When we bought this house, it already had a central vac unit installed. When I say central vac, I mean an archaic version, with a well-used hose that barely had covering left, and a power unit that had long since lost its “power.” When the unit finally died, I was all “honey! let’s patch the holes in the wall from the central vac and never have it again!!” and even tried some other vaccuums. Then one day, we stumbled upon some reviews when looking at other home-related stuff on HGTV.com…and discovered Beam Central Vaccuum Systems. Intrigued, I dug a little deeper. Turns out, things have changed since 1970 when our central vac was installed (yes, I am serious, and yes we did check the date….the original owner’s manual had an image that would leave no question that the year in question was circa 1970). I had to check more into the Beam, because I kept seeing as I researched just how good central vac units are for folks with allergies, and decreasing dust in the house. The dust doesn’t recirculate like it does with other kinds of vacuums. Prevention is an awesome thing. I decided to send an email and see if they’d let me give a Beam unit a test drive, and share my thoughts with you all.
A few weeks later, several boxes arrived. A “Power Unit” made to power a large one story house or a smaller multi-level home. We fit the second description. Interestingly, when my husband went to install the power unit, we discovered that while the inner workings of the unit were drastically different, the outer design hadn’t changed at all in 30 years. That, or the industry has design standards that insist on inlet and outlet positions being where they were in 1970. He was over the moon delighted to find that the new unit not only worked with the current fittings we had- but lined up exactly. LUCKY US!! (And by “us” we all know I mean “him” because while I’m kind of handy with a screwdriver, I’m not much for installation of important things. I’m more of a bring a beer down and give some atta boys kind of girl).
So installation went kind of quickly, since we had a previous unit- that was a nice change of pace. (When does that EVER happen? Smooth, simple installation?) The Beam unit even has an optional Sound-Off muffler, so while the motor itself is pretty quiet in and of itself, the muffler really helps to dissipate noise. Enough that I don’t even have to stop talking on the phone if I want to vaccuum (insert blushing smiley face here) or I can vaccuum right outside the kids’ rooms when they are napping and it isn’t loud enough to disturb their sleep. (I am certain that doing an install of an entire central vac system including the pipes/tubing would take far longer and be far more involved, and I don’t know that this is something we average DIY folks could handle…so I’d definitely ask your retailer for some guidance on installation). Speaking of installation- if you can swing it, get the retractable hose.
Mr. B installed the power unit while I prepared the “Power Team” (unfortunately, this does not include tiny little robots who will clean your house FOR you….what it DOES include are some pretty awesome tools like a hose, a handle, an electric power brush and cleaning tools. (The electric power brush, also known as “the rug thingy” in my house, is something we’d not had with the old unit, at all). We received the Q Power Team for our review, boasted to have the quietest electric power head (aka rug thingy) available. I can’t say I’ve heard tons of OTHER electric power head, but I can tell you that this is a very, very quiet vaccuum. Jenni (who reviews on here) came over to check the Beam out twice and she herself noted how quiet the unit and power head are!! (She felt the same way about central vac as I did…the Beam has her seriously reconsidering!!)
OK so we had the cool power unit and the power team (and some cool accessories but I’ll get to those later) but how does this setup PERFORM? My dislike of the central vac we’d had was that there was just not much suction- ever. Turns out, they’ve made some changes and improvements to central vac power units since 1970…(shocking, right?) and, well, WOW. I was wowed? We were wowed. It wowed us.
The suction on this thing is awesome. We have an Oreck and an LG vacuum in this house, and the Beam has equal power. I never ever thought I’d say that. I was floored. (haha…get it? Floored?) Serious power in a quiet package. Plus, the power head? I love it. The handle has adjustable height so that the kids can use this with ease- even my 2 year old helps out (they LIKE to help. Swear.)…love the adjustable height (plus I’m not exactly, shall we say, tall…so I like a shorter handle). We have a yellow lab and he sheds, sheds, and then sheds a little bit more, all before lunchtime. I’m forever having to vacuum the floors around here, and we don’t have a lot of rugs and carpeting, but the rug in our living room, that thing always seems to have dog hair all over the place. With the power head on, I feel like the dog hairs actually GO AWAY for a while (until Tobey gets back near the rug, of course)….and I can hear the vacuum sucking up all of the little tiny pieces of whatever it is that go on the rung- from the dog, the kids, and the people who are in my house. For those of us who LIKE to see vacuum lines in a room freshly vacuumed, you’ll be glad to know that the Beam leaves nice lines for us to enjoy our handiwork just as other vacuums do.
Aside from the strong suction on the Beam and cool muffler feature, I love how the Beam maneuvers. The power head and the handle make beautiful music together. Well, maybe not music, but it’s quite marvelous. Turn the handle a bit and the Beam slides under almost anything without you having to bend way down or contort yourself. As Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman, “This baby corners like it’s on rails!” (Yes, I do think things like that in my head and yes, I did just write that on the internet). Its awesome. I love it.
There are other cool accessories – one of which is on my “wish” list. A “Kick Sweep” which works as a dustpan. You sweep your stuff right up to the kick sweep, and goodbye dust….no more dustpan!! I have long standing battle with our dustpan. I hate the little tiny remnants of what you were sweeping because no dustpan has ever been able to reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally pick up that last line. You KNOW what I mean, I know you do!
Speaking of Tobey, Beam even has pet grooming accessories. We have joked for years that we should get one of those “Flobees” for Tobey- well, we kind of have it. I really, really need to get a video of this. I can’t say he loves the experience, but he totally sits for it and doesn’t complain or whine at all – and while this isn’t the most thorough grooming he’ll get, any way I can find to decrease the dog hair inside my house, especially in the cold months, without having a big pile of dog hair to clean up after is a good, good thing.
If you have ever wondered about central vacuum systems, take a look at Beam. I am so happy I am that we took one last try with central vac. With a kick sweep and a retractable hose, I think I’d have my dream vacuum system (especially if it came in pink). There are other accessories that would be nice to have but those are my “wishes” down the road. For now, I’m really, really happy with this unit- the convenience of use (no bags!!), ease of use, powerful suction and quiet motor and removal of so many allergens and allergy triggers from my home, I’m in love. I mean it.
I received this product to facilitate my review. Opinions are my own.