The Best Vacuums for Sparkling Floors and Happy Hearts

These vacuums *checks notes* suck?

February 2, 2024 10:27 am
a collage of vacuums on a purple background
The best vacuums might just suck a little.
Dyson/Getty Images

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A perfectly styled and designed home won’t really look its best unless it’s also kept nice and tidy. And when it comes to a clean home, the king of maintenance is a proper vacuum cleaner. But with the sheer volume of vacuum cleaners available, it can be hard to pick the proper one for you. Sallahuddin Mashkuri, the Senior Design Manager at Dyson, tells us that “A good vacuum cleaner has strong suction power; this means having enough air watts to remove dust from the different surfaces in the home. The difficulty in engineering a good vacuum cleaner lies in ensuring that there is no drop in performance throughout the cleaning process.” With this in mind, we sought to find products that had good suction without losing performance along the way.

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Using insight from Mashkuri and George Tjoumakaris, a Category Manager at Miele USA, to guide us, we researched and tested numerous vacuums to find the best ones on the market for a wide range of needs. Below are our picks.

Things to Consider

Cleaning Needs: Not every home is the same, and when considering what vacuum is ideal for you, there are a number of factors to consider. “When selecting the right machine for you and your home, key considerations include bin size,weight, battery life and power, as well as your home size and floor types,” Mashkuri tells us. He adds, “For example, large home owners will require a vacuum cleaner with a larger bin size and cleaner head, and longer run time to ensure that they can vacuum their whole home at once; while the priority for owners of small city apartments is compactness and the ability to maneuver around furniture and fit into tight corners.” 

Style: There are a few different kinds of vacuum cleaners, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Cordless options offer the convenience of being able to go wherever you please, but they may run out of battery before you are done cleaning. As a result, corded options can be a viable choice for people with larger spaces to clean, assuming the cord is long enough, but they can sometimes lack convenience or frustratingly unplug when the user goes out of range.

Other differences to consider include whether you want an upright or a canister vacuum. Upright vacuums will take up less space in storage, usually, but as George Tjoumakaris, Category Manager at Miele USA tells us “Bagged canister vacuum cleaners offer outstanding hygiene, highest efficiency and ultimate versatility. There is no contact with dust with the bagged filtration system.” That is not to say that there aren’t upright vacuums that provide efficiency and versatility, but it’s important to read customer reviews for this reason.

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Filter: According to Tjoumarkaris, “Most vacuums come with advanced HEPA filters, combating allergens by effectively capturing fine dust and particles.” Mashkuri further explained to us what HEPA filters are, “HEPA is an air filter efficiency standard – a measure of a filter’s performance. It is typically made of a PTFE or glass-fiber threads that are woven tightly together to capture microscopic particles as small as 0.1 microns.” However, it’s important to note that not all HEPA filters are built the same, with Mashkuri telling us that  “While a filter might achieve HEPA certification in a filter-specific test, without being properly sealed into the machine, dirty air may bypass the filter and be expelled back into the room.” 

Price: Vacuum cleaners exist all along the price spectrum, and while more expensive options can provide better features like higher suction, you don’t necessarily need to break the bank in your search for a good clean of your home. For that reason, we included a wide range of products all along the price spectrum.

Pros: Lightweight cordless operation, 125,000 RPM, highly intuitive functionality, two-year warranty 
Cons: Pricey

If you’re willing to shell out a few extra bucks, you won’t be able to beat Dyson’s Gen5detect. While other cordless vacuums can leave you feeling like you’re sacrificing in one way or another, this one has it all. A full charge of the ten lithium ion cells provides 70 minutes of suction at 125,000 RPM, so it doesn’t sacrifice any sort of suction power. It’s also very convenient to tweak it; with the simple push of a button, it seamlessly becomes a handheld vacuum to get into the tougher corners, and it’s not a whole to-do to make the adjustment like other vacuum cleaners. This thing excels in convenience and ease of use; emptying the bin is as easy as just pulling a trigger, plus at just 7.65 pounds it is incredibly easy to navigate.

A Hepa filter is able to capture 99.99% of particles with the Gen5detect, and the screen in the top of the handle shows you the data to prove it. It also comes with four head options to attach, including the fluffy optic cleaner head which features a blade of light to reveal twice the amount of visible dust. This may sound gimmicky, but in testing it was one of my favorite features, the satisfaction of seeing the hidden dust disappear is really unparalleled. Between the ease of use and all of the features that are super intuitive, this is worth every penny. Unfortunately, the higher price tag does make it a bit limiting in terms of who can purchase it.

Pros: Longer battery life, odor neutralizer technology, solid warranty
Cons: Noisy for some

It’s really hard to beat the convenience of going cordless with a vacuum cleaner, but it can often come with some sacrifices. The Shark Stratos Cordless Vacuum proved to alleviate these issues for us though! It has a 60 minute runtime, and the odor neutralizer technology does a good job at preventing anything you pick up from creating a bad smell in the room. At 8 pounds, it’s easy to navigate, and it also includes a flexible wand that makes it much easier to get into the trickier, harder to reach areas of your home.

