How To Measure Suction Power Of Vacuum Cleaner?

How To Measure Suction Power Of Vacuum Cleaner?

Have you tried cleaning your house with a weak vacuum? Not all vacuum cleaners are created equal. So you need to know how to determine a vacuum’s suction power before buying.

The suction power of a vacuum cleaner dictates how effective it is at cleaning, but your choice depends on the budget and what you intend to clean. If you want great cleaning results, it’s vital to know the suction power of the cleaner.

Here’s how to measure the suction of a vacuum cleaner, select the best suction power for your purpose,  and the ideal air watt rating.

Can You Measure Suction Power Of Vacuum Cleaner Yourself?

Yes, you can measure a vacuum cleaner’s suction power by yourself. There are several ways to measure suction, some of which involve equipment like pressure gauges, while some require a few calculations.

How To Measure Suction Power Of Vacuum Cleaner?

There are several ways to determine the suction power of a vacuum cleaner, including;


This method involves vacuum power measurement using cubic feet. You measure the strength of the airflow from the suction surface to the bins over one minute. The higher the airflow, the more air a vacuum can transport.

To ensure accuracy in the measurement, detach the wand and suction hose of the vacuum cleaner.

Water lift

To measure the suction of a vacuum, you can use the water lift method. This setup measures the static pressure of the water.

Put a one-inch column of water in a sealed tube and then attach the vacuum cleaner hose to one end of the vertical tube. Now check the height to which the water column rises in the tube.

Since average vacuum cleaners have a water lift of about 85 inches, any value close to that shows that a vacuum has sufficient suction power.

Air watts

This method determines how much power in watts a cleaner uses to pass a unit of air via the vacuum’s opening. Air watt measurements give the most accurate measurements of suction power.

Air watts and regular watts are not the same unit and should not be confused. This method requires that you understand the cubic feet per minute (CFM) and water lift of your vacuum cleaner.

Watts and amperes

Amperes are the energy supplied to the cleaner. Generally, the more amperes a vacuum uses, the higher its suction power. However, since the amperes are used by the motor as well as other cleaner components, this method does not accurately measure suction power.

To get the wattage of a cleaner, multiply the amperes by the supply voltage. Similar to amperes, high watt usage indicates the estimated strength of the motor, not the accurate suction power.


Since suction power creates pressure, you can measure it as such. The best way to measure maximum suction pressure is to find the difference in pressure between the inside and outside of the cleaner. One pascal is equal to the force exerted by one Newton of force on one square meter.

Generally, the greater the suction power of a cleaner, the higher its suction pressure. 20 is the average household cleaner’s vacuum suction power kpa. Suction pressure and airflow are unrelated, so a cleaner may have high suction pressure and low airflow or vice versa.

What Is Good Suction Power For A Vacuum?

20,000 is the average household cleaner’s vacuum suction power pa. However, it is the application of a vacuum that determines how much suction is the best.

If the cleaner is to be used for tiled or hard floors, then higher suction is ideal. For carpets and couches, a low-suction vacuum is best suited to avoid clamping and difficulty in movement.

Other factors to consider are the budget and the size of the area you’ll be cleaning. If your home is enormous, a higher suction vacuum will help finish cleaning faster. Also, cleaners that have higher suction are more expensive.

How Many Air Watts Is A Good Vacuum Cleaner?

Air watts show how powerful the suction of a vacuum cleaner is. If fewer watts are required to move a unit of air through the vacuum opening, the cleaner will have a higher air watts rating. The formula for calculating air watts is as follows;

Air watts equals 0.117254 * air flow in CFM * water lift in inches.

A regular vacuum cleaner is good enough as long as it has a more than 100 air watts rating. Cleaners with canisters require more airflow to remove dirt, so a rating of 200 air watts and above is required. If the vacuum has a filter, more air watts are needed to push the air through the filter.


Measuring a vacuum cleaner’s suction power is an easy task. There are many ways you can determine a cleaner’s suction power, including airflow, water lift, pressure comparison, watts used, and air watts.

The most accurate way to determine suction power is using air watts. This method uses a formula that multiplies air flow with water lift to find suction power. Wattage use is highly inaccurate since it fails to account for the efficiency of the machine and its electrical components.

Deciding the best suction power for your vacuum cleaner depends on your use and how much you’re willing to spend. Generally, a vacuum cleaner that has between 100-200 air watts is good enough for most uses.

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