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Best vacuum 2022 for spotless floors, according to our experts

The Homes & Gardens edit explores the best vacuum cleaners amid a myriad of styles you should consider for your household from Dyson, Miele, Shark and more

Best vacuum samsung
(Image credit: Samsung)

If you're on the hunt for not just a new vacuum, but the best vacuum, you've come to the right place. The Homes & Gardens team is here and ready to answer the call to guide you through choosing the right vacuum for your home across a range of models.

We've thoroughly researched, tested, and consulted among our team to discuss the top premium vacuums we've come across. For the few designs we haven't gotten first-hand experience on just yet, we rely on the reviews and feedback from shoppers like you.

These are the best in performance, reliability, and overall general use. Here, we have the best-in-class for all types of vacuums from ultra-powerful best cordless vacuum cleaners with a battery life that can extend up to two hours to vacuums for pet hair, ready to bring a new level of cleanliness to the homes of allergy sufferers and pet owners, as well as robotic and handheld models, depending on what you're after. 

Scroll through to discover our best vacuum cleaners with these premium picks. 

Best vacuum cleaners 2022

Why you can trust Homes & Gardens Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Image of Dyson V15 detectH&G gold badge

(Image credit: Dyson)
Best vacuum, overall: good suction, advanced tech and easy to handle... it ticks all the right boxes

Specifications

Dust bin capacity: 0.2gal
Weight: 6.8lb
Max dB: Not disclosed
Battery life: Up to 70 minutes
Warranty: 2 years

Reasons to buy

+
Green Laser dust detection on Fluffy brush roll illuminates dust particles invisible to the eye 
+
Piezo sensor and LCD screen shows the size and number of dust particles collected in real-time
+
New anti-tangle hair screw keeps pet hair from getting stuck
+
Incredible suction
+
Versatile attachments

Reasons to avoid

-
Green laser only shows dust on hard floors, harder to see in bright daylight
-
Must hold trigger for continual operation

Dyson's most innovative vacuum yet is admired by many, but no other vacuum manufacturer has managed a version quite like it. The Dyson V15 Detect heads the line up of best vacuums and the best Dysons for its unique dust-hunting feature that incorporated a green diode laser on one of the floorheads that reveals what the human eye can't see. There are even offshoots for those looking for even more extended cleaning power like the Dyson Outsize +, the only cordless vacuum on the market with a .5-gallon bin, or the Dyson V12 Detect range, which offers the same laser technology, but on a more compact scale, making the middle of the pack, Dyson V15 Detect the most versatile option. 

Why we love it
Beyond the standout design feature of the built-in laser that completely changes how we view clean, a Piezo sensor also measures microscopic dust particles as small as 10 microns in real time, giving physical proof of a deep and effective clean. The sensor converts vibrations into electrical signals, displaying precisely the size and number of particles sucked up on the LCD display. The Piezo sensor also helps the vacuum automatically adjust suction according to how much dust is detected. It's all very automatic. 

Getting into performance details, the Dyson Hyperdymium motor generates up to 230 air watts of suction and 5-stage filtration captures 99.99% of dust particles down to 0.3 microns for a powerful deep clean. 

The Dyson V15 Detect also comes with plenty of attachments to play with, but the inclusion of two full-size floor heads makes it easy to switch back and forth with the High Torque Cleaner Head on carpets, or the Laser Slim Fluffy Cleaner for all hard floors. 

Good to know
The Green Laser dust detector only applies to hard floors, but the Piezo sensor works across all attachments. The ability to get a precise count feels a little gimicky, but it does influence how much suction (and battery) is required to get the job done. 

If you don't want to use the accompanying wall dock for storage, Dyson also sells a freestanding docking station, for an extra cost.

Our Dyson V15 Detect cordless vacuum review goes into more detail. 

Shark Vertex ProH&G gold badge

(Image credit: Shark)
Best cordless vacuum: easy to use and easy to store

Specifications

Corded or battery powered?: Cordless
Dust bin capacity: 1 qt.
Weight: 8.82lb.
Dimensions: 10.24" L X 14.7" W X 46.5" H
Battery life: Up to 60 minutes
Warranty: 5 years
RRP: $479.99

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to fold down for storage, and compacts down to less than 3 feet for closet storage
+
Super lightweight
+
Easy to remove dust cup
+
Does not require a charging hub
+
Charges through a removable battery
+
Anti-allergen seal traps dust and allergens

Reasons to avoid

-
Cumbersome to unfurl back up from storage mode
-
Top-heavy

The Shark's Vertex Pro Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum was designed to compete with some of the most premium-level cordless vacuums available, and we were so impressed, we're calling it our favorite cordless.

