Best Vacuum Cleaner

Derek HalesBy Derek Hales
Updated February 6, 2018

What is the best vacuum cleaner? It’s a simple enough question, however, the answer isn’t quite as straight forward.

We don’t believe there can ever be a single best vacuum for all people, in all circumstances. There are so many different types of messes and different vacuum types that it’s important to consider a few important factors when deciding what is the best vacuum for you.

We’ll walk through the important factors below. If you prefer, click here to jump straight to the best vacuum recommendations or click the buttons below.

What is your budget?

Your budget is an important factor, but if you don’t have much to spend, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great vacuum. There are good vacuum cleaners at many price points.

For this best vacuum cleaners guide, we’ll be providing two best vacuums by type. One will be where budget is not a consideration, and one will be the best value within that type.

For additional information, please see our complete list of vacuum guides, where we look at a broader selection within that specific vacuum type.

What type of vacuum cleaner do you need?

This is perhaps the most important question, as the vacuum type you decide on will largely determine how, when, and on what messes you use your vacuum. Each vacuum type is better or worse at particular tasks.

In the coming weeks we are going to take a deep dive look into the best vacuum for each vacuum type, but at a high level these are the most important factors:

  • Robot vacuums – The ultimate convenience, great at tile, hardwoods, and low carpet. More expensive models can do high pile carpet also.
  • Upright vacuums – Great all-around choice, usually equipped with hoses and other attachments.
  • Handheld vacuums – Ideal for spot cleaning, pets, kids, cars, and other small or hard-to-reach messes.
  • Stick vacuums – Usually lighter weight, more mobile, and more maneuverable, great for quick cleans.
  • Canister vacuums – Can be more cumbersome to move, but also offers deeper cleans.

Click the buttons below to jump to our complete vacuum reviews guide on each respective type:

Other important factors and questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have pets?
  • Do you have stairs?
  • Do you have carpet, tile, hardwoods, or a combination?
  • Is there a particular brand you favor?

All of the above questions and factors are important— so much so that we’re building guides on each of them and more.

The following vacuum guides can help you further navigate through the best vacuum choice for you and your family.

Best Robot Vacuums

Robot vacuums have changed dramatically over the last several years. They used to be more of a novelty, dominated by just a couple of companies. However, advancements in their design and technology over time, in addition to several new companies joining the party and creating their own robot vacuums, have helped to further spur innovative and quality robot vacuums.

Roomba 980

The iRobot Roomba 980 is the runaway best overall robot vacuum we have tested to date. It was dominant across the board for cleaning, maneuverability, run time, navigation, and other advanced features.

While it’s on the more expensive side, the added costs provide for many additional features and the best cleaning performance in a robot we’ve tested.

Roomba 980 - best robot vacuum

Roomba 980

The Roomba 980 has a sharp black and gunmetal gray aesthetic. Like all Roombas, it’s built like a tank with durable hard plastics and a forgiving bumper ring along the exterior shell. The 980 comes equipped with a sizable 3,300 mAh lithium ion battery, which provides enough power for a 2 hour run time.

This robot vacuum is packed with advanced features including floor plan mapping and memorization, wifi connectivity / app control, recharge and resume, and more.

But where it really excels is simply raw cleaning performance. The Roomba scored perfect 100% on 10 of our 12 cleaning tests, only struggling with sugar particles on carpets.

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Score

Dimensions

13.9″ x 13.9″ x 3.6″

Power

Battery, 3,300 mAh

Run Time

~120 minutes

Maintenance

~$37 / year

Weight

8.7 pounds

Roomba 690

The Roomba 690 is our best value robot vacuum winner. It showed surprisingly strong cleaning performance on all of our tests and did so at an exceptionally good price.

Roomba 690 has a striking two-tone style, that includes pops of green to indicate handles. The battery is about average at 1,800 mAh, but it still allows for a solid 60 minute run time.

