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 70 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations of 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 clears pet hair and debris without losing suction as its dirtbag fills up. It's also equipped with 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 useful 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're looking for a robot vacuum to help keep your floors allergen-free, consider the iRobot Roomba S9 instead. This model doesn't perform as well on bare floors as the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine, but it offers a mostly hands-off way of cleaning. It's equipped with an allergen-trapping HEPA filter and is very effective at clearing pet hair and fine debris from surfaces like hardwood or laminate. If you're concerned about allergens escaping when you empty the dirt compartment, you can purchase a charging dock with a dirtbag built-in, though we haven't tested this feature. The vacuum automatically empties itself into this external dirtbag, which you just need to dispose of it when full. Unfortunately, like many robot vacuums, this model incurs high recurring costs and is difficult to maintain.
If you want the best performance, or if you want to be able to clean stairs or furniture, go for the Miele. If you prefer something that cleans with minimal intervention from you, try the iRobot instead.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is the best vacuum for allergies for carpets that we've tested. This upright model delivers a fantastic performance on low and high-pile carpets. It's equipped with an allergen-trapping HEPA filter and doesn't lose suction as its spacious dirt compartment fills up.
Its large, ball-like wheel makes it easier to maneuver in tight or cluttered spaces. You can detach the wand from the head to use it in a semi-handheld configuration, which is useful if you want to clean shelves, stairs, or your car. It comes with several tools and brushes that can help with different cleaning jobs, including a turbo brush for dislodging dirt from fabric-covered furniture. Also, the long power cord should allow you to clean big rooms without worrying about swapping outlets too often.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have the best build quality, since it's mostly made of plastic that feels a bit flimsy. It's also a fairly heavy vacuum that takes a good amount of space to store. Otherwise, if you're concerned about allergens, it's a great option for keeping your carpets clean. It's even one of the best vacuums for carpets that we've tested.
If you're looking for a cordless vacuum for your carpeted home, you may prefer the Dyson V7 Animal. This stick/handheld model struggles more than the Dyson Animal Ball 2 with large debris like sand on carpets, but its range is practically unlimited, as long as the battery is charged and it has space left in its dirt compartment. It's also much lighter and more portable. It delivers impressive overall performance on low and high-pile carpets and is equipped with an allergen-trapping HEPA filter. You can reconfigure it into a handheld mode, which is helpful if you're cleaning your car or another awkward space. The battery provides about 30 minutes of continuous use if the vacuum is set to its lowest power mode, but unfortunately, it's depleted in roughly eight minutes if you use the most powerful 'Max' mode.
Go for the Ball Animal 2 if you want the best performance and don't mind its bulkier, corded design. If you want a cordless vacuum or prefer a stick model, the V7 animal is a good alternative.
The best vacuum for allergies that we've tested in the budget category is the Shark ION W1 WANDVAC. This affordable handheld model is very portable, thanks to its small, lightweight design. It's easy to take apart and maintain and incurs virtually no recurring costs since it uses a washable HEPA filter to trap allergens.
It delivers a good performance on bare surfaces like linoleum flooring or tiled countertops, where it easily clears pet hair and small, fine debris like baking soda. It easily clears pet hair from low and high-pile carpets, too. There's a combination extension wand, crevice tool, and soft bristle brush included for cleaning out-of-reach or narrow areas, as well as an upholstery tool for use on fabric-covered furniture.
Unfortunately, like most handheld vacuums, it has a tiny dirt compartment and its battery is depleted quickly, after roughly eight minutes of continuous use. It also struggles with clearing debris from high-pile carpets, so you may need to go over those surfaces more than once to clean them properly. That said, if you're looking for a budget-friendly vacuum for quick clean-ups, it's a great option.
Jan 27, 2021: Verified that picks are still the best recommendations for our users and that the products are available.
Jan 13, 2021: Added the iRobot Roomba i7+ to Notable Mentions.
Dec 21, 2020: Added the Kenmore Intuition Bagged to Notable Mentions.
Dec 08, 2020: Added the HoLife HM036E to Notable Mentions.
Nov 17, 2020: Replaced the Shark Navigator Lift-Away with the Shark ION W1 WANDVAC in the 'Best Budget Vacuum For Allergies' category.
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.