Central Vacuum vs Upright: 10 Key Differences

Central vacuum cleaners are great for homes with high ceilings and large rooms. They’re also a good choice for homes with pets or children because they have filters that can be easily replaced. Upright vacuum cleaners are a good choice for homes with low ceilings and small rooms. They’re also good for homes with pets or children because they have quiet motors.

If you want to buy a vacuum cleaner, you might wonder which type is the best for your needs. So read this central vacuum vs upright comparison blog to make informed decisions.

Central Vacuum vs Upright Vacuum – What’s the Difference?

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Here’s a table comparing central vacuums to upright vacuums based on several key factors:

FactorCentral VacuumUpright Vacuum
CostCentral vacuums are generally more expensive, with prices ranging from $800 to $2,000 or more.Upright vacuums are generally more affordable, with prices ranging from $50 to $500 or more.
EfficiencyCentral vacuums are more efficient at capturing dirt and allergens, with an average efficiency rating of 90-98%.Upright vacuums have an efficiency rating of 50-80%.
PortabilityCentral vacuums are not portable, as they are installed permanently in the home.Upright vacuums are designed for portability and can be easily moved from room to room.
Cleaning PowerCentral vacuums generally have a higher cleaning power, with an average airflow of 120-250 cubic feet per minute (CFM).Upright vacuums have a lower cleaning power, with an average airflow of 40-100 CFM.
Noise LevelCentral vacuums are generally quieter than upright vacuums, with an average noise level of 60-80 decibels (dB).Upright vacuums have a noise level of 70-85 dB.
Cleanup TimeCentral vacuums can take longer to clean because they require the user to move the hose and powerhead from inlet to inlet.Upright vacuums can be faster to clean, with an average cleanup time of 5-10 minutes.
Ease of UseCentral vacuums are simple to use, with only one main unit to worry about.Upright vacuums are also easy to use, but they can be heavier and harder to maneuver.
FiltrationCentral vacuums have a filtration rate of 99.97% at 0.3 μm, which means they are better at capturing smaller particles.Upright vacuums have a filtration rate of 90-99.97% at 0.3 μm.
InstallationCentral vacuums require professional installation, which can be costly.Upright vacuums do not require installation and can be used right out of the box.
MaintenanceCentral vacuums require very little maintenance.Upright vacuums require regular maintenance, including cleaning the filter and replacing the bag or canister.

More info: Are upright vacuums better than canisters?


Upright vacuum cleaners are generally cheaper because they do not have as many features and are designed for smaller spaces. However, you will likely have to buy another vacuum in a year or two. 

Central vacuum systems are more expensive upfront, but they last a lifetime and are a wise investment. This is because central vacuum cleaners typically have more features and are better designed to handle larger areas. If a central vacuum part wears out over time, you may need to replace it. In addition, many accessories are available in online stores, including motors, hoses, wands, and others.


Central vacuum cleaners are typically more efficient than upright vacuum cleaners. This is because central vacuum cleaning uses suction to clean the floor, while upright vacuuming uses a traditional brush system. Central vacuum cleaners can often clean larger areas in less time than upright vacuums.

Central vacuum cleaners tend to be sleek and stylish, whereas upright vacuum cleaners can be more traditional in design.


Central vacuums can be used for various purposes, including cleaning up spills and debris, removing pet hair, and more. They are also useful for cleaning small areas quickly and efficiently. Any room can be vacuumed easily with central vacuum hoses via an inlet port. You can also use central vacuums to clean larger areas, such as a whole floor or a whole house.

Upright vacuum cleaners must be carried and connected to a power source before they can start cleaning. It is impossible to clean large apartments on a single charge with a battery-powered vacuum.

Cleaning Power

Central vacuum cleaners are considered more powerful because they suck up more debris quickly. Thus, it is a better choice for larger homes and businesses. On the other hand, Upright vacuum cleaners are typically smaller and cheaper, making them better suited for smaller spaces or homes.

Noise Level

Central vacuum cleaners tend to be louder than upright vacuum cleaners. This is because central vacuum cleaners use more powerful motors and larger filters to clean larger areas.


Central vacuum cleaners are a bit more versatile than upright cleaners as they can be used for various tasks such as cleaning hard floors, rugs, upholstery, and even ceilings. Upright cleaners, on the other hand, are specifically designed for cleaning carpets.

Central Vacuums are also more efficient in terms of cleaning as they move more air per stroke. They are also able to reach places that upright cleaners cannot. On the other hand, Upright cleaners are generally less expensive and easier to use.

