Best vacuum cleaner: 12 top buys – tried, tested and reviewed

Find the best vacuum cleaner buys top brands such as Dyson, Shark and Vax, in our expert guide

best vacuum cleaner
Hoover Telios Xtra TX50PET
(Image credit: Hoover)

Time for a new vacuum cleaner? Then you'll want the best vacuum cleaner you can buy. They are one of the most essential household appliances (if you ask us) which can take on crumbs, dirt and even allergens. With the seasons starting to turn, the nights are drawing in so we're spending more time indoors in the evening with the heating coming on a little more frequently – now really has never been a better time to invest.

In this guide which we have pulled together for you, we have conducted our own comparisons to highlight the very best vacuum cleaner reviews which have all been tried and tested in the home of one of our appliance experts; Sarah Warwick. We've considered all shapes and size of vac – think cordless, stick or bagless vacuum cleaners – from top brands such as Dyson, Shark and Miele which you may, or may not, be familiar with so you can buy with confidence. The best bit? Our handy pricing widgets will serve you only the best prices around, too, so you search for a new vac can finish here.

If you know you want to go wire-free, head straight to the best cordless vacuums guide, or keep a look out for how they shape up against all vacuums below.

The best vacuum cleaner buys

Dyson Big Ball Animal 2

(Image credit: Dyson)

1. Dyson Big Ball Animal 2 Vacuum Cleaner

Best vacuum cleaner 2020: especially brilliant for pet-owners, this vacuum is a great all rounder

Specifications
Best for: All-rounder
Type: Cylinder
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Weight: 7.9kg
Capacity: 1.5ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Powerful removal of dust and pet hair+Easy to move, use and empty+Great on all surfaces including hard flooring
Reasons to avoid
-Quite rigorous carpet cleaning might make it hard work for some

For a large house with a few pets, this Dyson vacuum cleaner is simply the best vacuum you can buy. Its clever brush heads pick up all the hair our furry friends leave behind, without getting tangled up, and the motorised brush bar gets out stubborn dirt from muddy paws. 

Unbeatable suction
This cylinder model from Dyson is a firm favourite with anyone who wants a quick but highly effective clean. The pneumatic cleaner head automatically adjusts to different floor types for the most efficient clean we have seen. The vacuum is preset to easy mode with a max mode for extra stubborn dirt, but our reviewer found the easy mode was more than enough – in fact, the suction was so good that it did take a little bit more of a push over carpets. However it brought carpets up looking good as new, so you can't complain too much about a bit of additional effort.

Great range of attachments
Stairs and furniture are easily cleaned with the right attachments. Rotating heads pick all manner of fluff and debris from surfaces and it has a turbine head for finer dust which is great for hard floors. The generous hose makes it easy to reach every nook and cranny.

Manoeuvrability
Dyson's signature ball makes this vac very easy to move. Although it is not the lightest, the compact design means it can be carried with ease – even up and down stairs which can be tough with a cylinder vacuum. 

Real Homes rating 5 out of 5 stars

Vax Blade 4

(Image credit: Amazon)

2. VAX ONEPWR Blade 4 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Best cordless vacuum: a flexible cleaner with powerful suction that rivals the top sellers on carpet!

Specifications
Best for: Cordless
Type: Stick
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: Yes
Weight: 3.1kg
Capacity: 0.6ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Light and easy to move around+Great for pet owners+Works well on all floors+Gets right under the furniture+Handy for the car
Reasons to avoid
-A full set of tools could cost you extra

This cordless vacuum gets our vote for the best cordless vacuum, so we've awarded it with our big yellow Real Homes Love badge.

It has almost three times more suction power than any of their other cordless vacuums – it lifted everything it was faced with, even mud, when our reviewer put it to the test! 

Supreme clean
Ideal for those with pets or anyone who regularly finds hair scattered around the house, it has a special head designed to pick up every bit of dirt including leaves, bits of small paper and big crumbs. This model also have DustTracker LEDs so you can easily see what else needs a clean.

