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To help you find the best central vacuum for pet hair and for intensive home, workshop, garage, and office cleaning, we have thoroughly researched a multitude of vacuum cleaners, looking for models with powerful enough motors to handle intensive cleaning tasks. We also liked central vacuums made from durable components and those with compact enough form factors to be placed nearly anywhere in the home. If the durability aspect of vacuums still intrigues you and you want to vacuum up chunkier debris, check out some of the top-rated shop vacs.
The best central vacuum we tried was easily the Hoover Guv. This central vacuum boasts a powerful 10 amp motor that is perfect for intensive cleaning tasks and comes with an integrated wall mount, so it can rest on a wall instead of taking up space in the center of whatever room you happen to place it in. This is a perfect reason to understand the differences between central vacuums vs upright vacuums. Keep reading to learn about other high-quality vacuum cleaners available for purchase.
Award: Best All-in-one Kit
WHY WE LIKE IT: Great all-in-one kit that ships with a lengthy hose, an electric carpet powerhead, a telescopic extension wand, a dust mop, and a tool caddy, in addition to featuring an Ametek Lamb premium blower motor.
Read Full Review: Allegro MU4500 Champion
The Allegro MU4500 Champion is great for beginners, which is why it pays to know how central vacuums work. Thanks to shipping with dozens of useful accessories, including a lengthy hose that comes in at 35 feet, a telescopic extension wand, an electric carpet powerhead, and much more. The Ametek Lamb blower motor is high-quality and boasts 1,855 watts of cleaning power and 124 CFM of airflow. This central vacuum also comes equipped with a self-cleaning fiber filtration system, reducing the number of maintenance checks you’ll have to perform, and some intuitive settings to adjust suction control. If the hose ever gets damaged, there are various ways on how to fix a vacuum hose.
Though this vacuum does come with an integrated wall mounting bracket, it does not ship with some of the necessary tools to complete a successful wall-based installation, including lag bolts. Also, this unit is on the louder side, even with a power muffler installed. And if you want a vacuum model with enough power to handle serious messes, perfect for carpet, kitchen tiles, and bare floors but enough reach to get way under the table, you probably want to find the best canister vacuum cleaner.
Award: Best Durable Design
WHY WE LIKE IT: Ultra-durable and non-corrosive electrostatic powder coat finish, with a 121 CFM airflow and a premium Ametek Lamb tangential discharge bypass blower motor.
Read Full Review: Ultra Clean SC200
The Ultra Clean SC200 features a highly durable and non-corrosive exterior that is manufactured with an electrostatic powder coat finish. The Ametek Lamb tangential discharge bypass blower motor boasts 121 CFM of airflow and 125-inches of water suction power, with a two-stage fan system. This vacuum also comes equipped with a high-grade HEPA filtration system, which helps keep soot and debris from permeating the air. Once you understand how central vacuums work and if you have a pool, it’d be good to learn how a pool vacuum works too.
The filtration system is top-notch, though it does necessitate a bagged design, so you’ll have to perform general maintenance and dispose of the bags every once in a while. The container does hold more than five gallons of debris, however, so you won’t have to change out too bags too often. And it is always nice to have a model with an exhaust vent that blows vigorously just like any of the best vacuums for hardwood floors.
Award: Best Compact Design
WHY WE LIKE IT: An extremely compact, and therefore portable, design with plenty of features that contrast its relatively small size, including the ability to operate at a decent 100 CFM.
Read Full Review: HP Products 9880 Vacuum
The HP Products 9880 Dirt Devil Central Vacuum is a great all-in-one kit with a vacuum that is small and light enough to be considered a great portable option for cleaning a wide variety of rooms and spaces. The motor can clean up to 100 CFM, which is a fantastic metric for a vacuum this size, and this vacuum ships with a number of accessories, including a hose that can extend to a fantastic 35 feet. It could possibly be a top-rated commercial backpack vacuum.
The extreme portability on offer here does come with some drawbacks, including a one-gallon dirt and debris capacity. Also, this is not a bagless design and with the capacity on the smaller side, you may be changing out those bags fairly regularly. For more mobility, you may want to consider one of the best cordless vacuums on the market. Also, if your home ever gets caught in a natural disaster and it damages this expensive central vac system, you may still be covered by the homeowners or best renters insurance.
Award: Best Value
WHY WE LIKE IT: Value-conscious vacuum with plenty of high-end features, including a powerful 700AW two-stage motor, an integrated muffler complete with noise-blocking foam, and a handy LED indicator light to let you know when service or maintenance is required.
