If you live in an apartment, you're aware of some of the considerations you need to make when choosing a vacuum. Space is at a premium, so having an appliance that's maneuverable and easy to store is crucial. Cleaning performance is important since you may need to deal with various kinds of messes. Of course, those aren't the only criteria when selecting a vacuum for this environment. Affordability can also be a concern, but today's product landscape offers no shortage of budget-friendly options that sacrifice little in terms of features or capability.
We've tested over 115 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuums for apartments. We selected these picks for their performance on different surfaces, their design, and their price. For more options, check out our lists of the best lightweight vacuums, the best handheld vacuums, and the best multi-surface vacuums.
The best vacuum for apartments we've tested is the Airsign HEPA Vacuum. This canister vacuum has an unconventional eco-friendly design, with a body made partially from recycled plastic and biodegradable dirtbags. Build quality is decent, and its simple construction lets you access various components with minimal effort. The minimalist canister body is very compact, so you can easily store it in a nook between furniture or in a closet. The vacuum's thermoplastic polyurethane wheels roll smoothly and quietly, allowing the vacuum to easily climb over obstructions like electrical cords. However, it has a very short power cord, so you'll probably need to swap outlets when vacuuming other rooms. If having a longer range is a priority, the Miele Classic C1 is a good alternative, but it's pricier, bigger, and doesn't come bundled with a HEPA filter.
Performance on bare floors is exceptional, and the vacuum does a decent job of dealing with debris on low and high-pile carpet, even with a somewhat basic pure suction floorhead. There are three power modes and a suction slider under its handle, meaning you can adapt to a fairly wide variety of surfaces.
The best vacuum for small apartments for under $100 that we've tested is the Eureka Mighty Mite. This canister vacuum is small enough to be easily stored in closets and has a lightweight construction that enables you to carry it wherever you need it. While its simple design feels somewhat cheap in places, it's very easy to maintain, with the few parts that need regular cleaning being easy to access. If you don't want to swap in a new dirtbag now and then, the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister is also worth a look, but be aware that emptying its dustbin can release a plume of dust. It also has a shorter range than the Mighty Mite.
This vacuum performs remarkably well on flat, even surfaces like hardwood, linoleum, or tile floors. While it has a rather basic floorhead that lacks an air-driven turbo brush or even a motorized electrobrush, you can extend or retract the floorhead's bristles just in case you want to clean any small rugs or carpets. Suction performance remains consistent as its dustbin fills up, so you shouldn't need to replace it too frequently.
The BISSELL Featherweight Stick 2033 is a good option if you're looking for an apartment vacuum and want to spend as little as possible. This cheap, lightweight vacuum has a simple design that's very easy to maintain, though it does feel somewhat fragile in places. It doesn't use a dirtbag and has a washable dust cup filter and pre-motor mesh filter, so recurring costs are practically nonexistent. You can reconfigure it into a handheld vacuum to clean areas like shelves and furniture with ease, and it comes with a crevice tool to tackle messes in tight corners.
Performance on bare floors is great, as it easily cleans pet hair and small debris. However, while it also has no trouble sucking up bulky material with an empty dirt compartment, it can struggle to clear this kind of debris as it fills up. Also, this vacuum has a very short power cord, so you might need to swap outlets when cleaning larger rooms.
The best vacuum for small apartments with a cordless design that we've tested is the Wyze Cordless Vacuum. It's lighter than many other cordless stick models, making it easy to maneuver in tight spaces or carry wherever you need it. However, some components feel somewhat fragile, like the easily-scratched dustbin and top floorhead plate. It offers up to nearly an hour of runtime on a single charge, though battery life drops dramatically if you run it continuously in its high-power 'TURBO' mode, so you need to work fast if you have a lot of high-pile rugs in your apartment.
This vacuum does a fantastic job dealing with pet hair and small debris on bare floors, though bulky material can get stuck at the entry to its dustbin. It also performs amazingly well overall on low and high-pile rugs and carpets. It has an allergen-trapping HEPA filter, so it's a suitable option if you're worried about fine particulates.
The best vacuum for apartments with a handheld design we've tested is the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. This compact cordless vacuum is remarkably effective when dealing with debris on bare, flat surfaces like countertops or shelves but also does an excellent job clearing away messes on low and high-pile carpets and rugs. It does a fantastic job of sucking up pet hair on various floor types, though its turbo brush attachment isn't very effective when dealing with hair on upholstered furniture. Its battery life of a little over 10 minutes also forces you to work fast when dealing with more stubborn messes.
This vacuum is lightweight and takes up very little space, allowing you to store it in a cupboard or a closet when not in use. Unfortunately, unlike alternatives like the Wyze Handheld Vacuum, it doesn't have a HEPA filter to help trap allergens as you clean, and it does a terrible job of sealing in fine particulates, meaning it isn't the best option if you suffer from allergies. That said, the Wyze has a much harder time dealing with bulky debris, which can clog its suction inlet.
The Wyze Robot Vacuum is a great option if you're looking for a hands-off way to keep your apartment's floors clean. This robot vacuum features a LIDAR mapping system, which is rare for a model at this price point, and it allows it to navigate around obstacles even within a cluttered environment like a small apartment. Better still, it can do so without a strong source of ambient light, so you can let it run while you're out and about. Performance on bare floors is fantastic, though the vacuum does have a harder time dealing with debris on carpeted surfaces.
Its companion app is pretty easy to use and lets you set up virtual boundary markers or schedule cleaning sessions in advance or change its suction power level. It has an onboard HEPA filter, which is somewhat helpful in sealing in fine particles, making it a solid option if you have a heavily-shedding pet.
Jul 04, 2022: Article restructuring to better align with user expectations. Added Airsign HEPA Vacuum as the new 'Best Apartment Vacuum' pick. Recategorized Eureka Mighty Mite as 'Best Apartment Vacuum Under $100'. Recategorized BISSELL Featherweight Stick 2033 as 'Best Apartment Vacuum Under $50'. Added Wyze Robot Vacuum to recommendations as the new 'Best Robot Vacuum For Apartments' pick. Removed BISSELL Adapt Ion Pet and eufy RoboVac 11S from Notable Mentions.
Apr 29, 2022: Ensured all main picks are still available and represent the best fit for user needs and expectations.
Mar 02, 2022: Ensured all main picks are still available and represent the best option for user needs and expectations.
Jan 04, 2022: Re-categorized Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ from 'Handheld Alternative' pick to new 'Best Handheld Vacuum For Apartments' category pick.
Nov 05, 2021: Added Wyze Cordless Vacuum as new 'Best Cordless Vacuum For Apartments' pick.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best vacuums for apartments. We don't just base our results on overall performance, but also factors like availability, price, and reader feedback.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of vacuums at an affordable price, with considerations made for portability and storage capability. 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.