The 6 Best Vacuums for Allergies of 2023

The Shark Navigator Lift-Away ADV Upright is our top pick

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Best Vacuums for Allergies

The Spruce / Amelia Manley

Most household allergens—such as pollen, dust, and pet dander—can be lessened or eliminated if you use a vacuum that targets these particles. Whether you're in need of an upright, cordless, robot, or handheld model, a great vacuum can be a go-to tool for removing allergens from upholstery, curtains, carpets, rugs, and other fabric surfaces in your home. But not every vacuum cleaner is equipped for the job—and one feature to consider is the vacuum's filtration system.

In addition to hours of research, we tested some of the most popular vacuums available, evaluating each pick's filter system design and adherence to HEPA standards. We also factored ease of use, effectiveness, and overall value into our selection. Our top pick, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away ADV Upright, has a filter that's designed to trap 99.99 percent of dust and allergens, as well as an anti-allergy seal to keep the particles contained. It's also surprisingly affordable for the features it offers.

Below you'll find the best vacuums for allergies.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Shark Navigator Lift-Away ADV Upright Vacuum

4.5
Shark Navigator Lift-Away ADV Upright Vacuum

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Anti-allergy sealed system

  • Effective at removing pet hair

  • Easy to clean stairs with lift-away pod

What We Don't Like
  • Limited reach under furniture

Our top pick is the Shark Navigator Upright Vacuum, which is one of the best vacuums for allergies and a surprisingly affordable option. It boasts a number of features that will help remove allergens from your home, including a HEPA filter and anti-allergy seal. The filter successfully traps 99.99 percent of dust and allergens, and the anti-allergen seal ensures the sucked-up particles don’t escape the hoses or dirt canister. This upright vacuum also has swivel steering for better control, making it easy to maneuver under furniture and around tight corners. Plus, it comes with an upholstery tool and pet brush to help you clean hair and dirt off your furniture.

The Shark Navigator picks up debris on carpets, rugs, and hard floors with no issue. LED lights on the floor head also allow you to easily see the vacuum's cleaning path, so you won't miss any dust bunnies or stray pet hair. It even has a button that allows you to lift off the canister for increased portability and easy cleaning of hard-to-reach places. We especially love this feature for cleaning stairs, a task that is often most difficult when using an upright vacuum.

Although we love the lift-away option, this model is still not the most effective option for cleaning under narrow spaces. However, its attachments can help you reach under furniture and clean along baseboards. All in all, this vacuum is a great option for anyone who suffers from allergies, has pets, or just wants to ensure their space is as free from particulates as possible.

Price at time of publish: $188

Weight: 12.3 pounds | Bin Volume: 28.48 ounces | Battery Life: Not applicable | Cord Length: 25 feet | Cleaning Path Width: 9.5 inches | Filter Type: Washable HEPA, foam, and felt filters | Included Accessories: Pet brush tool, dusting brush tool, crevice tool

Best Overall, Runner-Up

Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra

4.8
Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Floor roller adjusts to different floor types

  • Whole-machine filtration

  • Pet groom tool removes loose hairs, dead skin, allergens directly from pet

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • Spits out larger debris in its cleaning path

The Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra not only easily picked up every type of debris during our lab tests, but it also boasts powerful filtration and unique attachments designed with allergy sufferers and pet owners in mind. This upright vacuum is on the expensive side, which made it just shy of our best overall title. However, if you're wanting to splurge on a vacuum that truly delivers on cleaning power, consider the Animal 3 Extra an excellent candidate.

After struggling a bit through the vacuum setup—Dyson doesn't provide written instructions for assembly, only images—this upright vacuum was ready to tackle any surface and mess we threw its way. The vacuum's adjustable floor head has three modes so you can change the suction and roller bar height depending on the surface you're cleaning. Dyson's Motorbar cleaner head is equipped with stiff nylon bristles to reach into thick carpet. It effectively picks up hair, and it has de-tangling vanes to prevent hair from wrapping around it. In our tests, we noticed that this vacuum head has a tendency to spit out larger debris before sucking it up, which is slightly frustrating. But setting the vacuum to the high-pile carpet cleaning mode can help it tackle larger debris.

