Clean your whole home with one integrated system
Central vacuum systems are installed out of sight but are a practical solution to vacuum your home without having to plug-unplug a vacuum endless times.
Just like cordless vacuums, they ensure your feet don’t get embedded in messy cords. No bulky or hard-to-store vacuums either.
Powerful and discreet, a central vacuum is a wise investment.
We’ve studied dozen of central vacuum models and we evaluated their performance, capacity, filtration system, installation process, and much more. When studying the models, we noted how well each model performed vacuuming tasks.
This article is the result of this study’s lengthy process. Here is our selection of the best central vacuum systems.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall - OVO Heavy Duty Powerful Central Vacuum System
- Best For Small Spaces - HP Dirt Devil Central Vacuum System
- Best For Allergies - Prolux Red Central Vacuum Power Unit
- Best Quiet - Imperium CV300 Central Vacuum Power Unit
- Incredible suction
- Excellent customer support
- Option to buy different accessories depending on needs
- The bagless option doesn’t work properly
- 5-year warranty
- Easy to install
- Durable metal construction
- Heavy hose
- 25-year warranty on the body and a 10-year warranty on the motor
- Steel durable construction
- Large capacity
- Spacious dirt canister
- Sturdy steel construction
- Easy access to the bag
- No HEPA filters
- Suction power,
- Ease of installation,
- Noise level,
- Bonus: overall customer satisfaction.
- Check your canister at regular intervals to see whether it needs emptying. If you have a bagged central vacuum system, the manufacturer will certainly suggest how long it usually takes to fill up. The frequency depends on the unit capacity. For a 6 gallons model, expect to change the bag or to empty the canister twice a year.
- Inspect filters regularly. Filters should be replaced once a year. But many models come with filters that are washable so these last longer.
- You shouldn’t encounter many problems with the tubing. But another cause of loss in suction could be due to something sticky, such as glue, getting stuck here. This can normally be sorted with a plumber’s snake or piece of wire.
- Power unit with the motor
- Filtration system
- Dust collection system – dirt pail, pipes, wall inlets, and hose/cleaning attachments.
This 9-gallon model offers enough capacity and suction to handle dry messes on over 9,000 square feet — making it suitable for both smaller and larger households alike. Note that this is the largest capacity amongst our top picks.
Featuring 140 CFM and a 700 AW motor, it’s one of the most powerful vacuums on our list, too.
Installation is easy as you only need to mount the central vacuum unit on the wall, make the right air, debris, and wires connections, plug the vacuum, and voilà! And this is backed up by dozen of customers’ feedback.
It will certainly take several hours of work – expect between 2-3 hours – but once plugged in, this central vacuum will suck up more dirt, dust, and pet hair than you ever thought possible.
Not only this OVO central vacuum offers great suction, but it does very quietly. At 75 dB and with a muffler and foam added in the motor compartment that blocks the noise, you could easily hold a conversation over it. It’s one of the quietest vacuums on our list and we found that it outperformed some of the more expensive options, too.
This vacuum comes with a permanent foam filter and a triple-layer disposable filtration bag, designed to filter out small dust while allowing air to pass through it. You have the option not to use the bag and if you do, be aware that you’ll have to keep cleaning the motor filter.
Plus, we loved the fact that the filter is machine washable, making this model an affordable, easy-to-maintain choice.
In addition to being relatively quiet, the system also requires very little care on your end since the vacuum automatically pulls the remaining residue from the hose and piping network thanks to a 3-second delay in the unit shutting down.
Keep in mind that a warning is automatically programmed after 500 hours of usage (once a year), indicating that the whole system should be inspected and maintained by an authorized service center – which adds to the overall expense.
What Customers Are Saying
Many happy users reported that the customer service is fantastic and very helpful. They send replacement parts extremely quickly and then they follow up. Some also expressed that the 10 years warranty on the unit is the best they’ve ever seen.
But disappointed clients complained about the accessories. Some may have design flaws, notably the carpet attachment switch button which doesn’t work correctly.
Price at time of publish: $399
|Bagged or Bagless
|1 filtration bag
Built-in for space-saving purposes thanks to its little size that easily fits into a small storage closet, this HP Dirt Devil is the best fit for small homes or RVs.
We also loved that it has a 7′ to 35′ expandable hose, which makes it helpful for cleaning up piles of dust quickly and tackling corners and nooks, including baseboards and window ledges.
The swivel handle of the hose makes it easy to maneuver under lower pieces of furniture, too.
While the one-gallon capacity is obviously smaller than other models on our list, 4 quarts should be plenty for any standard usage.
It also features HEPA filter bags and 3 are included with the purchase. HEPA filters capture 99.97% of all tiny dirt particles making them all the more effective in reducing allergens.
