The first thing you need to understand is the term cyclonic. Many manufacturers call their unit cyclonic, but that is different than a true cyclonic. Cyclonic means the air inside the dirt canister is twirling like a tornado or cyclone, thus the term cyclonic. If the unit has a filter or bag, it is not a true cyclonic. True cyclonics are manufactured primarily by Lindsay Manufacturing (Vacu-Maid and Imperium) or Vacuflo. These units have no filter. Dirt separation is by the cyclonic action plus gravity. Most debris falls to the bottom of the can, while very light dust (like drywall dust) is exhausted outside, much like a dryer vent. True cyclonics do have a porous lint screen that needs to be checked periodically. True cyclonics MUST BE vented outside. The main advantage to a true cyclonic unit is that there is no paper bag or filter to restrict air flow so their is no loss of suction as the dirt canister fills.
Lindsay Manufacturing has been manufacturing cyclonic central vacuum systems since 1956. They are the same company that manufactures Vacu-Maid, AstroVac, and Imperium. Here is a quote from their website about cyclonic systems and motor life...
"Some competitors may say that there is no way to keep all of the fine dust off of the loading fans, but our cyclonic power units and Ametek motors are built to withstand dust in the motor without affecting the life or function of the system. Ametek specifically designs motors to function under these conditions for use with Vacu-Maid® cyclonic systems"
At Central Vacuum Stores we have been installing true cyclonic central vacuum systems for over 25 years. We understand that there are advantages and disadvantages to each and every central vacuum on the market, but shortened motor life is not an issue with true cyclonic systems. The average motor life for a central vacuum system is 8-12 years, and that is regardless of whether they have a filter, bag, or are true cyclonic.
Everybody wants to sell you their product. Sooo...manufacturers that make true cyclonic units will tell you how how much better a cyclonic unit is, and manufacturers that make bagged or filtered units will tell you how much better their central vacuum is. How can you decide? At Central Vacuum Stores we sell true cyclonic power units, bagged power units, and filtered power units. We know that everyone has different needs and we want to help you find the system that is best for your specific needs. If you would like to visit our website you can read more about the different types of units, their advantages and disadvantages.