Best vacuum cleaner: 10 top buys for all flooring types

Discover the best vacuum cleaner for dust busting and taming pet hair in our expert guide. We compare cylinder, upright and cordless vacuums, all at the best price

Best vacuum cleaner vacuuming crumbs off carpet
Dyson V11 Absolute
(Image credit: Dyson)

Looking for the best vacuum cleaner? Perhaps your old vacuum cleaner has broken down on you (sad times) or you could do with a second vacuum for use upstairs. Either way, there's load of choice out there. All the important things such as suction, weight and the range of tools which arrive with today's vacuums have all been fine-tuned and the latest models offer an efficient clean that's nothing if not rewarding. 

That said. All the makes and models of vacuum cleaners tend to do the same thing: vacuum. So, we took it upon ourselves to try and test a range of vacuums – from the best models for large homes to lightweight stick vacuums and robot vacuums better suited to quick clean ups – to save you the time researching every type from every store. Different brands have carved their own niches in the world of vacuum cleaners, so we have reviewed the best vacuums from Shark, Bissell, Dyson, Miele and more to show the choices available. Keep scrolling to see our rankings.

Have pets in the home? Then you'll need the best vacuum for pet hair to tame those stray hairs left behind on the carpets, sofa and car seats,

What is the best vacuum cleaner?

Here are our top vacuum cleaners at a glance. Scroll down for more on each pick.

  • Best cordless vacuum cleaner:  Shark ION P50 Powered Lift Away vacuum cleaner
  • Best splurge cordless vacuum cleaner: Dyson V11 Animal
  • Best vacuum for hair (pet and human): Shark® APEX® DuoClean® with Zero-M® Self-Cleaning Brushroll Upright Vacuum
  • Best canister vacuum cleaner, bagged: Miele C3 Complete Powerline
  • Best canister vacuum cleaner, bagless: Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat&Dog PowerLine
  • Best vacuum for carpet: Shark Navigator Deluxe Upright NV42
  • Best vacuum for hardwood floors: Dyson Ball Animal 2
  • Best vacuum on a budget: Bissell CleanView Vacuum with OnePass Technology
  • Best robot vacuum cleaner: iRobot Roomba i7+
  • Best no-frills vacuum: Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS Commercial Upright Vacuum Cleaner XL

Best vacuum cleaner buys

Best vacuum Shark: Shark ION P50 Powered Lift Away vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Shark)

1. Shark ION P50 Powered Lift Away vacuum cleaner

Best vacuum, cordless: feels like an upright, and converts to a handheld

Type: Upright style
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: Yes
Weight: 12.5lbs
Capacity: .5ltrs
Reasons to buy
+50-minute battery life+Versatile cleaning styles+Floor illumination+Battery can be charged separately+The battery is replaceable 
Reasons to avoid
-There are lighter cordless models

If you want the freedom of a cordless vac with the power and style of your old upright, the Shark Ion P50 Powered Lift Away cordless vacuum 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 is a great choice. 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 zip around the house 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.

Dyson v11 best vacuum cleaners

(Image credit: Dyson)

2. Dyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

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

Type: Stick
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: Yes
Weight: 6.68lb
Capacity: 0.75ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Incredible power+Long running time+Easy to maneuver+Notifies you when it needs to be emptied
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Takes a while to charge

The Dyson V11 Animal is our favorite in the Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner range because it's got twice the suction of the others. And with a running time of 60 minutes, it will easily power around the whole home without needing to stop for a charge.

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 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 on a full charge (which takes around 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.

This vacuum is under 7lbs, perfect for those with a lot of stairs or mobility issues.

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 twice-monthly deep clean kind of person, you might want to opt for a corded model with a larger bin capacity.

shark vacuum

(Image credit: Shark)

3. Shark® Apex® DuoClean® Self-Cleaning Brushroll Powered LiftAway Upright Vacuum

Best vacuum for hair: Tackles pet hair and human hair with ease

Type: Upright
Bagless : Yes
Cordless: No
Weight: 16 lb
Capacity: .88q
Reasons to buy
+Hair doesn't get stuck in brushroll+Powerful suction+Lift-away feature for hard-to-reach spots
Reasons to avoid
-On the heavier side

If you and/or your furry friend tend to shed around the house, the Shark APEX DuoClean with Zero-M® Self-Cleaning Brushroll Upright Vacuum the vacuum for you. Not only does is suck up everything in its path, but it features a brushroll cleaning system that constantly eliminates hair from the brushroll (so no more time spend snipping your strands from the bottom of your vacuum).

