The best vacuum cleaner 2018

From Dyson and Vax to Miele and Henry, there’s a lot a good vacuum cleaner can do nowadays — keep reading for our pick of the best cordless, cylinder, and pet-hair handling designs

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A great vacuum cleaner will do more than just clean cobwebs and suck up crumbs. A far cry from the heavy upright hoovers of yesteryear, the vacuum cleaners on the market right now are lighter, more mobile, and more powerful than ever before. But finding the very best vacuum cleaner for what you specifically need is the key, read on to find what you need.

Some are even made to combat specific issues: if you or someone in your household has an allergy or respiratory condition, getting a thorough enough clean can be tricky, but you can look for a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter to clean air on the way out. Plus, an advanced filtration system will whisk away pollen, cat and dog hair and dust. If you have pets who frequently shed, look for one with powerful suction to pick up ingrained hair, and a non-tangling brush. If you’re just after a really good, deep clean, there are cleaners for that too, but there’s a little more choice involved.

Cylinder vacuums are more compact than upright vacuums and typically better at getting into corners and hard-to-reach spots like the stairs, but tend to be less energy efficient. Upright hoovers are usually heavier, although there are lightweight models available, but tend to have a larger capacity, meaning you have to empty them less frequently.

Corded vacuum cleaners can tether you to inconvenient spots, especially if the cord is short, but keep going and going; meanwhile, cordless vacuums can be taken anywhere, but can only clean for as long as their batteries will allow. Finally, there’s the choice of bagged or bagless vacuum cleaners: bagless cleaners can be messier to empty, but the ongoing cost of bags for traditional models will make them more expensive in the long run, so it all depends on what you prefer.

1. Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal

Our best vacuum cleaner for pet-owners

Best for: Pets
Weight: 8.55kg
Capacity: 2.18L
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 Big Ball Animal. This is simply the best vacuum cleaner for pets. The 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. 

The Cinetic system essentially means you don't need to worry about a filter or about pet hair clogging up the system. So even with hair you won't notice the difference in your vacuum and best of all this can off a longer lifetime than the competition too.

It’s a great all-rounder cleaner too though, never losing suction, and with that telltale ball that means you can manoeuvre around furniture with ease. 

2. Vax U85-AS-Ue Air Stretch Ultimate

A lightweight vacuum cleaner that’s easy to carry up and down stairs

Best for: Lightweight power
Weight: 4.9kg
Capacity: 1.6L
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 hoover 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.

That reach is 17 metres long, so you can skip the lifting totally and use the attachments to take on the entire staircase. That makes this a perfect vacuum for smaller or older people who don't want to lug about weight.

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

3. Miele Complete C3 Silence EcoLine

An impressively quiet vacuum cleaner that’s been tried and tested for extended use

Best for: Quietest
Weight: 5kg
Capacity: 4.5L
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 vacuum cleaner is a fab buy. The insulated motor minimises noise while cleaning, and the cleverly designed EcoTeQ floor-head performs very admirably with just 700W of power, so it’s an energy-saver, too.  This is the best vacuum cleaner for quiet cleaning, for sure.

The hefty 4.5 litre capacity means you don't need to worry about stopping to empty this beast as it'll follow you around with plenty of storage space. That makes this ideal for vacuuming large areas.

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. 

4. Henry Hoover (NUMATIC HVR200-11)

A friendly face to keep in the cleaning cupboard

Best for: Budgets
Weight: 8kg
Capacity: 9L
Reasons to buy
+Budget-friendly+Surprisingly powerful
Reasons to avoid
-A little heavy 

This happy chap is a real classic, and it’s not hard to see why. The two-speed Henry Hoover is reliable and powerful, quite unfazed by carpets or hard floors, and is easy to set up, use and store. This is the best budget vacuum cleaner out there.

With specs like 620W or 1000W of power and a hefty 6 litre capacity, Henry is ever the under-rated wonder. This is perfect for those that want a simple vacuum that just works and works well.

While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend him for those with mobility issues, as he can be a bit heavy to lug around, he’s an all-round brilliant buy for homeowners on a budget. 

5. Dyson V8 Absolute

The best cordless vacuum cleaner with helpful handheld attachments

Best for: Ultimate handheld
Weight: 2.61kg
Capacity: 0.54L
Reasons to buy
+Great handheld options+Convenient cordless design
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive 

This powerful cordless vacuum performs excellently on all floor types, and thanks to its wire-free design, can be used anywhere, including the car and the stairs. This is the best vacuum for easy and quick cleaning.

It transforms into a handheld vacuum cleaner with just a click, and delivers up to 40 minutes of strong, even suction, picking up bigger bits of debris and fine dust for a complete clean, then emptying hygienically with the push of a button. 

This is super easy to empty and makes short work of even pet hair so you don't need to worry about blockages. That makes this perfect for cleaning a dog bed regularly to avoid build up. It's also a perfect vacuum for smaller spaces.

The only downside is that it’s very, very pricey. 

6. Philips PowerPro Ultimate FC9920/69

The best hoover for allergy-sufferers

Best for: Allergies
Weight: 6kg
Capacity: 2.2L
Reasons to buy
+Removes up to 99.9% of allergens+HEPA filter cleans air
Reasons to avoid

To easily suck up tiny particles of discomfort-causing allergens, look no further than this powerful machine. 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.

The filters will take care of 99.9% of dust, pet hair and pollen. That makes this the perfect vacuum for anyone with allergies or small children in the home.

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 our best buy. 

7. Sebo D2 Titan Eco

A great buy for big houses that won’t scrape floors or furniture

Best for: Coverage
Weight: 6.7kg
Capacity: 6L
Reasons to buy
+Wide-reaching clean on a range of surfaces+Useful attachments
Reasons to avoid
-On the heavier side 

This cylinder vacuum cleaner is just the thing for a really deep clean across a range of surfaces, making it a great buy for bigger properties. This is best vacuum for multi-surface cleaning as it'll make short work of variations, without any worry of damages. This is perfect for anyone that's worried about damaging their new wooden floor.

It moves easily around furniture and doesn’t damage legs thanks to its soft airbelt bumper system, and the long cable and hose give you an impressive cleaning range even while staying put, superb for cleaning up stairs and into corners. The range of handy attachments make cleaning upholstery a breeze, too.