Best vacuums

The 6 best vacuum cleaners of 2023, tested and reviewed

Handheld vacuum: Often referred to as “Dustbusters” after the famous Black and Decker vacuum, handheld vacuums are small and designed for small messes, such as dust after sweeping, stray cat litter, and spilled cereal. They’re great for quickly cleaning messes, but you don’t want to rely on one to clean your entire house.

The best vacuums in 2023, according to experts

Shopping for a new vacuum? Cleaning professionals explain how to shop for one that meets your household needs.

The best vacuums work on various floor types and come with multiple attachments for easy cleaning.

The best vacuums work on various floor types and come with multiple attachments for easy cleaning. Vivian Le / Kara Birnbaum / NBC News

Sept. 4, 2020, 5:21 PM UTC / Updated July 19, 2023, 11:13 PM UTC

Whether you’re cleaning up after kids and pets or simply looking to maintain a tidy home, investing in a good quality vacuum can keep your space free of messes, germs and particles. “Vacuuming your home on a weekly basis is one of those household tasks that requires relatively minimal effort and instantly makes your home look cleaner,” says Caroline Solomon, a home organizing expert.

To help you choose the right vacuum for your space, we spoke to multiple home organization experts and considered Select staff favorites for smaller homes, larger homes, homes with pets and more.

Our top picks

  • Best overall pick: Miele Compact C1
  • Best budget pick: Shark Dual Cyclone Pet Pro Handheld Vacuum
  • Best robot vacuum: iRobot Roomba j7+ (7550)
  • Best cordless vacuum: Tineco Pure One S11

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How we picked the best vacuums

The type of vacuum you buy — whether canister, stick, handheld or robot — depends on your space and your specific cleaning preferences. Here’s a summary of the qualities that the experts we spoke to recommend and the questions you should consider while shopping for a quality option:

  • Bagged vs bagless: Some vacuums come with a reusable dustbin; others have a disposable bag that needs to be replaced. We included options for both.
  • Vacuum size and weight: The square footage of your home, the number of floors and the amount of storage space you have are all major considerations when choosing a vacuum. We included vacuums suited for both smaller and larger spaces.
  • Floor settings: Every vacuum we recommend works across various floors, including hardwood and carpet.
  • Attachments: Vacuums come with a range of attachments to fit your specific cleaning needs. Every vacuum we recommend comes with multiple cleaning accessories, for pet hair, upholstery and more.
  • HEPA filter: Particles in the air can cause airborne diseases and allergic and respiratory reactions, HEPA filters help filter out these particles. All vacuums recommended below come with a HEPA filter.

Best vacuums to shop in 2023

Below, we highlight expert-recommended vacuums, as well as options recommended by Select staffers. In line with our experts’ guidance, each of the following vacuums features a HEPA filter that can remove up to 99.7% of fine dust and airborne particles.

Best overall vacuum: Miele

Miele Compact C1

Our experts agree that Miele is the best overall brand for vacuums. “I love Miele vacuums because they are rather lightweight and maneuverable,” says Solomon. She also adds that they last “years and years.” This vacuum can be used on either carpet or bare floors and comes with multiple attachments, including a dusting brush, upholstery tool and crevice nozzle. Select managing editor Leah Ginsberg says the Miele Compact C1 is lightweight, quiet and simple to use. “It’s easy to replace the bags and filters,” she says. “I also love that it has a button that makes the plug automatically whip back into the vacuum — for whatever reason, I hate manually wrapping wires and plugs around vacuums.” This option has a three-stage filtration system, which will leave the room air free of dust, dirt and debris, according to Miele. The dust bag also has a self-sealing collar which prevents anything vacuumed in from escaping.

Type: Canister | Run time: Corded | Dustbin capacity: 3.5 L | Weight: 14.8 lbs

Miele Compact C1

Miele Compact C1

Best bagless upright vacuum: Shark

Shark NV352 Navigator Lift Away Upright Vacuum

This anti-allergen Shark vacuum, a favorite of Solomon’s, comes with a detachable canister for portability and a brush roll shutoff option that lets you easily switch from deep carpet cleaning to bare floor cleaning, according to the brand. The vacuum can also maneuver around tight corners and furniture, according to Shark, and also comes with an upholstery tool and two crevice tools for access to hard-to-reach spaces. Former Select editor Morgan Greenwald owns this vacuum and loves how easy it is to switch from vacuuming her hardwood floors to her many Ruggable rugs.

