Consumer Guide For Vacuum Cleaners

My Vacuum Cleaner Has No Suction?

*This post may contain affiliate links, for which we earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Our Affiliate Disclosure is located in our Top Menu.

The success of your vacuum’s suction performance depends largely on the quality and complete design of the whole vacuum unit. The way in which you handle and maintain your vacuum also contributes to its suction performance too. This article will provide a few helpful tips and tricks to improve the suction performance of your vacuum so the next time you think to yourself, ‘my vacuum cleaner has no suction’ just come back to these simple steps to get you back on track!

Importance of Suction Performance In Todays Game

A vacuum without suction strength, is like a guitar without strings, it serves no purpose!

Most people overlook vacuum cleaners with the best suction, as they often get caught up with branding, or how big, small, fancy, quiet, or versatile it is. However, suction strength should be up there on your ‘must haves’ features list.

Why? Simply put, low suction strength will do an OK job of sucking up dirt and debris from hardwood floors, however, would absolutely struggle to suck up dirt and debris from carpets, rugs, and upholstery, ultimately affecting your overall vacuum cleaning experience.

So, a vacuum with optimal suction performance is almost always going to offer the best cleaning solution for you.

Understanding Overall Suction Performance

Suction performance varies from vacuum to vacuum. Here is a breakdown of a few functions that contribute to the overall success of suction performance:

new imageWatts vs Air Watts

What do watts have to do with suction performance? Well, watts refers to the power of a vacuums motor and consequently the power of its suction. It also refers to the electrical power consumed by a vacuum when on, but hey, that’s for another day!

Next up, air watts. This refers to the actual airflow or movement of air through the vacuum. The better the airflow (best promoted by a combination of suction power and a clean filtration system), the better the suction performance, and overall cleaning ability of the vacuum.

So, suction power (watts) + airflow power (air watts) = a great time! Or better put, great suction performance.


Actually, let’s go back to electrical power comment I reserved for another day, amperage or amps, is the amount of electrical current flowing or powering through the vacuums electrical system from the electrical point.  The vacuums electrical system includes anything from the motor, lights, digital displays and so forth.

How does this relate to suction performance? Amps x voltage = watts, and as we talked about earlier, the higher the watts, the better the vacuums motor power, and essentially the vacuums suction power. Some of the most powerful vacuums feature 12-amp motors, and some as little as 5.5-amps.


Filters work to trap dust particles and allergens as dirt and debris is sucked up by the vacuum. As a side-note, did you know that High-Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA filters are capable of trapping microscopic dust particles and allergens, and are known to filter out 99% of all airborne particles?!

So, back to suction performance, a dirty filter will prevent air from flowing through the vacuum thus causing your vacuum’s suction power to be low.

Attachments & Accessories

Last but not least, there is a rule of thumb that any accessory or device attached to the end of a vacuum hose that restricts air flow, is definitely going to lower your vacuums suction strength.

Effective Maintenance To Support Suction Performance

Are you still with me?

If you answered ‘yes’ – that’s great! If you answered ‘just’ – stay with me, we are on the home stretch!

Right, so we all know that when suction performance is reduced or even completely compromised, the function and purpose of a vacuum is lost and thus the unit is rendered ‘useless’. Most times, our first reaction is to throw the vacuum away and get a new one (hands up if you are guilty of this like me?!) 😛

However, what if I told you that there are 5 cost-effective ways to take care of your vacuum to help you maintain optimal suction performance?! Well, listen up because here they are:

1. Empty Bags/Canisters

Be sure to empty your bags/canisters when they become full. Also check that there are no rips or holes in the bag.

2. Pre-motor and post-motor filters

Check that these are not dirty or covered in dust. If your filters are washable, rinse them under warm water, and then leave to air dry for about 24 hours. Do yourself a favour and replace your filters if they are not washable and they look like they have seen better days. Check the instruction manual of your vacuum if you are unsure if your filters are washable.

3. Blockages

It is common for suction hoses to become blocked by large objects. If this is the case, switch off your vacuum and unplug it. Gently press along the suction hose tubing checking for any blockages. You can use a wire coat hanger to push the object along and out of the suction hose. If you have an upright vacuum cleaner, also check the brush-roll at the foot of the vacuum for any potential blockages.

4. Gaps in the air flow 

Loose connections may cause a loss of suction so make sure your hoses and extensions are secured correctly to the base unit.

Holes and rips on the suction hose will affect overall suction performance too. In this instance you can consider either replacing your hose, or, if budget does not allow right now, you could use duct tape as an interim measure to cover any holes or rips to prevent air loss.

5. Motor Replacement

As a last resort, motors may need to be replaced if the above maintenance checks have not improved the suction performance of your vacuum.

In The End…

If all else fails and you simply cannot get the desired suction performance from your vacuum, it is either time to have it professional serviced, or it is time to purchase a new one!

Be sure to check out our Vacuum Cleaners with the Best Suction article for our top 5 picks on the market today!

Happy vacuuming X

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *