The 10 Best Vacuum Cleaners of 2021

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Best Vacuum Cleaners

The Spruce

A quality vacuum cleaner is a must-have tool in every home, as it will help to make your cleaning routine faster and more efficient. However, there are so many different types of vacuum cleaners available today that it can be hard to choose just one. Thankfully, we've tested dozens of vacuums over the years to help you find the right pick for your needs and budget.

When shopping for a vacuum, you’ll want to consider factors such as the type(s) of floor you’ll use it on, which accessories you need, and how much weight you can comfortably handle. Today’s vacuums are available in numerous styles, including bagged, bagless, robotic, and cordless, and they all have different benefits and features, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your cleaning style. 

Here, the best vacuums for every home.

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.
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This streamlined stick vacuum is light enough to whiz through the house but is sturdy and versatile enough for everyday clean-ups.
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Tap into class-leading suction to remove more pet hair than you thought possible, while minimizing allergens with HEPA filtration.
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Roll this canister vacuum into any room for deep cleaning, with six suction settings and a motorized floorhead attachment.
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This handheld vacuum includes a generously-sized dust cup, washable filter, and features a rotating, extendable nozzle.
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While it’s not the newest or most full-featured robot vacuum, this model offers excellent value and hands-free cleaning.
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Thanks to its dual rubber brush heads and self-emptying abilities, this robotic vacuum does an unbeatable job cleaning up pet hair.
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For those partial to bagged vacuums, this model from Hoover has HEPA media filtration to efficiently capture allergens.
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This battery-powered stick vacuum delivers up to 60 minutes of runtime per charge and three cleaning modes.
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You'll be able to easily carry this 2-pound stick vacuum up stairs and all around your home.
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Best Overall: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional NV356E

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

Weight: 13.7 pounds | Bin Volume: 2.2 quarts | Cord Length: 30 feet | Included Accessories: Handle with stretch hose, floor nozzle, extension wand, accessory holder, 8-inch crevice tool, dusting brush, Pet Power Brush

What We Like
  • Lift-Away design

  • Works on hard floors and carpet

  • Large dust cup

What We Don't Like
  • Can't go under low furniture

The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum offers unmatched versatility, making it a powerful cleaning tool that you can use all around your home. It consistently scores well in our testing and is a owned by many of our staff members. The bagless upright vacuum is easy to maneuver thanks to its swivel steering, and it offers powerful suction both on carpets and hard floors. It has a large 2.2-quart dust bin capacity, and its sealed HEPA filter system captures over 99.9 percent of dust and allergens.

However, the real selling point of this vacuum is its Lift-Away design. With the push of a button, the canister of the vacuum can be removed from the base, making it easier to vacuum stairs, ceilings, and more. The Shark Navigator comes with several useful accessories, including a Pet Power Brush, crevice tool, and dusting brush, and our tester liked that it offers separate settings depending on what kind of floor you’re cleaning.

What Testers Say

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

Eureka Blaze Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Weight: 3.2 pounds | Bin Volume: 18.6 ounces | Cord Length: 18 feet | Included Accessories: Crevice tool, hand vacuum

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Works as a handheld vacuum or crevice tool

  • Great for quick cleaning tasks

What We Don't Like
  • Not a deep cleaning device

If you’re looking for an inexpensive vacuum for quick touch-ups around the house, the Eureka Blaze 3-in-1 Stick Vacuum is a great value. It’s incredibly lightweight, weighing less than 4 pounds, and it can be used as a stick vacuum, hand vacuum, or a stair vacuum. It also comes with a crevice tool that will help you get into all the nooks and crannies of your home. 

The Eureka Blaze has swivel steering that makes it easy to maneuver on hard floors, and its unique “capture nozzle” has a special large particle channel that helps it suck up large debris. In testing, we found that the vacuum performs quite well on hardwood, linoleum, and tile, but it does struggle a bit on wall-to-wall carpeting.