Type: Upright | Run time: Corded | Dustbin capacity: 1.04 L | Weight: 12.5 lbs

Shark Navigator Lift Away Upright Vacuum

Shark Navigator Lift Away Upright Vacuum

Best bagged upright vacuum: Kenmore

Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly Vacuum

This bagged upright vacuum is pet-friendly thanks to its powerful inducer motor. This motor produces 20% more air power than the conventional Kenmore upright vacuum motor, enabling the brush roll to spin at a speed high enough to remove dander and stubborn pet hair, according to the brand. It has five height adjustment options and comes with multiple attachments, including a crevice tool, bristle brush and power roller. It also has a lightweight aluminum wand that can extend up to 10 feet for hard-to-reach spaces, according to Kenmore. Kadi Dulude, owner of domestic referral agency Wizard of Homes, recommends the bagged canister version from the brand, which she says “can handle the endless hair from a shedding lab without constantly getting clogged.”

Type: Upright | Run time: Corded | Dustbin capacity: N/A | Weight: 21.3 lbs

Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly Vacuum

Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly Vacuum

Best bagless canister vacuum: Miele

Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat and Dog Vacuum

The Miele Blizzard CX1 lets you switch between four suction power settings for different surfaces, including curtains, rugs, carpets and hard floors with the turn of a rotary dial. It also comes with multiple attachments, including a handheld mini turbo brush for picking up pet hair, a dusting brush and a crevice and upholstery nozzle. The brand’s hygienic emptying system can also separate fine and coarse dust so it isn’t distributed back into the air when emptying, according to Miele.

Type: Canister | Run time: Corded | Dustbin capacity: 2 L | Weight: 19 lbs

Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat and Dog Vacuum

Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat and Dog Vacuum

Best cordless stick vacuum: Tineco

Tineco Pure One S11

Dulude is a fan of cordless vacuums because they’re lightweight and convenient. She recommends the Tineco Pure One as a powerful option for hardwood floors: It has an LED panel on the top of the handle that displays the adjustable power level and battery time remaining. The brand’s smart dust sensor detects the amount of debris in front of it and adapts the suction power accordingly, according to Tineco. It also alerts you if the vacuum ever becomes clogged.

Type: Stick | Run time: 40 minutes | Dustbin capacity: 0.6 L | Weight: 11.46 lbs

Tineco Pure One S11

Tineco Pure One S11

Best lightweight stick vacuum: Dyson

Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum

Solomon recommended Dyson’s cordless vacuums because they’re great for “compact apartments with minimal storage space.” This model from Dyson is one of the lightest vacuums on this list, weighing just a little over 6 pounds. It has a run time of up to 60 minutes on a single charge and the time remaining is displayed on the vacuum’s LCD screen, according to the brand. It comes with various useful attachments, including a crevice tool, dusting brush and a ​​mini-motorized tool for removing pet hair. For larger spaces, the similar Dyson V11 Outsize has a larger dust bin and a run time of up to 120 minutes.

Type: Stick | Run time: 60 minutes | Dustbin capacity: 0.75 L | Weight: 6.68 lbs

Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum

Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum

Best robot vacuum: iRobot

iRobot Roomba j7+ (7550)

This robot vacuum can map out an entire floor of your home to know where to clean, and you can set boundaries using the iRobot Home app to prevent it from going into specific areas. It can also empty its own canister after 60 days and return to its base when it knows it needs a charge, according to iRobot. The Roomba is compatible with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice assistants.

Type: Robot | Run time: N/A | Dustbin capacity: 0.42 L | Weight: 7.48 lbs

iRobot Roomba j7+ (7550)

iRobot Roomba j7+ (7550)

Best handheld vacuum: Shark

Shark Dual Cyclone Pet Pro Handheld Vacuum

This Shark handheld vacuum weighs under 3 pounds and comes with a self-cleaning brush roll that prevents hair from wrapping around it, according to the brand. It has a washable filter for easy cleanup and a large dust cup that lets you empty it out at the touch of a button. It also comes with a crevice tool to clean corners around your home and a scrubbing brush to remove any stubborn dirt.

