How Vacuum Cleaner Suction Power is Determined

Updated: Feb 16, 2024 5:29 AM
vacuum cleaner suction power guide

When it comes to vacuum cleaners, suction power is the king. It’s what makes the difference between a spotless floor and a not-so-impressive cleaning job.

But all the technical jargon (like CFM, Air Watts, Water Lift) can get confusing.

This guide simplifies these terms and helps you understand a vacuum cleaner’s suction power.

What is Vacuum Cleaner Suction Power?

Simply put, suction power is how effectively a vacuum cleaner can suck up dirt and debris. It’s determined by:

Airflow (CFM)The amount of air pulled through the vacuum.Measures the air volume passing through the vacuum. Higher CFM means better cleaning efficiency.
Air Watts (AW)The power used for suction.The actual power used by the vacuum for suction. A higher AW number usually means stronger suction.
Water Lift (Inches of H20)The vacuum’s ability to lift water indicates its strength.This shows how well the vacuum can lift water, a good indicator of its suction strength.
AmpsThe electrical current powering the vacuum.Indicates the electrical power used by the vacuum. Important, but not the sole indicator of suction power.
Key measurements related to vacuum cleaner suction power.

Understanding Vacuum Cleaner Suction

For more in-depth information on vacuum cleaner suction power, check out this video:

Vacuum Suction Power: Dust Classes and Filtration

Different vacuums are designed to handle various types of dust:

  • Dust Classes (L, M, H): These classes show how well a vacuum can retain hazardous dust, with Class H being the most stringent.
  • Filter Types:
    • Filter Bag: Captures larger particles.
    • Pre-Filter: Traps finer particles and is often self-cleaning.
    • HEPA-Filter: Essential for trapping very small particles, crucial for air quality.

Motor and Performance

The heart of a vacuum’s suction power is its motor. But, a powerful motor doesn’t always mean better performance.

It’s about how well the motor works with other vacuum components to create effective suction.

Consumer Considerations

When you’re choosing a vacuum, consider:

  • Suction Power: Balance between airflow, air watts, and water lift.
  • Secondary Features: Look at filtration efficiency, noise level, and capacity.
  • Personal Needs: Match the vacuum’s features with your specific cleaning requirements.

Certifications and Standards

Quality and safety are paramount. Look for vacuums with certifications like the GS-label and adherence to standards like EN 60335-2-69.

These ensure the vacuum meets rigorous safety and performance criteria.

Practical Tips for Consumers

  • Product Registration and Maintenance: Register your vacuum and maintain it well to keep the suction power strong.
  • Handling Suction Loss: If your vacuum loses suction power, check for clogs, full bags, or filters needing replacement.

Understanding suction power in vacuum cleaners is important before you buy one.

Knowing what to look for, from airflow and air watts to filtration and certifications, you can choose a vacuum that meets your cleaning needs.


Are robot vacuums worth it?

Your lifestyle and needs will determine this. Lower-end robotic vacuum cleaners can get into frustrating situations, such as accidentally tracking mud or other messes across the house. Even higher-end models may get into hairy situations where they get stuck.

How to fix a vacuum cleaner that has lost its suction power?

It is highly recommended that you call the original manufacturer or brand for your model if sudden power loss occurs. You can also contact a repair shop to see if they are able to help.

How much suction power is enough?

That depends solely on your needs and budget. The cheapest models will have smaller motors and less suction power. Larger, more expensive models will have more power. Different floor types will have varying requirements to get them entirely clean.

STAT: It’s estimated that 76% of people agree that one of the most important factors in choosing their next vacuum is suction power. (source)

Christen da Costa Avatar

Learn More About Vacuum Cleaners