Depending on what kind of floors you have and the debris you encounter, having the right vacuum for the job is crucial to keeping your space clean. If you have staircases or bare floors, you may want to consider canister vacuums for their portability and range. If you live in a carpeted home, an upright vacuum can help pick up lots of debris and hair on high-pile textiles. Lightweight stick/handheld vacuums are also a good choice if you need your vacuum to be highly maneuverable. If you're looking for as hands-off of an experience as you can get, robot vacuums can easily clean a room without little interaction on your part.
We've tested over 100 vacuums, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuum cleaners you can buy. If you're looking for more vacuums, check out our recommendations for the best lightweight vacuums, the best cordless vacuums, and the best bagless vacuums.
The Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV is the best vacuum with an upright design that we've tested. This bagless corded upright delivers superb cleaning performance on bare floors and easily deals with pet hair. It also does a very good job clearing debris on low and high-pile carpet, though you may need to make another pass to fully clean especially fine debris from carpeted surfaces.
This vacuum has a two-level suction power adjustment feature and three levels of surface adjustment. Its primary vacuum head uses two brushrolls, one being a fluffy roller that you can remove for easier cleaning while the other is made to be self-cleaning. Its 'Lift-Away' design allows you to pick up and carry its canister in one hand, making it a lot easier to deal with messes in tight corners. Recurring costs are impressively low, thanks to its bagless design and washable, reusable pre-motor and allergen-trapping HEPA filters.
However, this vacuum isn't the most maneuverable, as its brushrolls can catch on rug tassels, while its large top-mounted dirt compartment can get in your way when trying to clean underneath tables and chairs. Its vacuum hose is short, making it tricky to clean far-off areas when using the vacuum in its 'Lift-Away' configuration. Otherwise, this vacuum's exceptional performance on bare floors and allergen-trapping HEPA filter makes it one of the best HEPA vacuums that we've tested.
If you want a vacuum that's a little easier to maintain, consider the Kenmore Intuition Bagged. It doesn't perform as well as the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV on bare floors and incurs higher recurring costs, but its bagged design results in fewer parts that need regular cleaning. Its use of a dirtbag also results in a cleaner means of debris disposal, as you can take out and throw away the dirtbag without releasing a plume of dust and debris. It uses a similar design in that you can carry its canister around separately, allowing you to clean tight areas with less difficulty. It also comes with a turbo brush for cleaning fabric surfaces, a stiff-bristle brush, a three-in-one combination tool that serves as a crevice tool, an upholstery tool, and a dusting brush. Unfortunately, this vacuum isn't very maneuverable, as it lacks any sort of surface type adjustment to climb over obstructions like electrical cords. Its top-mounted dirtbag compartment is also quite large and gets in the way when navigating under tables and couches.
Get the Shark if you want a vacuum that incurs lower recurring costs and performs a little better on bare floors, but consider the Kenmore if you want a vacuum with less demanding maintenance requirements.
The best stick vacuum that we've tested is the Dyson V15 Detect. This vacuum is fairly lightweight and easy to maneuver, thanks to its cordless design and pivoting vacuum head. Thanks to its washable HEPA filter and bagless design, it also incurs virtually no recurring costs. It can be easily reconfigured into a handheld vacuum and comes with a very wide assortment of attachments, including a secondary floorhead with a soft roller and laser light for seeing small debris, a stiff-bristle brush, and a turbo brush.
This vacuum delivers remarkable overall performance on bare floors and carpets. Running it in its 'Auto' mode allows it to change its suction power automatically depending on the floor type that it's on. Depending on your choice of attachments and usage habits, you can expect roughly anywhere between 10 to 75 minutes of runtime on a single charge, which should be sufficient for most areas. You can keep tabs on battery life via the LED screen at the back of the vacuum, which can also display the size and number of particles that you're sucking up.
Unfortunately, this vacuum doesn't feel especially robust, which is disappointing for a vacuum at this price point. It also has many parts that need regular cleaning, but thankfully they're easy to access. It's also worth noting that this vacuum's strong suction force can cause it to get stuck on some rugs and carpets. Still, its versatile overall performance, wide variety of attachments, and relatively maneuverable design make it one of the best multi-surface vacuums that we've tested.
If you're looking for a vacuum that feels better built, consider the Miele Triflex HX1. This cordless vacuum has a smaller dustbin than the Dyson V15 Detect and struggles more with sucking up fine debris on carpets. Its high-grade plastic construction does feel notably sturdier, and there are fewer parts that require regular cleaning. Its three-in-one design also allows you to configure it as an upright, stick, or handheld vacuum, depending on your needs. It has a surface detection feature that lets it adjust its suction power depending on the floor type that it's on, and it's capable of stopping the brushroll if it detects that something has gotten stuck in it. It's also lightweight and delivers exceptional cleaning performance on bare floors. Unfortunately, its maximum battery life of just over 30 minutes is substantially shorter. It doesn't come with nearly as many attachments either, with only a crevice tool, a dusting brush, and an upholstery tool.
Get the Dyson if you want a vacuum with longer battery life and more attachments, but consider the Miele if build quality and ease of maintenance are bigger priorities for you.
The best vacuum for pet hair that we've tested is the Dyson V8 Animal. This cordless stick vacuum does a fantastic job of sucking up pet hair on a wide variety of surface types, from bare floors to low and high-pile carpet. Its primary floorhead has a removable brushroll for easier cleaning of tangled hair wraps. Its allergen-trapping HEPA filter is washable, so you shouldn't need to worry about recurring costs over time either.
This vacuum's lightweight plastic construction makes it easy to maneuver, and you can easily reconfigure it into a handheld vacuum for spot-cleaning shelves and furniture. It comes with a couple of attachments, including a 180-degree extension tool and a turbo brush for easier cleaning of upholstered surfaces. Depending on your choice of suction power mode and usage habits, it supplies roughly 10 to 40 minutes of runtime on a single charge, which should be sufficient for most rooms.
