Good suction performance is arguably one of the most important aspects of a vacuum and is important for finding the best suction vacuum. If you want to effectively pick up debris like sand from shaggy carpet or rice from tile flooring, 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, we consider 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 130 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best suction vacuum cleaners to buy. These picks were selected not only based on their performance on different types of surfaces but also their feature set, battery life, and price. For more recommendations, take a look at our list of the best multi-surface vacuum cleaners, the best Shark vacuums, the best bagged vacuums, and the best vacuums for carpet.
The best suction vacuum we've tested is the Miele Complete C3. This premium vacuum has a powerful 1200W motor, allowing it to deal with stubborn messes or debris stuck in cracks. It also delivers fantastic performance on bare floors and does a great job dealing with debris on low and high-pile carpets. Its seven-level power adjustment function lets you tailor its suction force for everything from window curtains to high-pile carpet with a few button presses. While this variant can be hard to find, the Complete C3 HomeCare model comes with many of the same attachments and accessories. Unfortunately, this vacuum's hose is somewhat short, making it hard to clear debris from some hard-to-reach areas.
If you're looking for a canister vacuum with strong suction power that incurs lower recurring costs, you could also look at the SEBO Airbelt D4. It uses larger dirtbags and filters that are expected to last for years without having to be replaced. It also has a longer power cord that gives it an operating range of roughly 50 feet, so you can easily clean larger areas without swapping outlets. However, it is bulkier and heavier than the C3, making it harder to maneuver.
The best upper mid-range vacuum with good suction we've tested is the Dyson Ball Animal 3. This bagless vacuum isn't nearly as sturdily built as the Miele Complete C3, with a mainly plastic body that creaks and flexes while in use. However, if you're shopping for strong suction performance at a lower price point, it's worth considering. Its powerful motor enables it to easily clear debris from a wide range of surface types, ranging from bare floors to low and high-pile carpet. Its floorhead features three levels of surface adjustment, enabling you to quickly adapt from hardwood floors to dense high-pile rugs. The floorhead also features a set of built-in plastic vanes that are remarkably effective in reducing hair wraps.
This vacuum's bagless design incurs minimal recurring costs and is pretty easy to maintain, though shaking out its dustbin isn't as hygienic a process as taking out the Miele's self-sealing dirtbags. It's on the bulky side, even for an upright vacuum, and can be a bit of a hassle to take out of your closet and deploy. Its strong suction power can also make it a little hard to push and pull around on shag carpeting.
The Miele Classic C1 is a great option if you want a mid-priced vacuum with strong suction power. It uses the same 1200W suction motor as the pricier Miele Complete C3, resulting in a similarly strong performance. However, the lower sticker price reflects in the lack of an onboard tool storage compartment and slightly less robust build quality. It offers six levels of power adjustment, enabling you to quickly adapt to a wide variety of surface types. Unlike the Dyson Ball Animal 3, the Pure Suction of the C1 only comes with a straight suction floorhead and is best suited for bare floors and low-pile carpeting. You'll want to upgrade to a pricier variant like the C1 Cat & Dog if you have denser carpeting and require a floorhead with a motorized brushroll.
This vacuum is also exceptionally easy to maintain. Unfortunately, it uses 2.5L dirtbags that are on the smaller side of things, and you'll have to swap in a new one periodically, along with its pre and post-motor filters. The similarly powerful Airsign HEPA Vacuum is a great alternative if you're worried about that, as you can buy it with a subscription package that ships a four-pack of dustbags and a new filter to your door every six months. Its default dirtbags are biodegradable, which is great if you're worried about the environmental impact of throwing them out. It feels less well-built than the Miele and has a shorter overall range.