Quick and easy vacuuming
The floorhead of the Blade 4 easily rotates which means that  getting it exactly where you want it to go to is never a struggle. It's also low enough to glide under furniture, and light enough to carry up and down the stairs. The handheld doesn't drop is power, nor is it heavy either: it weighs just 2kg.

Cordless pro
It does the job and more, and only needs three hours to charge, after which it will run for 45 minutes. As with slightly older Vax models, additional batteries can be bought which is great if you need a longer run-time. In our opinion, this is the best cordless vacuum cleaner you can buy right now. 

Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

Dyson v11 best vacuum cleaners

(Image credit: Dyson)

3. Dyson V11 Absolute Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Best Dyson cordless vacuum: it has super powerful suction and transitions well from hard floor to carpet

Specifications
Best for: Lightweight power
Type: Stick
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: Yes
Weight: 2.97kg
Capacity: 0.76ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Incredible power+Long running time+Easy to manoeuvre +Notifies you when it needs to be emptied
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Takes a while to charge-Not the lightest

This is our favourite Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner, and it scored five stars in our vacuum cleaner review, but it has narrowly missed out on our top spot for the best cordless vacuum cleaner because of that steep price tag.

It has twice the suction of the others, easily power around the whole home on a full charge and, with a long running time, won't need recharging until you've finished the job.

Supreme clean
As well as high suction, the filter captures allergens with ease offering as thorough a clean as much larger vacuums. It has a good range of attachments and is well designed for the car or spot cleaning – thanks to its ability to transform into a handheld, compact vacuum – so you could happily have it as the only vac for a small household, or a portable back-up in larger homes. It will hit the floor running for up to 60 minutes, so as long as you have time to charge it (4.5 hours a pop), and its nifty LCD screen will let you know just how much running time you have left so you're not left out on a limb.

Lightweight
Whether you have a lot of stairs or mobility issues, this vacuum is suitably lightweight. Despite it being lightweight, the power, battery and dust capacity have not been compromised. The style also means it will clean all those high up corners and crevices with little fuss.

Max power
It is great in standard mode, but you will need to switch it to max power for tougher jobs. This gives it super suction but does result in a couple of drawbacks. Firstly, it cleans so well you find yourself emptying the bin and cleaning the filter very regularly. Secondly, max power does decrease the battery life so you can only use it in short bursts. This isn't a problem if you keep on top of grime every couple of days, but if you are more of a fortnightly/monthly deep clean kind of person, you probably shouldn't get a cordless.

Real Homes rating 5 out of 5 stars

Best vacuum Shark: Shark Powered Lift Away vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Shark)

4. Shark DuoClean cordless upright with Powered Lift-Away and TruePet

Best vacuum cleaner for allergies: feels like an upright, works like a cordless and converts to a handheld

Specifications
Best for: Upright fans in a cordless world
Type: Upright style
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: Yes
Weight: 5.7kg
Capacity: 0.6ltrs
Reasons to buy
+50-minute battery life+Versatile cleaning styles+Floor illumination+Battery can be charged separately
Reasons to avoid
-Long hair can get tangled-There are lighter cordless models

If you want the freedom of a cordless vacuum with the power and style of your old upright, then this Shark vacuum cleaner is for you.

A new breed of cordless
Most cordless vacuums come in stick format which some people find a little hard to get used to. They might be much lighter than your average vacuum, but you essentially have to carry them like a massive handheld. If you prefer an upright – something you can push – then this will really suit you. It can also be unclipped and, as the name suggests, you lift away the dust canister for use on stairs or those hard to reach places.

The style does make the unit heavier than most cordless vacuum cleaners, but it is at its heaviest when you have it in upright mode in which case you would be pushing it anyway.

Power and charging
The battery life is on the generous side for a cordless at 50 minutes. This gives you plenty of time to whizz around and you can buy a spare battery to charge while the other is in use. The power is impressive and it is surprisingly quiet.

