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Important Things To Know Before You Buy A Vacuum.

Choosing the right vacuum cleaner appears to be easy until you actually have to do it. Sure, there's a huge selection made up all different shapes, sizes, colors, features, and all with separate capabilities, but how do you begin to understand what all of those tiny measurements listed for each machine mean pertinent to the job that you want it to perform?

In other words, what do amps, watts, and voltage mean? How about horsepower? What are air watts, airflow and water lift? These measurements are considered the primary specifications of a vacuum cleaner. They basically refer to the power of the vacuum motor.

These primary specifications differ from secondary ones that deal more with things like vacuum filtration, capacity of the dirt collection area, agitation mechanisms and accessories. The secondary features narrow your choices in the end, but the first thing to start with is the vac motor itself.

Amps--The maximum amount of electrical current used by the vacuum components measured as a whole when machine is operating. This includes the vac motor, agitation/beater brush motor, power nozzle motor (on floor and hand tools), any and all indicator or head lamp light bulbs, etc.,.

Watts-This is a measure of the motor input power.

Voltage-In the USA, the standard household current is 120 volts. Household appliances, including vacuum cleaners, are rated to the same 120 volt standard for compatibility with the power that enters a household meter at 120 volts.

Horsepower-This term is a descriptor that is used to illicit a response from consumers and has little to do with actual measurements of anything related to the power of a vac motor.

Air Watts-Often listed for central vacuum systems and a few other models, this rating measures the vacuum's output power rather than input power

Airflow-This rating measures the airflow through the vacuum in CFM (cubic feet per minute). The higher the airflow reading, the better the machine will clean. This measurement takes into consideration the suction power (the vacuum motors power) and resistance level of air as it passes through features like the filter and dirt collection area.

Water Lift-The amount of water the vacuum motor is capable of sucking up in a sealed situation in order to determine the power of the vacuum motor. In other words, how many inches of water the vacuum motor can vertically suction, or lift, a 1" column of water.

As you can see, many measurements are listed in the specifications for vacuum cleaners. Most of these measurements allow the purchaser to anticipate the power of the machine and how it will perform on a given task. Typically, the most important specifications to look out for are a machine's air flow rating and the water lift measurement. These two are the easiest to understand in terms of rating a vacuum's motor power and the quickest to identify and compare when looking across brands. Generally, the higher the airflow and water lift measurements, the more power the vacuum motor has.

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