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The 5 Best Canister Vacuums - Winter 2022 Reviews

Updated
Best Canister Vacuums
109 Vacuums Tested
  • Store-bought vacuums; no cherry-picked units
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
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Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

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 105 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best canister vacuum cleaners 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: Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine

    9.1
    Bare Floor
    8.4
    Low-Pile Carpet
    8.4
    High-Pile Carpet
    8.8
    Pets
    8.0
    Stairs
    7.8
    Cars
    Vacuum Type
    Canister
    Bagless
    No
    Cordless
    No
    Anti-Allergy Filter (HEPA)
    Yes

    The Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine is the best canister vacuum we've tested. This bagged canister vacuum does an outstanding job sucking up debris on bare floors and performs impressively well on low and high-pile carpet, with minimal loss in suction performance even as its dustbin fills up. There's also an onboard HEPA filter, which should help reduce the spread of allergens as you clean.

    This vacuum has a couple of other helpful quality of life features. There's a seven-level suction power adjustment feature that enables you to adapt to everything from curtains to high-pile carpet, a storage compartment for its dusting brush, crevice tool, an upholstery tool, and a power cord that retracts at the press of a button. This vacuum also feels amazingly well-built and has a very easy-to-maintain design.

    Unfortunately, this vacuum incurs somewhat high recurring costs since you need to dispose of its dirtbag when it's full and replace its HEPA filter periodically. Its hose is also short, making it difficult to clean hard-to-reach areas. Still, this feature-packed canister model is one of the best vacuum cleaners with good suction we've tested.

    See our review

  2. Cheaper Alternative: Miele Classic C1

    Vacuum Type
    Canister
    Bagless
    No
    Cordless
    No
    Anti-Allergy Filter (HEPA)
    No

    If you're looking to spend less on a premium canister vacuum, take a look a the Miele Classic C1 Pure Suction. It doesn't have an allergen-trapping HEPA filter, unlike the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine, and has a shorter power cable, but it's cheaper and feels just as well-built. It delivers similarly fantastic performance on bare floors and cleans an impressive amount of debris on low and high-pile carpet, but it struggles slightly more when dealing with very fine material. Its six-level suction power adjustment feature enables you to adapt to different floor types on the fly, and the vacuum's relatively compact canister body and smoothly-rolling wheels make it easy to maneuver in cluttered areas. Unfortunately, it does incur somewhat high recurring costs since you need to install a new dirtbag once it's filled and replace its pre-motor and primary filters regularly. Thankfully, it's very easy to access these components.

    Get the Complete C3 if you suffer from allergies and want a vacuum with a HEPA filter, but take a look at the Classic C1 Classic Pure Suction if you want to spend less without giving up much in the way of performance.

    See our review

  3. Best Bagless Canister Vacuum: Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Canister

    6.9
    Bare Floor
    7.4
    Low-Pile Carpet
    7.3
    High-Pile Carpet
    8.5
    Pets
    7.5
    Stairs
    7.6
    Cars
    Vacuum Type
    Canister
    Bagless
    Yes
    Cordless
    No
    Anti-Allergy Filter (HEPA)
    Yes

    The best bagless canister vacuum we've tested is the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Canister. This canister vacuum doesn't have a dirtbag or even traditional replaceable filters, making it remarkably easy to maintain and ensuring that you shouldn't worry about recurring costs. Its cyclone filter is advertised to provide HEPA-level filtration, which is great if you have a pet that sheds heavily.

    This vacuum's compact size and low center of gravity make it very easy to maneuver even in tight spaces. Its dirt compartment is quite large, so it shouldn't need emptying very often. It comes with a fairly wide assortment of attachments, including a turbo brush and a stair/upholstery tool. It does an excellent job cleaning pet hair from various surfaces and doesn't struggle too much with small debris on bare floors or especially fine material on carpets.