Why we love it
The Vertex cordless flexes its powerful suction with superior pick-up, anti-hair wrap, excellent battery runtime, and an easy-to-use design. The DuoClean Powerfins create constant contact with floors on both carpets and hard surfaces, and the self-cleaning brush roll is a must-have feature for pet owners to prevent clogs from hair. It powers through on contact with both large and small pieces of debris. The washable HEPA filter and Anti-Allergen Seal are also effective at trapping and sealing particles from escaping. The upgraded digital LED interface (from the pre-existing Shark Vertex Lightweight) is a nice high-end feature that indicates battery percentage level, suction level, and floor type, selected via two buttons on either side of the power button. 

Good to know
The Multi-Flex technology makes it super easy to fold down the vacuum for easy storage. However, we didn't find it as useful for actual cleaning, as the design made the vacuum a little bit more difficult to handle, and the slim profile still made it very easy to reach low-profile spaces. To unfurl the vacuum back up to full height, does take both hands though.

While some of our other cordless picks also seem to reach some pretty lofty prices, the Shark Vertex Pro doesn't have as prohibitive of a price tag, and can oftentimes be found on sale. They also hold longer warranties than competitors. 

Our Shark Vertex Pro Lightweight Cordless Vacuum review goes into more details


iRobot Roomba S9+H&G gold badge

(Image credit: iRobot)

3. iRobot Roomba S9+

Best robot vacuum: it'll keep your home crumbs, dust and hair-free for you

Specifications

Dust bin capacity: .42qts
Weight: 8.15lb
Dimensions: Robot: 12.25"W x 3.5" H Clean Base: 12.2” W x 15.1” D x 19” H
Compatibility: Alexa/Google/Apple-Siri
Warranty: 1 year
RRP: $999

Reasons to buy

+
Self-emptying
+
Superb cleaning
+
Smart room navigation
+
Reliable voice control
+
Good for allergy sufferers

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Replacement bags cost extra

The S9+ is the pinnacle of the Roomba lineup with the best cleaning for pet hair, smart room mapping, and navigation, easy to create no-go zones using the app, and the added bonus of an incredibly sleek design, making it one of the best robot vacuums.

Why we love it
When the S9+ moves from hard floors to carpet the suction increases automatically for a deeper, more powerful clean, and it's even well-prepared to suit home with pets and deal with shedding fur. The S9+ has 40x more suction and cleaning power than its Roomba 600 series. It also has a high-quality air filtration system to help keep dust particles and allergens being returned to the room. 

To learn your home, and its cleaning route, the S9+ uses Imprint™ Smart Mapping technology to learn your floorplan as it cleans and remembers it for future cleaning jobs, including furniture placement and the ability to clean specific rooms. 

But best of all is the Roomba S9+ CleanBase docking station that charges the battery and empties its dustbin automatically, making cleaning even easier and more reliable, and you’ll no longer have to empty the vacuum mid-clean or come back to half a finished job.

Good to know
Each dust bag has enough room for 30 full vacuum bins of dirt and only needs to be emptied once every 2 months. However, you'll need to keep replacement bags on hand to refill once full. 

dyson ball animal 2H&G gold badge

(Image credit: Dyson)
Best vacuum for pet hair: a bona fide beast that won't let hair tangle

Specifications

Dust bin capacity: .55 gal
Weight: 17.5
Dimensions: 42.13"H x 15.35"L x 13.39"W
Cord length: 31ft.
Warranty: 5 years
RRP: $499.99

Reasons to buy

+
Large capacity dust bin
+
Asthma and allergy-friendly
+
Washable lifetime filter
+
Excels on both hard floors and carpets

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy to operate and hard to push on carpet
-
Access to the hose not all that intuitive

While vacuums that are smaller and lighter seem to dominate, we can't forget about vacuums with large-capacity dust bins, ample cord length for corded models, or enough of a run time for cordless designs to get you through total home deep, cleans without having to pause to recharge or dump out debris. A commercial design may seem like the way to go, but they usually don't cut it in the looks department. The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is an established model, with a massive .55 gallon dust bin that should help you cover large swaths of the floor before having to empty the tank. While it's rated as an excellent choice for pet owners, its usefulness goes far beyond hair pick-up.  Got fur babies that shed endlessly? We have also reviewed the best vacuums for pet hair to help you explore all options.

