If you live in an apartment, you know some of the considerations you must 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 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 regarding features or capability.
We've tested over 130 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 Samsung Jet 75. This cordless stick vacuum delivers strong performance at a relatively affordable price point, with a potent 200AW motor borrowed from the pricier Samsung Jet 90 Complete. This results in exceptional debris pickup on bare floors and great performance on low and high-pile rugs. It has a wall-mount rack station that holds the vacuum upright when not in use and features mounting slots for its included attachments, freeing up extra space in your closet. It's also very lightweight, making it a cinch to maneuver in cluttered environments. Its removable, swappable battery pack yields a max runtime of about an hour. Going for a pricier '+' variant of this vacuum gets you a second pack, which is great for longer cleaning sessions, as long as you have both batteries fully charged.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have automatic power adjustment, so you'll need to manually adjust its suction power setting depending on the floor type you're cleaning. If that's a must-have, the Tineco PURE ONE S11 is a worthy substitute, even if it has a less potent suction motor, a shorter battery life, and flimsier build quality. It's also worth noting that the Jet 75's dustbin can't be fully removed from its body, making it a hassle to empty if you don't go for the high-end Complete variant that comes bundled with the brand's self-emptying base station.
If you're shopping at a mid-range price point, the Shark Cordless Pro is among the best vacuums for small apartments. This cordless stick vacuum has a less potent suction motor than the Samsung Jet 75 and a smaller capacity battery that yields a shorter max runtime of a little over 40 minutes. That said, it's got a lot of other things going for it, even discounting its cheaper purchase price. Unlike the Samsung model, it has an automatic power adjustment feature that enables it to adjust its suction power setting depending on the amount of debris on the ground. It also features a somewhat unique odor neutralization system; a replaceable cartridge in its floorhead emits a detergent-like scent to help mask unpleasant odors. However, this scent can become a little overwhelming if you live in a smaller apartment and vacuum daily.
Performance on flat surfaces like hardwood or linoleum is fantastic. The vacuum uses a different floorhead design than most other Shark models, as it features a fluffy roller with anti-tangle fins that you can easily remove, making it a cinch to clear away any tangled debris. Performance on carpets is alright overall, though it falls behind the more powerful Samsung in this respect. Check out the Samsung Jet 60 if you want a bit more pep, but be aware that it's a little less sturdily built and doesn't do as well on bare floors.
The best vacuum for small apartments at a budget-friendly price that we've tested is the Eureka Mighty Mite. It doesn't have the go-anywhere range of a cordless model like the Shark Cordless Pro, but it's also much cheaper, and its corded design makes it a better option for longer cleaning sessions. It's very compact, especially for a canister vacuum, so fitting it in a closet isn't hard. Its lightweight construction enables you to carry it wherever you may need it within your apartment. While its simple design feels cheap in places, it's very easy to maintain, with its dirtbag and filter being readily accessible. Performance is also very strong across a wide range of surface types.
Looking for something even more inexpensive? Check out the BISSELL Featherweight Stick. This bagless upright has a remarkably simple design and doesn't use disposable dirtbags resulting in lower operating costs. It's also even more compact, making it a cinch to store upright in most apartments. However, its overall performance lags behind the Eureka, especially when clearing heavy, bulky debris or messes on carpets and rugs.
If you only need something for quick clean-ups, the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ is among the best vacuum for apartments we've tested. While it's less well-suited to cleaning large areas than similarly-priced full-size models like the Eureka Mighty Mite, it's still remarkably effective when dealing with small amounts of debris on flat surfaces like countertops, shelves, and bare and carpeted floors. Unfortunately, while the CH951 variant comes with a turbo brush attachment, it has a hard time dealing with hair on upholstered surfaces, so you're better off using its hard-bristle brush or crevice tool for this kind of use. Its battery life of a little over 10 minutes is also poor, even by the standards of other handheld vacuums, and forces you to work fast when dealing with more stubborn messes. The battery also isn't removable, so you can't swap in a new pack if the current unit doesn't hold onto a charge as well as it used to.
While it's on the larger side for a handheld vacuum, it's still very lightweight and takes up very little space, allowing you to store it in a cupboard or a closet when not in use. However, it does a terrible job of sealing in allergens due to its rudimentary filtration system. If that's an issue, the Shark WANDVAC is a good substitute, albeit with a much smaller dustbin and worse performance when cleaning up bulky debris, which can clog its suction inlet.
If you aren't overly concerned about deep-cleaning performance and want a hands-off way to keep your apartment's floors clean, look at the Wyze Robot Vacuum. It doesn't do as well on rugs or carpets as a manually-operated vacuum like the Shark Cordless Pro. However, since you can schedule it to clean daily, there'll be fewer large messes. It features a LIDAR mapping system, which is rare for a model at this price point, and it allows it to navigate obstacles even within a cluttered environment like a small apartment. Better yet, it allows the vacuum to plot a course through your home without a strong ambient light source, 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 easy to use and lets you set up virtual boundary markers, schedule cleaning sessions in advance, or change its suction power level. It has an onboard HEPA filter, which helps seal in fine particles, like dust or pet dander.
Jun 08, 2023: Replaced Samsung Jet 75 Complete with Samsung Jet 75+ as 'Best Apartment Vacuum' due to current pricing. Replaced Samsung Jet 60 with Shark Cordless Pro as 'Best Mid-Range Apartment Vacuum' pick due to current pricing.
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 under $400, 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.