A vacuum that can contain the spread of dust and debris can be invaluable if you suffer from allergies. A HEPA filter is a good starting point, as it 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 130 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 the inclusion of a HEPA filter but also on their design and price. For more buying recommendations, look at our lists of the best HEPA vacuums, the best cordless vacuums for pet hair, and the best robot vacuums for pet hair.
The SEBO Airbelt D4 is the best vacuum for allergies we've tested. This high-end canister vacuum delivers superb performance on most surfaces and features an S-Class filtration system made up of a three-layer dirtbag, a pre-motor filter, and a micro-fiber exhaust filter that's remarkably effective in trapping allergens like dust or pollen. Its sealed canister body feels very well-built and is remarkably easy to maintain. Recurring costs are very low for a bagged model because it uses dirtbags with a large capacity and long-lasting filters. Performance is very strong across a range of surfaces, even with a simple straight suction floorhead, though you might want to purchase SEBO's ET-1 or ET-2 powerhead for cleaning carpets.
That said, this vacuum has a somewhat stiff hose and is a little on the heavier side, making it a little more of a hassle to maneuver around in very tight areas compared to alternatives like the Miele Complete C3. The Miele is also an excellent choice if you suffer from allergies, as it has an allergen-sealed construction, uses the manufacturer's proprietary AirClean 3D dirtbags, and you can bundle it with a HEPA filter, allowing it to filter out 99.9% of common allergens. However, it has a shorter range than the SEBO, uses much smaller dirtbags, and its filters don't last as long, resulting in higher recurring costs.
The best upper mid-range vacuum for allergies we've tested is the Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog PowerLine. This bagged canister vacuum doesn't feel as robust as the SEBO Airbelt D4 and lacks a built-in tool storage compartment. However, the Cat & Dog variant is cheaper than the SEBO while offering excellent overall filtration performance, courtesy of a three-stage filtration system with an activated charcoal filter to help trap odors. However, if you want a HEPA-rated post-motor filter, you can buy one separately or spring for the pricier C1 Home Care variant. This model also comes with Miele's SEB 217-3 powerbrush floorhead, which is great for working debris from carpets, as well as a straight-suction parquet tool for use on hard floors. It's more maneuverable than the SEBO, thanks to a slightly lighter and smaller canister body.
Unfortunately, this vacuum incurs higher recurring costs than the SEBO, as it uses smaller dirtbags and filters that don't last as long. It also has a shorter operating range, so you might need to swap outlets when cleaning really large areas.
If you're shopping at a mid-range price point, the best HEPA vacuum for allergies we've tested is the Airsign HEPA Vacuum. It feels less well-built than the Cat & Dog variant of the Miele Classic C1 and has a shorter power cable, but it's a lot cheaper while still offering good filtration performance. It has an onboard HEPA filter with charcoal filtration, helping to seal in fine allergens and minimize odor, and uses biodegradable dirtbags with a built-in seal cover. It's partially made from recycled materials, which is great if you're looking for a more environmentally-conscious vacuum. It has a simple design that's easy to maintain. The canister body is pretty compact, enabling you to store it in small closets without too much effort.
Performance on most surfaces is good, even with a basic straight suction floorhead. However, it isn't the best option for cleaning dense carpeting, as the vacuum isn't currently offered with a powerbrush.
If you don't mind exchanging the compact size and maneuverability of a canister vacuum like the Airsign HEPA Vacuum for a lower purchase price, the Kenmore Intuition Bagged is worth considering. It has an onboard HEPA filter and uses dirtbags made of HEPA-rated media, reducing the spread of fine particles while cleaning. The dirtbag can be quickly released from its housing with the press of a single latch, meaning there won't be a large plume of dust released while disposing of it. Unfortunately, there's no way of adjusting its floorhead height, so you might have trouble climbing onto uneven surfaces, like shag carpeting.
This vacuum does a fantastic job of cleaning pet hair as well as small and bulky debris on surfaces like hardwood or linoleum. There's even a brushroll on/off switch for its floorhead, so it won't send larger debris scattering everywhere when cleaning hard floors. It performs impressively well on low and high-pile carpet. Its 'Lift-Up' design lets you pick up and carry its canister body separately from its upright portion, making it easier to clean tight spots.
