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 100 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 premium canister vacuum is equipped with a HEPA filter to help trap allergens as you clean and uses a dirtbag for superior air filtration performance, not to mention cleaner disposal of dust and debris. It's incredibly easy to maintain and has excellent build quality, with a dense plastic body and a telescopic wand made of stainless steel.
This vacuum has a seven-level suction power adjustment feature, which is handy if you plan on vacuuming surfaces ranging from dense carpets to delicate curtains. It performs exceptionally well on bare floors, sucking up pet hair as well as debris like rice or cereal with very little difficulty. It also clears an impressive amount of debris on low and high-pile carpet, though you may need to make another pass to fully clear fine material like baking soda from this surface type.
Unfortunately, its hose is a little short, making it hard to reach some high-placed shelves when using the vacuum in its semi-handheld configuration. It also incurs a few recurring costs in the form of its HEPA filter, pre-motor filter, and dirtbag, though they shouldn't need to be replaced too often. Otherwise, its fantastic build quality, strong performance on a wide variety of surface types, and easy-to-maintain design make it one of the best vacuums for carpets that we've tested.
If you're looking for a corded vacuum but prefer the ergonomics of an upright model and don't want to deal with a dirtbag, 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. Its bagless design and washable pre-motor and allergen-trapping HEPA filters result in much lower recurring costs too. Also, it delivers similarly exceptional performance on bare floors and does a great job of sucking up debris on high-pile carpet. 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 cleaning under tables or chairs. Many parts also 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. 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 Dyson Micro 1.5kg. This cordless stick vacuum has a much smaller dirt compartment than the Dyson V15 Detect and has a much shorter maximum runtime of roughly half an hour, but its lighter construction makes it notably easier to maneuver. It has fewer parts that require regular maintenance, and its washable HEPA filter and lack of a dirtbag keep recurring costs to an absolute minimum. You can quickly reconfigure it into a handheld vacuum for cleaning hard-to-reach spots. It even comes with a secondary crevice tool equipped with an LED light to help you see in dark corners. However, while this vacuum does a fantastic job of clearing debris from bare floors, its primary vacuum head's soft roller means that you can't use it to clean carpets when used in its stick configuration.
Get the V15 if you're looking for a far more versatile cordless vacuum, but consider the Micro 1.5kg if portability and maneuverability are bigger concerns and only need to clean bare surfaces.
Of the robot vacuums we've tested, the best HEPA vacuum is the iRobot Roomba S9. It's a premium vacuum that feels very well-built with high-quality materials and sturdy construction. It has a HEPA filter to reduce allergens, and its battery life is outstanding, supplying approximately 50 to 150 minutes of runtime on a full charge, depending on settings. It also has a fairly quick recharge time.
It cleans pet hair easily from all surface types and does an excellent overall job on bare floors, although it can struggle with bulkier debris like cereal when its dirt compartment begins to fill up. It also does an impressive job on low-pile carpets and a good job on high-pile carpets, and it features a dirt sensor to detect concentrations of dirt, meaning that it can focus its power on those areas. The iRobot Home app also lets you set virtual boundary markers and schedule cleaning for specific rooms.
That said, like most robot vacuums, it has many parts that need regular maintenance and periodic replacement, leading to high recurring costs that can add up over time. Still, this vacuum's well-rounded performance, sophisticated automation features, and remarkable battery life make it one of the best vacuums for carpets that we've tested.
The best budget HEPA vacuum that we've tested is the Wyze Handheld Vacuum. This cordless handheld vacuum is remarkably compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry with you from room to room. It's also equipped with a HEPA filter to trap allergens as you clean. Its plastic construction feels solidly built for the most part, and it isn't especially difficult to maintain. Since its filter assembly only needs to be replaced every two to three months, recurring costs are low, too.
This vacuum delivers very good performance on low and high-pile carpet, sucking up pet hair and the significant majority of larger debris like sand, though you may need to make another pass to fully clean fine material like baking soda. It does a good job on bare floors, but it's worth noting that it can have a hard time with bulky debris like cereal. While using the vacuum in its high-power 'Max Power' suction mode can drain its battery in little over 10 minutes, running it in its default power mode yields a roughly 30-minute runtime, which is quite long for a cordless vacuum of this size.
Unfortunately, its dirt compartment is very small and consequently needs frequent emptying. Also, it doesn't come with a turbo brush for easier cleaning of fabric surfaces. Its range of attachments does include a dedicated upholstery tool and an extension hose to help you clean hard-to-reach spots. Overall, its lightweight, compact design and reasonably versatile cleaning performance make it a good pick for spot cleaning.
Oct 12, 2021: Ensured that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category. Added Wyze Cordless Vacuum to Notable Mentions.
Sep 21, 2021: Replaced 'Handheld Alternative' category pick with more versatile 'More Portable Alternative' category pick. Replaced HoLife HM036E with Wyze Handheld Vacuum as 'Best Budget HEPA Vacuum' due to current availability. Renamed 'Upright Alternative' to 'Bagless Upright Alternative' to maintain consistency with other recommendation articles. Added Dyson Humdinger and iRobot H1 to Notable Mentions.
Aug 31, 2021: Verified accuracy and availability of picks.
Aug 10, 2021: Ensured that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.
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.