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Best Vacuum Cleaners: 10 High-Performing Options for Every Budget

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updated: May 21, 2024

While the thought of vacuuming yet more pet hair/spilled kids’ snacks/dust bunnies off the floor and furniture is never going to be an exciting one, you can at least be sure of doing a quick and complete job of it, provided you have the right vacuum. To help you out, we’ve rounded up the best vacuum cleaners available. Because even though nature abhors a vacuum, everyone still needs one.

How to choose a vacuum cleaner

“Buying a vacuum should be based on how you plan to use it,” points out Angela Brown, CEO of Savvy Cleaner and host of the Ask a House Cleaner podcast. “Vacuuming a 6,000-square-foot home will require a different vacuum than one you’ll pull out for crumb control around the kitchen sink between meals.”

To help narrow down your choices, here are the top things to consider when you’re browsing:

Vacuum cleaner type

Toby Schulz, CEO and co-founder of Australian house cleaning company Maid2Match, explains that there’s more choice than ever when it comes to vacuum cleaner styles. Here, he breaks down the main options available:

  • Stick vacuums: Smaller than upright models, making them ideal for smaller homes and apartments. Many are cordless, which is great for maneuvering but limits runtime. They also have smaller capacities and less suction power.
  • Upright vacuums: The “typical” models you imagine when you think of a vacuum cleaner. They have wide cleaning paths and are usually corded, meaning they have unlimited runtime. However, their larger size makes them heavier and harder to maneuver.
  • Canister vacuums: These come with a dirt bag and motor (housed in the canister) attached to the cleaning head by a hose. These will usually have the largest capacity, but you’ll be constrained by the hose length. They’re also harder to move around.
  • Handheld vacuums: Lightweight and portable, these are best for spot-cleaning and small cleaning jobs, such as curtains or car upholstery.
  • Robot vacuums: Self-propelled appliances that can tackle everyday dirt and dust. They’re best for small spaces and flat layouts, since they have a limited battery life and can’t go up or down. Some higher-end models can double as a mop or automatically detect changes in floor material.

Suction power

Per Schulz, upright and canister vacuums generally have stronger suction power than stick or handheld models. “Check the suction power of your choices and look for something between 100-200 AW [air watts],” he says. “You should also check if the vacuum has a HEPA filter.”

Power source

Decide if you need the unlimited run time of a cordless model, or if a battery-powered option (which will probably be smaller and lighter) will suffice for your space.

Attachments

Most vacuum cleaners will come with attachments for different kinds of cleaning. “Some useful attachments are those for cleaning carpets or upholstery, crevice tools, and grout tools,” says Schulz.

Size and weight

“If you can, test out the vacuum cleaner, or at least hold it to gauge how it feels in your grip,” advises Schulz. “You’ll be pushing and carrying this vacuum around, so it should feel comfortable to use.”

Floor type

Make sure the model you buy can cope with the various floor materials in your home. “Check the brush rollers and bars,” suggests Schulz. “Some can scratch hardwood floors, or snag on carpets.”

Our picks for the best vacuum cleaners

Best vacuum for pet hair: Dyson Ball Animal 2

Dyson vacuums take the best in show trophy for pet hair, particularly the Dyson Ball Animal 3. “Pets seem to find the weirdest spots to shed and specialized pet hair attachments for upholstery and corners can definitely help,” says Jade Piper, operations manager for BetterCleans. She praises the Animal 3 for being adaptable to various fabric types, its ability to tackle pet hair on pet-specific items like beds or scratching posts, and the attachments for zooming in on problem areas. “Forget struggling with a standard vacuum head that might not quite cut it with pet hair,” she concludes. The cleaner head also has built-in detanglers that keep hair from accumulating. Even better? The Animal 3 Extra comes with a grooming tool, which allows you to remove excess pet hair before it even gets on to your floor (and couch, and chairs, etc.) in the first place.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 17.33 pounds
  • Warranty: Five years
  • Accessories: Tangle-free turbine tool, pet groom tool, tool holder, stair tool, combination tool
  • Price on publish: $499.99

What we like

  • Tons of helpful accessories
  • Very powerful
  • Self-adjusting cleaner head

What we don't like

  • Some customer reviews say it’s too powerful to easily push on thicker carpets

The bottom line:

A heavy duty, multi-accessory vacuum cleaner designed to make short work of your pet’s mess.