The best vacuum with good suction we've tested in the budget category is the Eureka Mighty Mite. This compact canister vacuum feels somewhat cheaply built and lacks many of the quality-of-life features found on pricier models like the Miele Classic C1, like a self-winding power cord and allergen-sealed body. However, if you're looking for good suction performance at a bargain price, it's hard to beat. Its potent 12-amp motor allows it to easily clear solid debris from bare floors and perform well on low and high-pile carpet, even with a basic straight-suction floorhead. Its compact, lightweight construction also allows you to pick it up and carry it wherever you may need it, though its power cord is short, so you'll probably need to swap outlets when vacuuming faraway rooms.
It has a very simple design, making it easy to swap in a new filter and replace its dirtbag whenever it gets full. Still, if you don't want to worry about swapping out dirtbags and don't mind a less hygienic means of debris disposal, the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister could be worth a look. It delivers similar overall cleaning performance to the Mighty Mite but doesn't use disposable dirtbags, resulting in minimal recurring costs.
The best cordless vacuum with good suction that we've tested is the Dyson V15 Detect. With 230W of suction power, this vacuum is one of the most potent cordless models on the market, though it does fall short of higher-end corded models like the Miele Complete C3 and Dyson Ball Animal 3 in this regard. Still, it does a great job of dealing with debris on different surface types. Using it in its 'Auto' mode lets it automatically adjust its suction power to different surfaces. Unfortunately, no matter what power setting you use it in, its strong suction force can still cause it to drag around some lighter rugs. An onboard particle sensor counts and measures the size of debris being sucked into the vacuum, which is handy for keeping track of allergens in your home.
If you're looking for a stick vacuum that costs a little less and still exerts a fairly strong suction force, the Samsung Jet 90 Complete is worth considering. It doesn't have the Dyson vacuum's automatic power adjustment capability or onboard dirt sensor. However, its motor outputs 200 air watts of power, enabling it to perform very well across a wide range of surfaces.
Nov 21, 2022: Ensured all main picks still represent the best fit for user needs. Added the NaceCare HVR 200 Henry, the Wyze Cordless Vacuum, and the Samsung Bespoke Jet to Notable Mentions.
Sep 22, 2022: Removed less relevant product pick categories. Added Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra as 'Best Upper Mid-Range Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction'. Added Miele Classic C1 PowerLine Pure Suction as 'Best Mid-Range Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction'. Added Eureka Mighty Mite as 'Best Budget Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction'. Removed less relevant Notable Mentions picks, added Milwaukee M18 FUEL 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum Kit and RYOBI 18V One+ 3 Gal. Project Wet/Dry to Notable Mentions.
May 30, 2022: Article restructuring to better align with user needs and expectations. Recategorized Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine as 'Best Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction' pick. Replaced Shark APEX Upright Vacuum with Shark Cordless Vertex Pro Powered Lift-Away as 'Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction' pick. Recategorized RYOBI 18V One+ 3 Gal. Project Wet/Dry as 'Best Shop Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction' pick.
Mar 31, 2022: Substantial article rework to reflect the changes made to the vacuum test bench. Replaced Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright with Shark APEX Upright as 'Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction' pick. Replaced Dyson V15 Detect with RYOBI 18V One+ 3 Gal. Project Wet/Dry as 'Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction' pick. Recategorized Dyson V15 Detect as 'Best Stick Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction'. Removed Miele Triflex HX1 from recommendations due to poor suction performance. Replaced Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister with Wyze Cordless Vacuum as 'Best Budget Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction' pick. Removed iRobot Roomba S9, Eureka Mighty Mite, Miele Classic C1, Shark Rocket Pet Pro with MultiFlex IZ163H, Dyson Ball Animal 2, and Wyze Cordless Vacuum from Notable Mentions. Added Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV, Dyson Outsize Absolute+, Samsung Jet 90 Complete, Shark ION W1 WANDVAC, and Black+Decker dustbuster CHV1410L to Notable Mentions.
Jan 25, 2022: Recatgorized Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine as 'Best Canister Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction'. Recategorized Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright as 'Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction'.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best vacuums with good 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 ranked by their suction performance. 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.