Vacuum cleaners come in many shapes and sizes — the goal, then, is to narrow it down to the best vacuum cleaner for your needs. For instance, are you perpetually covered in dog or cat hair? You’ll want a specialized vacuum for pet hair that’ll suck up every last bit of shedding. Or perhaps you’re always on-the-go, which is why a high-tech robot vacuum you can set-and-forget should be on your radar. Our list of the 10 best vacuum cleaners features those such models along with ergonomic stick vacuums for tackling hard-to-reach areas and handheld vacuums suitable for upholstery.
When searching for the best vacuum for your home, consider additional details like your floor type, the size of your home and what you need cleaned. Vacuums can also come bagless or with bonus features like air filtration systems and swiveling heads designed for maneuverability. The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Vacuum sits atop of our list for its ability to seamlessly clean all flooring types, effectively filter allergens and transform into a handheld to clean furniture and hard-to-reach spots. It also comes with a multitude of attachments for ample whole-home cleaning.
Of course, if you need something smaller, less expensive or more high-tech, keep scrolling for our entire list of the best vacuum cleaners available. And if you need some additional guidance in selecting the right vacuum, scroll below for our expert advice.
Best Vacuum Cleaner Overall
Powerful Suction For Everyday Messes And Deep Cleaning
Best Stick Vacuum Cleaner
A Popular Option For Tackling Every Home Surface
Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
A Lightweight Model For Quick Cleanups
Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner
A Smart Robot Vac That Works With Alexa And Google Assistant
Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
A Powerful Handheld Vac Weighing Just 3 Pounds
Best Lightweight Vacuum Cleaner
Powerful Suction Without The Bulk
Best Vacuum Cleaner For Hardwood Floors
A Quick And Effective Way To Rehab Hardwood Flooring
Best Vacuum Cleaner For Pet Hair
This Upright Removes Pet Hair From Even The Tightest Spaces
Best Value Vacuum Cleaner
A Budget-Friendly Option That Doesn’t Compromise On Quality
Best Car Vacuum
A Powerful-Yet-Portable Model For Cars And Garages
How We Chose The Best Vacuum Cleaners
Narrowing down the 10 best vacuum cleaners from the myriad models available took plenty of careful consideration on our part. Here’s a look at how we made our selections:
- Brand reputation: Every entry on our list is from a trusted brand that has an overall positive standing among consumers.
- User reviews: We analyzed reviews from verified online buyers to get a sense of how well each vacuum cleaner performs. No entry on this list is rated below 4 stars.
- Special features: All vacuums essentially do the same thing (pick up dirt), so we gave preference to models that do more than the bare minimum. Some of these standout features include an ergonomic design for easier handling, advanced filtration to eliminate airborne allergens and high-tech features so you can schedule your cleanings.
- Previous research: Our staff is well-versed in vacuum cleaners, as we’ve published plenty of stories on the topic. A culmination of years of research and first-hand experience among our writers and editors has given us a keen sense of which vacuums are worth your hard-earned cash.
What’s The Best Type Of Vacuum?
There’s no single answer to which type of vacuum is best. Depending on your specific needs, there may be one type that outshines another. Before you set out to buy a vacuum, it’s helpful to understand the different types of vacuum cleaners out there and the key differences between each.
- Upright vacuums are your traditional vacuum, with a suction head and motor contained in one chassis. They’re available in all price ranges and, nowadays, usually come without bags.
- Canister vacuums separate the motor and the suction head and can create extremely strong vacuuming capabilities, which is reflected in the higher price tag.
- Stick vacuums are handy devices that place the dust canister at the top of the stick, where it’s easily accessible. Stick vacuums also benefit from a variety of attachments that allow them to be used both as upright vacuums and handhelds. Be aware, however, that they’re usually not as powerful as upright alternatives.
- Robotic vacuums are becoming more commonplace, but still remain the newest entrants to the market. They are usually controlled by a mobile app so you don’t even need to be home to turn your vacuum on. They can clean open areas well but their performance in corners and around obstacles isn’t always the most precise. Even the highest-end models can miss a few spots.
- Handheld vacuums are small enough to be carried around and often come with several attachments for reaching nooks and crannies. You’re probably not going to vacuum your whole house with a handheld (though some premium models might make a good case) but they can be great for small jobs or hard-to-reach areas like stairs, upholstered furniture or your car.
