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 75 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 best vacuum cleaner that we've tested with an upright configuration is the Dyson Ball Animal 2. This corded model delivers a fantastic performance on both bare floors and carpets and doesn't lose suction as its dirt compartment fills. It's uniquely designed, with a big ball-like wheel that helps it maneuver in cluttered areas.
You can use it in a semi-handheld configuration if you want to clean stairs, shelves, or other awkward areas. It has an automatic surface type adjustment feature, so you can easily move from cleaning high-pile carpets to bare surfaces. There are also a lot of tools and brushes included that can help with different cleaning jobs, like a turbo brush for use on fabric-covered furniture, a soft bristle brush for cleaning delicate objects, and a pet grooming tool.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have the best build quality, and some of its parts feel a bit flimsy. Also, unlike some Dyson models, it doesn't have easy-clip mechanisms, which makes it harder to assemble and attach tools. Otherwise, it's a great option if you want an upright vacuum, and it's even one of the best vacuums with good suction we've tested.
If you want a vacuum that can also be used in a handheld configuration, you may prefer the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV. This upright/handheld model doesn't perform as well on carpets as the Dyson Ball Animal 2, but you can use it in a handheld configuration, which makes it better-suited for cleaning stairs or your car. It does an incredible job of cleaning bare floors and doesn't lose suction as its decent-sized dirt compartment fills. There are a few tools and brushes included, like a turbo brush for use on fabric-covered furniture and a crevice tool for cleaning tight corners. It's equipped with an allergen-trapping HEPA filter and has low recurring costs. However, its body is a bit bulky, which makes it harder to clean under low-lying furniture when the vacuum is in its upright configuration.
Go for the Dyson if you want the upright vacuum with the best overall performance, but consider the Shark instead if you have a lot of stairs and other elevated areas to clean and want something with a handheld mode.
The best stick vacuum that we've tested is the Shark Rocket Pet Pro. This cordless stick model is designed to tackle pet hair as it uses an angled brushroll to help detangle hair wraps as you clean, and it has a HEPA filter to help trap allergens. It also offers impressive and versatile performance on all surface types and has excellent maneuverability.
Since it's cordless, it offers a decent battery performance that can last over 40 minutes on its default power setting. It also has a boost mode that increases its power, but it lowers its battery life to around 12 minutes. If you need to clean furniture or get into hard to reach places, you can reconfigure it into a lightweight, handheld vacuum, and it comes with a couple of tools and brushes that can better suit your needs.
Unfortunately, its dirt compartment is a bit on the small side, so you may need to empty it more frequently. It also has a few other regular maintenance needs, but luckily most of its parts are easy to access. If well-maintained, it has virtually no recurring costs either, which is outstanding. Overall, this stick vacuum has a well-rounded performance and can be a worthwhile tool for any household.
If you want something with a more versatile design, you may prefer the Miele Triflex HX1. This unique three-in-one cordless model doesn't perform as well as the Shark Rocket Pet Pro on low-pile carpets, but it can be configured as a stick, upright, or handheld vacuum. 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, this vacuum 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 delivers outstanding performance on bare floors, where it has no issue clearing pet hair and debris like cereal and rice. It's also excellent on high-pile and low-pile carpets and is equipped with an allergen-trapping HEPA filter.
It has an amazing build quality, with a sturdy plastic body, a stainless steel wand, and smoothly rotating wheels. There are seven different suction power levels, so you can adjust to different surface types, and it can also be used in a semi-handheld configuration, which is helpful if you're cleaning stairs or other awkward areas. It has some convenient design features, like LED lights on its handle, allowing you to see what you're doing when cleaning under furniture or other shadowy areas. While some parts need to be removed and serviced regularly, they aren't difficult to access, and overall it's incredibly easy to maintain.
Unfortunately, it does come with some recurring costs since the filters and dirtbag need to be replaced periodically. Also, its hose is on the short side, which you may find limits your reach when you're using it in its semi-handheld configuration. That said, its incredible build quality and versatile performance make it stand out. It's also one of the best multi-surface vacuum cleaners 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 for the vacuum 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 Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister is the best budget vacuum that we've tested. If you're looking for something a little more affordable, this corded model offers high-value for its price. It has fantastic performance on bare floors. It's also easy to maintain and has virtually no recurring costs, so long as it's regularly cleaned.
While its mostly plastic build makes it feel a little cheap, it's sturdy, lightweight, and has a carrying handle, making it easy to take with you from one room to the next. It does an excellent job on low-pile carpet, and while it struggles a bit more with small and large debris on high-pile carpet, it still offers good overall performance on these surfaces. You can remove the head from the wand if you want to use it to clean furniture too, which is handy.
Unfortunately, it has a short power cord, so you may need to switch to another outlet if you're cleaning a large or spacious room. It also comes with very limited tools and brushes, and it doesn't come with a crevice tool to get into hard-to-reach places. Still, if you're shopping on a budget, it delivers a solid performance and is even one of the best laminate floor vacuums we've tested.
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+.
Oct 09, 2020: Added the 'Best Handheld Vacuum' category, and moved the Dyson V10 Cyclone Absolute to Notable Mentions.
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.