Roomba 690 - best robot vacuum value

Roomba 690

This robot vacuum does lack some of the features found in ultra high end robots, but still comes nicely equipped with wifi connectivity, smartphone control, HEPA filter, and virtual wall barriers.

Perhaps the best aspect of Roomba in general is simply the popularity. Since they are so popular and common there are a wide variety of third party retailers selling replacements parts, brushes, filters, batteries, and more.

As a result, the Roomba 690 (and most Roombas in general) is one of the least expensive robot vacuums to maintain. Annual maintenance costs on the Roomba 690 are around $32 / year.

With respect to cleaning performance the Roomba 690 was solid across the board, scoring 95% or higher on 10 of 12 cleaning tests.

Like most robot vacuums, it struggled more on sugar tests, but still managed respectable 72% and 66% cleaning scores for low and high pile carpets, respectively.

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Score

Dimensions

13″ x 13″ x 3.6″

Power

Battery, 1,800 mAh

Run Time

~60 minute

Maintenance

~$32 / year

Weight

7.8 pounds

Ecovacs Deebot N79

The Ecovacs Deebot N79 was a surprise during our tests and is most certainly worthy of the robot vacuum honorable mention award.

The Ecovacs Deebot N79 offers an unassuming and simple aesthetic. The battery has a sizable capacity of 2,600 mAh and a run time of around 100 minutes. Its price is frequently in the $200-$230 range, making it incredibly affordable for a robot vacuum.

Despite the price, it comes with many of the staple features I look for, including wifi connectivity, smartphone control, HEPA filter, and even a remote control.

Ecovacs Deebot N79 - best vacuum cleaners

Ecovacs Deebot N79

Maintenance costs are also quite reasonable at around $25 / year. Ecovacs offers this kit that includes most everything you need in a typical year.

My only major complaint about the Ecovacs Deebot N79 is simply the difficulty in getting a replacement battery. Currently, the company doesn’t sell them and I haven’t found a third party retailer where you can buy them either.

However, their customer service team is offering free replacement batteries currently (presumably until they make them available for purchase).

The Ecovacs N79 did well on most of our cleaning tests. It was incredibly strong on hardwoods, scoring 98%+ on all four tests.

It struggled a little more on the low and high pile carpet tests, especially for sugar, however, it still scored 89%+ on six of the eight tests (with four of those being 100%).

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Score

Dimensions

13″ x 13″ x 3.1″

Power

Battery, 2,600 mAh

Run Time

~100 minute

Maintenance

~$25 / year

Weight

7.6 pounds

Best Upright Vacuums

Upright vacuums are perhaps the most common type of vacuum cleaner in most homes today. Their popularity in large part can be attributed to their cleaning versatility. They are generally great on all floor types and usually have a hose and/or extendable wand, allowing you to more easily clean stairs or hard to reach spots around your home.

Shark Rotator

The Shark Rotator Lift Away is our overall best upright vacuum cleaner. Despite being a budget friendly option as well, its cleaning performance and features were solid from top to bottom.

The Shark Rotator has a modern red and white aesthetic.

This is an AC powered traditional upright and comes equipped with a 30′ power cord. It comes packed with tools and accessories, including a dusting head for hardwood floors, dusting brush, crevice tool, upholstery tool, and powered pet brushroll.

Shark Rotator - best upright vacuum

Shark Rotator

Annual maintenance costs are quite good, averaging around $30 per year, which takes care of your HEPA filters, rolling brush, and dust-away pads each year.

Last but not least, we have cleaning. Overall, the Shark Rotator Lift Away performed well, scoring 92%+ on eight of our 12 cleaning tests.

It showed some struggles with ultra fine debris (sugar) on low and high pile carpet, where it scored 84% and 78%, respectively.

Beyond that, the only major struggle was with cereal, where it had a tendency to push the cereal around, due to the low height of the cleaning deck. As a result, for larger debris we would recommend using the Shark’s hose and appropriate cleaning tool.

