I often write test reports on vacuum cleaning robots, cordless vacuum cleaners or normal mains-powered vacuum cleaners. In this context, I usually also study the technical data of the vacuum cleaner and keep stumbling over the manufacturer's information on the suction power. While in the past the suction power was often equated with the value of the electrical power consumption and given in watts, current cordless vacuum cleaner models tend to have units with the abbreviation "Pa" or "AW".
In this article I would like to go into these values and explain how important (or unimportant) it is to look for a high number in these values when buying a vacuum cleaner. But let's start with the "old" specification Watt and the new unit "Air Watt"...
Chapter in this post:
- 1 Update 19.10.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX: Experience shows that high suction power should not be a purchase criterion
- 2 What is the difference between Watt and Air Watt?
- 3 What does the unit Pa say about the suction force?
- 4 Conversion of AW (Air Watts) into kPa (Kilo Pascal)
- 5 Pa values from practice
- 6 vacuum cleaners with particularly high suction power
- 7 robot vacuum cleaners with 4.000 Pa
- 8 cordless cordless vacuum cleaners 27.000 to 33.000 Pa
- 9 mains operated cylinder vacuum cleaners
- 10 cylinder vacuum cleaners with bags
- 11 cylinder vacuum cleaners with dust box
- 12 Similar posts
Update 19.10.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX: Experience shows that high suction power should not be a purchase criterion
Due to my blogger work, I often test new vacuum cleaners and always list the value for the suction power. However, what I've noticed over the last few years is that a high suction power number doesn't say anything about how good a vacuum cleaner actually says it is.
This applies to cordless hand vacuum cleaners as well as to vacuum cleaning robots. If I had to recommend two models here, I would pick the Dyson Absolute V11 name and as a vacuum cleaning robot the Ecovac's X1 Omni choose.
Both models leave a very clean living space and both also deal very well with pet hair.
What is the difference between Watt and Air Watt?
The question should rather be, what do Watt and Air Watt have in common, because it is not much. Watt is the unit for electrical power. For example, it shows how much electricity a vacuum cleaner needs. However, since this information has little informative value about the suction power of a vacuum cleaner, some manufacturers have started to specify the suction power in Air Watt (AW).
The number for Air Watt - sometimes called Luftwatt - is determined by the negative pressure that the vacuum cleaner can create and the amount of air it can move in a given time. That sounds like a sensible thing, but as with all other values that are currently being quoted by manufacturers, Air Watt does not have any direct information about how great the suction force is at the nozzle, because the suction power can be from the measuring point close to the motor quickly fall off to the nozzle through branches and unwanted openings in the air system.
To make matters worse, Air Watt is not an internationally defined, physical unit. The figures that manufacturers give for Air Watt should not be seen as values that can be directly compared - although they should actually be.
What does the unit Pa say about the suction force?
Pa is an abbreviation for the Pascal unit, which is used in physics to indicate a pressure difference. This makes sense because a vacuum cleaner creates a vacuum to suck in dirt and dust. And the higher the Pa value, the more negative pressure the vacuum cleaner generates and the better the suction power. In short: A lot of “Pa” is good!? No, unfortunately it's not that easy - but more on that below when it comes to the practical values.
The change in the specification of watts (W) to Pascal (Pa) was made sometime after the EU created a law that limits the power consumption of vacuum cleaners to 900 watts. Since one could no longer score with high watt values with consumers (more than 900 watts were no longer allowed), the unit Pa was used, with which one could again play with high numbers for marketing purposes.
The manufacturers were therefore forced to budget with the electrical energy and still generate a high suction power. The vacuum cleaners automatically became more efficient. As a result, specifying the watt value no longer made sense and the specification Pascal (Pa) was established to convey to customers how powerful a vacuum cleaner is.
Interesting article on the subject of “suction power”:
Conversion of AW (Air Watts) in kPa (Kilo Pascal)
Some vacuum cleaner manufacturers, such as Dyson, indicate the power of their vacuum cleaners in Air Watts (AW). Unfortunately, I could not find an exact conversion into kPA, but the following values were equated at the consumer advice center in South Tyrol:
- 250 - 400 air watts
- 1300 - 2200 mm / H2O
- 13-22 kPa = 13.000-22.000 Pa
That would mean that 1 AW equals 52 Pa. I therefore use these numbers as a rough basis for the conversion to convert Air Watt values into Pa values for my table below with practical values.
Pa values from practice
The manufacturer himself is responsible for measuring the Pa value. There are no rules as to where this value has to be taken with a measuring device. You have a high value directly on the engine, but this can decrease on the way to the nozzle if there are leaks in the air duct.
Accordingly, some “caution” is recommended by manufacturers when specifying the Pa values. Unknown manufacturers in particular may be measured very "optimistically" in order to achieve an advertising effect.
In order to get a feeling for how “good” a vacuum cleaner is, I have brought together a few values that I found on various manufacturer websites.
- Robot vacuum cleaners work in the range from 2000 to 4000 Pa
- Cordless vacuum cleaners have between 10.000 and 20.000 Pa
- Cylinder vacuum cleaners (mains operated) have between 13.000 and 25.000 Pa
Vacuum cleaner with particularly high suction power
For further "entertainment" I have selected a few best-of models here. So a couple of devices that have a particularly high suction power in their class.
Robot vacuum cleaner with 4.000 Pa
- Dreame L10 Pro vacuum and floor mopping robot
- Testor M1
- DashTech vacuum robot
- iRobot robotic vacuum cleaner
- Neabot Q11
Cordless battery vacuum cleaner 27.000 to 33.000 Pa
At this point a tip from me: The Dyson V11 Animal + is expensive and has "only" about 12.000 Pa, but I have a previous model and it has an incredibly good cleaning performance thanks to its motor brush.
Mains operated cylinder vacuum cleaners
In the case of cylinder vacuum cleaners, unfortunately, the watt value in the specification of the power is still used. Accordingly, I was unable to make a “best of” selection based on the Pa value.
A selection based on watts, however, does not make sense either, since non-name companies are specifically throwing models on the market that simply have 900 watts of power consumption, but may work very inefficiently. So suction power is by no means to be equated with watts.
I therefore use a test by Stiftung Warentest to make a selection, which also contained cylinder vacuum cleaners with bags or dust boxes. Here are the four best models:
Vacuum cleaner with bag
Cylinder vacuum cleaner with dust box
I hope that with my explanations about the values Watt, kPa, Pa and Air Watt, I was able to help you a little further in researching the right vacuum cleaner for you. Basically, as is so often the case with technical devices: the numbers alone do not say so much. You can use it as a guide, but ultimately the quality of the vacuum cleaner has to be right, because what use is a high Pa value if it was only measured under laboratory conditions and the vacuum cleaner does not pick up bread crumbs in everyday life.
I therefore stick to well-known companies such as Miele, eufy, Bosch, Dreame, Dyson and the like. You are seldom disappointed.
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He acts as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with technical problems. In his spare time he rides electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with the iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions to current bugs.