Best vacuum for pet hair
Dyson Ball Animal 2

Dyson Ball Animal 2

Best budget vacuum cleaner: Shark Vacmop Pro

“Shark is a reliable brand, and this wet/dry vacuum gives you excellent value for money, since it combines vacuuming and mopping in one appliance,” says Schulz. “It’s light enough to maneuver around while still performing well.” The vacuum also comes with a solution tank for floor cleaner and a double-duty pad with no-touch disposal. On the downside, you only get 20 minutes of runtime on a full charge, and you’ll need to buy additional Vacmop pads when you run out.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Warranty: One year
  • Accessories: 2 disposable pads, 1 bottle surface cleaner
  • Price on publish: $99.99

What we like

  • LED headlights
  • Dual function
  • Inexpensive

What we don't like

  • A few customer reviews mention issues with charging

The bottom line:

An inexpensive but powerful, dual-feature wet/dry vacuum.

Best budget vacuum cleaner
Shark Vacmop Pro

Best robot vacuum cleaner: iRobot Roomba j7+

Both Schulz and Piper zeroed in on iRobot’s Roombas when asked for their pick of the best robo-cleaners. “Roombas are a classic when it comes to robot vacuums,” explains Schulz. “The j7+ has a built-in camera to assist its smart systems, so it can automatically reroute itself around obstacles.” Thanks to its PrecisionVision Navigation, it can even identify cables, shoes, and pet waste, too.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 7.35 pounds
  • Warranty: 60-day money-back guarantee; 1-year limited warranty
  • Accessories: Clean Base automatic dirt disposal, 1 dirt disposal bag, 1 reusable microfiber mopping pad, 1 extra filter, 1 extra edge-sweeping brush, line cord
  • Price on publish: $699.99

What we like

  • Knows not to roll through pet poop
  • Self-emptying
  • Vacuums and mops at the same time (but retracts mop on carpets)

What we don't like

  • Mop functionality costs extra

The bottom line:

A set-and-forget vacuum that can safely navigate around obstacles while cleaning and mopping.

Best robot vacuum cleaner
iRobot Roomba j7+

Best canister vacuum cleaner: Miele Classic C1 Pure Suction Powerline

Canister vacuums might look a little old fashioned, but they still get the job done, and then some. “The Miele Classic C1 is an investment, but it’s worth it!” says Schulz. “It features powerful suction across six settings and a floorhead with retractable bristles. It also has the standard AirClean filter, but you can switch it out for a HEPA filter for better filtration. And for your convenience, the vacuum alerts you when the bag is full.”

Specifications:

  • Weight: 13 pounds
  • Warranty: One year
  • Accessories: Upholstery nozzle, crevice nozzle, dusting brush with synthetic bristles, SBD 365-3 floorhead
  • Price on publish: $345.51

What we like

  • Six different suction settings
  • Portable
  • User-friendly

What we don't like

  • A minority of customer reviews expressed their desire for a longer power cord
  • The bottom line:

A lightweight, adaptable canister vacuum that travels easily.

Best canister vacuum cleaner
Miele Classic C1 Pure Suction Powerline

Miele Classic C1 Pure Suction Powerline

Best upright vacuum cleaner: Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum

This isn’t the first time Shark’s appeared on this list, and it won’t be the last–with good reason. “This vacuum features built-in LED lights to guide your vacuum path and powerful suction that’ll get everything from flour to pet hair,” enthuses Schulz. “Emptying the bag is easy thanks to its ‘lift-away’ canister, and the vacuum itself is easy to maneuver.”

Specifications:

  • Weight: 16.71 pounds
  • Warranty: Five years
  • Accessories: 8-inch crevice tool, upholstery tool, 3 odor cartridges, under appliance wand
  • Price on publish: $349

What we like

  • LED lights
  • Powerful suction
  • Great for pet hair
  • HEPA filtration

What we don't like

  • Odor neutralizers don’t last for very long

The bottom line:

A powerful and reliable upright vacuum that’ll tackle any surface.

