A vacuum cleaner is one of those appliances everyone needs, but no one wants to actually think about. As long as it sucks up dust, dirt, and debris, you're good, right? Wrong! When it comes to shopping for a vacuum, there are endless options to choose from. Pick the wrong one, and chances are you’ll be annoyed with it, which means you probably won’t end up using it as much.

At the end of the day, you're comparing model type, size, and price. Because there are so many choices, we've broken things down for you to make the process of shopping for a vacuum cleaner suck a lot less. Below are the best vacuum cleaner models we recommend for most buyers after sifting through thousands of consumer and editorial reviews of them and testing several models in-house.

The Best Vacuums of 2021

    What to Consider

    There is surprisingly quite a bit to consider when shopping for a new vacuum. Some basics to keep in mind: You’ll first want to settle on what type of vacuum cleaner you want to buy, which can likely be determined by how large the space you need to clean and what your budget is.

    shark vacuum cleaning carpet in trunk of car
    Lakota Gambill

    • Upright models are the most common type of vacuum. They have a tilt-and-push design and come in both bag and bagless models. Using spinning brushes to clean carpet or hard floors, they typically have a removable hose that you can use to accomplish some above-floor cleaning. Since uprights have power cords, we recommend them for buyers with large floor plans, since you don’t have to worry about battery life.
      • Canister vacuums are good for people who plan to clean stairs and hard-to-reach places like drapes, upholstery, and under furniture. Of course, they work just fine on carpets and hard floors, too. If you’re looking for the best performance and want a vacuum that will last several years, a canister vacuum is your best bet. They're also a good option for those who suffer from allergies since they have tightly sealed airways and require bags that won’t allow dust to escape into the air.
        • Stick vacuums are much slimmer and more lightweight than every other type of vacuum. They use rotating brushes to pull up dirt and debris and are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which have improved significantly over the last couple of years. Runtimes average between 20 minutes and an hour, but when their max power mode is enabled, you’ll likely get just ten minutes of use max. Stick vacuums are great for spot-cleaning and vacuuming furniture since they double as handheld vacuums.
          • Handheld vacuums are exactly what they sound like. They're convenient for cleaning surfaces, removing pet hair on furniture, or sucking up debris on upholstery. They also come in handy when it’s time to clean your vehicle. On the flip side, handheld vacuums deliver the weakest amount of suction and battery life, so we don’t recommend them for cleaning floors.
            • Robot vacuums are a convenient option to touch up your floors a couple of times each week, with minimal effort on your part. However, you should not expect them to replace traditional vacuuming. With the ability to clean both hard floors and carpet, they do a good job at cleaning pet hair, sucking up crumbs, and keeping your home looking tidy.

              How We Chose

              We’ve spent over 200 hours researching the very best vacuum cleaners. We’ve compared their feature sets, read and watched countless reviews of vacuum cleaners from other publications, appliance experts, and owners. In the four years that we’ve been actively updating this guide, the editors at Best Products and our sister sites Popular Mechanics, Good Housekeeping, and Car and Driver have tested over two dozen different vacuum cleaners.

              emptying vacuum canister into trash can
              Lakota Gambill

              Besides factoring in price and the included accessories to determine our top picks, we also took into account the following when testing:

              1. Overall runtime (if battery-powered)
              2. Ability to suck up crumbs, debris, dust, and hair on both carpet and hard floors
              3. Loudness
              4. How easy and comfortable they are to use and empty
              5. How well their included tools and attachments work
              6. Filtration ability
              7. Navigation performance (for robot vacuums)
              8. Overall reliability and repairability

                We’re confident you’ll find the perfect vacuum in this guide that’ll suit your needs and budget constraints. Here are the eight best vacuum cleaners that made the cut.

                Best Upright Vacuum

                Shark Navigator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum
                Shark amazon.com
                $169.99 (15% off)

                • 2-in-1 design allows it to be used as a handheld canister vac
                • Comparable suction power to commercial-grade models that cost twice as much
                • Generous 5-year warranty

                • Cord is shorter than most other upright cleaners
                • Mostly plastic design

                Editor’s Note: Shark manufactures multiple variants of its Navigator vacuum. They mainly vary based on color, button placement, and what attachments are included. If the Shark NV352 is out of stock, be sure to check to see if the NV356E or NV360 are in stock.