What Testers Say

"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

Best for Carpet: Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum

Dyson-ball

Weight: 17.5 pounds | Bin Volume: 2.2 quarts | Cord Length: 35.1 feet | Included Accessories: Combination tool, stair tool, tangle-free turbine

What We Like
  • Specialized attachments

  • Ergonomic design makes it easy to maneuver

  • Powerful suction on carpet and hard floors

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

Dyson is known for its powerful vacuums, and the Dyson Ball Animal 2 is truly one of the best around when it comes to cleaning carpets. Its cleaner head drives deep into carpet fibers to capture dust, animal hair, and ground-in dirt, and during testing, it pulled up hair and dirt that our tester couldn’t even see. The vacuum’s self-adjusting cleaner head automatically optimizes suction on all floor types, and the powerful brush bar is ideal for deep-cleaning. 

At over 17 pounds, this vacuum is on the heavier side, but Dyson’s ball design makes it easy to maneuver around your home. In addition to its standard cleaner head, the vacuum comes with a “tangle-free turbine” tool that removes hair from carpets and upholstery, as well as a combination tool and stair tool. It has a washable filter that can be used for the lifetime of the device, and it’s even certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America thanks to its superior whole-machine filtration.

What Testers Say

"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

Weight: 9.4 pounds | Bin Volume: 3.5 liters | Cord Length: 21 feet | Included Accessories: Electrobrush cleaner head, parquet brush cleaner head, crevice tool, dusting brush, upholstery tool

What We Like
  • Great for cleaning in between crevices

  • HEPA filtration

  • Quiet operation

What We Don't Like
  • Must bend over to adjust settings

Upright vacuums seem to have taken over the market, but there’s still something to be said for a great canister vacuum, such as the Miele Compact C2 Electro+. This model is lightweight and compact, making it easy to tow along behind you while cleaning. Plus, its bagged design features a HEPA filter, ensuring it captures more than 99.9 percent of allergens that might be lurking on your floors. 

This canister vacuum is powered by a 1,200-watt motor, and it offers six suction settings for cleaning carpet, tile, upholstery, curtains, and more. Plus, its motor-driven floorhead has a five-level height adjustment. The vacuum comes with several accessories, including a parquet brush cleaner head for hard floors, dusting brush, upholstery tool, and crevice tool, which our tester says are simple but thoughtfully designed.

What Testers Say

"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 Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum

black-and-decker-cordless-lithium-handheld-vacuum

Weight: 2.2 pounds | Bin Volume: 31.8 ounces | Battery Life: 10 to 15 minutes | Included Accessories: Wall mount, crevice tool, brush tool

What We Like
  • Perfect for small jobs

  • Easy to clean

  • Includes a handy crevice tool and brush

What We Don't Like
  • Limited run time

The BLACK+DECKER Cordless Hand Vacuum is ideal for cleaning out your car and other small tasks, as it’s cordless, handheld, and lightweight. It even comes with a crevice tool to help you get into tight corners and a brush tool for cleaning upholstery. 

This budget-friendly hand vacuum has a wide mouth that can handle large debris, and its dust bin is translucent, allowing you to see when it needs to be emptied. The dirt bowl and filter can be washed for easy maintenance, and the battery-powered design can run for around 10 to 15 minutes per charge. The vacuum comes with a wall mount so you can easily charge it in your garage, and our tester liked that its angled nozzle easily fits in small places, such as the cracks of her car seats.

What Testers Say

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

iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum-Wi-Fi Connectivity

Battery Life: 90 minutes | Cleaning Path Width: 13 inches | Mapping: No | Filter Type: Standard | Brush Bristle Type: Bristle and rubber | Smart Capabilities: Yes

What We Like
  • Schedule automatic cleaning sessions

  • Multiple surface brushes clean varying floor types

  • 90 minute run time

What We Don't Like
  • Not great for high pile carpet

For a mid-range robot vacuum, you can’t go wrong with the iRobot Roomba 690, which will help keep your home clean without any effort on your part. This robotic cleaner has a three-stage cleaning system with dual multi-surface brushes and an edge-sweeping brush that captures both small particles and larger debris from both carpets and hard floors. 