Best upright vacuum cleaner
Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum

Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum

Best cordless vacuum cleaner: Shark Stratos Cordless

Since we’re recommending the Shark Stratos Upright, it only makes sense that we’re also opting for the cordless version for this category. “This is the sister vacuum to the Stratos Upright,” says Schulz. “It features Shark’s signature Clean Sense IQ, which can automatically adjust suction depending on how dirty the floor is. The dual brushes get both fine particles and deep dirt, and the vacuum even converts to handheld mode!”

Specifications:

  • Weight: 8.9 pounds
  • Warranty: Five years
  • Accessories: Duster crevice tool, anti-allergen brush
  • Price on publish: $399.99

What we like

  • Easy to operate
  • HEPA filtration
  • Lightweight

What we don't like

  • Some customer reviews complain that the battery doesn’t last as long as claimed
  • The bottom line:

A powerful and lightweight cordless vacuum.

Best cordless vacuum cleaner
Shark Stratos Cordless

Best vacuum cleaner for cars: Baseus A2 Pro Car Vacuum Cleaner

While there are plenty of handheld vacuum cleaners out there, this one is specifically designed for use inside vehicles. “The Baseus A2 Pro has a compact design, making it easy to store in your car when not in use,” says Schulz. “It has a 30-minute runtime and a built-in HEPA filter, plus it runs fairly quietly.” It’s also a fairly stylish-looking machine, which isn’t generally a consideration with vacuums, but if you’re keeping it in the car, at least it looks nice.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.98 pounds
  • Warranty: 18 months
  • Accessories: USB-C charging cable, 2-in-1 nozzle, blow nozzle
  • Price on publish: $45.99

What we like

  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight

What we don't like

  • Those with larger vehicles may have to empty the canister out mid-clean

The bottom line:

A sleek, compact, lightweight vacuum that you can easily store in your car.

Best vacuum for cars
Baseus A2 Pro Car Vacuum Cleaner

Baseus A2 Pro Car Vacuum Cleaner

Best handheld vacuum cleaner: Black+Decker DustBuster Handheld Vacuum

Another entry recommended by both Piper and Schulz, the Black+Decker Dustbuster is a reliable and sturdy handheld, for those times when you have to deal with a quick spill. Piper praises it for being affordable and compact, while Schulz likes that it works on multiple different surfaces, from furniture to car interiors. “It comes with a crevice tool and a push-in brush for extra cleaning power,” Schulz adds. “The suction provides cyclonic action, spinning dirt and debris away from the filter as it sucks them up.”

Specifications:

  • Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Warranty: Two years
  • Accessories: Wall-mounted base/charger
  • Price on publish: $89.99

What we like

  • Large trash bag (750 ml)
  • Extra-long built-in crevice tool

What we don't like

  • A minority of customer reviews complain that it’s loud

The bottom line:

A reliable handheld vacuum for quick household emergencies.

Best handheld vacuum cleaner
Black+Decker DustBuster Handheld Vacuum

Black+Decker DustBuster Handheld Vacuum

Most powerful vacuum cleaner: Shark Navigator Lift-Away ADV

If what you need more than anything else is power, Schulz advises trying the Shark Navigator Lift-Away ADV, describing it as a versatile and hardworking vacuum that works on almost all flooring material, including hard floors and carpets. “The transition between surfaces is seamless, without a drop in performance,” he says. “The suction power is enough to remove even pollen and dander.”

Specifications:

  • Weight: 12.3 pounds
  • Warranty: Five years
  • Accessories: Crevice tool, pet multi-tool, flexi crevice tool
  • Price on publish: $239.99

What we like

  • Powerful
  • Versatile
  • Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology captures 99.99% of all dust and allergens

What we don't like

  • Fairly loud to use

The bottom line:

A powerful and reliable vacuum for those who need their floors absolutely spotless.

Most powerful vacuum cleaner
Shark Navigator Lift-Away ADV

Shark Navigator Lift-Away ADV

Most high-tech vacuum cleaner: Miele Complete C3 Brilliant Powerline

“One of the best features of this premium vacuum is its versatility,” raves Schulz. “It’s truly ‘complete’–the different floorheads work on many materials, from carpet to hardwood. You also get a dusting brush, crevice nozzle, upholstery, and HEPA AirClean filter. All controls are on the ergonomic handle, so it’s easy to switch settings while vacuuming. Additionally, the model has an automatic power adjustment mode that detects the surface underneath and adjusts suction accordingly. And it has extra sound insulation, too!”

