The best vacuum cleaners offer a heck of a lot more than just cleaning your floors. 2021's vacuums make cleaning the floors easier and faster than ever. They're more efficient, offer better suction, and modernized filter systems that capture all the pesky dust and dander that would otherwise be an annoyance.
But there is a lot of choice, and when it comes to picking up one of the best vacuum cleaners you have to decide what you need. Do you want to go hi-tech, or keep things simple? Do you have the money to spend on an expensive cleaner, or will a basic cheaper one do? What about picking between canister vacuums, stick vacuums or even the automated robot vacuums? That's down to you to decide, but fortunately our top picks include the best vacuum cleaners for any home.
- Keep your floors effortlessly clean with the best robot vacuums
- Your floors will look pristine and shiny with the best robot mops
What are the best vacuum cleaners?
Based on our research, the best vacuum cleaner overall is the Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352. This affordable upright provides excellent cleaning performance in a user-friendly package. It even converts into a canister when needed and carries all of its tools onboard.
For quick clean-ups, budget-friendly cordless vacuums such as Hoover BH50020PC Linx Signature fit the bill. Powerful suction in a compact package is just what you need when your toddler’s Cheerios go flying across the kitchen moments before company arrives.
Is even the thought of vacuuming too much to bear? Put a robot to work instead. The iRobot Roomba s9+ is the pinnacle of robotic cleaning with its superior mapping capabilities and self-emptying waste bin. But if spending a stimulus check on a robot vac doesn’t appeal to you, the iLife V3s Pro is an excellent budget choice for tidying up after Fido and keeping dust bunnies at bay.
Read ahead for more on all of the best vacuum cleaners.
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352 isn't the newest vacuum cleaner on the market, but its market longevity shows that it is one of the best. The NV352 offers the performance of two vacuums in one: It can be used as a traditional upright or converted into a canister vacuum. Numerous reviews of this budget-friendly vacuum note its excellent suction on both carpets and bare floors. In lab tests, it picked up pet hair and cereal with equal aplomb. One of the neater features on the Navigator Lift-Away NV352 is the suction-release valve control-- conveniently located on the handle-- which can be adjusted to lessen the vacuum’s grip on small rugs and shag carpets.
Though it looks and functions like an upright, the NV352’s clever design allows it to be converted into a canister vac. It comes with several hose attachments, too, making it ideal for reaching small spaces or drapes. Because its main body lacks wheels, you'll have to carry this vacuum around, but there's a well-placed handle for just this reason. The bagless NV352 also has a HEPA filter and an anti-allergy seal for keeping excess dust at bay.
If your home is a mix of hardwood floors and area rugs, the Shark Apex DuoClean (AZ1002) might be the answer to your multi-surface conundrum. It comes with two separate rollers — one with brushes for rugs and a soft, brushless one for hardwood floors. In addition to pulling double duty on floors, this vacuum Optimus Prime works as an upright but also converts into a canister-like vacuum cleaner, with several attachments for cleaning hard-to-reach places. Its low-clearance in canister mode means the nozzle will slide easily under furniture and other low-slung obstacles. The Apex DuoClean features three separate suction settings plus LED lights on the handle and floor nozzle that illuminate the dirt in front of it.
In addition to receiving high marks for cleaning a variety of surfaces, the Apex DuoClean got excellent reviews for picking up pet hair without getting it wrapped around the brush roll. Reviewers also praised the included motorized pet attachment for cleaning up cat hair on furniture.
The Miele C3 Complete Calima is a big step up from canister vacuums of yore. Its attachments all fit onboard and the nozzle hooks into place on the canister itself, virtually eliminating the potential for cartoon-like vacuum hose antics. The nozzle tube is also telescopic, which makes cleaning dusty ceiling fans a breeze.
Out of the box, the C3 Complete Calima is equipped with two floorheads—one for carpet and one for hardwood—plus a dusting brush and upholstery and crevice nozzles. Miele sells additional attachments for vacuuming almost anything you can imagine, including mattresses.
