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The 5 Best Vacuum Cleaners (2021)

Vacuums keep homes clean by removing the dirt and dust that covers carpet, hardwood, and other floorings. In this review, the This Old House Reviews team looks into the best vacuums to help you select one that’s right for your home. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

hoover windtunnel vacuum Amazon

A quality vacuum is an important piece of your cleaning lineup. Vacuums remove weeks worth of dirt from your home’s surfaces to keep it safe and healthy. With so many vacuums available online, finding the right one for your home can be a challenge. That’s why the This Old House Reviews team researched for you, evaluating the best vacuums on Amazon to fit a variety of cleaning needs.

Product Overview

Best overall—The Dyson Ball Multi Floor Origin Upright Vacuum is our recommendation for the best vacuum cleaner on the market. This model has a self-adjusting cleaner head that automatically adjusts to carpet or hardwoods and delivers a deep clean using its stiff-bristled brush. It also contains a wand and hose release to make cleaning furniture or other tough-to-reach places simple.

Best value—At just under $100, the BISSELL CleanView Upright Vacuum is our recommendation for the best value vacuum. This vacuum cleaner comes with a multi-cyclonic suction system that captures debris on carpets and hard floors. Additionally, the product contains an efficient filter that separates dirt and debris to help it stay clean for longer.

Best for multiple surfaces—The Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Plus gives users five height adjustments for a precise clean, making it our best pick for multiple surfaces. The vacuum is powered by a 25-foot power cord and has an eight-foot stretch hose for reaching tight corners. Additionally, the vacuum comes with an array of accessories like an air-powered turbo tool, dusting brush, and crevice tool.

Best lightweight vacuum—The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum provides a deep clean at just 13.7 pounds, making it our best lightweight vacuum cleaner. The vacuum’s light frame comes with a detachable vacuum pod for easy cleaning on stairs and other above-floor surfaces.

Best for pet owners—The Shark APEX Upright Vacuum is our vacuum recommendation for pet owners. It’s dual brushrolls combine the grip-ability of a soft brush and the power of a bristle brush to pull dirt, grime, and pet hair from a variety of surfaces. Additionally, the vacuum’s anti-allergen high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter keeps pet hair inside the unit to limit irritation.

Our Process

Vacuums come in various shapes and sizes, all promising to deliver a quality clean to your carpets and hardwood floors. With so many vacuums to choose from, it can be a chore to find one that makes sense for your home. That’s why the This Old House Reviews team researched for you, looking at price, features, and customer reviews to provide you with a condensed list of the five best vacuum cleaners available online.

Vacuum Buying Guide

Factors to Consider

Before purchasing a vacuum cleaner, consider the following factors:

Size and weight

The upright vacuums we selected are typically heavier than other handheld or cordless models. Many of the vacuum cleaners we reviewed were around 15 pounds, though lighter vacuum cleaners are available. For example, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum delivers a quality clean at just 13.7 pounds.

Keep your personal preferences and situation in mind when searching for a vacuum. If you own a multi-level home and need to carry the vacuum up and down the stairs, you may want to consider a lighter model. Additionally, if you suffer from arthritis, look for a vacuum that has an ergonomic handle that doesn’t require a firm grip.

Size is also important when it comes to storage. If you’ll only be able to store your vacuum in a small utility closet, you don’t want a large, bulky vacuum. Instead, you may want to opt for a compact model with a space-saving design.

Bag vs. bagless

Vacuum cleaners come with a bag or bagless dirt and debris storage. Vacuum bags are connected directly to the product and store the dirt and debris that the product picks up. The benefit of a bagged vacuum is that you don’t have to dump the contents. Instead, bags can be thrown directly into the trash. The downside to bagged vacuums is that they require a new bag before every clean.

Bagless vacuums are convenient because users can simply dump the dust cup’s contents into the trash and reuse it on their next clean. The one downside to bagless vacuums is that debris particles can escape into the air when you dump its contents, which can irritate allergies.

Filters

For households with pets or allergy sufferers, upright vacuums with a HEPA filter are preferred because of their ability to effectively trap airborne particles. Before committing to a vacuum, you’ll want to consider the maintenance needs of its filter. Some filters are disposable, in which case you’ll need to replace them after a certain amount of time. Other types of filters can be washed and reused.

Noise

While most upright vacuum cleaners are noisy because of their suction power, some are quieter than others. Check the decibel level of the vacuum you’re interested in to determine if it falls in your desired decibel range. Keep in mind, the average upright vacuum is between 78 and 80 decibels.

Accessories

When selecting your vacuum, consider the accessories that you’ll need while cleaning your home. If you’re looking for a targeted and comprehensive clean, look for a model that comes with a variety of cleaning accessories and tools. Most of the vacuums we reviewed offer extension wands and upholstery tools for a more efficient clean.

Making the Most of Vacuum Attachments

Attachments are an indispensable part of the vacuum cleaner and allow you to give your home a more thorough clean. Some of the most popular attachments are the crevice tool, dusting brush, upholstery/pet hair removal tool, and extension wand.

  • Crevice tool—This tool is great for cleaning tight spaces between couch cushions or under vehicle seats.
  • Dusting brush—The dusting brush is used to clean delicate surfaces like window blinds or curtains.
  • Upholstery/pet hair removal tool—This tool can be used to deep clean surfaces like couch cushions or window seats.

Extension wand—The extension wand is great for cleaning hard-to-reach areas like your ceiling vent or crown molding.

Alternatives to Traditional Vacuums

During our selection process, we decided to narrow our search to only upright vacuums because of their unmatched cleaning power and popularity. However, if you’re satisfied with your current upright vacuum, or only need to clean a small area, there are other alternatives to the traditional, upright vacuum.

Handheld vacuum cleaners

Handheld vacuums are cordless and compact, which makes them a great tool for cleaning your vehicle or a small mess at home. Because of their size, handheld vacuums aren’t a whole-home cleaning solution, but rather a complement to an existing vacuum.

Our top recommendation for a handheld vacuum cleaner is the BLACK+DECKER Handheld Vacuum. This hand vacuum has a wide mouth design for picking up large debris and comes with an upholstery brush and crevice tool to cater to your cleaning needs.

Robot vacuum cleaners

Robot vacuums clean your home through daily automated sweeping that’s programmable through mobile apps and even voice control. These hands-free devices take the legwork out of vacuuming, saving you time to do other things around the home.

Our top recommendation for a robotic vacuum cleaner is the Roomba i7+ from iRobot. The model offers a three-stage cleaning system with premium suction power. Additionally, users can schedule individual cleaning methods based on particular rooms within the home.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vacuums

What type of vacuum cleaner works the best for pet hair?

The Shark APEX Upright Vacuum is our vacuum recommendation for pet owners. This product offers a dual-brush clean that’s great for pulling pet hair from surfaces throughout the home. Additionally, its brush rolls are self-cleaning to prevent pet hair from clogging the brush roll.

Do I need a vacuum with a HEPA filter?

While you don’t need to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, using one eliminates ultra-fine particles like dander, dust, and allergens to improve air quality.

How often should I vacuum my home?

The frequency in which you vacuum depends on a variety of factors, like the square footage of your home, number of pets you own, and your sensitivity to allergens. For allergy sufferers, it’s recommended you vacuum at least twice a week. For others, vacuuming should occur at least once a week.