Along with the peace of mind that comes from a clean home, you can also feel confident about the Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra's filtration abilities. The washable post-motor filter can trap up to 99.97 percent of particles as small as 0.3 micron (standard in HEPA filters). We found that there's a learning curve for emptying this vacuum properly. The instructions were not clear for removing the dust bin, which resulted in a spill in the lab. However, once we figured out how to properly remove the bin, it was easy to empty. We did have to remove hair from the dust bin by hand because of static cling.

We appreciate the suite of attachments that come with this upright vacuum, making it an excellent all-around cleaning tool. Whether you want to detail tight corners, rid upholstery of pet hair, or efficiently clean your home's stairs, this vacuum has an attachment for it. The attachments are also key to counteracting this vacuum's rather heavy build. When it comes to cleaning stairs, we think it might be easier to pair the stair tool with the 15-foot extension hose, rather than lug the whole vacuum up and down. Overall, this vacuum may be a more expensive choice, but its suction power, filtration system, and attachments make it a competitive choice for busy households.

Price at time of publish: $410

Weight: 17.3 pounds | Bin Volume: 57.4 ounces | Battery Life: Not applicable | Cord Length: 35 feet | Cleaning Path Width: 11.02 inches | Filter Type: Whole-machine filtration | Included Accessories: Combination brush and crevice tool, stair tool, pet groom tool, tangle-free turbine tool

Best Budget

Hoover MAXLife Elite Swivel XL Pet Vacuum Cleaner with HEPA Media Filtration

4.5
Hoover MAXLife Elite Swivel XL Pet Vacuum Cleaner with HEPA Media Filtration

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Multiple surface settings for efficient cleaning

  • Carbon pet filter

  • Easy to set up and empty

What We Don't Like
  • Not as easy to maneuver as other models

  • Difficult to use on stairs

While there are plenty of high-tech vacuums for allergies and pet hair on the market, our testers gave high marks to this more budget-friendly model. The Hoover Elite Swivel XL Pet Upright Vacuum offers impressive power, innovative attachments, and easy maneuverability—making it an affordable yet reliable option. Plus, it's equipped with a washable HEPA filter and a carbon filter, the latter of which may help to contain pet smells once dander and other allergens are sucked inside the vacuum.

After a breezy setup process, we found it relatively easy to switch between the vacuum's surface settings. The setting knob did feel cheap, which might bring to question its long-term durability—a trade-off for the under-$200 price tag. Throughout the testing process, we also only needed the highest and lowest floor settings, and we thought the additional carpet settings were unnecessary.

This vacuum is designed with a swivel function, much like other popular upright vacuums on the market, which made it easier to maneuver around furniture and corners. However, we still recommend reaching for the suite of attachments when cleaning corners and tight spaces. While this vacuum didn't have any problems maneuvering across hard flooring, it was difficult to pull it backwards across carpeting. We had no issues pushing it on carpet but experienced some elbow fatigue when pulling it in the reverse direction. We think the vacuum's 16-pound weight could be to blame, rather than a case of too much suction power.

Weight was also a concern when we assessed this model's cleaning power on stairs. The motor head was larger than an average step, which would make it difficult to climb a full set of stairs while supporting the vacuum's weight. The attachments were helpful in cleaning the steps, but we still think this pick might not be the best for users with limited mobility. Although this vacuum certainly has its quirks, we appreciate its easy-to-use design. One tester reported that she would certainly recommend it to family and friends as a reliable and affordable vacuum model.

Price at time of publish: $145

Weight: 16 pounds | Bin Volume: 101.4 ounces | Battery Life: Not applicable | Cord Length: 30 feet | Cleaning Path Width: 13 inches | Filter Type: HEPA filter | Included Accessories: Brush tool, crevice tool, pet hair tool

Best Cordless

Tineco Pure One S11 Tango Smart Stick Handheld Vacuum

5
Tineco Pure One S11 Tango Smart Vacuum Cleaner

Tineco

What We Like
  • Sealed four-stage filtration

  • Easy to use and understand features

  • Self-adjusting suction power

  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver

What We Don't Like
  • Not great at sucking up larger debris on hard flooring

The Tineco Pure One S11 TANGO not only comes with all of the brand's beloved features—an LED display, iLoop dust sensor, and wall-mounted charging dock—but it's also equipped with a four-stage, sealed filter system, which includes HEPA filtration to trap particles as small as 0.3 microns. Like the brand's other vacuum models, this vacuum's LED display provides constant information about the battery power, suction power, malfunction alerts, and dust sensing.

