Vacuum Cleaner Wattage: Does a Vacuum Cleaner Use a Lot of Electricity?
Vacuum cleaners range in size from small cordless handheld units being recharged via USB ports to large, full-size vacuum cleaners being powered by long extension cords, ensuring a long cleaning range, ample power, and almost endless runtime.
Just like their size differs, electric usage differs depending on the vacuum size, type, intended use, used cleaning attachments, and similar. But, this also raises a question among many users, do vacuums use a lot of electricity, and their impact on electric bills...
Updated: August 23, 2022.
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Corded Vacuum Cleaners
Corded vacuum cleaners are usually rated between 2 and 12 Amps, which translated into watts (@120V) means that the majority of the corded vacuums are rated between 240 to 1440 watts.
In order to calculate how much electricity a corded vacuum cleaner use on a monthly basis, one must multiply the vacuum's rated power by the monthly runtime given in hours.
If the average usage time of the vacuum cleaner is 2h per week (it may be longer, but also much shorter!), then, for example, a 1200W (10 Amps) vacuum cleaner uses:
E (Wh) = 2h * 4 weeks * 1200W = 9600 Wh = 9.6 kWh per month
With an average price of 12-15 cents per kWh, that would mean that a 1200W (10 Amps) vacuum cleaner with average weekly usage of 2 hours increases the monthly electric bill by 1.15-1.44 US$, which is approximately 13.8-17.28 US$ per year!
Personally, that is a very small price for having a cleaner, safer, and more pleasant home to live in.
Adjustable Suction Strength
Most of the stronger corded units feature an adjustable suction strength, allowing the users to decrease or increase suction as needed.
There are basically two types of such systems:
- air valve based system allows the user to open ar valve that regulates the amount of air that passes through the vacuum's cleaner head - the total amount of air through the vacuum is the same and the vacuum's suction motor operates at full power all the time. These systems are very often present on units using cyclonic air filtration systems which operate properly only when having enough high-speed air.
- variable suction motor power system allows the user to adjust the suction by changing the suction motor power - when the suction is decreased, so is the motor power and thus its electric energy requirement which may lead to somewhat lower electric energy bills.
Cordless Vacuum Cleaners
Cordless vacuums use energy stored in their onboard batteries which are being recharged via mains power.
Since their operating time on a single battery charge depends on the suction power, most of the cordless units feature adjustable suction with two or more suction levels.
On average, cordless units feature 50-500+ watts suction motors, but most of the time, they operate using a medium suction level which balances between suction strength and the battery operating time.
So, if the 500W cordless unit operates on average at 300W two hours per week (again, it may be longer, but also much shorter!), that would be:
E(Wh) = 2h * 4 weeks * 300W = 2400 Wh = 2.4 kWh per month
But, note that this is the energy that the battery provides to the suction motor and other electric and electronic systems (if present) during operation.
In order to recharge the battery, some energy is lost in the form of heat (the charger and the battery get warmer) - other energy losses are present too, but this heat is the most evident one.
When charging the battery, up to one-third of energy may be lost in various ways. Thus:
E(Wh) = 2.4 kWh /0.66 = 3.6 kWh per month
With an average price of 12-15 cents per kWh, that would be 0.43-0.54 US$ per month or 5.16-6.48 US$ per year.
Robot Vacuum Cleaners
Energy consumption of the robot vacuums depends on their use - in most cases, robot vacuums are scheduled to vacuum once per day entire floor.
There are basically two types of robot vacuums regarding their navigation systems:
- robot vacuums with a random cleaning pattern,
- robot vacuums with an advanced navigation system and automatic Recharge and Resume option.
Robot vacuums with a random cleaning pattern vacuum until their battery is drained down to 10-20%, after which they stop their cleaning task and automatically return to the charging station/dock to fully recharge. After being fully recharged, they wait for the next cleaning task.
To calculate the energy consumption of such robot vacuum cleaner, we will use an average unit - such average robot vacuum comes with a 14.4V 2500 mAh battery that is being drained down to 20%, once per day, 30 days per month using a charging system that feature an efficiency of 66%.
That would be:
E(Wh) = 14.4V * 2.5Ah * 0.8 * 30 / 0.66 = ~1.3 kWh per month
With an average price of 12-15 cents per kWh, that would be ~0.16-0.20 US$ per month or ~1.92-2.40 US$ per year in electricity.
Robot vacuums with an advanced navigation system are also commonly scheduled to clean once per day, but they are used in larger homes that benefit from their Recharge and Resume features.
To calculate the energy consumption of such robot vacuum cleaner, we will use an average unit with an advanced navigation system that comes with a 14.4V 3500 mAh battery that is being drained down to 20% once and after Recharge and Resume once more but this time down to 40%.
Also, this vacuum cleaner is being used 30 days per month and features a more advanced charging system with an energy efficiency of 75%.
E(Wh) = 14.4V * 3.5Ah * (0.8 + 0.6) * 30 / 0.75 = ~3.00 kWh per month
With an average price of 12-15 cents per kWh, that would be 0.36-0.45 US$ per month or 4.32-5.40 US$ per year.
Few Final Words
Unless You live in an area with really expensive electric energy, You should really stop worrying about the electric consumption of your vacuum cleaner and focus on keeping your home clean.
If You do live in an area with a really expensive electric energy, for example, 3-5x more expensive than given in these examples, keep in mind that a clean home actually doesn't have the price.
If You want to decrease your electric bills, focus on replacing older home appliances with new ones - energy requirements can be significantly different leading to great savings in the long run.