Last updated: 15th July 2018
Finding a great vacuum within a budget is very time-consuming. Instead of reading reviews of each brand and model, we bring the definitive guide to choosing the most suitable model. Spend 5 minutes to read our practical buying tips to save your time and effort.
Skip the intro? Jump to the best vacuum cleaner list here
- How to choose a great vacuum cleaner
- Step 1 – Think of your home floor types to define the design you should use
- Step 2 – Identify your most common issues when using a vacuum cleaner
- If you need a quiet vacuum cleaner
- If you have wrist pain – stick to the unit with ergonomic value (swivel head, lightweight and detachable canister)
- Step 3 – Price is a crucial factor
Choosing a vacuum cleaner depends on your cleaning needs, the convenience of the vacuum that you would like to have, the price you could pay for and the brand you may love more than others. Follow our step-by-step process to narrow down your choice
Step 1 – Think of your home floor types to define the design you should use
There are a few questions you might ask yourself to define what type of a vacuum cleaner is more suitable, such as
How big is the footage (if you have to clean over 1000 sq ft at once, then you should pick a full-size unit rather than a compact design)
What materials are your floors covered by (if your floor is covered mostly by tile, ceramics, sealed wooden floors then you might choose an upright, a canister or a robotic vacuum unit. If you floor, on the other hand, is covered by carpets, area rugs then you should rely on full-size upright units which are optimized for deep carpet cleaning)
Do you have to clean the furniture, upholstery
In case you have to deal with cleaning floors and other areas such as upholstery, sofa, bedding, ceiling more often, you should choose an upright unit with an extended hose or telescoping wand which helps you to get rid of dust, pet hairs on above surfaces areas.
If you only need to clean the above surfaces area most of the time (like a coffee shop, a hairdressing shop…) then you can choose a stick vacuum or either a canister vacuum cleaner to have the flexibility and portability.
After step 1, you are able to figure out whether an upright, canister, stick or a robot vacuum is more suitable than others. Deciding which design to have is the most crucial step because it will affect your cleaning convenience and the efficient performance of the unit to your specific needs.
Best vacuum cleaner by design
- Best upright – Shark Apex Duoclean AX951
- Best canister – Miele C3 complete
- Best cordless stick – Dyson V8 Absolute
- Best robot vacuum – Roomba 960
Step 2 – Identify your most common issues when using a vacuum cleaner
By identifying your pains when running a vacuum, you can opt the model that is optimized for reducing your issue, whether it is the machine weight, the allergy to fine dust, the pet hair issue, the noise level…
If you are dealing with allergen – stick to the unit with HEPA filter
HEPA (high-efficiency performance filtration) is a filter that is capable of keeping up to 99.97% of dust size down to 0.3 microns. At this level, it can keep most of the finest dust, pet hair, pollen and dust mite (dust mite size is about 1 micron) inside the machine. Therefore your breathing issue will be reduced if you use a HEPA vacuum cleaner daily.
Some brands like Dyson, Miele, Sebo, Shark… all have units with HEPA filtration system, and some of their product lines are certified/ approved as friendly to asthma users by recognized institutions (British foundation of Allergy, the Association of Allergy of America…)
Other brands like Hoover, Bissell, Eureka, Panasonic… also have units with or without HEPA.
If you are dealing with hair – stick to the unit with HEPA and tangle-free brush
Hairs is a common pain when vacuuming floors or upholstery. Pet hair, girl’s hair tend to cause the brushroll entangled and stop the machine. If your machine is not well-constructed or having auto shut-off feature to prevent the blockage, it will not last for long.
To resolve the hairs, you should choose a unit with both HEPA and a tangle-free brush roll design.
When dealing with pet hairs, Dyson and Shark are the most famous brands. Dyson has a tangle-free turbine which is a separate attachment you can use for many models to clean floors with hairs without being tangled. Shark has some models with optimized brushroll for picking hair efficiently, some units from Shark are certified by CRI too.
Best vacuum for allergy person + pet owners
- Upright – Shark Apex Duoclean AX951
- Canister – Miele C3 complete
- Stick – Dyson V8
- Robot vacuum – Eufy Robovac 11+
If you need a quiet vacuum cleaner
If you need a quiet vacuum cleaner- stick to models with silent technology, noise reduction technology (or low motor voltage unit, but if you are in this case you are likely to compromise with the suction power)
A well-constructed vacuum cleaner will fit everything inside the machine and has no gap between components, which will ultimately reduce the noise of the motor. Some manufacturers apply noise insulation layers to reduce the sound even more under 70 dB (the noise will be the same as the TV only).