Type: Handheld | Run time: 10 minutes | Dustbin capacity: 0.41 L | Weight: 2.8 lbs

Shark Dual Cyclone Pet Pro Handheld Vacuum

Shark Dual Cyclone Pet Pro Handheld Vacuum

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What are the different types of vacuums?

There are a few different types of vacuums to consider, depending on your different cleaning needs and preferences. To help you simplify your search, we spoke to experts about the differences between the five types of vacuums available: canister, upright, stick, handheld and robot.


This type of vacuum has a separate canister that contains the motor and receptacle and equips a long hose that can be fitted with interchangeable attachments. It’s a great option for homeowners who have a mixture of stairs and surfaces to clean since canister vacuums are much lighter and easier to carry than upright vacuums, says Solomon. Canister vacuums also have fewer moving parts than upright vacuums, which means they typically require less maintenance and fewer repairs. They provide excellent suction, “which is especially handy for bare floors,” Solomon says. However, canister vacuums are often more difficult to store due to their hose, wand and bulkier base, she adds.


Upright vacuums are great for homeowners who have large, wide-open spaces since they typically have wheels. “The whole vacuum moves with you, making it less cumbersome than a canister model,” which requires you to move the bin around, says Carl Prouty, a tech expert at Abt Electronics. Upright vacuums also work well on both carpet and bare floors, making it easier to clean in multiple areas of your house, especially if you have pets that shed regularly, Solomon says. However, she cautions that upright vacuums also tend to be heavier than canister vacuums — weighing as much as 20 pounds — making it difficult to lift them up and down the stairs. And, unless the upright comes with a wand, they can’t clean vertical surfaces like walls, upholstery and curtains.


Stick vacuums are slim and lightweight, making them a good option for both quick cleanups and homes with minimal storage space. “Cordless models are simple to take around the whole home, and battery life on cordless versions is constantly improving,” says Prouty. These models are best for people with smaller spaces to clean, since they’re not as powerful as canister vacuums, according to Prouty. They’re also good for those who have kids and are constantly cleaning up spills and messes, he says.


A handheld vacuum is a compact cordless vacuum — it’s similar to a stick vacuum but smaller and more portable, which makes it a good option for vacuuming out your car or spot cleaning, according to experts. Since they’re typically the least powerful type of vacuum, our experts note that a cordless vacuum should complement a heavier-duty model like a canister or upright vacuum, not replace it.


A “smart” counterpart to the traditional vacuum, robotic models can run whenever you want — even when you’re not home — and reset themselves to charge. They help tackle forgotten corners and clean under furniture that larger models may not be able to. “These are the best option for people on the go, people with shedding pets or those who simply like tech,” says Prouty.

However, robot vacuums tend to be slower than most other types of vacuums, so they’re not the best option if you’re looking for a quick cleanup. “If you’re manually vacuuming, it might take 20 to 30 minutes, but it can take up to 90 minutes using a robot vacuum,” says Solomon. These vacuums also require some level of tidying up beforehand since they can move around more efficiently when the floor is decluttered.

How to shop for a vacuum

There are several features to consider before buying a new vacuum. Below, the cleaning experts we consulted shared their guidance.

Bagged versus bagless

Both upright and canister vacuums come in bagged and bagless models — the difference lies in where the dirt goes as it gets sucked up.

“Bagged vacuums generally do a better job of keeping dust and debris contained when you’re emptying them, but the bags are a one-time-use product so you’ll need to purchase new ones every once in a while,” says Prouty. Because bagged vacuums tend to keep these particles contained, Prouty adds that they’re typically a better choice for people with severe allergies.

Bagless vacuums, on the other hand, can be great for those who don’t want to have to worry about buying and changing out bags—these models employ a container, called a dustbin, that collects the dirt and debris. “You’ll want to be sure the size of the dustbin is big enough to accommodate your areas — having a small dustbin means you’ll need to empty it out frequently, which makes vacuuming your home take a lot longer,” says Prouty. He recommends looking for a dustbin with a minimum .25-gallon capacity for an upright bagless option, or .15 gallon capacity for a stick vacuum.

Vacuum size

“Vacuum size is a major factor if you live in a small space with limited storage,” says Solomon. That weight can also be an important consideration if you have mobility issues, which can sometimes make lugging around a canister or upright vacuum more difficult, she says. In these cases, our experts suggest looking into a vacuum that’s lightweight and tall enough that you don’t have to stoop or bend over too much when using it.

