Which vacuum cleaner is best?
Cleaning up your home is no small task, especially when it comes to vacuuming your floors. But if you invest in a powerful vacuum cleaner, it’s much easier to keep your carpet and hardwood floors free and clear of dirt, debris and pet hair. Whether you choose to clean up the house yourself with a standard upright vacuum or you opt for a robot vacuum cleaner to take care of the mess, finding the right vacuum cleaner is an important task.
Vacuum cleaners have made a lot of progress over the years, particularly when it comes to intuitive design, suction power and multipurpose use. One of the leading cordless handheld vacuum cleaners, the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute Cordless Stick Vacuum, is a two-in-one design with a removable handheld unit that tackles upholstery, steps and curtains.
What to know before you buy a vacuum cleaner
Popular types of vacuum cleaners
Every household has different cleaning needs. Some only need occasional sweeping and mopping, and others require vacuuming the entire house at least once a week. While most carpet vacuum cleaners can handle basic floor cleaning, itâ€™s a good idea to invest in a model with features or capabilities to cover your needs. Some vacuum types work better than others when it comes to cleaning high-foot-traffic areas or handling tight spaces. Here are six of the most common vacuum cleaners on the market today:
- Upright: Upright models have a large base that holds high-capacity dirt receptacles. They’re among the most powerful models, and they have swivel heads for easy maneuvering. These are perfect for families or homes with plenty of carpets.
- Stick or cordless: These lightweight, portable vacuums make it simple to move from one room to the next. They’re suitable for whole-home cleaning and are convenient if you need to carry them up and down stairs. These are ideal if you have a few rugs or carpets to clean and have small spaces that need attention, too.
- Canister: Canister vacuums have compact canisters with long, slender necks. They’re a good fit for cleaning around furniture and tight spaces, and they’re easier to store than most vacuum cleaners. If you have a split-level home with hardwood floors or a smaller apartment, this could be a good option for you.
- Pet vacuum: These specialty vacuums have powerful suction and tangle-resistant brush heads. Many come with attachments to lift pet hair and dander from curtains, upholstery and corners. If you have a pet that sheds, this is a must-have for your home.
- Two-in-one: A growing category, two-in-one vacuums offer a uniquely versatile approach to cleaning. They have removable handheld units for precision cleaning. They’re cost-effective alternatives to purchasing separate devices, and they take up very little space. These are best for spot cleaning or vacuuming smaller areas.
- Robot vacuum cleaners: These vacuum cleaners have come a long way over the last few years, offering a quick, convenient way to clean up your home. They can navigate your home through various technology systems, even cleaning in the dark or when you’re away.
When you compare vacuum cleaners, look for models that are designed to clean the floors in your home. If you have hardwood floors, you’ll likely need something different than someone who has high-pile carpet throughout most of their home. Ultimately, you want to find a vacuum that delivers the deep cleaning your floors will benefit from most.
Pet vacuums, for example, have bristles and brush rolls that pluck and pull hair up from carpets. However, few pet vacuums are equally effective at removing dirt from hard floors. Certain lightweight vacuums have modest suction that works on hard floors, but they lack the power to clean carpets below the surface.
What to look for in a quality vacuum cleaner
Vacuum cleaners fall into two categories: corded or cordless. Corded models require access to power outlets, which limits your range of motion and doesn’t allow you to vacuum areas that don’t have outlets. They can also be a bit cumbersome when you need to move from room to room. However, since they have an uninterrupted power supply, they’re ideal for cleaning an entire house in a single session.
Cordless vacuums are portable alternatives that allow uninhibited movement. They have rechargeable batteries that provide up to an hour of power on a full charge. One of the drawbacks of these models is you need to charge the device for up to a few hours between uses, which can interrupt your cleaning.
Vacuum cleaners come with various dust containers, and this varies based on their model and size. Most vacuums used to have bags to hold the dirt and dust, which created extra costs every time you had to switch out the bag. Bagged dirt containers are not as common today, but they’re still used in some upright models. However, many manufacturers have switched to removable receptacles that you can open and dump right into trash cans. Not only is this more convenient, but many of them have mess-free designs for efficient transfers.
Vacuum cleaners have filters that can trap tiny dirt and dust particles, preventing them from escaping into the air or vacuum. While there are several types of built-in and removable filters in vacuums, top models typically have high-efficiency particulate air filters. HEPA filters trap up to 99.7% of dust, allergens, mold, bacteria and other microscopic particles. Filtration systems are especially important if someone in the house has asthma or allergies.
