Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum Power Unit Review in Red, White

Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum Power Unit Review in Red, White
The CV12000 is a budget-priced but performance-minded central vacuum unit.

While quality canisters and uprights can make vacuuming less of a chore, there’s nothing like a central vacuum unit when it comes to convenience. You don’t worry about finding outlets to plug into. You don’t drag a heavy machine behind you. You don’t fret about if your machine’s going to break down in a few years or lose suction. You just focus on vacuuming. And you might even end up enjoying it.

Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum Power Unit Review in Red, White
Rated for homes up to 12,000 square feet in size, it’s well designed and powerful enough for homes, bed and breakfasts, and small businesses.

Of course, not even whole house vacuums are perfect; sometimes they break down. If you’ve got an older home with a unit that was already 20 years old when you moved in, if the hookups are present but the vacuum isn’t, or if you’ve just had bad luck with a relatively new central vac, you might find yourself in the market for a new one. Fortunately, prices have dropped a lot in recent years as the technology has matured, and it’s not too hard to find a quality central vacuum that doesn’t break the bank while being stronger than anything your parents used while you were growing up. Today we’re going to review the Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum Power Unit and see if it’s worth its surprisingly low price tag. To summarize our thoughts in ten seconds, the CV12000 is a bargain for the money and easy enough for most homeowners to install. Our full review is below, and you can buy it here.

Pros, cons, and key features of the Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum

Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum Power Unit Review in Red, White
The CV12000 is available in red and white; aside from color, both machines are identical.

The Prolux CV12000 is one of several affordable options in central vacuum units making their way into the US and Canadian market. Like the Prolux uprights we’ve previously reviewed, it’s made in China and rather spartan in design and features, but is engineered well enough to make us comfortable using it in our home. It’s important to note that this is a central vacuum unit designed to be used with a pre-installed central vacuuming piping system within a home. You can’t use this as a standalone or portable vacuum. If you don’t have a home already setup for a whole-house vacuum, you’ll either need to call an HVAC to run pipes or do it yourself. Both are costly and time consuming, and we’d recommend just buying a Miele Compact C2 Electro+ or Dyson Ball Animal 2 instead. But if your home is already pre-fitted with whole vacuum piping, keep reading.

Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum Power Unit Review in Red, White
The layout is simple and the included muffler makes the CV12000 one of the quietest central units on the market for under $1,000.

Key features of the CV12000 include a rating to clean homes up to 12,000 square feet in size, an estimated 500 airwatts of suction, 2 two inch suction ports and a third auxiliary port for connections to hoses in garages, and an included muffler for sound reduction. We estimate peak sound levels at 70 decibels in normal use with the muffler and peak suction at 500 airwatts; Prolux doesn’t provide this information, so we had to measure and estimate it on our own.

Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum Power Unit Review in Red, White
It can be installed in the basement, garage, or anywhere else close to ducting.

The 2-stage motor is rated to provide up to 150 cubic feet per minute, or CFM, in airflow. The unit is bagless and uses a washable filter for HEPA filtration. The dirt chamber holds 5 gallons at full capacity and includes a viewing window to help you determine when it needs emptying. The vacuum is powered by a 110 or 120v wall outlet from which it draw s12.5 amps. It includes low voltage wiring connectors so you can control it from a suction head anywhere in your home. It also includes a wall mount and stands 38.5 inches tall, is 17 inches wide side to side including the muffler, and is 11.5 inches deep front to back. The CV12000 weighs 22.2 pounds and comes with a 10 year motor warranty and 25 year body warranty. Practically speaking, the motor warranty is valuable, while the body warranty is effectively useless. We’d rate customer support as strong based on response times and efforts to resolve problems when they arose (e.g., with missing brackets and such).

How difficult (or easy) is it to install the Prolux CV12000?

Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum Power Unit Review in Red, White
Installation is simple, but keep in mind you’ll need PVC or hoses to connect it to your central pipes.

While the specifics of a central vacuum installation are unique to every home, we’d rate the CV12000 as very easy to install on average. Essentially, you install the wall mount close to your 2 inch inlet pipe, mount the vacuum, and connect it to your inlet pipe via an inlet hose or PVC elbows and pipes. Do note that the vacuum doesn’t come with any additional elbows or inlet hoses; you’ll either need to buy those from a local hardware store or order a kit online. You’ll also need hoses and cleaning heads if you don’t already have them from a previous central unit. If you want to replace your existing hose and head kit or don’t have one, we’d recommend a 35-foot hose and power head that works with either direct connect or pigtail connections. The Wessel Werk EBK 360  is a particularly good choice if you want to clean everything from bare floors to carpets with the same cleaning head.