Floor settings

If you have different types of flooring in your home, you’ll want to look for a vacuum that can accommodate all or most of them. And keep in mind that different types of carpets also require different settings. “Choosing the right floor setting is important to make sure you don’t ruin or scratch the surface,” says Dulude.

The lowest setting on most vacuums works well for bare floors and thin carpets, whereas the highest setting is optimal for thicker carpets and area rugs, according to Solomon. A thick high pile rug, for example, needs a higher setting, while bare wood floors need a low setting and no automatic roll brush, says Dulude.


Different vacuum models come with a range of accessories to fit your specific cleaning needs, especially when it comes to hard floors, upholstery and crevices. The most common attachments include a brush tool, which comes in handy when cleaning upholstery or curtains, and a crevice tool, which is “excellent at cleaning all the nooks and crannies of your home, particularly in between cushions and in between cabinets and vents,” according to Solomon.

Some vacuums may also include pet-friendly attachments like an upholstery cleaner that can collect pet hair on furniture and a detachable beater brush (like the rotating brush under the vacuum) that commonly gets clogged when met with large amounts of pet hair, according to Solomon.

HEPA filters

The “dirtiest” place in your home may be the invisible air you breathe, explains environmental consultant and building materials specialist Marilee Nelson, co-founder of Branch Basics. “Particles in the air can not only be a vehicle for the spread of airborne disease and the major cause of many allergic and respiratory reactions but also a carrier for harmful chemicals called SVOCs, which ride on dust,” she says, adding that dust may expose us to bacteria, viruses, mold, pollens, harmful chemicals and more.

That’s why investing in a vacuum with a good HEPA filter is worthwhile: It can not only minimize the dirt on your floors, but also impact the air you breathe. Similar to air purifiers, vacuums with at least one High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) filter can remove 99.7% of fine dust and airborne particles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. They’re sealed and airtight, so all air sucked through the machine passes through the filter and no dust escapes back out at any point, even when emptying it.

“Cleaning regularly with a certified sealed HEPA vacuum dramatically improves air quality by reducing the amount of airborne allergens, dust and harmful chemicals in your home,” Nelson says. You can use a HEPA vacuum to address dust on virtually any surface, including stuffed animals, books, furniture, walls, ceilings, lampshades and cars, according to Nelson.

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Caroline Solomon is a home organizing and lifestyle expert based in New York City.
  • Kadi Dulude is the owner of domestic referral agency Wizard of Homes, which outsources housekeeping jobs to independent domestic workers.
  • Carl Prouty is a tech expert and media specialist at Abt Electronics.
  • Marilee Nelson is an environmental consultant, building materials specialist, certified baubiologist, and co-founder of Branch Basics

The 6 best vacuum cleaners of 2023, tested and reviewed

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  • Best cordless
  • Best upright
  • Best budget
  • Best for pet hair
  • Best robot
  • Best handheld
  • What to look for
  • How we tested
  • FAQs

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When you have the best vacuum in your cleaning arsenal, there’s no need to panic when your home inevitably gets a little messy. Features like powerful suction, easy to clean airways, and surface detection make short work of crumbs and debris. The best vacuum for you depends on where and on what surfaces you’ll use it most, plus the weight and maneuverability of the vacuum itself.

Over the years, we’ve tested vacuum cleaners of all shapes and sizes by cleaning up Cheerios and coffee grounds on carpet, tile, and more. We think the best cordless vacuum is the Shark Vertex DuoClean Cordless vacuum. In our tests, we were impressed by how smooth it felt to operate on tile and how the cleaning path light showed particles we otherwise would have missed. If you’re a traditionalist who prefers the stability of an upright and never losing power because of a low battery, the Shark Vertex Powered Lift-Away Vacuum is reliable and a strong performer on carpets and hard floors. One of our other favorites is the best robot vacuum, the iRobot Roomba i3+. The automatic dirt disposal is a huge time saver and the vac navigates cleaning paths with ease.

Find out more about how Insider Reviews tests and reviews home products.

