We analyze consumer reviews to find the best products on the web. We buy products with our own money and test them in our lab. We also interview experts and conduct independent research to pick the winners. We have affiliate partnerships so we may get a share of revenue from purchases. It’s how we fund our Research Lab and bring you better reviews and comparisons. Read more.
Best Vacuum Cleaners Updated November 2018
Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 Upright Vacuum
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Powerful suction with a durable design—this Dyson vacuum does the dirty work for you.
The cleaner head automatically adjusts as it moves from carpet to hard floors.
This vacuum is as loud as it is powerful.
CleanView Upright Vacuum with OnePass
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Its innovative brush design helps this vacuum pick up more on the initial pass than other vacuums. The variety of accessories makes up for its lack of maneuverability.
It comes with multi-level filtration and a washable foam tank filter. It’s also great at sucking up pet hair and vacuuming on different types of flooring.
It can be bulky and awkward to maneuver around corners.
WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Plus
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It’s able to remove dirt, dust, and pollen from any surface and it holds more dirt than other upright vacuums.
This is the only upright vacuum we tested that had a retractable cord. It also comes with a HEPA media filter and a standard sealed allergen system—great for allergy sufferers.
This vacuum is heavy and it doesn’t have swivel steering, making it more difficult to assemble and move.
Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe Upright Vacuum
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With anti-allergen complete seal technology and HEPA filtration, it's especially helpful for those who have pets or suffer from allergies.
Not only is it lightweight and easy to use, it has powerful suction that will leave your carpets and bare floors completely spotless.
The Shark Navigator has a shorter cord than other upright vacuums.
APEX DuoClean Powered Lift-Away Upright Vacuum
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Shark’s most advanced upright vacuum features DuoClean Technology to deep clean carpets, Active-Glide Technology for seamless movement, and Noise Reduction Technology.
Thanks to advanced anti-allergen complete seal technology, this vacuum emits 10x fewer particles than HEPA standards require. The noise reduction feature reduces noise and softens pitch.
It can get stuck on shag area rugs and high pile carpet.
We brought the best-rated vacuums into our lab for a controlled set of tests. Our scorecard is comprised of several criteria: assembly, suction, noise and smell, maneuverability and mobility, maintenance, warranty, filters, accessories, and attachments. After testing products firsthand in the lab and comparing thousands of vacuum cleaner reviews from verified customers, we chose our five favorite vacuums on the market today. Each vacuum above has a unique set of technologies, attachments, and features, making it easier for you to narrow your selection down even more and find the best vacuum cleaner for your home.
Vacuum cleaner reviews guide
Investing in a great vacuum cleaner is key to maintaining the upkeep of your home. But before you buy one, you’ll want to determine what type of vacuum you need and what it will be used for. Are you looking for a vacuum to spot clean messes or one that’s capable of cleaning your entire home? Do you want a lightweight vacuum or something strong and durable? Do you want to be responsible for vacuuming or do you want your vacuum to do the vacuuming for you?
You’ll also have to consider the size of your home and type of flooring you have. For example, a stick vacuum may work well for an apartment, but you can cover more ground in a larger house with an upright vacuum. Take a look at just a handful of vacuum cleaner reviews and you’ll find that some vacuums can’t handle high pile carpet while some automatically adjust between carpet and hard floors.
Our team has read countless vacuum reviews and reviewed consumer feedback in addition to testing the top-rated vacuums. We’ve researched what factors matter most to those purchasing a vacuum and answered the most frequently asked questions to give you a better look at how to buy a vacuum cleaner.
Types of vacuums
The standard upright vacuum is the most common type of vacuum and includes bag and bagless options as well as vacuums that use different filtration systems, like HEPA and water filtration. These are typically heavier than the other types of vacuums and may be more awkward to maneuver or carry around while cleaning.
These are more compact than an upright vacuum and are considerably lighter. Though they’re small, they still have amazing suction power and do a great job cleaning carpets and bare floors. They can be cordless or corded and typically transform into a portable, handheld vacuum. The downside to these vacuums: they have smaller dust bin capacity, meaning you’ll have to empty them frequently and the cordless ones may have a short battery life. Because of this, they’re ideal for spot cleaning messes in smaller homes. Stick vacuums also have bigger price tags than other vacuums on the market.
These cordless vacuums are the perfect size for cleaning your vehicle or picking up a small mess in your home. They work best in hard-to-reach spaces, like on top of shelves or under a bed. Because of their size, these small vacuum cleaners shouldn’t be used for entire-house cleaning or sucking up larger messes. This also means that a handheld vacuum is a great supplement to a bigger vacuum.
Though unwieldy, canister vacuums are quite powerful. Their slender wand can be ideal for reaching tricky spots like stairs and underneath beds or couches. Perhaps one of the biggest downsides of a canister vacuum is the fact that you have to drag it behind you as you clean. If you don’t mind this, you’ll get to enjoy a semi-quiet vacuum that delivers powerful suction for a fast and efficient clean.
Robotic vacuums don’t require human operation and are perfect for those who are simply too busy to vacuum their entire home on a regular basis. These vacuums have sensors that detect the edge of stairs, walls, and other objects in their path. Most are compatible with Wi-Fi and can be connected to an app that lets you monitor their cleaning performance. But you’ll definitely be paying for the convenience with robotic vacuums—they’re undoubtedly the most expensive vacuums available.
