Thread Number: 10923
Measuring Motor Speed and Sound Power Levels of Our Favorite Vacs
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Post# 117967   12/13/2010 at 02:13 (3,226 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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Has anyone here ever talked about how fast (or slow) our favorite vacuums run at?

For example, many Kirbys with the 10-blade metal fans draw about 10,500 RPM in carpet mode, and about 12,250 RPM in hose mode (single-speed motors). On 2-speed models (Dual Sanitronic 50 to Tradition), the hose mode speed is about 14,000 RPM.

Royal's instruction manual for its commercial vacuum line actually lists the sound power level as being 95.2 dBa - this is actually as loud as a subway car traveling 35 MPH or a loader or backhoe, or even as loud as a power saw, drill or jackhammer. As with anything else with a loudness of at least 85 dBa, this means you won't want to hear it for too long w/o hearing protection.

I am one of those people who have hypersensitive hearing, so I'd probably not want to listen to a Royal Everlast MRY8300 or similar models for too long.


Post# 117970 , Reply# 1   12/13/2010 at 02:41 (3,226 days old) by gusherb ()        

Wow that's pretty loud. Vacuum's and hypersensitive ears definitely don't go together, but can be dealt with by owning quiet vacuums. hahaha. High pitched machines like Dyson and many plastic uprights can give me a headache instantly. my old machines (and old design NEW machines) I don't have that issue with.

Post# 117977 , Reply# 2   12/13/2010 at 09:34 (3,226 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
Royal 2075 (Video by alec1381)

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I know many of you say the post-1995 Royal vacuums are screamers with their 8, 9 and 10-amp motors, this model 2075 being no exception to that rule.

Listen to it in person for more than one hour and you could lose your hearing. I'd much rather use an 880 any day over this one...



Post# 117992 , Reply# 3   12/13/2010 at 14:13 (3,226 days old) by akabent (LEFT Coast)        
Intersting points....

Just another reason old Electroli and Hoovers are still in regular use! I truly hate 'loud anything!'

Post# 118017 , Reply# 4   12/13/2010 at 17:21 (3,226 days old) by powertank ()        

Arrgh! Who made that video? You don't wheel a Royal around like that. I'm so tired of fixing the problems related to people doing that.

Certainly is a nice one though.

Post# 118040 , Reply# 5   12/13/2010 at 20:18 (3,225 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
Alec1381 Made It

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I had him mentioned in the original subject drift of this YouTube find.

He also has a 1988 Royal 884 (the medium blue one, which is similar to the prior 880 in all but model #), but its present fan is a 9-bladed one, too (judging by its sound - the 9-blade fan didn't show up until 1989, when it was initially used on the 8000 and 9700, in which there were decals advertising "MCP Special - More Cleaning Power").


Post# 118088 , Reply# 6   12/14/2010 at 05:16 (3,225 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

The Red Commercial Oreck the janitors use in my workplace make ANY Royal sound Quiet-the Oreck beast lets out a BANSHEE scream you wouldn't beleive!Since that Oreck has digested some screws-its LOUDER-the fan is probably cracked or broken.

Post# 119731 , Reply# 7   12/31/2010 at 06:34 (3,208 days old) by 2011hoover700 (owosso michigan)        

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2 things,
I understand that each time a decible is added the noise level doubles, for example 86dBa is twice as loud 85 dBa and so forth.
Is that true by any chance? My job supervisor told me this.
The other thing is, what type of meter did you use to measure the motor rpms?

Post# 120162 , Reply# 8   1/4/2011 at 19:54 (3,203 days old) by DysonAnimal ()        
95dB is astonishingly loud...

I emailed Oreck's customer help department shortly before Christmas (under the guise of an interested potential customer...) for some information about their cleaners. I was told 'The decibel ratings for the XL vacuums are 91-93 decibels.'

AEG-Electrolux are currently calling their 68dB UltraSilencer models 'The Quietest Vacuum Ever'... however, I can't think that 68dB comes close to matching the near-silence of some vintage Electrolux models; jump to 1:27 in the video below, you can barely hear the Lux running (powernozzle aside!):

type=application/x-shockwave-flash allowscriptaccess=always allowfullscreen=true width=640 height=505>

Post# 120172 , Reply# 9   1/4/2011 at 20:37 (3,203 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

Golly Day, there's just nothing like the sweet and almost hypnotic sound of a vintage Hoover.

Funny thing is, the average household vacuum cleaner does not need to be anywhere nearly as powerful as most new models are. Faster motor speed means more noise and, of course, shortened motor life - which, of course, means more repair income for vac shops.

Stan Kann used to say many times, "These people who want and more and more power in their vacuums are just crazy! You only need enough suction to move the dirt from the floor into the bag." And then he'd pull out his Hoover 700 or Electrolux XXX to prove his point.

Post# 120186 , Reply# 10   1/4/2011 at 21:14 (3,203 days old) by vintagecanister ()        
I agree, Charles.........

