The 10 Best Vacuum Cleaners of 2021

Find the perfect fit for your household's needs

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Best Vacuum Cleaners

The Spruce

Our Top Picks
"Ease of use and HEPA filtration make this an ideal option when shopping for a versatile vacuum to use on multi-surface flooring."
"A basic vacuum cleaner with plenty of suction for household use but no frills or features to supercharge your cleaning session."
"Solidly-built and well-designed for smooth cleaning, this vacuum cleaner is a great buy for hard floors and carpet."
"Freely maneuver through the house with this cordless vacuum cleaner that is ideal for powerful, albeit short, vacuuming sessions."
"Tap into class-leading suction to remove more pet hair than you thought possible, while minimizing allergens with HEPA filtration."
"Roll this canister vacuum into any room for deep cleaning, with six suction settings and a motorized floorhead attachment."
"This handheld vacuum includes a generously-sized dust cup, washable filter, and features a rotating, extendable nozzle."
"Go big with this bagged vacuum cleaner that uses extra-large bags which require less frequent replacement and traps allergens."
"While it’s not the newest or most full-featured robot vacuum, this model offers excellent value and hands-free cleaning."
"This streamlined stick vacuum is light enough to whiz through the house but is sturdy and versatile enough for everyday clean-ups."

Finding the best vacuum cleaner can elevate your cleaning routine and deliver a deep clean to floors, furniture, stairs, and more. The right vacuum cleaner should include the features you'll use most often and include attachments that have a real impact on your life—like an upholstery tool to eradicate pet hair or a motorized floor brush for deep pile carpet.

In addition, you want to shop for a top vacuum cleaner that is reliable, easy to maintain, and an excellent value. We've researched and tested many of the most popular vacuum cleaners on the market to help you choose the one that will have you conquering dirt and debris in every corner of your home.

Here, the best vacuums for your home.

Best Overall: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional NV356E

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional with Dust-Away & 2 Microfiber Pads (NV356E)

Capture every crumb and apply powerful suction to surfaces high and low with the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional, model NV356E. This popular vacuum cleaner weighs in at 13.7 pounds and combines the easy maneuverability of a lightweight, upright vacuum with the convenience of a lift-away canister design—which comes in handy for vacuuming stairs or overhead areas of your home. The head of this vacuum cleaner includes a brush-roll shutoff, so it’s equally adept at vacuuming plush carpeted surfaces or hard surface flooring.

Aside from the ease of use, you’ll appreciate the anti-allergen seal of the Shark Navigator. Combined with an onboard HEPA filter, this vacuum traps up to 99.9 percent of dust and allergens—and won't dispense them back into the air through exhaust and leaky connections. When it comes to containing captured dirt and debris, the 2.2-liter dust cup is exceptionally large compared to some other bagless vacuum cleaners.

"The crevice tool, which has a narrow suction tube, worked great in tight corners and hard-to-reach areas such as windowsills and furniture ledges. For upholstered household items that are more delicate—like lampshades, window blinds, and drapes—the dusting brush did an excellent job." — Sage McHugh, Product Tester

Best Budget: BISSELL PowerForce Helix Bagless Upright Vacuum

bissel-helix
Very Good

For an inexpensive upright vacuum cleaner, the Bissell PowerForce Helix is a worthy contender. Though this vacuum leaves a little to be desired in terms of quality of components and overall sturdiness, it shines brightest for being lightweight and easily maneuverable while sustaining significant suction on both bare floors and carpets. Five height settings for the vacuum’s head make it easy to adjust for carpets or rugs with varying pile heights.

This model is a bagless vacuum cleaner that includes a washable filter and an easy-to-empty dust canister. The hose is relatively short at just 5 feet, but it’s adequate for basic tasks like vacuuming the couch with the included dusting brush. An extension wand and crevice tool complete the shortlist of included accessories with this vacuum.

