Aside from a daily once-over in the kitchen area, I admit I don’t vacuum as much as I probably should. But for someone who doesn’t vacuum that often, I own three vacuums and have spent hours researching, testing, and learning about various models to find the best one. Not only that, I’ve had years of experience learning from my own family’s vacuum preferences.
I’ve learned that no matter how often one vacuums their house – whether it’s daily, weekly, or less regularly – a good vacuum is a must-have in every home. The is my pick for the overall best vacuum.
The Best Vacuum Option For Your Home
Before I go any further, I’d like to define each type of machine for better understanding. The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro is a bagless upright vacuum. These types of vacuums are generally the best vacuum option for all-around use around your home. I use my upright vacuum when I am vacuuming a large room or multiple rooms at a time. However, other vacuums are handy for other purposes.
Canister vacuums are also used for whole house cleaning. These are larger, heavier, and generally more powerful. Stick vacuums are handy for quick sweeps of a smaller area. If you own a small house or apartment, a stick vacuum is the best vacuum alternative. I like my stick vacuum for smaller jobs, or when my young children do vacuuming as a chore. Stick vacuums are lighter and easier to maneuver than uprights or canisters. Additionally, there are the ultra-modern robotic vacuums that do the work for you (and may be the best vacuum option for those hard to reach places). I will review each of these different types of vacuums and advise which I found to be the best vacuum in each of these categories.
#1 Best Vacuum: Best Bagless Upright Vacuum: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional
One of the things I like the best about this vacuum is the versatility. You can easily lift the canister away to transform this upright vacuum into a small hand-held vacuum. I use my hand-held vacuum more often than any other vacuum. We use it almost daily to quickly suck up crumbs under the kitchen table. When you purchase the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional, you don’t have to get a separate hand-held vacuum for these quick cleaning jobs. Just be sure that you store your vacuum somewhere convenient so the hand-held version is easily accessible.
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional is designed for ease of use. At less than 14 pounds, it is relatively lightweight for an upright vacuum. One of the reasons I use my stick vacuum is because of its weight being light. It is easier for my young children to manage a lighter weight vacuum. Owning a standup vacuum that is easy to move and is lightweight may negate the need to own a stick vacuum.
Easy to Use
The ease of use doesn’t end with its low weight. It also features swivel steering so you can easily navigate it around furniture and corners. Owners find the swivel function works seamlessly. Many reviewers compare it favorably to the swivel action of the Dyson Ball vacuum. Reviewers find this vacuum easy to push, even over thick carpeting and I agree.
The canister that lifts away from the rest of the vacuum makes cleaning hard to reach areas much easier. Stairs, curtains, and ceilings are easy to manage with this feature. When removing the canister, the hand-held vacuum weighs eight pounds. The brush roll is easy to turn on or off, so you can decide when it is necessary to utilize this feature.
The cord is a generous 30 feet. Note that this is longer than a lot of other vacuums. I find it an aggravation when I have to continuously unplug in order to vacuum one whole room, so I especially like this longer cord. One flaw, but not a deal breaker to me, is that the cord is not retractable. You will have to manually wind the cord after every use.
How Well Does It Work
This vacuum works great on both hard floors as well as carpet. Reviewers found the Shark superior to other vacuums at sucking up pet hair. Shark includes microfiber cloths that you can attach to the vacuum to help sweep up dust and small particles from hard floors. This vacuum picks up larger items from the floor that other vacuums simply push around instead of sucking up.
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional comes with a few handy attachments. The Hard Floor Hero is the technology that effectively sucks up larger crumbs as well as picking up debris that is stuck on the floor. The Pet Power Brush comes in especially handy if you own pets. A Dusting Brush and an 8-inch Crevice Tool are also included to make cleaning your home a breeze.
Comments on the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional are largely positive. People overwhelmingly say that the suction is the strongest of any vacuum they’ve ever used. It sucks up more dirt and hair from their carpet than they’ve ever seen before. Many people cite the quiet noise level of this vacuum as an added bonus. Most found the dust cap easy to detach and empty. Some people did point out, however, that it does take two hands to detach the clips as opposed to the one-handed ease of Dyson’s dust cup. The filters are easily cleaned, so you don’t need to purchase new filters.