With HEPA filtration, tight rubber seals and a bagged design, the C3 Complete Calima is a great choice for allergy sufferers. Pet owners will also appreciate how well it picks up pet hair, dust, and dander on both bare floors and carpet.
Closely resembling what The Jetsons robot maid Rosie would use to clean, the Kenmore Elite 31150 looks like an old-school upright, but it's got a few tricks up its nozzle. This bagged vacuum features a HEPA filtration system, a telescopic wand and an extra long, 35-foot cord, making it a great choice for homes where available outlets are scarce.
Reviews praise this vacuum cleaner's carpet-cleaning prowess, while noting that it picked up nearly all of the debris on bare floors, too. The Elite 31150 features five levels of manual height adjustment for switching between bare floors and thick rugs, but you’ll have to bend down to access it.
The crevice, brush and roller attachments also earn high marks for their suction. Too much power? The Elite 31150 features adjustable suction control to stop the vac from pulling the drapes off the rod. The vacuum is a bit heavy, and it's not as maneuverable as other uprights, but it excels at cleaning along edges.
The V11 Torque Drive cordless stick vacuum is Dyson's flagship cleaner that trumpets a 60-minute runtime and 14 cyclones generating 185 air watts of suction in Max mode. In addition to obliterating pet hair, the V11 has Dynamic Load Sensing technology that adjusts the vac to the surface and the battery's corresponding runtime. This information is displayed on the LCD screen near the handle where you can choose between Eco, Auto and Max cleaning modes as well as get guidance if the vac needs a blockage cleared.
Like Dyson’s other stick vacuums, the V11 Torque Drive’s brightly colored aesthetic isn’t for everyone. Its $600 price tag isn’t for everyone either. But reviews praise the V11’s automatically adjusting brush roll and strong cleaning power, especially for a cordless machine.
Is it overkill? Probably. But if you can afford it, why not get the most powerful cordless vacuum Dyson makes?
Sometimes a mess isn't big enough to warrant pulling out a full-size vacuum cleaner. Or maybe your hardwood floors just need a quick once-over before company arrives. That's where the Hoover BH50020PC Linx cordless stick vacuum cleaner shines. This wallet-friendly bagless upright doesn't take up a lot of space in the closet, and it's light enough to easily move between floors. Reviews praise this vacuum's performance on wood floors and its ability to stand upright freely unlike other stick vacuums-- including the much more expensive Dyson V11 Torque Drive-- that have the motor near the handle.
Much like our top pick, the Linx has been on the market for a while. But why mess with success? With a 9-by-11-inch footprint, the Linx is compact and convenient. Several Amazon reviews report that the battery lasts just long enough for a quick clean-up: 15 to 25 minutes. Thankfully, there’s a battery gauge to let you know how much juice is left.
Sometimes, the littlest messes are the biggest hassles, such as a box of spilled rice or kitty litter tracked through the house. While a full-size vacuum will get the job done, it can be a pain to lug around. Weighing in at just 2.6 pounds, the inexpensive Dustbuster CHV1410L features a rotating nozzle with an onboard brush and an extendable crevice tool for reaching into the far back corners of cabinets and under car seats.
While reviewers note that it's not the best option for cleaning Garfield's spot on the couch, this Dustbuster is ideal for eradicating the dust bunnies hiding out under the living room sofa. Like the Hoover Linx, the Dustbuster handheld vac is meant for short bursts of cleaning as reviewers note it lasts between 10 and 15 minutes on a charge.
If you really hate vacuuming, you’ll really like the iRobot Roomba s9+. It is one of our favorite robot vacuums and the most intelligent, but it is also the most expensive robot vacuum on the market today. This smartphone-controlled vac didn’t just go to college, it graduated at the top of its class. Unfortunately, all that intelligence comes with a price tag of $1,099. But put the Roomba s9+ to work and prepare to be impressed. For starters, it maps the entire floor of a house in just a few runs. Once the map is complete, draw room boundaries, set no-go zones and set-up a cleaning schedule.
