Depending on what kind of floors you have and the kind of 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. Conversely, if you live in a carpeted home, an upright vacuum can help pick up a large amount of debris and hair on high-pile textiles. Lightweight stick/handheld vacuums are also a suitable 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 80 vacuums, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuums 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 Dyson Ball Animal 2 is the best vacuum cleaner with an upright design that we've tested. This model rolls around on one large, ball-like wheel, which helps make it more maneuverable in tight or cluttered areas. It can also be used in a semi-handheld configuration, which is useful if you want to clean out-of-reach areas like stairs or your car.
It delivers an incredible performance across surface types, from bare floors like hardwood and linoleum to high-pile carpets, without losing suction as its good-sized dirt compartment fills up. It has a really long power cord, so you can tackle a big room without worrying about swapping outlets very often. There are also some tools and brushes included, like a turbo brush you can use to dislodge dirt from fabric-covered furniture, a hard bristle brush for scrubbing stubborn debris, and a pet grooming tool.
However, it has a somewhat flimsy build quality and is on the heavy side. Also, it's a bit bulky, so you need to attach a tool to clean under low furniture like couches or coffee tables. Otherwise, its fantastic performance makes it one of the best multi-surface vacuums that we've tested, and it's a great option for anyone looking for an upright vacuum.
If you're looking for an upright vacuum with a slightly more portable alternative configuration, take a look at the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV. This corded upright struggles noticeably more with fine debris, like baking soda, on low and high-pile carpet compared to the Dyson Ball Animal 2. However, its 'Lift-Away' design allows you to uncouple the wand from its main head and carry the body via an integrated carrying handle, which makes it a little easier to clean far-away or closed-off spaces. It does an exceptional job of clearing debris on bare floors, as it can suck up material like cereal, rice, or pet hair with little difficulty, and it features three different surface settings to let you adjust to different floor types on the fly. Unfortunately, there are quite a few parts that require regular maintenance, though its primary, non-removable brushroll is advertised to be self-cleaning.
Consider the Dyson if you want better performance on bare floors, but take a look at the Shark if you want something a little more portable.
The best stick vacuum that we've tested is the Shark Rocket Pet Pro with MultiFlex IZ163H. This cordless model delivers exceptional performance on bare floors, where it easily clears everything from pet hair to cereal, with almost no drop in performance as its dirt compartment fills up. It also does an excellent job of sucking up debris from low pile carpet and clears a good amount of material from high-pile carpets, though it can struggle slightly with finer debris like baking soda on this kind of surface.
It feels decently well-built, with a lightweight plastic construction that can be easily reconfigured into a handheld to clean closed-off or hard-to-reach areas. Its bagless design also doesn't incur much in the way of recurring costs, as its pre-motor and HEPA filters are washable and reusable. There are two dedicated floor settings for flat, even surfaces and high pile carpets as well as a high-suction 'MAX' mode that can be used to clear more stubborn messes.
Unfortunately, running it continuously in its 'MAX' mode can drain its battery in little over 10 minutes, though its runtime can be extended to over 40 minutes if you use it more conservatively. There are also quite a few parts that require regular maintenance, but it's worth noting that its brushroll is advertised as being self-cleaning. Overall, its lightweight design and well-rounded performance make it a good choice if you're looking for a cordless stick vacuum.
If you want something with a more versatile design, you may prefer the Miele Triflex HX1. This unique 3-in-1 cordless model doesn't perform as well as the Shark Rocket Pet Pro with MultiFlex IZ163H on low-pile carpets, but it can be configured as a stick, upright, or handheld. It's outstanding on bare floors, where it easily clears pet hair and debris and also delivers excellent performance on low and high-pile carpets. There's an automatic surface type adjustment feature, and it comes with some tools and brushes, like a crevice tool for cleaning tight corners and an upholstery tool for use on fabric-covered furniture. Unfortunately, it has a smaller dirt compartment and a shorter maximum battery life.
Go for the Shark if you prioritize performance on low-pile carpets or want something with longer battery life. If you want something with more configuration options, try the Miele.
The Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine is the best canister vacuum that we've tested. This corded model feels amazingly well-built, with sturdy rubber wheels and a body mostly made of high-grade plastic. It's also decently easy to store, with on-board storage for its included soft bristle brush, crevice cleaner, and upholstery tool.
