Important Things To Know Before You Buy A
Choosing the right vacuum cleaner
to be easy until you actually have to do it. Sure, there's a huge
selection made up all different shapes, sizes, colors, features, and
all with separate capabilities, but how do you begin to understand
what all of those tiny measurements listed for each machine mean
pertinent to the job that you want it to perform?
In other words, what do amps, watts, and voltage
mean? How about horsepower? What are air watts, airflow and water
lift? These measurements are considered the primary specifications of
a vacuum cleaner. They basically refer to the power of the vacuum
These primary specifications differ from
secondary ones that deal more with things like vacuum filtration,
capacity of the dirt collection area, agitation mechanisms and
accessories. The secondary features narrow your choices in the end,
but the first thing to start with is the vac motor itself.
Amps--The maximum amount of
electrical current used by the vacuum components measured as a whole
when machine is operating. This includes the vac motor,
agitation/beater brush motor, power nozzle motor (on floor and hand
tools), any and all indicator or head lamp light bulbs, etc.,.
Watts-This is a measure of the
motor input power.
Voltage-In the USA, the
standard household current is 120 volts. Household appliances,
including vacuum cleaners, are rated to the same 120 volt standard for
compatibility with the power that enters a household meter at 120
Horsepower-This term is a
descriptor that is used to illicit a response from consumers and has
little to do with actual measurements of anything related to the power
of a vac motor.
Air Watts-Often listed for
central vacuum systems and a few other models, this rating measures
the vacuum's output power rather than input power
Airflow-This rating measures
the airflow through the vacuum in CFM (cubic feet per minute). The
higher the airflow reading, the better the machine will clean. This
measurement takes into consideration the suction power (the vacuum
motors power) and resistance level of air as it passes through
features like the filter and dirt collection area.
Water Lift-The amount of water
the vacuum motor is capable of sucking up in a sealed situation in
order to determine the power of the vacuum motor. In other words, how
many inches of water the vacuum motor can vertically suction, or lift,
a 1" column of water.
As you can see, many measurements are listed in
the specifications for vacuum cleaners. Most of these measurements
allow the purchaser to anticipate the power of the machine and how it
will perform on a given task. Typically, the most important
specifications to look out for are a machine's air flow rating and the
water lift measurement. These two are the easiest to understand in
terms of rating a vacuum's motor power and the quickest to identify
and compare when looking across brands. Generally, the higher the
airflow and water lift measurements, the more power the vacuum motor