Why we love it
Dyson may have been emphasizing its cordless models, but its corded collection is nothing to forget about when you want dependable suction for larger cleaning tasks. The 31-feet cord is also useful for helping you go the distance, without unplugging and replugging. You may even be able to wander into a different room. The addition of a hose makes gives additional freedom for above-ground cleaning. 

Now, the Dyson Ball Animal 2 performance is not just dependable, but best in class for suctioning up hair, dirt, debris, and more on both carpets and floors. 

Good to know
Like a typical upright, we wouldn't describe it as a featherweight, so it takes a little more effort to push, especially on carpet. However, the addition of the iconic ball makes it much easier to maneuver. 

Our Dyson Ball Animal 2 review goes into more detail.

Sebo vacuum

(Image credit: Sebo)

5. Sebo Automatic X4 Boost Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Best vacuum cleaner for allergy suffers: it's a good choice if you're looking for an upright vacuum cleaner for pet hair, too

Specifications

Dust bin capacity: 1.4 gal
Weight: 16.7lb
Dimensions: 46"H x 13"W x 12"L
Cord length: 40 ft
Warranty: 7 year warranty on motor, 5 year warranty on parts and labor, lifetime warranty on belt
RRP: $849

Reasons to buy

+
HEPA filtration 
+
Extra-long 40' cord
+
Long warranty
+
Reliable, designed to last for 15+ years

Reasons to avoid

-
No adjustable suction
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Only works with SEBO vacuum bags
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Mostly available through dealers and specialty retailers

If even the slightest bit of dust in your sight causes your nose to start to itch or eyes to water, SEBO's filtration is one of the best out there, making our pick, the German-made Sebo Automatic X4 Boost Upright Vacuum Cleaner a must-have for anyone with allergy sensitivities. 

Why we love it
Clean dirt once and for all. Sebo won't let it out once it collects through the machine. All dirt and debris filters through a 3-layer filter bag, electrostatic microfilter, and exhaust filter inside the Sebo vacuum cleaner meet all HEPA requirements to filter out 99.97% of pollens, household dust, dust mites, and other allergens as small as 0.3 micrometers in size, meaning cleaner air. 

From a performance standpoint, the X4 offers excellent suction power with its 1300-watt motor, and easily transitions between floor types. While definitely not the lightest design on our list, it's also quite easy to maneuver, with an extra-long power cord and onboard stretch hose and wand for extended reach and above-floor cleaning, self-propelled powerhead, and easy gliding wheels. 

It's a particular beast across carpets of all depths, pulling out the smallest particles from lush carpets to deep shag rugs. The double brush roll design digs deep into carpets, while also automatically adjusting to the correct height for cleaning any floor type. 

Good to know
Well, the retro design is not the sleekest out there, but it still bends to 180° to reach under beds and furniture with a low required clearance of only 5.5", and it has on-board storage for all its included accessories.  SEBO is also only sold through specialty retailers and certified dealers, as is the situation with the dust bags, so you will likely want to stock up. However, at times, we have seen SEBO carried on Amazon too. 

Additionally, while it's an extremely powerful vacuum, it does not have adjustable suction control. This will be fine for most uses but consider it before running the vacuum over any delicate surfaces.

miele complete c3

(Image credit: Miele)

6. Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum

Best canister vacuum cleaner: the bagged design makes emptying clean and easy

Specifications

Dust bin capacity: 4.75qt.
Weight: 23lb.
Dimensions: 19.52" x 11.18" x 8.94"inches
Cord length: 23ft.
Warranty: 1 year all inclusive, 7 year limited
RRP: $1,199

Reasons to buy

+
Top-rated for petowners and those who suffer from allergies
+
Bagged design is the ultimate protection against contact with collected dust
+
Perfect for pet parents to contain odors 
+
Onboard accessory storage

Reasons to avoid

-
Have to rebuy dust bags
-
Heavy 

Those with serious sensitivities to dust, pollen, dander, pet hair, or other particles that infiltrate our homes will do best with a back-to-the-basics vacuum design with a bagged dust bag to trap and seal in collected debris. Miele is most known for its canister vacuums, though an upright version is available as well of the Complete C3 Dog and Cat vacuum, which are designed to last for literal decades.