Read Full Review: Ovo Central 700 Vacuum
The OVO Heavy Duty Powerful Central Vacuum System comes in at a value-friendly price while offering features in line with more expensive competitors, such as a 700AW two-stage motor that is rated for service of spaces up to 9,000 square feet. This is a relatively quiet central vacuum, with an integrated muffler and noise-blocking foam surrounding the motor. We also were impressed by the LED indicator light, which alerts users to issues within the vacuum or when it is time to conduct general maintenance. Though this model is great at staying quiet, be aware of what time is okay to vacuum in an apartment if you live in one.
Though this OVO central vacuum is a great choice for homeowners, it doesn’t ship with any attachments or a hose. To get the best central vacuum attachments, you’ll have to purchase them separately.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Fantastic vacuum that can adequately clean up to 12,000 square feet, thanks to a powerful dual-stage motor that boasts 150 CFM of cleaning power.
Read Full Review: Prolux Vacuum
The Prolux Central Vacuum is great for large spaces, as it features a powerful dual-stage motor, including two speed settings, with a maximum cleaning capacity of 150 CFM. There are wall mounting brackets included with this vacuum, for the purposes of hanging on the wall instead of keeping the unit standing upright in a room. We also loved that this is a bagless vacuum with a built-in HEPA filter, helping to keep the air clean and reducing the headache of having to change out bags.
Related: Have a look at the best computer vacuum cleaners.
Though this is certainly a powerful central vacuum, it does not ship with any accessories or attachments, and this includes a hose. That means you’ll have to buy your own hose and any other useful accessories. Compare this to any of the best upright vacuums that have flexible accessories, HEPA filtration, and can tackle tough pet hair.
Award: Best Quality
WHY WE LIKE IT: High-quality vacuum kit that ships with a number of useful attachments and accessories, in addition to boasting a 150 CFM dual-speed motor and a bagless design that still offers HEPA filtration.
Read Full Review: Prolux CV12000
The Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum is of extremely high quality, featuring an extremely powerful 150 CFM dual-speed motor that can service spaces up to 12,000 square feet. This vacuum operates without the need for any bags, while still offering a robust HEPA filtration system. We also loved the sheer number of attachments and accessories that ship with this kit, including a lengthy hose, a power nozzle kit, a tool caddy, and much more.
Though this kit does ship with the best central vacuum powerhead, the vacuum itself is on the heavier side, clocking in at nearly 60 pounds. Additionally, the noise level during use is on the higher end compared to similarly priced models. That aside, this is still one of the best vacuum cleaners for carpets.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: Features a powerful 10 amp motor that can handle most intensive cleaning tasks, with a design that allows this vacuum to easily be mounted on a wall or simply placed standing in a room.
Read Full Review: Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Reviews
The Hoover Guv is one of the most powerful central vacuums on the market, with a 10 amp 120-volt motor that makes short work out of most industrial-grade cleaning tasks. We loved the integrated wall mount that is attached to this vacuum, allowing for easy wall hanging in addition to standing up in a garage or work area. This central vacuum ships with an astounding amount of accessories, including two extension wands, two crevice tools, a floor nozzle, one upholstery nozzle, and one dusting brush.
Related: Also check the best carpet cleaners.
This is a bagless design with a five-gallon capacity, which is great, but there are no real filters, HEPA or otherwise, integrated into the vacuum, which is a feature found in some comparable models. Additionally, the power cable is on the shorter side, though this vacuum does ship with a lengthy 35-foot hose, making this something of a non-issue. For your PC, you should also consider purchasing a vacuum/blower that features a powerful watt motor that can produce a high CFM of airflow
Award: Best Quiet Operation
WHY WE LIKE IT: Extremely quiet 58Db operation, making it great for home use, with plenty of high-end features including the ability to clean 138 CFM and boasting a highly durable metal design.
Read Full Review: Imperium CV300 Central Vacuum
The Imperium CV300 Central Vacuum boasts plenty of cleaning power while including a motor that is on the quieter side, creating just 58Db of noise as it operates. The integrated power motor can adequately clean up to 7,500 square feet, with a 138 CFM rating, and the steel construction is highly durable and should last for years to come. We also loved the container size here, as this central vacuum can hold nearly seven gallons of dirt and debris.
Though the 6.7-gallon tank is certainly large, this is not a bagless design, so expect to perform some general maintenance tasks such as changing out the bags every once in a while. Additionally, there is no hose included, unlike some of the best central vacuum kits on the market. And while you’re on the market for a vacuum cleaner, it’s also important to pick a model with a battery that won’t give out after just a few minutes just like what you get with the best handheld vacuum cleaner.