                Product Highlights

                Cord Length: 25 feet
                Loudness: 77 decibels
                Filtration Type: Anti-allergen HEPA filter
                Weight: 12.5 pounds

                The Shark Navigator Lift-Away series has been around for a decade now and continues to offer one of the most versatile cleaning experiences you can get in a vacuum. What sets it apart from other upright vacuums is its unique “lift-away” feature. Basically, its canister is removable and can be lifted so you can take the vacuum practically anywhere. You can carry its canister (and hose) to easily clean baseboards, ceiling fans, drapes, furniture, upholstery, and stairs.

                During our tests, we found that the Shark Navigator offered impressive cleaning performance for carpets, rugs, and hard floors. Plus, it transitions fantastically between all floor types. We love that its brush roll can be turned off, which helps for bare floor cleaning and when vacuuming lightweight rugs. It does a phenomenal job at sucking up pet hair and resists clogs well. In the rare event, a piece of debris gets stuck, all of its components come apart easily, so it’s not too stressful to repair.

                The vacuum weighs just 13 pounds, which is about 5 to 7 pounds lighter than most other upright vacuums. Its handling is impressive, and it turns on a dime. It’s also one of the few vacuums in its price range that’s equipped with a completely sealed HEPA system, which keeps all dust and debris within the vacuum instead of getting released back into the air you breathe. When it comes time to empty its dustbin, both ends of the bin open, which is a convenient touch.

                Best Stick Vacuum

                Dyson V8 Animal Stick Vacuum
                Dyson wayfair.com

                • Doubles as a handheld vacuum
                • A myriad of attachments are included
                • Easy to maneuver

                • Its battery is non-removable
                • You have to hold down the power button while you’re vacuuming

                Also available at Amazon

                Product Highlights

                Cord Length: N/A
                Loudness: 71 decibels
                40 minutes
                Filtration Type: HEPA filtration system with washable filter
                Weight: 6 pounds

                The Dyson V8 Animal is the best balance of price and performance that you’ll find in a stick vacuum. It’s an incredibly versatile, portable, and powerful vacuum that does a phenomenal job at cleaning all floor types. It comes with a wide variety of tools and brushes to clean your floors, stairs, baseboards, and more. If you have primarily hardwood floors, we recommend spending a little extra for the Dyson V8 Absolute, which comes with a soft roller cleaner head that improves hard-floor cleaning performance.

                Although the V8 Animal isn’t the newest or most powerful Dyson stick vacuum, this one is still a beast at sucking up dust, debris, and pet hair. It also switches in seconds to a handheld vacuum for cleaning upholstery, your car, or the ceiling. During our testing, our only criticism was that you have to keep your finger on the power button the whole time you're using it — both when cleaning the floors or while using the vacuum in handheld mode.

                The V8 Animal delivers a generous 40-minute runtime — more than enough time to clean multi-story homes. There’s a max power mode that comes in handy for cleaning high pile rugs. However, when using the high-power setting, the battery depletes in just 7 minutes. When you’re finished vacuuming with the V8 Animal, just empty its dustbin with a pull of a lever, then clip it to a wall mount, where it’ll charge and await your next mess.

                A More Powerful and Versatile Upright Vacuum

                Shark Vertex (AZ2002) DuoClean PowerFin Upright Vacuum
                Shark amazon.com
                $429.99 (10% off)

                • Its dual brushes resist hair tangles and work well at picking up surface-level debris
                • Has a wide, foot-long cleaning path

                • The “Powerfins” brush doesn’t agitate carpet fibers as much as traditional brushes do
                • At 17 pounds, it’s heavier than other vacuums

                Product Highlights

                Cord Length: 30 feet
                Loudness: 73 decibels
                Filtration Type: Anti-allergen HEPA filter
                Weight: 17 pounds

                Priced at roughly 2.5 times more than the Shark Navigator (our favorite upright vacuum), this top-of-the-line Shark offers better suction performance, a more durable build, and a slew of useful features for those willing to pay extra for them. The Vertex is a great vacuum for households with children or pets since its brushes are highly resistant to hair tangles. It’s also a beast at picking up large debris (think cereal, crumbs). Other vacuums tend to push larger debris like a snowplow, but not the Vertex.

                Shark’s Vertex Series are the only vacuums we know of that have dual brush rollers. Translation? Their soft front roller polishes hard floors and pulls in large particles, while the standard secondary roller uses rubber fins to dig deeply into carpet fibers. Since the vacuum features a wider, foot-long cleaning head, you can cover more ground and finish vacuuming faster, too.

