By : XO2® Pty Ltd, David Blamire March 2th, 2017

2-Stage vs 3-Stage Vacuum Motors. Which Is Better In Professional Carpet Steam Cleaning Machines?

There’s been some confusion in the Australian marketplace about the most popular Lamb Ametek 2-Stage and 3-Stage vacuum motors used in professional carpet cleaning equipment. This article will try to clarify which is better and why. All the performance statistics used are derived from the actual Lamb Ametek product bulletins for the exact motors. In short, they are the facts and any contradiction is an untruth.

When we look at normal household vacuum cleaner performance, we normally analyse the 19mm orifice statistics. Considering the orifice (opening) at the bottom of a standard floor tool and how big it is in comparison to the opening on a carpet extraction wand, it is fair and accurate to say that the extraction wand is smaller. For that reason it makes sense to rely on orifice statistics below 19mm.

These motors are tested under strict conditions in a standard ambient atmosphere of 29.92 inches of mercury and 68 degrees F. All conditions are equal so accurate figures and comparisons can be produced.

Here’s the motor testing results...

2 Stage Vacuum Motor

• Code: PA029022

• Tested at 240V

• Minimum Sealed Vacuum Achieved: 94 inches

• Orifice: 13mm (Orifice is the suction opening NOT hose width)

• Minimum Vacuum Achieved: 66 inches

• Maximum Watts: 1100W

3 Stage Vacuum Motor

• Code: PA029012

• Tested at 240V|

• Minimum Sealed Vacuum Achieved: 112 inches

• Orifice: 13mm (Orifice is the suction opening NOT hose width)

• Minimum Vacuum Achieved: 70 inches

• Maximum Watts: 1200W

On a completely different subject for just a moment. If you would like to better understand the difference between wattage, suction (waterlift) and airflow this article is a great read… Vacuum Cleaner Suction vs Vacuum Cleaner Wattage: Have You Been Fooled? They Are Very Different Things

Who wins? The 3 stage vac motor does.

What these lab test specs are saying is that the 3 Stage vacuum motor outperforms the 2 Stage… simple. The vacuum suction (waterlift) figures are higher across the board.

At XO2 we understand that those who only sell carpet cleaning machines with 2 stage vacuum motors will speak favourably of their motor choice and push their product. But to say this 2 stage motor is better than the 3 stage motor is simply ridiculous. We supply both vacuum motors and give our clients the option to go with the 2 stage or 3 stage motor. Very rarely will a client ever insist on the 2 stage vacuum motor.

It is also important to note that the 2-Stage vacuum motor spins between 1000-1400rpm higher than the 3-Stage. This means more wear and tear. It’s why as a supplier we know those clients with 2-Stage vac motors experience vac failures more often and require replacements more frequently. The good thing is that the 2 stage vacuum motor is cheaper. The bad thing is failures happens more often. The downtime and opportunity cost of vacuum motor failures is far greater than the cost of the replacement motor. The cost of a motor is one thing, but it’s the downtime or loss of income which really affects the bottom line.

At the end of the day it’s your choice. If you believe 2-stage vac motors are better and want your Vacman carpet extractor with them we will happily fit the 2-Stoge motors instead of the 3-Stage vacuum motors. Not a problem. Happy to do it. And yes they are cheaper, so you’ll save a little money too. Or you could choose a less powerful 2nd tier machine that comes standard with 2-Stage motors but be prepared to have to go over the carpet slower or more times. XO2 supplies those too.


• The 2 Stage Vacuum Motor is better for the supplier - Shorter life, more servicing, pay more over time, more downtime for machine owner.

• The 3 Stage Vacuum Motor is better for the customer – More power, longer lasting, pay less over time, less downtime for owner, better for longer hose lengths.

The choice is up to you.

Choosing your new carpet machine

There is a lot of information out there and no shortage of differing opinions. Whether you choose XO2 or not for your carpet cleaning system needs, go with someone you can trust. Someone who will support you long term. Getting good value equipment is important but a trusted partner that can support you long term through the ups and downs can make all the difference to your carpet cleaning success.

One last thing. The internal design of the carpet machine really matters.

With all this talk about vacuum motors we don’t want to forget about internal machine design. You can have the same vac motors in 2 different carpet machines and get completely different suction readings. The design of a machine is crucial. How easily the air flows in, through and out a professional carpet cleaning machine can drastically affect the final suction and airflow result. It is also interesting to see the different suction readings of a vacuum motor in a lab, when measured at the machine hose connection point and then at the end of the hose with different lengths of hose added. The design of the carpet cleaning machine is equally important as the vacuum motor type, perhaps even more important.

Let us know what you think.

We’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts on this subject. If XO2 can give you a hand in any way please call the customer care team on 1300 123 499. We are here to help. Also, feel free to explore the XO2 carpet care blog or visit the XO2 carpet cleaning machine online store.

Have a great day.