You may want a vacuum cleaner that comes with attachments, so you can clean hard-to-reach areas more easily. Crevice tools reach between cushions and around corners, while upholstery tools gently scrape and lift debris off furniture. Pet grooming attachments have compact bristles that remove hair and dander, while turbo brushes offer concentrated suction to pick up deep-set debris. Extendending or telescoping hoses are great for reaching high-up spots, like banisters and beams.
How much you can expect to spend on a vacuum cleaner
Lightweight vacuum cleaners cost up to $60, but if you need a model for everyday cleaning or deep cleaning, you’ll need something a bit more powerful. Mid-range vacuum cleaners cost between $100-$275, which offer more power and often have more attachments. High-end vacuums, many of which have high suction power or advanced filtration systems, cost between $300-$700.
Vacuum cleaner FAQ
Are robotic vacuums better than vacuum cleaners?
A. They’re not necessarily better, but they are a convenient, hands-free alternative to everyday floor cleaning. However, robotic vacuums aren’t ideal for deep or precision cleaning. More than anything, robotic models are supplementary household cleaning devices. It’s best to run them throughout the week to manage dust and allergens and then do a deeper clean every week or so.
How do I store a vacuum cleaner?
A. The best place to store a vacuum cleaner is in a closet or tucked behind a door. This will keep them out of the way, but they’re still easy to reach when you need them. Stick vacuums save space given their slender designs, and some of them come with wall-mounting fixtures to free up floor space. If you want to protect the vacuum while it’s not being used, invest in a dust cover.
Which vacuum is best for pet hair?
A. It depends on the pet and how often they shed. For example, if you have one smaller dog that does not shed often, you can get away with a smaller pet vacuum or two-in-one vacuum cleaner. However, if you have multiple pets that shed regularly, it’s best to invest in a heavy-duty pet vacuum, like the Bissel Pet Hair Eraser.
What are the best vacuum cleaners to buy?
Top vacuum cleaner
What you need to know: This powerful stick vacuum is ideal for cleaning your entire home. It has a removable handheld unit and offers up to 60 minutes of suction.
What you’ll love: Dyson is a powerhouse brand in the vacuum industry, known for creating innovative and effective cleaning appliances. The Cyclone V10 lives up to this reputation. It has stiff nylon brushes that pull hair and dirt from carpets and rugs, yet it’s gentle enough to clean hard floors without scratching them. It comes with a wall-mounted design, should you choose to give yourself some extra room. The vacuum is lightweight and easy to maneuver.
What you should consider: You need to hold down the power button to keep the vacuum running.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top vacuum cleaner for money
What you need to know: This heavy-duty upright vacuum is effective at lifting dirt and pet hair from all floor types, including high-pile carpets.
What you’ll love: Shark is another well-known brand in the cleaning industry, offering unique designs that tackle cleaning in an inventive way. The Navigator has a fully sealed HEPA system that prevents dust and allergens from escaping. The swivel head tilts from side to side, making it easy to navigate corners and furniture. The detachable pod offers handheld cleaning, and it comes with convenient attachments for hard-to-reach areas.
What you should consider: The vacuum is rather heavy, and some people found it difficult to lift it up their stairs.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top robot vacuum cleaner
What you need to know: This super slim robot vacuum cleaner is perfect for cleaning hardwood, low-pile and medium-pile carpets or rugs. It can clean for up to 100 minutes on a single charge.
What you’ll love: It can navigate over floor ledges and has a triple filter, trapping dirt, allergens and small particles. The slim size allows it to slip underneath furniture with ease, but it won’t scratch hardwood floors.
What you should consider: Some users complained that the robot had issues getting back to its base after finishing cleaning.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top vacuum cleaner for pet owners
What you need to know: If you need a lightweight stick vacuum, the HV322 Rocket Pet Plus is an amazing choice. It has specialized pet tools for getting hair out of upholstery and carpet.
What you’ll love: The Rocket Pet Plus has LED headlights to help you see dust, dirt and hair while you clean. It’s able to deep clean carpets, from low-pile to high-pile carpets and rugs. And since it weighs less than 10 pounds, you can easily carry it up and down the stairs.
What you should consider: Some users felt the suction wasn’t as strong as it could be, considering the price point.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This capable model, geared toward pet hair and dander, comes with specialized tools for quick-and-easy cleaning.
What you’ll love: It has a tangle-free brush roll that won’t get jammed, even with long human hair. The dust bin has a push-to-empty mechanism that keeps mess to a minimum. The attachments are particularly effective at removing fine hair from cloth furniture.
What you should consider: The vacuum isn’t as effective at lifting dirt and crumbs from hard floors.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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