Best Vacuum Cleaners

UPDATED OCTOBER 2018​

With a new vacuum cleaner, you can eliminate any type of mess around your home.

BEST VACUUM
CLEANER 2018

Dyson Ball Animal 2

BOTTOM LINE

One of the best options for pet owners is the Dyson Ball Animal 2, which targets both pet hair and dander. It works well on all types of flooring and has a HEPA filtration system that removes tiny particles from the air and keeps allergens from floating around the room.

PROS

As one of the only vacuums suitable for all types of flooring, this one will help you clean tile and hardwood in addition to carpet. It has a HEPA filtration system that reduces the debris released into your home, and it works particularly well on pet hair and dander.

CONS

This vacuum is quite expensive and may not fit within your budget. It also produces so much suction that it might get stuck on carpets with a thicker pile.

BOTTOM LINE

With two different ways to use it, the Rotator Professional from Shark is a solid choice for most homes. You can use it as a canister vacuum to clean floors and as a portable or hand-held model that you can take with you.

PROS

The Lift-Away design on this vacuum makes it easy to empty the canister when you finish cleaning. It functions as both a standard canister vacuum and as a portable vacuum for cleaning stairs and other cumbersome areas of your home.

CONS

Some customers found that this vacuum feels much heavier than other residential models do. Others found that it doesn’t lay as flat as they needed for cleaning under tables and other types of furniture.

BOTTOM LINE

Hoover provides you with loads of tools that work with this vacuum and fit right on the front and sides. Those tools are suitable for cleaning furniture, upholstery, curtains and floors. It also has a bumper on the front and a removable filter.

PROS

With a bagless design and a filter that comes out for cleaning, the T-Series is a good vacuum for those who want a convenient way to clean. It has a built-in bumper on the front that keeps the vacuum from scuffing your floors and bumping into your furniture.

CONS

As the collection port on the T-Series is fairly small, it can clog with pet hair and other debris quickly. You may find that the motor overheats with frequent or regular use too. 

BOTTOM LINE

The bagless design of this model makes it easy to clean and empty the canister. The Zing Rewind works on all types of floors and comes with a filter designed to collect more of the allergens and particles in your home.

PROS

Thanks to a built-in switch, this vacuum lets you go from hardwood and tile floors to carpets in seconds. It’s lightweight enough to carry with just one hand and will work up to 15 feet away from any outlet.

CONS

Due in part to its smaller size, this vacuum can’t provide the suction needed for thicker piled carpets. Some customers think that it looks and feels cheap too.

BOTTOM LINE

BLACK + DECKER lets you clean anywhere in your home without relying on an outlet with this cordless vac. You can remove the filter for easy cleaning and use the flip-up brush for deeper cleaning. This vac even lets you clean your car. 

PROS

Go anywhere and clean anywhere around your home with this cordless vac, which comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery. Designed to reach deep into any crevice, this vacuum will help with basic cleaning around your home. 

CONS

The included lithium ion battery may provide only 10 to 15 minutes of suction with each charge. As a hand-held model, this cordless vac won’t help you when it comes to larger cleaning jobs.

Shopping Guide for Vacuum Cleaners

Whether you live alone, share your home with kids and other adults or have pets running around, having a vacuum cleaner is an absolute must. The best vacuum cleaner will keep pet hair from sticking to your floors and will remove allergens and particles from your home that can aggravate those with allergies. Not only do your pets track dirt and debris through your home, but anyone else living there can bring in dust and allergens from the great outdoors. The best best vacuum cleaner 2018 will work on all types of debris.

We know that not all the top vacuum cleaner 2018 products are right for all types of homes. If you have both hardwood and carpeted floors, you need one machine that will work on both types of surfaces. You may want one that specifically targets allergens or ones that will remove all the hair that your pets shed. Some shoppers even want one that comes with various attachments for cleaning upholstery, drapes and furniture. Though we found the best models out there, we also identified those models that are best for different shoppers. Use our guide to find out what to look for when buying a new vacuum.

Shopping Guide for Vacuum Cleaners

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Selection Criteria​

A hand-held vacuum is great for cleaning snacks your kids spilled in the car and for cleaning up after a muddy dog that just ran through your home. These vacuums are lightweight and compact in size, but not everyone can use one of these models to keep their homes clean. That is why we looked at the top models based on average prices, average star ratings and reviews from customers and top features before we put each one to the test.

