We all know that vacuum cleaners suck, right? Jokes aside, I’m talking about sucking air, which is how vacuum cleaners work.
They draw in dirt along with the air, and store all the dirt inside themselves so we can throw it out later.
Suction power is simply the strength or power with which air is sucked in by a vacuum cleaner. It is measured by how much air the machine can take in, at any given time.
Air can be measured in cubic feet. Cubic feet per minute or CFM, is the amount of air the machine can take in, every minute. This is a rating that instantly lets us know the suction strength of a specific vacuum cleaner.
Needless to say, larger CFM equals higher suction power. A usual range is between 50-100 CFM, depending on the type of vacuum. Not all vacuums have the CFM rating, and some of them are rated in watts or amps. A common range is 10-15 amps and 1000-1500 watts.
What Does it Mean?
The suction strength is one of the main factors that influence how well your vacuum will work.
Anyone who has cleaned dirt before (either manually, or with a machine) knows that there are two kinds of dirt: dirt which is easy to get rid of, and dirt which is hard to get rid of.
Here’s a relevant fact: Using a low-suction for a longer time, will not get rid of hard dirt. Hard dirt needs a high-suction power, period.
For example, if my car battery does not have enough power, turning the ignition for a longer time will not start my car. A minimum amount of battery power is needed for the car to start, period.
Here’s a likely scenario: With a low-suction vacuum cleaner, you will go over and over the same area for long periods of time, your arms will get more tired (there are better ways to get a workout!), you will consume more electricity, make more noise and, if you’re anything like me, get more annoyed by the minute!
Since the whole point of a vacuum is to get rid of all dirt, you would think that it is best to use one with strong suction strength, right?
The only situations I can think of where this rule does not apply are:
- You need a lightweight or portable vacuum.
- Your house is naturally clean and you do not have a lot of dirt.
Here’s probably what you should think about: You choose the suction power you want, based on what kind of dirt you clean most. Here are all the things to keep in mind, for a little perspective:
- Design and maneuverabilty
- Suction power
- Bagged or bagless
- Price, service and parts
Types of Vacuum Cleaners
In a perfect scenario, all kinds of vacuum cleaners, upright or handheld, big or small, bagged or bagless, robotic or manual, would have the same high suction power.
However, this is hardly ever the case. Not all machines are built with the same material and quality, and there are also size restrictions that limit what can fit inside it.
Suction is generated by an air pump inside, and stronger pumps are needed to generate higher suction. Stronger pumps are bigger and heavier, consume more electricity and make more noise.
It’s tougher to put big pumps in smaller, or more compact machines. What we all need, is for someone to come up with a way to make a small and light pump generate high suction. While we continue to wish for that, remember that whatever you decide to choose, it’s almost always best to use one which has the highest suction power available.