Dust and hair busting
It also comes with a great range of tools and has a button to adapt from hard flooring to carpet. And as the name suggests, it is designed to work well on pet hair, either with the main foot, or the attachments. Our reviewer noted that longer hair did get tangled in the brush, but it can be easily removed.

Using the boost button does shorten battery time, but for keeping on top of dirt and fluff every couple of days, this won't be a problem. Just make sure you have a second battery charged for a deep clean. It has a light too that is great for illuminating pesky dust particles.

Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

best vacuum cleaner: Roborock H6

(Image credit: Roborock)

5. Roborock H6 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Best handheld stick vacuum cleaner in the US and AUS: it’s the first cordless stick vacuum in the world to use lithium polymer battery

Specifications
Best for: Run time
Type: Stick
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: Yes
Weight: 1.3kg
Capacity: 0.4ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Mega lightweight+Long runtime+Handle-mounted OLED screen
Reasons to avoid
-Small dust bin capacity

This cordless stick vac was first introduced to the US, but now it's gone global. And lucky for us, we've been able to try it out in one of the teams UK homes.

Easy to use
It's all going on with the H6. It has a run-time of 90-minutes in Eco-mode, or 10-minutes on full blast. And the handle-mounted OLED screen will display just how much run time you have remaining, alongside other helpful notifications.

Being lightweight, it easily converts into a smaller handheld so you can tackle the pet hair (and crumbs) on the car seats or dust in the higher levels of the home.

Powerful suction
Yep, it boasts plenty of power, too. A 420W multi-layer impeller will easily lift direct and fine particles from those furnishings and floorings. 

Pet hair and allergies
Combined with the five-layer filtration system are twin washable HEPA filters which captures 99.97% of particles, including pollen and dander, this handheld vac would make a great choice if you're a pet owners, or suffer from allergies.

Speaking very highly of the H6, Jason Orme, Managing Director of Homes (titles), says: “I've been using the H6 for a few months, and think it's ace! Compared to any corded vacuum I've ever had, it's a world of convenience; the suction is better than any corded vacuum I've had, including Dysons, there’s a serious amount of attachments that cover all usual requirements and the OLED display, which shows the remaining time on the battery, is great.”

And earlier this year the vac was awarded a 2020 Red Dot Award: Product Design, so it must be pretty good!

Best vacuum on a budget: Henry (NUMATIC HVR200-11)

6. Henry (NUMATIC HVR200-11) Vacuum Cleaner

Best vacuum cleaner on a budget: a family favourite, Henry has a huge capacity and is an affordable price

Specifications
Best for: Budgets
Type: Cylinder
Bagless?: No
Cordless?: No
Weight: 8kg
Capacity: 9ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Budget-friendly+Surprisingly powerful
Reasons to avoid
-A little heavy and cumbersome

This vacuum cleaner is a real classic, and it’s not hard to see why. If you're looking for the best vacuum on a budget, we recommend the Henry.

So user friendly
With specs like 620W or 1000W of power and a hefty 6 litre capacity, Henry is ever the under-rated wonder. Perfect for those who want a simple vacuum that just works and works well, it's a name you can trust to have your cleaning done in no time. 

Expert cleaning on a budget
There is a reason Henry and his Numatic family are so widely used by professional cleaners. They can clean for hours and hours before they need emptying, and the bags are easy to fit and empty. The range or attachments is good too, so he’s an all-round brilliant buy for homeowners on a budget. Quite a few of the Real Homes team have a Henry as a second vac for the really tough jobs. Think renovation dust, giving the car a deep clean after a muddy dog walk, or filthy carpets. If you have the room, he is a great back up for the nasty jobs.

Quality
While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend him for those with mobility issues, as he can be a bit heavy to lug around, Henry is certainly built to last. This is a vac that will stand up to everything life throws at it and if you do a lot of DIY and need a heavy-duty buddy for dust busting, he's your man.

