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, where it easily deals with pet hair, bulky debris like cereal, and small debris like rice. It also does a very good job clearing material like sand on low and high-pile carpet, though you may need to make another pass to fully clean fine debris like baking soda 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 value the superior air filtration performance of a bagged vacuum, consider the Kenmore Intuition Bagged. This upright vacuum doesn't perform as well as the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV on bare floors and incurs higher recurring costs, but it's easier to maintain and uses a dirtbag, which lowers the chances of a plume of dust and debris releasing when emptying the vacuum. It uses a similar design to the Shark 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 value the advantages that come with a bagged vacuum.
The best stick vacuum that we've tested is the Dyson V15 Detect. This cordless vacuum is lightweight and maneuverable. Its bagless design and washable allergen-trapping HEPA filters result in a near-total absence of recurring costs too. Battery life is reasonably good overall; depending on your choice of settings and attachments, it should supply roughly anywhere between 10 to 75 minutes of continuous runtime. It can also be easily reconfigured into a handheld vacuum and comes with a broad selection of attachments.
This vacuum delivers fantastic performance on bare floors, where it easily cleans pet hair and small and bulky debris like rice or cereal. It also does a superb job clearing material from low and high-pile carpet, including fine debris like baking soda and larger material like sand. Its automatic surface detection feature lets it adjust its suction power to suit the floor type that you're on. The LED at the back of the vacuum catalogs the size and quantity of particles you pick up, though we don't currently test its accuracy.
Unfortunately, this vacuum's plasticky construction feels a little cheap, which is disappointing at this price point. In addition, its strong suction force can cause it to drag around some lighter rugs. There are quite a few parts that need regular cleaning. Otherwise, its versatile overall performance, dense feature set, and lightweight design make it one of the best cordless vacuums that we've tested.
If you want something with a wider range of configuration options, take a look at the Miele Triflex HX1. This well-built cordless vacuum is slightly heavier than the Dyson V15 Detect and has a smaller dustbin, but its unique three-in-one design makes it more adaptable to different situations since you can configure it as an upright, stick, or handheld vacuum. Its automatic surface-type adjustment feature allows it to change the speed of the brushroll or even stop it if it detects that something has gotten tangled in it, like rug tassels. It does a fantastic job clearing a wide range of debris on bare floors, from pet hair to bulky material like cereal. It also performs impressively well on low and high-pile carpets/ Unfortunately, this vacuum's maximum battery life of little over 30 minutes is considerably less, but this can vary slightly in the real world. It also comes with far fewer tools and accessories, with only a crevice tool, a dusting brush, and a dedicated upholstery tool.
Get the Dyson if you're looking for a cordless vacuum with longer battery life and more attachments, but consider the Miele if you're looking for something with more configuration options and better build quality.
The best canister vacuum we've tested is the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine. This vacuum feels very sturdy and well-built, and it's incredibly easy to maintain, with parts that are accessible. It also has an LED light on its vacuum head to illuminate the vacuum's path for dark spots like under your couch. It fits a large capacity dirtbag, so you shouldn't have to replace it too frequently.
It performs exceptionally well on bare floors, clearing most debris and pet hair with ease. It also does an impressive overall job on both low- and high-pile carpets, though it struggles more with fine debris like baking soda on these surfaces. It's also very maneuverable, with wheels that glide smoothly. It can also be used in a semi-handheld configuration and has an extendable wand for hard-to-reach areas. While it's heavy overall, it feels light in the hand and has a carrying handle to help you move it upstairs or to another room.
Unfortunately, it has a few recurring costs that can add up over time from parts that need frequent replacement, including the dirtbag and both filters. Its hose is also somewhat short, making it harder to clean tough-to-reach areas when it's in its semi-handheld configuration. Despite these downsides, this is still among the best vacuums we've tested, and most people should be happy with it.
The Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ is the best handheld vacuum that we've tested. This compact cordless vacuum does an incredible job of clearing debris on bare floors and performs exceptionally well on low and high-pile carpet, where it easily cleans pet hair as well as fine and large material like baking soda or sand. 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 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 larger material like cereal the more 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 that we've tested.
The best budget vacuum we've tested is the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister. This canister vacuum feels incredibly lightweight and offers a lot of value for its price. While it's not the easiest to store since it takes up quite a bit of space and lacks onboard storage, it doesn't come with too many parts, and it's easy to maintain. It has virtually no recurring costs as long as its parts are well-maintained.
It has two different surface type settings that you can adjust manually by foot, and you can use it in a semi-handheld configuration using the included extension wand. That said, its extra tools and brushes are limited to the extension wand and attached soft bristle brush. The vacuum performs incredibly well on bare floors, clear all types of debris without issue. It's also excellent on low-pile carpet and does a good job on high-pile carpet, though it has a little more trouble picking up fine debris.
Unfortunately, it has a disappointingly limited range. Its cord is very short, so you may have to switch outlets more often when cleaning a larger area. Its hose is also short, making it harder to clean hard-to-reach spots. Some of its parts, like the dirt compartment and canister wheels, also feel a bit flimsy. Still, its portability and versatile performance make it a great option if you're on a budget.
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.
Jul 07, 2021: Replaced Dyson Ball Animal 2 with Miele Dynamic U1 PowerLine as 'Best Upright Vacuum'. Removed Miele Dynamic U1 PowerLine from Notable Mentions and added Dyson Ball Animal 2.
Jun 07, 2021: Ensured that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.
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.