Good suction performance is arguably one of the most important aspects of a 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 100 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 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 vacuum with good suction that we've tested is the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine. This canister vacuum is exceptionally good at cleaning bare floors, where it easily sucks up pet hair and debris like rice and cereal. Its performance stays consistent even as its dirtbag fills up, which is convenient for long cleaning sessions.
There are seven different surface-type settings to allow you to adjust its suction power depending on what you're cleaning. This includes a 'Bare Floor' setting, some for carpets and rugs, and even a low-suction setting for curtains. It's very maneuverable, and you can use it in a semi-handheld configuration, which is helpful when you're cleaning areas like staircases. The dirtbag is a good size, meaning it should last a while before you need to dispose of it, and it's a very easy vacuum to assemble and maintain.
Unfortunately, it has recurring costs since its dirtbag and filters need regular replacing. Also, while it has a fairly long power cord, its hose is on the short side, which you may find limits your reach when you use it in its semi-handheld configuration. That said, it's a very versatile option with exceptional performance on bare floors and is one of the best vacuums we've tested.
If you don't want to worry about where to plug in your vacuum or want something more portable in general, consider the Shark Rocket Pet Pro with MultiFlex IZ163H. While it's not as well-built or easy to maintain as the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine, this cordless stick/handheld model delivers similarly outstanding performance on bare floors. Since it's cordless and lightweight, you can bring it with you wherever you need it, and using it in its handheld configuration makes it easier to tackle awkward areas like kitchen counters or shelves. The battery performance is decent, as it will last for roughly 40 minutes if you use its least powerful mode. Several parts need to be removed and serviced regularly, but it incurs virtually no recurring costs, thanks to its bagless design and washable filters. Overall, it's one of the best vacuums with good suction that we've tested.
Go for the Miele if you don't want to worry about running out of battery or prefer a very well-built vacuum. Consider the Shark if you prefer a cordless option or want something easier to carry around.
The Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright is the best vacuum cleaner with good suction for carpet that we've tested. This corded upright does a fantastic job clearing debris like pet hair or large material like sand from low and high-pile carpet. It also clears a good amount of fine debris like baking soda from this surface type, though you still might need to make an extra pass to clean it all.
This vacuum features a three-level surface type adjustment feature that changes the height of its head and the speed of the brushroll. This vacuum's lack of a dirtbag and washable, reusable pre-motor and allergen-trapping HEPA filters mean that you shouldn't have to worry about recurring costs either. Its 'Lift-Away' design allows you to pick up and carry the canister while maneuvering its wand with your other hand, which helps clean hard-to-reach areas. However, its hose is short, which can be a bit of a nuisance.
Unfortunately, this is a bulky, somewhat heavy vacuum. Despite its pivoting vacuum head and more maneuverable alternative configuration, its large top-mounted dirt compartment can get in the way when trying to clean under tables and chairs. Its brushroll can also sometimes get caught on rug tassels. Still, this vacuum's strong performance on carpets also makes it one of the best upright vacuums we've tested.
If you're looking for something a little easier to maneuver, you may want to consider the Dyson V15 Detect. This stick vacuum doesn't have the virtually indefinite runtime of the corded Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright, though it's significantly more portable due to its lightweight construction and lack of a power cord. It delivers similarly outstanding performance on low-pile carpet and clears more fine debris, like baking soda, on high-pile carpets. It also has an automatic suction power adjustment feature for cleaning different floor types, though you still need to rotate the gate on its primary vacuum head to optimize performance on different surfaces. It can be easily reconfigured into a compact handheld vacuum and fitted with any one of its tools, including a cone-shaped turbo brush and a combination upholstery cleaner/hard bristle brush. Its maximum runtime of over 70 minutes should be sufficient for most areas, though battery life can vary drastically depending on your choice of settings and attachments.
Get the Shark if you don't want to worry about recharge times or battery life, but consider the Dyson if you're looking for a more portable alternative.
The best vacuum with good suction that we've tested in the budget category is the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister. This canister model is impressively lightweight and highly maneuverable, making it easy to pick up and carry or navigate through a cluttered room. You can detach its extension wand to use it in a semi-handheld configuration to clean on top of furniture or shelves.
This vacuum offers exceptional performance on bare floors, as it clears debris like pet hair, rice, or cereal without too much difficulty. It does a great job overall when dealing with messes on both low and high-pile carpets, where it cleans both fine and large debris, like baking soda or sand, quite effectively. Its suction performance remains consistent as its dirt compartment fills up too, which is good for dealing with bigger messes.
Unfortunately, it doesn't feel especially sturdily built. Its power cord and vacuum hose are both also short, which means that you may need to swap outlets when cleaning a larger space. Still, this vacuum's mix of affordability and versatile performance help make it one of the best vacuums under $100 that we've tested.
If you're looking for a budget-friendly vacuum better-suited to spot-cleaning, consider the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. Due to its short battery life of a little over 10 minutes, it isn't nearly as well-suited to cleaning large spaces compared to the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister, but its lightweight cordless design makes it a great option for cleaning hard-to-reach shelves or underneath, on top of, or around furniture. It comes with a motorized turbo brush for easier cleaning of upholstered surfaces. It delivers remarkable performance on bare floors and does an excellent job of cleaning pet hair as well as fine and large debris, like baking soda or sand, from both low and high-pile carpets. It feels well-built, with a fairly dense-plastic construction, is easy to maintain, and incurs low recurring costs. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a HEPA filter to trap allergens as you clean. It lacks any suction power adjustment feature, which could be annoying if you want to deal with especially stubborn debris.
Get the Eureka if you're looking for a budget-friendly model better suited to cleaning big rooms, but consider the Shark if you need a vacuum for spot-cleaning debris on a wide variety of surfaces.
Sep 28, 2021: Added Dyson V15 Detect as 'More Maneuverable Alternative'. Removed Dyson V15 Detect from Notable Mentions. Removed Miele Dynamic U1 PowerLine from Notable Mentions due to current availability.
Jul 30, 2021: Replaced Dyson Ball Animal 2 with Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright as 'Best Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction For Carpet' pick. Added Dyson Ball Animal 2 to Notable Mentions.
Jun 01, 2021: Verified that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category. Added Dyson V15 Detect to Notable Mentions.
Apr 02, 2021: Confirmed all picks are in stock and still the best recommendations for our users.
Feb 03, 2021: Checked that picks are still the best recommendations and that the products are available.
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 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.