"The machine might feel like a toy, but it’s a toy with powerful suction that you can see. The vortex of cat hair that spun up into the machine after only a couple minutes of use was both gratifying as a reviewer and horrifying as the occupant of an apparently filthy house." — Joy Merrifield, Product Tester

Best Design: Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 Upright Vacuum Cleaner

If you’re looking for an innovative vacuum cleaner to elevate your cleaning routine, check out the Dyson Ball Multi-Floor 2. Recognizable for its unique pivoting ball design and classic yellow housing, this splurge vacuum cleaner doesn’t disappoint when it comes to performance. The digital motor reaches up to 98,000 RPMs and, as you’d expect, produces superior suction on both hard floors and carpeted surfaces. There are no manual height adjustments; the self-adjusting head takes care of any adjustments as you move from one type of flooring to another.

Designed to pivot freely, you will enjoy pushing the Dyson Ball 2 around corners and behind furniture as it glides along. Weighing 15 pounds, it’s not the lightest vacuum on the market, but the weight comes across as sturdy rather than heavy.

Not to be overlooked, this high-end vacuum includes HEPA filtration, which is a major plus for allergy sufferers or anyone looking to minimize dust and dander in the home. In fact, it's certified vacuum is certified as an asthma and allergy-friendly choice by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

The dust cup, while easy to empty into the trash without the hassle of bags, is on the small side—just 1.89 liters. Keep this in mind if you’re vacuuming lots of square footage at once or have an abundance of human or pet hair to vacuum up.

"It was great at picking up dust and larger debris like cereal from almost every surface—emphasis on 'almost.' If you have a lot of very high-pile carpets, this is not the vacuum for you. The self-adjusting cleaner head just can’t lift high enough to counteract the amount of suction the machine puts out." — Joy Merrifield, Product Tester

Best Cordless: MOOSOO M Cordless Vacuum

MOOSOO M Cordless Vacuum

Cordless vacuums provide you a versatile way to quickly clean messes in any part of the house. The MOOSOO Cordless Vacuum offers you lightweight convenience at a great value. This cordless vacuum tips the scales at just 2.84 pounds, making it easy to hold and maneuver. Three included attachments address specific cleaning needs, like a motorized brush that is the go-to option for cleaning floors, stairs, and more. An LED light is useful for illuminating hard-to-see dirt. Other tools include a typical crevice tool and an all-purpose cleaning brush.

The MOOSOO vacuum offers respectable standard suction but also kicks things up a notch with a ‘MAX’ mode for high-power suction. One of the most user-friendly features is the ability to turn the vacuum ‘on’ rather than having to hold a trigger continuously to operate the vacuum. Like other cordless vacuums, it’s a great complement to a full-size vacuum cleaner and is optimized for quick clean-ups. As such, the battery life is limited to about 30 minutes before needing a 4-hour recharge. For small houses or hassle-free spot cleaning, this vacuum cleaner is a great option.

Best for Pet Hair: Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum

Dyson-ball

The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is an upright vacuum designed specifically to tackle the dirty work that comes from owning a pet. Equipped with whole-machine filtration, powerful suction, and specialized attachments, pet hair, dander, and dirt don’t stand a chance when the Dyson Ball 2 rolls into the room.

Its two most outstanding features as a vacuum cleaner for pet hair are the incredible turbine-powered suction and the tangle-free turbine tool. Dyson is known for engineering vacuums with impressive suction, and the Ball Animal 2 is no exception—it boasts incredible suction performance for upright vacuums. The self-adjusting floorhead helps ensure a tight seal against both hard surfaces and carpeted floors, resulting in impressive uptake of both dirt and hair. But if you have pet hair on upholstery or carpeted stairs, the tangle-free turbine tool is a real winner. With counter-rotating brush heads, this attachment does an admirable job of loosening pet hair without creating a tangled mess that you have to remove by hand.

While this vacuum cleaner weighs in at 17.6 pounds, which is not exactly lightweight, it is well-balanced thanks to the low center of gravity resulting from the pivoting ball design. As a result, it is ergonomic and user-friendly while proving to be a great vacuum for pet hair.