When used in iLoop mode, this vacuum automatically adjusts its suction power when it senses dust, and the LED screen also lights up red when suction is increased. This vacuum breezed through all of our surface tests, and it was very easy to maneuver. We did find that the power brush struggled to pick up scattered Cheerios on hardwood flooring—for such a task, you might need to use one of the attachments. Even so, we gave this model a perfect score for effectiveness. On the plus side, very little hair wrapped around the power brush during our testing.

When it comes time to empty this stick vacuum, we recommend using two hands, as the lever to open the dust cup is slightly tricky to use. If any hair does happen to get caught on the brush roll, you can easily remove the power brush to rinse it clean. Tineco also provides a hair-cleaning tool with your purchase.

Overall, we found a lot to appreciate in this lightweight stick vacuum, from its easy assembly to its adjustable suction power. One tester said she would consider purchasing this vacuum for herself and would even pay more for its effectiveness, compared to other expensive models.

Price at time of publish: $340

Weight: 5.84 pounds | Bin Volume: 20.3 ounces | Battery Life: 40 minutes | Cord Length: Not applicable | Cleaning Path Width: Not listed | Filter Type: HEPA filter | Included Accessories: Multi-tasker power brush, soft roller power brush, mini power brush, 2-in-1 dusting brush, crevice tool, pre-filter cleaning tool, extra microfiber pre-filter, hair cleaning tool, wall mount

Best Bagged

Kenmore Elite 31150 Pet Friendly Bagged Upright Beltless Vacuum

Kenmore Elite 31150 Pet Friendly Bagged Upright Beltless Vacuum

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Infrared dirt sensor

  • Five height settings

  • Pet tool included

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • Replacement bag costs add up

Many modern vacuum cleaners are bagless, but if you prefer a bagged vacuum to keep dust and allergens trapped even as you empty it, the Kenmore Elite Pet & Allergy Friendly Upright Vacuum is a great option. This model is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, so you know it’s a strong choice for allergy season and everyday life. Although this upright model doesn't have the swivel joint that our top picks have, we think the bagged dust bin and other suction control features still make this a worthy pick.

This vacuum’s motor system has more power than the average upright, and the brush head has five height adjustments so you can efficiently clean both hard floors and thick carpets. It even switches off the rotating head when cleaning bare floors to avoid spitting larger debris, while still maintaining full suction. This vacuum also has a HEPA filter to capture microscopic particles, plus an infrared dirt sensor that detects dust and dirt you might not be able to see. We will note this model is on the heavier side, weighing in at 20 pounds, which might make it difficult to clean stairs in your home. However, we appreciate its pet-friendly tool, the Pet HandiMate, which makes cleaning pet hair off upholstery much easier, and could easily be used to tackle stairs with the addition of the extension wand.

Price at time of publish: $293

Weight: 20 pounds | Bin Volume: 111.59 ounces | Battery Life: Not applicable | Cord Length: 30 feet | Cleaning Path Width: 14 inches | Filter Type: HEPA filter | Included Accessories: Pet HandiMate tool, extension wand, crevice tool, brush dusting tool

Best Robot

Ecovacs Deebot N8 Pro+

4.8
Ecovacs Deebot N8 Pro+

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Helpful smart mapping abilities

  • Individual dust bags contain debris

  • Self-empties

What We Don't Like
  • Loud when emptying

If you're going to invest in a robot vacuum for your allergy-prone household, it should be equipped with filters and emptying capabilities that truly take the work out of your cleaning routine. The ECOVACS DEEBOT N8 Pro+ Robot Vacuum and Mop not only has a HEPA filter to lock in particles and allergens, but it also has a self-emptying base with disposable dust bags that make resetting the base every 30 days a breeze.