The ability to multitask is prized in housekeeping. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, you might explore vacuum-mop combinations.”
5 Features we tested
Perhaps the most important feature we tested was suction power. We measured how many passes the vacuum took to clean up messes on bare floors, low-pile carpet, and high-pile carpet. Regarding substances, we observed how easy (or difficult) it was for each vacuum to remove Cheerios, kitty litter, coffee grounds, and pet hair. We wanted to test the vacuums on different flooring surfaces because we know that every home is different and requires a specialized vacuum. We also made sure to test a variety of substances to get a more comprehensive look at what each vacuum was capable of sucking up.
You don’t want a vacuum that’s difficult to maneuver, especially if you live in an apartment or smaller home. Great vacuum cleaners will have outstanding maneuverability, allowing you to move under and around furniture with ease. Most upright vacuums will have some form of swivel steering, allowing them to move more swiftly around obstacles.
We tested mobility to ensure that the vacuum cleaners were able to efficiently move on high-pile carpet, low-pile carpet, and bare floors without getting stuck. Vacuums that regularly get stuck during a cleaning job can be frustrating to deal with—find a vacuum that easily glides on all types of surfaces and doesn’t get stuck on thicker floors like shag carpets or area rugs.
The right accessories can turn a semi-decent vacuum into a powerful, all-encompassing machine. We evaluated what tools and accessories came with each vacuum and documented our findings. Most vacuums came with a crevice tool for reaching tight spaces, a dusting tool for cleaning delicate items like blinds or curtains, and an upholstery or pet tool to effectively remove pet hair and debris from furniture.
One factor that often goes overlooked is how much noise a vacuum makes. If you have small children or pets, a quieter vacuum may be your best bet to avoid disturbing your household. We measured the decibel range of each vacuum and compared it to sounds we’re familiar with (normal conversation, what it sounds like when driving, etc.).
If your vacuum sounds louder than usual, remove debris from the bag, filter, engine, and hose, tighten the fan, and grease the engine bearings.”
How much a vacuum costs will depend on the type of vacuum you purchase and how recently it was released (in addition to how many accessories come with it). In general, robotic vacuums and stick vacuums are some of the more expensive vacuum cleaners while uprights, handhelds, and canister vacuums are some of the most affordable.
Best vacuum cleaner for your moneyHOOVER WINDTUNNEL T-SERIES REWIND PLUS
You can’t beat what you get with this vacuum for the price. It has an amazing filtration system that uses both HEPA filters (great for those who suffer from allergies or are just really sensitive to dust) and washable filters. The Hoover also has a large dust cap capacity, measuring 2.5 liters. Best of all, it works great on carpets and targets pet hair on every surface, leaving you with an overall cleaner home.
Hoover partners with the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation to make its products more sustainable. You can find a local battery recycling center online at Call2Recycle, Inc.”
How to vacuum
Most people don’t put a lot of thought into how they vacuum, but even the most mundane tasks can be made simpler and more enjoyable. Follow these tips for a more efficient clean.
Tidy up the area before vacuuming
During the vacuuming process, you don’t want your vacuum to get stuck on cords or other toys. Remove any clutter from your floors to prevent you from pulling out small objects that get pulled into the vacuum.
Take your time
If you rush the vacuuming process, you’ll likely miss areas of your home or won’t be able to clean them as well. A good rule of thumb is that you should spend 20–30 minutes cleaning a two-bedroom apartment.
Target least-used areas first
Clean the rooms that you use least often that are typically on the outer edges of your cleaning pattern. Those might be the bedrooms and living room, with the kitchen and hallways left for last.
Perform maintenance on your vacuum
Empty the dustbin every time you vacuum and wash the filters as needed. Keep an eye on any error lights that may signal a performance issue and inspect for cracks that could take away from the suction power.
For that fresh feeling we all love coming home to, vacuum at least once a week. Store your vacuum in a closet near an area with high foot traffic or pets for a quick sweep before guests arrive.”
Frequently asked questions
Which is the best vacuum cleaner to buy?
This will depend on the types of floors you have, your household, the size of your house, any health conditions your family members may have, and your vacuum standards. We recommend upright vacuums for entire-home cleaning, stick vacuums and handhelds for spot cleaning and smaller messes, and robotic vacuums for weekly touch-ups.
What is the most powerful vacuum cleaner?
The most powerful types of vacuums are upright or canister vacuum cleaners. We recommend the Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 for its incredible suction power on carpets and bare floors and its ability to suck up any kind of mess—big or small.
Most vacuums last for five years—more or less. To keep your vacuum in great working condition, be sure to keep up with maintenance. This includes regularly emptying the dustbin, changing or washing the filters, and calling the manufacturer as soon as something doesn’t seem right. Running a clogged vacuum can overheat the engine and break the entire machine.
How often should you change the filter in a vacuum?
This depends on the filter and the type of vacuum you have. Typically, a HEPA filter should be changed or cleaned once a year. Other filters may need to be washed or replaced every few months. Refer to your owner manual for details.