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What makes an energy efficient vaccum cleaner?

Posted by Ross Lammas on 3 June 2013 at 9:21 am

We typically spend one hour a week vacuuming according. Although rather dull, this fact makes it easy to work out how much it costs in electricity usage.  You simply look for your vacuum cleaner's motor power, which is usually quoted in watts, then use Sust-it’s energy calculator to workout the running costs, and multiply by 52!

So can you get energy efficient vacuum cleaners? This is when things get more complicated!  Together with the ever growing list of vacuum cleaners good for pet hairs, hard floors or allergy sufferers you may notice is manufacturers boasting an eco vacuum cleaner as part of their range. These tend to be low wattage models with a claim of the same suction power as higher wattage motors.

Generally uprights vacuum cleaners tend to be more energy efficient than cylinder models. The extra tubes and pipes cylinder vacuums use require more energy to create suction. When you add into this the potential for leaky seals in the pipes, it makes an upright a good eco choice.

Technological efficiencies are also used, such as centrifugal fan systems and microprocessor control; improved pipe and good nozzle design, all have an impact. Most importantly, making sure your filters are clean or your bag (if it’s got one) isn’t over full, will all make a difference too. The longer you vacuum the more it will cost!

So, what size of motor should you go for? Vacuum cleaner input power ratings have increased dramatically since the 1960s from a typical 500W to over 2,500W today. If that makes your vacuuming five times quicker you’ll use the same amount of power. If time isn’t an issue then a maybe a less powerful model will do.  

Air watts are a European test standard (IEC60312) for vacuums.  An upright cleaner should be around 100 air watts and a cylinder one needs to be about 220 air watts. Unfortunately there isn’t energy labelling system in place for vacuum cleaners, so our advice is to go for an upright model and look for the air watts figures (manufacturers are not obliged to publish this though).

About the author: Ross Lamas is founder of sust-it.

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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2 comments - read them below or add one


tk_007Comment left on: 23 January 2017 at 3:56 pm

Since EU regulations limited the maximum motor power of new vacuum cleaners to 1600W, the focus of manufacturers has shifted (thankfully) to improving cleaning efficiency instead of boasting about ever higher motor power. Comparing the energy efficiency of vacuum cleaners when buying and checking the cleaning efficiency, which is usually shown for different floor types on the energy label, provides a good guide which vacuum cleaner is worth buying.

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anne miller

anne millerComment left on: 29 June 2013 at 12:27 pm

My solution is to use it as an excuse to postpone the hoovering as long as possible! 

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