Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the right way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.
Picking the best vacuum isn’t just about what has the most bells and whistles. A good vacuum has to do its job well (of course), be easy to maintain, be versatile enough to take on both carpets and hardwood floors, and be a good value for the money. We researched—and in some cases tested—the best vacuum cleaners on the market to find the ones that will make cleaning your home a faster and easier chore to handle.
But choosing the best vacuum cleaner for you and your home means thinking about more than just that. Consider what surfaces you’ll be vacuuming, how your home is laid out, and how much time you have for cleaning up. Immediately below are our picks for the best vacuums in 10 key categories. Scroll down to learn more about what to consider before you buy a new vacuum and how to choose the best vacuum cleaner to meet your needs.
With over 6,700 five-star reviews, this upright-canister hybrid is praised by users for its versatility and power. From pet owners to vacuum snobs, this model has earned its share of converts. “I had seen the good reviews about this vacuum and finally ordered it when we moved,” one writes. “Our new house had a mix of thick carpet, linoleum, and wood floors, and my old vacuum wasn’t going to cut it. It pulls the dirt out of next week, I swear to you. Almost every use we had to empty the container, which made me feel full of regret for not ordering it sooner because it was clearly having to do the work of my old vacuum on our area rugs. It transitions between the floor types with a quick click, and the wand and attachments are well stored and quickly accessible to make transitioning from floors to ceilings quick.” Another reviewer says, “Day one, I decided to give this a ‘test drive.’ Six hours later, I ended up cleaning the entire place; not just the floor but all the corners — switching attachments was a breeze. This thing goes around corners and turns with your wrist.” The admirer continues, “The weird part is — I ENJOYED it. The canister made you feel like you were winning, as you watch it fill up.” Another reviewer puts it simply: “Buy it. I can’t imagine you being disappointed.”
Dyson continually produces top cleaning products, and their Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 Upright Vacuum is just one more to add to the list. This newer model is especially notable for its design, with a ball device that lets users steer the vacuum in any direction, making it easier to reach those difficult areas.
Maneuvering aside, the Smart Ball helps give this product the most potent suctioning capabilities of any lightweight model. Once the job is done, a single button effortlessly releases the bin to empty any residue, all before putting it away in the cleaning cupboard with ease. Plus, an instant-release wand lets you clean your home from floor to ceiling.
For those that are concerned about allergies and asthma, this vacuum is certified asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, which means it effectively removes allergens and retains them in the vacuum.
This little vacuum is small, lightweight,” notes one reviewer, “but also MIGHTY!” For just $25, the Bissell Featherweight Stick Lightweight Bagless Vacuum is a crowd-pleaser, not a compromise. True, “it’s not sucking up any gravel or chunks of mud,” acknowledges one reviewer, but it still has “nearly as much power as a machine twice its size…for what I need it for (pulling dust, hair, and other particulates out of the hallway rugs) it’s perfect.” Happy owners praise the “superior build quality,” “powerful” suction, the way the vacuum “gets into corners beautifully,” and the fact that it’s “straightforward to change and clean.” As one enthusiastic purchaser notes, “I would buy this vacuum 100 more times. At this price, why not?
It may be hard to envision yourself spending more than $500 on a vacuum — it certainly is for me — but judging by the Insider team’s own experience, the longevity of the Miele C2 Electro+ is unparalleled. You might run through several less expensive vacuums before the Miele even starts to think about kicking the bucket.
If you have the extra money and don’t plan on moving too far away anytime soon, it’s probably worth the investment. Even if something does start to go wrong with your Miele, it can be repaired when other cheaper vacuums cannot.
One thing to consider when shopping for high-end vacuums like this one is whether you want a model that uses bags or a canister. While we hate to advocate for more waste, a quality bagged vacuum can last for over a decade, while cheaper canister vacuums typically perform well for a few years, tops. That’s because bags help prevent grit, Hair, and whatever else from collecting within the machine and damaging the motor.
The Miele will also clean much deeper into your carpet than our other picks, and, being a true workhorse, it’s the best option for meticulously clean souls who feel compelled to run their vacuums daily.
