The Best Vacuum Cleaners, Tested by Our Experts

The winner is the Shark Vertex DuoClean Cordless Vacuum

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

All of the vacuums The Spruce tested at The Lab sit in front of a couch.

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

We purchased over 50 vacuums from a variety of brands and tested them in The Lab, and at home in real, everyday situations. In The Lab, we timed each vac's unboxing and setup process, evaluated its effectiveness on four types of flooring, and brought it through a living room obstacle course. To find the best vacuum for you, it's important to keep your floor type in mind when shopping, in addition to a vacuum's filter type and attachments, and your price point.

The Shark Vertex DuoClean Lightweight Cordless Vacuum was the clear winner of our tests because it sucked up everything (Cheerios, hair, and more) and was lightweight and maneuverable.

For more of our testing winners, here are the best vacuums on the market today.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Shark IZ462H Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum

4.8
The Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum features a gray and blue exterior and flexible design.

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Setup
    4/5
  • Effectiveness
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Ease of Emptying
    5/5
  • Noise Level
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Powerful suction on all surfaces

  • Vacuum basically moves itself

  • Very long battery life

  • Folds in half for easy storage

What We Don't Like
  • Collection canister could be bigger

  • Pieces are individually wrapped

  • Noisy when picking up larger items

What do buyers say? 88% of 3,200+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

After days of complex testing, this lightweight (yet mighty) vacuum by Shark was our pick for the best vacuum overall. It sucked everything we put in its path right up—whether it be dusty Cheerios or tough popcorn kernels—and mostly during its first pass. Upon lifting the floor head off the ground, the materials didn't sprinkle everywhere, plus the vacuum basically pulled itself around the surfaces. Our tester noted that it took very little effort on their part to get the cleaning job done and rated it 5 stars for effectiveness on every type of surface.

Speaking of maneuverability, the Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum was able to easily slip under our coffee table and couch, which sits fairly low to the ground. When taking it through the obstacle course, the tester called the vacuum "flawless" and noted that it's quiet the majority of the time. Two brush heads give this pick its power, and while the collection canister could be bigger, you'll find that it's easy and painless to empty into your trash can and worthy of our tester's 5-star rating for ease of emptying.

When your cleaning job is done, you can also easily store this cordless stick vacuum—that has a longer battery life than other cordless picks, at 60 minutes—because it folds in half. This makes it suitable for both smaller apartments and larger households with pets. All in all, our tester gave this vacuum 5-star ratings almost across the board, only docking it because the handheld component is rather heavy and the pieces are individually wrapped when they come out of the box, which can be frustrating. However, setting up this product for use did not take longer than three minutes, even with the wrapping.

Dimensions: 46.46 x 9.65 x 10.24 inches | Weight: 9.04 pounds | Cord Length: Cordless | Battery Life: 60 minutes | Bin Volume: 1.4 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 10.63 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet, multi-surface, and hardwood

Best Budget: Eureka NES510 Flash Lightweight Stick Vacuum Cleaner

4.2
eureka-flash-lightweight-stick-vacuum

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Setup
    4.5/5
  • Effectiveness
    4.5/5
  • Maneuverability
    4/5
  • Ease of Emptying
    3.5/5
  • Noise Level
    4/5
What We Like
  • Quick and easy assembly

  • Powerful suction on most surfaces

  • Floor head features a light

  • Easily swivels around obstacles

What We Don't Like
  • Not as effective on high-pile carpet

  • Cord is heavy and bulky

  • Emptying is a multi-step process

The Eureka Flash Lightweight Stick Vacuum Cleaner shouldn't be overlooked. This budget-friendly pick has all the suction power and thoughtful features of a more expensive one. To start, it's incredibly easy to assemble—our tester needed just a minute and a half to put it together and gave the process a total of 4.5 stars. In addition, on hardwood, low-pile carpet, and medium-pile carpet, this vacuum proved to be powerful and was able to collect all materials in one or two passes. Now, the motor did get warm on the high-pile carpet, and the vacuum became difficult to maneuver through the threads. However, our tester still rated it an average of 4.5 stars for its overall effectiveness, docking it for the troubling high-pile experience only.

When it came time for the obstacle course, this pick was able to slip into small spaces with total ease. It only presented one flaw: the long, but heavy and bulky cord. Most stick vacuums are designed without a cord to make them easier to maneuver throughout your space. While this feature isn't ideal, the power of this vacuum is what makes it really stand out from its competitors. For its more compact size (and price tag), it works wonders on every type of surface and doesn't produce a lot of noise in the process, which is why our tester rated it a solid 4 stars for noise level.

