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 an adjustable floor and power setting is helpful, not to mention a reconfigurable design for cleaning large areas and tight spaces like the inside of a car.
We've tested over 130 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuum cleaners for carpet and hardwood to buy. These picks are selected based on not only 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, and the best vacuums for stairs.
The best vacuum for hardwood and carpet we've tested is the SEBO Airbelt D4. This high-end canister vacuum, available mainly from the manufacturer's website or from specialized vacuum retailers, has a powerful 1250W motor, enabling it to easily clear debris on bare floors and low and high-pile carpet even with a basic straight-suction floorhead. Opting for the pricier Premium variant also gets you SEBO's ET-1 powerhead, which is one of the most effective attachments for cleaning carpets on the market; it boasts four levels of height adjustment, an automatic brushroll cutoff switch, and an indicator light to let you know when the bristles are worn out or aren't making contact with the ground.
The rocker switch on the vacuum handle gives you precise control over suction power, so you can adapt to different surface types on the fly. Recurring costs are low, especially for a bagged vacuum, as it uses high-capacity dirtbags and long-lasting filters. Build quality is also fantastic, and the canister body is surrounded by a cushion to prevent it from marking up your walls or furniture if you bump into something.
While its four caster-mounted wheels make it somewhat maneuverable for a vacuum of this weight and size, consider the Miele Complete C3 if you need something smaller, lighter, and easier to use in cluttered environments. However, the Miele has a shorter range and incurs higher ownership costs due to its smaller dirtbags and less long-lasting filters. Conversely, if you want to go completely cordless, the Dyson V15 Detect is one of the most powerful cordless vacuums we've tested and delivers a correspondingly strong cleaning performance. However, it's prone to get stuck on thicker rugs and carpets since you can change the height of its brushroll.
If you're looking for a more inexpensive multi-surface vacuum, the Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog PowerLine is the best vacuum for carpet and hardwood we've tested. It's the top-tier variant of the C1 product lineup and is loaded with features. It comes with Miele's height-adjustable SEB 228 powerhead, which is suitable for a wide variety of carpet types, and a lightweight straight suction parquet tool that's easy to maneuver on hard floors. Its 1200W suction motor yields fantastic debris-pickup performance on a wide range of surface types. There's also a mini turbo brush attachment to deal with pet hair or other messes on fabric-lined furniture, not to mention a crevice tool, dusting brush, and upholstery nozzle. This variant of the C1 comes with a post-motor filter containing active charcoal to trap unpleasant odors as you clean.
That said, compared to the pricier SEBO Airbelt D4, it doesn't feel quite as robust. It also doesn't have handle-mounted power adjustment controls, and you'll need to bend over to twist its suction control dial. Its overall range is also roughly half that of the SEBO, so you'll need to swap outlets when cleaning faraway areas. It uses smaller dirtbags and less durable filters, so you'll be replacing worn components more often, which drives up the cost of ownership.
The best vacuum for hardwood and carpet we've tested in the mid-range price bracket is the Shark Stratos Cordless. This cordless stick vacuum has a more rudimentary powerhead than the Miele Classic C1 Cat&Dog PowerLine; there's no way of adjusting its height, and it lacks a brushroll off switch, so it isn't as well-suited to cleaning super-thick carpeting. However, it's cheaper than premium options like the Miele and still delivers fantastic performance on bare floors. It also clears away an impressive amount of debris on low and high-pile carpeting.
Unlike the Miele, it can automatically increase power on carpeted floors thanks to its Clean Sense IQ system. Its cordless design makes it easier to clean far-away areas than the Miele, especially considering the latter's short range. That said, its bagless design makes it a less suitable choice for those who suffer from serious allergies, even considering its onboard HEPA filter; not only does the lack of a dirtbag eliminate an additional layer of filtration media, shaking out a dustbin can release a plume of fine dust and debris.
It can run for up to an hour in most energy-efficient configurations, but you can expect a much shorter runtime than that if your home has a lot of carpeted floors, as the vacuum will likely have to increase its suction power setting. If you want to avoid running out of charge and want a comparably-priced corded vacuum, the entry-level Pure Suction variant of the Miele Classic C1 is a great choice. It has little in common with the Shark, being a bagged canister vacuum, but performance is strong, and this model feels much better built. That said, unlike the Shark, it doesn't have a power socket, so it's incompatible with powered floorheads for cleaning thick carpeting.
Check out the Wyze Cordless Vacuum if you can't quite afford the Shark Stratos Cordless. This stick vacuum doesn't have the Shark's automatic power adjustment system, and it isn't as powerful as a corded model like the Miele Classic C1. However, it offers an impressive level of capability on various surface types at a fairly affordable price point, with strong debris pickup on bare floors and low and high-pile carpeting. Its floorhead isn't height adjustable and can get stuck in shag-pile rugs, but it's set high enough to pass over almost every other kind of surface without getting stuck.
Its max battery life of almost an hour is also fairly lengthy for a cordless model in this price range, though it does drop very quickly when using it in its high-power 'TURBO' mode, which will be necessary for cleaning some carpet types. Build quality isn't anything to write home about either, with a body made mainly from thin, cheap-feeling plastic.
If you want to save money on a multi-surface vacuum, consider the Eureka Mighty Mite. This compact bagged canister vacuum isn't much to look at, with a practical design that looks more like a compact shop vac than something designed for home use. However, don't be fooled by its cheap, industrial looks, as it offers plenty of power for the price. It has a relatively potent 12 amp suction motor that yields strong overall debris pickup performance on bare floors. While it doesn't come bundled with a powerhead or an air-driven turbo head for cleaning carpeted floors, you can retract the bristles on its straight-suction head to improve suction on low or even medium-pile carpeting.
Unfortunately, its range is considerably shorter than that of more expensive canister vacuums, like the Miele Classic C1. It also feels cheaply built and rough in places, though it's still far from the flimsiest-feeling vacuum we've tested.
May 18, 2023: Swapped Samsung Jet 90 Complete with Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog PowerLine as 'Best Upper Mid-Range Multi-Surface Vacuum' pick. Swapped Shark Vertex Pro Powered Lift-Away with Shark Stratos Cordless as 'Best Mid-Range Multi-Surface Vacuum'. Swapped Wyze Cordless Vacuum with Eureka Mighty Mite as the 'Best Budget Multi-Surface Vacuum' pick. Removed less relevant Notable Mentions picks.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best vacuums for multiple surfaces. 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 multiple surfaces, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.