A vacuum that can contain the spread of dust and debris can be invaluable if you suffer from serious allergies. A HEPA filter is a good starting point, as they can help trap allergens as you clean. A dirtbag can also be a handy addition since it reduces the chances of having dust escape when emptying the appliance. Overall cleaning performance is important, especially when trying to pick up debris like pet hair or dust. While those aren't the only criteria for this list, they are the most important in determining whether or not a vacuum will be effective in reducing the spread of allergens.
We've tested more than 100 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuums for allergies. These recommendations are based not only on their cleaning performance on different types of surfaces and inclusion of a HEPA filter but also on their design and price. For more buying recommendations, take a look at our list of the best cordless vacuums for pet hair, the best robot vacuums for pet hair, and the best vacuums for carpets.
The Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine is the best vacuum for allergies on bare floors that we've tested. This canister-style model delivers an incredible performance on bare surfaces like hardwood and linoleum, where it easily cleans pet hair and debris without losing suction as its dirtbag fills up. It also has an allergen-trapping HEPA filter.
It's amazingly well-built and maneuverable, with smoothly rolling rubber wheels and a stainless steel wand you can use to reach awkward areas like under furniture. You can switch it into a semi-handheld mode, which is helpful if you're cleaning stairs or shelves, and you can choose from seven different suction power settings. It also does an excellent job of cleaning low and high-pile carpets, which is great if you have a few rugs in your home.
Unfortunately, its power cord is a bit short, so you may need to swap outlets if you're cleaning a big room or staircase. It also incurs fairly high recurring costs since its dirtbag, HEPA filter, and pre-motor filter all need to be replaced regularly. That said, its design and versatile performance make it a great option if you're concerned about allergens. It's also one of the best vacuums we've tested.
If you prefer the ergonomics of an upright vacuum and don't want to spend quite as much, consider the Kenmore Intuition Bagged. This corded bagged vacuum isn't nearly as well-built as the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine and struggles a little more with clearing pet hair from this surface type, but its upright design may suit some users better, and it is substantially cheaper. It also does a fantastic job clearing bulky debris like cereal and small debris like rice from bare floors. If you want to tackle messes in tight corners, its 'Lift-Up' function allows you to pick up and carry its canister and clean with its extension wand. Its power cord is fairly long, so you don't need to worry about swapping electrical outlets even when cleaning larger rooms, though its hose is fairly short. It does incur recurring costs, though they're lower thanks to its larger dirtbag and washable, reusable pre-motor and HEPA filters. Unfortunately, this vacuum can be a bit of a hassle to maneuver due to its bulky front-mounted dirtbag compartment, which can get in the way when cleaning under tables and couches. There also isn't any surface-type adjustment for its primary head.
Get the Miele if you want a better-built, more fully-featured vacuum, but consider the Kenmore if you're looking for a more affordable upright that can still handle messes on bare floors.
The Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright is the best vacuum for allergies for carpets that we've tested. This corded upright uses a bagless design, has washable reusable pre-motor, and includes allergen-trapping HEPA filters, so recurring costs shouldn't be an issue. Its primary head also features three levels of surface adjustment, which can be used for when you're vacuuming bare floors, low-pile carpet, or high-pile carpet.
This vacuum delivers outstanding performance on low-pile carpet, where it easily cleans pet hair, fine debris like baking soda, and larger material like sand. It also delivers impressive performance on high-pile carpet, though you may need to make an extra pass to fully clean fine debris. Its 'Lift-Away' design lets you detach the canister from the vacuum body and carry it around, making it easier to clean tight spots.
Unfortunately, this vacuum isn't very maneuverable. While the rotating vacuum head can help in this respect, the bulky top-mounted canister gets in the way when cleaning under tables and chairs, while some rugs can get caught in the head's brushroll. Also, many parts need regular cleaning. Still, if you're looking for an upright vacuum with a HEPA filter that can clean most messes on carpets, this is a good option.
If you prefer the go-anywhere range of a cordless vacuum, consider the Dyson V15 Detect. It doesn't offer the virtually indefinite runtime of the corded Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright and has a smaller dirt compartment. However, its range is effectively limited only by battery charge and space in its dirt compartment, so you don't need to worry about staying close to an electrical outlet. It's also significantly more maneuverable thanks to its smaller, lighter design and can be easily reconfigured into a compact handheld vacuum to easily clean shelves, counters, and tables. Performance is similarly fantastic on low-pile carpet, and the Dyson does a better job than the Shark of clearing fine debris like baking soda from high-pile carpet. Unfortunately, this vacuum's strong suction force can cause it to drag around some lighter rugs. Also, its all-plastic construction doesn't feel particularly robust, and many parts need regular cleaning.