Emptying this product is a multi-step process, as the entire canister detaches. Overall, though, it's game for tackling all kinds of messes in your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and more, and it will help you track them down with the floor head's light.

Dimensions: 45 x 11.1 x 7.9 inches | Weight: 7.4 pounds | Cord Length: 30 feet | Battery Life: Not applicable | Bin Volume: 1.05 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 11 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet and hardwood

The Eureka Flash Lightweight Stick Vacuum Cleaner sits in front of the couch during The Spruce's vacuum test at The Lab.

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Best Splurge: Miele Compact C1 Turbo Team Bagged Canister Vacuum

4.2
miele-compact-c1-turbo-team-canister-vacuum

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Effectiveness
    4/5
  • Maneuverability
    4.5/5
  • Ease of Emptying
    4/5
  • Noise Level
    5/5
  • Ease of Setup
    3.5/5
What We Like
  • Extremely quiet

  • Easy to get into tight spaces

  • Takes a while to fill up

  • Great suction power

What We Don't Like
  • Requires replacement bags

  • Instructions were a little unclear

  • Not a good fit for homes with pets

The Miele Compact C1 Turbo Team Bagged Canister Vacuum is worth splurging on, as it was very effective at gobbling up all materials on hardwood, low-pile carpet, and high-pile carpet. Our tester noted that hair did clog up the otherwise-mighty canister vac, so this pick might not be the best fit for households with pets. In addition, the instructions were a little unclear and the vacuum is a bit heavy, and it would likely not be ideal for carrying up and down stairs. For those reasons, it was given slightly lower star ratings for categories like effectiveness and maneuverability.

However, it's the perfect fit for a home with small nooks and crannies that need to be cleaned, as it was able to get under a couch and around a coffee table with total ease. It's "so quiet it's ridiculous," per our tester, and the 21-foot cord can be rewound automatically when you're finished with your cleaning job. Not to mention, at 3.75 quarts, this little machine takes a while to fill up, which is convenient since it's a bagged model. It's pricey, even before you purchase the replacement bags, so a spacious canister is so welcomed. Ultimately, this vacuum's positives heavily outweigh its negatives, though, making it worth every one of your pennies.

Dimensions: 16.9 x 9.1 x 9.8 inches | Weight: 15 pounds | Cord Length: 21 feet | Battery Life: Not applicable | Bin Volume: 3.75 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: Not listed | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet and hardwood

Miele Compact C1 Turbo Team Bagged Canister Vacuum

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Best Upright: Shark NV151 Navigator Swivel Pro Complete Upright Vacuum

4.4
shark-navigator-swivel-pro-complete-upright-vacuum

Lowe's

Our Ratings
  • Effectiveness
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    3/5
  • Ease of Emptying
    5/5
  • Noise Level
    4/5
  • Ease of Setup
    4/5
What We Like
  • Multiple surface settings

  • Easy to empty

  • Straightforward assembly

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to maneuver under furniture

  • Doesn't transfer surfaces well

Upright vacuums are known for their suction power, which is why many people opt for this style, even if it's not the most space-conscious. We tested eight upright vacuums and concluded the best one is the Shark Navigator Swivel Pro Complete Upright Vacuum. Shark's Navigator series is outfitted with suction power, settings for different types of surfaces, crevice and upholstery attachments, and a daintier price tag. However, this particular Navigator model shined in the effectiveness category—given 5-star ratings for both hardwood and low-pile carpet and 4.5-star ratings for medium-pile and high-pile carpets. Our tester noted that it glided over the surfaces while still picking up the materials quickly and was docked in ratings only if it needed to do more than one or two passes. Despite a bulky and heavier design, they were able to use one hand for several passes, which was rewarding.

In addition, they enjoyed the multiple settings for carpet and hardwood, which aided in its effectiveness. While it had trouble moving from concrete to carpet—the floor head needed to be picked up to make this transfer—and was hard to reach under any furniture, it was pretty quiet and very easy to empty when all was said and done. According to our tester, assembling this pick is "straightforward," too. They were able to complete the assembly in just three minutes and gave this process a 4-star rating because it was easy, but the product was a little heavy at the start.

Dimensions: 45.66 x 12 x 9.64 inches | Weight: 15 pounds | Cord Length: 25 feet | Battery Life: Not applicable | Bin Volume: 0.4 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 12 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet, laminate, and hardwood

The Shark Navigator Swivel Pro Complete Upright Vacuum sits in front of the couch during The Spruce's vacuum test at The Lab.