We tested this vacuum in The Lab and in a home setting, and we found that setting up this vacuum took no time at all, thanks to the quick start guide and included QR code, which prompts your smartphone to download the necessary app. This model has laser mapping capabilities, which allows it to avoid objects and learn a home's boundaries. Plus, you can identify carpeted versus hard flooring areas within the app. When it came to cleaning, this vacuum impressed us with its ease and thoroughness—always accurately identifying carpet versus hard flooring and only releasing water on the latter. We also found the vacuum's scheduling function, which allows you to set a time frame for it to clean specific areas of your home, to be especially helpful.

While this vacuum's mopping feature is pretty impressive with four different water release settings, the side brushes were sticky after running through our lab syrup test. This was a slightly predictable outcome, as this vacuum is not self-cleaning, so we recommend wiping the side brushes clean if your vacuum does run through a particularly messy spot. This robot vacuum only empties at the end of a cleaning session, which is not only efficient, but it also spares you from the rather loud self-emptying process. Just keep in mind that you will have to purchase replacement dust bags, as well as disposable mopping pads if you prefer them over the washable option. Still, we think this robot mop is fairly priced compared to other models on the market, And you can rest assured that its filter and dust bin will keep pesky allergens at bay around your home.

Price at time of publish: $450

Weight: Not listed | Bin Volume: 84.5 ounces | Battery Life: 110 minutes | Cord Length: Not applicable | Cleaning Path Width: 14.5 inches | Filter Type: HEPA filter | Included Accessories: Auto-empty station, 2 disposable dust bags, 1 washable mopping pad, 10 disposable mopping pads, 2 side brushes, 1 air filter

Best Handheld

Bissell Cleanview Deluxe Corded Handheld Vacuum

4.3
Bissell Cleanview Deluxe Corded Handheld Vacuum

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Affordable

  • Multiple attachments included

What We Don't Like
  • No HEPA filter

  • Not as portable as cordless alternatives

Many of the best vacuums for allergies are quite expensive, but you can still trap dust and other allergens with a more compact and wallet-friendly model such as the Bissell Cleanview Deluxe Corded Handheld Vacuum. This handheld vacuum is relatively small in size and light, but it still is equipped with a multi-level filter system to help keep debris and particles contained.

This small vacuum has an 18-foot power cord, and it comes with a wide-mouth tool, crevice tool, hose, and hose adapter. Its compact size makes it ideal for quick clean-ups and minor spills. It also makes cleaning upholstery, stairs, and other hard-to-reach areas a breeze. Most handheld vacuums skip out on HEPA filters, and this one’s no exception. The manufacturer doesn't list the filtration as meeting HEPA standards. With that in mind, if you're looking for a vacuum for heavy-duty cleaning or severe allergies, it's probably best to choose a vacuum with a sealed HEPA filtration system instead.

Price at time of publish: $48

Weight: 4 pounds | Bin Volume: 26.37 ounces | Battery Life: Not applicable | Cord Length: 18 feet | Cleaning Path Width: Not listed | Filter Type: Multi-level filtration | Included Accessories: Wide mouth tool, flexible hose, crevice tool

Final Verdict

The Shark Navigator Lift-Away ADV Upright Vacuum is our overall pick for vacuums that thwart allergies for its HEPA filter and anti-allergy seal. It effectively traps allergens and comes at a relatively affordable price. The Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra comes with a heftier price tag, but easily lifts any debris from almost every surface in your home. You get a powerhouse of a vacuum that can capture allergens on a microscopic scale, plus its suite of attachments makes it a reliable and go-to cleaning tool.

What to Look for in a Vacuum for Allergies

Filtration Type

The type of filter a vacuum has determines not only what type of debris it can handle but also how well that debris is contained in the vacuum's dust bin and internal filtration system. Check to see if your vacuum of choice comes equipped with a HEPA bag or filter. This means that it can remove at least 99.97 percent of allergens found in your home, including mold, dander, and dust. If it comes with a certification from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, all the better. Some models may not include HEPA filters, but nonetheless have sophisticated filtration systems that are designed for a similar degree of efficiency. When a HEPA filter isn't specified, be sure to look at the level of filtration and read the provided details to ensure pet dander and dust are easily trapped in the vacuum's filter.