                Thanks in part to its high suction and its dual-spinning brushes, the Vertex effectively picks up anything in its path. It has no trouble sucking up smaller debris like salt or coffee grounds on hard floors — even if they’re stuck in between the grout.

                The vacuum has fingertip controls that let you quickly power it off and on and switch between hard floor, carpet, and rug modes. Plus, its canister can be lifted to clean under furniture or be used as a handheld vacuum. The Vertex comes with a motorized brush, two dusting brushes, two crevice tools, and it’s backed by Shark’s signature 5-year warranty.

                Best Canister Vacuum

                Miele Complete C3 Calima PowerLine Canister Vacuum
                Miele amazon.com

                • Its three attachments can be stored directly on the vacuum
                • It traps particles as small as 0.1 microns 99% of the time
                • Powerful suction

                • Takes up a lot of space
                • Requires bags, which can be pricey over time

                Product Highlights

                Cord Length: 24 feet
                Loudness: 55 decibels
                Filtration Type: HEPA AirClean filter
                Weight: 11 pounds

                If you are a self-proclaimed clean freak, you should invest in a Miele canister vacuum. Miele makes some of the best vacuums money can buy. They’re so good, in fact, that the company even claims its products will last for 20 years of average use. The vacuums are excellent cleaners with superior filtration and suction performance, plus they’re much quieter than competing cleaners.

                The Miele earned our sister site’s Good Housekeeping Seal for its solid construction and ability to effectively clean every type of flooring. Despite weighing 20 pounds, the vacuum is easy to handle and glides across floors with ease. We love its convenient retractable cord and its telescopic wand that makes cleaning dusty ceiling fans a breeze.

                The Calima also has nifty storage slots for its included attachments — there’s a crevice tool, an upholstery tool, and a dusting brush. If you have high-pile carpets or pets, we recommend spending extra on a model (like the C3 Kona) that comes with the Electrobrush. This one includes two floorheads — one for carpet and another for hard floors.

                The Calima uses an AirClean Filtration System and self-sealing dust bags, which work in tandem to prevent dust from escaping back into the air — making it a great pick for those who suffer from allergies and asthma. Most importantly, it delivers outstanding cleaning performance with six suction speeds and won’t struggle at all with picking up debris on carpet, bare floors, and even curtains.

                Best for Pet Owners

                Shark Vertex (IZ462H) Cordless Stick Vacuum
                Shark amazon.com
                $349.99 (13% off)

                • Works wonderfully at sucking up hair
                • Its cleaning head has bright LED lights

                • Doesn’t come with a motorized brush tool
                • Its dust bin isn’t as intuitive to empty as Dyson's

                Product Highlights

                Cord Length: N/A
                Loudness: 70 decibels
                35 minutes
                Filtration Type: HEPA filter
                Weight: 9 pounds

                If you have a pet that seems to never stop shedding, or you just need a vacuum strong enough to suck up kitty litter or stray kibble, we recommend Shark’s Vertex stick vacuum. Pet hair won't stand a chance against its brush rollers. The Shark comes with two of them, while the majority of other stick vacuums only have a single brush. Like the corded Shark Vortex we previously mentioned, this one features a soft front roller and a standard secondary roller.

                We tested this vacuum in a home with three corgis and a German shepherd, and the Shark Vertex vacuum resisted hair tangles better than any other vacuum we tested. It didn’t struggle with sucking up long human hair, either, and it has a sealed filtration system to keep dust and allergens at bay. We achieved a 35-minute runtime with the Shark on its low power setting.

                We also appreciated the Vortex’s unique MultiFLEX feature that allows the vacuum to both stand up on its own and bend its wand for cleaning under furniture. Our only complaint is we wish it came with a miniature motorized brush tool for cleaning upholstery, especially since turbo brush attachments are common in stick vacuums at the Shark’s price point. Regardless, it's an excellent stick vacuum that delivers plenty of power for pet owners.