Phoebe Cheong

Best Canister: Bissell Bagless Hard Floor Expert Deluxe Canister Vacuum

5
Bissel Hard Floor Expert Vacuum

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Effectiveness
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Ease of Emptying
    4.5/5
  • Noise Level
    5/5
  • Ease of Setup
    5/5
What We Like
  • Non-marking rubber tires

  • Extremely quiet operation

  • Lightweight design

What We Don't Like
  • Dustbin is small

  • Not cordless

Canister vacuums marry the maneuverability of a stick vacuum with the suction power of an upright one. The Bissell Bagless Hard Floor Expert Deluxe Canister Vacuum scored a perfect score from our tester. The suction on this model is incredibly strong, and it's also extremely quiet, creating a "perfect white noise" while in use. The name suggests that this canister vacuum will only work on hard floors, but we found that it excels on multiples types of surfaces, thanks to its carpet tool, dusting tool, and crevice tool attachments.

Setup couldn't have been easier since everything clicks into place, and at less than 10 pounds, this vacuum is lightweight and easy to maneuver. While the dustbin is on the small side, it's easy to empty, so it didn't lose any points there. At max power, our tester found that this hard floor canister model cleaned carpets better than pricier models, and the 5-foot hose helped get into hard-to-reach places in her home that a stick vacuum could not. For the price, power, and soothing noise, this Bissell model topped our charts as the best canister vacuum.

Dimensions: 10.7 x 13.2 x 8.7 inches | Weight: 9.1 pounds | Cord Length: Not listed | Battery Life: Not applicable | Bin volume: 1 quart | Cleaning Path Width: 8.7 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, vinyl, laminate, tile, and carpet

Bissell Hard Floor Expert Deluxe Canister Vacuum

 The Spruce / Deanna McCormack

What Our Testers Say

"We like how small and sleek this vacuum looks. It is light enough to store on a shelf when not in use. Everything comes apart easily, and it’s truly a breeze to carry from room to room or even out to our cars if needed."Deanna McCormack, Product Tester

Best Robot: ECOVACS DEEBOT N8+ Laser Mapping Robot Vacuum and Mop with Self Empty

4.8
Ecovacs DEEBOT N8+ Laser Mapping Vacuuming and Mopping Robot with Self Empty - White

Target

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    4/5
  • Effectiveness
    4.7/5
  • Noise Level
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    4/5
  • Features
    4/5
What We Like
  • Easy to set up

  • Docked itself on the first try

  • Excellent smart mapping

What We Don't Like
  • Loud when emptying

  • Mop brushes need to be cleaned

If convenience is your top priority and gliding around your floor with a new vacuum doesn't sound like a fun afternoon, you might need to invest in a robot vacuum. We tested 30 robotic vacuums in The Lab, and our favorite was the ECOVACS DEEBOT N8+ Robot Vacuum and Mop. That's right. It will also mop your floors.

This high-tech machine is packed with smart features. It maps out your home, and then you can choose to clean the entire layout or pick a room for it to focus on. It has laser technology to avoid large items such as furniture or door frames and smaller items like socks or jeans left on the floor. You can program it with a cleaning schedule or order it to start from your smartphone if you're expecting last-minute guests. If this hands-off cleaning experience isn't enough, it also self-empties once it's completed its run, so all you have to do is change the dust bag every so often. In our testing, we were impressed by how quiet this vacuum was when operating, although brace yourself for a loud roar when it self-empties.

While robot vacuums may not be able to target specific messes or do a deep clean, if you've got pets (and, therefore, a lot of visible and invisible pet hair), this ECOVACS robot vacuum and mop will suck up more pet hair than you ever thought possible as it makes its daily run around your living room. Our testing found that it is not only an effective vacuum and mop, but it also smartly navigated obstacles and was able to transition from hardwood floor to carpet with ease.

Dimensions: 16.6 x 16.16 x 11.9 inches | Weight: 26.4 pounds | Cord Length: Not applicable | Battery Life: 110 minutes | Bin Volume: 0.48 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 14.5 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet and hardwood

Best Compact: NEQUARE S180 Corded Lightweight Vacuum with Self-Standing

4.5
nequare-corded-lightweight-vacuum-with-self-standing

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Effectiveness
    4/5
  • Maneuverability
    4/5
  • Ease of Emptying
    5/5
  • Noise Level
    5/5
  • Ease of Setup
    5/5
What We Like
  • Extremely quiet

  • Flexible and fluid movement

  • Has an adjustable handle

What We Don't Like
  • Struggled on high-pile carpet

  • Need to empty it often

If you're cozied up in an apartment, condo, or other smaller living space, look no further than NEQUARE's S180 Corded Lightweight Vacuum. This compact vac is a hidden gem and happily surprised The Spruce's team of testers. First things first: Its lightweight design makes it easy to carry from one room to another. An adjustable handle also allows every member of your household to feel comfortable using it, and you'll never have to lean it up against a couch because it stands up on its own. Our tester gave it 5 stars for its effectiveness on hardwood and 4 stars for its effectiveness on low-pile and medium-pile carpets. High-pile carpet proved to be a little difficult to maneuver through, but overall, its movement felt very fluid and easy to control.