Zero-M Technology
The vacuum's Zero-M technology allows the brushroll to self-clean, so instead of hair getting stuck on the brushroll, it's sucked into the vacuum. A game changer for long-haired types. 

Like our No. 1 pick, this Shark vacuum features the brand's Lift-Away system, which means the canister detaches to provide longer reach. 

Bonus features
Besides the fact that is sucks up hair, this vacuum is packed with other handy features, including LED headlights for seeing under furniture, a crevice and upholstery tool for specialty cleaning, and on-board tool storage. It also has a built-in HEPA filter to remove allergens while it cleans. 

Best vacuum cleaner for ergonomic design: Miele complete C3 total solution powerline

(Image credit: Miele)

4. Miele Complete C3 PowerLine

Best vacuum cleaner for ergonomic design: neatly stowed tools and a slick exterior show off Miele's renowned design prowess

Best for: Ergonomic design
Type: Cylinder
Bagless?: No
Cordless?: No
Weight: 15.8lbs
Capacity: 4.54ltrs
Reasons to buy
+On-board tools for easy use+High capacity dust bag+Very effective on all sorts of floors and debris
Reasons to avoid
-Powerful suction leads to some noise

The Miele Complete C3 PowerLine deserves its lengthy name – it really is a powerful vac with great reach and a neat design that keeps all your tools on hand. Miele are well known for producing great quality products and as this one has been around for a few years now, the price is very reasonable.

A practical and reliable clean
If you like a cylinder vacuum and are happy with using a bagged model, the Miele Complete C3 range will serve you well. It suits hard and carpeted floors well and the suction can be adjusted as you move around the home. 

Easy to handle
Miele really does think of everything when designing their vacuum cleaners to ensure that cleaning is less of a chore. Foot controls on the body of the vac mean no bending over. All of the tools are conveniently stowed away in the vacuum cleaner so you don't need to carry them around – and losing them is less of a risk. On that note, it has a great range of tools for everything from upholstery to crevices and a delicate brush for dusting. Some come with the vacuum, while others can be purchased separately.

While it isn't lightweight, it is fairly easy to handle and the long-reach cable and hose give better freedom of movement.

Thorough clean
Mud on tiles and crumbs on carpet are no match for this vacuum cleaner. It handles all debris very thoroughly and while it isn't a pet model, it handles hair no problem. Mud on carpet needed a little bit more going over but the machine did the job and left no remnants. 

Miele engineering at an affordable price
Now this model has been out for a while, it is about $100 cheaper than the latest models. That is not to say it is worth $100 less – it does its job well and is certainly built to last.

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

(Image credit: Miele)

5. Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat&Dog PowerLine

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

Best for: Easy emptying
Type: Cylinder
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Weight: 19.2lbs
Capacity: .96ltrs
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

Expect an expert clean in bagless format from the Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat&Dog PowerLine. 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 review, but if you don't want to be tied to buying vacuum bags, it is for you.

Ease of use
As well as a great clean, this vacuum 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-labor. 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 dirty pup you will be pleased with how it copes with dried mud, too. A maintenance-free HEPA lifetime filter 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 at just over a half-gallon capacity.

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 ranch though, it would be perfect.

Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

best vacuum

(Image credit: Shark)

6. Shark Navigator Deluxe Upright Corded Bagless Vacuum for Carpet and Hard Floor with Anti-Allergy Seal

Best vacuum for carpet: a multi floor superstar, but a winner if your home is mostly carpeted

Best for: Carpeted floors
Type: Upright
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Weight: 14.8lbs
Capacity: 2.6 quarts
Reasons to buy
+Large dust bin capacity+Long 25' cord+Lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-Not anti-allergen

While the Shark Navigator Deluxe Upright Vacuum is designed for both hardwood floors and carpet, it reigns supreme on the latter. If you want a deep clean on all that pile, you will not be disappointed. It's also an excellent value pick, at under $150. 

