2-stage bypass motor that will help increase its lifespan.


  • Needs Schedule 20 fittings for the vacuum hose, which are hard to find.
  • Lack of instruction on how to install the unit.

Prolux’s CV12000 uses a 1500-watt motor to supply the suction to homes or businesses up to 12,000 square feet. The unit is simple will fit in a small cupboard of flush to a garage wall. The biggest issue owners have with this unit, are the fittings.

Prolux chose to go with schedule 20 fittings. Schedule 40 is more common in the installation of central vacuum sockets, and schedule 20 fittings are hard to come by. This unit comes as a kit, complete with power-hose, telescopic pipe, and suction attachments.

A built-in muffler helps to keep the noise down, as does a 2-speed power switch. The unit is bagless, so there it saves money on not needing bespoke bags. And instead of a bag, the unit uses a HEPA filter and a washable micron filter to remove dust particles.

From the standpoint of airflow, 150 CFM is at the high end of what you would expect from a medium-range central vacuum unit. And the motor provides the suction, with the bypass design, which should reduce the motor’s exposure to excessive heat and dust.

  • Price  $$

6. Nutone — PurePower 650


  • Suction: 113 CFM, 130” water lift.
  • Power — 650 air watts.
  • Coverage — 7000 sq. ft.
  • Filtration System — Hybrid.
  • Noise — 64 dB.
  • Canister Size — 6 gallons (22.71 l), 13.25 × 15.75 × 29.75 inches.
  • Warranty — 5 years.
  • Rating — ****


  • It will work without bags.
  • Quiet Thru-flow motor.
  • HEPA filter.


  • Uses a through-flow motor.
  • Plastic latches on the canister.

The Nutone PP650 looks like it will last forever and is aimed at small to medium-sized homes. 650 air watts are enough to suck up larger and more stubborn particles. And the air filter with an exhaust to the outside ensures that all contaminated air does not come back into the home.

A sealed HEPA filter helps with the contaminated air that passes through this flow-through motor to cool it. There is a removable foam filter over the motor to catch large particles. And flow-through does help with keeping the noise down. This vacuum makes a quiet 64 decibels when in use.

This is a hybrid model, so if you want to catch even more dirt — use the Nutone 391 bags. The dirt bin and the clip that holds it in place are made from a synthetic polymer, which may or may not stand the test of time. For the value, the PP6500 is dependable and has enough power to clean a 7,000 square foot home.

  • Price – $

7. Allegro — MU4500


  • Suction: 124 CFM, 141” water lift.
  • Power — 600 air watts.
  • Coverage — 6000 sq. ft.
  • Filtration System — Self-cleaning filter.
  • Noise — 69 dB.
  • Canister Size — 5 gallons (18.93 l), 11.25 × 11.25 × 39.5 inches.
  • Warranty — 7 years.
  • Rating — *****


  • Suction power, good water lift ability.
  • It comes as a complete kit with hose and attachments.
  • Quiet.


  • The installation process is a little difficult.
  • No choice of using a bag, not hybrid.

Allegro is a respected Canadian company, and the MU4500 is one of their better models. The MU4500 will cope well with homes up to 6,000 square feet. And the unit comes with a variety of accessories so that you can start cleaning immediately.

This is a bagless unit that relies on a maintenance-free HEPA filter. The filter works for dust particles as small as 3 micrometers with 99.98% effectiveness. It is also possible to redirect contaminated air from the exhaust to the outside of your home. The muffler attached to the exhaust help reduce the noise of the motor.

The epoxy powder that covers the whole canister prevents corrosion from small perforations. And the Bypass system for airflow will help to preserve the lifespan of the motor. The biggest complaint is with the DVD instructions that come with the unit. If you are good at DIY, installing this machine should be a simple project for you.

The accessories are more than enough to cover the needs of a homeowner. These attachments include a telescopic wand, a variety of brushes, brackets, and even hose sleeves to protect the furniture.

  • Price – $$$

8. HP. Dirt Devil — 9880


  • Suction — 100 CFM, 120” water lift.
  • Power — 501 air watts.
  • Coverage — 500 sq. ft.
  • Filtration System — HEPA filter bag.
  • Noise — 76 dB.
  • Canister Size — 1-gallon (3.79 liters), 6.25 × 7 × 14.5 inches.
  • Warranty — 5 years.
  • Rating — *****


  • Good dust collection filters.
  • Compact and will fit in tight spaces.
  • Overheat protection.


  • Small floor area capacity.
  • Low CFM will have trouble sucking up larger objects.