In fact, our tester called this vacuum "extremely flexible," noting it was a breeze to clean underneath the couch and coffee table. Emptying the vacuum was also a total breeze, although it needed to be done more often than other models. If our tester could change anything about this NEQUARE compact vacuum, it'd be the size of the canister. They'd also like there to be more than one setting. However, this vacuum was one of the quietest ones we tested in The Lab, and that is a luxury that can't be overlooked.

Dimensions: 17.48 x 13.54 x 7.32 inches | Weight: 2.42 pounds | Cord Length: Not listed | Battery Life: Not applicable | Bin Volume: Not listed | Cleaning Path Width: Not listed | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet and hardwood

The NEQUARE S180 Corded Lightweight Vacuum with Self-Standing sits next to the couch during The Spruce's vacuum test at The Lab.

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Best Handheld: Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

4.8
Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Effectiveness
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Ease of Emptying
    5/5
  • Portability
    4.5/5
  • Noise Level
    4/5
What We Like
  • Powerful suction

  • Large bin

  • Easy to empty

  • Tapered nozzle fits into most spaces

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Battery pack adds weight

When you've got a small mess on your hands that you need to quickly zap up, reach for a handheld vacuum. A handheld vacuum is excellent for rapidly sucking up snack spills in your kitchen or pet hair from your couch. Our favorite is the Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner because it excelled at our tests in The Lab. Its powerful suction impressed our testers as it sucked up cereal, pet hair, popcorn kernels, and flour from hardwood floors and various area rugs, earning it a 5-star rating for effectiveness. It also scored high marks on maneuverability, since our tester could vacuum under a couch, in a car cupholder, and along baseboards with ease, thanks to its tapered nozzle.

Setup took less than two minutes, and emptying the large dust bin was also a breeze. The battery pack detaches from the vacuum for easy charging, but our tester noted that the pack adds some weight when inserted into the vacuum, bringing this model up to 3 pounds. It's also more expensive for a handheld vacuum, but since it produces such a strong, reliable clean, we think it's worth the price tag.

Dimensions: 16.5 x 5 x 6.5 inches | Weight: 3 pounds | Cord Length: Not applicable | Battery Life: 15 minutes | Bin Volume: Not listed | Cleaning Path Width: Not listed | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet, laminate, hardwood, tile, and vinyl

The Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner is held by a product tester during The Spruce's dustbusters test at The Lab.

The Spruce / Tamara Staples

Best for Carpet: Samsung VS20R9046T3 Jet 90 Complete Cordless Stick Vacuum with Dual Charging Station

4.7
Samsung Jet 90 cordless stick vacuum with 4 accessories and handheld feature

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Setup
    3.5/5
  • Effectiveness
    4.8/5
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Ease of Emptying
    3/5
  • Portability
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Leaves freshly-vacuumed carpet lines

  • Powerful suction

  • Telescopic pipe

What We Don't Like
  • Challenging set-up

  • Emptying the canister is a hassle

The Samsung Jet 90 Complete Cordless Stick Vacuum was an in-lab and at-home testing favorite. Its suction was so powerful that it left nothing but freshly-vacuumed lines behind, earning it a 4.8 rating in effectiveness. It was only docked 0.2 points for getting a little bit of pet hair tangled in the brush roll. However, it sucked up cheerios off both carpet and hardwood in one back and forth swipe.

We previously tested the Samsung Jet 70 Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum in the Lab, but the Samsung Jet 90 has a few features that make it stand out, so we recently tested it, as well. The Jet 90 has a 60-minute battery life, while the Jet 70 has a 40-minute battery life. For a cordless stick vacuum, a 60-minute battery life is excellent. Neither comes charged, so you'll need to charge them before your first use. Both of them were a little intimidating to set up, but each tester noted that after you figure out the initial wall mount or charging station, then it's straightforward. It's also worth noting that the Jet 90 has a telescopic pipe so that you can adjust it to your preferred height.

This vacuum has four settings (max, middle, minimum, and wet); however, you'll need to purchase an additional mop head to use the wet setting. It's packed with 200 Watts of power, and it's relatively quiet for a vacuum of its kind. Emptying the vacuum is easy, but it does involve some unscrewing, so it was docked points for that tiny annoyance.