Our top picks for vacuums

Best cordless: Shark Vertex DuoClean Cordless Vacuum – See at Amazon

Best upright: Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Upright Vacuum (AZ2002) – See at Amazon

Best budget: Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet Vacuum – See at Amazon

Best for pet hair: Dyson Outsize Cordless Vacuum – See at Dyson

Best robot: iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO Robot Vacuum – See at Amazon

Best handheld: Black+Decker Dustbuster Cordless Handheld Vacuum (model HHVI315JO42) – See at Amazon

Best cordless: Shark Vertex DuoClean Cordless Vacuum

The Shark Vertex DuoClean Cordless Vacuum is a strong performer all around, picking up particles of most sizes on various surfaces smoothly and efficiently. We also love the light that illuminates your cleaning path and the flexible hose that lets you reach under low spaces better than any other cordless vac.

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  • Size and weight: 10.24 x 7.09 x 46.1 inches
  • Weight: 7.17 pounds
  • Dust bin capacity: 0.34 gallons
  • Filter type: Washable HEPA, no extra filters included
  • Battery life: 25 minutes
  • Warranty: 5 years on parts and labor
  • Attachments: Crevice tool, pet multi-tool, anti-allergen brush

This Shark Vertex DuoClean cordless is one of the best vacuums for overall cordless cleaning, easily picking up every bit of flour, cat litter, ground coffee, and dog hair from hardwood and tile. It also does well with large particles like whole Cheerios, though it’s less effective on high-pile rugs and carpeting.

It’s not the lightest cordless vac out there, but it’s smooth to operate and easy to use. There are distinct settings for hardwood and carpets located near the grip, and they’re easy to slide between. There’s also a power boost trigger you can hold down whenever you need extra suction power.

Guiding the cleaning head on hardwood and tile feels smooth and soft instead of clunky and abrasive. The cleaning head also has two useful features: a light that shows you exactly what you’re cleaning and highlights small particles you might’ve otherwise missed and a green alert button that turns red when a blockage occurs so that you can address the problem immediately.

We also love how it can get lower and flatter than any other cordless vac. The middle of the stick can bend into a flexible hose “elbow,” allowing the entire bottom half to lay flat and get under beds, couches, chairs, and other tricky spots.

Read our full guide to the best cordless vacuums for more recommendations.

Best upright: Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Upright Vacuum (AZ2002)

The Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Upright Vacuum (AZ2002) is easy to use and has powerful suction that gets the job done on hardwood and carpeting.

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  • Size: 12 x 15.09 x 46.25 inches
  • Weight: 17.6 pounds
  • Dust bin capacity: 1 gallon
  • Filter type: HEPA, no extra filters included
  • Cord length: 30 feet
  • Attachments: Pet crevice tool, dusting brush, self-cleaning pet power brush
  • Warranty: 5 years

The sister model to our best cordless, is this ultra-powerful Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Upright Vacuum (AZ2002). It features powerful suction and dual brushrolls, making it feel like you’re wrangling a shark as it eats up debris on your floors. It’s powerful motor quite literally propels you forward, across hard floors and carpets, while the 30-foot long cord ensures you can make it across the room, and maybe around the corner without having to plug in again.

In our hardwood floor testing, the Shark AZ2002 picked up all of the Cheerios, cat litter, coffee grounds, and pet hair we set out. It only left behind trace amounts of flour, the best you can expect with that tough material. And on carpet, the Vertex DuoClean PowerFins did even better on carpeting, picking up all the materials and leaving behind even less flour, ensuring a deep clean.

The handle of the Shark upright vacuum is removable, and the dust bin detaches so that you can reach high-up spots, under furniture or on stairs. However, nozzle cleaning wasn’t as powerful as the brush roll head. It only removed 65% of the pet hair on furniture, though it also includes a self-cleaning pet power brush. Still, it picked up all the cat litter and almost all the flour.

The Shark AZ2002 relies on a broad “trap door” mechanism for emptying the dust bin. This works great if you have a large garbage can. If not, it’s hard to avoid making a mess and potentially coming in contact with the debris.

Best budget: Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet Vacuum

The Bissell Cleanview Swivel Vacuum is a bit on the large side, but is powerful and operates smoothly. It has multiple attachments to pick up pet hair and clean hard-to-reach spots. It’s currently 10% off, making a great budget upright vacuum even more affordable.