Award: Best Replacement Kit
WHY WE LIKE IT: Designed to make replacing your old central vacuum as easy as possible, shipping with all the necessary tools and components, in addition to featuring a powerful Ametek Lamb motor that operates at 116 CFM.
Read Full Review: VacuMaid P125 Vacuum
The Vacumaid P125p Cyclonic Central Vacuum is a great choice to replace your aged or broken central vacuum system, as it contains all of the necessary tools and components to complete the job without any assistance from a professional. The Ametek Lamb motor is powerful, operating up to 116 CFM and made from highly durable components like aluminum alloy and galvanized steel.
Though the cleaning power here is top-notch, this central vacuum is rather noisy during operation, creating nearly 80Db of noise. Also, there is no hose included with this kit, though if you are replacing an older vacuum you may already have a hose at the ready. You may also consider getting one of the best stick vacuum cleaner that combines an efficient motor with a powerful battery and keeps the vac going long enough to clean your house – plus a conversion option to handheld with multiple attachments for your stairs and furniture.
Award: Best Self-cleaning
WHY WE LIKE IT: Self-cleaning design with a HEPA filtration system, in addition to being manufactured using heavy-duty steel and featuring a 125 CFM (630 air watts) motor that is relatively quiet during use.
Read Full Review: Honeywell 4B H803
The Honeywell 4B-H803 Quiet Pro Central Vacuum features a permanently self-cleaning design that comes with a high-grade HEPA filtration system that removes any allergens in the air as you clean. The heavy-duty steel body here is extremely durable and should last years and the vacuum boasts a 125 CFM motor that is rated to clean spaces up to 12,000 square feet, all while remaining relatively quiet during use.
This is a somewhat bare-bones central vacuum kit, however, as it does not ship with a hose or any attachments, so you’ll have to provide your own. Also, there is no garage utility valve on this unit, but it does feature a non-electric valve port with a flap you can put inline between the pipe next to the power unit.
To help narrow down to the above list, we took great care to thoroughly research a number of central vacuums and central vacuum kits, ensuring they would be ideal for home, garage, or industrial cleaning tasks. To that end, we liked vacuums with powerful motors that operated efficiently along with a number of metrics, including CFM, air watts, and suction power.
Durability was a primary concern, as we tended to choose central vacuums made from high-grade components, such as stainless steel, copper, and related metals. We also liked vacuums that featured integrated mounts, for the purposes of hanging the vacuum on the wall. We also liked central vacuums that featured plenty of room for debris and dirt, so as to significantly decrease daily or weekly maintenance tasks. As we know, a central vacuum unit is integrated into your home unlike other standard vacuums used as house vacuums. These aren’t portable vacuums, but they have easy retractable hoses to maneuver and they gradually improve the cleanliness and indoor air quality of your home. A central vacuum is a big commitment since it’s a built-in vacuum, so if that path’s not for you, you can always get a traditional vacuum cleaner with a compact size like an upright vacuum.
As far as all-in-one kits, we liked vacuums that shipped with lengthy hoses, extension wands, crevice tools, various nozzles, dusting brushes, and other attachments. Finally, we admired vacuums with built-in HEPA filtration systems, so as to reduce dust and allergens as you go about the cleaning process.
The efficacy of central vacuum cleaners is measured in a number of ways. First of all, there is the motor itself and how much voltage and amps it brings to the table. Next, there is CFM, which is a unit of measurement that denotes how many cubic feet per minute the vacuum can adequately treat. There is also a unit known as air watts, which is a measurement that denotes just how effective a vacuum’s motor is at producing airflow.
Being as how these central vacuums are designed to clean large, and often industrial, spaces, you are going to want to make sure that the model you choose has a large canister of at least five gallons or so. Any less than that and you’ll find yourself having to empty it out just about every use.
Many, though not all, central vacuums come equipped with sturdy mounts for the purpose of hanging the unit on a wall if so desired. This can help keep these vacuums, which are often quite large, out of the way when not in use. If you aren’t into mounts, nearly every central vacuum is sturdy enough to stand on its out and can be placed just about anywhere.
Many central vacuums come with all manner of useful attachments and accessories that can really bring some efficiency to your cleaning process. Look for vacuums that ship with length hoses of around 30 to 40 feet and those that ship with extension wands, crevice tools, various nozzles, dusting brushes, and more. Some kits also include carrying cases and the like. Make sure to look into the warranty information on the model you decide to go with. Warranties can vary greatly from each other, like a limited lifetime warranty obviously lasts longer than a 10-year warranty. Some warranties have limitations like only giving a warranty on motor compartment concerns.