Our testers took the top models to the lab and got to work. They looked at how easily and quickly each one ran over different types of floors like tile and carpet. The testers also checked those vacuums against thicker and thinner carpets. They recorded all their thoughts and even let us know which ones worked well on furniture and other types of surfaces. We looked at all that information, the top reviews and prices to find the top five best vacuum cleaners for 2018.

Selection Criteria

Expert Tip

Professional and commercial vacuum are heavier than those designed for home use but also provide more suction.

Best Hand-held Vacuum

A hand-held vacuum offers a convenient cleaning option for those with smaller homes and those who want something designed for smaller messes. Our top choice is the BLACK + DECKER Cordless, which is a 16V cordless vacuum that comes with a rechargeable battery. You simply keep the charging plate adapter plugged in and set the vac on top for fast charging. This ensures that you always have a charge when you need it. As this model uses less than half the amount of energy that other hand-held models do, you can save on your electric bills too.

The dirt bowl inside uses cyclone technology to create a large amount of suction to eliminate both larger and smaller particles. You can actually see that technology work as you use the vacuum. It has a slim nozzle on the end that fits into the smallest of crevices, and the end that you hold in your hand rotates with a simple turn. This cordless model also comes with a flip-up brush and a dust bowl that you can rinse out after cleaning. BLACK + DECKER designed this vac for both indoor and outdoor cleaning.

Best Hand-Held Vacuum

Expert Tip

Always look at the battery life to see how much cleaning you’ll get from a cordless vacuum.

Best for Stairs

Cleaning stairs is one of those tasks that you must do but one you don’t look forward to doing. When using a heavier vacuum, it can take hours to work your way from one floor to the next. Those larger machines put a lot of pressure on your back and shoulders as you clean too. The Rotator Professional from Shark is the top vacuum for homes with stairs because this vacuum actually works in two different ways. You can use it as is and even use a button on the base to lower the back for cleaning under furniture. When it comes to cleaning your stairs, you can use the Lift-Away design to use it as a smaller vacuum that you can easily carry up and down the stairs. In its smaller size, this Shark model gives you all the suction power necessary for any cleaning.

Another reason we recommend this model for homes with stairs is because it works on any type of surface. Not only can you remove pet hair and other debris from carpet, but you can also quickly clean and sweep up hardwood and tile floors.

Expert Tip

When choosing a vacuum for stairs, make sure you choose one you can easily carry and move.

Best for Stairs

Best for Pets

Anyone who ever owned pets before knows that those four-legged creatures shed quite a bit. Even if you have a cat or dog with short hair, you’ll find those hairs all over your floors and on your furniture. If you hate cleaning your clothing of hair before leaving your home, you need a vacuum designed to work on pet hair like the Ball Animal 2 from Dyson. Its patented ball design swivels as you move the vacuum to help you move around corners, get under tables and clean around your furniture. This vacuum is lightweight enough that you can pick it up to clean your stairs or to clean upholstered furniture. It comes with attachments that work on couches and chairs too.

Capable of working on both shorter and longer hair, the Ball Animal 2 has a turbine tool that sucks up that hair quickly. This turbine has a tangle-free design that keeps the hair from wrapping around it too. A built-in HEPA filtration system targets the smallest of particles and allergens in your home and removes those particles. When you finish cleaning, you can press just one button to empty the tank.

Best for Pets

Did you know?

Dyson patented its ball technology and now uses that tech in some of its other products.

Types of Vacuum Cleaners

Vacuum cleaners typically come in a few different types. Each type is suitable for a different type of cleaning and home. We recommend checking out each type to find out which one is best for your home.