We also appreciate its strong suction – reported by many users — despite its low 100 CFM.
This vacuum has another big bonus—a bunch of accessories with a rug floor tool, an upholstery tool, a dusting brush, and crevice tools. And the accessories mesh bag offers significant storage practicality if you’re worried about losing attachments.
However, we noticed that the accessories look very basic. The carpet head has no roller, for instance, making it eventually hard to pick up pet hair.
But for the low price point and considering all the features it packs, we believe that this Dirt Devil is a smart choice for smaller spaces.
What Customers Are Saying
Satisfied customers praised the vacuum’s powerful suction, especially for removing fur and pet hair. They also loved this model’s versatility, equally powerful in both hardwood and carpeted areas.
Many users reported that some pieces and accessories are missing. And unfortunately, the customer service is difficult to reach.
Price at time of publish: $264
|7 to 35 inch expandable hose, one-piece adjustable wand, 10 inch rug/floor tool, upholstery tool, dusting brush, crevice tools, mesh tool bag, replaceable filter bags
Along with its 150 CFM performance that will leave your home clean, you can also feel confident about the Prolux filtration abilities thanks to its 3-level filtration system. This system is designed to trap more dust particles than single-stage vacuum filters – so you know you’re on the safe side.
Specifically, the dust particles with pass through a bagless dirt chamber first, which collects the dirt and dust. Next, the second stage uses a micro pre-filter designed to capture smaller particles such as allergens before they reach the post-motor filter. Finally, the washable post-motor HEPA filter traps up to 99.97 % of tiny particles as small as 0.3 microns.
Another bonus worth mentioning is the simple and easy process to empty the dirt chamber — you just have to remove the dirt container from the main unit and dispose of the dirt. You don’t even have any contact with debris, which is ideal in our opinion.
We also appreciated the chamber’s clear view window that avoids you to play guess-and-check. With this smart and user-friendly design, you’ll immediately know when it’s full.
This model’s packed with more standout features, which sets it apart – as you can’t find these features on other models, and add impressive versatility.
With your purchase, the manufacturers include an extra port allowing you to install another hose (not included) and vacuum your cars or garage. And thanks to the external muffler, this Prolux central vacuum operates very quietly too.
Now, it’s not exactly the less expensive model on our list but we wouldn’t trade the efficiency and performance it brings.
What Customers Are Saying
Satisfied customers raved about the central vacuum system’s sturdy construction. Many even said that it’s a good value for the money.
But some users pointed out that this vacuum isn’t as powerful as advertised. It does a quite decent job but they were expecting more performance for a 150 CFM model.
Price at time of publish: $599
|Bagless & Filtered
While all of the central vacuums on our list operate at relatively moderate to low disturbance levels, the Imperium CV300 stood out for its silent operation.
With a 58 dB level according to the manufacturer, it’s only slightly louder than normal conversation. And this is confirmed by dozen of users asserting that this model is one of the quietest vacuums they’ve ever used.
Don’t get fooled by its quietness though, as it’s no reflection of its strength. The 138 CFM and 740 air watts are impressive data that give this pick power – equally performant than our best pick.
With 6.25 gallons capacity, this machine will take a while to fill up, making it ideal for big messes.
Unlike the Prolux, this model is a bagged version. And while replacement bags add to the overall cost, they seal debris. We found the bag to be super easy to change. Remove the lid, remove and seal the collection bag, dispose of it and you’re done.
While it isn’t equipped with HEPA filters, cartridge ones are inexpensive. And even if they’re not washable, you can clean them several times before replacing them – which is convenient, to our opinion.
Finally, the motor is covered with a 10 years warranty from the manufacturer, giving you peace of mind when purchasing this vacuum.
What Customers Are Saying
Many positive reviews complimented the installation of the unit they judged really easy. Some even saved money by choosing this model over more expensive ones and weren’t dissatisfied with their purchase.
Negative reviews questioned the central vacuum’s durability, with a few users complaining that the unit lasts less time that they would have expected.
Price at time of publish: $498
Other Options We Picked
Ultra Clean SC200 Central Vacuum System: Canadian products are known for their quality and this Ultra Clean is no exception. This promising model has standout features and extras such as tangential motors, exhaust mufflers, or a hybrid filtration system. However, we found that it wasn’t a top performer deserving of the top spots on our list. We were disappointed by the lack of HEPA filters and the 120 CFM suction performance, the lowest on our list for a comparable unit’s capacity. The 5-year warranty is a bit deceptive too considering the price.
However, it’s still an appliance that pleases many customers so we thought we still could include it in our article.
