Vacuum Cleaner’s Amperage vs. Wattage

Vacuum cleaners manufacturers (and retailers) often try to persuade the prospects to buy their products talking about their amperage (or wattage).

Typically the sales guys say something like „…buy this vac, it has an extra strong 12 Amps motor providing great suction…“. Yet, the truth is that amount of amperes or watts the vacuum cleaner takes from an electric outlet has almost nothing to do with vacuum´s suction power.

To explain it, first, let´s get back to grammar school.

The strength of an electric current is measured in amperes. One ampere is the amount of current that flows through one ohm of resistance with one volt applied. On the other hand, watt is the unit of electric power. One watt of power is used when one ampere of current flows through a resistance of one ohm.

Complicated? Don´t bother with it, you will never need it.

Sure, it is important how much power your vacuum cleaner consumes ( if you want to save on energy bills) but if you are looking for a really strong vacuum cleaner forget about amperage or wattage and ask the salesman how many air watts the vac features and what´s its airflow.

While any strong vacuum cleaner can consume 1700 Watts its actual suction power only will be 320 – 420 Watts which means the suction efficiency is 19 – 25% (the most efficient vacuums can exceed 30%).

How to Calculate Watts From Amperes (and vice versa)

As the American vacuum manufacturers use amperage and manufacturers from Europe use wattage when describing the vacs´power consumption, it may quite impossible for a prospective customer to compare such products and evaluate their parameters.

Comparing amperes to watts is like comparing apples with pears. No, actually it´s like comparing peanuts with pears so in order to get an overview you need to recalculate them to compare peanuts with peanuts OR pears with pears.

To calculate watts from amps just multiply number of amperes by approximately 110.

To convert amps to watts just divide watts by approx. 110. That´s all, you´re comparing the right fruits to each other…

Amperes, Wats and Air Watts

To make it even easier for all of us, following chart can be applied when comparing the power consumption of vacuum cleaners. I am multiplying amperes by 110 (sharp) to get the wattage so I expect that some accuracy lovers will raise their hands but I think we will not need an absolutely accurate number for this purpose.

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