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  • Size: 13 x 14 x 44.5 inches
  • Weight: 15 pounds
  • Dust bin capacity: 0.26 gallons
  • Filter type: Washable HEPA, no extra filters included
  • Cord length: 27 feet
  • Attachments: Crevice tool, pet tool
  • Warranty: 3 years on parts and labor

Bissell’s Cleanview Swivel Pet Vacuum is your classic corded upright vacuum. As restrictive as the cords are on these vacuums, Bissell builds in many thoughtful design features to compensate for the inconvenience.

The large, square cleaner head has a brush roll that effectively lifts and removes small and large debris, passing all of our cleaning tests with flying colors. From whole Cheerios to fine flour, the vacuum sucked up the particles cleanly and quickly and worked well with pet hair.

It has five settings for different floor types, which you must bend down and adjust at the top of the cleaner head. But turning on the vacuum is as easy as pressing a lever at the base with your foot. There’s also a separate foot pedal to tilt the vacuum and allow it to swivel in different directions.

The generously sized dust bin is easy to remove, and the contents empty out at the bottom, so you’ll have minimal or no direct contact with all the contents. The bin has a handle on top so you can easily lift and carry your vacuum.

With its consistent, powerful suction and maneuverability, the vacuum is already a great deal. Even better, it comes with a few attachments stored directly on the vacuum, which you can attach to the 6-foot-long hose to clean upholstery or get into crevices. We prefer a cordless handheld vacuum for these cleaning tasks, but it’s a nice option to earn a spot in our best vacuum list.

Read our full guide to the best cheap vacuum cleaners.

Best for pet hair: Dyson Outsize Cordless Vacuum

The powerful Dyson Outsize Cordless Vacuum excels at picking up pet hair, has up to 60 minutes of run time, and features a large dustbin for longer, uninterrupted cleans.

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  • Size: 50.39 x 11.02 x 9.06 inches
  • Weight: 7.98 pounds
  • Dust bin capacity: 1.9 liters (or 64.2 ounces)
  • Filter type: Six-layer filtration designed to pick up 99.99% of 0.3-micron particles
  • Battery life: 60 minutes
  • Attachments: Large digital cleaner head, hair screw tool, crevice tool, combination tool, low-reach adapter, and mini soft dusting brush
  • Warranty: 2 years

I tested the Dyson Outsize Absolute, an exceptional stick vacuum that’s been discontinued. However, the Dyson Outsize has the same specs and is more affordable. Both vacuums have 11.5-inch-wide cleaner heads designed for cleaning large areas. I found it picked up debris effortlessly on a single pass. The Outsize also comes with a longer battery run time, approximately 67% longer than previous Dyson batteries we’ve tested.

The Outsize Absolute vacuum stood out in our tests because it can remove pet hair on all surfaces without the cleaner head getting tangled. It excelled in cleaning up all debris on carpeting and hardwood floors, except for a trace of coffee grounds on carpets and nominal amounts of flour on both surfaces. A spherical wheel on the cleaner head makes maneuvering the Outsize a breeze. I moved it from side to side with a gentle wrist rotation. Non-Dyson stick vacuums typically need more effort to turn.

In handheld mode, the Outsize Absolute performed well on furniture, leaving behind only about 5% of flour and cat litter. At 6.2 pounds, the handheld mode gets heavy. Also, you need to keep your finger on the power button to keep it running, limiting how you can hold the vacuum.

The trap-door mechanism on the Dyson vacuum’s dustbin releases debris so you don’t come in contact with it. Yet, attachments must be removed before you can empty the dustbin, and you might miss your trash can if you don’t position the dustbin just right.

Overall, the Dyson Outsize Absolute and its close counterpart, the Outsize, are remarkable stick vacuums. They make cleaning up after your pet fast and convenient.

Read our full guide to the best pet vacuums.

Best robot: iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO Robot Vacuum

With its automatic dirt disposal, strong suction, and large main brushes, the iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO Robot Vacuum is an excellent, low-maintenance solution for any home.

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  • Height: 13.34 x 13.26 x 3.63 inches
  • Weight: 7.44 pounds
  • Dust bin capacity: 0.1 gallons
  • Filter type: High-efficiency filter
  • Battery life: 75 minutes
  • Attachments: None
  • Warranty: 1 year on parts and labor

We’ve put 30 robot vacuums through rigorous tests to see how well they pick up coffee grounds, cat litter, flour, and pet hair on both carpet and hardwood floors, and the iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO tops the list of best vacuums in the robot category.