Nutone PurePower Central Vacuum System: this central vacuum unit performs also well and was competitive with a number of options listed above. However, it didn’t earn our top spots since we noticed a few hiccups during our research. The durability is questionable since many users report that the model dies only after a few years. Thankfully the manufacturer offers a comfortable 8 years warranty. We also regret that this central vacuum makes an annoying high-pitched sound.
Allegro MU4500 Champion: this Allegro is another option that had positive characteristics, but not enough to gain a top spot. This model does come with accessories but the quality falls short of the price. You could easily find better accessories in any local store. The motor is covered but only for 5 years, which again is less than the top performers we picked. If you have the opportunity to use this central vac, you’d probably find it to be a helpful tool—but when it comes to value, you can find more high-performing models at similar price points.
How We Picked
To select the best central vacuum system, we conducted thorough market research.
First, we read many threads from home improvement and cleaning forums to understand the needs, questions, and research requirements of potential buyers.
Then, we watched numerous Youtube videos of users to understand how central vacuums work, and how they’re installed and maintained. We read hundreds of customer reviews from various concurrent marketplaces. We also reached out to industry experts and technicians such as the Vacuum Dealers Trade Association (VDTA) to gather their experiences using such an appliance and insights about our research.
From there, we compiled a long list of the most important features and criteria to consider when buying a central vacuum. To our opinion, key factors include:
Using our list of the best criteria, we compared hundred of models but narrowed down our selection to a dozen. We also choose models across different price ranges to fit everyone’s budget.
For each shortlisted model, we performed an in-depth review and evaluation. We studied the product descriptions, user guides, and technical and functional specifications that we examined thoroughly.
Based on all the gathered information, we weighed each unit and rated them out of 10 for each criterion. We reported all our results in spreadsheets. All this process helped us to clearly identify our winners and to assign them a category in which they all excel.
What To Look For in a Central Vacuum System
When choosing the best central vacuum system, you can’t ignore the capacity and how much dirt and debris it will hold. To determine what works best for you, consider the capacity which will best suit your lifestyle and home project needs.
Most central vacuum cleaners have large collection capacities but the capacity can vary quite a bit from model to model. While some may have a capacity of 9 quarts or more, others cap out at a capacity of 5 or even less.
The small capacity is suitable and sufficient for small spaces such as RVs. But if you own a large house, a high capacity will save you time and effort.
Bagged or Bagless
When thinking of the purchasing criteria for a central vacuum, you may also want to consider how the unit will collect dirt, dust, or debris – or whether it’s a bagged, bagless system, or even both.
Disposable bags have the advantage of containing mess better than bagless. But they have to be disposed of and replaced – adding more expenses in the long run.
Some vacuums incorporate a bagless dirt container that you manually empty into a trash can, which can also be a messy process.
To satisfy everyone, some models such as our best overall pick, propose both systems, leaving you with more alternatives than other picks.
Accessories shouldn’t be underestimated when purchasing a central vacuum system because the right tools can help significantly your cleaning chores.
They typically include a crevice tool for cleaning hard-to-reach areas while a dust brush will gently grab dust from various surfaces. Other common and helpful attachments are special brushes and extension wands.
On our list, most models include accessories kits for an extra cost. Make sure to double-check the content to avoid bad surprises. If models don’t include a kit with the initial purchase, you’ll need to purchase them separately and pay attention to their variety, construction, and efficiency.
Many manufacturers of central vacuum systems offer a warranty. Because of their durability, most of these systems come with generous warranties — between 5 to 10 years. Look to examine exactly what they cover. Lots of brands protect against material or construction defects, whereas others cover the motor.
How To Maintain a Central Vacuum
Some manufacturers also recommend having the installation inspected after a certain number of hours of usage. Generally speaking, you should program an inspection of the unit by professionals once a year.
How Does A Central Vacuum System Work?
A central vacuum system works thanks to a 3 parts system:
Tubing, normally PVC pipes, are installed inside the walls of your home. Inlets are positioned inside walls throughout the house. You then insert a power hose or other vacuum tool into one of these inlets.
As you vacuum with the vacuum hose, dust is removed from your floors and furniture. It is pulled by the motor and sent through the piping network to the collection canister. Most hoses have a power switch on the handle so you can easily turn the central vac on and off.
How Long Does A Central Vacuum System Last?
A central vacuum cleaner can last for around 20 to 30 years if well-maintained.
Why Trust The Housewire
Claire Onidi is a home improvement and home organization writer who has written professionally since 2013 and for The House Wire since 2018. When composing this roundup review, Claire gathered data in spreadsheets and considered each central vacuum system’s capacity, ease of installation, performance, and customer reviews. She also scoured the web to find product descriptions, listings, and both functional and technical specifications. Additional insights were provided by cleaning experts from the Vacuum Dealers Trade Association (VDTA).
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