Why we love it
The Complete C3 is one heavy-duty machine with premium, top-of-the-line features. Beyond obvious features like unparalleled suction power, a roomy dust bag that doesn't let the vacuum loose suction, it's also relatively quiet.

The Parquet floor brush for hard floors has a  low profile and 90-degree rotation for reaching tight spaces and under furniture, while the extra-large power-driven 14"-wide electronic brush head for a thorough cleaning, with a swivel neck and five-level height adjustment to power through medium pile carpet.  Other attachments include an upholstery nozzle, crevice tool, dusting brush, and a handheld turbo brush head that all conveniently store within the canister itself.

Convenience is of the utmost priority. Rather than having to reach down to the canister every time you want to switch a mode, the 6 stage foot pedal lets you easily change suction level. While it is a corded model, (the 1200 watt motor has to be powered somehow) a retractable cord also reduces time spent having to wind it back up as well as tripping risk. Another noteworthy feature is the addition of a bumper guard to protect your furniture and walls.

Filtration
Miele offers superior filtration to ensure that nothing escapes once it is suctioned up. The Active Air Clean filter uses two layers of electrostatic filters to remove allergens, plus a charcoal-filter core to absorb odors. The proprietary Miele AirClean 3D Efficiency Dustbags are self-sealing to trap dirt and increase the air quality in your home.

Good to know
Being a bagged design, you'll need to have additional dust bags on hand to swap out when the dust bag is full. 

The Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum has been reviewed by a member of our editorial team.

best vacuum samsung jet 90H&G gold badge

(Image credit: Samsung)

7. Samsung Jet 90 Complete Stick Lightweight Vacuum

Best vacuum cleaner for design: it's sleek looking and has exceptional power

Specifications

Corded or battery powered?: Cordless
Dust bin capacity: .8 liter
Weight: 6.28lb
Dimensions: 8.5 x 9.8 x 44.7 inches
Battery life: Up to 60 minutes
Warranty: 1 years
RRP: $649

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional cleaning on all surfaces including hard-to-reach areas we often miss
+
Versatile with loads of accessories and attachments
+
Adjustable length options
+
Can purchase a separate wet clean attachment

Reasons to avoid

-
Set up is complicated

Aesthetics matter, but we're not just referring to the sleek chrome and modern shape of the Samsung Jet 90 Stick Cordless Stick Vacuum. It also has some noteworthy features that contributed to its design like a telescoping length that extends reach, excellent suction performance, and a 5-layer HEPA filtration system that traps the most microscopic irritants and particles from escaping. 

Why we love it
In addition to its telescopic pipe to adjust the length for users short and tall, and its extremely lightweight design, its incredibly slim build makes it extremely easy to vacuum under low-lying furniture. 

The sleek digital display makes it easy to track how your vacuum is doing with notifications on your vacuum for power level and brush type and sends alerts such as airflow issues, clogs, missing filters, and more. 

And of course, you want to know about performance, which is where the Samsung Jet 90 Complete continues to blow us away. The 200-watt powerhouse takes no mercy on both floors and carpets thanks to its Jet Cyclone that keeps the vacuum from getting clogged, has a generous battery that lasts for up to 60 minutes, and 180° swivel flexibility for ultimate maneuverability. Chores have never been this easy. 

Good to know
The Samsung Jet 90 includes a separate, self-standing dual charging station that can charge two batteries at once in just 3.5 hours, though the separate battery is sold separately and a separate wall dock for storing the vacuum off the ground. 

The Jet Complete includes a variety of attachments including a mini-motorized tool for collecting fine dust particles and hair, a long-reach crevice tool, a combination tool that's perfect to use on upholstery, or even in your car, and an anti-static soft brush for hard floors. Additional accessories are available to purchase like a Spinning Sweeper Brush for mopping, or the Samsung Clean Station, which automatically empties the Jet Stick vacuum’s dustbin.

Additionally, our reviewer noted that the setup was a little complicated figuring out what each attachment was.

The Samsung Jet 90 has been reviewed by a member of our editorial team.

