A vacuum cleaner is one of those appliances everyone needs, and no one wants to think about. As long as it sucks up dust, dirt, and debris, you're good, right? Wrong!

Some vacuums are just too heavy to lug up and down the stairs — much less actually vacuum the stairs. Like the convenience of a cordless? Of course you do! But if your space is on the large side, the charge might not last as long as you need it to. Have a variety of floors? Want to go from hardwood, to carpet, and over to tile at the push of a button? There's a vacuum for that, too. What if you have pets? That's a whole different ball game.

At the end of the day, you're comparing model type, size, and price. Because there are so many choices to pick from, we've broken it down for you to make the process of shopping for a vacuum cleaner suck a lot less. Before you read more about our top picks, check out our short explainers below on the different types of vacuums, so you can settle on what type will work best for your home.

Ball vs. Brush

Ball vacuums help with overall maneuverability while you push and move about your home with your vacuum cleaner. They don't tip over as easily, and they help you reach around corners or under tight spaces like furniture. Brush vacuums are typically upright vacuums with motorized brushes. They're efficient at cleaning thick carpets and rugs. They usually have a wider cleaning path, but they can be heavy and are less effective when cleaning corners and harder to reach places. To compromise, they're typically equipped with small hoses to clean those places.

Dyson

Bagged vs. Bagless

As you can imagine, bagless vacuums save money in the long run, becausee you don't have to continuously buy bags or replace filters. Bagged vacuums, on the other hand, are known to be much more hygienic, and they're a better option for allergy sufferers because the bags prevent dust and allergens from escaping back into the air.

Plus, bagged vacuums typically have HEPA filters to trap most allergens, which helps prevent dust, debris, and allergens from spreading throughout your home. Bagless vacuums are typically easier to empty, and they provide the peace of mind knowing that if you accidentally vacuum up something valuable, opening up the chamber to retrieve the item is easy. It's also nice knowing that you won't always need a surplus of bags to do a quick cleanup, and you won't have to constantly check to see if the bag is full before vacuuming.

Upright vs. Canister

Upright vacuums are more affordable than their canister counterparts. They're also much easier to store and aren't as heavy. However, canister vacuums are much quieter than upright vacuums, and they perform better at cleaning bare floors. Most canisters are more powerful than uprights, so they have better suction and can clean an area faster. We recommend canister vacuums for folks who plan to clean stairs and hard to reach places like drapes, upholstery, and under furniture.

Stick vs. Handheld Vacuums

While we're on the subject of cordless vacuums, that brings us to stick and handheld vacuums. These picks are typically cordless, but some have cords to deliver more power, which results in better suction. You should opt for a stick vacuum if you want to use the vacuum for only cleaning your floors. Stick vacuums are tall, thin, lightweight, and easy to move around. They don't perform as strongly as upright and canister vacuums, but they're great for quick cleanups. Handhelds are much smaller and are 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, too. However, stick vacuums typically have a longer battery life than handhelds.

Dyson

Cordless vs. Plug-in Vacuums

We yearn for a cordless world as much as anyone else, but unfortunately, cordless vacuums simply aren't as powerful as their corded counterparts. That's not to say a cordless vacuum isn't worth investing in! Dyson in particular has excelled in creating a cordless stick vacuum that's super-convenient. Cordless vacuums typically have a battery life of 30 minutes tops, so you probably won't be able to use them to clean the floors throughout your entire home in one go. However, they're a great option for pet owners who want to clean up some hair on furniture, or for people that want to do a quick cleanup before guests come over. They're also a good option for cleaning small messes or spot cleaning areas in your home in short bursts.

Robot Vacuums

Robotic vacuum cleaners are a convenient option to touch up your floors a couple times each week, with minimal effort on your part. However, you shouldn't buy a robot vacuum if you expect it to replace traditional vacuuming. Of course, that's assuming you don't have thick carpets or area rugs that can get in the way.

Robot vacuums clean best on short carpets and bare floors for areas under 1,200 square feet. They only work on floors, so they won't help you clean stairs, furniture, drapes, or your car. They also may not be a wise investment for pet owners, because they could turn a small mess into a much bigger mess by running over a pile of poop and spreading it throughout your home.

Now that you know about vacuums, it's time to find the best one for you. Check out our top picks below!

Learn More About Our Top Five Picks:

1. Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 Upright Vacuum - Check Price

Best Overall

Dyson

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Pro: It's easy to maneuver and turns on a dime

Con: Its ball design makes it difficult to slide the vacuum under furniture

Bottom Line: Whether you have hard floors, carpets, or pets, this Dyson offers unrivaled performance, a distinct design, and an outstanding warranty.