This Dirt Devil is for the smallest of homes, such as recreational vehicles, where space is at a premium. And considering that it is so small, 100 cubic feet per minute of suction is an impressive number.

The Dirt Devil 9880 comes with a 7-foot hose that expands up to 35 feet if needed. And the unit is easy to mount in either vertical or horizontal orientations, offering more choice to where it will go. This is also a simple machine and activated by lifting the mounting plate and plugging in the vacuum hose.

Bespoke Dirt Devil vacuum bags do the work of air filtration — these cost more than other brands. These bags are HEPA rated and will trap up to 99.97% of particulates the size of 0.3 microns. This covers filtering mold and pollen particles, and some species of mites.

  • Price – $

9. VacuMaid — P125P


  • Suction — 116 CFM, 125” water lift.
  • Power — 440 air watts.
  • Coverage — 9,000 sq. ft.
  • Filtration System — HEPA filter.
  • Noise — 75 dB.
  • Canister Size — 6.75 gallons (25.55 l), 13.6 × 13.6 × 40.5 inches.
  • Warranty — 10 years.
  • Rating — *****


  • Tangential bypass motor, effective and durable.
  • Long warranty period.
  • Cyclonic filtration.


  • No filter bag option, though you can put a plastic bin liner into the canister to aid with emptying.
  • A tall unit that needs 40 inches of vertical space.

VacuMaid’s cleaning equipment has a long-running history as a popular choice for hotels and big businesses. This unit smaller and on a different level to other models to meet the needs of a homeowner with 9,000 square feet of floor space. At 75 decibels, this is not a quiet vacuum cleaner, and you would want to have it installed in a closed-off garage.

The whole unit is made from a sturdy galvanized rolled-steel and built to put up with a lot of abuse. At 40.5 inches tall, there is not going to be many other places big enough to put it. And the design will complement a large equipment laden garage well.

A tangential bypass motor is more costly to build. But, they will last and have the best dust protection and heat ventilation over the other styles. Air cycles into a vortex to filter the air, then the heavy particles fall through to the dust bin, and this reduces maintenance.

  • Price – $$$

10. OVO  Compact 550


  • Suction: 116 CFM, 120” water lift.
  • Power — 550 watts.
  • Coverage — 4,000 sq. ft.
  • Filtration System — HEPA bags.
  • Noise — 62 dB.
  • Canister Size — 4.75 gallons (17.98 l), 11.4 × 11.4 × 11.7 inches.
  • Warranty — 10 years.
  • Rating — ****


  • Small enough to fit under a kitchen countertop.
  • Quiet, and near-silent when locked away.
  • Durable rolled steel construction.


  • Bottom mounted flow-through motor will have an increased chance of dust contamination.
  • Filter bags, not a hybrid.

OVO has made a compact home central vacuum cleaner that will happily sit in a utility cupboard in the kitchen. It is compact and quiet, and the Compact 550 makes around 62 decibels at full power. An integrated muffler at the exhaust also helps with this noise reduction.

The motor is set under the dust collection bin. This is a flow-through motor, meaning that it relies on the filtered air from the vacuum pipe to cool it. The dust bags used with this unit will help, but small dust particles will still get sucked in, reducing the motor’s lifespan.

4,000 square feet is respectable for such a small machine, though it is still a little underpowered for such a large area at 116 CFM. The 550 is good If you are looking for something in a large RV or a small home. Where you do not want to plumb pipes everywhere and use a long-ribbed hose instead, this is the perfect unit.

  • Price – $$

Central Vacuum System Buying Guide

There is a big choice of central vacuum systems, even in this condensed list. The compromise of going for a well-known brand or getting a product that ticks all the boxes is a subjective question. There are no guarantees that a big brand will get it right across all their products.

There are many factors to decide on more important than a label. Filters, motors, suction power, noises are all far more important when it comes to using a central vacuum system. So, we have made some suggestions to look out for that will help with making that choice.

What You Need to Know


The type of filtration used will define the likelihood of the unit lasting its warranty period. HEPA filters are the industry standards, so there is no reason to go for less. All vacuum filters will trap hair — it is the mites, fleas, and pollen that pose the problem.

  • Disposable Bag Filtration
  • Permanent Filter

Disposable filters are the most hygienic; you can throw them away and keep the dust contained. If you decide on a disposable filter, check out how much the bags are first. A permanent filter needs to be efficient, and the best ones are self-cleaning. If the budget allows, a hybrid vacuum is the best choice.

