Best vacuum cleaner 2019: corded and cordless, cylinder and upright, for tackling pet hair and allergies

We have picked the best vacuum cleaner for every job from the likes of Dyson, Vax, Miele and Numatic. Cordless, upright, cylinder, vacuums for pet hair and more – whatever your need, you will find the best vacuum (for the best price) here

using the best vacuum cleaner to clear up a spilt plant pot

Is there such a thing as the best vacuum cleaner? Well, yes, but what you choose will depend on all sorts of factors. Do you live a large house with a pet or a small flat without one? Have you got to tackle more than one flight of stairs with your vacuum or can you keep a second vacuum cleaner upstairs? Looking for a do-it-all corded model for big cleaning jobs and a simple handheld cordless vacuum for quick clean up jobs?

Then there's brand preference: do you favour a bagless Dyson or rate Miele's technology? Whatever, it's clear that finding the very best vacuum cleaner for you is about choosing one (or more) that specifically suits your needs. 

In this feature, we have ranked what we think are the best vacuum cleaners, including different models and types, from different brands and of course at a variety of price points. Read on to find exactly what you need...

Find out more about how to choose a vacuum cleaner in our buying guide. Or, find the best vacuum cleaner deals on our dedicated deals page.

What is the best vacuum cleaner?

We think the best vacuum you can buy is the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal. It's powerful, easy to manoeuvre and it has a good size capacity.

If you are on a budget, we also love the Vax U85-AS-Ue Air Stretch Ultimate. It is lightweight and comes in under £100.

How to buy the best vacuum cleaner

Vacuums come in three main formats: upright, cylinder or handheld, and these can be broken down further into corded and cordless vacuum cleaners, and bagged and bagless vacuum cleaners. You can find out more about picking the right type in our guide to how to choose a vacuum cleaner or read our tops tips at the bottom on the page on buying a new vacuum cleaner.

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 like our best buy, the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal.

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. 

THE BEST VACUUM CLEANERS YOU CAN BUY

Best vacuum cleaner you can buy: Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal

1. Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal

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

Specifications
Best for: All-rounder
Type: Upright
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Weight: 8.55kg
Capacity: 2.18ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Powerful suction+Ball makes it easy to move
Reasons to avoid
-Noisiest on our list at 87 dB 

For a large house with a few pets, we highly recommend the Dyson Big Ball Animal. Simply the best vacuum cleaner for pets, 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. 

No filter, no loss of suction

The Cinetic system essentially means you need not worry about a filter or pet hair clogging up the system. So even with hair, you won't even notice the difference in your vacuum. What's more? It offers a longer lifetime than the competition, too.

High power but low maintenance

Although it's the noisiest on our list, we can overlook that because of its little maintenance and extremely high suction power. A great all-rounder cleaner, and its telltale ball means you can manoeuvre around furniture with ease. 

Shop more Dyson vacuums at Amazon

Best lightweight vacuum cleaner: Vax U85-AS-Ue Air Stretch Ultimate

2. Vax U85-AS-Ue Air Stretch Ultimate

Best lightweight vacuum cleaner: at 4.9 kilograms, this vacuum is easy to carry up and down stairs

Specifications
Best for: Lightweight power
Type: Upright
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Weight: 4.9kg
Capacity: 1.6ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Light and compact+Long hose and cable
Reasons to avoid
-Capacity is quite small 

It might look like a standard upright vacuum cleaner, but the light weight and compactness of this Vax U85-AS-Ue Air Stretch Ultimate vacuum cleaner is what sets it apart from the rest. It’s easy to lift up and down stairs, and has an extra-long hose and cord for those hard-to-reach places. This is the best vacuum cleaner for reach.

Ease of use

You can skip the lifting totally as the reach for this vacuum is 17 metres long. The attachment can be used to tackle the entire staircase, making it a perfect vacuum for those smaller or older, who don't want to lug about weight.

Say goodbye to plugging and unplugging your vacuum forever, as this one has an extra long cord, meaning you can do your house without changing sockets numerous times.

