How Many Amps Does a Vacuum Use? Does More Amps Mean Better Performance?

Understanding vacuum cleaner specifications is one of the most important and yet challenging aspects of buying a new vacuum cleaner. Since amperage is a common vacuum cleaner specification, you’re probably wondering how many amps does a vacuum use?

Most upright and canister vacuum cleaners on the market are eight to 12-amp vacuum cleaners. Household outlets you plug your vacuum cleaner into are rated at a maximum of 15 or 20 amps depending on the circuit. However, 12 amps are the maximum allowed for UL approval, so you won’t find any vacuum cleaners with more than 12 amps.

In this article, we’ll tell you what amperage is, and does having more amps guarantees a more powerful vacuum cleaner. Keep on reading to find out!

What is Amperage?

Simply put, amperage represents the intensity of an electrical current. When it comes to vacuum cleaners, amperage refers to the maximum amount of electrical current used by all the vacuum cleaner’s components when operating.

Amperage refers to electrical consumption, not the power or the cleaning ability of a vacuum cleaner. However, you can use it to compare the input power of one vacuum cleaner to another.

If you decide to make a comparison, aim to get the amp rating of the vacuum’s motor only, instead of all electrical components.

How Many Amps Does a Vacuum Use? How to Measure it?

As mentioned previously, amps are one of the most common specifications used to describe a vacuum.

The amperage rating states the maximum amount of electrical current consumed by all the electrical components when the vacuum is operating. But the vacuum motor is the main component that consumes more electrical current than all other electrical components combined.

The amperage rating, however, considers all the electrical components including the power nozzle, light bulb, and motor.

To measure and compare your vacuum’s input power to another cleaner you’ll need to convert the amps into watts by multiplying with volts. Because volts are steady at 120V, amps show a good comparison of motor input power.

As you can see, the amperage of your vacuum cleaner gives you a chance to compare the input power of the vacuum motor and the whole machine. And, just because the vacuum cleaner motor consumes more energy it doesn’t have to clean better than a motor that consumes less electrical current.

Are Amps a Good Indicator of Suction Power?

Amps measure the power of the electrical current going from the electrical outlet to the motor of your vacuum cleaner.

But while most vacuums are advertised as having 12 amps, that doesn’t mean that they are the most powerful sweepers on the market.

To ensure that the vacuum cleaner is powerful, the manufacturer needs to design a vacuum motor that uses the amps as efficiently as possible.

The motor’s design is the reason why some 12-amp vacuums clean better than other 12-amp hoovers.

Higher amperage isn’t an indicator of excellent suction power. In fact, there are several other factors, that influence the vacuum’s cleaning power. More about that in a bit!

Factors That Influence Suction Power

Below, you will find the main factors that influence the suction power and cleaning abilities of vacuum cleaners. If you are looking for a new and stronger vacuum pay attention to:

  • Design Of the Motor: The design of the vacuum motor is important for its overall performance. Some of these vacuum motors feature two or three fans that work together rather than a single fan. Having more fans improves the suction power of the sweeper.
  • Filters: The condition of the filters and the way the system filters dirt can also affect the performance of the vacuum. Maintain and change washable filters according to manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure optimal airflow.
  • Height Adjustment: The Height adjustment on floors and carpets also influences the suction power. Without proper adjustments, you won’t be able to vacuum or clean effectively across multiple surfaces.
  • Airflow Specification: Airflow specifications also affect the cleaning ability of your vacuum cleaner. It’s measured in cubic feet per minute. Essentially the more airflow the unit has the better its cleaning abilities.
  • Hose & Floor Nozzle Design: The quality and the design of the hose and floor nozzle can influence the vacuum’s suction power and overall performance.
  • Emptying The Canister: Emptying the canister or vacuum cleaner bag when full is very important. The suction won’t work properly if the canister is full.

Final Thoughts

Most vacuum cleaners, both canister, and upright models use eight to 12 amps. Amperage represents the intensity of electrical current and is a vacuum cleaner specification you’ll likely come across.

Knowing how many amps different vacuums use, can help you find the best vacuum for your home. Just don’t forget that having a 12-amp vacuum cleaner doesn’t mean you have the most powerful machine on the market.

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