Dimensions: 44.7 x 9.8 x 8.5 inches | Weight: 6.2 pounds | Cord Length: Not applicable | Battery Life: 60 minutes | Bin Volume: 0.84 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 8.5 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet, laminate, hardwood, tile, and vinyl

Best for Hardwood: TINECO Floor One S3 Smart Wet/Dry Vacuum

3.8
tineco-floor-one-s3-wet-dry-smart-vacuum

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Effectiveness
    3/5
  • Maneuverability
    3/5
  • Ease of Emptying
    3.5/5
  • Noise Level
    5/5
  • Ease of Setup
    4/5
What We Like
  • Has two water tanks

  • Glides smoothly on hardwood

  • Equipped with smart features

What We Don't Like
  • Only compatible with hardwood

  • Packaging isn't eco-friendly

After testing the Tineco Floor One S3 Smart Wet/Dry Vacuum on multiple surfaces, we can confirm that it is made for hardwood. On hardwood, this combo vacuum excelled at picking up the materials and was given a 5-star rating by our tester. On a low-pile carpet, it even received 5 stars for its ability to lift each of the materials off the carpet in just one to two passes. Trouble ensued, in the form of error messages, the moment this wet-dry vacuum tried to take on a thicker carpet. So, if you're looking for a vacuum that will clean all the surfaces in your home, this is not the one.

However, if you're looking to make your hardwood sparkle, this Tineco model has your back. It's smooth on smooth surfaces and can even thoroughly mop your floor if you make use of the dual tanks. It's very quiet, so you can easily hold a conversation with a member of your household while using it. Our tester noted the packaging it comes in is not very eco-friendly, but that setup is simple and a solid 4-star experience. Upon powering it on, it propels itself forward, as if to say, "I'm ready. Let's go!" It also "almost knows intuitively when its job is complete," and it will sit idle if need be, without fully turning off. Just don't use it on carpet, and you'll be good to go.

Dimensions: 43.3 x 10 x 11.3 inches | Weight: 9.9 pounds | Cord Length: Not applicable | Battery Life: 35 minutes | Bin Volume: 0.42 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 9 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood

TINECO Floor One S3

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Best Wet-Dry: Shark VacMop Pro Cordless Wet/Dry Stick Vacuum

4.9
shark-vacmop-wet-dry-stick-vacuum

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Setup
    5/5
  • Effectiveness
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Ease of Emptying
    5/5
  • Noise Level
    5/5
What We Like
  • Budget-friendly price tag

  • Has a light on the floor head

  • Comes with replacement pads

What We Don't Like
  • Only compatible with hardwood

  • Short battery life

Wet-dry vacuums allow you to tackle two cleaning jobs at one time. When it comes to this newer style of small appliance, you can't beat the Shark VacMop. This stick vacuum has limited battery life but takes a total of two minutes to assemble, including pouring in the detergent and attaching the cleaning pad. It's super easy to glide on hardwood and has a button on the handle for spraying the detergent on the floor. A light on the floor head allows you to easily see what you're cleaning and how effective the product is.

Our tester noted that the slim profile is very lightweight, and the detergent has a fresh scent that's very mild. The disposable cleaning pad makes clean-up simple, and the VacMop comes with four, ready-to-use replacements, so you don't have to venture to the store right away. While the canister could be a bit larger and this product is not suitable for carpets, the entire model operates very quietly and will be very suitable for your kitchen or bathroom. It also runs at a budget-friendly price. All in all, our tester did not dock this vacuum for anything but its canister size, giving it 5-star ratings across the board.

Dimensions: 47.87 x 9.5 x 5.3 inches | Weight: 5 pounds | Cord Length: Not applicable | Battery Life: 20 minutes | Bin Volume: 0.03 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 10 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, tile, laminate, and vinyl

Shark Vacmop

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Best Cordless Stick: BLACK+DECKER HSVB420J POWERSERIES 2-in-1 Cordless Stick Vacuum

4.6
black-and-decker-powerseries-cordless-stick-vacuum

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Setup
    5/5
  • Effectiveness
    4/5
  • Maneuverability
    4.5/5
  • Ease of Emptying
    5/5
  • Noise Level
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Handheld model clicks in

  • Has storage for attachments

  • Has a light on the floor head

  • Easy to empty

What We Don't Like
  • Not as effective on all surfaces

  • Could use more settings

Many vacuums can be partially disassembled and transformed into a handheld vacuum, but they do not make it as easy as the BLACK+DECKER POWERSERIES 2-in-1 Cordless Stick Vacuum. Its design is incredibly thoughtful. There are only two parts to this vac: the handle and floor head, and the dustbuster that clicks into it. When you're using the upright-style vac, all the debris collects in the dustbuster; it turns into the collection canister. Need the dustbuster? Just pull it out, and notice how the remaining section of the handle is a nifty storage spot for attachments.