Wessel Werk EBK 360 Power Nozzle & Wand Review (with Central Vacuum Kit Direct Connect, Pigtail Comparisons)
If you don’t have a hose and head kit, you’ll need one. We recommend one based on the EBK 360, which can be paired with direct connect or pigtail kits.

The vacuum doesn’t need external venting, although you can do so if you don’t want to deal with the negligible amount of heat that leaves the exhaust. The exhaust air is clean thanks to the HEPA filtration, and sound levels are pleasantly quiet when the muffler is installed. We’ve come across many reports of owners marveling at how much quieter the CV12000 was compared to whatever it replaced in their homes, and we’d have to agree: it’s a quiet, efficient central vac.

How thorough is the Prolux CV12000 when cleaning floors, furniture, and pet hair?

Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum Power Unit Review in Red, White
Overall, we’re pleased to see how far central vacs have come in the last few decades; the CV12000 is a bargain compared to older units and many new ones.

When buying a central vacuum, it’s important to note that it’s only going to be as strong as the heads it’s connected to. That said, the CV12000 includes enough suction to make pretty much any piece of equipment look good. You’ll be able to tackle just about any bare floors (e.g., hardwood, engineered wood, vinyl, laminate, ceramic tiles, marble, bamboo, etc) or residential (e.g., Saxonies, berbers, cut and loops, and friezes) or commercial carpet with ease, including soft, plush, and high pile carpets that stump just about any non-central vacuum besides Miele canisters. Got pet hair? You’ll get it out. Dirt, dust, and allergens? You won’t get rid of them completely, but you’ll certainly make your home a little less sweet to them.

Why buy the Prolux CV12000?

The CV12000 isn’t a perfect central vacuum, but considering the amount of value it packs into such a cheap price, we find it hard to recommend anything else at this level. It runs quietly, it’s very powerful, and although it hasn’t been on the market long enough for us to tell if it’ll still be working in 30 years, it’s certainly designed well enough to work for at least a couple of decades in our estimates. We’d just recommend buying a central vacuum kit alongside it if your current power head and hose are due for an upgrade; you’ll notice the difference immediately and will likely never consider a non-central unit again.

You can buy the Prolux CV12000 central vacuum here on Amazon. We’d also recommend buying a Wessel Werk EBK 360 central vacuum kit with a long hose and power head if you don’t have one already.

Canadians, the Prolux CV12000 is unfortunately not available, but you can buy a similar quality unit instead: Broan BQ3 central vacuum. We’d pair it with this Wessel Werk EBK 360 central vacuum kit with a hose and cleaning head.

If you find our research on PMC helpful, you can follow our efforts to keep maniacally reviewing home cleaning tools by shopping through our links above. We promise to keep fighting the good fight against every horror children, animals, and grown, yet messy humans can inflict upon a clean home.

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Hardwood vs Laminate Flooring Comparison: Costs, Maintenance, and Durability

Hardwood vs Laminate Flooring Comparison: Costs, Maintenance, and Durability
Today we’ll look at laminate vs hardwood floors to help you figure out what the pros and cons are of each and which will work better for your living space and long term goals.

If you asked most people as recently as a few years ago whether they’d choose laminate or hardwood flooring for their homes if money weren’t an option, the vast majority would have picked solid wood. This was an easy decision as long as the money was there to make it. Laminate used to look like fake wood–very fake wood. But times have changed and laminate’s gotten better–a lot better.

While hardwood still takes the prize when it comes to aesthetics, laminate is closing the gap by offering more and more value in other areas while looking more and more upscale. We recently compared hardwoods to engineered wooden floors; today we’re going to compare them to laminate floors to help tease the differences apart for people deciding between them. We’ll also share recommendations for effectively cleaning both (as well as any carpets in your home) with buy-it-for-life vacuums below.

How are laminates and hardwood floors made and how much do they cost?

Hardwood vs Laminate Flooring Comparison: Costs, Maintenance, and Durability
If you want to save money now, get laminate. If you want to get money back later, buy hardwood.

Laminates are a composite surface made out of two main layers: a protective wear layer, and beneath it, a fiber board or wood chip layer that includes a photograph of a wood or stone pattern. Hardwood, in contrast, is pure wood inside and out. It differs from engineered wood, which includes a hardwood veneer but is primarily made from plywood.

When it comes to costs, you’re always going to spend less on laminates than on hardwoods of equivalent quality. Decent laminates start at around $3 per square foot; you can pay less, but you won’t be happy with what you get, both in terms of appearance and in longevity. Hardwood will start at around $4 per square foot for low-end red oak, ash, and maple woods. If you want a wider plank floor for a common species or narrow flooring for a rare or exotic species, you can expect to start at $5 per square foot and you might not see a ceiling for many more dollars.

