What Are Air Watts?
Air Watts are the vacuum industry's equivalent of a car engine's Brake Horse Power rating.
As car engine engineering has advanced, smaller cc engines now produce the BHP that a much large cc engine would have been needed for a few years ago.
Similar advances have been made in electrical motors which vacuum cleaners use and the overall efficiency of a cleaners design. So comparing a vacuum cleaners ability to clean solely on the electrical wattage of the motor fitted no longer accurately reflects the cleaner’s suction power.
This is where Air Watts come in. The Air Watt of a vacuum is calculated by a simple formula:
CFM x Water Lift / 8.5 = Air Watts
CFM is the Cubic Feet of Air per Minute the machine can move; the better this Airflow is the more dirt the cleaner can pick up. CFM is measured by a Airflow Gauge (below left).
WATER LIFT measures the cleaners ability to lift (see our bowling ball video) , it used to be measured using a water gauge, hence the term Water Lift, but is now measured by a Vacuum Gauge (below right).
So What Air Watt Rating Should I be Looking For?
Upright vacuum cleaners with a motor driven carpet beater roller need a minimum of 100 Air Watts.
Cylinder vacuum cleaners with no beater roller need a higher minimum of 200 Air Watts to lift the dirt away.
Rechargeable and 12 volt vacuums only produce a fraction of this power, averaging around the mid 20’s in Air Watts. They’re great for quick light tasks, but the reality is you could achieve the same results with a dust pan and brush.
RoadVac's design produces 400 Air Watts of cleaning power allowing it to easily tackle even the most ground in dirt.