Bissell’s Zing Canister vacuum gets top marks from those looking to save money without having to compromise on suction power. “This vacuum is so powerful!” writes one happy customer. “I expected it to work pretty well after reading the reviews, but I wasn’t expecting it to suck up everything in its path. Do you know those TV show scenes where someone takes the vacuum cleaner and sucks everything off the dining room table including the table cloth? That’s literally what I thought was happening.” Another reviewer adds, “There’s so much suction power, you can clean your hairbrushes with this vacuum cleaner.” There are fewer attachment tools included than with other pricier vacs, but customers don’t seem to mind. As one reviewer puts it, simply, “Do not hesitate to get this vacuum. It’s way cheaper than the others I’ve bought but outperformed them all!
Not all handheld vacuums can tackle pet hair with aplomb, but the Shark Ion W1 WV201 aces that task, earning an Excellent rating. It’s also a champ at cleaning bare floors and getting into hard-to-reach places, and it’s not too shabby at cleaning carpet. The vacuum and all its attachments can be stored on the charging base, making it a real space saver. And at just 1.4 pounds, it’s the lightest handheld vac in our tests. The only downside to its small size is the small dustbin, which may have to be emptied more than once if you have a sizable spill. For more choices, see our full handheld vacuum ratings.
While the Bissell vacuum can hold two liters, this Eureka model can hold 2.5 liters, and reviewers say that extra bit of room is helpful for those with larger homes or people who don’t want to change the bag as much. One customer used to clean homes professionally and keeps this vacuum in her house. She hates having to constantly change the bag after cleaning her house almost daily: “I have three short-haired dogs in a one-bedroom house, and I replace my bag two times a month, and I use vacuum two times a week so you can see how long a bag will last.”
She thinks that you can get three cleanings from one bag if you have multiple dogs and a large home, though. And another customer even replaced her Dyson with this vacuum. She personally “hated the bagless design, because it meant she always needed to touch and handle the dirt. This vacuum is smaller, lighter, and just as powerful as the Dyson but cost $50.” And the best part for her is that “the bags are huge and super cheap.
You don’t need to shell out hundreds and hundreds of dollars for a good robotic vacuum. Typically selling for around $220, the Eufy RoboVac 11S earns a Very Good rating in our carpet cleaning test and does even better on bare floors. While it’s not the most efficient cleaner, and testers noted that it sometimes scatters debris, it gets the job done, operates quietly (like many robotic vacuums), and has a cliff sensor to keep it from tumbling downstairs. Check out our full robotic vacuum ratings for more great choices.
I love this ugly thing so much,” writes a satisfied reviewer, who’s one of the hundreds who appreciates that this vacuum has a bag. “I like having a bagged vacuum because I hate emptying the bagless canisters because no matter what, the dust gets everywhere — especially in the air. The bags for this vacuum are huge and last a long time.” Another says, “No matter what you do, the bagless vacs retain dirt and odor with all the nooks and crannies of their cyclone technology and hidden filters,” but with this, they explain, “The bag fills up, you toss it out along with all the odor and dust.” More than 200 reviewers also reference how powerful this Oreck is.
The aforementioned beefy motor sucks up everything just fine, from stale cereal my 1-year-old hid behind the couch for later to my wife’s forgotten hair ties to every single cord I forget to get out of the way before I start vacuuming,” one writes. It does all this while still remaining lightweight. The same user compares its weight to “about as much as a gallon of milk.
Pet parents rave about this Bissell Cleanview Upright Bagless vacuum. “I am both delighted and horrified by this vacuum. The amount of dog hair (100-pound German shepherd and 65-pound lab/shepherd) this sucked out of the family room carpet is impressive and disgusting.” Writes another, “I have seven cats, a toddler, and I have long hair. In the past few years, every vacuum we have bought could not stand up to the Hair and dust our house accumulates. This is the ultimate pet and dust vacuum! Brings new life to my carpet! I even feel as though my air in my house is cleaner after vacuuming!” One happy owner adds, “I was amazed as the rug began to appear under all the fur that previous vacuum cleaners couldn’t touch.
Unlike other models, clogging was not an issue for most reviewers. “Hair doesn’t get stuck in the roller. It picks up hair and fine dust.” The bagless system appeals to many as well. “I liked the way that the canister could be lifted off and taken somewhere to be emptied.” One happy customer sums it up neatly: “It seems like my dog has met his match and not a moment too soon. This is a peak shedding season.