When it comes down to it, a vacuum needs to be reliable, durable, and powerful. This bagless Dyson is all that and then some. We think it's the best vacuum you can buy for its superior suction, well-thought-out design, and outstanding 5-year warranty. Consumer Reports and BestReviews named it a top vacuum pick as well. We liked it because it is one of the few vacuums that effortlessly switches between hard flooring to carpets without the need to adjust any settings. Plus, it weighs just under 16 pounds and has two convenient carrying handles, and its unique ball design provides fluid maneuverability, making it easy to glide around corners.

Dyson

One of its greatest features is the telescopic wand. It has a long-reach hose that lets the vacuum work like a canister model. This comes in handy for vacuuming hard-to-reach places like the ceiling fan or stairs. As an added bonus, you get plenty of attachments. Dyson includes an upholstery tool, a dusting brush, and a crevice tool. We liked that you can store most of these tools directly on the vacuum, which makes them accessible. The Dyson is equipped with a 3.2-liter bin, which easily empties with the press of a button, with no need to touch the dirt. The vacuum is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, too, but it is bagless, so you're temporarily exposed to dirt, dust, and allergens when emptying the bin.

2. Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional (NV356E) Upright Vacuum - Check Price

Best for Hard Wood

Shark

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Pro: Offers excellent suction that's powerful enough to suck up large crumbs, dirt, and debris

Con: Its hose isn't very long and doesn't stretch much, causing the vacuum to tip over easily

Bottom Line: This vacuum offers exceptional cleaning performance and includes two attachments that were specifically designed for vacuuming hardwood floors.

This upright Shark vacuum offers one of the most versatile cleaning experiences you can get in a vacuum, thanks to its lightweight design, nifty "lift-away" feature, and ability to effectively clean both carpets and hard floors. Similarly to Dyson vacuums, it uses a cyclonic and bagless design, but this vacuum's canister is removable and lifts away, so you can take the vacuum practically anywhere. It's perfect for cleaning ceiling fans, drapes, furniture, upholstery, and stairs. The cord is 30 feet long, and the hose stretches about 9 feet, which should be plenty long enough for most people. We're also big fans of its Dust-Away hard-floor attachment, which uses a microfiber pad that's washable and reusable to keep your hard floors shiny and free of dust and dirt.

Shark

Shark also includes a crevice tool, and a "Hard Floor Hero" tool that'll come in handy in tandem with the suction hose for clearing surface litter and stuck-on debris on tile or wood floors. We liked that the dustbin opens from the top and the bottom, so you can easily clear hair or dust bunnies from either side. Allergy and asthma sufferers will appreciate that it has an advanced seal and a HEPA filter that trap 99.9% of dust and allergens. Even better, Shark includes a 5-year warranty with this model.

3. Kenmore Elite 31150 Vacuum Cleaner - Check Price

Best for Carpets

Kenmore

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Pro: An onboard sensor illuminates to let you know when the vacuum is still picking up dirt

Con: It weighs a hefty 20 pounds

Bottom Line: This vacuum does better than most at picking up dirt, even if you have very thick carpet.

For homes that primarily have carpet, we recommend this bagged upright vacuum from Kenmore. When it comes to thick carpets, most other vacuums struggle at sucking up thick pieces of dirt and other debris, but this one sucks everything up like a magnet —even if you have shag carpets. It has five different carpet height settings you can adjust, plus three powerful motors to pull and remove dust, dirt, and debris from the deepest of carpet fibers. The vacuum comes with a number of accessories, including a telescopic wand and a "Pet Handi-Mate" with thick bristles that comes in handy for cleaning pet hair from the couch. We also loved that it has lights on its front and a built-in sensor that illuminates when you miss a spot while vacuuming.

Kenmore

This vacuum topped Consumer Reports' and Reviewed's best vacuum lists, too. Both sites' biggest complaint was that it's louder than most other vacuums. Weighing 20 pounds, the vacuum is also heavier than most, making it difficult to transport up and down stairs. Fortunately, it's self-propelled, so you can move with minimal effort without straining yourself. Additionally, the vacuum is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and it uses a HEPA filter to remove 99.97% of pet dander, pollen, and dust found in your home, so it's a great pick for allergy sufferers.

4. Dyson V7 Motorhead Vacuum - Check Price

Best Cordless Stick

Dyson

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Pro: Dyson offers a myriad of attachments, making this cordless model even more versatile

Con: Its mount doesn't come with screws or wall anchors

Bottom Line: This stick vacuum is a joy to use, thanks to a cordless and lightweight design, long battery life, and powerful, quiet motor.