Shark navigator

(Image credit: Shark)

8. Shark Navigator Lift Away Upright Vacuum

Best affordable vacuum cleaner: and it's loaded with all the awesome Shark tech you'd expect, too

Specifications

Dust bin capacity: .9qt.
Weight: 13.9lb.
Dimensions: 10.24" L X 10.24" W X 45.27" H
Cord length: 25 feet
Warranty: 5 years
RRP: $199

Reasons to buy

+
Reliable
+
Good assortment of attachments
+
Lift-Away adds portability
+
HEPA filtration 

Reasons to avoid

-
Bulky
-
Prone to tipping over
-
No anti-hair wrap or self-cleaning brush roll technology

Not everyone is looking to spend hundreds of dollars on a vacuum, and that's totally OK. If you're looking for value and performance, Shark Navigator Lift Away Upright Vacuum can typically be found for under $300, as well as on sale, and is loaded with common Shark features like HEPA filtration and Lift-Away for increased portability. 

Why we love it
This reliable upright offers incredible value, suction power, and even HEPA filtration. If you're keen on attachments, it's well equipped with a wide upholstery tool that handles pet hair on furniture, and two crevice tools, a lengthy 24-inch, and a compact 5.5-inch for reaching tight spaces. Finally, the brush roll shutoff feature allows you to instantly switch from deep carpet cleaning to gentle bare floor cleaning. 

For an upright, it's considered lightweight, and the swivel steering makes it easier to handle. The addition of Shark's signature Lift-Away technology adds increased flexibility and portability to reach under tight spaces or for above-floor cleaning. 

Good to know
Users report that the top-heavy design is prone to tipping over, and some users find the 25-foot cord just a tad shorter than they'd hoped. 

The only thing the Navigator seems to be missing that recent (and pricier Sharks) offer is its anti-hair wrap tech, self-cleaning brush-roll and DuoClean technology. However, pet owners and allergy sufferers still get on without sacrificing cleaning power. 

Tineco Floor One S5H&G gold badge

(Image credit: Tineco)

9. Tineco Floor One S5

Best wet and dry vacuum: cleaner floors in a snap

Specifications

Clean Water Tank: 0.8L
Dirty Water Tank: 0.7L
Weight: 9.9lb.
Dimensions: 10.24" x 10.75" x 43.31"
Run time: Up to 35 minutes
Warranty: 5 years
RRP: $449

Reasons to buy

+
Cordless and self-propelling
+
Larger clean and dirty water tanks
+
iLoop sensor detects how much dirt and debris is on your floors
+
Built-in Wi-Fi, Audio Alerts, and Self-Cleaning cycle
+
Improved edge cleaning technology

Reasons to avoid

-
Multi-step maintenance required
-
Can't reach under furniture
-
Will still need another vacuum for quick pickups

An emerging vacuum category, there are a whole host of wet and dry vacuums to explore, and Tineco leads the way in streamlining floorcare. The Floor One S5 is among their most advanced model, with the ability to simultaneously vacuum and mop with a runtime of up to 35 minutes, and promises better edge offering than its earlier models.

Why we love it
Beyond taking two dreaded chores and turning them into one time-saving activity, the Floor One S5 is loaded with smart features that add on to the experience. 

It uses far less water than normal mopping, and the self-propelling design requires minimal effort.  It's loaded with smart features, including Tineco's signature iLoop Smart Sensor that senses how clean or dirty your floor is, and adjusts power accordingly, as well as a voice assistant that notifies you when to refill the clean water tank, empty the dirty water tank, instruct you to perform a Self-Cleaning cycle, or notates such things as battery level and blockages.

Good to know
Due to the bulky shape, it doesn't reach under furniture or low barriers very well. Also, due to the wet parts, the clean-up time feels like it can take longer than cleaning your floors, creating quite an involved maintenance plan. The self-cleaning feature does streamline your having to interact with the dirtiest pieces, and extra backup pieces make it simple to swap in the brushbar and HEPA filters without having to wait for the wet ones to dry before being put back into the machine. 

The Tineco Floor One S5 has been reviewed by a member of our editorial team. 

Best handheld vacuum: black + decker handheld vacuum

(Image credit: Black + Decker)

10. Black + Decker 20V MAX* Lithium Pivot Vacuum

Best handheld vacuum: An adjustable design for cleaning up quick messes

Specifications

Dust Bin Capacity: 15 oz.
Weight: 3 lb
Battery life: 15 Mins
Warranty: 2 years
RRP: $89.99

Reasons to buy

+
Pivoting design for greater flexibility
+
Built-in attachments
+
Stores compact and upright

Reasons to avoid

-
No pet tools
-
Short battery life 

When it comes to the best handheld vacuums, Black + Decker has made a name for itself for delivering powerful, compact vacuums, and this adjustable pivoting design helps you get into every nook and cranny. 