Not only does the robot vacuum handle hardwood and carpet easily, but it also navigates its cleaning paths smoothly and rarely gets stuck. When done cleaning, it returns to the automatic dirt disposal dock, which empties the vac’s dust bin. Just switch out the dust bag every month or two. The i3+ EVO is the most affordable Roomba to feature the auto-empty station.

The vac is Alexa-compatible and has a user-friendly app (available for iOS and Android) that lets you set your cleaning schedule. However, we’re disappointed that iRobot left off the no-go zone and zoned-cleaning capabilities for the i3+ EVO. You have to spring for $60 virtual wall barriers to set zones.

The i3+ EVO doesn’t have adjustable suction. Instead, it maintains a consistently strong suction and performs multiple passes in areas where it detects excess dirt. Since the vac is about 68 decibels (louder than a normal conversation), we would have liked to be able to adjust the suction to reduce noise.

Read our full guide to the best robot vacuums.

Best handheld: Black+Decker Dustbuster Cordless Handheld Vacuum (model HHVI315JO42)

The BLACK+DECKER dustbuster Cordless Handheld Vacuum, model HHVI315JO42, offers convenient cordless cleaning, powerful suction, and easy maintenance. It’s a smart choice for quick and efficient cleaning tasks at home or in your car. While this isn’t the lowest price we’ve seen, it’s close.

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  • Height: 5.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Dust bin capacity: 0.25 gallons
  • Filter type: Washable mesh filter, no extra filters included
  • Battery life: 12 minutes
  • Attachments: Crevice tool and brush attachment
  • Warranty: 2 years

The Dustbuster was the original handheld vacuum developed for NASA over 40 years ago. So it’s no surprise that one of these vacs, the Black+Decker Dustbuster Cordless Handheld Vacuum (model HHVI315JO42) performed the best in our tests.

The Dustbuster HHVI315JO42 was one of the best vacuums that we tested for car cleaning and was among the best on hardwood and carpeting. While other models struggled with flour and Cheerios, the Dustbuster was the best at picking up these substances on hardwood.

This well-balanced handheld vacuum weighs slightly over 2 pounds, making it comfortable for longer cleaning jobs. However, the run time was among the shortest of the models we tested (12 minutes), and you can’t tell when the battery is low since there’s no charge indicator light.

It has a simple on/off button and a button to release the dust bin (remove the mesh filter and then empty it). You can wash the filter with water and let it air dry before reinserting. The dustbin was 50% larger than the competition.

The Dustbuster was among the quietest handhelds we tested, but it was still as loud as a noisy restaurant.

Read our full guide to the best handheld vacuums.

What to look for in a vacuum cleaner

When choosing from the best vacuums, your primary considerations are the type you want (see above), mess-free debris disposal, a strong warranty, a long battery life (if cordless), a well-designed brush head, and ease of use.

Here are some other important features:

Brush head and attachments

Your vacuum needs a well-designed brush head to collect the dust and dirt on your floors. Our guides to the best cordless vacuums and robot vacuums feature excellent examples of how we test for this. In addition to a durable brush head, you’ll also want to look for vacuums with the following attachments:

Crevice tool: A long, flat attachment with an angled tip. It’s good for getting into tight corners, including baseboards, stairs, and between couch cushions.

Upholstery tool: A wide, flat attachment that allows for strong suction. It’s good for furniture with fabric upholstery, like mattresses, chairs, and couches.

Wand: Often featured on upright vacuums, wands detach from the main body to allow you to reach spots the head can’t go. They’re useful for cleaning stairs, corners, and upholstery.


When cleaning your whole house, you want a machine that is light enough to carry from room to room and up and down stairs, about 10 to 15 pounds. For smaller jobs, you want a handheld vacuum that isn’t a strain to hold for several minutes, under 5 pounds.

Bags vs. bagless

Most of the vacuums we recommend are bagless. They are designed to allow clean air to pass through the motor without impeding suction or clogging. Instead of collecting in a bag, the debris collects in a reusable dustbin that can be easily emptied after each use.

Traditional vacuum bags have tiny holes that act as a filter by trapping dust and dirt while allowing air to pass through. However, they’re harder to empty and clean. Some vacuums use disposable bags, but this is an added cost you have to figure into the lifetime value of your vacuum.