Which last longer, hardwood floors or laminate? And can both be refinished and resanded?

Hardwood vs Laminate Flooring Comparison: Costs, Maintenance, and Durability
Solid hardwoods will last longer and take more hits than laminates every time.

When it comes to longevity and durability, hardwood still beats laminate, and easily. Properly cared for hardwood floors can last for hundreds of years (much like trees). However, if your floors become damaged by water, they can quickly become worthless if you don’t repair them soon enough. Hardwood can also be discolored by UV rays from sunlight.

Laminates will typically only last for around 15 years in best case scenarios before breaking down; they can be damaged from water ingress, UV rays, and nicks, dents, and scratches from children’s toys, and furniture legs.

Hardwood vs Laminate Flooring Comparison: Costs, Maintenance, and Durability
The ability to refinish and sand hardwood gives it an advantage over laminates, which are one-and-done affairs.

Part of what gives hardwood a much longer useful lifespan than laminates is the fact that you can sand and refinish them several times to restore original appearance. Laminate flooring, in contrast, can only be replaced once its appearance is marred; neither sanding nor refinishing are valid options. It’s important to note that you might struggle to refinish pre-finished hardwood the first time you decide to do so due to the durability of the urethane finish applied at the factory.

How easy is laminate to install vs hardwood, and where can each be installed?

Hardwood vs Laminate Flooring Comparison: Costs, Maintenance, and Durability
If DIY is a priority, you’ll have much greater odds of success installing laminates than hardwoods.

If you want to do it yourself, you’ll have a much easier time installing laminate flooring than solid wood. You can typically snap together laminate floor planks without glue or special tools when installing them. Wood, in contrast, will be much tougher for non-pros to successfully install. You’ll need to buy or rent specialized tools like floor staplers to get the job done, and then you’ll need to learn to use them without damaging your floors.

When installing laminates, you’ll install them without connecting them to the subfloor; in other words, they’ll be floating floors, unlike hardwood, which can’t be installed this way. If you want a wooden floating floor, you’ll want to look to engineered woods. It’s important to note that while you can install laminate floors below grade (i.e., in basements), neither floor should be installed there if you have a choice; there are far better floors for basements.

Hardwood vs Laminate Flooring Comparison: Costs, Maintenance, and Durability
That said, keep both away from bathrooms and water-prone areas.

Moisture is a weakness of both floors. You can install laminate in semi-moist rooms like kitchens and bathrooms that see minimal use, but it’s not going to keep water out nearly as well as floors like ceramic tile, vinyl, or concrete. Hardwood floors, in contrast, should never be installed in moisture-prone environments, although it can work in kitchens. If you’re going to install hardwood in an area that might see small amounts of water, it’s better to choose site-finished (i.e., unfinished) hardwood over pre-finished woods since the sealant used on-site will also seal floorboard gaps, reducing the odds of water infiltration.

How is retail value affected by choosing solid hardwood over laminate flooring?

Hardwood vs Laminate Flooring Comparison: Costs, Maintenance, and Durability
If your home is an investment, invest in hardwood. If you’re not staying there long, stick with laminates.

While laminate floors are better than they’ve ever been, they still won’t come close to hardwood when it comes to resale value. A well-cared for solid wood floor will give more money every time than just about any laminate floor, although this equation can and will change dramatically with lower quality hardwoods vs. premium laminates.

Overall, buy laminate floors if you’re interested in ease of installation, low expenses, and simple maintenance. Buy hardwood if you’re interested in adding as much aesthetic and financial value to your home as possible.

Which vacuums are good investment for homes with hardwood, laminate, and carpeted floors?

Hardwood vs Laminate Flooring Comparison: Costs, Maintenance, and Durability
Regardless of the floor you choose, protect it and the rest of your home with a vacuum that’ll last as long as you live in your home.

While you can use nearly any vacuum on the market to vacuum laminate, hardwood, and other bare floors, we tend to recommend choosing a high-end model with a Parquet head for polishing and effectively cleaning bare floors and an electric brush head to make quick work of carpets, regardless of style or pile. Two examples that fit the bill are the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog (reviewed here and here) and Miele Compact C2 Electro+ (reviewed here and here); both  will also last long enough to vacuum whatever floors you use in your home for as long as you own your home.

You  can buy the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog here on Amazon or buy the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ here.

Canadians can buy the Miele C3 Cat & Dog here or buy the Compact Electro+ here.

If you find our research on PMC helpful, you can follow our efforts to keep maniacally reviewing home cleaning tools by shopping through our links above. We promise to keep fighting the good fight against every horror children, animals, and grown, yet messy humans can inflict upon a clean home.

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Discussing the latest trends in carpets, bare floors, and cleaning appliances for homes with little feet.