The 10 Best Vacuum Cleaners For All Types of Floors and Homes
Vacuum cleaners can be a big investment and often lead to disappointment if they turn out to be too heavy and cumbersome or not powerful enough. As always, a little research can go a long way to helping you find one that works for your household needs; for that, keep reading below to find the best type of vacuum for you. Or scroll down to our reviews of the best models—from the inexpensive to the high-end, the lightweight to the heavy-duty—which we evaluated and recommend you consider.
Types of Vacuums to Consider
Upright: Upright models are likely what you imagine when you think of a vacuum cleaner. These tilt-and-push designs come in bagged or bagless models. They’re traditionally best for deep-cleaning carpets, but if you want one that’s good for hardwood floors, you should look for options that allow you to turn the brush roll off. They’re also known for being heavy and less versatile than canister vacs, but there are plenty of lightweight and multi-functional uprights for you to consider.
Canister: With a tank and hose, these vacuums are designed to accommodate a ton of different attachments, so you can use them to clean just about anything, like reaching ceiling corners or up the stairs. However, some models can also be heavy to carry around the house.
Stick: Similar to upright vacuums, stick vacuums are much slimmer and more lightweight. They also use a rotating brush to pull up dirt and debris, though they generally have lower suction power. However, they’re great for quick cleanup around the house, and some even convert to a removable handheld vac.
Handheld: These lightweight and portable vacuums make it easy to clean around the couch, car, and tight corners. We especially recommend cordless models for extra portable convenience. And if you want something powerful enough to pick up debris in the shop, look for a 20-volt machine.
Robot: These smart, cordless machines are controllable via remote and programmable to certain schedules to clean even when you aren’t home. Like many stick and handheld vacs, their power won’t replace an upright or canister vacuum, but they can be great options for daily cleaning to save time. They come with a wide range of technologies, such as bump-and-go or lidar (light detection and ranging) floor mapping. Prices range from $200 to over $1,000, so if you want more robot vacuums to consider, read our reviews of four of the best robot vacs we tested.
Corded or Cordless?
A cordless vacuum can be a game changer if you hate tripping over the vacuum cord or always find that it doesn’t reach certain corners in your home. If cordless models afford you the convenience of cleaning better and more regularly than they might be worth it. However, there are some disadvantages to keep in mind. Cordless stick vacuum technology is improving, but they’re going to cost a lot more to get the same power as their corded counterparts, and their batteries tend to be less reliable in the long-term. According to Wirecutter’s findings, a cordless vacuum might only last half as long as a comparable corded model, and you should expect to pay up to three times the cost for a cordless design to get similar power to a plug-in version.
How We Selected and Rated Them
To compile this list of the best vacuums, we researched eight expert sources and relied on our previous testing. We’ve put handheld and robot vacuums through their paces, cleaning up dust, dirt, and a special debris mixture from carpeted, laminate, and bare surfaces. We also consulted recommendations from the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cleaning Lab, which are based on the ASTM standard test methods used to evaluate vacuum models. Finally, we considered consumer reviews from retail sites like Amazon and Walmart.
Whether you need something upright, cordless, lightweight, or even robotic, one of these options has your cleaning needs covered.