  • Canister: One of the more common and popular types of vacuums is one called a canister. Its name comes from the fact that it has a canister attached to a hose that you hold in one hand. The canister has a cord that plugs into the wall. You can move the hose around in front of you to suck up debris from the floor. Manufacturers make different attachments that connect easily to those hose, which lets you clean curtains and other areas/features of your home. Some canister vacuums are lightweight enough to carry from floor to floor.
  • Upright: Dyson and other companies make upright vacuums, which are vacuums that sit upright and perpendicular to the floor. The base has a wheel or cylinder that spins as you move the vacuum across the floor. As the suction inside pulls the debris off the floor, it moves across this cylinder and then up inside the canister.
  • When choosing an upright vacuum, you have two different options. One type comes with a bag inside. When you finish cleaning, you need to remove this bag, toss it in the trash and replace it. The other type is a bagless vacuum that has its own removable canister that comes off the machine. After you empty the canister, you can snap it right back onto the vacuum.
  • Stick: Unless you have a large number of solid and slick surface in your home like tiled and hardwood floors, you can skip a stick vacuum. These vacuums are much thinner and smaller in size than traditional vacuums. It requires electricity to run and will work on some basic floors. Stick vacuums won’t work on heavier or thicker carpets.
  • Hand-Held: A hand-held vacuum is a good addition to most homes. When your child knocks over a bowl of chips, you don’t want to dig out a larger vacuum for such a small job. A hand-held vacuum can suck up those chips and any other debris nearby. You can use one of these models with just one hand. Most come with an adapter or a charging plate/disc that let you keep the vacuum fully charged for cleaning.
  • Robotic Cleaners: You will also find some robot and robotic cleaners. These vacuums often look like small discs and sit directly on the ground. A rechargeable battery provides the vacuum with enough power to move around your home. Sensors keep the vacuum from getting stuck on a wall. Robot cleaners are often very expensive. You may need more than one based on the square footage of your home.

Expert Tip

If you have two or more floors and want to use a robotic cleaner, you’ll need at least one vacuum per floor.

Robotic Cleaners

Tips for Using Your New Vacuum

Use the tips we compiled to keep your vacuum cleaner running well for years in the future.

  • Check the roller brush on the base of the vacuum each time you use it to look for pet hair or other debris wrapped around the brush.
  • With basic cord management systems, you can simply turn down the plastic piece that the cord wraps around. This releases the whole cord.
  • Keep an eye on any colored lights on the base. Many manufacturers use a green light to let you know everything is fine. This light will turn red when there is a problem.
  • Put a mark on your calendar each time you clean the filter to remind yourself of when you need to clean it again.
  • Try taking out the dust collection canister and opening it before using the vacuum for the first time to ensure that you understand how it works.
Tips for Using Your New Vacuum

Expert Tip

If you use Carpet Fresh and other products, you’ll need to clean your filter more often.

Top Features to Consider

Now that you know the top models that are out there, you can use our guide to find out what features you should consider before buying a new vacuum.

Cleaning Tools and Attachments

One thing to consider is whether the vacuum is compatible with other cleaning tools and if it comes with some of these attachments. Vacuums typically have a flat base that runs across the floor. Attachments and tools work with the technology and motor inside to clean other surfaces. Some of the tools you may need to keep an eye out for include:

  • Crevice tool: A crevice tool looks like a flat piece of plastic with a slanted end. This tool fits inside thin crevices like between the pillows on your sofa and inside your vents.
  • Dusting brush: Dusting brushes combine all the benefits of a duster and a vacuum. Though it looks like a simple brush, it works with your vacuum’s motor to pull the dust out of your home’s air.
  • Mattress tool: With a mattress tool, you can completely clean pet hair and other debris off your mattress to make the bed last longer.
  • Upholstery tool: Using an upholstery tool helps you clean couches, chairs and any other upholstered piece of furniture.
  • Pet grooming tool: Some vacuums are compatible with a pet grooming tool. You can run this tool over your pet to remove excess and shedding hair without causing your pet any discomfort.​

Adjustable Features

As you look at different vacuum cleaners, look for those that come with adjustable features. Many upright models have a button that you can press with your foot that causes the back of the machine that supports the canister to fall back. This helps you clean under tables and other furniture without bending or stretching.

An adjustable carpet pile feature is helpful if you have different types of carpets. This feature changes how low the brush sits and how close that brush is to the top of the floor. With thicker and higher piles, this keeps the brush from catching on the fibers.

You may want a vacuum with an adjustable suction control feature too. This allows you to use more or less suction depending on what you need to clean.

Overall Power

Vacuum cleaners come in hand-held models that use a rechargeable battery and models that rely on standard electricity. With a traditional vacuum, you can plug the cord into an outlet and clean and entire room and any surrounding rooms without struggling to find an available outlet. You’ll want to look at both the length of the cord and whether the product has a cord management system. Longer cords are good for larger homes because you can move around your home without stopping to unplug and plug in the vacuum. A cord management system helps you keep track of the cord as you move. This system will also keep the cord tangle-free when you store the vacuum.