Conquers carpets
The key to finding a great vacuum for carpet is that it needs to strike a balance between suction and maneuverability. Too much suction, and you sacrifice the latter, but not enough suction and the job won't get done. The Shark Navigator is an excellent balance of both. It's lightweight, at 14.8 lbs, and features smooth-glide wheels that easily move over carpet.  The dual motor makes for strong suction, but
if it ever becomes too much (say, if it starts to eat an area rug), there's a handy suction release valve. Although it is not marketed for pet hair, it does a great job on that too.

Easy to use
From the floor head that gets flush to the baseboards to the 25ft cord, this vacuum has been designed to get everywhere with ease. It comes with a number of tools for tackling various jobs, including pet tools, a dusting brush, 5.5” Crevice Tool, and a wide upholstery tool.

Reviewers also described it as responsive and straightforward to operate. It is light and narrow, which makes navigating between furniture easy, too.

Reviewer highlight
While this is one of the few vacuums on our list that we haven't tested ourselves, we did read through dozens of reviews on Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot to get a feel for how it worked IRL situations (and we hope to put it to the test in person soon). One reviewer, from Boston, summed it up the best, saying: "This is the Tom Brady (G.O.A.T.) of vacuums." Can't argue with that. 

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

(Image credit: Dyson)

7. Dyson Ball Animal 2

Best vacuum for hardwood floors: great suction for fans of Dyson uprights

Best for: Pet hair
Type: Upright
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Capacity: 2.08ltrs
Noise: 80dB
Weight: 17.35lb
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-On the heavier side

For a large, family home with a few pets, we highly recommend the Dyson Ball Animal 2. Its clever brush heads pick up all the hair our furry friends leave behind, without getting tangled up, and the motorized brush bar gets out stubborn dirt from muddy paws. 

Powerful suction
This vacuum cleaner is a top pick all-around 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.

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 maneuver around obstacles with ease and the generous cord (at 35ft) 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.

best vaccuum budget

(Image credit: Bissell)

8. Bissell CleanView 2488

Best vacuum on a budget: lightweight, tough, and under $100

Best for: Budget-friendly price
Type: Upright
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Weight: 12lb
Capacity: 1ltr
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight+Specialized tools included+Budget friendly
Reasons to avoid
-Not the best for high-pile carpeting and rugs

Wow! This item is now out of stock and we're not sure when it will be back again. Keep an eye on our pricing widget above for the best prices.

Looking for an effective, versatile vacuum but don't have hundreds of dollars to spend? The Bissell CleanView Vacuum with OnePass Technology is lightweight, nimble, and features onboard storage for its included cleaning tools. All for under $100. 

Lightweight and easy to move
When it comes to the sheer ease of use, this vacuum is hard to beat. It's just 12.5 lbs, making it one of the lightest on our list, and its compact design is easy to carry, even if you're navigating stairs.

The vacuum comes with a dusting brush, crevice tool, and extension wand designed to clean your house top-to-bottom. And they're all stored in the vacuum for easy access. 

Best for hardwoods and tile
This vacuum is great for sucking up dirt and pet hair on hard surfaces like hardwood, tile, and laminate, and deftly navigates its way around low-pile carpet and area rugs. However, it can get stuck around higher pile carpeting and shag rugs, so if you've got a lot of fluffy carpet at home, you might want to skip this pick.

Best robot vacuum cleaner for pet hair: iRobot Roomba i7 robot vacuum cleaner with phone

(Image credit: iRobot)

9. iRobot Roomba i7+

Best robot vacuum cleaner for pet hair: with its Clean Base, this machine even empties itself!

Best for: Contactless cleaning
Type: Robot
Bagless?: Yes (but the clean base has a bag)
Cordless?: Yes
Weight: 8.3lbs
Capacity: 0.5ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Self-emptying+Great room mapping +Smart compatible (Alexa and Google) and remote controls
Reasons to avoid
-Loud-Expensive-Does not handle deep pile rugs

The iRobot Roomba i7+ deserves that plus mark with its lifesaving Clean Base to create the most hands-off robot vacuuming experience possible. It empties itself which is amazing, but its cleaning power is pretty impressive too, handling all flooring (apart from shag rugs) and all debris (apart from feathers).