Ease of Use

Upright vacuums can be harmful if you have back pain or other ailments that prevent you from carrying heavy items. Central vacuum systems’ main component (motor) is installed in basements or garages. Therefore, you only need to carry a lightweight hose. It certainly makes vacuuming more enjoyable!

Many central vacuum kits include retractable hoses, and most central vacuums use lightweight hoses with power attachments that are plugged into the wall to activate the main motor. Alternatively, upright models are also simple to operate if an electrical outlet is available.


The best upright vacuums come with HEPA filters, which are effective at cleaning. However, most central vacuums are simply more powerful. Thus, they pick up dust and allergens that humans cannot see. If you suffer from allergies to outdoor pollutants (dust, pollen, etc.) or indoor pollutants (cat dander), central vacuum systems will help you remove them. You can lead a healthier lifestyle this way.

On the other hand, upright vacuums take longer to clean a room, and the dust bin can be more cumbersome to empty.


This is where upright vacuums have an advantage, but only for a short time. Central vacuums require an inlet and connecting pipe for every 700 square feet, whereas traditional vacuums can be plugged in and used immediately after purchase. 

Nowadays, central vacuum systems are common, so you can easily find an installation expert to do the job for you. Often, it is said that “slow and steady wins the race.” Once installed, central vacuums clean your home efficiently.


Central vacuum cleaners are often preferred over upright models because they require less maintenance. The filter needs to be replaced every 6 months, and the vacuum bag needs to be emptied every 3 months. These tasks can generally be handled by a handyman or vacuuming enthusiast with little effort.

Upright vacuum cleaners require cleaning the vacuum motor, brushes, belt, and dustbin every 3 to 6 months. The filter needs to be replaced every 2-3 months, and the vacuum bag needs to be emptied monthly.

Related Post: Central Vacuum vs Dyson

Final Thoughts

Your indoor air quality improves when you use a central vacuum, which cleans surfaces and carpets and improves indoor air quality. After vacuuming, you won’t have to dust as often, and your home will smell fresh because the central vacuum system comes with HEPA filters that recirculate dust mite droppings, allergens, odors, and hot air. 

A central vacuum is also five times more powerful than a conventional vacuum. To clean hard surfaces, CVs use lightweight wands and soft brushes. You don’t have to drag a heavy-wheeled vacuum across the floor, scuffing and dulling wood finishes, and anyone can vacuum!

Hide-a-Hose systems, especially retractable ones, are ready for use within seconds. You can clean faster with fewer passes due to the additional power. They provide a clean living environment, are beneficial for a healthy work-life balance, and add value to your home because they run extremely quietly in the home.

After reading central vacuum vs upright, I hope you can decide which vacuum cleaner is best for you and your family.

Related post: Central vac vs regular vacuum

Upright vs Central Vacuum (FAQs)

Which is better central vacuum or upright?

When it comes to central vacuum or upright vacuum cleaners, both have their benefits and drawbacks.

Central Vacuum: Central vacuum cleaners are often considered the best option for homes with many large rooms. They can reach areas that upright models can’t and have more suction power than upright models. Additionally, central vacuums require less maintenance because they don’t need filters or bags as upright machines do.

Upright Models: Upright models are typically better suited for smaller spaces or home offices where much dirt is not expected to be collected. They’re also cheaper than central vacuums; some come with features such as smart dust technology that helps to clean surfaces automatically.

Are central vacuums better?

Central vacuums are often considered to be better because they are more powerful and efficient than traditional vacuum cleaners. This means that they can clean larger areas faster and more thoroughly. Additionally, many central vacs have attachments such as floor brushes or upholstery tools that make them ideal for cleaning difficult surfaces.

On the other hand, regarding carpeted floors, some experts claim carpets may suffer less damage when cleaned with a regular vacuum cleaner rather than a central vacuum cleaner.

What are the benefits of using a central vacuum over an upright?

Regarding cleaning, central vacuums are typically seen as the superior option over upright vacuum cleaners. Central vacuums have a larger suction capacity and can be used for more delicate tasks such as carpet cleaning. They also have filters that may require replacement less frequently than upright vacuum cleaner filters, making them less expensive in the long run.

Another benefit of central vacuum usage is cleaning hard surfaces (such as floors) and carpets simultaneously. This is impossible with an upright vacuum cleaner, which must be exclusively dedicated to one task. Additionally, central vacs often contain attachments that make it easy to remove pet hair and dirt from couch cushions and upholstery.

Overall, there are many reasons why using a central vacuum might be a better choice than using an upright when it comes to cleaning your home. So whether you’re looking for greater convenience or tougher cleanup jobs, a central Vacuum should definitely be at the top of your list!

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