We recommend looking for vacuums with a HEPA filter, particularly if anyone in your home is prone to allergies. To meet HEPA standards, a high-efficiency particulate or HEPA filter must filter 99.97% of airborne particles. Most high-quality vacuum cleaners contain HEPA filters. Many are washable and reusable and should be cleaned regularly.

Brushed vs. brushless motor

A vacuum depends on its motor for suction. Motors are either brushed or brushless. Brushless motors generally have a longer runtime, more suction power, and better efficiency.


If problems arise, you want your vacuum’s warranty to cover them. Look for a solid money-back guarantee to ensure you can return your vac if you’re unhappy with its performance.

How we test the best vacuum cleaners

Vacuuming ability: We tested the vacuums on carpeting, hardwood, and tile, picking up flour, ground coffee, cat litter, Cheerios, and fur. We assessed how well each vacuum picked up the materials. If a vacuum came with attachments, we tested them on the appropriate surfaces, including car seats and furniture. We also tested the obstacle avoidance and corner cleaning capabilities of robot vacuums.

Battery runtime: We timed how long cordless vacuums ran until their batteries died and how long it took to recharge them.

Ease of use and comfort: We assessed the effort to activate the power button of each vacuum, maneuverability, and how tiring it is to hold. We noted if it could fit under low-profile furniture and if it had additional features that improved functionality, such as a headlight.

Debris disposal: After cleaning sessions, we evaluated how easy and clean emptying the dustbin was. The vacuum lost points if we came in contact with the debris when disposing of it or if it was otherwise messy.

Storage: We looked at how easy it was to store the vacuum, including if it broke down into a smaller footprint or if it came with a docking station or wall mount.

Vacuum cleaner FAQs

What is the best type of vacuum cleaner?

Generally, upright vacuums are cost-effective and perform well. Handheld vacs are compact and can get into tight spots. Stick vacuums are versatile and convenient. Canister vacuums are pricey yet powerful. And robot vacuums automate cleaning.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of each type of the best vacuums:

Upright vacuum: In the US, the upright vacuum is what most people envision when you mention a “vacuum.” The dust bin, head, and motor are all in one unit. The upright vacuum stands independently, and the body tilts back when you need to vacuum. They offer versatility and power but are cumbersome to use at times. Most models have a removable hose to get into hard-to-reach spots.

Handheld vacuum: Often referred to as “Dustbusters” after the famous Black and Decker vacuum, handheld vacuums are small and designed for small messes, such as dust after sweeping, stray cat litter, and spilled cereal. They’re great for quickly cleaning messes, but you don’t want to rely on one to clean your entire house.

Cordless stick vacuum: Stick vacuums have become popular thanks to their portability and convenience. Yet, these cordless vacuums lack the power of upright and canister vacuums and must be recharged frequently. The dustbins are also smaller. On the plus side, the low-profile design makes these lightweight vacuums great for cleaning under furniture.

Canister vacuum: The head and handle of a canister vacuum are connected to the canister by a long hose. The dust bin and motor are located within the canister, usually on wheels to follow you around as you clean. This configuration makes the canister vacuum annoying to move around the house. Still, they are perhaps the most powerful vacuum type.

Robot vacuum: Robot vacuums automate your floor cleaning. You set a schedule, and the vacuum cleans independently and returns to its charging dock when done. However, you still need to empty the tiny dust bin after each cleaning, and the vacs often get stuck on cords or in tight spots. They’re also expensive and not as powerful as the other vacuum types.

How much should you spend on a vacuum cleaner?

Our guides feature vacuums ranging in price from $40 for a handheld to $600 for a self-emptying robot vacuum. Expect to spend at least $100 on a new vacuum. If you’re looking for a good stick, canister, or robot vacuum, expect to pay $300 or more.

How long does a vacuum last?

According to a Consumer Reports survey, a vacuum’s median life is eight years.

Leslie Tam, a cofounder of the cleaning service UrbanMop, said it might be time to replace your vacuum once it shows a drastic reduction in suction. He recommended prolonging your vacuum’s life by performing regular maintenance, including cleaning the filter often, removing hairs and other debris from the brush roll, and emptying the dust bin before it gets too full.