The LED display letting you know the status of the battery is a great touch, and the five year warranty (two year warranty for the battery) is also a huge bonus to leave you feeling protected. The detachable battery can be charged anywhere, which is super convenient; you don’t have to take up a ton of space charging the whole device. Do be aware that some people find this option to be a bit noisy, but that hasn’t stopped it from receiving stellar reviews.

Pros: Affordably priced, lengthy cord, washable filter
Cons: Can get stuck on fluffier rugs

While we have a lot of great options on our list that are higher in price, you can still do a great job of cleaning your home without breaking the bank thanks to options like Bissell’s CleanView Upright Vacuum Cleaner. For $100, this option includes a lot of features that we really appreciate and can be found in higher end options. It is corded, but a 25 foot cord length is more than enough to ensure that you can get everywhere you need to in most rooms. What we really love, though, is the 10 foot active extension wand that enables you to get into the harder to reach areas. Plus, a washable filter is a great option for longevity that we appreciate.

One thing to note with this choice is that some reviewers found it to be better suited for use on lower pile carpets, with it getting stuck on fluffier rugs.

Pros: Lengthy cord, easy coil foot button, 1200 W power
Cons: Some complaints about durability

Tjoumakaris tells us that canister vacuums don’t have any contact between dust and the bagged filtration system, resulting in a product that is hygienic and efficient. Miele’s Complete C3 Calima Powerline is a powerful workhorse with a 24 foot cord that enables you to maneuver around your space. The best part? When you’re done, all you have to do is press a footswitch to have the cable coil back inside the machine. In terms of power, the 1200 watts provide exceptional suction. The C3 Calima Powerline also features an adjustable ergonomic telescopic tube so that you can adjust to your own height, a small but excellent feature for convenience.

It also comes with an upholstery nozzle, a crevice nozzle, a dusting brush, a parquet twister floorhead, and a turbo brush floorhead to cover all your needs. Do be aware, though, that some reviewers found it to not be as durable as they would want for the price.

Pros: Fraction of the competitor’s prices, automatic rewind, comes with extension wand
Cons: Not as durable as other options

If you’re interested in a canister vacuum but aren’t looking to break the bank, we also like Bissel’s Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum Cleaner. With a simple switch flip, it can go from being suited for carpets to being more ideal for hard floors. Plus, a press of a button automatically rewinds the cord so you don’t have to waste any time winding it over your arm. And, it comes with an extension wand for the harder to reach places like under the couch and drapes.

One of the main concerns with this product is the longevity. It probably won’t last quite as long as more expensive options, but that hasn’ stopped it from still receiving a 4.3 out of 5 star rating on the company’s site.

Pros: Autoclean/dry functionality, wet/dry functionality, cordless
Cons: Can take a while for the heads to dry out

If you’re someone who is dealing with spills in addition to the regular dust and dirt accumulation of your home, then Roborock’s Dyad Pro Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner is designed with you in mind. Multirollers that go in opposite directions ensure that dirt isn’t left behind, while suction power is able to handle both wet and dry messes. A self drying system that uses hot air inside of the vacuum prevents the wet cleaning from leaving behind any sort of odor. Plus, a cleaning solution dispenser automatically adjusts to handle different stains on the floor, and anything that you need pertaining to the vacuum can be handled in the accompanying app. 

Some people found that the three hour head drying time was not enough time to fully dry this vacuum out after cleaning a wet mess. Fortunately, you can set the timer for as long as six hours, but that may feel too long for some people.

Pros: Sensor to avoid furniture and stairs, can clean when you’re not home, 90-day trial
Cons: Noisy for some

Alright, it may seem lazy, but who doesn’t want something to clean their home for them? iRobot’s Wi-Fi Connected Roomba i4 Robot Vacuum does all the work for you, and it does it well. With Wi-FI connectivity, this robot is able to learn your home and to clean whatever room you choose, at whatever time you want, even if you’re not home. It uses floor tracking sensors to be able to go around the home without getting stuck behind furniture or falling down the stairs. And if you’re a pet owner, this is a particularly good choice because of the dual multi-surface rubber brushes that don’t get tangled with hair. 

Just be aware that some reviewers do note that this option is a bit noisy for them.

Pros: Crevice tool can be stored inside, great for smaller and tighter spaces, two stage filtration system
Cons: No alert for battery life

If you’re dealing with tighter areas or smaller messes and aren’t looking to clean entire floors, this handheld option from Black and Decker is our pick. The two stage filtration system is able to effectively pick up everything from sand and dirt to animal hair. Plus, the crevice tool (which is seamlessly stored inside the device when not in use) is perfect for going between couch cushions and other places that are pesky to get into. It also has an extra large dust bowl, so you’ll have to empty it less often than other handheld vacuums.

One drawback is that this device doesn’t tell you how much battery is left, you will only be made aware when it runs out of energy.

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