Unfortunately, this vacuum has quite a few parts that need regular cleaning, though they're easy to access. Its mainly plastic construction also feels a little cheap in places, especially its clear plastic dustbin. Otherwise, it's a fantastic choice if you're looking for a cordless vacuum that can easily deal with pet hair.
The best canister vacuum we've tested is the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine. This bagged canister vacuum performs remarkably well on bare floors and clears an impressive amount of debris on low and high-pile carpet. It has a seven-level suction power adjustment feature, allowing you to adjust its suction power for cleaning everything from curtains to high-pile carpets.
This vacuum has amazing build quality with a high-grade plastic body, stainless steel telescopic wand, and dense rubber wheels that enable it to roll smoothly over high-pile rugs and obstructions like electrical cords. User maintenance is remarkably simple, with the few parts requiring regular maintenance being readily accessible. It also has helpful quality of life features, like an automatically retractable power cable, an allergen-trapping HEPA filter, and an onboard storage compartment for its attachments.
Unfortunately, the number of attachments included in the box is a little limited, as it only comes with a dusting brush, a crevice tool, and an upholstery tool, though far more accessories are available for purchase from the manufacturer. Its hose is somewhat short too, which can make it difficult to clean hard-to-reach areas. Still, its strong performance, superb build quality, and fantastically easy-to-maintain design make it one of the best bagged vacuums that we've tested.
The Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ is the best handheld vacuum that we've tested. This compact cordless vacuum does an incredible job cleaning debris on bare floors and performs exceptionally well on low and high-pile carpet. It comes with a motorized turbo brush fitted with a brushroll that's advertised to be self-cleaning.
Its compact size and lightweight construction make it easy to pick up and carry from room to room. Its dirt compartment is also spacious by the standards of other handheld vacuums, so it shouldn't need emptying too often. It feels well-built, courtesy of its dense plastic body. User maintenance is simple, with relatively few parts that need regular cleaning. It also incurs few recurring costs, only requiring that you replace its dust cup filter every six to nine months, depending on your usage habits.
Unfortunately, this vacuum doesn't have a suction power adjustment feature. It also lacks a HEPA filter to trap allergens as you clean, which could be an annoyance if you have a pet that sheds heavily. Its battery life of a little over 10 minutes also forces you to work fast if you have several messes. Overall, however, its compact size and strong performance on a wide variety of surface types make it one of the best handheld vacuums we've tested.
The best robot vacuum we've tested is the iRobot Roomba S9. It's a high-end model with sophisticated automation features and well-built construction. It's ready to use right out of the box, and the iRobot Home app lets you control the vacuum remotely, set up virtual boundary markers, and schedule cleaning for individual rooms. It also uses an optical navigation feature to develop increasingly efficient cleaning patterns.
It does an amazing job of cleaning all types of debris from bare, even surfaces, like hardwood or tile. That said, it struggles with bulky material as its dirt compartment fills. It has impressive overall performance on low-pile carpet and does a good job on high-pile carpet, though it may take a couple of extra passes to clear fine debris. It also has a remarkable battery life, supplying approximately 50 to 150 minutes of use on a single charge, depending on settings and real-world conditions.
That said, it's hard to maintain since it has several parts that need regular cleaning. On the upside, they're all easy to access. It also has many recurring costs that can add up over time. Still, its automation features, high-quality construction, and long battery life make this one of the best robot vacuums we've tested.
The best budget vacuum we've tested is the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister. This canister vacuum has a compact, lightweight design, making it easy to pick up and carry from room to room. Its bagless design and washable filters also result in a near-total absence of recurring costs. There are a few parts that need regular cleaning, too.
This vacuum delivers outstanding performance on bare floors and clears an impressive amount of debris on low-pile carpets. Despite the floorhead's lack of a brushroll, it still does a good job cleaning material on high-pile carpet, though you may need to make another pass to fully clear, especially fine debris. The floorhead does have bristles that can be extended or retracted depending on the surface you're vacuuming. Suction performance also remains consistent as its decently spacious dustbin fills up.
Unfortunately, this vacuum feels rather cheaply built, especially its clear plastic dirt compartment and flimsy canister wheels. It also comes with very few tools and accessories, as only a soft-bristle brush for its handle is included in the box. Its power cord and hose are short, so you might need to swap outlets when cleaning larger rooms. Otherwise, it's a great option if you're looking for a budget-friendly vacuum that performs well on a variety of surfaces.
Nov 04, 2021: Added Dyson V8 Animal as new 'Best Vacuum For Pet Hair' pick. Renamed 'Bagged Alternative' pick to 'Easier-To-Maintain Alternative'.
Oct 27, 2021: Renamed 'Alternative With More Configurations' pick to 'Better-Built Alternative' pick to maintain consistency with other recommendation articles. Removed HoLife HM036E from Notable Mentions due to current availability. Added Wyze Cordless Vacuum to Notable Mentions.
Sep 29, 2021: Ensured that all main picks are still available and represent the best choice for their given categories. Added Neato D8, Shark Vertex Pro, and Dyson Micro 1.5kg to Notable Mentions. Removed Neato Botvac D7 and Roborock S6 from Notable Mentions due to current availability.
Aug 30, 2021: Reviewed accuracy of picks with minor updates to text for clarity.
Aug 04, 2021: Replaced Miele Dynamic U1 PowerLine with Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV as 'Best Upright Vacuum' due to lack of availability. Replaced Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV 'Handheld Configuration Alternative' category pick with Kenmore Intuition Bagged as 'Bagged Alternative' pick.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best vacuum cleaners for most people. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our vacuum reviews. 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.