"Its first major test was the carpet in the bedroom, which we purposefully didn’t vacuum for a few days. We knew it had a fair amount of pet hair and dirt on it, but we were still surprised when the canister was practically filled to the brim with hair. The low-pile carpet was clearly hiding quite a bit of grime, but the Dyson’s powerful suction and self-adjusting cleaner head were powerful enough to pull it out."—Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester

Best Canister: Miele Compact C2 Electro+

Miele Compact C2

The case for canister vacuums comes down to maneuverability and accessibility. Yes, you will have to pull the vac behind you as you work from room to room. This set-up, however, keeps you from pushing the weight of the motor, which often accounts for the workout you feel as you push and pull a typical upright vacuum. Plus, with a canister vacuum like the Miele Compact C2 Electro, you’ll be able to vacuum under furniture and in tall cobwebby corners with ease. The motorized floorhead attachment is a force to be reckoned with in its own right, and deep cleans carpeted surfaces using 5 different height adjustments.

Miele has set the bar high for canister vacuums and has more than 100 years of engineering experience. So it’s no surprise that this model excels at cleaning and stands the test of time for durability. The C2 model is a compact canister with HEPA filtration that Miele designed to be quieter, thanks to excellent insulation of the shell and a quiet—but still powerful—motor. The C2 has six suction settings, which are controlled by a rotary dial on the canister you’ll have to manually bend over to adjust. But the option to adjust for bare floors or carpets of various pile heights makes this vacuum a real winner on most types of flooring.

"The upholstery tool is amazing at picking up cat hair from couches—better than anything we’ve tested so far. The crevice tool and the dusting brush are nothing special, but we don’t have any complaints." — Joy Merrifield, Product Tester

Best Handheld: BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum

BLACK + DECKER CHV1410L 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vac

Pick up small messes or access tight spaces with a handheld vacuum, like this popular model from Black + Decker. The Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum is super simple to use but offers impressive suction for fine particles like dirt and sand or larger items like cereal. The dust cup holds 31.8 ounces and is easy to empty, plus the all-plastic and washable filter makes it easy to keep this dustbuster clean with a quick rinse.

This handy vacuum is powered by a lithium-ion battery, which can be charged using the included fast-charge base. The runtime is somewhat limited, maxing out at 15 to 20 minutes. However, it’s a convenient option to keep around for quick clean-ups. Adding to its versatility and usefulness when compared to other handheld vacuums is this model’s rotating nozzle, extendable crevice tool, and flip-up brush—all of which help to thoroughly remove dirt or debris from hard-to-reach places.

"In our experience, it effortlessly sucked up particles of all sizes, including dirt, pet hair, cereal, stray kibble, and kicked-out kitty litter. With its angled nozzle, it easily fits in and under small places, plus two additional attachments—a crevice tool and a brush tool—make it even more versatile." — Karen Tietjen, Product Tester

Best Bagged: Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS Commercial Upright Vacuum Cleaner XL

Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS 8 Pound Commercial Upright Vacuum, Blue

A conventional bagged vacuum cleaner traps dust, dirt, and debris inside a bag for convenient disposal without the risk of dumping dirt on the floor or inhaling dust. The Oreck Commercial XL Upright Vacuum Cleaner is a go-to option for anyone shopping for a bagged vacuum cleaner that is sturdy and durable. Earning the ‘XL’ designation in its name, this vacuum cleaner has a 630 cubic inch bag capacity, enabling you to vacuum more while changing the bagless frequently than models with smaller vacuum bags.

This upright-style vacuum is impressively lightweight, weighing in at just 9 pounds. Adding to its functional design is its lay-flat capability—helping you to vacuum under couches, chairs, and beds with greater freedom. It automatically adjusts the high-speed roller brush to transition from carpeted surfaces to bare floors, and the 12-inch cleaning path means you’ll have to make fewer trips across the room.

If you suffer from allergies, a bagged vacuum will give you the best results, plus they tend to last longer than their bagless counterparts. The downside, of course, is that you have to buy replacement bags and change them when they fill up. But if it eases your allergies, it’s a small price to pay.