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Score

Dimensions

12″ x 12″ x 45.7″

Power

Plug in, 30′ cord

Maintenance

~$30 / year

Weight

15.5 pounds

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser

Our upright vacuum honorable mention award goes to the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser. This is an overall solid upright, but the tangle free cleaning head is really where this vacuum excels, especially as it relates to cleaning pet hair.

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser upright vacuum has Bissell’s standard green and black style.

This full-powered unit includes a 30′ cord and standard cord wrap on the rear of the unit. It’s a bit light on accessories, but does include the major staples, including a crevice tool and pet hair tool that attach to the extendable wand.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser - best upright vacuum value

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser

Annual maintenance costs will run you around $52 / year, if you follow Bissell’s recommendations to a T. However, a more reasonable filter replacement schedule will run you around $40 / year.

Overall cleaning performance was good, scoring 93%+ on five out 12 tests and 82%+ on nine out of 12 tests. The tangle free brushroll and design of the cleaning deck resulted in less than perfect performance on our cleaning tests.

Despite some of the cleaning struggles on our tests, I still like the tangle free brushroll design of the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser. This type of brushroll is typically only seen in more expensive vacuums. To have it at this price point is a major boon.

If your primary cleaning objective is eradicating pet hair around your home this is a great choice.

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Score

Dimensions

13.5″ x 12.4″ x 46.8″

Power

Plug in, 30′ cord

Maintenance

~$52 / year

Weight

8.2 pounds

Best Handheld Vacuums

If you have a larger vacuum cleaner, like an upright, stick, or canister, chances are you probably want (and need) a handheld vacuum as well. Handhelds go easily where other vacuum cleaners find difficulty in going. They typically are lightweight, portable, and ideal for tackling small messes in localized areas.

Shark Pet Perfect 2

The Shark Pet Perfect 2 is our current reigning champ as the best overall handheld vacuum cleaner. This cordless handheld vacuum has a great design, good battery, and motorized roller brush for serious agitation and dirt destruction.

The Pet Perfect 2 has a clean purple-and-black style. The elongated body is great for cleaning harder to reach and tight places.

Shark Pet Perfect 2

Shark Pet Perfect 2 – best handheld vacuum

The 18V battery capacity is unknown, but the runtime is around 15 minutes on a full charge. Where the Pet Perfect 2 really pulls ahead is simply attachments.

It comes equipped with three different attachment options, a motorized brushroll head (which doubles as the pet hair removal tool), a dusting brush, and a crevice tool.

The Shark Pet Perfect 2 did incredibly well on our cleaning tests, scoring 100% on eight out of 12 tests, and scoring 91%+ on the other four. This is among the best performances we’ve seen from a handheld on our cleaning tests.

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Score

Dimensions

4.6″ x 15.7″ x 6.1″

Power

Battery

Run Time

~15 minute

Maintenance

~$31 / year

Weight

4.2 pounds

Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip

When we were deciding on the best value handheld vacuum it was no question— the Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip easily dominated the rest of the field. This small red monster is inexpensive (usually $20-$30), compact and versatile, and it has some serious suction.

The Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip has an all red body with a cleaning nose that can be used flush with the vacuum or flipped out for extra reach.

Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip - best handheld vacuum

Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip

This is an AC-powered unit with a 16′ long cord. The Quick Flip includes three attachment cleaning heads, the standard Quick Flip nose (the yellow thing), a 2.5′ long reach hose, and a bristle brush head.

The Scorpion Quick Flip scored 95%+ on 10 of our 12 cleaning tests. The only area where it somewhat struggled was kitty litter and sugar on high pile carpets, scoring 89% and 87%, respectively.

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Score

Dimensions

13.7″ x 6.4″ x 8.5″

Power

Plug in, 16′ cord

Maintenance

~$10 / year

Weight

3.8 pounds

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser

Last, but not least, we have the tiniest titan of them all, the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser. This corded handheld vacuum is designed to dominate pet hair, but it also does a solid job across most debris types.