It took our tester less than a minute to unbox and assemble this vacuum, which is pretty lightweight and has a light on the front for easy cleaning under a couch or in a dimly lit corner. While it was a little sloppy when picking up Cheerios on the hardwood and low-pile carpet (it basically pushed them around), it was awarded 4.5 stars for effectiveness on medium- and high-pile carpets. It was docked for missing some of the material that was ground into the carpet; however, the handheld vac was able to complete the task. Our tester enjoyed that it stood up on its own. Emptying this vac was also quick and painless.

Dimensions: 22 x 8.3 x 6.5 inches | Weight: 5.84 pounds | Cord Length: Not applicable | Battery Life: 30 minutes | Bin Volume: 0.52 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 9 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet, laminate, hardwood, tile, and vinyl

The BLACK+DECKER POWERSERIES 2-in-1 Cordless Stick Vacuum sits in front of the couch during The Spruce's vacuum test at The Lab.

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Compare

Overall Rating Ease of Setup Effectiveness Maneuverability Ease of Emptying Noise Level
The Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum features a gray and blue exterior and flexible design.
Best Overall:
Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum
4.8
4 5 5 5 4.5
eureka-flash-lightweight-stick-vacuum
Best Budget:
Eureka Flash Stick Vacuum Cleaner
4.2
4.5 4.5 4 3.5 4
miele-compact-c1-turbo-team-canister-vacuum
Best Splurge:
Miele C1 Turbo Canister Vacuum
4.2
3.5 4 4.5 4 5
shark-navigator-swivel-pro-complete-upright-vacuum
Best Upright:
Shark Navigator Swivel Pro Complete Upright Vacuum
4.4
4 5 3 5 4
Bissel Hard Floor Expert Vacuum
Best Canister:
Bissell Hard Floor Expert Vacuum
5
5 5 5 4.5 5
Ecovacs DEEBOT N8+ Laser Mapping Vacuuming and Mopping Robot with Self Empty - White
Best Robot:
ECOVACS DEEBOT N8+ Laser Mapping Robot Vacuum and Mop
4.8
4.7 4 5 5
nequare-corded-lightweight-vacuum-with-self-standing
Best Compact:
NEQUARE Corded Lightweight Vacuum
4.5
5 4 4 5 5
Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Best Handheld:
Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
4.8
5 5 5 5 4
Samsung Jet 90 cordless stick vacuum with 4 accessories and handheld feature
Best for Carpet:
Samsung Jet 90 Cordless Stick Vacuum
4.7
3.5 4.8 5 3 4.5
tineco-floor-one-s3-wet-dry-smart-vacuum
Best for Hardwood:
TINECO Floor One S3 Smart Wet/Dry Vacuum
3.8
4 3 3 3.5 5
shark-vacmop-wet-dry-stick-vacuum
Best Wet-Dry:
Shark VacMop Pro Wet/Dry Vacuum
4.9
5 5 5 5 5
black-and-decker-powerseries-cordless-stick-vacuum
Best Cordless Stick:
BLACK+DECKER POWERSERIES 2-in-1 Cordless Stick Vacuum
4.6
5 4 4.5 5 4.5
Final Verdict

After thoroughly testing 28 vacuums in The Lab, the Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum was our best overall pick. This vacuum is effective at cleaning all surfaces, has a very long battery life, and folds in half for easy storage. If you're looking for something a little bit cheaper, the Eureka Flash Lightweight Stick Vacuum Cleaner is a great option, as it is quick and easy to assemble, powerful on most surfaces, and easy to swivel around obstacles in our "living room" obstacle course.

Best Vacuum Cleaners

Lara Antal / The Spruce

How We Tested the Vacuums

We purchased and tested over 50 vacuums side-by-side in The Lab in Industry City, Brooklyn over the course of several days. We started with the unboxing and setup of each, timing how long each assembly process took, and noting whether the instructions were clear or confusing. Then, we put the vacuums through their paces to test for the best and weed out the rest. Our testers used each vacuum on hardwood flooring and high, medium, and low-pile carpets. They tested effectiveness by challenging it to clean up measured amounts of spilled hair, popcorn kernels, and every parent's constant companion: Cheerios. While testing, we noted how many passes were needed to clean up the debris and if any hair was tangled in the beater bar.