Some of the negative comments about this vacuum were that the brush tends to get stuck on hairs or long strings easily. Some found their Shark vacuum breaking down and needing an early replacement. The people who did have problems with this vacuum did not seem to be impressed with Shark’s customer service.
#2 Best Vacuum: Best Canister Vacuum:
Miele is known as a high-quality brand with extremely long lasting products. Their vacuums are known to last on average for twenty years. The strength of the brand comes with a high price tag, however. This Miele Compact C2 Electro+ has the brand power of a Miele, but with a lower price tag than Miele’s full-sized versions of this model.
The Miele Compact C2 Electro+ is a canister style vacuum. On a canister vacuum, the cleaning nozzle links to the canister unit by a flexible wand. The canister houses the engine, filter, and bag. While you are vacuuming, the canister rolls around behind you. This system employs bags, unlike the bagless upright vacuum reviewed above. You will need to purchase replacement bags on a regular basis.
People who gravitate towards canister style vacuums like the extra power you get from this style of vacuum. Canisters generally have a more powerful motor, resulting in a mightier suction. Some people find the maneuverability of a canister vacuum superior to an upright, while others find it difficult to drag the unit around behind them.
Cleaning stairs can be easier with a canister style vacuum. You can stand at the bottom of the stairwell with the canister, and reach the hose up to clean each step. This works well if you have a stairway short enough to reach from the bottom. If you have a taller stairway than the hose, then cleaning stairs may actually be more awkward with a canister vacuum.
A dusting brush, upholstery tool, and crevice tool come with the Miele Compact C2 Electro+. You can easily switch the attachments while you are vacuuming since they are attached to the vacuum itself. These attachments help in cleaning hard to reach areas. I would assume any vacuum cleaner that is worth purchasing would have these types of attachments included.
The filtration system on all the Miele vacuum models is top notch. The vacuum is completely sealed off, so no dirt or dust escapes into the air while you are vacuuming. Dust goes straight into the bag and does not get into the mechanics of the vacuum. It is easy to remove an old bag and put a new one in its place without any dust or dirt escaping. This is an excellent vacuum for people who have allergies or asthma since the filtration system works so flawlessly.
Owners of the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ love its powerful suction, its cleaning power on both hard floors and carpet, and its compact size. They find that the higher price tag gets them a more powerful machine with a better filtration system than a lower priced model. Many people bought this vacuum because of the well-known quality that Miele brings to its products.
Because this unit uses bags to store dirt and debris, you will need to replace bags on a regular basis. In order to keep the warranty on the unit valid, you must purchase Miele branded bags for your vacuum. This is a fairly expensive vacuum already, and you will continue to spend money for its lifetime on getting new bags.
A more powerful motor translates into a heavier unit. Eighteen pounds is definitely on the heavier side for a vacuum. Not only is the unit itself heavy, but the wand is also heavy. If you are cleaning high ceilings or curtains, this may prove to be cumbersome. The cord is only about 25 feet, so unplugging it will be necessary for larger rooms or cleaning multiple rooms at a time.
#3 Best Vacuum: Best Stick Vacuum:
Why a Stick Vacuum?
Stick vacuums are generally the best vacuum option for smaller spaces and mostly hard floors. Traditionally, they were a less expensive option from an upright or a canister vacuum. However, this Dyson model does not reflect that lower price tag. Stick vacuums are lighter in weight than their upright or canister counterparts. They are therefore good for older people who may not be able to push a heavy vacuum, or for younger children just learning to help out around the house.
The suction power on a stick vacuum is likely not going to be as great as on an upright or canister vacuum either. Many people purchase a stick vacuum as a second vacuum, one to be used on quick jobs when it isn’t worth pulling out the bigger, more powerful vacuum.
One unique feature about the Dyson V8 Absolute is that it is cordless. It comes with a docking station that recharges the vacuum while it is being stored. The docking station is wall-mounted, so it is easy to store in a closet without taking up much-needed floor space.
Since it is cordless, there is no need to keep unplugging the vacuum when cleaning a large room or multiple rooms. However, time is a factor. This vacuum will run for 25 minutes when using the motorized functions. It can run for a longer 40 minutes when using the non-motorized functions. If you utilize the extra power function though, you will only get seven minutes of cleaning power before you need to recharge your vacuum.
