Vertical drains combined with vacuum pressure and surcharge preloading are widely used to accelerate the consolidation process of soft clay in order to decrease the pore pressure as well as to increase the effective stress. Currently there are two types of vacuum preloading systems commercially available; (a) membrane system with an airtight membrane over the drainage layer and, (b) membraneless system where a vacuum system is connected to individual drain. Their effectiveness varies from site to site depending on the type of soil treated and the characteristics of the drain-vacuum system. This study presents the analytical solutions of vertical drains with vacuum preloading for both membrane and membraneless systems. According to the field and laboratory observations, the vacuum in both of the membraneless and membrane system was assumed to be decreasing along the drain whereas in the membrane system, it was maintained at a constant level. This model was verified by using the measured settlements and excess pore pressures obtained from large-scale laboratory testing and case studies in Australia. The analytical solutions improved the accuracy of predicting the dissipation of pore water pressure and the associated settlement. The effects of the permeability of the sand blanket in a membrane system and the possible loss of vacuum were also discussed.