Deep clean for a lightweight vac

It also doesn’t lose suction across carpets or hard floors, so if you find a heavy cleaner hard to lift, but don’t want to compromise on cleaning power, this is an excellent choice. 

Shop more Vax vacuums at Amazon

Dyson Big Ball Animal 2

(Image credit: Dyson)

3. Dyson Big Ball Animal 2

Best vacuum cleaner for pet hair: suits family households with a furry friend or two

Specifications
Best for: Pet hair
Type: Cylinder
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Weight: 7.96kg
Capacity: 1.5ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Supreme pet hair removal+Great on hard flooring+Smooth movement+Easy to empty
Reasons to avoid
-Smaller dust tank than some similar models-Its thorough carpet cleaning might make it hard work for some

The Dyson Big Ball Animal 2 is perfect for those who want Dyson's supreme technology in cylinder for. Compact and easy to store, this model offers far more cleaning power than its neat package lets on.

Smooth operator

While it is heavier than some of the other cylinder vacs on this list, it is incredibly easy to move around thanks to the ball. The head automatically adjusts between floor types making for a fuss-free whip round with this vac. The foot and pipe give it a good range and it can be easily adapted for use on furniture and upholstery, making mean work of pet hair which gets everywhere. 

Great attachments

The Dyson Big Ball Animal 2 comes with a stair tool, combination tool, carbon fibre turbinehead and tangle free turbine which are easy to change. The turbine tool is the one pet owners will be thankful for with rotating heads that grab any fur that has knitted in to carpets and upholstery. 

Super suction

The Dyson Big Ball Animal 2 has an easy mode and max power, but the easy mode is enough for most dirt and debris. The turbinehead does a great job of fine dust on hard floors and brings carpet up as good as new (although it can be a bit hard to push as the suction is so strong). If you have worn and flattened pile, this vacuum cleaners will restore it though, so it is worth the extra effort required to push.

Best cordless vacuum cleaner: VAX Blade 2 MAX vacuum cleaner

4. VAX Blade 2 MAX

Best cordless vacuum cleaner: great for suction, battery power and getting into those hard-to-reach areas

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+Has a light so you can see underneath furniture+Great at sucking up hairs+Works well on all floors+Handy for the car
Reasons to avoid
-When on max, can be loud-Won't do a big home in one charge

An extremely impressive piece of kit, VAX's Blade 2 MAX has almost three times more suction power than any of their other cordless vacuums, and you can tell by the fact that it'll actually try to suck up your flooring while you're cleaning. You will love this if you are a fan of uprights but want something lighter and easier to use, without the hassle of wires holding you back.

Supreme clean

Ideal for those with pets or anyone who regularly finds their own 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. Our reviewer found it also tackled mud on a tiled floor with ease.

Quick and easy vacuuming

Not only does it perform well, it also has a light so you can see under your furniture while vacuuming. The head has a good range, so moving it around the home is a breeze. It does the stairs a treat and if you get the Cordless Pro kit you get all the attachments you need for furniture, crevices, blinds and upholstery.

Cordless pro

It does the job and more, and only needs three hours to charge, after which it will run for 45 minutes. In our opinion, this is the best cordless vacuum cleaner you can buy right now. It easily converts to a handheld too, which is great for cars and dust busting on the spot.

Shop more vacuums a John Lewis

Best quiet vacuum cleaner: Miele Complete C3 Silence EcoLine vacuum cleaner

5. Miele Complete C3 Silence EcoLine

Best quiet vacuum cleaner: that’s been tried and tested for extended use

Specifications
Best for: Quietest
Type: Cylinder
Bagless?: No
Cordless?: No
Weight: 5kg
Capacity: 4.5ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Much quieter than the average cleaner+Energy-efficient EcoTeQ floorhead
Reasons to avoid
-Not cheap 

For households with different waking times, or anyone who’s sensitive to noise, this quiet-as-can-be Miele Complete C3 Silence EcoLine vacuum cleaner is a fab buy. 