Dyson is well known as an innovative brand, focusing on developing new technology. James Dyson basically started the bagless design for upright vacuums which many other brands now emulate. Dyson also took a risk by designing a see-through canister for dust in its upright vacuums, so the user can see how much debris is being collected. Dyson is one of the best vacuum brands due to their innovation.
Other vacuum manufacturers have copied this design feature since Dyson introduced it. When you buy a Dyson vacuum, you know you are purchasing something with a high degree of quality, as they are also known for using sturdy materials in their designs. Your vacuum may get dinged or scratched when you bang it around your house, but it won’t crack or break easily.
The Dyson V8 Absolute weighs less than six pounds, making it so lightweight that anybody can use it easily. Cleaning high places is usually something you won’t be able to do easily with a stick vacuum, but Dyson has designed a detachable wand for this purpose. This model comes with a few attachments to improve its suction on all types of surfaces.
The motorized floor tool and the fluffy hard floor tool are designed with different brushes to accommodate both hard floors and carpets, as well as being able to target hard and small particles on hard floors. The mini dusting brush is a nice addition too. The soft bristles are helpful in cleaning smaller spaces, upholstery, and even your computer keyboard.
Users love the suction power of this stick vacuum, comparing it favorably to other stick vacuums and even to some uprights. They find that it is great for picking up pet hair and other common dirt and debris. The dust bin is easy to empty with a quick release door on the bottom of the unit.
Some of the negative reviews about this vacuum stated that the handle for the Dyson V8 Absolute is small and uncomfortable. The plastic handle rubs against the user’s thumb and can cause scratching and painful rubbing on your thumb. Reviewers also found it inconvenient that the wall-mount docking station does not have a place to store the vacuum’s attachments. So, you may be saving floor space when hanging the vacuum, but you will still need to find a convenient storage area for the attachments.
#4 Best Vacuum: Best Alternative Stick Vacuum:
The Bissell Air Ram 1984 is a stick vacuum that is a great alternative for the budget conscious buyer. You still get the lightweight ease of a cordless stick vacuum at about half the price of the Dyson.
This unit does not have a wall-mounted storage system like the Dyson. However, the handle is collapsible, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space. The Bissell Air Ram 1984 does not come with any extra attachments. This aids in ease of storing, but may not be great if you want some extra functionality out of your stick vacuum.
Ease of Use
The Bissell Air Ram 1984 weighs less than eight pounds, so is easy to move around the house for any ability. It is slightly heavier than the Dyson, which weighs less than six pounds. It features swivel steering to help move it easily around furniture and into corners. The handle can also lay down flat on the floor, which makes it a great option for getting under furniture or into tight spaces.
Another feature is the LED lights that help identify dust when vacuuming hard floors. Additionally, the dustbin is removable from the vacuum. You slide the door open when holding it above your garbage can in order to empty the dust and dirt out of the bin. The slider pushes the dirt out, eliminating the need to stick your hand in the bin to get all the dust out.
Stick Vacuum Usage
Owners of the Bissell Air Ram 1984 are usually not trying to replace a full upright or canister vacuum. Instead, this stick vacuum is generally used as a complement to their more powerful vacuum for quick clean up jobs. By using their stick vacuum on a daily basis, they are able to hold off on lugging out the bigger, more powerful vacuum on a less frequent basis.
This is a popular tool for people with pets. The stick vacuum can be used to quickly suck up pet hair or litter box debris regularly, in between deep cleaning of the whole house.
The suction power of the Bissell Air Ram 1984 is the most popular positive review. It is so powerful that it tends to suck up small throw rugs. This shows the power of the motor, but also may be an aggravation as you need to be careful around small rugs. It does feature an auto-off function, so the vacuum will turn off if a rug does get caught in the roller.
Users love the powerful LED light that makes it easy to identify dust and dirt, especially under furniture. The sliding function of the dustbin is generally reviewed as a good way to empty the vacuum without making a mess.