The sound of an older Kirby could put me at ease any given day. That high pitched, yet muted/muffled whirrrrr......and the sound of the airflow....MUSIC to my ears. Not to mention a Hoover Convertible winding down.

Sound certainly doesn't or shouldn't count for quality of perfomance. That's certainly proven true on canisters. It's normally not the canisters that make all the rukus. All fingers point to the PN motors. And all they do is rotate a brush roll.

Post# 120219 , Reply# 11   1/5/2011 at 04:33 (3,203 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Yes-I too like the sounds of Kirbys,older Hoover Convertable style machines and older Royals.I agree-with the above machines their DESIGN made it where you didn't need 10,12a motors to make those cleaners work.I bet some folks would want to vacuum their floors with a B-52 engine if you let them.and the super quiet sound of the OLDER'Luxes compared to the new ones(ext HEPA filter Guardian)-yes ,sounds like the B-52 engine!!

Post# 120242 , Reply# 12   1/5/2011 at 09:22 (3,203 days old) by Ohio_Tuec ()        
I completely agree!

And WOULDN'T want a B-52 engine in my vacuum. It's a shame that 12 amps has become the industry standard. Some circuits are only 15 amps. That having been said, it wouldn't be difficult to blow a fuse at all. While not the quietest machines by a longshot, one of the things I like about Oreck is that they use HIGH-SPEED, HIGH EFFICIENCY, LOW-AMPERAGE motors. Using a 12 amp motor in a vacuum is planned obsolescence. Having a motor that large generates unnecessary heat. Heat is the leading cause of motor failure. Nobody bothers spending $30. or $40. on replacement filters in a Dirt Devil that costs $50. or $60.00. They use it until the motor burns out, go to WalMart and buy a new one. So much for "going green...."

Oh yeah, and while I'm at it, I just want to say F*CK TTI for ruining the Hoover name! I won't buy your rebadged Dirt Devils. Okay, I'll get down of my soapbox now.

- Karl

Post# 120247 , Reply# 13   1/5/2011 at 09:49 (3,203 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        
Great videography, Jack.

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Pete, yer a star!
Yup, that would be the fabled Canadian Electrolux 89. All the CanLux 80 series cylinders are this quiet and powerful pulling between 75 and 80 inches. Even the power nozzle hums with a soothing whirrrrr.
The USA E, AE, G, etc (well-built and quiet as they are) are not as hushed nor do they pull as strong. This could be the motor used but...
It's not simply the motor/fan unit - the heavy gauge metal shell, smoothly transitioned hose to inlet and exhaust diameters through the center of the cordwinder drum, the full size after-filter, the blended interior volume shapes and the bolted rubber collar donut ring supporting the motor all tame the whistle and whoosh of the airflow and contribute to the tranquility.

By sheer luck of design styling or acute aeronautical engineering (or both), Electrolux of Canada just got it right in 1957.


Post# 120270 , Reply# 14   1/5/2011 at 14:57 (3,203 days old) by Kirbysthebest (Wichita, KS)        

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If you condider that a smoke detector is about 85dB and a Jet engine is about 110dB. Both are in the area where hearing damage can occur.
I would think that ANSI and OSHA would recommend hearing protection if using a vac generating 93dB; at least in a work environment there could be liability.

Post# 120311 , Reply# 15   1/5/2011 at 22:11 (3,202 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

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According to the latest ratings by Consumer Reports, here are the vacs that rated only "fair" in noise level (all the rest were quieter):

Noisiest Bagged Uprights -
The top-rated Hoover Self Propelled Windtunnel Anniversary
The similar Hoover Turbopower version of the above
Riccar Supralite and Simplicity Freedom
Riccar Brilliance and Simplicity Synchrony
Oreck Edge
Dirt Devil Featherlite
Aerus Freshera
Cirrus Performance
Bottom rated Koblenz U610 (Sanitaire copy)

Noisiest Bagless Uprights:
Bissel Powerclean and HealthyHome
Germ Guardian
Eureka Lightforce 300

Noisiest Bagged Canister:
Metropolitan Professionals

Noisiest Bagless Canisters:
Dirt Devil Vision
Dyson DC22 Turbinehead

Post# 120314 , Reply# 16   1/5/2011 at 22:21 (3,202 days old) by vintagecanister ()        
Interesting list, Brian........

Does CR have a report on the quietest machines as well?

Post# 120339 , Reply# 17   1/6/2011 at 02:26 (3,202 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

A small High efficiency motor doesn't always mean QUIET-"HIGH SPEED"Just means MORE noise.I don't know what happened to Oreck-the design of the motors in their new "red" commercial uprights-these are LOUD!!!louder than other vacuums I have experienced.Did Katrina destroy the Oreck factory where their motors were made and they had to get them from another source?The Banshee Oreck the janitors vacuum with at my worksite makes the 10A Royals library quiet in comparison.A Sanitaire is quieter.I can hear the Oreck fired up in the morning just after the janitors get here-and in the other side of the building.Guess this one has a B-52 engine in it!I beleive its fan and fancase have encountered some screws-yes these occur on the mats in front of the transmitters.I think the screw and hardware ingestion on this machine has added to its din.
When the janitor vacuums the floormat in front of a transmitter I am about to operate I ask him to stop so I can hear transmitter noises-the noise of that machine would cover any bangs or arcing sounds(not good-means WORK).