You’ll love the Roomba s9+ for more than just its brain, too. It’s a superb cleaner, too. In our tests, it picked up 100% of kitty litter on both carpet and hardwood floors. While it performs beautifully with minimal human intervention, it is loud, particularly when emptying its dustbin. However, its superior debris pickup and ease of setup and mapping were impressive. If this model is too pricey, check out more affordable picks on our best robot vacuums page.
The iLife V3s Pro is, without a doubt, our favorite budget robot vacuum and a Tom's Guide Editor's Choice. While it lacks the bells and whistles of fancier robot vacuums, the V3s Pro cleans house and does it exceptionally well-- especially for a budget vacuum. Unlike other robot vacuums equipped with a spinning roller brush, the V3s Pro has a suction opening that funnels debris directly into the dustbin. Though it’s loud, this design helps it dodge a common vacuum pitfall-- hair wrapped around the cleaning brush.
The V3s Pro’s cleaning prowess on hardwood floors blew us away. Though it struggled a bit on thick rugs, it's ideal for homes with bare floors or thin rugs and multiple pets. In our lab tests, it picked up nearly all the pet hair we left for it, outperforming other vacs that cost three times as much.
Hopefully, you'll never need to use it to clean out a wet basement, but if you do, the 9-gallon DeWalt wet/dry shop vac (DXV09P) is the best vacuum cleaner for the job. It's nimble enough for smaller homes but large enough for cleaning up watery messes. Reviewers complimented the shop vac's superior build quality and excellent suction on everything from broken glass to wet carpeting.
This vacuum comes packaged with two extension wands; crevice, floor and utility nozzles; and a bag for all of them that attaches to the rear of the vacuum. Rubberized wheels give the DeWalt DXV09P easy movement and extra durability. It also comes with a washable cartridge filter that’ll trap small particles while you vacuum. But this vac’s most thoughtful feature is the hose strap on top. Anyone who’s wrestled with wrapping a 7-foot hose around a wet/dry vac-- only to have it magically come unwound-- will appreciate this subtle, but important, feature.
How to choose the best vacuum cleaner for you
With hundreds of models available, choosing the best vacuum cleaner for your home can quickly become a daunting task. Even if you know exactly how much you’re willing to spend, there are still plenty of options at nearly every price point.
First, think about the surfaces in your home and how often you want to vacuum them. Next, consider design. If your home has long flights of carpeted stairs, a cordless vacuum might be your best bet. Lots of furniture? Consider a canister with a long nozzle for cleaning hard-to-reach spaces. Allergies and wall-to-wall carpet? An upright with an on-board HEPA filter might be the right answer for you. No matter what your household needs, we’re confident one of our best vacuum picks will work for you.
When to replace your vacuum cleaner
Depending on the brand and model, a vacuum cleaner comes with a one to five year warranty. But, on average, your vacuum should stay in good working order for eight years. Most manufacturers offer extended warranties but we don't recommend them since the repair cost is likely to be less than the cost of the warranty itself.
The main sign that a vacuum needs replacing is a lack of suction. But before buying a new one, make sure to replace the bag, remove hair and other debris from the brush head, clean or replace the filter, or clear any clogs in the hose. Your vacuum might also need a new drive belt, which is an easy and inexpensive fix. However, if you’re quoted more than 50 percent of the price of a new vacuum, our advice is to consider buying a replacement.
By purchasing a new vacuum, you can take advantage of some of the new developments. Many models now come with HEPA filters that trap microscopic particles like dust, dander and pollen, which is particularly useful if someone in your house has allergies. You can increase the level of protection from allergens by choosing a sealed model so air doesn’t escape from cracks and crevices and actually gets channeled into the HEPA filter.
The most dramatic change in the world of vacuum cleaners is the wide selection of robot vacuums that can effortlessly keep your floors spotless. They can even go behind the furniture and under beds, places you might not be able to get to if you were doing the job yourself. Most of these robots can be controlled with a smartphone app, or through Alexa or Google Assistant.
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