While they aren't meant to replace traditional vacuums, a stick vacuum is a great investment for your home. We think this one from Dyson is the best one you can buy. Its fuchsia-and-purple color scheme may seem loud to some, and it probably won't match the decor of most homes, but it's cordless, powerful, and convenient for spot-cleaning, vacuuming cars, and removing pet hair from furniture. When you're finished, you just clip it to a wall mount where it'll charge and await your next mess.

Dyson

Although the V7 isn't the newest or most powerful Dyson stick vacuum, we think it's the best choice for most people. The newer Dyson V10 does provide more suction than the Dyson V7, but it costs a $200 premium and has subpar battery life when using the more powerful suction setting. Wirecutter agrees that it isn't worth the additional splurge. Our colleagues over at Good Housekeeping performed an extensive review of the Dyson V7 stick vacuum, calling it "a champ" at cleaning pet hair. It also did well in their bare-floor test, and it cleaned up both large and small debris. Their only quibble was that you have to keep your finger on the power button the whole time you're using it. The vacuum is quiet and easy to empty, and it has a 30-minute run time. It weighs just 5 pounds, so it's light and comfortable to hold, even as a handheld vacuum. Dyson includes a combination tool and crevice tool, but it also sells several other attachments for it.

5. iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum - Check Price

Best Robot Vacuum

iRobot

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Pro: Requires little to no effort to get your floor spiffy

Con: Robotic vacuums can sometimes confuse dark colors or geometric patterned rugs as the edge of a stair, causing them to pause their cleaning cycles

Bottom Line: You'll be pleasantly surprised with how well this robot vacuum cleans your floors.

The iRobot Roomba 690 has a low profile and the ability to adjust to all floor types. It automatically docks after cleaning, and it comes with "virtual wall" tech to keep it only in the rooms you want. Available Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to control the robot vacuum via a smartphone app. You can schedule up to seven cleaning sessions per week in advance, and support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant is also available.

iRobot

With a three-stage cleaning system, the Roomba 690 can handle dust, hair, and larger pieces of dirt. Robot vacuums aren't meant to replace traditional vacuums, but they definitely will keep your home tidier — with no effort on your end. This one even has a side brush on board for reaching edges and corners of your home. The Roomba 690 is easily one of the best options in its price range, and Reviews.com agrees, too. It may lacks some of the advanced cleaning features found in pricier robot vacuums, but it does all the basics well.


More of Our Top Picks:

Just because they didn't make our top five doesn't mean they suck! Well, they do, but you know what we mean. These next few vacuums offer a variety of features that may be exactly what you're looking for — from a handheld vacuum that's perfect for sucking up spilled pet food or pet fur, to a canister vacuum that's practically commercial grade, and we've even included a budget-friendly pick that's reliable and costs less than $100! 🙌

6. Bissell 9595A CleanView Bagless Vacuum - Check Price

Best Budget Vacuum

Bissell

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Pro: Comes with useful attachments like a crevice tool and an extension wand

Con: Limited maneuverability

Bottom Line: The best pick for people who want a decent vacuum for an affordable price.

This vacuum cleaner from Bissell is going to be your best bet if you're willing to put up with a noticeably louder motor, a non-retractable cord, and forfeiting on-board attachment storage for a much more affordable price. However, if you're willing to live with these minor shortcomings, the Bissell 9595A CleanView is an effective vacuum that's easy to assemble and costs less than $100.

It's a good choice for dorm rooms or small apartments, and it does a decent job at removing dust, debris, and pet hair from your carpets. It has a large 12-inch cleaning path that's convenient, but it struggles with turns and requires more passes than other more expensive models when removing larger crumbs. We're impressed with its bagless design, its easy-to-empty canister, and the filter indicator that lets you know when it's time to clean things up inside. Our colleagues at Popular Mechanics loved it for its Febreze-scented vacuum filters you can use to further freshen your home while you clean. Plus, its hose comes with a crevice tool, a dusting brush, a turbo brush, and an extension wand, which will definitely come in handy for cleaning furniture, upholstery, curtains, and along baseboards.

7. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 33A1 Vacuum Cleaner - Check Price

Best for Pet Owners

Bissell

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Pro: Removes pet hair like no other

Con: It isn't cordless, and it doesn't have a lot of attachments

Bottom Line: Great for pet owners that want to remove pet hair in a cinch.

Ideal for zapping away spilled pet food or fur shed on the couch, Bissell created a hand vacuum made for anyone with fur babies in their lives. As its name implies, the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser is an absolute beast at removing pet hair, even if you have multiple pets, or a husky that never seems to stop shedding. Consumer Reports named the Bissell its "best buy" handheld vacuum for its strong suction power, which was superior to other handheld vacs they tested.