Clean Base
This robot vacuum cleaner not only cleans with little input from you, but also empties itself. When its dust tank is full, it returns to the Clean Base to unload the dirt into a bag in the base. This needs emptying by you but our reviewer found it held about 30 loads of dirt and in her six-week test, it took just two bags – even after having been used to clean every day.

Comprehensive cleaning
The criticism of most botvacs is that they can only really keep on top of light dirt and small amounts of fur. This model handled all of the flooring types in our reviewer's home (from carpet to concrete) and also tackled the dust and dirt that has come with her ongoing renovation project. She set it to clean once a day while she was out and on the few occasions it got stuck it would message her for help. It also alerted her to a blocked tank – note to self, robot vacuum cleaners should NOT clean up renovation rubble.

While it could not get right into corners, it got all the way up to baseboards and the only hurdles (aside from ledges of course) it couldn't overcome were deep pile rugs and feathers stuck on carpets. Pet hair, dust and even lentils were no problem.

Easy to use
Setting the iRobot Roomba i7+ up is quick and simple. Plug in the base, put the dust bag in the tank and connect the robot to your home Wi-Fi. It took our reviewer less than two minutes to get going. 

The i7+ also has great room mapping. After a few trips around the house it creates a virtual map of your home and allows you to select particular rooms for cleaning. It also has a Virtual Wall that can be used to create an uncrossable barrier between rooms, or for a halo effect when placed by pet bowls, for example, to keep the vacuum away.

Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

best vacuum for allergy sufferers

(Image credit: Oreck)

10. Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS Commercial Upright Vacuum Cleaner XL

Best no-frills vacuum: a dependable workhorse, this Oreck Commercial Model has a huge capacity and is an affordable price

Best for: Simplicity
Type: Upright
Bagless?: No
Cordless?: No
Weight: 9lb
Capacity: 9ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Budget-friendly+Powerful+Surprisingly lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-No-frills design might feel outdated to some

Wow! This item is now out of stock and we're not sure when it will be back again. Keep an eye on our pricing widget above for the best prices.

The Oreck XL Commercial Upright Vacuum is meant for commercial spaces, but works wonders at home, too. Don't be fooled by appearances: What it might lack in the style department, this vacuum more than makes up for in substance. It's reliable, lightweight and straightforward thanks to its one-speed design. At under $150, it's also a top vacuum cleaner if you're on a budget. 

So user friendly
It doesn't get much more intuitive than the Oreck XL. It comes free of bells and whistles (literally, it has no attachments), and its one-speed design and exclusive Microsweep feature switches seamlessly from bare floor to carpet and back. Combined with an ergonomic handle and low-profile design made for sweeping under furniture, it's not hard to see why this vacuum has racked up more than 2,500 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Expert cleaning on a budget
There is a reason Oreck vacuums are so widely used by professional cleaners. They can clean for hours and hours before they need emptying, and the bags are easy to insert and empty. Combined with a price tag of around $150, it's hard to beat this vaccuum in terms of value. 

One of the great things about a vacuum as simple at the Oreck XL is that there are fewer things that can go wrong. Reviewers have cited owning this vacuum for years without issue, and making any necessary repairs themselves. Or, as one Walmart reviewer put it: "I love not having all these gadget accessories falling off all the time. I love being able to get underneath stuff. I love the light weight. I love the switch on the handle in case I suck up a sock or shoelace, so that I can shut the motor off before I burn up a belt."

Top tips for buying a vacuum cleaner

If you're not sure where to start when choosing a vacuum cleaner, here are a few things which you'll need to look out for.

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 head (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 trash), 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 specialize in this.

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 to be done.

Most vacuums also come with a filter that may need washing every so often. This needs to be done well in advance of use so that the filter is completely dry in time. If this sounds like too much work, 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. 

Black Friday vacuum cleaner deals 2020

Every year, we see an increase in demand for Black Friday vacuum cleaner deals which is hardly surprising since they are one of the most essential appliances (in our opinion). This year, we have no idea what Black Friday will look like, but we can expect that vacuum cleaner manufacturers and their retailers have largely managed to keep it business as usual throughout the coronavirus outbreak, and Black Friday 2020 will not be that different for them.

We will keep you posted as soon as we know anything about 2020 Black Friday vacuum cleaner deals and exactly what we will see up for sale.

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