Why we love it
Black + Decker 20V MAX* Lithium Pivot handheld vacuum emphasizes its design and power. It utilizes a pivoting nozzle that pivots up to 200 degrees to clean at whatever angle is comfortable for you, and a wide mouth for greater pick-up. The Pivot also incorporates the crevice tool and dust brush into the design, meaning fewer (and in this case) no extra attachments to look after or worry about losing. And storing to charge is so nice and compact, it sits neatly upright. 

Final thoughts
If you're looking for extended cleaning sessions, you may be better off investing in a cordless vacuum as handheld battery life are drastically shorter compared to cordless stick design that detach into a handheld device anyway.  We also really like the convenience of the built-in attachments, but there is no pet tool for hair pick-up.

Early Black Friday vacuum cleaner deals

Dyson V12 Detect Slim Absolute|  $649.99 (opens in new tab)

Dyson V12 Detect Slim Absolute| $649.99 $549.99 at Dyson
(opens in new tab)The little sister version to our top-rated vacuum, Dyson says this will be the best price you'll find all season on this newcomer. Some Dyson exclusive models all cost the same, so why not go with the most supped-up version that comes with extra accessories including a fabric and mattress tool, a mini soft dusting brush and an up-top adaptor

Bissell ICONpet Edge Cordless Vacuum | $396 (opens in new tab)

Bissell ICONpet Edge Cordless Vacuum | $396  $247.77 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
The Bissell ICONPet Edge leaves no crevice uncovered with superior edge and corner cleaning. Nothing like remnants of dust along the baseboards to really muck up how you feel about the efficiency of your vacuum.

Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFin Upright Vacuum with Powered Lift-Away|  $449.99 (opens in new tab)

Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFin Upright Vacuum with Powered Lift-Away| $449.99 $249.99 at Best Buy (opens in new tab)
For those after a traditional upright vacuum, the Vertex gets the cleaning job done, and it's particularly noteworthy at collecting hair, and keeping it from tangling in the brushroll too.

Dyson Ball Animal 3|  $499.99 (opens in new tab)

Dyson Ball Animal 3| $499.99 $399.99 at Best Buy (opens in new tab)
Dyson's revamped upright model is loaded with upgrades including improved suction, extended reach and the Groom tool, which removes loose hairs, dead skin, and allergens directly from your pet.

iRobot Roomba j7+ (7550) Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum|  $799 (opens in new tab)

iRobot Roomba j7+ (7550) Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum| $799 $599 at Amazon (save $200) (opens in new tab)
The unique buying proposition that the iRobot j7+ offers is its P.O.O.P promise. The sophisticated obstacle detection promises to avoid any pet accidents, or iRobot will replace the unit. That coupled with excellent vacuuming performance and a self-emptying base make this a worthy investment. For more details, read our iRobot Roomba j7+ review (opens in new tab)

Miele Triflex HX1 Battery Powered Bagless Stick Vacuum |  $599 (opens in new tab)

Miele Triflex HX1 Battery Powered Bagless Stick Vacuum |  $599, $455 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

The Miele Triflex HX1 has a unique adjustable design that enables you to attach the power unit and dust bin at the top or bottom of the vacuum for flexibility in where you want the weight of the unit distributed, as well as for use as a handheld device. When placed at the top, you'll find more reach to vacuum under low surfaces, or when placed at the bottom enables a comfortable and lightweight grip.

Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum with Anti-Allergen Complete Seal|  $259.99 (opens in new tab)

Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum with Anti-Allergen Complete Seal| $259.99 $199.99 at Target (opens in new tab)

Save $60 on this svelte purple cordless with up to 40 minutes of cleaning time across two modes, top-rated pet hair pick up and HEPA filtration to capture and trap dust, dander, and allergen. 

How we review the best vacuums

Bissell ICONpet


(Image credit: Courtney Irwin)

At Homes & Gardens we like to get hands-on experience with all the products which we decide to feature in our buyers' guides, which you can learn more about in our guide to how we test products. The reason for this is to simply help you; we share our experiences so you can be confident in what you are buying. 