Prefer another Henry? We have more on our Henry vacuum 2020 guide who could fit into your lifestyle just fine.

best vacuum cleaner: Dyson V7 Absolute

(Image credit: Dyson)

7. Dyson V7 Absolute cordless vacuum cleaner

Best vacuum cleaner with reach under tool: a good vac which comes with a handy new tool for 2020

Specifications
Best for: Reaching under furniture
Type: Stick
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: Yes
Weight: 2.321kg
Capacity: 0.54kg
Reasons to buy
+Effective results all round the home+Plenty of attachments+Easy bin emptying
Reasons to avoid
-30 minutes cleaning time may not be suffice

If you're looking for a lightweight stick vac then the Dyson V7 could fit the bill very nicely indeed.

Tools and attachments
The Dyson V7 Absolute comes with a suite of attachments, including the newest attachment: the reach under tool. This creates an angle that allows the floorhead to reach far back underneath the furniture with less bending down on your part than is normally involved when you want to zap the dustballs that have found themselves a home under the sofa or bed. Very handy.

Other attachments is the mini-motorized tool, soft dusting brush, crevice tool and a combination tool.

Debris removal
Our reviewer found that this vac did a FAB job at lifting dirt and dust, and even pet hair, from carpets and hard flooring. One thing to bare in mind though is that the battery life was dramatically reduced using the max mode on the more stubborn of things to vacuum away.

Anything else?
Sure it's not the cheapest cordless stick out there, and it may lack the extra features and running times of the top models, but it’s still a powerful vac which is easy to store and delivers impressive cleaning results.

Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

Samsung POWERStick Jet cordless vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Samsung)

8. Samsung POWERstick Jet Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Best vacuum cleaner (cordless) for super powerful suction: a multifunctional model with all the power but half the noise

Specifications
Best for: Cordless cleaning
Type: Cordless stick
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: Yes
Weight: 2.8kg
Capacity: 0.5ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Quiet+Powerful suction+Plenty of tools including mop head attachments+Converts easily to a handheld vacuum
Reasons to avoid
-Cost-Need space by socket for charging station

If you're looking for a cordless vacuum cleaner that can stand up to any corded model, and budget allows, this Samsung vacuum is for you. It's the latest cordless offering from Samsung can also be bought with spinning floor sweepers for an extra £50.

Alarmingly powerful and quiet
Yes, our reviewer said the suction on this was 'alarmingly' powerful as it sucked up dust and hair from a recently vacuumed floor that the model before had missed. It excelled on carpet where it got right into deep pile. The turbo action brush lifts every last speck of dirt and despite the power, the Samsung POWERstick Jet is surprisingly quiet (even cats are unperturbed by the noise).

Battery life
The digital display shows the power with mid, max and the minus option – this is used to reduce power for delicate cleaning. On mid power the battery lasts 30 minutes comfortably, but the battery has an hour of life when used in combination with the lower power mode. Later this year, Samsung will be making the battery available to buy separately so you can have one charged and ready to go when the other one runs out. This will make this model a viable replacement to corded vacuums for larger homes as you will be guaranteed more cleaning time.

Very easy to move, carry and use
Some people find cordless vacs a little tricky to get used to, especially if the suction is so great that it makes the foot hard to sweep over the floor. This is not the case with this model, which moves with ease – despite its strong suction. It is of average weight for a cordless vacuum with the weight towards the head, but what is really smart with this model is the telescopic pipe that can be adjusted for the user's height. It can also be converted into a handheld which is perfect for tackling stairs, furniture and high areas.

Emptying the dust tank is a doddle. It is bagless so just detach the tank, empty over a bin, and you can even rinse it under the tap if you like. The five-layer HEPA filter means this vacuum is even suitable for homes with allergy sufferers.