It delivers outstanding cleaning performance on bare floors, as it clears pet hair as well as small and large debris like rice or cereal with very little difficulty. It also does an impressive job of picking up debris on low and high-pile carpet, with very little in the way of a decrease in performance as its spacious dirt compartment fills up. The vacuum itself features seven different levels of surface adjustment, and its handle has a built-in LED light that lets you see what you're cleaning in dimly-lit environments.
Unfortunately, its hose is on the short side, which can make it difficult to clean high-placed shelves or otherwise distant areas when you use it in its semi-handheld configuration. It's also rather heavy, which can make moving it from place to place a bit of a hassle, though it feels lightweight in your hand. Overall, its excellent build quality, exceptional ease of maintenance, and versatile overall performance help make it one of the best canister vacuums that we've tested.
The Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ is the best handheld vacuum that we've tested. This cordless handheld has a compact, lightweight body that can be easily carried to spot-clean far-off areas, like the inside of your car. It has a sturdy-feeling plastic body and is quite easy to maintain, with few parts that need routine maintenance. Its dust cup filter is its only disposable part, so recurring costs are also decently low.
It delivers remarkable overall performance on everything from bare, even surfaces like hardwood floors to densely woven high-pile carpet. It clears pet hair without an issue, not to mention debris like rice or cereal. It doesn't struggle with coarse material like sand or fine debris like baking soda on carpeted surfaces. It comes with a turbo brush to help you clean messes on upholstered furniture, as well as a hard bristle brush to dislodge stuck-on debris and a crevice cleaner to tackle messes in tight corners.
Unfortunately, it can run out of charge in a little over 10 minutes, so you need to work quickly if you're trying to deal with a particularly stubborn or large mess. It also doesn't have a HEPA filter to trap allergens as you clean. Still, its mix of versatility and portability helps make it one of the best vacuum cleaners we've tested.
The iRobot Roomba S9 is the best robot vacuum we've tested. It has an incredible performance on bare surfaces like hardwood or laminate flooring, where it easily clears pet hair and debris like sand and cereal. It's also very effective at sucking up pet hair from carpets and delivers a good performance on that surface type overall.
It automatically adjusts to different surface types, and you can also manually set the suction power mode. The battery performance is fantastic since even you use the most powerful setting, it provides more than 45 minutes of continuous cleaning time. It uses its navigation system to clean in an efficient pattern, and it senses spots that need extra cleaning and goes over them more than once. You can use the companion app to set virtual boundaries and make cleaning schedules for different rooms.
Unfortunately, it has demanding maintenance needs and incurs quite a few recurring costs. It's also fairly heavy and lacks a carrying handle, so it's not the most portable. That said, if you're looking for a hands-off way of keeping your floors clean, it's a great choice, and it's also on our list of the best robot vacuums.
The best budget vacuum cleaner that we've tested is the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister. This corded canister model offers versatile performance for a more affordable price. It's fantastic on bare floors, where it easily clears pet hair, rice, and cereal, and also does an excellent job of cleaning low-pile carpets.
It's light for a canister vacuum and doesn't feel very heavy in your hand. You can use it in a semi-handheld configuration by detaching the wand from the head, which is nice if you want to clean areas like shelves or furniture. The wand can be extended to increase your reach, and it also has a soft bristle brush you can slide down and use on more delicate objects like curtains or lampshades. Also, while it doesn't clear as much debris from high-pile carpets as it does from bare floors or low-pile carpets, it still has an overall good performance on that surface type.
However, it has a short power cord, so you may need to switch outlets once or twice if you're cleaning a big room. It also comes with very few tools and brushes, so it may not be ideal for cleaning furniture or tight spaces. That said, if you're looking for a budget-friendly vacuum with a solid performance on bare floors and carpets, it's definitely worth considering.
Apr 12, 2021: Verified that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.
Mar 17, 2021: Checked picks to ensure the best products are being recommended and that they're in stock.
Feb 17, 2021: Removed the Shark ION P50 Upright as the 'Cordless Alternative' to the Dyson Ball Animal 2 because it's not easy to find in stock online. Added the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV as the 'Alternative with a Handheld Configuration'. Checked other picks to make make sure we're still recommending the best products.
Jan 21, 2021: Added the Miele Triflex HX1 as an 'Alternative With More Configurations' to the Shark Rocket Pet Pro. Verified that other products are still the best picks for our users and that they're in stock.
Oct 30, 2020: Replaced the Neato Botvac D7 with the iRobot Roomba S9. Also replaced the HoLife HM036E with the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best vacuums 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.