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser has sharp contrasting pink, clear, and black style.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser small handheld vacuum review

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser

It’s 10″ long and 8″ tall (if you include the handle, and 6″ without the handle). This is an AC powered unit and the cord is 16′. The Pet Hair Eraser only includes two attachments: the rubber contour nozzle (for removing pet hair) and a hard plastic nozzle (for everything else).

Cleaning performance overall was solid. The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser scored a 91%+ on 10 of our 12 cleaning tests, slightly struggling with our hardwood cereal test and high pile carpet sugar test, where it scored 86%.

Nevertheless, this handheld vacuum is all about the pet hair removal, where it dominated.

We tested it against my cousin’s black lab’s dog bed, which was caked with thick, coarse, long black hairs. It was able to remove the vast majority of pet hairs and had the dog bed looking fresh and clean.

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Score

Dimensions

5″ x 10″ x 8″

Power

Plug in, 16′ cord

Maintenance

~$11 / year

Weight

5 pounds

Best Stick Vacuums

Stick vacuums sometimes get a bad rap as being perceived to have worse cleaning performance due to their slender profile and lightweight design. However, many stick vacuums are just as high performance as comparably priced upright and canister vacuums.

Stick vacuums are great if you want something that’s lightweight and highly maneuverable. These vacuums are often cordless, and their slender build makes it incredibly easy to clean quickly.

Dyson V6

Based on our tests thus far, the Dyson V6 holds the title of our best stick vacuum. The V6 vacuum cleaner isn’t cheap (usually in the $250-$300 price range), but it does offer great features, versatility, and cleaning performance.

The Dyson V6 stick vacuum’s design really is an extension of the Dyson V6 Trigger handheld vacuum’s design. The motor, handle, dustbin, and battery are all virtually the same, with the extension wand and motorized brushroll being the primary difference.

Dyson V6 cordless - best stick vacuum

Dyson V6 cordless

This unit is power by a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 2,200 mAh. The battery powers the unit for approximately 20 minutes on normal cleaning mode or 6 minutes on MAX cleaning mode.

The V6 Dyson comes packed with accessories, including a motorized brushroll, extension wand, charger, dusting brush, mattress tool, dirt brush, crevice tool, and wall mount.

Cleaning performance was great. The Dyson V6 vacuum score 99% on nine out of our 12 cleaning tests.

The one test where it struggled across the board was cereal. The size of the cereal was simply too large and it caused clogging issues on all three floor types. However, beyond this one hiccup the cleaning performance was nearly flawless.

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Score

Dimensions

8.7″ x 9.8″ x 47.5″

Power

Battery, 2,200 mAh

Run Time

~20 minute

Maintenance

~$49 / year

Weight

4.5 pounds

Electrolux Ergorapido

The Electrolux Ergorapido easily takes the cake as the best value stick vacuum we’ve tested. It may not have all the fancy bells and whistles, but it gets the job done at an impressive price point (usually around $130).

The Ergorapido incorporates a 2-in-1 design. The vacuum can be a traditional stick vacuum or can be converted into a portable handheld.

This unit uses a combination of straight suction and a motorized brushroll to clean. It’s powered by a 10.8V lithium ion battery and has a run time of around 20 minutes. The battery takes around four hours to charge.

Electrolux Ergorapido - best stick vacuum

Electrolux Ergorapido

The Electrolux Ergorapido comes with only basic accessories, including a crevice tool, dusting brush, charging cable, and HEPA filter.

While cleaning performance wasn’t perfect, considering the price, I still consider it to be incredibly good. The Electrolux Ergorapido scored 92%+ on nine out of our 12 cleaning tests.

Its greatest struggle was cleaning cereal from hardwood floors, where it had a tendency to push the cereal around due to the low profile of the cleaning deck. Never-the-less, it exhibited a solid value performance.

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Score

Dimensions

5″ x 10.8″ x 42.5″

Power

Battery

Run Time

~21 minute

Maintenance

~$30 / year

Weight

5.5 pounds

Best Canister Vacuums

Canister vacuums may seem a bit old fashioned, but these units still have a lot to offer. They are ideal if you prefer all the power of a traditional upright, but with a greater ability to target specific areas with the extendable wand / hose.