Although the sliding dust bin is easy to use, cleaning the filter is not as straight-forward. The filters do need to get cleaned on a fairly regular basis. Because they are made of foam, it takes a couple days to dry the filter after cleaning. Reviewers found this to be a long time to wait to use their vacuum again and thought this could be improved with a different filter material.
Some reviewers found that the plastic of the vacuum was not sturdy. The handle seems to be the first part of the vacuum to break. If you purchase this vacuum, you may want to be extra careful when you pull the handle out or collapse it back in.
#5 Best Vacuum: Best Robotic Vacuum:
As with a stick vacuum, most people who purchase a robotic vacuum are not replacing their standard upright or canister model. The robotic vacuum is, like a stick vacuum, used as a more frequent cleaning tool. This can extend the amount of time in between deeper cleaning sessions with a standard vacuum. Robotic vacuums can be fun, and people who enjoy getting the newest gadgets may find this to be an enjoyable addition to their tech-savvy home.
The iRobot Roomba 960 can be controlled a number of ways. The iRobot Home App makes your smartphone the control center for your vacuum. The app can schedule when you want your vacuum to clean. You can also identify areas of your house that need extra cleaning attention.
Additionally, if you already have a device like Alexa or the Google Assistant, you can use the voice activation feature to control your vacuum. The ability to tell your vacuum to start, stop, or dock anytime definitely amps up the fun factor of using a vacuum.
The iRobot Roomba 960 runs for 70-80 minutes. At that point, it returns to its docking station to recharge. After it recharges, the Roomba will then finish cleaning any areas that it didn’t complete in its first session. The runtime is shorter when the vacuum is used on thicker carpets since the unit uses more power to get through the carpet.
This vacuum has sensors that help eliminate it from running into furniture and possibly knocking over breakable items on tables. As with most modern robotic vacuums, the sensors also detect stairways to prevent the vacuum from falling down stairs. It is still important to be careful with breakable items, as this is not a guarantee.
You may want to test out your new vacuum in each room before deciding if it can navigate around any sensitive items in your home. The Roomba uses its sensors to remember where its docking station is, although it may lose its way if someone picks it up and moves it during a cleaning session. It does also occasionally get stuck in some problem areas like in corners or under furniture.
As with any robotic vacuum, it is necessary to ensure that there isn’t too much litter on the ground for the robot to have to navigate around. If you have young children with small toys, it may be necessary to tidy up before each use of your Roomba. You should also always ensure that there are no sticky or wet items on the floor that might get dragged around. The robotic vacuum may be the best vacuum option for the elderly or those with disabilities who may have a hard time with other vacuum models.
Owners of the iRobot Roomba 960 have found that it works surprisingly well on carpet even though it takes more battery life. It also cleans dust and debris from hard floors as well. It’s a great tool for getting under hard-to-reach areas like under beds, dressers, or chairs that need to be moved around with a standard vacuum. Users really like the smartphone app, which also provides maps showing where the vacuum cleaned and what power was needed in each area.
Reviewers have mixed opinions on how well the Roomba performs on sucking up pet hairs. Some found it worked well. Others found that the vacuum collects balls of pet fur and leaves them sitting on the floor instead of sucking them up. Reviewers also found that the vacuum got stuck in various places around the house. A few people mentioned that the dustbin is small and needs emptying on a regular basis.
Conclusion of the Best Vacuum For You
Many people own more than one vacuum in their house and use each for a different purpose or on a different schedule. Deciding between upright, canister, stick, and robotic vacuums may come down to the frequency of use and the type of flooring that it will be used to clean. For the best price, quality, and all-around use, I found the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional to be the best vacuum option for me. However, there are other good options available if you prefer a stick, canister, or robotic vacuum for your home.
What is a HEPA filter and do I need one on my vacuum cleaner?
Most quality vacuum cleaners come with a HEPA filter. These filters trap small particles like dust and pollen. This is especially important for people who have allergies or asthma, to cut down on how much of these allergens are released into the air.
What about upright vacuums with bags?
I did not review any upright vacuums that utilize bags because I find that the quality on bagless vacuums is quite good, eliminating the extra expense of purchasing bags on a regular basis. However, bagless vacuums may release more dust into the air than vacuums that use bags. So people with allergies or asthma may want to look into vacuums that use bags. The best vacuum option to check out is the vacuum.