The current vacuum cleaner landscape has yielded many models that can deal with clearing debris on linoleum floors and dense shag carpeting, not to mention almost everything in between. That said, cleaning performance isn't the only factor in being considered a good multi-surface vacuum. To cope with a variety of different surface types, having adjustable floor and power settings are helpful, not to mention a reconfigurable design for cleaning large areas and tight spaces like the inside of a car.
We've tested over 100 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuums for multi surfaces to buy. These picks are selected not only based on their performance across a variety of surfaces but also their design and price. For more buying recommendations, look at our list of the best hardwood vacuums, the best vacuums for high-pile carpet, the best Dyson vacuums, and the best vacuums for stairs.
The best multi-surface vacuum cleaner with a corded design that we've tested is the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine. This premium canister vacuum delivers superb performance on bare floors, where it easily sucks up pet hair as well as small and bulky debris like rice or cereal. It also clears an impressive amount of debris on low and high-pile carpet, and its 7-level suction power adjustment feature lets you adapt to different surfaces on the fly.
Despite its somewhat heavy weight, this vacuum is very easy to maneuver, thanks in part to its smoothly-rolling rubber wheels that enable it to easily climb onto high-pile rugs or navigate over electrical cords. It also feels amazingly well-built, with a premium-feeling plastic body and a telescopic wand made of stainless steel. It's remarkably easy to disassemble and reassemble for regular maintenance, as most of its parts clip onto one another.
Unfortunately, it incurs a couple of recurring costs in the form of its dirtbag and allergen-trapping HEPA filter, which need periodic replacing. It also doesn't come with a very wide variety of attachments, with only an upholstery tool, a crevice tool, and a soft-bristle brush. However, other tools and accessories are available from the manufacturer. Overall, if you're looking for a vacuum that can handle various kinds of messes on a wide mix of surfaces, this is an excellent option.
If you're looking for something a little more portable, consider the Shark APEX UpLight. This corded stick/handheld vacuum isn't as well-built and has more parts that require regular maintenance than the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine, but it's lighter. It also delivers similarly exceptional performance on bare floor and an excellent job of clearing debris on low-pile carpet, though it struggles a little more when dealing with fine debris like baking soda on high-pile carpet. There's a motorized turbo brush in the box, and it also comes with a crevice tool and a hard bristle brush for dislodging stuck-on debris. Its bagless design and washable HEPA filter result in a near-total lack of recurring costs. Unfortunately, it doesn't have any suction power or surface-type adjustment functions, and the lack of a brushroll on/off switch may result in the floorhead getting stuck on rug tassels.
Get the Miele if you want a better-built bagged canister vacuum, but consider the Shark if you prioritize portability and don't want to worry about recurring costs.
The Dyson V15 Detect is the best cordless multi-surface vacuum that we've tested. This cordless stick vacuum delivers exceptional performance on bare floors, where it clears everything from pet hair to cereal without difficulty. It also has no trouble sucking up material like sand or baking soda on low and high-pile carpet. Using it in its 'Auto' mode allows it to increase or decrease suction on different surface types automatically.
Its lightweight design makes it easy to maneuver in tight spaces, and you can quickly reconfigure it into a handheld vacuum for spot cleaning. It comes with a wide assortment of tools too, which include a cone-shaped turbo brush, a combination hard bristle brush/upholstery tool, as well as a secondary vacuum head with a soft brushroll and a built-in laser light to help you see fine debris. Battery performance is alright overall, as it can supply roughly anywhere between 10 to over 70 minutes of runtime depending on your choice of attachments and suction power level, though this can vary slightly in the real world.
Unfortunately, its strong suction force can make it a little difficult to push around on some carpets and can cause it to drag lighter rugs around. Also, there are quite a few parts that need regular cleaning, but thankfully its bagless design and washable pre-motor and HEPA filters result in a near-total lack of recurring costs. Overall, its broad assortment of tools and versatile performance make it one of the best multi-surface vacuums we've tested.