                Best Cleaning Performance

                Dyson V15 Detect Stick Vacuum
                Dyson dyson.com

                • Uses swappable batteries
                • LCD screen shows remaining runtime
                • Shockingly good cleaning performance

                • Top-heavy design
                • Laser is only on the soft roller cleaner head

                Product Highlights

                Cord Length: N/A
                Loudness: 73 decibels
                50 minutes
                Filtration Type: HEPA filter
                Weight: 7 pounds

                This Dyson stick vacuum delivers unrivaled power and cleaning performance, a superb battery life, and some incredibly useful features that you won’t find anywhere else.

                It has a laser dust-detection system, which is basically a green headlight that allows you to actually see how dirty your floors are. As if that wasn't cool enough, its new piezo sensor can sense the size and quantity of the dust being vacuumed up. The more dust it senses, the higher the suction intensity.

                However, some features of the V15 Detect are a bit overkill for most. For example, its LCD display shows an illustrated bar graph to inform you of the size (in microns) and quantity of the dust particles it collects, which isn't useful info for most users. The screen also tells you which mode you’re vacuuming in, how much time you have before the battery runs out, and instructions on what to do if there’s a blockage, which is helpful information to know.

                Without an ounce of doubt, the V15 cleans better than any other stick vacuum. It’s great at eliminating pet hair (especially on furniture with the included Hair Screw attachment), sucking up fine dust from carpets, and is more powerful than many full-sized corded upright vacuums. So it has no issues sucking up large debris, either. The only downside is its steep $700 asking price. But if you can swing it, it's worth the splurge.

                For buyers with large floor plans, consider shopping for the Dyson Outsize instead, which has a 150% larger bin and 25% wider cleaner head, so you can cover more ground in less time without needing to empty the dust bin as frequently.

                Best Robot Vacuum

                iRobot Roomba E5 Robot Vacuum
                iRobot amazon.com

                • Requires little to no effort to get your floor spiffy
                • Has Wi-Fi and smart functionality

                • Doesn’t navigate as efficiently as pricier models

                Product Highlights

                Cord Length: N/A
                Loudness: 64 decibels
                90 minutes
                Filtration Type: High-efficiency filter
                Weight: 7 pounds

                The iRobot Roomba e5 has a low profile for cleaning under furniture and the ability to adjust to all floor types. You can start it with an easy-to-use app by asking Alexa or your Google Assistant or by pushing a large button at its center.

                During our tests with the vacuum, we found that the e5 could handle dust, pet hair, crumbs, fine debris like salt —really, anything we threw at it — with ease. It never got stuck, and it left our floors (especially the carpets) cleaner than other robot vacuums in its price range did.

                The e5 provides five times the suction of Roomba’s more affordable 6 Series robots (currently Wirecutter’s top robot vacuum pick), and it features improved dual rubber brushes that are unrivaled. We may sound silly raving about two rubber brushes, but most brush rolls with bristles get ungodly amounts of pet/human hair tangled on them, which can really affect performance — or worse, stop cleaning completely.

                It has a large, 500-milliliter bin, and when the battery dies, it’ll automatically go back to its base, recharge, and resume exactly where it left off later on (in the event there’s more ground to cover.)

                Although our current robot vacuum recommendation, the Roomba e5, may lack some of the advanced cleaning features like the self-emptying Roomba i3+ or the LIDAR-equipped Roborock S7, it does all the basics well, keeps your floors looking fresh, and still integrates nicely with smart homes.

                Best Handheld Vacuum

                BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet Handheld Vacuum
                BLACK+DECKER amazon.com

                • Ample power
                • Comfortable to hold

                • Extending its nozzle can be tricky

                Product Highlights

                Cord Length: N/A
                Loudness: 78 decibels
                21 minutes
                Filtration Type: Standard filter
                Weight: 3 pounds

                Whether you need to suck up coffee grounds from the countertop, dust on an end table, or pet hair that’s embedded deep between couch cushions, this handheld vacuum offers enough oomph to get the job done effectively. Its battery lasted long enough for our Test team to completely clean a couch, three armchairs, and the kitchen, with some juice to spare.

                Given its spinning brush roll, it’s the ideal vacuum for pet owners who want to eliminate pet hair from furniture. The BLACK+DECKER has a low- and high-speed setting, plus a nozzle that extends an additional 7.5 inches for hard-to-reach places. We appreciate its compact design and like that it can sit upright on its own. Our only minor complaint was that the vacuum's motor is a bit loud.

                If you don’t plan to use the handheld vacuum to clean the furniture, opt for the similar Dustbuster HHVK515J vacuum instead, which doesn’t come with the motorized brush head.