Central Vacuum Systems - Reviews, Ratings, and Top Recommendations

Central Vacuum Systems, also known as built-in vacuum systems or ducted vacuum cleaners, offer many advantages over typical portable vacuums and a few disadvantages.

A central vacuum system can be installed in any new home under construction and most all existing homes with little effort. And today’s systems aren’t just for deep cleaning carpets. They also work well on any flooring type, homes with pets, upholstery, drapes, high ceilings and hard-to-reach areas, garages, automobiles, RVs, etc. There are even specialized accessories and kits to make your cleaning job easier.

Central vacuums are particularly well-suited for people with allergies.

Why install a Central Vac System?

Advantages of a Central Vacuum System

Improved Air Quality and Allergy Relief

  • With a built in vacuum system, 100% of all dust, dirt, debris, dander, pollen, and other allergens that are picked up, are removed from the home. They have no chance of being reintroduced into the air you breathe. No matter how good the filtration system is on a standard canister or upright vacuum, some material is still thrown back into the air during use.
  • Allergy sufferers universally notice an improvement in their symptoms when using a built in vacuum system. In fact, several scientific studies have proven that the use of a central vacuum system provides superior allergy relief over standard vacuum cleaners.
  • In addition, the dirt bag on a central vacuum system is much larger than that of a standard vacuum and needs emptying much less often, which means less exposure to fine dust particles. And, the emptying occurs at the main unit, usually outside of the main living space.

More Power and Truly Deep Cleaning

  • Central vacuum systems come with larger, more powerful motors and fans that produce 3-5 times more cleaning power than portable vacuums. They have much greater suction and air flow to achieve a really “deep cleaning”, making for a much cleaner and healthier home.

The Quietest Vacuum You Can Own

  • With the motor and bag located in a central, remote location, usually a garage, basement, or closed closet, there is only the minimal noise of the power head while vacuuming. With a central vacuum system you can easily watch TV, listen to music, monitor other activities in the house, or carry on a conversation while vacuuming. Some units, like MD’s SilentMaster or Beam’s Serenity, even have additional insulation around the unit which reduces noise levels even further.


  • One of the big advantages to a central vacuum system is its convenience. Simply plug the hose into a wall inlet and your in business! You can clean carpets, hard flooring, upholstery, drapes, high ceilings and hard-to-reach areas quickly and easily!
  • No more lugging a heavy, cumbersome vacuum around the house, up and down stairs, etc. No more searching for another electrical outlet when you run out of cord to finish vacuuming. No more large, bulky powerheads that don’t fit under your furniture.


A recent study found that, central vacuums encouraged 81 percent of men and 64 percent of children to vacuum more frequently by themselves.


Versatility and Ease of Use

  • It is quick and easy to transition from carpets to bare floors to furniture to walls. The variety of attachments and accessories available for central vacuums is quite impressive. Specialized tools are available for cleaning floors, upholstery, automobiles, pets, garages, and more.
  • We are particularly fond of the central vacuum ports, or “toe kick vacuums”, such as Vac-Pan and VacuSweep that allow you to sweep dirt and debris right into a convenient port in your wall and have them instantly sucked away! No bending, no dustpan, no hassles … just gone!
  • Have a craft or hobby area in your garage? Or just like a clean garage? A hose inlet installed in the garage makes for quick and easy cleanups. Plus, it’s ideal for cleaning the car, boat, or RV.

More Economical

  • A really good quality portable vacuum will cost from $1,000 to $2,000. Add in the annual cost for bags, filters, and general maintenance and the cost of a central vacuum system starts to look very cost effective.
  • The price of a complete, installed central vacuum system depends on the size of your home, but basic units for a small home start at around $800.
  • In addition, central vacuums are more durable and last longer than standard vacuums. It’s not uncommon for central vacuum owners to go 10 years or more before they even think about replacing their accessories or requiring maintenance on the main unit. Some people experienced with both portable and central vacuums report having to replace their portable vacuum several times over the years. One woman stated, “I’m on my 4th in 15 years (two died, two were underperformers). I’ve spent close to $2,000 already.”