Bissell

We would have liked to see a crevice tool for cleaning tight spaces, but this one just comes with a pet hair attachment and a flathead attachment for everything else. Another potential downside is that it isn't battery-powered, and its cord is just 16 feet long. It's worth mentioning that corded models offer significantly more powerful suction than battery models, and you don't have to worry about the battery ever dying or needing replacing. So, we still think this is a fantastic and strong handheld vacuum worthy of your consideration — but it just may not be the best one for cleaning a car or tight spaces because it lacks a crevice tool.

8. Black & Decker BDH2000PL MAX Lithium Pivot Vacuum - Check Price

Best Handheld Vacuum

Black & Decker

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Pro: Its pivoting nozzle makes it easy to tackle hard-to-reach places

Con: It's louder than most other handheld vacuums

Bottom Line: This handheld pick offers stellar suction power, a quick charge time, and plenty of battery life.

There are two advantages to this vacuum that are worth noting. One is that it uses a 20-minute lithium ion battery instead of an older style NiCad battery, which are prone to losing their charge over time and causing vacuums to lose suction power. This handheld vacuum also has a unique pivot nozzle that has a wide mouth for scooping up large debris, and it makes it easy to get into those hard-to-reach places.

The vacuum is lightweight and easy to store, and it charges in under 10 minutes. Our only complaint is that it's loud. On the plus side, it offers a three-stage filtration system that helps prevent it from clogging, and it keeps the air clean from allergens. It comes with a washable filter, a brush and crevice tool, and a charging base.

9. Craftsman 12004 Vacuum - Check Price

Best Wet/Dry Shop Vac

Craftsman

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Pro: Comes with a long hose and two extension wands to deliver almost 20 feet of reach

Con: The power cord is just 10 feet long, so you'll want to pick up an extension cord

Bottom Line: This shop vac is more affordable than most other models, but it still offers an easy-to-use experience with plenty of power.

If you have had the unfortunate experience of cleaning up a flooded basement, or have accidentally spilled a box of screws in the garage, you probably know how convenient a shop vac is. We're big fans of this one from Craftsman for its powerful motor, easy operation, and convenient size. It's actually smaller than you'd think it is. While it has a 6-gallon capacity, the vacuum is just 21 inches tall and 16 inches wide, making it small enough to roll under a work bench or keep in a utility room. Don't let its size fool you though. It's equipped with a 3-horsepower motor, a 7-foot-long hose, and plenty of attachments for cleaning up the largest of messes.

Craftsman

The vacuum sucks up almost 1.5 gallons of water in just 10 seconds flat, and even when its bin is full, it's easy to move. The wheels swivel 360 degrees and turn well on uneven surfaces, so you don't have to worry about it ever tipping over, either. It weighs 13 pounds, has easy-to-replace filters, and even converts to a blower, but we think its power cord is too short. Considering how powerful and affordable the vacuum is, this is easily forgivable, and it can be remedied with an affordable extension cord.

10. Miele Compact C2 Electro+ Vacuum - Check Price

Best Canister Vacuum

Miele

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Pro: The cord is 21 feet long, and it's retractable

Con: Despite having "compact" in its name, this vacuum is heavy and slightly awkward to use

Bottom Line: Miele vacuums are built to last for decades. This one runs quiet and cleans like a champ.

If you want a vacuum cleaner that's built like a tank and will last for years, this Miele one is tough to beat. It offers excellent filtration and a powerful, but quiet motor that effectively picks up any dirt and debris that comes its way. Besides loving how well this vacuum cleans floors, our favorite feature is its foot-controlled cord retractor.

Miele

This canister vacuum sucks up pet hair with ease, and it has a height-adjustable electric-powered cleaning head that works with most carpet types. Plus, it comes with all the attachments you could ever need. There are two floor-heads: one for carpets, and the other for hard floors, plus a dusting brush, an upholstery tool, and a crevice nozzle.

The C3 Marin (which costs over $1,000) was Consumer Reports' top pick for a canister vacuum. The Miele Compact C2 Electro+ is a step down, but it's still well-received by Wirecutter, and it costs a much more reasonable $600. One last thing: The vacuum weighs 20 pounds, so it's heavier than other vacuums, but it's a vacuum that's built to last for several years.

Read More:

Treat Yourself to a Robot Vacuum, While You're at It

These Wood Floor Cleaners Will Make Your Floors Look Good as New

More Vacuum Reviews from GoodHousekeeping.com

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