Get the Shark if you want a corded vacuum that feels more solidly built, but consider the Dyson if you want the virtually unlimited range of a cordless vacuum.
The best robot vacuum for allergies that we've tested is the iRobot Roomba S9. This premium robot vacuum features an on-board HEPA filter that helps to trap allergens as you clean. It does a fantastic job of cleaning up pet hair on a wide variety of surface types and clears a good amount of fine and large debris, like baking soda or sand, from low and high-pile carpets, though it still may need to make another pass to clear it all.
This vacuum feels amazingly well-built thanks to its high-grade plastic body and durable rubber wheels. It offers fantastic overall battery performance, though this can vary in the real world depending on your choice of settings. It does a great job of maneuvering itself and supports a wide range of automation features. You can use its companion app to set up virtual boundary markers or schedule individual room cleaning sessions. If you'd prefer not dealing with emptying its dustbin, you can buy it with an external dirt compartment built into its charging dock to automatically empty itself of debris.
Unfortunately, like many robot vacuums, many parts need to be cleaned regularly. Several components need periodic replacing, meaning that recurring costs can add up over time. Still, its wide variety of automation features, excellent build quality, and versatile overall performance make it one of the best vacuums for long hair that we've tested.
The best vacuum cleaner for allergies in the budget category is the Wyze Handheld Vacuum. This compact handheld vacuum is equipped with a HEPA filter to trap allergens as you clean. It feels well-built and is highly portable, which makes it easy to carry to any part of your home or even the inside of your car. It comes with a relatively wide assortment of tools, including a dedicated upholstery tool and an extension hose for cleaning far-away areas.
This vacuum does a fantastic job of cleaning pet hair from a wide variety of surface types, ranging from bare floors to low and high-pile carpet. It easily cleans small debris like rice from bare floors and fine and large material, like baking soda or sand, from carpets. If you have a particularly stubborn mess to deal with, you can increase its suction power. However, doing so drops its single-charge battery life from roughly half an hour to about 10 minutes, though this can vary in the real world.
Unfortunately, this vacuum does struggle with clearing bulky material, like cereal, which can sometimes block the entry to its dirt compartment. Its dustbin is also very small and needs frequent emptying. Otherwise, if you're looking for a compact, budget-friendly vacuum that can handle most messes, this is a solid choice.
Sep 21, 2021: Replaced 'Robot Alternative' pick with new 'Best Robot Vacuum For Allergies' category pick for consistency with other vacuum recommendation articles, removed iRobot Roomba S9 from Notable Mentions. Added new 'Cheaper Upright Alternative' category pick, removed Kenmore Intuition Bagged from Notable Mentions. Replaced HoLife HM036E with Wyze Handheld Vacuum as 'Best Budget Vacuum For Allergies' due to current availability. Removed Miele Dynamic U1 PowerLine from Notable Mentions due to current availability. Added iRobot Roomba 981 and Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV to Notable Mentions.
Jul 23, 2021: Replaced Dyson Ball Animal 2 with Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright as 'Best Vacuum For Allergies On Carpet' pick. Added Dyson Ball Animal 2 to Notable Mentions.
May 25, 2021: Replaced Dyson V7 Animal with Dyson V15 Detect as 'Cordless Alternative' pick. Added Dyson V7 Animal to Notable Mentions.
Mar 26, 2021: Replaced the iRobot Roomba S9 with the iRobot Roomba 981 as the 'Robot Alternative' in the 'Best For Bare Floors' category. Moved the iRobot Roomba S9 to Notable Mentions. Replaced the Shark ION W1 WANDVAC with the HoLife HM036E in the 'Best Budget' category and moved the Shark to Notable Mentions. Confirmed the other picks are in stock and still the best recommendations for our users.
Jan 27, 2021: Verified that picks are still the best recommendations for our users and that the products are available.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best vacuums for allergies for most people. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here's the list of all our reviews of vacuums equipped with an allergen-trapping HEPA filter. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no vacuum is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.