What To Consider When Buying A Vacuum Cleaner
Not all vacuums are made the same so the very first thing to consider is your cleaning needs. That will help you narrow down what kind of vacuum you actually need. If you own furry pets, for example, you’ll need a vacuum that specializes in lifting pet hair from carpets. And a lightweight vacuum won’t do the trick for your car or tougher surfaces like garages; in this case, look for utility and car-specific vacuums.
Space needs to be taken into account as well. Apartments and smaller spaces may benefit from a light stick vacuum while larger rooms will call for something heavier like a standard upright vacuum. Some vacuums also do better with certain types of flooring than others. If you have thick carpets, a vacuum that specializes in hardwood floors won’t be the best choice. Needless to say, when vacuum shopping, it’s important to read up on what the vacuum is actually for.
Tank capacities vary so pay attention to the sizes when shopping for bagless vacuums. Smaller, lightweight vacuums are efficient but will likewise have smaller tanks, which means they’ll fill up quickly. You’ll find yourself taking more trips to the trash can to empty them out, which can be a hassle if you vacuum often. Traditional vacuums may be bulkier but will have larger tanks so you won’t have to worry about emptying them after just one clean. Most people also love the ease and satisfaction of dumping out a larger tank all at once.
Consider whether you want a corded or a cordless vacuum. If corded, you want to make sure the cord is easy to wrap around and store when not in use. The length varies as well. Longer cords allow you to easily maneuver the vacuum in large rooms or move from one small space to another without having to unplug, then plug the cord into a closer outlet. Cords can also make your vacuum harder to move or store, and there is the risk of it getting worn down from daily use.
On the contrary, cordless models are lighter and make for quick cleanup and storage since you don’t have to worry about handling or properly wrapping up a long, thick cord. Not having a cord makes them more portable as well; you can move them all around the house without worry. Cordless models run on charges however, so you’ll have to keep an eye on battery life. Suction may also not be as strong with a cordless vacuum, since they’re on the lighter side and not always ideal for deep-cleaning.
As mentioned, cordless vacuums don’t have the same hassle as corded models but they do run on batteries. So, you’ll want to make sure your cordless vacuum has a decent battery life, and they need to be charged before and after use. How long the vacuum takes to fully charge and how long it can run on a single charge are also factors to consider. Like any technology, battery life depletes over time so replacing the battery may be a necessity at some point. You might want to check that replacement batteries for your particular model are easy to find.
Additional Features and Attachments
Many vacuums come with additional features and extra attachments to help streamline your cleaning tasks. Consider what features you need and what attachments would be useful for you. Pet owners, for example, will want to look for pet-friendly attachments like brushes that help extract fur from couches. Whether it’s quality-focused like anti-allergen seals and air filtration systems, technology-based like motion sensors and app controls or physical tools like extension tools and blower nozzles, each feature has a different function so you want to get something that’ll actually be useful for you. After all, there’s no point in having six different attachments if you won’t use them.
If your vacuum comes with physical attachments, make sure to note storage as well. Some vacuums have on-board storage so you can just stick the attachments in their place once you’re done. This feature can also have a bearing on the size of your vacuum, making it bulkier. Other models don’t offer storage so you’ll need a separate place to keep the attachments.
Are Bagged Vacuums Better Than Bagless?
Both bagged and bagless vacuums have their pros and cons. Bagged vacuums tend to be easier to clean—all you have to do is remove the bag and toss it in the trash—but bagless vacuums are more environmentally friendly and produce less waste. Bagless vacuums can also save you money over time, since you don’t have to purchase bags separately.
Are Expensive Vacuum Cleaners Worth It?
It depends. A higher price tag doesn’t always equate to better quality (just like a lower price tag doesn’t necessarily mean the vacuum won’t work well). Expensive vacuum cleaners often come with additional features, like cordless capabilities and allergen filters. In the case of robot vacuums, you generally have to pay more for advanced technology, like home mapping and self-emptying. So whether an expensive vacuum cleaner is worth it depends on your needs and what additional features you’re looking for.
What Vacuum Cleaner Do Professional Cleaners Use?
There’s not a single vacuum cleaner that professional cleaners use. Often, the vacuums combine powerful suction with portability, like the Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog Bagless Canister Vacuum or the Samsung Jet 90 Complete Cordless Stick Vacuum.