Miele Compact C1

Not only is the Miele Compact C1 the best canister vacuum, but it may be the best vacuum of all the vacuums we’ve tested. This canister delivers incredible cleaning performance, but still prioritizes mobility and maneuverability so you never feel tied down to the unit itself.

The Miele C1 has a simple grey and black two-tone design. The unit includes a carry handle for when you need to move it large distances, and also includes wheels on the base, so it can easily be towed behind you as you clean from room to room.

This is an AC powered unit and includes a 18′ cord and 5′ hose.

Miele C1 Compact - best canister vacuum

Miele C1 Compact

It comes with a handful of accessories, including: a pure suction combination floorhead, a pure suction hardwood floorhead, dusting brush, upholstery tool, crevice tool, and accessories clip.

Now, let’s move onto how well it cleans. In a word—  perfection…The Miele C1 compact scored a 100% on 10 of our 12 cleaning tests and a 99% on the remaining two tests. Its powerful suction, versatile cleaning heads, and targeted wand suction allowed it to crush all of our cleaning tests without issue.

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Score

Dimensions

18.2″ x 11″ x 18.2″

Power

Plug in, 18′ cord

Maintenance

~$36 / year

Weight

16.1 pounds

Dirt Devil Easy Lite

Taking home our award for the best canister vacuum by value goes to the Dirt Devil Easy Lite. This tiny canister vacuum delivers more than I expected considering the price point.

Aesthetically, the Dirt Devil Easy Lite uses the classic Dirt Devil red and black.

The unit includes wheels on the base for easy mobility. The Dirt Devil Easy Lite is powered via a standard AC connection and has a power cord 20′ long. The wand is a little less than 4′ long.

Dirt Devil Easy Lite - best canister vacuum

Dirt Devil Easy Lite

Accessories are held to a minimum, which I expect helps keeps the costs lower, but you do get an extendable wand, a floor cleaning head, a dusting brush, and a crevice tool.

Lastly, but not least, lets look at cleaning performance. The Dirt Devil Easy Lite scored 99%+ on nine out of our 12 cleaning test. The only area where it struggled was cereal, where scores fell below 50% in each test, due to clogging.

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Score

Dimensions

22″ x 12.8″ x 13.2″

Power

Plug in, 20′ cord

Maintenance

~$19 / year

Weight

11.8 pounds

Bissell Hard Floor Expert

The Bissell Hard Floor Expert is the winner of our best canister honorable mention award. This canister vacuum strikes a nice balance of performance across all floors, but does especially well on hardwoods, tile, and other hard surfaces.

With respect to style, the Bissell Hard Floor Expert stepped outside of the norm with a striking brown, orange, and gray aesthetic. This canister vacuum includes a handle on top for easy carrying, in addition to large wheels on the base so you can easily tow the unit.

Bissell Hard Floor Expert best canister vacuum

Bissell Hard Floor Expert

The Bissell Hard Floor Expert includes an 18′ cord and 7′ hose. Notably, the cord is retractable, and with the push of a button you can automatically retract the cord back inside the unit.

The Bissell Hard Floor Expert includes a hard floor head, multi-surface head, crevice tool, and dusting brush.

Cleaning performance was overall quite good, scoring 94%+ on nine out of 12 cleaning tests.

The one area of struggle was cereal on hardwood floors. When using the hardwood floor cleaning head we saw disappointing performance, with only 15% of the debris removed.

However, when we switched to the multi-surface tool it was back to near perfection at 99% debris removed.

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Score

Dimensions

19.2″ x 12.9″ x 15″

Power

Plug in, 18′ cord

Maintenance

~$51 / year

Weight

9.3 pounds

Best Vacuums Conclusions

Still not sure what’s the best vacuum cleaner for you? We’re always available to help.

Send us an email using our contact form here. Or take a look at some of our other resources that can help you make an informed decision:

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