Construction Materials

Vacuum cleaner canisters are subject to a lot of abuse, from stones to corrosive materials. Plastic bins will degrade over time, and steel on its own will rust. The best choices are galvanized or powder-coated steel canisters. Galvanized steel will delay rust, but powder-coated steel will be more robust and protect the steel for longer.


There are three main types of motor used in vacuum cleaners.

  • Flow-through — uses the filtered air from the vacuum to cool. They tend to be more powerful, cheaper to make, but do not last.
  • Peripheral Bypass — These use an independent fan to cool the motor. These types are in larger units and are more expensive to make.
  • Tangential Bypass — the longest-lasting versions and are more common in industrial units.


CFM or Cubic Feet per Minute is difficult to quantify when it comes to gas. The true standard depends on temperature and ambient air pressure, which not all manufacturers use. But CFM is a way to describe how fast one cubic foot of air moves and gives a rough sign of suction power. A good CFM to look out for is above 120 CFM.

Air Watts

An air watt is an industry-standard developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials. Air watts are like a watt. But, since a vacuum motor’s wattage is not a true indicator of suction power, the air watt offers something that compares better to other units. [10]

Air watts = 7/1.85 x vacuum suction [inches of water] x air flow [CFM]

A respectable number for home use is above 500 air watts. Much lower than this, and the unit will have trouble when you start to use it at the furthest point in your home.


Noise is an issue if you are planning to install a central vacuum system in the kitchen or near a bedroom. But, if you are planning to mount the unit on the wall in the garage, then this becomes less of an issue. It is possible to direct even more noise to the outside of a home through the exhaust port.

Mufflers are good in all circumstances as your neighbors, relaxing in their gardens, do not want to be listening to a screaming motor. To put it in comparison, a freight train at 100 feet makes 80 decibels, a conversation 60 dB., and a dishwasher 70 dB. [11]. The scale is exponential, so you do not want to go much above 70 dB.


This is a simple one and starts with measuring the floor area of your home. When a central vacuum cleaner notes the limit of its reach, this means that it will stop working at this range. Manufacturers want to impress their customers with high numbers.

After you have measured and calculated the square footage of your home, add another couple of thousand square feet to the number. More outlets in the home and complicated plumbing with reducing suction to the nozzle, so it is better to go for a unit that exceeds your needs.


1. What do I need to buy with my central vacuum system?

Most systems will come with mounting brackets and a power cord for the unit. You will still need the accessories kit, even if you are replacing an old unit. The control hoses, which controls the power, are often bespoke.

If you are a first-time owner, you will need to buy the entire kit, which includes the mounting plates and all the pipes. This is a big task, and most homeowners will hire a professional to install a unit.

2. Which brand of central vacuum is best?

Brands are prone to make the best in a single class of products. One brand will make better vacuums for large businesses, and another brand will make more dependable units for small homes. VacuMaid is still an industry favorite — but start by comparing units suitable for your home.

3. What is the most powerful central vacuum?

On this list, Imperium offers the greatest suction power, but that could be to do with the fact that it lacks a proper filter. Imperium is also one of the quietest; there are always trade-offs.

4. Are central vacuums any good?

The main benefit of a central vacuum system is that they are more powerful. These are large units, far bigger than anything that you could drag around a home. And because size and weight are less of an issue, the dust canisters are far larger.

5. How long does a central vacuum last?

These machines have an industry-standard in mind, built tough, and will last longer than most portable machines. It is common for a warranty to last for 5 years on the motor and in some cases 10 years. Some of the above-listed products, have a life-time warranty on pit corrosion, which you will not see on a portable vacuum cleaner.


Imperium’s CV300 is quietest and powerful on the list. With 138 CFM and 58 decibels, this unit is, in many ways, far better than the other units. The biggest downfall of the CV300 is the lack of filters, which may not be such an issue if the exhaust pipe directs to the outside the home. The CV300 may also be the best machine for first-time buyers.

VacuMaid is strong, and the 9,000 ft2 cleaning range will more than cover most medium-sized homes without losing suction. There is a premium for such label, but the P125 is durable, efficient, and has one of the best filters.

The HP Dirt Devil is perfect for a small home. There would be no point in plumbing this unit in; the 9880 will work well with a long flexible hose. The best thing about it is the size and will be easy to mount in an RV or a small apartment, and still deliver the power of a much larger portable machine.

For those that want to get the most power for the money, the OVO 700ST is the best offering. The power is good, the HEPA filter is great, and it is not too noisy. The 700ST is well suited for a small to medium-sized home.


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