If you suffer from allergies, having a vacuum that doesn't disperse allergens in the air is hugely important. Using a bagged vacuum can help reduce the spread of fine debris, but the inclusion of a HEPA filter is also crucial since they're rated to capture 99.97% of particles equal in size to 0.3 microns, which covers a wide range of particles that can cause allergies, like dust, dirt, or pollen. Bagless vacuums equipped with a HEPA filter can also do a good job in this respect, but be aware that not all appliances of this type are completely sealed systems.
We've tested more than 90 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuums with HEPA filters. These are based not only on their inclusion of a HEPA filter but also on their design and price. For more picks, look at our lists of the best vacuums for allergies, the best cordless vacuums for pet hair, and the best robot vacuums for pet hair.
The best corded HEPA vacuum that we've tested is the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine. This bagged canister vacuum feels very well-made, with a dense high-grade plastic body, stainless steel telescopic wand, and vacuum head partially built from aluminum. It's easy to maintain, as you can access its dirtbag and pre-motor and allergen-trapping HEPA filters with little difficulty.
This vacuum does a fantastic job of sucking up debris on bare floors and delivers great overall performance on low and high-pile carpet, clearing pet hair as well as large debris like sand with little difficulty. That said, you may need to take an extra pass to fully clear fine material like baking soda. It features a seven-level suction power adjustment feature to better clean various surface types on the fly, and its handle has an integrated LED light to help you see what you're cleaning in poorly lit spaces.
Unfortunately, this vacuum is quite heavy, making it a bit of a hassle to carry up and down flights of stairs. It also has a short hose, making it tricky to clean high-up shelves when using the vacuum in a semi-handheld configuration. Since its filters and dirtbag need periodic replacing, recurring costs are also high. That said, its versatile cleaning performance and sturdy, easy-to-maintain design make it one of the best canister vacuums that we've tested.
If you're looking for a corded vacuum but prefer the ergonomics of an upright model, consider the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV. It isn't as well-built as the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine and doesn't perform as well on low-pile carpet, but its upright design might suit some users a little better. Also, it delivers similarly exceptional performance on bare floors and does a great job of sucking up debris on high-pile carpet. Its bagless design and washable pre-motor and allergen-trapping HEPA filters result in much lower recurring costs too. Its 'Lift-Away' function allows you to uncouple the main canister from its wand and carry it around, making it easier to clean shelves, furniture, or places like the inside of your car. However, its bulky dirt compartment can get in the way when trying to clean under tables or chairs. Many parts need regular cleaning.
Get the Miele if build quality and ease-of-maintenance are priorities for you, but consider the Shark if you're in the market for an upright and want a vacuum that incurs much lower recurring costs.
The best HEPA vacuum with a cordless design that we've tested is the Dyson V15 Detect. This stick/handheld vacuum features an allergen-trapping filter and a sensor that can count and measure the size of particles that it sucks up, which it then displays on an LED at the back of the vacuum. However, we don't currently test the accuracy of this system. It also comes with a secondary vacuum head that uses a laser light to make it easier to see fine debris, along with a very wide selection of other tools, including a turbo brush, a crevice tool, and a dusting brush.
This vacuum delivers superb cleaning performance on bare, even surfaces like hardwood or linoleum, where it easily cleans pet hair as well as small and bulky debris like rice or cereal. It also does a fantastic job on low and high-pile carpets, clearing fine debris like baking soda or larger material like sand without difficulty. Suction performance remains consistent as its dirt compartment fills up. Its bagless design and washable filter result in a near-total lack of recurring costs, too. Its battery performance is alright, with a runtime of roughly anywhere between 10 to 70 minutes, depending on your choice of suction power mode, attachments, and usage habits.
Unfortunately, this vacuum doesn't feel especially sturdy in places, especially its dirt compartment, which could break if you drop it. Many parts need regular cleaning, too. Also, this vacuum's strong suction force can cause it to drag around lighter rugs. Otherwise, its versatile cleaning performance and maneuverable design make it one of the best multi-surface vacuum cleaners that we've tested.
If you're looking for a cordless vacuum that's even more portable, you may want to consider the iRobot H1. It doesn't come with nearly as many accessories as the Dyson V15 Detect and incurs higher recurring costs due to its disposable exhaust and dustbin filters, but its handheld design makes it much better-suited to spot-cleaning small, closed-off areas like the inside of your car. It features a turbo brush to clear debris from fabric-lined surfaces, but it also comes with a hard bristle brush for dislodging stuck-on dirt as well as dedicated crevice and upholstery tools. Battery performance is decent, especially for a handheld vacuum, as it supplies roughly 15 to 25 minutes of runtime on a single charge depending on your choice of suction power mode and attachments. It delivers impressive overall performance on carpeted surfaces and does a decent job on bare floors, though it can struggle somewhat when sucking up bulky debris like cereal.
Get the Dyson if you want a more versatile, better-performing vacuum, but consider the iRobot if you're looking for a handheld model better suited to spot cleaning.
The best robot vacuum for carpets that we've tested is the iRobot Roomba S9. This premium robot vacuum feels very well-built, with dense plastic construction and smoothly rolling wheels. It also uses a HEPA filter to trap allergens as it cleans and has a relatively spacious dirt compartment that shouldn't need emptying very often. Battery performance is also fantastic since you can expect roughly anywhere between 50 to over 150 minutes of runtime on a single charge depending on your choice of settings.
This vacuum offers a very wide assortment of automation features. You can use its companion app to set up virtual boundary lines that the vacuum won't cross or schedule cleaning sessions for individual rooms. If you don't want to get your hands dirty, you can purchase an external dustbin for its charging dock at an additional cost, which the vacuum can use to automatically empty itself of debris and continue cleaning. That said, we haven't tested it in that configuration. It does a fantastic job of sucking up pet hair from a wide variety of surfaces and also delivers very good overall performance on low and high-pile carpets, but it might take an extra pass to fully clean debris like baking soda.
However, like most robot vacuums, many parts need to be cleaned or even replaced regularly, so recurring costs are somewhat high. It can also slightly struggle with sucking up bulky material like cereal as its dirt compartment fills up. Still, this vacuum's amazing build quality, excellent maneuverability, and strong cleaning performance make it one of the best vacuums for carpets that we've tested.
The best budget HEPA vacuum that we've tested is the HoLife HM036E. This cordless handheld vacuum offers exceptional cleaning performance on bare floors, where it can easily handle pet hair, small debris like rice, or bulky material like cereal. It does a good job on low and high-pile carpets but can struggle when it comes to cleaning debris like baking soda.
It has a HEPA filter to trap allergens as you clean, though it should be cleaned after every use and needs periodic replacing. The vacuum itself feels well-built and is simple to assemble and disassemble, so regular maintenance isn't an especially tricky process. Its battery performance is satisfactory, especially for a handheld vacuum. You can expect more than 20 minutes of runtime on a single charge, giving you enough time to clean most small spaces.
Unfortunately, this vacuum lacks a suction power adjustment feature, which could be a bit of an annoyance if you were to need more power to clear stubborn messes or, on the opposite end of the scale, wanted to conserve power. Its dirt compartment is small, too, so it needs regular emptying. Still, if you're looking for an affordable vacuum with an allergen-trapping HEPA filter, this is a good option.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best HEPA vacuums 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.