"The Oreck stands upright in a locked position for general storage. You can’t roll it around the house in this position, which I thought would be a problem at first. However, it’s so lightweight that I picked it up and carried the vacuum to each room rather than pushing it there."Stacey L. Nash, Product Tester

Best Robot: iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi Connectivity

iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum-Wi-Fi Connectivity

If you’re looking for the best vacuum to tackle your dirty work for you, definitely put the Roomba 690 at the top of your list. This robot vacuum cleaner stands out in an ever-expanding category of robot vacuums for its overall value, iAdapt Navigation with dirt sensors, and capable multi-surface brushes for effective cleaning on both low-pile carpet and hard surface floors.

There are more expensive models of robot vacuums with advanced mapping capabilities and tons of other options to further automate the cleaning process, but the Roomba 690 includes a variety of must-have features. It includes dirt detection sensors that help the vacuum give extra attention to especially dirty areas in your home, such as kitchen floors, entryways, and more. It’s capable of 90 minutes of run time before it will automatically return to its docking station for a recharge. And, unlike some of the most basic and early models of robot vacuums, the Roomba 690 can be scheduled for automatic cleaning sessions via the iRobot app or with voice commands using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

This robotic vacuum comes with a virtual wall barrier, to keep it out of no-go zones like your pet’s food and water bowls or a cluster of power cords that might trip up the vacuum. Keep in mind that rugs with heavy fringe or deep pile might be a bit of a challenge for this robot vacuum, but if you have hard surface floors and an occasional low-pile rug or carpeted room, then this model should do fine.

"We tried the Roomba 690 out on many different surfaces, with varying levels of success. The performance was best on low pile rugs and wood flooring—basically anything that wasn’t too textured or deeply grooved. If the home we tried the 690 out in had been minimally furnished, with either entirely bare wood floors or wall-to-wall carpet, then we probably would’ve been more satisfied with the results." —Joy Merrifield, Product Tester

Best Lightweight: EUREKA NES210 Blaze 3-in-1 Swivel Lightweight Stick Vacuum

Eureka Blaze Stick Vacuum Cleaner

At just 3.2 pounds, the Eureka Blaze 3-in-1 Swivel Stick Vacuum weighs less than a gallon of milk. Despite its lightweight design, this stick vacuum offers solid performance for light household cleaning. As an upright stick vac, it’s perfect for giving hard surface floors a once-over at the end of the day or before guests arrive. But Eureka designed the Blaze 3-in-1 to easily convert into a handheld vac or a supercharged tool for reaching cobwebs and crumbs in the tightest of spaces, thanks to a crevice tool that replaces the floorhead.

This lightweight vacuum excels at its job as a multi-purpose stick vacuum since the components are easily interchangeable and the vacuum is nimble enough to use in multiple configurations. It’s no secret that vacuuming can be hard work, so for anyone that faces muscle fatigue or strain quickly, this is a great option. However, keep in mind that it’s not a replacement for a true upright vacuum cleaner. A deep clean from a larger, more powerful vacuum, especially on large rugs or those with high pile carpeting, may still be required.

"When used on hard floors like wood, linoleum, and tile, the featherlight tool is easy to move around. We found its size and weight to be especially advantageous when pulling it out for a pre-guest clean or longer stair-cleaning session."Karen Tietjen, Product Tester

Final Verdict

The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Vacuum Cleaner is our top choice for vacuum cleaners because it’s powerful, lightweight, and easy to assemble. If you’re on the fence about spending that much money, though, we recommend the BISSELL PowerForce Helix Bagless Upright Vacuum, which has an impressive amount of power and boasts a washable filter.

Best Vacuum Cleaners

Lara Antal / The Spruce

What to Look for in a Vacuum

Bagged vs. bagless

While bagged vacuum cleaners were the mainstay of the cleaning world for decades, many new vacuum cleaners are bagless. This means that you won’t need to buy and replace the bag inside your vacuum cleaner regularly. Instead, you’ll just need to empty the dust collection canister in your bagless vacuum cleaner, and occasionally wash it out. The downside to bagless vacuums is that you’ll have to empty a dusty, dirty bin over a trash can—and that can make allergy sufferers sniffle and sneeze.

