The Most Dependable Vacuum Cleaners You’ll Be Glad You Bought
We went straight to the source—the Consumer Reports Vacuum Lab—to round up your definitive list on the most dependable vacuums. No doubt about it, these really suck—and that’s a good thing!
Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly 31150
Of the 61 upright vacuum cleaners that Consumer Reports tested, the Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly 31150 emerged as number one. The unit earned high marks for its strong airflow with the vacuum’s attachment tools, including a crevice tool, bristle brush, and power roller. It proved to be a peak performer in particle removal on both bare floors and carpeted areas, delivering dependable operation at the mid-price point range. And for an all-around general purpose dependable vacuum cleaner, Haniya Rae, Consumer Reports‘ associate home and appliances editor, contends that the upright and canister style models, like this one, still reign supreme. “While the new kids on the block (i.e., cordless stick and robotic models) are turning heads, if you want deep cleaning, you’ll still need to rely on your trusty upright or canister vacuum,” she says. Don’t miss these 11 unexpected ways you can use your vacuum.
Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2
In the bagless upright category, this Dyson Ball Multi Floor model earned top marks for its ability to suck up stubborn pet hair. Test engineers also ranked the Dyson highly for dust containment, noting that as with all bagless models, the process of emptying the bin itself can create its own mess. This style also proved to be one of the noisier bagless uprights that Consumer Reports tested—and it’s a substantial unit to lug around at 16 pounds. Still, if you want a bagless model, this Dyson is one of the most dependable vacuum cleaners that you can rely on for both bare floors and carpet.
Miele Complete C3 Marin
It will cost you a pretty penny, but at least it lives up to its high-dollar price tag: the Miele Complete C3 Marin has the distinction of earning “perfect marks in almost every test” that Consumer Reports engineers threw its way. These include deeply embedded pet hair in thick carpet and minuscule particles on bare floors; powerful airflow makes its attachments the true workhorse of this unit. Though it can be clunky to use, testers point out that’s true of most canister style vacuums. Stubborn stain? Find out 17 homemade carpet cleaning solutions in your house already.
Consumer Reports evaluated 15 canister style vacuum cleaners, giving high marks to this Kenmore 22614. It ranked highly for overall efficiency and low emissions (meaning it contains the dust and debris it picks up); in the noise and maneuverability categories, however, the Kenmore didn’t perform as well (or as quietly) as other canister styles. On the flip side—cat owners should seriously take note—this model stood out for its superb performance in vacuuming up embedded cat hair.
Shark IonFlex 2X DuoClean Ultra-Light Cordless IF251
If having a feather-light vacuum cleaner is important to you, a stick model is a smart choice. This Shark IonFlex weighs in at less than 9 pounds, and despite its small, sleek design, it packs a mighty cleaning punch. “Stick vacuums are more powerful than ever,” says Rae, with the caveat that you shouldn’t expect it to clean as thoroughly as an upright. “While some vacuum manufacturers claim that their stick vacs are as good as uprights, they still can’t compete when it comes to carpet, according to our tests.” Despite the fact that stick models are no match for the overall performance of their heavier full-sized cousins, Consumer Reports contends that the Shark IonFlex is among the best in its category. The model received a rating of Excellent for both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. In lab tests, the Shark IonFlex effortlessly navigated tight corners and proved to be effective at picking up stubborn carpet debris (think embedded talcum powder in thick-pile carpet). Check out these simple housecleaning tricks you’ll wish you knew sooner.
Bissell Air Ram 1984
In a sturdier, 7.9-pound stick model, the Bissell Air Ram 1984 unit has several differentiators that led it to become a standout in Consumer Reports‘ evaluation. Besides a 47-minute run time, the unit performs effectively in all major testing categories, even compacting the debris it collects into little bales of dirt within the containment unit. Its handle collapses for compact storage. While it doesn’t deliver the suction of a full-sized bagged or canister model, the Bissell Air Ram comes highly recommended from Consumer Reports as the go-to standard between deep cleanings.
Samsung POWERbot R7065
If your home is foot traffic- and toy-free long enough to give a robotic vacuum the room to roam, Consumer Reports recommends this Samsung POWERbot R7065. The famously tough critics even go so far as to declare the POWERbot head and shoulders above other contenders in this category, rivaling Roomba, and premium brand entrants into the robotic category from both Dyson and Miele; their conclusion was reached after evaluating a total of36 robotic models. Testers judge the models on how effective they are at removing debris from bare floors and low-pile carpet; robotic models are also scored based on how well (or not) they navigate against tight corners (i.e.walls and furniture), and for the total amount of time the unit takes to clean a given area.
So what’s so great about the Samsung? Besides acing both the bare floor and carpeted floor tests, the POWERbot stands out for its rectangular bumper design, enabling it to access and clean narrow corners. Testers also appreciated the unit’s quiet operation throughout an impressive 86-minute run time. Psst! You can program it via Amazon Alexa too!Find out the 8 things professional housecleaners do in their own homes every day.
Shark Pet Perfect
If you can spring for more than one vacuum, handhelds are, well, handy to have around, especially for quick spot clean jobs. (Think a spilled bowl of Cheerios or the floor mats and seats of your car.) For a handheld vacuum you’ll reach for time and again, the Shark Pet Perfect fits the bill. In a lightweight and easy to use package, it capably cleans up quick spills and can run for far longer than a spot job would require–19 minutes on a full battery. The unit also includes a rotating brush roll, ideal for spot-cleaning a particularly stubborn spill.
Dirt Devil Reach Max Plus
For serious stick vac value, Consumer Reports recommends the Dirt Devil Reach Max Plus; it aced every one of the lab’s tests, involving a study of how thoroughly the unit picked up sand, rice, and cereal on a tile floor with grouted edges–and it did so quietly. It’s also one of the lightest dependable vacuums on our list, weighing in at just 6.3 pounds, with the ability to convert easily into a hand vac, so you’re getting dual functionality out of a one-time purchase. Here’s how often you should be cleaning everything in your home.
Shark Flex Duo Clean
For smaller spaces, the Shark Flex Duo Clean upright vacuum delivers innovative features that make it a top pick when space and storage are at a premium. For starters, the unit includes an appliance wand that effectively bends like an elbow to take the awkward posturing out of any vacuum chore. In addition, it folds down for a slim storage height that is nearly half its full upright height (from 49 down to 25 inches). Best of all, it’s multi-purpose, effective on bare floors and area rugs, and even functions as a hand vacuum for spot cleaning when needed.