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The 5 Best Canister Vacuums - Winter 2023 Reviews

Best Canister Vacuums

Canister vacuums stand out from the crowd due to their compact design. They tend to have great maneuverability as they use a long hose and wand to get into hard-to-reach places while their canister body follows behind it on wheels. Many can also reconfigure to tackle different surface types or debris by swapping the vacuum head for different tools, which is handy if you're cleaning stairs or inside your car. Their canister bodies can hold a larger dirtbag or dirt compartment than stick vacuums, and some specially designed canister models can even tackle finer debris found in workshops or garages.

We've tested over 130 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best canister vacuums to buy. We select these picks not only based on their performance across a variety of surfaces but also their design and price. Look at our lists of the best vacuums, the best laminate floor vacuums, and the best multi-surface vacuum cleaners.

  1. Best Canister Vacuum Cleaner

    The Miele Complete C3 is the best canister vacuum we've tested. The Brilliant trim sits at the top of the C3 variant lineup and is correspondingly loaded with features. Like most C3s, it has seven levels of suction power adjustment, a power cord that retracts at the press of a button, an allergen-sealed body, and an onboard storage compartment for its dusting brush, upholstery tool, and crevice tool. However, it also comes with a parquet head for cleaning hard floors, a universal pure suction floorhead with retractable bristles for cleaning low and medium-pile carpet, as well as the height-adjustable SEB 236 powerhead, so you can quickly adapt to a variety of surface types. It also comes with the brand's flagship HEPA AirClean post-motor filter, making it a great option if you suffer from allergies.

    If the Brilliant is a little too pricey, consider the C3 Kona model, which comes with two floorheads instead of the Brilliant's three and lacks the latter's handle-mounted controls but delivers otherwise identical performance on most surfaces. If you want a vacuum with a longer range, check out the SEBO Airbelt D4. The SEBO is a similarly strong performer that incurs lower recurring costs since it uses higher-capacity dirtbags and longer-lasting filters. However, it's also noticeably heavier and bulkier than the Miele.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Canister Vacuum

    If you're shopping for a canister vacuum at a slightly lower price point, the Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog PowerLine is a great choice. Unlike the Miele Complete C3, all C1 models lack an onboard tool storage compartment and have a less sturdy-feeling body. That said, the C1 lineup does offer similar overall performance at a cheaper price point, with a higher-end variant like the C1 Cat & Dog being an especially close match. The C1 comes equipped with the same powerful 1200W motor as the C3, resulting in similarly strong suction performance. This variant is even equipped with the same five-level height-adjustable SEB 228 powerbrush as the mid-range Kona variant of the C3, making it a solid option for a wide variety of carpet types, as well as a hard floor tool. This model also has a miniature turbo brush tool for cleaning pet hair from upholstered surfaces.

    While this variant isn't bundled with the top-of-the-line HEPA AirClean filter, it does come with the brand's Active AirClean filter, which uses activated charcoal to trap odors. Unfortunately, its power cord is shorter than that of the C3, so you might need to swap outlets when cleaning bigger rooms or far away areas. Like many other Miele canister vacuums, recurring costs are a little high since it uses relatively small 2.5L dirtbags.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Canister Vacuum

    If you aren't willing to spend as much on the Cat & Dog variant of the C1, you could look at the Miele Classic C1 Pure Suction PowerLine, the entry-level model in the C1 lineup. On the surface, the two vacuums look almost identical. However, there's an important difference at the base of their hoses: the C1 Cat & Dog has an electrosocket that allows it to use a powered floorhead, whereas the C1 Pure Suction does not. While this is a huge disadvantage if you have a lot of thick carpeting in your home and need a powerhead, this entry-level model is a much better buy if you mostly have hard floors, where you'll only be using a simple pure suction floorhead. The included SBD 365-3 floorhead isn't as lightweight as the secondary parquet tool included with the Cat & Dog model. However, it's still great for dealing with debris on surfaces like vinyl or hardwood, and you can retract the bristles to clean low-pile area rugs.