Bagged vacuum cleaners, on the other hand, collect everything into an easy-to-dispose-of bag that can simply be tossed in the trash. However, as the bag fills you may notice a reduction in suction. Plus, you’ll have the recurring cost of purchasing new vacuum bags—and sometimes they can be hard to track down for older, discontinued models of vacuum cleaners.

Weight

If you’ve ever pushed around a vacuum cleaner for an extended cleaning session or lugged it up and down a flight of stairs, you know that the weight of a vacuum matters! It can be a pain to push and pull a heavy vacuum cleaner. 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—but they often have wide floorheads, more powerful motors, and larger dust bags to account for the added weight. Many upright vacuums 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 to 8 pounds, while others that offer performance and features to rival upright vacuums can weigh as much as 18 or 20 pounds. Cordless and stick vacuum cleaners are generally the most lightweight vacuums available. Intended for lighter cleaning, these vacuums are meant to be easy to pick up for spot cleaning or light duty vacuuming. They typically weigh between 3 and 7 pounds.

Brush Roll

The presence—or absence—of a brush roll on a vacuum cleaner may determine what type of flooring it’s best suited for. Vacuums with no brush roll are good for hardwood floors or tile flooring, since the stiff fibers of the brush roll may 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 floors and more effective on any type of hard surface flooring.

When it comes to plush carpeting, the brush roll gently agitates the carpet fibers to lift surface-level dirt along with debris at deeper layers—including dust, dander, and pet hair that may have settled into the carpet. And while most brush rolls will have no problem accomplishing this task on flat weave or low-pile carpet, medium-to-high pile rugs may require an adjustable pile height setting to ensure that the fibers of the rug won't get tangled in the brush roll or stifle the suction coming from the nozzle.

Filter

Many vacuums 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 are usually made of a sponge-like material that rinses easily and air dries quickly. Other filters are more paper-like in appearance and must be replaced on a schedule (usually every 6 months or so) to maintain effectiveness.

The gold standard in vacuum filtration is a HEPA filter, which stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. These ultra-fine filters will trap the tiniest of particles—as small as 0.3 microns in the case of true HEPA filters. Allergy-sufferers will benefit the most from a HEPA filtration system, but it can be a major plus for anyone looking to reduce dust, dander, pollen, and other small particles. HEPA filters will usually need to be replaced on a schedule to maintain their filtration capabilities, but a few newer versions offer the advantage of being washable.

Accessories and Warranties

Once you pick your perfect vacuum cleaner, make sure it’s equipped with the right accessories to complete your cleaning package. Many additional tools are available to make the most of your vacuum’s suction power and sometimes these are included with the purchase of your vacuum, but other times you may need to purchase them separately. Items such as crevice tools, extension wands, upholstery brushes, and more will come in handy when you are trying to deep clean your home.

Some of the most popular cleaning accessories for vacuums are pet 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.

One other thing to consider is whether the vacuum you purchase is backed by a manufacturer’s warranty. Many models are covered by a 1- to 5-year warranty, depending on the make and model. These warranties typically cover defects in materials and workmanship but exclude items subject to normal wear and tear—like filters, brushes, and more. Some companies are known for outstanding warranties and customer service, including Dyson and Miele. Keep in mind that with most warranty services, there is a freight charge to ship the vacuum that can cost $20 or more depending on the company.

Why Trust The Spruce?

We've purchased and tested many of the most popular vacuum models in real-world situations, including homes with pets, kids, and spilled cereal. Our writer, Erica Puisis, has been researching the latest innovations in vacuum cleaners for The Spruce since 2017. Her go-to favorite is an upright Dyson vacuum for a deep clean, but she also enjoys the convenience of a cordless vacuum for quick clean-ups without a cord to tangle with.

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