We also evaluated such categories as the vacuums’ weight and portability, and how well it could transition from smooth floors to carpeting. We rated the noise level, and noted whether we could comfortably have a conversation over it, in addition to how long cordless models stay charged in actuality. After testing for effectiveness, we tested maneuverability by running them through a living room obstacle course, complete with a low-sitting couch and coffee table, to see how they maneuvered in tight areas and around corners.

To wrap up our tests, our testers changed the bags and emptied the bins to give you real insights into the ease of emptying the vacuum. At home, several testers put vacuums to the test in real-world situations to test for the same attributes, in addition to durability, longevity, and the ease of storage. Our editors took all of the consistently applied testing data to rate each product's overall value, and boiled down the insights to the vacuums we believe are the very best.

The Spruce's product tester navigates a living room obstacle course at The Lab with the Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum.

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

What to Look for in a Vacuum

Weight

If you’ve ever pushed around a vacuum cleaner for an extended cleaning session or even lugged it up and down a flight of stairs, you know the weight of your vacuum matters. It can be a real pain to maneuver a heavy product. Fortunately, many vacuum cleaners are designed to weigh less and be more nimble than the unwieldy machines that first entered home cleaning closets decades ago.

Upright vacuums tend to weigh the most. However, their wider floor heads, more powerful motors, and larger dust bags account for the added weight and often make them more effective. If you opt for this type of vacuum, assume it'll weigh between 12 and 18 pounds, with some models weighing less or more. Canister vacuums vary widely in terms of weight. Some lightweight models barely tip the scale at 8 pounds, while others that offer enhanced performance and features (to rival upright vacuums) can weigh as much as 18 or 20 pounds. Cordless stick vacuum cleaners are generally the most lightweight vacuums available. Intended for lighter cleaning and tiny spaces, they're meant to be easy to pick up for spot cleaning or light-duty vacuuming. They typically weigh between 3 and 7 pounds.

Compatible Floor Type

It's important to consider where you want to use your vacuum before purchasing it. Some picks are solely meant to be used with hardwood, while others are a powerful cleaner for laminate, tile, vinyl, and low- to high-pile carpets. The presence, or absence, of a brush roll on a vacuum cleaner may determine what type of flooring the product is best suited for. Vacuums with no brush roll are good for hardwood floors or tile flooring, since the stiff fibers of a brush roll might scratch the finish on your flooring or send dirt in all directions. Alternatively, some vacuums with a brush roll offer the ability to turn the rotation of the brush off, making it safe for use on hardwood and effective on any type of hard surface flooring.

Filter Type

Many vacuum cleaners are equipped with a filtration system intended to trap fine particles of dust and dander that might otherwise be released with the exhaust of the vacuum cleaner. Some filters are washable, making them an affordable, easy-to-maintain choice. These filters are typically made of a sponge-like material that rinses easily and air-dries quickly. Other filters are much more paper-like in appearance and must be replaced on a schedule (usually every 6 months or so) to maintain effectiveness.

Included Attachments

The gold standard in vacuum filtration is a HEPA filter, which stands for high-efficiency particulate air. These ultra-fine filters trap the tiniest of dust and dander particles, as small as 0.3 microns in the case of true HEPA filters. A HEPA filtration system can be a major plus for anyone looking to reduce dust, dander, pollen, and other small particles in their home. HEPA filters usually need to be replaced on a schedule to maintain their filtration capabilities, but some newer versions do offer the advantage of being washable, as well.

Once you pick your perfect vacuum cleaner, make sure it’s equipped with the correct accessories to complete your cleaning tasks. Sometimes accessories are included with the purchase of your brand new vacuum, but other times, you may need to purchase them separately. Some common tools that may be included with your vacuum are crevice tools, extension wands, and upholstery brushes that will all come in handy when you are trying to deep-clean your home.

Some other popular accessories for vacuums are pet-related cleaning tools. These include nozzle attachments with grippy surfaces, fine-tooth combs, or stiff brushes to extract pet hair from your furniture upholstery, drapes, and more. If you're a pet owner, you'll want to certainly look into a pet-friendly attachment, as it can double the result of your cleaning efforts.

Popcorn kernels sit inside the floor head of a vacuum The Spruce tested at The Lab, that sits on a colorful, low-pile rug.

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Standout Features

Advanced Brush Roll

The brush roll is the mechanism underneath your vacuum that rolls debris into the machine as you clean your area. Some models have added features that make their brush roll stand out. Many Shark vacuums feature a self-cleaning brush roll that prevents hair and pet fur from tangling inside. This type of brush roll has rubber fins that swipe the hair off the ground and into the dust bin with the hope that you won't have to cut hair out of your brush roll once you're done cleaning.