Each new vacuum we get the opportunity to review is tried and tested in our own homes, undergoing rigorous testing on a range of flooring and household challenges. 

We test the vacuum cleaners for a number of weeks (sometimes months) so we get a feel for the longevity and durability of each model. In some instances, we are also fortunate enough to keep the vacuum cleaners after writing up the review so we can continue to learn about them and share our findings with you. We look out for factors such as maneuverability, run-time, emptying of the dust bin (or bag), and general controls so you know exactly what you are getting for your money, and whether or not it is worth it for what you need it for. The feedback from other users is also something we look out for, especially if we are in the process of reviewing a product and we felt it was (already) a good enough product to feature in our round-ups of the "best of" guides.

shark vertex cordless vacuum

(Image credit: Shark)

What to consider before buying a vacuum

Consider a variety of factors before choosing a vacuum as some details are more important to one than they may be to another. 

Type
Vacuums come in a variety of types. Some common terms you may come across include: 

  • Upright: Upright models do as they sound, they are stable and can sit upright. They are usually heavier, more stable, and offer the most consistent suction and larger dust cup capacity. Most upright vacuums are corded. 
  • Stick: Those looking for a lightweight, easy to maneuver vacuum or are short on storage space, may prefer a stick vacuum for its slim profile that makes it lighter and easier to store. However, they can't stand on their own, so it will need to be propped up or placed on the floor if you pause cleaning. Stick models can be found in either corded or cordless operation, but they usually don't offer as much suction power as an upright.  
  • Canister: Canister vacuums have a separate canister that house the motor and dust bin with a long hose that works with a variety of attachments. They're usually much lighter and easier to maneuver than upright counterparts, and just as powerful. They are very convenient for stair cleaning and make it easy to get into tight spaces. Due to their low profile, they also take up less space to store. 
  • Cordless: Cordless vacuums are battery-powered and do not require a wall outlet nearby to operate. As technology evolves, these vacuums become more powerful, run longer, and increasingly more lightweight. They will require a period of time to charge between cleans. 
  • Robot: Robot vacuums autonomously clean your home on your own schedule without you having to lift a finger. Many can be paired with smart home assistants, provide detailed home mapping, and can run on your own schedule. However, you will need to remove any obstacles before running. 
  • Handheld: Many cordless models convert into handheld units, but for smaller jobs and quick clean-ups, handhelds, either corded or cordless, are great to have on hand for getting into tighter spaces or cleaning above ground. 

Dust bin
Here we consider two factors. Dust bin size and bagged or bagless designs. Consider how large your home is, or how often you're willing to empty the dust bin. Bagged dust bins will seal in collected dirt and debris, but there is the added cost of repeatedly keeping the bags on hand. Meanwhile, most bagless designs are clear and allow you to see how much dirt has been collected. They can be dumped directly in the garbage, but there is still the risk of a few particles escaping back into the air. 

Weight
Taking into account the maneuverability of your vacuum, if you will be using a vacuum between levels, it is necessary to choose a vacuum that is lightweight enough for you to carry up and down the stairs.  An appropriate vacuum weight is around 10lbs.

Floor Type
Consider if you have more hard, smooth floors or carpets, and be sure to select a vacuum that is built to handle that surface. Some handle both excellently (or come with interchangeable attachments), while others work on hard floors or carpets much better.  

Cord length
If you've already determined that cordless is for you, disregard, but the length of a vacuum can really make or break one's cleaning experience if you're constantly having to plug into different outlets. Look for vacuums that offer between 25 and 30 foot long cords for plenty of space to roam.

Run time
On the contrary, if you're after a cordless, or even a robot design, you'll want to focus on how long you'll have to clean before having to recharge. We've tested models with a battery of just 20 minutes, to those that can run up to two hours. Our sweet spot of recommendation is choosing a vacuum that lasts 45 to 60 minutes on average, as that's usually an adequate amount of time to get through your cleaning. Battery life varies significantly depending on if you're cleaning carpets, hard floors, or simply whipping out the crevice tool. Note, battery runtime and price are typically directly correlated, and longer battery life means a higher price tag as well. 

Special Features
Increasingly, more and more vacuums highlight special features like support for pet hair, no hair wrapping, or specialized HEPA air filtration. Some vacuums will highlight this directly, while some brands, like Shark or Bissell, are known for their pet-friendly vacuums.  

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