This Roomba is Wi-Fi capable, so you can schedule and control it right from your smartphone, and it has “Dirt Detect” sensors that let it know when it needs to do an extra pass on particularly dirty floors. It won’t fall down stairs thanks to its cliff-detection sensors, and it can run for up to 90 minutes per charge before automatically docking to recharge. Our tester found that the Roomba 690 performs best on a low-pile rug and hard floors, and she did note that it occasionally gets lost or stuck underneath furniture.

What Testers Say

"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 for Pet Hair: iRobot Roomba s9+ 9550 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum

iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550) Wi-Fi® Connected Robot Vacuum

Battery Life: 120 minutes | Cleaning Path Width: 12.25 inches | Mapping: Yes | Filter Type: High-efficiency | Brush Bristle Type: Rubber | Smart Capabilities: Yes

What We Like
  • Does a great job in corners

  • Self-emptying dust bin

  • Expertly handles pet hair

What We Don't Like
  • Occasionally has trouble docking itself

  • Expensive

If you like to vacuum daily to prevent pet hair from accumulating in your home, the iRobot Roomba s9+ can take care of this recurring maintenance for you. This high-end robot vacuum is packed with useful smart features, and it’s designed to handle pet hair like a champ, thanks to its dual rubber brush rolls and self-emptying design. 

This smart vacuum can run for up to 120 minutes per charge, and it automatically returns to its dock and juices back up if it’s ever running low on battery. Speaking of its dock, the Roomba s9+ comes with automatic dirt disposal, allowing it to empty its dirt bin into the base whenever it’s full—ideal for homes with lots of pet hair. This vacuum also creates a map of your home as it runs, allowing you to have it clean specific rooms or even do spot cleaning. Plus, its brushes are specially designed not to get tangled with pet hair, and the three-stage cleaning system gets hair out from deep within carpets.

What Testers Say


"I have two dogs and three cats; their hair has broken several belts on other vacuums. Not only was the s9+ able to suck up all of the pet hair, but it also hasn’t gotten jammed yet." Lindsay Boyers, Product Tester

Best Bagged: Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Bagged Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Bagged Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Weight: 15.9 pounds | Bin Volume: Not listed | Cord Length: 30 feet | Included Accessories: Air-powered hand tool, extension wand, crevice tool, upholstery tool

What We Like
  • HEPA filtration captures allergens

  • Bag check indicator light

  • Works well on all floors

  • Inexpensive replacement bags

What We Don't Like
  • Manual height adjustment

Many of today’s vacuums are bagless, but if you still prefer a bagged vacuum, consider the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Upright Vacuum Cleaner. It uses HEPA media filtration to capture 99.7 percent of dirt, dust, pollen, and allergens down to 0.3 microns in size, and it can be used with the brand’s Allergen Vacuum Bags

The Hoover WindTunnel has a five-position height adjustment that lets you tackle different types of flooring, and the brand’s “WindTunnel” technology creates channels of suction to more efficiently lift debris and dirt. The vacuum has a bag check indicator that lets you know when it needs to be changed, and it comes with several additional accessories, including a hand tool, crevice tool, and upholstery tool.

Best Stick: Dyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Dyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Weight: 6.69 pounds | Bin Volume: 0.2 gallons | Battery Life: 60 minutes | Included Accessories: High Torque cleaner head, stubborn dirt brush, mini motorized tool, combination tool, crevice tool, docking station, wand storage clip

What We Like
  • Lightweight and cordless

  • Long battery life

  • Whole-machine filtration system

  • Includes several accessories

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

There are numerous benefits to stick vacuums, including that they’re lightweight and cordless, making them easy to use all-around your home. In particular, the Dyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum is one of the best stick vacuums you can buy—it delivers suction that’s on-par with full-size corded vacuums, performs well on all types of floors, and comes with an impressive collection of accessories to tackle every surface. 