Post# 120340 , Reply# 18   1/6/2011 at 02:32 (3,202 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Jet Engines are actually 150+ DB-exposure to this means deafness and injury.Your hearing is destroyed.That is why aviators take SERIOUSLY the noise and blast zones around operating jet engines.And yes some heavy rock bands can get to the 150Db range.Get out your phones and earplugs!!and another factor that makes the jet motor noise dangerous is the high level of high frequencies in its sounds.-the high speed rotor and fans.That jet engine rotor and fans can be spinning just as fast or FASTER than your vacuum cleaner!

Post# 120355 , Reply# 19   1/6/2011 at 06:53 (3,202 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Another High DB thing-and on purpose!!!Car stereo loudness competions-these can get to the 140-150DB ranges too-inside the car with the windows closed.The tests are mostly done on frequencies 100Hz and below-explains the "Boom Cars"and any insect that is trapped in the car gets blasted to a messy pulp after the sound system has had its testing.Imagine what that would do to your ears--????

Post# 120365 , Reply# 20   1/6/2011 at 08:00 (3,202 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

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Hi Steve,

Actually, Consumer Reports does not have special lists for most noisy and quietest. All I did was pull out (from the complete "tested" vac list) the vac models that scored poorly in the "noise" category.

At some point in the next day or two, I'll post the group of vacs that scored very well. If I remember correctly, most of the Miele's (both uprights and canisters) do very well in the category of noise control. But so do some Kenmores and Panasonics.

EP Brian

Post# 120383 , Reply# 21   1/6/2011 at 11:57 (3,202 days old) by Ohio_Tuec ()        

Well Rex, let me ask you this, did you hear how that Oreck Commercial vacuum sounded when it was new? The motors had been outsourced for years before Katrina, and during and after, they used the same Ametek motors. You yourself said these vacuums sucked up a couple of screws, which is detrimental to any kind of "dirty air" vacuum. Guaranteed a new fan (possibly fan housing if it's busted) would make a world of difference. At the flea market, I've seen scores of Orecks that sound horrible because they were not just used, they were ABUSED. I would have liked to have seen that commercial MasterCraft vacuum you mentioned. Premier uprights are almost impossible to find nowadays. They would probably fare better with something like an NSS M-1 "Pig" vacuum.

Post# 120449 , Reply# 22   1/7/2011 at 03:11 (3,201 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Yes,been with that Oreck Commercial since it was new-The place where I work at changed the cleaning contractors-and the machine was brought here NIB about 2 yrs ago-noisey then same as now-but slightly louder now.the other contractor used Sanitaires.Yes at one yard sale here found an Oreck that was abused-fan and fan case were torn up-and there were SEVERAL coins and keys in the paper bag-wonder what those keys went too?
I don't miss that Mastercraft-HORRIBLE machine-I can see why Premeir went out of business.It had a stampted steel fan-and a plastic body-both were constantly breaking-yes it was used at a radio station transmitter site-but it did not ingest the number of screws and hardware the Oreck time the fan just simply BROKE and that broke the plastic housing.With the cooperation of a Star Vacuum-was able to the the Mastercraft going a few years-then it was replaced with a Royal.Wouldn't be surprized if that Royal is still at the transmitter site.This would have been at least 25 yrs ago.
Yes-I have tried to convince the agency where I work-it is Gov't owned site-they cancelled my order for the NSS vacuum-it is on the GSA supply lists and catalogs under cleaning equipment-the White house uses "Pigs"Instead we have a vacuum from Greenville Vacuum and Sewing-its a custom job Mike makes up-an MD Central vacuum unit mounted on a janitors cart-50 ft cord and hose-I can leave the machine outside the transmitter I am cleaning and get to anywhere I need to inside the Tx without bringing the machine in the TX-I think I could have done the same with the "Pig" just get a longer hose.Maybe next order next year if we are still open.for the janitorial contractor-they have to supply their own equipment.they like the screamer Oreck.Oh on the old contractor-almost got the Nilfisk "80" silver bullet cansiter.They picked it up at the last moment.If it was going to be left here for more then 90 days-it was fair game.I have a few Orecks in my collection-they are not nearly as loud as the thing here at work.and have tried other ones at a dealer in Kinston-again quieter than the one here.The MD vacuum is very quet-not anywhere as loud as the Shop-Vac helper a partner uses while we are doing Tx PM.The Shop vacs are about shot we have here-picking up water spills from water cooled transmitter parts spills.the bearings are going-esp from other workers here --no matter how many times I explain-you can't use the Shop Vac unless the filter is in place.the stuff goes thru the motor and you know the rest.The MD vac has a paper bag.Its for dry use only.

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