The best vacuum for pet hair and allergies at a budget-friendly price point that we've tested is the BISSELL Zing Bagged Canister. While it doesn't come bundled with a HEPA filter, you can buy aftermarket HEPA-rated bags and a HEPA filter to improve its air filtration performance and trap most airborne particles like pet dander or pollen. It doesn't have an allergen-sealed body, so you'll still want to step up to a pricier model like the Airsign HEPA Vacuum if you suffer from allergies and need the extra layer of filtration. It's small enough to be stored in most closets and weighs very little, making it easy to drag around from room to room. Unusually for a vacuum in this price bracket, its power cord can be rewound with a button, though be aware that the cord is short.
With its floorhead bristles retracted, this vacuum does a good job of cleaning up solid debris on low and high-pile carpeting, but it struggles with bulkier debris, which can clog its suction inlet. Pet hair also tends to get stuck in its floorhead when the bristles are extended. Consider the Eureka Mighty Mite if you want a more budget-conscious vacuum that delivers a stronger performance. You can use aftermarket HEPA-rated bags and a HEPA filter with the Eureka. However, be aware that some models have vents behind their rear wheels, bypassing any post-motor filtration and negating the benefit of using a HEPA filter.
The best cordless vacuum for allergies we've tested is the Samsung Jet 75. Generally speaking, compared to a bagged vacuum like the Miele Classic C1, bagless vacuums like this aren't the best option for those with allergies, as emptying a dustbin can release a cloud of dust and debris. However, the Complete variant of this vacuum comes with a self-emptying docking station, a rare feature for a cordless vacuum at this price point. With the press of a switch, debris is sucked from the vacuum's dustbin into an external dirtbag without generating a plume of dust. Besides, the vacuum's five-stage filtration system is also pretty effective in sealing in fine allergens like pet dander, though not quite to the same extent as the SEBO Aibelt D4's hospital-grade filtration system.
It doesn't offer the same level of deep-cleaning performance as the SEBO or Miele, but its 200 AW motor is plenty powerful for a vacuum of this type and results in good overall debris pickup on both bare floors and carpeting. Its cordless design also makes it easier to deploy for the occasional cleaning.
Apr 06, 2023: Added Miele Classic C1 PowerLine Pure Suction to Notable Mentions.
Feb 07, 2023: Replaced Samsung Jet 75 with Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog PowerLine as 'Best Upper Mid-Range Vacuum For Allergies'. Recategorized Samsung Jet 75 as 'Best Cordless Vacuum For Allergies'.
Dec 20, 2022: Replaced Roborock H7 with Samsung Jet 75 as 'Best Upper Mid-Range Vacuum For Allergies' due to current availability. Removed less relevant Notable Mention picks.
Oct 21, 2022: Recategorized Roborock H7 as 'Best Upper Mid-Range Vacuum For Allergies'. Recategorized Kenmore Intuition Bagged as 'Best Lower Mid-Range Vacuum For Allergies'. Removed the 'Best Robot Vacuum For Allergies' category. Added Samsung Bespoke Jet and Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra to Notable Mentions.
Jul 12, 2022: Extensive article restructuring. Recategorized SEBO Airbelt D4 as 'Best Vacuum For Allergies'. Recategorized Kenmore Intuition Bagged as 'Best Upright Vacuum For Allergies'. Added Airsign HEPA Vacuum as 'Best Mid-Range Vacuum For Allergies' pick. Replaced Wyze Cordless Vacuum with BISSELL Zing Bagged Canister as 'Best Budget Vacuum For Allergies' pick. Replaced Dyson V15 Detect with Roborock H7 as 'Best Cordless Vacuum For Allergies'. Added Dyson V15 Detect, NaceCare HVR 200 Henry, Dyson Humdinger, and Hoover WindTunnel Tempo Bagged to Notable Mentions. Removed Dyson V8 Animal, Shark Rocket Pet Pro with MultiFlex IZ163H, Shark ION W1 WANDVAC, Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV, iRobot Roomba i7+, iRobot Roomba 981, Dyson V7 Animal, Dyson Ball Animal 2, Wyze Handheld Vacuum, Eureka FloorRover Elite NEU630, and Samsung Jet 70 Pet from Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best vacuum cleaners 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 there's no single best vacuum for dust or other fine allergens, some are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.