Specifications:

  • Weight: 23 pounds
  • Warranty: One year
  • Accessories: Upholstery nozzle, crevice nozzle, dusting brush with synthetic bristles, parquet twister XL floorhead SBB 400-3, electro premium floorhead SEB 236, SBD 365-3 floorhead
  • Price on publish: $1,789

What we like

  • Lots of options for tackling different surfaces
  • HEPA filtration
  • Easy to use

What we don't like

  • Expensive

The bottom line:

A well-designed, but expensive vacuum that will handle anything you put in its way.

Most high-tech vacuum cleaner
Miele Complete C3 Brilliant Powerline

Miele Complete C3 Brilliant Powerline

Maintenance tips for vacuum cleaners

“Before using any vacuum cleaner, check the hoses for tears–if a vacuum with a hose has a leak, it won’t suction properly,” says Brown. “Empty the canister if it’s full to ensure proper suction and check the beater bars for hair, twine, dental floss, or other strings that can keep the bar from picking up debris from carpets and hard surface flooring.”

“Change the vacuum bags regularly (every three to four months) or vacuum/wash out the dust chamber if recommended by the manufacturer,” advises Aaron Christensen, cleaning expert at Homeaglow. “Also, change any filters as needed to avoid putting excess stress on the motor. For example, HEPA filters in vacuum cleaners will likely need to be replaced twice a year, depending on the model.”

Best place to buy vacuum cleaners

“You can get a good vacuum cleaner from the home section of any reputable store,” says Schulz. “If you prefer to shop online, most brands have online stores you can order from directly. Best Buy and other electronics stores are great, just check the reviews to be sure!”

How I selected the best vacuum cleaners

Real-world performance

I grew up with a ridiculous number of pets, and am now a dad of two, so I know a thing or two about cleaning up after animals, both literal and metaphorical. All of the selections on my list were made through a combination of personal experience and the experience of the experts I interviewed.

Warranties

Even an inexpensive handheld vacuum should be guaranteed to withstand at least one year of usage—and everyday usage, for that matter. Though some warranties are more generous than others, all vacuums that made the list have a one-year warranty (or longer).

Versatility

I considered the fact that a home (or vehicle, if you’re considering car vacuums) can contain a multitude of messes, from snacktime spills to pet hair tumbleweeds, dust bunnies to tracked-in dirt. All of the picks have enough power to handle a variety of situations. Further, I tried to include as many options that would work on a range of surfaces—not just the usual carpet.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the best type of vacuum cleaner?

“There’s no singular ‘best’ type of vacuum cleaner, since it really depends on your cleaning needs,” says Schulz. “Cordless stick vacuums are great for small apartments, while upright or canister vacuums provide more value for large homes.”

That said, “I’d recommend that you stay away from vacuums with a hose,” warns Shari Cedar, CEO and co-owner at AK Building Services. “They get clogged often.”

How much should I spend on a vacuum cleaner?

“Vacuum prices go from less than $100 to a thousand dollars or more,” says Brown. “The average vacuum costs between $300 and $500, but if you take care of your vacuum, it should last seven to ten years or more.”

What is considered good suction for vacuum cleaners?

“Suction power in vacuum cleaners is measured in either Air Watt (AW) or Pascal (Pa),” explains Schulz. “AW considers both airflow and suction, while Pascal measures the pressure created by a vacuum to suck in dirt and debris.”

He adds that corded vacuums (especially upright and canister models) should have suction power of about 100-200 AW, while cordless and stick models will have slightly less than this, as they have less powerful motors. Robot vacuums, meanwhile, can range from 500-2000 Pa, which Schulz says is enough for a typical household.

How do you know if a vacuum has strong suction?

“Check the AW or Pa ratings, but also try to test the model yourself if you can!” advises Schulz. “Your vacuum model should be sucking up dust and debris no problem.”

“You should be able to go over one area once and not multiple times,” adds Cedar. “Vacuum a rug, then turn it over and see if any debris is left on the regular floor.”

Are more expensive vacuum cleaners better?

“More expensive vacuums aren’t necessarily ‘better,’” says Schulz. “They may have more features and attachments, such as smart programming or laser sighting, but those might be unnecessary for your home.”

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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