How much electricity do vacuum cleaners use?


Not all vacuum cleaners are the same – in fact there’s a plethora of options: Barrel, upright, handheld and robot vacuum cleaners to name a few of the most common. But aside from suction cleaning, these vacuum cleaners all have one thing in common – they all use electricity, and electricity costs money.

In this article, Canstar Blue takes a close look at just how much electricity different types of vacuum cleaners use, and what this adds to your electricity bill.

How much does it cost to use a barrel vacuum cleaner?

vacuum-run-cost-2A barrel vacuum cleaner will cost between 3.83c and 11.48c for every 10 minutes it’s used. This will depend on the rate you pay on electricity usage, as well as the power of your vacuum. Vacuum cleaner power is measured in watts and will usually vary between 800W and 2400W. The greater the wattage, the more powerful the vacuum, and the more it costs you in electricity.

In the table below, we have broken down the cost of using a barrel vacuum cleaner for 10 minutes, for an hour, and for an entire year (twice per week for 20 minutes). For our purposes, we have assumed an electricity usage rate of 28.7c/kWh.

Vacuum Power Cost per 10 minutes Cost per hour Annual energy cost*
800W 3.83c 22.96c $7.97
1000W 4.78c 28.7c $9.95
1200W 5.74c 34.44c $11.94
1600W 7.65c 45.92c $15.91
1800W 8.6c 51.67c $17.89
2000W 9.57c 57.4c $19.91
2200W 10.52c 63.14c $21.88
2400W 11.48c 68.88c $23.88

*Assumes vacuuming for 20 minutes, twice per week

As you can see, using a vacuum cleaner could be a costly appliance if it were used more often. Since a lot of us usually don’t use a vacuum cleaner more than an hour per week, it’s unlikely that the vacuum cleaner has a significant contribution to your electricity bill. Instead consider the running cost of your:

How much does it cost to use an upright vacuum cleaner?

vacuum-run-cost-3Upright vacuum cleaners cost between 2.39c and 6.69c in electricity usage every 10 minutes. They are slightly weaker than barrel vacuum cleaners and consequently use less electricity – generally between 500W and 1500W. This also makes upright vacuum cleaners cheaper to run.

In calculating these running costs of upright vacuum cleaners, we have again assumed an electricity usage rate of 28.7c/kWh.

Vacuum Power Cost per 10 minutes Cost per hour Annual energy cost*
500W 2.39c 14.35c $4.97
700W 3.35c 20.09c $6.97
750W 3.59c 21.53c $7.47
800W 3.83c 22.96c $7.97
1200W 5.74c 34.44c $11.94
1300W 6.22c 37.31c $12.94
1400W 6.69c 40.18c $13.91

*Assume vacuuming for 20 minutes, twice per week

We are excluding cordless stick vacuum cleaners from our cost comparison due to the limited availability of technical specifications. Stick vacuum cleaners, unlike upright models, are powered by batteries which charge on a port. While we are unsure on how much this might add to your electricity bill, stick vacuums are generally considered slightly cheaper to run.

How much do handheld vacuum cleaners cost to use?

vacuum-run-cost-4Most handheld vacuum cleaners are cordless and will cost between 0.11c and 0.43c each time to charge. Other handheld vacuums have a cord and will generally cost you more in electricity – around 0.19c to 0.38c per minute. Again, this depends on the rate you pay on electricity.

The table below represents the running costs of both cordless and corded handheld vacuum cleaners of various powers. Cordless handheld vacuum cleaners are powered by a rechargeable battery. The battery’s capacity is measured in milli-amp hours (mAh), while the portable vacuum’s power is measured in volts (V). Once we know the mAh and the V of a vacuum’s battery, we can then calculate the required Watt-hours (Wh) to charge the battery, as well as how much this costs.

Cordless handheld vacuum running costs

Battery capacity (mAh) Voltage Cost to fully charge Annual energy cost*
400 10V 0.11c 17.2c
500 14.4V 0.21c 32.8c
650 16V 0.29c 45.2c
700 18V 0.36c 56.2c
800 18.8V 0.43c 67.1c

*Assumes handheld vacuum is charged 3 times per week

Corded handheld vacuum cleaner running costs

Vacuum Power Cost per minute Cost per hour Annual energy cost*
400W 0.19c 11.48c $1.98
500W 0.24c 14.35c $2.50
600W 0.29c 17.22c $3.02
700W 0.33c 20.09c $3.43
800W 0.38c 22.96c $3.95

*Assumes handheld vacuum is used for 10 minutes, twice per week

A cordless handheld vacuum cleaner has a small battery capacity relative to its high voltage, meaning its charge usually won’t last long – around 10 to 30 minutes. Broadly speaking, corded models are more powerful than cordless vacuum cleaners, but will consequently cost a little more to run. That said, the running cost of handheld vacuum cleaners make a rather negligible contribution to your electricity.

How much does it cost to use a robot vacuum cleaner?

vacuum-run-cost-1Robot vacuum cleaners will cost between 0.27c and 1c each time to charge. Robot vacuums use rechargeable batteries. Again, battery capacity is measured in milli-amps (mAh) while its power is measured in volts (V). Battery capacity varies considerably. Certain lower end models are less powerful and have smaller batteries, meaning they don’t last as long, but are slightly cheaper to charge.

The below table uses a generic range of robot vacuum cleaner battery specifications to calculate how much electricity is required to charge it and its subsequent cost. The table assumes the battery is fully charged each time and the household electricity usage rate is 28.7c/kWh. While you can adjust cleaning frequency, the default setting will have the robot vacuum once per day.

Battery capacity (mAh) Voltage Cost to fully charge Annual cost
1300 7.2V 0.27c 98.3c
1500 9.2V 0.39c $1.44
1800 12V 0.62c $2.26
2000 14.4V 0.83c $3.02
2,200 14.4V 0.91c $3.32
2350 14.4V 0.97c $3.54

*Assumes handheld vacuum is charged 7 times per week

This table shows that robot vacuum cleaners are considerably cheaper to operate than manual cleaners. While that is technically true, bear in mind that many models of robot vacuum cleaners are not powerful enough to replace a barrel or upright vacuum cleaner. A robot vacuum cleaner may reduce how often you need to vacuum, but it probably won’t eliminate the need entirely.

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