Some models from Miele, Shark, Sebo are well known for low noise production. Measured in reality, these units create the noise under 70 dB, which is very low to a standard unit (from 80 dB to 100 dB).
Best silent vacuum
- Upright – Shark Apex Duoclean AX951 – under 65 dB
- Canister – Miele C3 complete series – under 70 dB
- Cordless stick – Dyson V8 – under 70 dB
- Robot vacuum – Housmile robot vac -under 70 dB and under 100 bucks
If you have wrist pain – stick to the unit with ergonomic value (swivel head, lightweight and detachable canister)
It is such a pity that most of the time women are the users of a home vacuum unit, therefore, using a vacuum cleaner with heavyweight will be a huge burden to them. For users as women, seniors, users with wrist pain… a lightweight unit should be in consideration, no matter what design you are after for.
- As a cordless stick, the ideal weight is about 5-6 lbs.
- A full-size upright unit weight should not be more than 15 lbs.
- A canister is mostly lightweight but you should choose unit less than 10 lbs.
There are some features of a full-size upright unit that will also reduce the weight of the machine such as a detachable canister (referred as Lift-Away canister) will allow you to bring the unit by 2 hands.
Best lightweight, high-performance vacuum
- Upright – Shark Navigator NV356E (13.7 lbs, 2.2 dry quarts dust bin)
- Canister – BISSELL Zing Lightweight, Bagless Canister Vacuum, 2156A (only 7.5 lbs)
- Cordless stick – Dyson V6 (only 4.5 lbs)
After step 2, you are now able to consider the main features that your unit should have in reality
Step 3 – Price is a crucial factor
It is ridiculous as you can find a vacuum unit from less than 20 bucks to models with over a thousand bucks therefore price of a vacuum unit should be a great concern. Let’s divide them into some major ranges so you will know at each price range, what benefits you can have
Vacuum under 50 range
Vacuum under 50 range are mostly stick vacuum handheld vacuum units. They are very popular as they are very cheap and efficient when picking spot stains, dust, vacuum dust on bare floors or cleaning the stairs. If your needs are mostly spot cleaning like this, then a unit under 50 is just sufficient.
Do not think that cheap units are not well built as there are many models that have been on the markets for over 5 years, chosen by a dozen of thousands of users already.
Best vacuum under 50 range
Vacuum under 100 range
Vacuum under 100 range is the most dynamic range, followed by the vacuum under 200 range. At this price there are all designs you can find from cordless, corded, canister, upright, robot, commercial units…
The best part of this range is that there are a lot of units that have strong suction, good filtration system (some models have HEPA too), large dust bin and many additional tools. They often lack advanced features and are not designed for cleaning deep pile carpets. Besides, they are a bit noisy.
Best vacuum under 100 range
- Upright – Bissell 9595A Cleanview
- Canister – Eureka Mighty Mite
- Robot vacuum – Housmile Robotic vacuum cleaner
- Cordless stick -Dibea 600W cordless stick with HEPA
Vacuum under 200 range
Similar to the above range, you can find all of the designs with more features, more ergonomic value at this price range. Most of the best-rated vacuum cleaners are found at this price range, therefore whatever your needs are, there will be a suitable unit for you under 200 bucks.
On the other sides, you have also to compromise for the latest features because most of them are models developed by last few years, and now are continuing with newer series, newer technologies, and better performance
If you are not very fancy of new technologies such as sensors on a vacuum or that kind of things, then this is the sweet pot for you
Best vacuum under 200 range
- Corded stick – Shark Rocket Complete Upright with DuoClean (HV382)
- Upright – Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional NV356E
- Robot vacuum – Robotic ILIFE A4s Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuum under 300 range
Vacuum under 300 range can be sub-divided into 2 main groups
The first sub-group, this is the newer series of vacuum cleaners under 200, where the manufacturers create some twists, added value and re-market them.
The second sub-group, this is the place of high-end brands such as Dyson, Miele, Shark, Roomba
The main benefit of this group is that you can enjoy the latest technologies of a vacuum unit, therefore if you are a fan of new ideas, innovations then this section is for you.
After step 3, you are now can define the design of the unit, the feature of the unit and the price you might want to have. Apart from these most important steps, you should not forget to check for the vacuum cleaner main features including, suction power, variable suction control, adjustable brushroll, filtration system, air system, bag or bagless, dust bin capacity, warranty, popularity and some other bargained details such as fingertips control, led lights, the wand length, additional tools…