Bag Type

Bagless vacuums are generally the less expensive option over time, because they don't require new replacement bags on a regular basis. Though they come with this additional expense, bagged vacuums may offer a level of security for allergy sufferers that bagless models cannot. "Bagged vacuums are extremely hygienic and securely trap dirt and debris," Melissa Witulski, brand standards manager at Merry Maids, explains. All that dust and dander stays safely sealed away, even when the time comes to throw away and replace the bag. If you're concerned about cleaning out your new vacuum and potentially re-releasing allergens into your home, a bagged vacuum will give you some much-needed peace of mind.

Suction Power

Dirt and dust tend to become embedded into furniture fibers and carpets, often to the point that you need a powerful vacuum with the right suction power to extract them properly. Many vacuums now have adjustable suction settings, or auto-adjusting settings, that allow you to change the amount of suction based on the type of surface that's being cleaned. Be wary of using too much suction on a high-pile carpet, as this can make a vacuum difficult to maneuver. Similarly, too little suction on tile and laminate floors can result in the vacuum not picking up any debris. Our best cordless pick, the Tineco PURE ONE S11 TANGO Smart Cordless Stick Vacuum, has an auto-adjusting sensor that increases suction when dust is detected.

If your home is carpeted or has area rugs in many rooms, look for a vacuum with adjustable roller brush height settings to accommodate varying piles. Witulski adds that you should use a vacuum without a beater bar when cleaning carpeting made of natural or looped fibers. If your home primarily has hard or bare floors, look instead for a vacuum with a gentle cleaning head that will prevent debris scatter.

Attachments

While vacuum attachments can be a pain to keep track of—especially if on-board storage isn't provided—they are often essential tools for effectively cleaning your home's floors and other surfaces such as upholstery. Homeowners with majority carpet rooms should look for a vacuum model that comes with an upholstery brush, which can help agitate high-pile rugs and will also help clean your upholstered furniture. Crevice tools and multi-surface dusting brush attachments are great for cleaning in corners and under low-clearance furniture that a vacuum may not be able to reach. Some vacuums, like our best overall, runner-up pick, the Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra, come with specialized attachments designed to clean pet beds or groom your pets to directly remove fur and dander.

FAQ
  • What is an anti-allergy vacuum?

    Vacuums for allergies, also called anti-allergy vacuums, all have filters meant to trap allergens. HEPA filters are the most common filters that are highly efficient at removing small particles, dust, and allergens. Vacuums with HEPA filters expel clean air, rather than air that potentially still has dust particles in it. If a vacuum model has a bag, the bag is airtight and also traps dust and other allergens inside. Bagged vacuums limit your exposure by keeping the contaminants out of the air when it comes time to replace the bag, as opposed to emptying a canister.

  • Do HEPA vacuums help with allergies?

    Yes, as mentioned above, HEPA filters are designed to remove up to 99.97 percent of dust, allergens, and other particles from the air. These particles can be as small as 0.3 microns and will still be trapped in the filter.

  • What is the best vacuum for someone with allergies?

    Look for a vacuum that has a HEPA filter or other multi-level filter. Vacuums with bagged dust bins are also great—and often more affordable—alternatives because they trap dust and other debris in a sealed bag.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Sara Coughlin, a freelance writer and The Spruce’s small appliances expert. From canister models to dustbusters, she’s researched what it takes for a vacuum to stand out in a vast and broad market—and what to look for in up-and-coming models. Additional reporting was done by Ashley Abramson, a writer who has worked as editor for local print and online publications. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Allure, InStyle, MyDomaine, and more.

Emma Phelps, updates writer for The Spruce, refreshed this roundup's product list to include several new vacuum models. These recently tested models all include HEPA filters or other multi-level filtration systems, and received high marks from our lab and home testers, who appreciated their overall maneuverability and suction power. Emma not only evaluated each tester's feedback but also conducted her own research to determine which vacuum types are best for people with allergies.

Updated by
Ashley Abramson
Ashley Abramson
Ashley Abramson is a freelance lifestyle and home writer based in Milwaukee, WI.
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  1. EPA. What is a HEPA Filter?