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How Many Watts is a Good Vacuum Cleaner?

Published by: Katherine Frame

How Many Watts is a Good Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum cleaners have made our lives so much easier and they allow us to work effectively and efficiently. However, we often struggle to invest in a good vacuum cleaner and at times, some people end up buying the wrong one. 

So, what makes a vacuum cleaner good? What are the specifications of a vacuum cleaner? How many watts is a good vacuum cleaner? We understand that your mind must be filled with so many such questions and that’s the reason why we are here.

In this article, we will talk all about a good vacuum cleaner. 

Vacuum Cleaner: Understanding The Basic Specifications 

Buying a vacuum cleaner is an investment and understanding the basic specifications and their importance will help you pick the right one. In this section, we will give you a detailed explanation of each one of the specifications which play a vital role when it comes to figuring out its quality and performance.

Airflow (CFM)

Known to be one of the most crucial kinds of measurements, Airflow tells you about the airflow’s power from the surface to the vacuum cleaner’s bag. 

It is determined by the air which is sucked in a minute. The airflow of a vacuum cleaner is measured in terms of cubic feet. 

Airflow is considered to be an important measurement, but unfortunately, over 50% of manufacturers do not list it in vacuum cleaner specifications. The exhaust’s resistance along with the motor’s power, both are determined by this dimension. The suction power will be as high as the CFM value. Commonly, vacuum cleaners work between 50 to 100 CFM. 

Air Watts (AW)

Just like CFM, Air Watts is a type of measurement to determine the suction power as well. Air Watts refers to the Watts that have been used by the vacuum cleaner to carry an air’s unit through its opening. In most cases, the opening is the vacuum cleaner’s nozzle. Air Watts is a more consistent measurement and the formula to measure it is as follows:

Air Watts = 0.117254 x Airflow (CFM) x Water lift

It is known that in order to be efficient, a good vacuum cleaner needs a minimum of 100 Air Watts and a canister vacuum cleaner needs to have a minimum of 220 Air Watts. Canister vacuum cleaners need more Air Watts because they do the job of pulling the debris. 

Any vacuum cleaner which comes with an effective filtration system needs more AW as well. This is because vacuum cleaners with a good filtration system perform the job of pulling the air through the fibers of the filter. 

Water lift 

A water lift is another effective way of checking the vacuum cleaner’s suction power. To test this, the unit is connected to and sealed with a tube. This tube contains water and the higher the water gets raised, the more suction power is there. 


Watts is known to be the most common value which is written on the vacuum cleaners by the manufacturers. Watts has nothing to do with the performance of the product, it only refers to the vacuum motor power consumption. 

To put it in simple words, a vacuum cleaner with higher units of watts will have an efficient and more powerful motor, further making it suck in a better way. However, it is not always true and hence, several debates have been going on the subject. 


The specification of Amps is similar to that of Watts. Amps refer to the power consumption of vacuum cleaners as well. Hence, the higher the Amps of the vacuum cleaner, the more efficient and better will be its suction power. 

That being said, manufacturers give the Amp value of the unit as a whole. This means that the Amp value includes all the other electrical systems like the LED lights or the brush roll as well.

Any appliance can have a maximum amperage of 12. Considering the amperage of a unit is 12, out of which 1.5 Amps is used by the head nozzle, and 0.5 Amps is drawn by the LED lights, this means that the actual amperage of the motor of that unit is 10.5. 

The variables that make up the watt of a vacuum cleaner

Let us take a look at each one of the variables that make up the vacuum cleaner’s watt. In this case, we will consider the canisters as they are the most common type of vacuum cleaner. 

  1. The motor-fan is the first variable that is attached to the vacuum cleaner. 
  2. Then comes the motor. The motor spins at a very high speed, which varies from one model to the other. This leads to creating an airflow that quickly empties the vacuum cleaner’s base. 
  3. Then, the suction sucks all the debris, dust particles, dirt, and all the other particles at the front base. 
  4. Lastly, the air passes through HEPA, which is a filter and gets purified. Finally, the bin gets emptied. 

After taking a look at these variables, it is clear that it is crucial for you to know the wattage of your vacuum cleaner. 

What is the meaning of high suction power?

A lot of people find it challenging to point out the difference between high and low suction units. 

If you want to know the power of your vacuum cleaner’s suction power, then you should switch it to carpet mode. Once you’ve switched, just turn it on and let it work at the maximum speed. 

Now, if you want to know if your vacuum cleaner has high suction power, try attaching its floorhead to the wall. A vacuum cleaner with high suction power will be able to stick to the wall without any kind of external support.

What is the highest suction power of a vacuum cleaner?

The highest suction power of a vacuum cleaner has been measured to be 200 CFM, in a commercial vacuum cleaner. This suction power was achieved with no vacuum head and when it comes to the lowest suction power, it would be anywhere around 45 CFM in a basic vacuum cleaner used in homes. 


In this guide, we talked about the specifications of a vacuum cleaner, what Amps, Watts, Airflow, and other specifications mean and their importance, what is suction power and a lot more.

You should always take a look at and consider each one of these specifications before buying a vacuum cleaner because it is an investment and if your vacuum cleaner ends up working inefficiently, then it would just be a waste of your money. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do canisters have a higher suction power, compared to uprights?

Canisters are vacuum cleaners that are most commonly used. Canisters have a very strong market presence and they are definitely more powerful than other types. Hence, yes. Canisters have a higher suction power in comparison with the upright models.

What are the downsides of having a vacuum cleaner with high suction power?

Everything has its own pros and cons. Although a vacuum cleaner that has high suction power is considered to be efficient, it has a few downsides as well. Although a vacuum cleaner with high suction power has a number of benefits, it has its cons as well. It consumes a lot of power, it can be highly noisy, leading to becoming a cause of sound pollution, and it can wear down faster.

What is the formula to calculate Air Watts?

The formula to calculate Air Watts is as follows: Air Watts = 0.117254 x Airflow (CFM) x Water lift.

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Article by:

Katherine Frame

Katherine Frame is a professional writer and reviewer who worked in higher education for eight years before working on The Hardware Hub. She has written for multiple home magazines and blogs.

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