    Unfortunately, it struggles with particularly bulky debris, which either gets pushed around by the floorhead or stuck at its opening. It doesn't feel especially sturdy either, especially its clear plastic dustbin, which could break if you drop it. Its power cord also isn't very long, though you can retract it with a single press of a button. Overall, if you're looking for a canister vacuum that incurs virtually no recurring costs and is very easy to maintain, this is a solid option.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Canister Vacuum: Eureka Mighty Mite

    8.7
    Bare Floor
    7.8
    Low-Pile Carpet
    7.4
    High-Pile Carpet
    8.6
    Pets
    8.0
    Stairs
    8.0
    Cars
    Vacuum Type
    Canister
    Bagless
    No
    Cordless
    No
    Anti-Allergy Filter (HEPA)
    No

    The best canister vacuum that we've tested in the budget category is the Eureka Mighty Mite. This bagged canister vacuum delivers incredible performance on bare floors, easily cleaning pet hair and small or large debris. It also cleans an impressive amount of debris on low-pile carpet and does a good job dealing with material on high-pile carpet, but you might need to make another pass to suck up very fine debris on those surfaces.

    This vacuum is compact and lightweight, allowing you to maneuver in tight spaces or pick up and carry from room to room without too much effort. It has a very simple design that's remarkably easy to maintain, with the few parts requiring regular replacement or cleaning being readily accessible. Its primary floorhead has bristles that can be extended or retracted depending on the surface that you're on. It also comes with a combination upholstery/crevice tool and a hard-bristle brush for dislodging stuck-on dirt.

    Unfortunately, this vacuum's power cord and hose are both short, which can make it difficult to clean hard-to-reach areas without swapping electrical outlets. Parts of its mainly plastic construction also feel a little cheap, like the parts that make up its wand, which can fall out of place if they don't clip together properly. Otherwise, if you're looking for a compact, affordable canister vacuum that delivers strong performance, it's a good option.

    See our review

  5. Bagless Alternative: Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister

    Vacuum Type
    Canister
    Bagless
    Yes
    Cordless
    No
    Anti-Allergy Filter (HEPA)
    No

    If you're looking for a budget-friendly canister vacuum with a bagless design, consider the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister. It has more parts that need regular cleaning than the Eureka Mighty Mite. However, its lack of a dirtbag and washable filters results in a near-total absence of recurring costs. It also delivers similarly superb performance on bare floors, clears an amazing amount of debris on low-pile carpet, and does a good job of sucking up material on high-pile carpet. Its compact design and lightweight construction make it easy to maneuver. Its floorhead has bristles that can be extended or retracted depending on the surface that you're on. Unfortunately, its power cord and vacuum hose are both even shorter, requiring you to swap outlets when cleaning large or hard-to-reach areas.

    Get the Mighty Mite if you prioritize ease-of-maintenance and a slightly longer range, but consider the Whirlwind if you don't want to worry about recurring costs.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • NaceCare HVR 200 Henry: The NaceCare HVR 200 Henry offers outstanding performance on bare floors but doesn't perform as well on carpet as the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine. See our review
  • BISSELL Zing Bagless Canister: The BISSELL Zing Bagless Canister is a bagless, canister-style vacuum with an impressive performance on carpets, but it does poorly on bare floors, where it struggles to pick up bulky debris and pet hair. It also incurs more recurring costs and is much harder to maintain than the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Canister. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 11, 2022: Ensured that all main picks are still available and represent the best option for their category.

  2. Dec 17, 2021: Recategorized Miele Classic C1 to 'Cheaper Alternative' pick to maintain consistency with other recommendation articles.

  3. Nov 18, 2021: Re-categorized Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister from 'Cheaper Alternative' pick to 'Bagless Alternative' pick.

  4. Oct 21, 2021: Ensured that all main picks are in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.

  5. Sep 23, 2021: Verified the availability of all main picks and ensured that they still represent the best choice for their given category.

All Reviews

Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best canister vacuums. 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 canister vacuum, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.

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