Quiet but powerful

The insulated motor minimises noise whilst cleaning, and the cleverly designed EcoTeQ floor-head performs very admirably with just 700W of power, making it an energy-saver too. Miele's Complete C3 Silence EcoLine is without a doubt the best vacuum cleaner for quiet cleaning.

Long cleans and easy to use

The hefty 4.5-litre capacity means your worries about stopping to empty this beast are non existent. With plenty of storage space and three integrated accessories, it's ideal for vacuuming large areas.

Built to last

Like all Miele products, the C3 Silence Eco Line is tested for the equivalent of 20 years’ use, so you know you’re in safe hands. 

Browse more Miele vacuums at Amazon

Best budget vacuum cleaner: Henry (NUMATIC HVR200-11)

6. Henry (NUMATIC HVR200-11)

Best budget vacuum cleaner: 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 happy chap is a real classic, and it’s not hard to see why. The two-speed Henry vacuum cleaner is reliable and powerful, quite unfazed by carpets or hard floors, and is easy to set up, use and store; making it the best vacuum cleaner if you're on a budget.

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. 

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.

Find more cylinder vacuums at AO

Best vacuum cleaner for allergy-sufferers: Philips PowerPro Ultimate FC9920/69

7. Philips PowerPro Ultimate FC9920/69

Best vacuum cleaner for allergy-sufferers: this powerful machine removes all the nasties from your home with ease

Specifications
Best for: Allergies
Type: Cylinder
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Weight: 6kg
Capacity: 2.2ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Removes up to 99.9% of allergens+HEPA filter cleans air
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey 

To easily suck up tiny particles of discomfort-causing allergens, look no further than this powerful Philips PowerPro Ultimate FC9920/69

Allergens beware

It’s on the more expensive side, but it’s certainly worth it for the effective filtration of dust, pollen and pet hair, and the HEPA filter that releases clean air back into the room. This is the best vacuum cleaner for allergies.

Perfect for anyone with allergies or for homes with small children, its 3 in 1 nozzle will take care of 99.9% of dust, pet hair and pollen and ensure maximum dust pick up. What's more? With the help of its HEPA 13 filter, the vacuum releases cleaner air back into your home. 

Easy to empty

The ergonomic dust bucket also allows you to dispose of debris cleanly, with its no-spill spout. For peace of mind when living with allergies, this is your best bet. 

Manoeuvrability

It isn't the lightest cylinder vac on our list, but it is easy to pull around and the head has a good range of movement. It has an operating radius of 11 metres so you don't have to drag it around too much and it has a neat, compact cylinder which can be stored neatly.

Find more Philips products at Amazon

AEG X Force VX6-2-CB-P

(Image credit: ao.com)

8. AEG X Force VX6-2-CB-P

Best multifloor vacuum cleaner: for homes with lots of different flooring types

Specifications
Best for: Working well on all types of flooring
Type: Cylinder
Bagless?: No
Cordless?: No
Weight: 4.26kg
Capacity: 3.5ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Relatively lightweight +Seamlessly adjusts to different floors 
Reasons to avoid
-Dusting brush not included-Cord could be longer

The AEG VX6-2-CB-P bagged cylinder vacuum cleaner has a generous capacity; you can get round the whole house without having to empty the bag. 

Great clean without much noise

It's quieter than most at just 76dB, but don't let that kid you into thinking it's not powerful. This vacuum makes light work of pet hair and easily picks up large pieces of dust and dirt. 

A good multifloor option

It works wonders on hard floors, even lifting fine dust from between floorboards and shows equal promise on carpets. making it a great option if you have different types of flooring throughout your home. 

Glides with ease

It may not have the convenience of being cordless, but this AEG vac has 360º wheels, so it is easy to manoeuvre around your space, and it's lightweight so no lugging it from room to room.  

Top tips for buying a vacuum cleaner

Which type of vacuum cleaner should you choose?

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;
  • Vacuum cleaners for pets (extra powerful suction and a non-tangling brush);
  • Deep clean: some models specialise in this.

See all our vacuum buying guides: