Good suction performance is arguably one of the most important aspects of a vacuum. If you're looking to effectively pick up debris like sand from shaggy carpet or rice from tile flooring, then it can be beneficial to know a vacuum's suction power, airflow, and wattage. However, aside from its wattage, these numbers aren't always advertised by the manufacturer. To approximate a vacuum's suction power, this article considers vacuums with a good overall performance or better across all surface types. Vacuum cleaners with better and more consistent performances tend to have good suction as they can pick up a variety of debris without too much of a problem.
We've tested over 45 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuum cleaners with good suction to buy. These picks were selected not only based on their performance on different types of surfaces but also on their feature set, battery life, and price. For more recommendations, take a look at our list of the best vacuums, the best multi-surface vacuum cleaners, and the best vacuums for carpet.
The Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine is the best vacuum with good suction for bare floors that we've tested. This canister model offers outstanding performance on bare floors. It can pick up pet hair as well as small and large debris without a problem.
It has a suction power adjustment feature that can be set to one of seven different levels, which is handy if you have a couple of rugs or carpets covering your bare floors. Thanks in part to this feature, it also delivers great performance on low-pile carpet as well as shaggy, high-pile carpet. You can use it in a semi-handheld mode if you need to get hard-to-reach places too, and its handle has an LED light so that you can clean shadowy areas more easily. It's very easy to maintain as well.
Unfortunately, it has a couple of recurring costs, including its dirtbag. Luckily, the dirtbag is quite large and can hold a lot of debris before it needs to be replaced. This vacuum also has an okay range, but some users may find its hose length to be a little short. That said, it offers a versatile and powerful overall performance that's great for tackling laminate or linoleum flooring. It's among the best hardwood vacuums we've tested as well.
If you need a bit more range and portability for your bare floors, check out the Shark Rocket Pet Pro. While it doesn't feel as well-built as the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine and it's more difficult to maintain, the Shark has a lightweight cordless design with a fantastic performance on bare floors. You can take this vacuum anywhere as long as there's room in its dirt compartment and sufficient battery life left. Its handheld configuration is also much smaller, which can be beneficial if you're cleaning hard-to-reach areas in your kitchen or car. Although it has several parts that need regular maintenance, it has virtually no recurring costs. Its battery life is decent and it can last over 40 minutes on its least powerful mode. However, if you need a boost in suction, its battery drops to just over 10 minutes.
Go for the Miele if you're looking for outstanding performance on bare floors and you don't mind its corded design. However, try the Shark if you prefer a cordless vacuum with better range and portability.
The best vacuum cleaner with good suction for carpet that we've tested is the Dyson Ball Animal 2. This upright does a fantastic job on low as well as high-pile carpet as it can pick up most per hair as well as small and large debris. You can also use it in a semi-handheld configuration so that you can get into crevices and other narrow areas.
Its head can automatically adapt itself to the surface type it's cleaning, which helps it deliver an outstanding performance on all surface types, including bare floors. Thanks to its ball design, it has good maneuverability when you need to move it around. Dyson also includes several accessories, including a dedicated pet grooming tool as well as more traditional brushes for cleaning upholstery or delicate objects like lampshades. Maintenance is somewhat easy too and it has virtually no recurring costs, as its filters are designed to be washable while it also uses a bagless design.
Unfortunately, it has a plasticky build quality and its parts lack easy-clip mechanisms, so it can be a little tricky to put pieces together or to take them apart. It also has a bulky design which some may find a bit heavy to carry around. That said, if you're looking for a powerful clean on carpet, this is also among the best vacuums for high-pile carpet that we've tested.
If you prefer to spot clean your carpet, try the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. While it can't cover large areas of carpet as effectively or easily as the Dyson Ball Animal 2, the Shark is a lightweight handheld vacuum. It can be used to clean inside your car or tackle hard-to-reach places like crevices in a staircase. The Shark feels well-built and easy to maintain. While it doesn't come with as many tools or brushes as the Dyson, it has a turbo brush that can help tackle fabric-based furniture. It also offers comparable performance on low and high-pile carpet and is more maneuverable too. However, due to its cordless design, it has a battery life of around 11 minutes, which may not be enough for a large or particularly stubborn mess.
Consider the Dyson if you have a lot of carpet to clean or you prefer to have as many tools and brushes at your disposal as possible. However, check out the Shark if you're looking to clear small messes on carpet, especially in narrow spaces.
The Eureka Mighty Mite is the best budget vacuum cleaner with good suction that we've tested. If you're looking for a powerful model on a budget, it can easily clean pet hair and debris from bare floors. It also maintains a great performance on low-pile carpet, like the inside of your car.
Although it's entirely made from plastic and it feels a bit cheap, it's quite lightweight and portable. There's a slip ring on its hose that you can open or close to adjust its suction level. You can also reconfigure it by removing part of its wand and attaching one of its tools like its combination hard bristle brush and upholstery tool to clean different surface types more effectively. It offers good performance on high-pile carpet, although it struggles a bit more to pick up small and large debris. It's outstandingly easy to maintain, too.
Unfortunately, its cord and hose lengths aren't very long, so you may need to change electrical outlets to clean a large room. Its disposable dirtbag is also a source of recurring costs as it needs to be replaced when full. That said, the dirtbag is quite large, so you most likely won't need to empty it very often. If you're shopping for the best vacuums for suction on a budget, it's a suitable choice.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best vacuums for suction. 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 that score above 7.5 on each floor type. 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.