    This model comes with the entry-level AirClean filter, which is still highly effective for capturing allergens, but you can always swap in a HEPA AirClean or Active AirClean filter if you want even better air filtration performance. If you want a similarly-priced canister vacuum that uses larger dirtbags, the NaceCare HVR 200 Henry is worth a look, though it has a less powerful suction motor and doesn't do as well on low-pile carpeting.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Canister Vacuum

    The best canister vacuum cleaner we've tested at a budget-friendly price is the Eureka Mighty Mite. It might not offer the effortless operation, range of convenience features, or sturdy build quality of a pricier canister model like the Miele Classic C1 and Miele Complete C3. However, it isn't without its own merits. Despite its budget-friendly price point, it does a fantastic job of cleaning debris on bare floors and is quite effective on carpets, even with a simple straight-suction floorhead. Its compact, lightweight design makes it easy to maneuver in tight spots, and it also happens to be remarkably easy to maintain.

    Unfortunately, this vacuum feels pretty cheap in places, especially its wand, which is made of a pair of plastic tubes and can fall apart if they aren't wedged together tightly enough. Since this is a bagged vacuum, you'll need to replace its filters and dirtbags periodically, though the actual cost of both those items isn't especially high. If you don't want to deal with the expense of replacing filters and dirtbags at all, the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister is a good option. However, it has an even shorter range, so you'll need to swap outlets when cleaning bigger rooms.

    See our review

  5. Best Bagless Canister Vacuum

    If you don't want to deal with swapping in a new dirtbag now and then, consider the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball. It doesn't offer the same level of performance as the similarly-priced Pure Suction variant of the Miele Classic C1, as it struggles with bulky debris and material embedded deep in carpets. However, you also won't have to worry about recurring costs adding up over time, as it doesn't use conventional disposable filters. The manufacturer advertises its cyclone filter to provide HEPA-grade filtration, which is good if you suffer from allergies and are sensitive to fine particles. However, do note that emptying a dustbin can still release a cloud of dust and is a much less hygienic process than disposing of a sealed dirtbag.

    This vacuum has a fairly compact body, making it easy to store and maneuver in tight areas. It also has a very low center of gravity, so you don't need to worry about the vacuum tipping over when pulling it around on uneven surfaces. Unfortunately, some debris can get stuck near its wheels due to static buildup.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • BISSELL Zing Bagged Canister: The BISSELL Zing Bagged Canister is a basic, budget-friendly canister vacuum that's very easy to use and amazingly easy to maintain. It's effective at clearing small debris on carpeted floors but struggles with pet hair and bulky debris compared to the Eureka Mighty Mite. See our review
  • Airsign HEPA Vacuum: The Airsign HEPA Vacuum is a mid-range bagged canister vacuum that uses biodegradable dirtbags and comes bundled with a HEPA filter, unlike the Miele Classic C1 Pure Suction PowerLine. That said, it has a shorter range than the Miele and doesn't feel as sturdily-built. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Mar 08, 2023: Swapped Miele Complete C3 Kona PowerLine with Miele Complete C3 Brilliant PowerLine as 'Best Canister Vacuum Cleaner' pick.

  2. Feb 09, 2023: Added Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog PowerLine as 'Best Upper Mid-Range Canister Vacuum' pick.

  3. Jan 12, 2023: Ensured all main picks are still available and represent the best option for user needs.

  4. Dec 13, 2022: Ensured all main picks are still available and represent the best option for user needs.

  5. Oct 14, 2022: Removed less relevant product categories and Notable Mentions picks. Added Airsign HEPA Vacuum to Notable Mentions.

All Reviews

Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best vacuums with a canister design. We don't just base our results on overall performance but also factors like availability, price, and reader feedback.

If you'd like to do the work of choosing yourself, here's the list of our canister vacuum reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While there's no single best vacuum with a canister design, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.