Whether you are passionate about the pile, a fanatic for flooring, or perhaps a little bit of both, you’ve come to the right place to find your dream vacuum machine. We tested more than 170 models—motoring across 16 miles of carpet and flooring—all in the quest to help you select the right vacuum.
Top 7 Vacuum
- Rechargeable cordless convenience Provides premium pet hair pickup throughout the home...
- Powerful and lightweight Portable and versatile at only 75 pounds
- Lift-Away Press a button to lift the canister away and easily clean hard-to-reach areas
- Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology + a HEPA filter Traps 999% of dust and allergens...
- Shark's original, full-sized Powered Lift-Away A canister that detaches to deep clean...
- Hard Floor Hero Picks up surface litter and stuck-on debris, providing superior bare floor...
How We Test Vacuums
To determine how well a vacuum cleans, we conduct a different set of tests on each type based on what and how it was designed to clean. For example, you wouldn’t expect a stick, handheld, or robotic vacuum to have the same cleaning power as a full-sized canister or upright, but they all have their pluses and minuses.
To find out how well a vacuum picks up dirt, how much debris it retains, how easy it is to maneuver, and how noisy it is, Consumer Reports puts vacuum cleaners through a battery of tests. We embed talc, sand, and pet hair into the carpet before vacuuming. We use the same recipe of litter on bare floors and observe whether the vacuum picks it up or scatters it about. And we maneuver the vacuum around, just like you would, to make sure it’s easy to handle.
What to Consider While Shopping
Modern vacuums come in a range of designs, sleek shapes, and cool colors. What matters most is how well they clean. Remember that one type of vacuum might have features that appeal to you, but it should also fit your cleaning needs. Pet owners, take note: Upright and canister vacuum cleaners that excel at regular jobs typically test best in the show for picking up pet hair.
A vacuum cleaner with a motorized brush cleans carpets better than one powered only by suction. A switch that can deactivate the brush will help protect the finish of bare floors and avoid scattering debris. Consider models with a manual carpet pile-height adjustment control, along with suction control for cleaning draperies and other delicate fabrics.
Bagged vs. Bagless
Bagless vacuum cleaners save on the cost of purchasing bags, but they also require more filters that need periodic cleaning or—for HEPA filters—replacing. The dust and mess of emptying the bin of a bagless model can be problematic if you have asthma or allergies.
Try It Out
Even if you order online, go to a store first. Push, pull, turn, and lift the vacuum cleaners you’re considering. Check out the controls and features. If an online price is low, see whether the store will match it.
Keep an Ear out for Noise
No vacuum cleaner in our ratings is so loud that we recommend hearing protection, but any vacuum will seem louder in a room with a lot of echoes, such as a tiled bathroom. Canister vacuums tend to be quieter.
Watch for Sales
Discounts of 20 to 30 percent off are increasingly available, especially during the holiday season. For mass-market brands, you don’t have to wait until Black Friday. Check store circulars or sign up on manufacturer or retailer email lists to receive coupons and news of upcoming promotions.
Guide on Choosing the Best Vacuum Cleaner for Your Needs
What are the important features of a good vacuum cleaner, and what features can you skip? What matters most when you’re looking for a good vacuum cleaner?
A good vacuum cleaner needs brushes that pull pet fur and everything else out of the carpet and feed it into the suction path. More importantly, it needs to do this without getting tangled on pet fur, lose its ability to deep clean carpets due to debris sticking to the brushes and not get clogged with goop it comes across like sticky food stains.
High suction is more important when for a carpet cleaning vacuum than one that deals with hard floor surfaces. The thicker the carpet, the stronger the suction needs to be to get debris at the root of the carpet. Height adjustments have little impact if you have low to medium thickness carpet. Height adjustment and suction controls do matter if you’re shifting from low carpets to Berber rugs or thick pile throw rugs when you need to be able to adjust the height and suction of the vacuum simply in order for it not to get stuck on the thickest carpets.
The cheapest vacuum cleaners tend to break on impact or fall apart quickly. The most expensive ones may have a good performance or might rival the suction and tool selection of vacuum cleaners a third the price. A good vacuum cleaner does a good job without costing a fortune.