Improves a Home’s Resale Value

  • Installing a central vacuum system adds up to $2,000 to the value of your home.

Disadvantages of a Central Vacuum System

Not Portable

  • A central vac system becomes a permanent part of your home, you can’t take it with you when you move.

Initial Cost

  • A complete, installed central vac system will cost as little as $800 to more than $4,000, depending on the the size and age of your home, compared to a really good quality portable vacuum which can cost from $1,000 to $2,000. However, the annual cost for bags, filters, and general maintenance are negligible, making a central vacuum very cost effective over the long term.

Long, Long Hose

  • Some people have a hard time dealing with the 30+ feet of hose that comes with their central vac. Others, like us, find it inconsequential.
  • Most hoses today are lightweight and easy to use. And the length is often an advantage, allowing for cleaning a larger area before having to relocate to a new outlet, if at all.

Central Vacuum System Models

Most every major manufacturer of canister and upright vacuums makes a central vacuum system. You’ll find models from familiar names like Aerus, Black & Decker, Dirt Devil, Electrolux, Eureka, Hoover, Kenmore, Panasonic, Royal, Honeywell, Air King, Fuller Brush, and Whirlpool.

However, some of the most popular, and best quality, central vacuums are from names you may not have heard of before. Brands like AirVac, Beam, Cirrus, Filtex, Filter-Queen, FloMaster, Galaxie, Hayden, M&S, Nutone / Broan, SilentMaster, Vacuflo, Vacumaid, and Valet.

Here are a few of the most popular brands and models:

Electrolux Oxygen Central Vacuums

Electrolux is the world’s largest manufacturer of vacuum cleaners and their built in vacuum units come with many innovative features that makes cleaning a breeze.

The Oxygen series comes with a unique double filtration system. First, the GORE-TEX™ self-cleaning filter means no more replacing of paper bags. Secondly, their HEPA filter removes 99.97% of dust and dander and then diffuses it through an air diffusion system thus eliminating the need to exhaust outside.

The powerful 1-stage motor produces up to 650 airwatts of suction and an airflow rate of 59 liters per second.

Models in the Oxygen Series include: ZCV875, ZCV870, ZCV860, ZCV860A, ZCV855,ZCV850, ZCV900, ZCV920H.

AirVac / M&S Central Vacuum Systems

The first M and S Central Vacuum was manufactured in the 1950’s by Music & Sound Inc. Today the M & S brand is owned by Linear LLC and sold under the AirVac brand name.

AirVac offers both bagged and bagless units. They all feature a modular design with nested components that reduces storage space and shipping costs, simplifies handling, installation, and service.

The Red Series Air Vac is their bagless unit. It comes in four model sizes for installation in homes up to 12,000 square feet plus a five-year warranty. Models include the AVR3000, AVR7500, AVR12000, and AVR24000.

The Platinum Series AirVac is the bagged unit. It also comes in four model sizes for installation in homes up to 12,000 square feet plus a ten-year warranty. Models include the AVP3000, AVP7500, AVP12000, and AVP24000.

Eureka Central Vacuums

Prices for a complete Eureka Central Vacuum System, installed, start at about $800 and increase depending on the size of the home. There are several model sizes to choose from that are suitable for homes up to 10,000 square feet. They come with a five year warranty for all parts and one year for labor.

Eureka Central Vacuum models available in the U.S. include: The Boss (CV1820G), CV-Mini, CV5500, CV6500i, and the Yellow Jacket.

Eureka Central Vacuum models available in Canada include: The Boss (CV1004D), Premier Max 640 AW (CV3391G), High Performance (CV3291K), Premier 550 AW (CV3120D), and (CV3121SE).

Galaxy GA-100 Central VacuumGalaxie Central Vacuum System

Often incorrectly misspelled as Galaxy Central Vacuum, these units have been manufactured in the USA since 1965. Galaxie only manufactures one consumer model, the Galaxie GA-100.

The GA-100 doesn’t use any bags or filters. It separates dirt and debris into a large, easily emptied dirt container which allows for constant vacuuming power.

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