The V11 Animal has an LED screen that lets you toggle between its three cleaning modes—eco, auto, and boost—and it can run for up to 60 minutes per charge. It has a fully-sealed filtration system that traps 99.99 percent of particles, and the one-action emptying system saves you from ever having to scoop out dirt and dust. The vacuum comes with a wall-mounted dock where it can be charged, and while it’s definitely a splurge, it could easily replace a full-size vacuum in small homes.

Best Lightweight: Bissell FeatherWeight Lightweight Stick Vacuum

Bissell FeatherWeight Lightweight Stick Vacuum

Weight: 2.6 pounds | Bin Volume: 0.67 liters | Cord Length: 15 feet | Included Accessories: Crevice tool

What We Like
  • Extremely light

  • 3-in-1 design

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Short power cord

  • Small dust bin

As its name implies, the Bissell FeatherWeight Stick Vacuum is extremely lightweight, weighing just over 2 pounds. It’s extremely easy to handle and move around your home, and it can easily be converted into a hand vacuum or stair vacuum, giving you even more ways to use it.

This lightweight stick vacuum performs best on hard floors and area rugs, and its bagless design is easy to empty. The downside of this product is that it has a fairly short power cord and small dust bin, but you can’t beat the low price for a supplementary cleaning tool.

Final Verdict

The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Vacuum Cleaner is a solid choice for any household, as it’s lightweight and extremely versatile—you can just as easily use it to deep clean your carpets as you can to vacuum the stairs. If you’re looking for something inexpensive to do quick touch-ups around the house, the Eureka Blaze 3-in-1 Swivel Lightweight Stick Vacuum can be used as a stick vacuum, handheld model, or a stair vacuum, and it’s extremely lightweight, too. 

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 into your trash can, and occasionally wash it out. The downside to bagless vacuums is that you’ll have to open up a dusty, dirty bin over a trash can, which can result in some dust escaping back out.

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. 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 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.

FAQ
  • How long should vacuum cleaners last?

    Most vacuums last around a median of eight years according to Consumer Reports. However, an important factor to consider when preserving the lifespan of your appliance is the type of vacuum it is. If it's cordless, these vacuums tend to have a shorter lifespan due to the use of a battery instead of regular electricity.

    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 it doesn't overfill or clog the machine (this can later cause significant damage). In addition to cleaning your bag and filter, clearing appliance attachments of any debris is also key in helping your vacuum last its full lifespan. Any type of hair or tangled fibers in attachments can still cause clogs and 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 appliance of dirt and debris, you'll ensure it has a longer lifespan and won't lose power. 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. Common factors to consider are the size of your home, what kind of floors you have (hardwood, carpet, etc.), and if you have pets. For smaller households like a studio apartment, a hand-held cordless vacuum may work, but for a larger family home, you may want to consider a more powerful canister vacuum. Homes with hardwood floors should consider a vacuum specifically designed for this type of surface. If you have pets, there are plenty of options on the market to help eliminate dander and allergens.

  • 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 appliance's specific owner's manual for a breakdown of cleaning information as this will give you the best instructions on model maintenance.

Bissell PowerForce Helix Bagless Vacuum
The Spruce / Joy Merrifield

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. Camryn Rabideau, the author of this article, has also done firsthand testing of numerous vacuums in the course of her career, including the Dyson Ball Animal 2, which is included as the best vacuum for carpets. While selecting other products for this list, she considered insights from The Spruce’s team of product testers, as well as dozens of customer reviews. All the vacuums included deliver powerful suction and come with useful accessories to clean different areas of the home.

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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. "What Is A HEPA Filter? | US EPA". US EPA, 2021, https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/what-hepa-filter-1.