Versatile tool kit – including pads for mopping and charging stand
The attachment selection is just what you need, but it comes with the added bonus of a wet brush for mopping floors. This can be used with reusable, multi-use pads for cleaning hard floors. For £50 more you can get the Samsung POWERstick Jet with spinning sweeper for buffing hard floors. With the standard model you get a combination tool, crevice tool and a mini motorised tool. There is a flexi hose too for reaching awkward spaces.

The Z Station is the POWERstick's charging stand. It keeps your cordless tidy and upright – along with all the tools – as it charges. It is very handy but unless you have a utility room or a large cupboard with a socket inside, you will find the charging station ends up in a kitchen or hallway as it charges.

Real Homes rating 5 out of 5 stars

best cordless vacuum: Miele Triflex HX1 Pro Cordless Vacuum

(Image credit: Amazon)

9. Miele Triflex HX1 Pro Cordless Vacuum

Best vacuum cleaner for busy family homes: it has epic suction and a long battery life

Specifications
Best for: Busy family homes
Type: Stick
Bagless?: Yes
Battery life: Up to 120 minutes
Charging time: 4 hours
Capacity: 0.5ltrs
Noise: 80dB
Weight: 4kg
Reasons to buy
+Flexible design+Battery life+Epic suction
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy-Fiddly to empty

This vacuum cleaner is the first (ever) cordless vacuum from Miele... If you are looking for a powerful cordless which has an incredible suction and epic battery life, then this is the vacuum cleaner for you.

What's it good at?
This cordless vac has a 3-in-1 design which will solve multiple cleaning conundrums around the home. It has three cleaning modes: compact, range and comfort, which can reach high and low to give you a result to be proud of.

It does a fab job when cleaning carpets, and our reviewer found that it worked well when tackling dust, feathers, dog (and human) hairs, too. This vac even has an automatic detection when you glide over different floor types, so it adjusts its suction accordingly.

What do we like about it?
What we like about this vacuum cleaner is that, like the Dyson, it has incredible suction power, and is achieved without sacrificing battery life. And it's this battery life, with a run-time of up to 120 minutes, which rivals the high-end vacuum cleaners  on our list so we feel it is very well suited to large, busy family homes.

What else?
The Triflex HX1 Pro comes with three attachments; a crevice nozzle, dusting nozzle and upholstery brush, all with a home on the wall mounting unit, which covers all cleaning bases.

What don't we like?
Although it is not the smallest capacity on our vacuum cleaner comparison, for the run-time the 0.5L the dust cylinder is annoyingly small and needs emptying far too often. The emptying action is easy enough, though, if a little stiff so if you don't mind frequently emptying the cylinder then you'll have no other quibbles.

Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars

Best vacuum for pet hair: Dyson Ball Animal 2 vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Dyson)

10. Dyson Ball Animal 2 Vacuum Cleaner

Best vacuum cleaner for pet hair: great suction for fans of Dyson uprights

Specifications
Best for: All-rounder
Type: Upright
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Capacity: 1.8ltrs
Noise: 80dB
Weight: 7.34kg
Reasons to buy
+Powerful suction so great on carpet and hard flooring+Ball makes it easy to move+Long cord
Reasons to avoid
-Can be noisy-It isn't the lightest to move

This Dyson vac has clever brush heads which pick up all the hair our furry friends leave behind, without getting tangled up, and the motorised brush bar gets out stubborn dirt from muddy paws. Expect cleaning power comparable to the Dyson Big Ball Animal 2 above, but in an upright package instead of cylinder.

Powerful suction
This vacuum cleaner is a great all-rounder that delivers on hard flooring, carpet and stairs with ease. Our reviewer found it handled both normal and deep pile carpet, but did mention that the strength of the suction can make it an effort to push.

This vac handles mud and light debris without scattering it around, leading to a quick and thorough clean where muddy paws have been.

Tools
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 comes with a two-in-one tool for dust and cobwebs, a stair tool and a turbine tool that is tangle-free – perfect for handling all types of pet hair. The latter will help get fur (and other debris) off upholstery, too. 

