Depending which model you buy and how much you spend, they can be. Treehugger.com wrote about Siemann’s energy-efficient models, which use 1,200 watts as opposed to 2500 watts on similar models that they also make. The Eco model is as powerful as the 2500 watt vacuums. However, the article also reported that the average vacuum cleaner uses 1500 watts, so with that in mind it’s not a huge drop in energy use, although it is still a powerful, lower-wattage unit.
Then there is the Roomba. Much lower wattage and runs off of a battery, but it is more energy efficient, cheaper as a result, and can get in difficult places. If you have big messes, though, it seems that it won’t do the job. http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/12/this-or-that-roomba-versus-upright.php
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