Other brands have brush rolls with unique bristles that help agitate carpeting and loosen debris before the vacuum sucks it up, leaving you with a more thorough clean. Furthermore, some brands also allow you to turn your brush roll on or off, which is helpful when switching from area rugs to hardwood flooring while vacuuming.

Multi-Surface Settings

Not all floors are created equal, so your vacuum should not be one-size-fits-all. Some vacuums not only come with a boost or max suction mode, but they also have settings for different types of flooring. When cleaning from one room to the next, you can change your setting to reflect the flooring type: bare floor or high-, medium-, and low-pile carpeting. Adjusting your setting will change how low or high the vacuum sits on the surface. This will set you up for the most optimal deep clean.

FAQ
  • How long should vacuum cleaners last?

    Most vacuums last an average of eight years. However, an important factor to consider when preserving the lifespan of your appliance is the type of vacuum it is. If your vacuum is a cordless stick pick, for example, it'll have a shorter lifespan due to the use of a battery instead of regular electricity.

    Now, there are many things you can do to ensure your vacuum lasts as long as it possibly can. Emptying the bag and cleaning the filter regularly are both ways to make sure your vacuum doesn't overfill or get clogged. Cleaning the attachments of any debris is also key in helping your vacuum last, as any type of hair or tangled fibers in attachments can still cause other damage to the unit as a whole.

  • Why do vacuum cleaners lose suction?

    The most common cause of vacuum suction loss is clogging. If the filters become blocked in your appliance, it restricts the flow of air. By regularly cleaning out your vacuum of dirt and debris, you'll extend its lifespan and ensure it won't lose power. In addition, it's also important to check the operating belts of the vacuum to make sure there isn't a problem with the base unit. You can check the belts by following the instructions in your appliance's operating manual.

  • How do you know what type of vacuum cleaner to buy?

    Your vacuum cleaner needs will be determined by your household priorities. The most important factors to consider are the size of your home, what kind of floors you have, and whether you have pets. For smaller households, a cordless stick or even handheld vacuum may work. But, for a larger family home, you may want to consider a more powerful canister or upright vacuum.

    Homes with hardwood floors should consider a vacuum specifically designed for this type of surface, including a wet-dry vacuum that mops and vacuums. If you have pets, there are also plenty of options on the market to help eliminate dander and fur.

  • How often should you clean a vacuum?

    Generally, you should deep-clean your vacuum and its parts at least every 12 to 18 months. It also depends on how often you use your appliance. If you use it weekly or daily, cleaning it more often will be beneficial. As an example, bagless vacuums with washable filters used once or twice a week should be cleaned at least once a month. Refer to your owner's manual for a breakdown of cleaning information, as this will give you the best instructions on model maintenance.

  • How do vacuum cleaners work?

    Vacuums have several different parts that come together to suck up dust and house it. Its motor is powered by a fan, which runs at high speeds to create suction and release clean air through the exhaust port. The brush, housed in the bottom of the vacuum, helps to loosen and collect dust, dirt, and debris off of your floors. Then vacuums either have a bag, single cyclone, or multi-cyclone system that holds the debris it has collected. Finally, there is the exhaust filter which helps to filter out particles and prevents your vacuum from blowing out the dust and dander you've just collected through the exhaust port.

  • When are vacuum cleaners on sale?

    Aside from Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season, spring is the best time to buy a vacuum cleaner on sale. Since people like to participate in spring cleaning and get their chores done, retailers will schedule sales around this time of year. They also tend to release new models during the summer, so older models will usually be marked down.

The Spruce's product testers collect insights on three Dyson cordless stick vacuums, while standing around a high-pile carpet in The Lab.

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Why Trust The Spruce?

Marisa Casciano is a senior commerce editor for The Spruce and was in The Lab for the entirety of our vacuum test. She has researched the ins and outs of air purifiers, dishwashers, cooktops, wine fridges, and more in the home space. She has first-hand knowledge of how our vacuum tests were developed and performed as well as where each product excelled or fell short.

Before conducting testing, she scoured brand and retailer websites, and considered price, verified customer reviews, features, and design when selecting the vacuums to test. She also did thorough research on the latest technology and considered practicality and real-life cleaning situations. At the moment, she loves her upright-style Shark vacuum that's effective at cleaning both hardwood and carpeted areas in her home.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. What Is A HEPA Filter? US EPA. 2021.

  2. How Long Do Vacuum Cleaners Last? Consumerreports.org.

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