If you're looking for a vacuum that's especially well-suited to spot-cleaning, consider the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. This handheld vacuum isn't nearly as well-suited to cleaning large areas as the Dyson V15 Detect and comes with fewer tools and accessories. However, it's a lot more compact, making it easier to pick up and carry or store in a cupboard or a closet. It offers similarly superb performance across a range of surface types too, ranging from bare, even surfaces like hardwood to high-pile carpets. Suction performance doesn't drop by a noticeable degree as its dirt compartment fills up either, though be aware that the dustbin is very small and consequently needs emptying often. Also, you need to work quickly when dealing with bigger messes since it only provides a little over 10 minutes of runtime on a single charge, though this can vary in the real world.
Get the Dyson if you want a more versatile cordless vacuum, but consider the Shark if you only need a handheld vacuum for spot cleaning.
The best multi-surface robot vacuum that we've tested is the iRobot Roomba S9. This robot vacuum has no trouble clearing debris on many surfaces, from laminate floors to high-pile carpet. Its performance remains fairly consistent overall as its relatively spacious dust bin fills, good for bigger cleaning tasks.
It feels amazingly well-made, with a high-grade plastic construction that looks and feels premium. Its battery performance is superb, and you can expect roughly between 50 minutes to over 2.5 hours of continuous runtime on a single charge depending on the power mode it uses. Using its companion app, you can schedule cleaning times for individual rooms, check its current battery life, and even place virtual boundary markers to block off areas you don't want it to enter.
However, like many robot vacuums, recurring costs are high due to the number of parts that need occasional replacing. Regular maintenance can also be quite demanding, as many components need to cleaning fairly frequently. If you're looking for a robot vacuum that can handle messes on many surface types, this is a good option.
The best multi-surface vacuum that we've tested in the budget category is the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister. This compact canister vacuum clears a remarkable amount of debris on bare, even surfaces like hardwood or laminate. It also does an excellent job of sucking up debris like pet hair, sand, or baking soda from low-pile carpet and delivers good overall performance on high-pile carpet.
This vacuum's primary vacuum head has bristles that can be extended or retracted depending on if you're cleaning hard floors or carpets. Its bagless design and washable filters keep recurring costs to a minimum, and its lightweight plastic construction and built-in carrying handle make it easy to pick up and carry to other rooms. You can also remove its wand to clean furniture, shelves, and delicate surfaces.
Unfortunately, it doesn't come with very many tools and accessories, with only a soft-bristle brush that can be attached to its handle. Its short vacuum hose makes it difficult to clean hard-to-reach areas, while its short power cord may require you to swap outlets when cleaning larger spaces. Some components in its construction feel rather flimsy, especially its clear plastic dirt compartment. Otherwise, its strong performance on a variety of surface types, lightweight design, and budget-friendly price makes it one of the best vacuums for under $100 that we've tested.
Oct 19, 2021: Replaced 'Upright Alternative' pick with 'More Portable Alternative' pick due to current availability. Removed HoLife HM036E, Shark Navigator Lift-Away, and Neato Botvac D7 from Notable Mentions due to current availability. Added Miele Classic C1 and Wyze Cordless Vacuum to Notable Mentions.
Aug 20, 2021: Replaced Miele Dynamic U1 PowerLine with Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright as 'Upright Alternative' due to current availability.
Jun 23, 2021: Replaced Shark Rocket Pet Pro with MultiFlex IZ163H with Dyson V15 Detect as 'Best Cordless Multi-Surface Vacuum' pick. Added Shark Rocket Pet Pro with MultiFlex IZ163H and Neato D8 to Notable Mentions.
Apr 26, 2021: Confirmed all picks are in stock and still the best recommendations for our users.
Feb 25, 2021: Verified that picks are still the best recommendations for our users and that the products are available.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best multi-surface vacuums. 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 our vacuum reviews, with considerations made for high performances across different surface types. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While there's no single best vacuum for multi surfaces, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.