Ease of use
The cleaner head reaches right to the edges of the room. It is also low profile so it fits under furniture with ease. Its telltale ball means you can manoeuvre around obstacles with ease and the generous cord (over 10m) speeds up the process as you do not need to keep moving the plug to different sockets. The handle allows for ease of use in high corners and makes cleaning the stairs an easy job.

Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

Best bagless vacuum cleaner for Miele lovers: Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat&Dog PowerLine vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Miele)

11. Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat&Dog PowerLine Vacuum Cleaner

Best bagless vacuum cleaner: want bagless cylinder but don't want a Dyson? This is the best.

Specifications
Best for: Easy emptying
Type: Cylinder
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Weight: 8.71kg
Capacity: 2ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Powerful bagless convenience+Great on pet hair+Handles all surfaces like a pro
Reasons to avoid
-Quite heavy-Expect a workout if you don't turn the suction down on carpet

This vac shows that you don't have to join team Dyson to enjoy going bag-free and it is super easy to empty. It did not score quite as highly as the Miele Complete C3 in our vacuum cleaner review, but if you don't want to be tied to buying vacuum bags, this compact vacuum is for you.

Ease of use
As well as a great clean, this has been designed for a super easy clean, too. As with nearly all Miele vacuum cleaners the tools are stored in the body of the vac so you shouldn't lose them as you go. While it isn't the smallest of models (or the lightest), the unit is efficiently designed and won't take up too much space either.

You flip the foot control to adjust the brushes and the cable retracts at the push of a button so using the machine is quick and low-labour. It works really well on all surfaces, but like other super-suction models, you might want to turn it down to make carpet easier to clean.

Pet hair and allergies
Pet hair is no problem for the Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat&Dog. And, if you have a mucky pup you will be pleased with how it copes with dried mud, too. A lifetime HEPA AirClean filter (approved by Allergy UK) makes it a good choice for asthmatics or allergy sufferers, and while a bagless model can be a worry for these users, emptying the bin was mess-free. The model also has a self-cleaning function that can be activated when you've tackled a dust storm. The dust tank is also an impressive size for a bagless.

Manoeuvrability
Easy to move with a telescopic tube, people with back problems won't find this vacuum hard to use. However, it is on the weighty side, so if you have lots of stairs, you might prefer a lighter model – for a large bungalow though, it would be perfect.

Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

Hoover Telios Extra

(Image credit: Hoover)

12. Hoover Telios Extra TX50PET cylinder vacuum cleaner

Best bagged vacuum cleaner: if you like to keep it clean, this is the vac for you

Specifications
Best for: Easy, clean emptying
Type: Cylinder
Bagless?: No
Cordless?: No
Weight: 5.03kg
Capacity: 3.5L
Reasons to buy
+Easy to set up+Very easy to store+Great suction
Reasons to avoid
-Gets stuck around tight corners

If you prefer a bagged vac and/or have pets, we highly rate the Hoover Telios Extra TX50PET.

Great suction, across all floor types
The floorhead on this Hoover is suitable for carpets and hard flooring. It can be easily adjusted by a Floor Type Selector Pedal which is on the floorhead – this raises the brushes when you go onto wooden or ceramic flooring.

As for the suction, our reviewer was very impressed with just how much was picked up. You know it's good when it gently lifts the carpets and rugs as your vacuuming!

Plenty of attachments
Arriving with a Crevice tool, Furniture nozzle and Dusting brush, you'll be able to clean all areas of the home with ease. The attachments all get stored on board, too, so you always know where they are.

Manoeuvrability
The Hoover has a (very) useful 360 degree oscillation of the telescopic tube, which itself is extendable. The power cord can extend out to give you a cleaning radius of up to 10m.

Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars


How to choose the best vacuum cleaner

About our reviews – and our reviewer

Our vacuum reviewer is Sarah Warwick, a homes, property and interiors writer with 20 years experience in the industry. Sarah is a serial house revamper who has written for nationals, magazines and websites. She gives the vacuum cleaners she reviews a serious run for their money over various surfaces, from floors to upholstery.

When you start for search for the best vacuum cleaner, deciding which type of vacuum cleaner you would prefer which go a long way in honing in on what is the best make and model for you.

Handheld vacuum cleaners are always cordless, but you can now get larger cordless vacuums which do more than just sucking up a few crumbs off your car seats. Their battery life is much better than a decade ago and they make quick cleaning very convenient. Cordless are a good buy for small homes; they're often lighter and smaller, so easier to store and whip around than bulkier models. Larger, more powerful vacuum cleaners tend to be corded, and these are what you want to choose for larger homes or if you need a really powerful vacuum cleaner (you have, for example, kids who tread biscuit crumbs into carpets or dogs that shed like you wouldn't believe).

Cylinder vacuums, although occasionally less energy-efficient, are best for:

  • Small homes lacking storage space to keep an upright (cylinders can often be taken apart so the cylinder can be stored in a low cupboard and the pipe and foot stowed elsewhere if needed);
  • Getting into corners or under beds;
  • Easy use on stairs and landings.

Upright vacuum cleaners are usually heavier, although there are lightweight models available, but they tend to have a larger capacity, meaning you have to empty them less frequently than cylinder or, of course, small handheld vacs. They are therefore best for:

  • Prolonged use in larger spaces;
  • Easy use – you push the whole unit, rather than needing to tug the cylinder along after you;
  • Quick use – the larger foot (often with rotating brushes) makes quick work of cleaning up pet hair and dust.

Bagless vacuum cleaners can be messy to empty (we'd advise doing so outside, near the bin), but the ongoing cost of bags for traditional bagged models will make them more expensive in the long run, so this comes down to preference and budget.

On top of all this, you should also look out for the following special features:

  • HEPA filters for allergy sufferers;
  • Advanced filtration systems for pollen and dust;
  • Best vacuum for pet hair (extra powerful suction and a non-tangling brush);
  • Deep clean: some models specialise in this.

How we test vacuum cleaners

We test the latest, the trendiest and most innovative vacuum cleaners out there. We're talking stick vacuums, robot vacuum cleaners and the vacuums for pet hair –  and so much more –  so we can help YOU find the best make and model for you.

When we conduct our vacuum cleaner reviews we use them around our own homes and look out for everything you would expect from this sort of appliance. We look for how well they lift dirt from deep pile carpet, if they can easily manoeuvre around furniture, whether or not they can be easily carried up and down the stairs and how they perform on hard floors. We also take into account the attachments, price and delivery so you get the complete overview of exactly what you can expect.

Cleaning your vacuum cleaner

This might sound like an odd one, but don't forget that to maintain max suction you need to keep your vacuum cleaner clean. Emptying the bag or tank regularly is key, so you may prefer a larger capacity that allows you to clean more of the house before this needs doing.

Most vacuums also come with a filter that may need washing every so often. This needs doing well in advance of use so that the filter is completely dry in time. If this sounds like a faff, check out filterless vacuums.

Not sure where to start with a new vacuum?

Use our guide on how to vacuum like a pro before you buy to ensure you choose the best vacuum cleaner to suit your cleaning needs. For more cleaning advice, tips and buys, check out our hub page. 

What is the best vacuum cleaner?

To recap... if you want to buy the best vacuum cleaner (in our opinion) we wouldn't hesitate to  buy the Dyson Big Ball Animal 2. It's powerful, easy to manoeuvre, compact, and not lacking in the suction required to clean a big home full of pets – it got a five-star rating in our review. Then, we can't fault our favourite cordless vacuum from Vax which has super power, impressive suction and is surprisingly affordable, so we highly recommend buying the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4  if a cordless model is what you are after.

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