Central Vacuum vs Upright Vacuum – 5 Factors to Consider Before Buying

Choosing the right vacuum can be a daunting task, especially if it’s your first time shopping for one. With a variety of options, it can seem relatively impossible to choose the right vacuum for different types of flooring and relative ease of cleaning. Below are 5 factors to consider before buying a central vacuum vs upright vacuum.

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  1. Ease of Use

Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Rewind Plus Bagless Upright Vacuum

Hoover WindTunnel Upright Vacuum

The first thing you’ll want to think about is how easy it will be to vacuum with a central vacuum versus an upright one. The average upright vacuum has the tendency to weigh more than other types, which can be difficult for people who aren’t able to carry heavy loads or that have to walk up stairs.

With a central vacuum, the motor and canister are typically placed in a fixed position, whether in your basement or in your garage. Whereas with an upright model you’ll have to carry all of the main components with you while you’re vacuuming. In this case, a central vacuum may be the better option because all you’ll have to carry is the hose and cleaning attachment rather than the entire canister and motor.

One concern that home owners have with central vacuums is in order for them to work, the hose needs to be plugged into a port. Depending on where the ports are located in your home, it can be difficult to get to certain areas unless you have a long enough hose. As an example, cleaning a bedroom at the other end of the hall is relatively impossible if there isn’t a nearby port.

With an upright vacuum, you have the ability to plug the unit into any socket in any room at any time. This can make it far more convenient to get a quick clean accomplished.

  1. Performance

If you’re the type of home owner that has a lot of dust and dirt buildup throughout the week, it’s important to find the perfect unit that will thoroughly clean your floor. Performance is incredibly important for jobs as small as getting rid of dust to large jobs like removing pet hair from upholstery.

In most cases, a central vacuum will offer far more power than an upright vacuum simply because a central unit will have a larger motor, therefore better suction and airflow. There are other features integrated into upright vacuums that can help to make them more efficient, such as HEPA filters, which are great for people dealing with respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

It’s also important to note that a central vacuum is designed to remove all types of allergens as they typically have a filter installed in the fixed canister. You won’t need to find a particular model that offers a HEPA filter.

  1. Installation and Set Up of a Central Vacuum vs Upright Vacuum

This is one of the few areas where an upright vacuum surpasses a central vacuum, as there is little to no installation or set up required. With most models, all you might have to do is attach a particular cleaning attachment that you want to use, as an example, an extendable hose to clean hard to reach areas.

Whereas with a central vacuum, you will need the help of a professional to have the unit installed. There will need to be connecting pipes, inlets, and more. You won’t have the ability to open the box, remove the vacuum, plug it in, and start using it. Instead, you’ll have to hire a technician and although they are more powerful, it’s far less convenient.

  1. Troubleshooting Issues

It’s nearly impossible to purchase anything for your home without having to worry about it not working at some point in time. If you don’t have any experience with troubleshooting vacuums, both the central and the upright units will be equally as difficult to deal with. Though there is a probability that the central unit will be more expensive to fix than the upright unit.

In the event that your upright vacuum stops working, you will have to bring it into a vacuum repair shop, which can be found in a variety of places in your surrounding area. The same applies to a central vacuum, although you will have to hire a technician to come to your property to look at the unit.

Since central vacuums are heftier, you can expect to pay more to have them fixed, especially if it’s a big job such as replacing the motor. With the upright unit, any repairs generally won’t break the bank, although if they do seem expensive you can easily purchase another unit for less than the cost of repairs.

  1. The Cost of a Central Vacuum vs Upright Vacuum

The main way that you’ll want to consider the cost of each unit is by comparing the initial cost to the years of use. As an example, one unit may cost more but will give you more years of cleaning, or offer a longer and more comprehensive warranty to cover any damage.

Upright vacuums typically don’t carry a hefty price tag, but they’re also not known to last 10 years at a time. Unfortunately, these units aren’t constructed to be as strong as they once were, which means that although you may be spending less at first, you’ll certainly be putting more money into another vacuum within a few years.

The cost of a central vacuum can be intimidating, especially if you’re operating on a budget. But the best part is that although the initial costs may be higher, you won’t have to worry about buying a brand new unit within a few years as they’re certainly built to last. Also, since they do fetch a higher price than competing types of vacuums you’ll be able to take advantage of comprehensive warranties and ways to protect your investment.

Over time, the only items that you might need to take into consideration when dealing with central vacuum repairs are the cleaning attachments that will wear down with consistent use such as wands, hoses, and other unique accessories.

Comparison of Important Features

Central Vacuum

Upright Vacuum

Lightweight and portable Heavier and portable
No buttons, extremely user-friendly Easy to use power switch and adjustable rolling brushes
Air filtration HEPA filtration on select models
Powerful throughout the years  Less powerful, still a sufficient clean
Requires experience to install Plug in and use immediately
More expensive Less expensive
Built to last a lifetime Built to last several years

Choosing between an upright and central vacuum depends on your personal preference, budget, and the type of cleaning you need to have done. Many home owners find that central vacuums are more convenient, reliable, and powerful in comparison to upright units. Both have the ability to get a room clean, but it appears that central vacuums are better – even if they do fetch a higher price.

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1 Comment

  • Ashley Turns says:

    Thanks for pointing out that a central vacuum is fixed so you won’t have to carry it around with you. My husband and I are planning on installing some new machinery in our house, and we are wondering if it would be worth it to include a central vacuum as well. We will definitely have to hire this type of machine since we won’t have to carry it around.

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