Have you always wondered what exactly the wattage actually means for vacuum cleaners? Does higher wattage equate to higher performance? In this guide, we’ll enlighten you!

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The vacuum cleaner is a purchase that will affect every household sooner or later. Either the old vacuum cleaner has given up the ghost or you move and don’t have one to hand anymore.

If you then want to buy a new vacuum cleaner, the product description usually immediately says “Maximum power”, which is then described with a wattage.

The most important in brief

  • You can usually find the wattage on the packaging of the vacuum cleaner, but always on the type plate.
  • The wattage basically says nothing about the performance of the vacuum cleaner, as it relates to the motor or the power consumption.
  • According to the EU directive of 2017, vacuum cleaners may only have 900 watts, but older models even have up to 3000 watts.

Our ProductRecommendation

The Rowenta vacuum cleaner not only impresses with its elegant design, but above all with its low wattage (750 W). This vacuum cleaner is therefore a real power saver and particularly energy-efficient. In addition, this vacuum cleaner does not need a bag, which is even easier on your wallet.

At a price of around €75, an upholstery nozzle, a crevice nozzle, a brush, a metal telescopic tube and a furniture brush are also integrated. The cable length of 6.2 m is particularly practical, so you can vacuum a total radius of 8.8 m without laborious reconnecting. At 79 decibels, it is also particularly quiet.

What are watts?

Watt is a physical unit that describes power. The unit was named after a Scottish engineer, James Watt, and was included in the international system of units in 1960. A capital W is used as the unit character.

1 W = (kg * m²) / s³

You can use this fairly simple formula to calculate the watts. You only need the following parameters:

  • Kilograms (kg)
  • meters (m)
  • Seconds (s)

Background: What you should know about vacuum cleaner wattage

But how are watts and vacuum cleaners related? What does the wattage mean? We will clarify these questions in this section. We’ll also look at any policies.

What does the wattage of vacuum cleaners say?

The wattage of a vacuum cleaner always refers to the vacuum cleaner’s motor and its performance. Roughly speaking, the motor ensures that the vacuum cleaner is able to suck up dirt at all.

However, the wattage only provides information about the power consumption from the socket, i.e. the power consumption. A high wattage therefore indicates high power consumption, i.e. high electricity costs. Older generation vacuum cleaners have up to 3000 watts.

3000 watts stand for 3 kilowatt hours. A kilowatt hour (kWh) is the amount of energy that is converted within one hour with an output of one kilowatt (kW).

Since the electricity prices vary depending on the provider, it is not possible to give a flat-rate cost for a vacuum cleaner as a guideline. However, we want to make the principle clearer for you with an example:

2,000 watts correspond to 2 kW, we multiply the whole thing by 0.5 h (30 minutes suction time), which results in exactly 1 kilowatt hour. Electricity prices are calculated per kilowatt hour and with an average value of 27.75 cents per kWh, 30 minutes of vacuuming at 2000 watts costs exactly 27.75 cents.

As a little help, we have created a small overview for you of how much half an hour of vacuuming with different wattages costs.

Cost (cents)






With a vacuum cleaner with only 900 watts, you only pay 12.49 cents for 30 minutes at the same electricity price.

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How many watts should a good vacuum cleaner have?

Since the number of watts in vacuum cleaners does not really say anything about the performance, but simply about the power consumption, this cannot be answered in general terms. However, the following applies: the lower the wattage, the lower the power consumption (with the same suction time).

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According to the EU directive of 2017, a vacuum cleaner may not have a power consumption of more than 900 watts. Cordless vacuum cleaners, vacuum cleaner robots, combined wet and dry vacuum cleaners, among others, are excluded from this regulation.

Are there wattage guidelines for vacuum cleaners?

In 2014, a new EU regulation for the sale of vacuum cleaners was introduced for the first time with, among other things, limits on the maximum nominal power consumption (wattage) and maximum annual consumption of kilowatt hours with the aim of reducing general electricity consumption.

Since then, the so-called EU energy label can be found on every newly sold vacuum cleaner. Since September 2017, these guidelines have been tightened and adjusted again. The label gives you information about the following content:


Manufacturer and model identification
This part of the label says something about the brand of the vacuum cleaner.

energy efficiency class
This gives information about the energy consumption and the electricity savings.

power consumption
The power consumption is given in kWh per year.

Loudness in decibels
This parameter is measured on a standardized carpet. This value can vary depending on the substrate.

hard floor
This part defines the suction power at the highest level, where at least 98% of the dust must be sucked up.

As well as the power value on hard floor, this part says something about the suction power, but on carpet.

Dust in the exhaust air
This value is particularly important for allergy sufferers. Class A means that less than 20 out of 100,000 particles sucked in are blown out, Class G stands for more than 1,000 blown out particles.

Meanwhile, a vacuum cleaner must not have more than 900 watts, in 2014 the limit was still 1,600 watts. The energy label provides information on the energy efficiency of vacuum cleaners with different wattages on a scale from A+++ to D, with A++ saving the most electricity.