Cordless models have a rechargeable battery and do not need any outlet or electricity to use. The downside is that these models are often very small and will only work in small areas like cleaning a spill off your couch or vacuuming the floor in your car. Some hand-held cordless models only provide you with 10 minutes of battery power per use too.

Included Filters

  • If you or anyone in your home has allergies or breathing issues caused by allergens in the environment, you should consider vacuums that come with filtration systems. A HEPA filtration system is one of the best ones that money can buy. This removes particles that are extremely small and invisible to the naked eye, including any dander that comes off your pets or smoke that finds a way inside.
  •  
  • Older vacuums use filters that you need to remove, throw away and replace on a regular basis. You’ll generally want to replace that filter every six to nine months or more often. Newer vacuums come with filters that you can clean even more often. These filters come out of the vacuum and come clean when washed under running water in your sink.
  •  

Head Shape

The shape of the head shows you how you can use the vacuum in your home. Though many have a rectangular shape, others have a triangular or slightly rounded shape that allows you to get deep inside corners and other crevices.

You’ll also want to look inside the head to see how many brushes it has. Many manufacturers place multiple brushes along one or more rollers to keep longer hairs and other debris from wrapping around the rollers and forming clogs. Depending on the model that you pick, you may need to flip the vacuum over and use a sharp knife or scissors to carefully cut hairs into smaller pieces to prevent clogs.

Dirt Sensors

Vacuums that come with dirt sensors make it easier to clean your home. These sensors monitor the vacuum as it moves across the floor and tells you when you removed all dust and debris from that area. Most sensors will simply change colors to let you know when you’re done. This keeps you from spending more time than you should working in one area of a single room.

Dirt Sensors

Expert Tip

When cleaning a removable filter, make sure that the filter dries thoroughly before you put it back inside the vacuum.

Benefits of Bagless Vacuum Cleaners

Bagless vacuums are much more popular today than bagged models are. With vacuums that use a bag, you need to keep extra bags on hand and replace those bags each time you use the cleaner. Bagless models have other benefits too that include:

  • The plastic canister often comes off with the touch of a button or with just a few quick movements and snaps or pops back into place just as easily.
  • This canister will not break as you move it around.Bagged models come with disposable bags that can break or tear and spill dust and debris on your floors.
  • The clear canister helps you keep an eye on the amount of debris collected, which lets you know when to empty the canister.
  • You can take out the filters on top of and/or beneath the canister and rinse it under running water for added protection and cleanliness.

Average Prices for Vacuum Cleaners

The average price for a home vacuum cleaner can range from around $50 to more than $600. Dyson vacuums are among the more expensive models out there. The Ball Animal 2 that we included on our list of the best vacuum 2018 products retails for $500, but this model gets great reviews and comes with a warranty that lasts for years. Kirby and similar companies sell vacuums that retail for between $1,500 and $2,000. Those companies often offer payment plans to let shoppers pay off their vacuums over time.

You can easily get a high-quality vacuum cleaner for between $200 and $300. The Shark Rotator retails for $300, while Hoover makes a number of vacuums that retail for less than $200. Its T-Series WindTunnel Rewind Plus sells for under $150.

If you want to save even more money on a vacuum, consider investing in a lightweight model. The Bissell Zing Rewind costs less than $80 and will last for a few years or more. You can pick up a hand-held vacuum for around $30 to $50 that will help you clean spills and keep both your home and vehicle clean.

Average Prices for Vacuum Cleaners

Expert Tip

When cleaning a removable filter, make sure that the filter dries thoroughly before you put it back inside the vacuum.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Cordless vacs come with a rechargeable battery inside that you can charge in between uses. You typically plug an adapter into the wall and set the vacuum on top of the adapter. Depending on the model, it may take less than an hour to around two hours to fully charge that battery.

A: A central vacuum cleaner is a type of system that you install in your home. The motor that produces suction connects to a hose and attachment or head that you carry around your home. These systems let you clean every area of your home but are very expensive and usually require professional installation.

A: An extension wand is a tool that comes with some vacuum cleaners to extend the reach of any other attachment. This helps you clean your ceiling fan, ceiling and other areas that you could not otherwise reach.

A: A carpet cleaner cleans carpets but will not vacuum those floors. These machines use hot water and steam to remove stains, but you’ll need to vacuum and remove debris before using one.

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