Vacuum-cleaner wattage: all important information

We have clarified what exactly the wattage means for a vacuum cleaner. However, there are still some unanswered questions, including: Does high wattage also result in good performance? In this paragraph we will deal with whether it is enough if you only pay attention to the wattage when buying.

Does high wattage mean good suction?

True to the motto “a lot helps a lot”, one might think that a high wattage also guarantees a high suction power. Of course, a vacuum cleaner with 3000 watts is powerful, thanks to the high energy consumption.

Modern vacuum cleaners of the new generation finally get by with a maximum of 900 watts, but also generate a high suction power. Of course, the question now arises as to which factors are still responsible for the performance of the vacuum cleaner.

How else can I determine the performance of vacuum cleaners?

So other factors are more important when buying a powerful vacuum cleaner than the number of watts or the power of the motor. One should take a look at the overall construction of the vacuum cleaner, as several factors are responsible for the suction power.

The suction tube is responsible for guiding the air flow and the nozzle at the end of the suction tube can be changed depending on the surface to be cleaned, as the right nozzles ensure optimal cleaning for different surfaces.

The selection is very large and, in addition to the classic universal nozzle, there is, for example, a crevice nozzle, which impresses with its slim design and is therefore ideal for joints, corners and edges, and the upholstery nozzle, which keeps mattresses and sofa cushions clean.

With the help of a carpet deep cleaning nozzle, a carpet can also be kept perfectly clean, as it can remove even dirt that has entered. Special gentle nozzles for parquet and laminate are fitted with felt and thus prevent sensitive floors from being damaged.

In order to use the full power of a vacuum cleaner, it is also advisable if it can be regulated. This can be set either electronically via a switch or automatically. Different surfaces such as carpets, tiles or upholstered furniture require not only the right nozzles but also different levels of suction power.

If you decide to buy a vacuum cleaner with a bag, you should also make sure to change the bag regularly. Because: the fuller the bag, the weaker the suction power. Bagless vacuum cleaners usually don’t have this problem.

The following video shows you how to change a vacuum cleaner bag correctly.

Then a vacuum cleaner should also have different filter levels for strong suction power. Because a strong suction power is of little use if the dust that was sucked in comes out at the back.

Therefore, a high-quality vacuum cleaner should have several filter stages:

  • Main filter: The main filter is the one that filters the coarser dust and dirt particles and is disposed of as soon as it is full. It should have a double or triple wall, which is usually the case with new models.
  • Motor protection filter: The motor protection filter ensures that dust and dirt do not get into the fan and eventually damage the motor. This fleece also absorbs coarser protection and only needs to be cleaned or replaced from time to time.
  • Microfilter: Microfilters are responsible for the smallest dust particles. These are caught and held with his help. The HEPA filter goes one step further and retains microscopically small suspended matter (including bacteria or mite excrement) and is indispensable for allergy sufferers.
  • Activated carbon filter: Households with smokers or pets can then make sure that the new vacuum cleaner has an activated carbon filter that binds bad odors.

Trivia: What else you should know about the topic of vacuum cleaners

Now that we have clarified the importance of the wattage for vacuum cleaners, we want to provide you with additional information about vacuum cleaners. For example, we tell you when the first vacuum cleaner appeared and whether spiders can crawl out of the vacuum cleaner again.

When did the first vacuum cleaner appear?

The vacuum cleaner was invented in the USA around the years 1860 to 1876. Although the filter bag was still attached to the outside at the time, this device was a revolution for all housewives. However, only rich people could afford a vacuum cleaner. It was only after the First World War that it was transformed from a luxury item into a normal commodity.

When is vacuuming?

Most people use the vacuum cleaner in the morning or mid-morning. Immediately afterwards, most vacuuming takes place in the afternoon, with less than 10% using the vacuum cleaner in the evening. Of course, people who own a vacuum robot do not have to actively vacuum at all.

Can spiders crawl out of a vacuum-cleaner again?

It’s only too understandable not to want to touch a spider and carry it outside. Even if this variant is really recommended, there are many people who simply suck in the spider.

However, it is very unlikely that the spider will crawl out of the vacuum cleaner again. Due to the negative pressure and the speed at which the spider races through the vacuum cleaner tube, it will almost certainly die.


The wattage is no longer so relevant for today’s modern vacuum cleaners and is generally declining thanks to EU regulations. Anyone who used to swear by their durable vacuum cleaner with 2000 or 3000 watts will find that a modern vacuum cleaner only needs 650 watts.

Modern techniques such as suction nozzles, suction power controls and filter levels have been optimized and enable the same suction power with less energy consumption.

[1] http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/gesellschaft/ueberwachung-vorsicht-der-staubsauger-hoert-mit-kolumne-a-1167505.html

[2] https://www.die-stromsparinitiative.de/stromspar-tipps/stromspare-staubsauger/staubsauger-watt-leistung/index.html

[3] https://www.co2online.de/energie-sparen/strom-sparen/strom-sparen-stromspartipps/staubsauger/

Image source: pixabay.com / Yarmoluk

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