Which vacuum is right for you?

Last Updated August 2020
By Jennifer Blair

Your floors are probably the dirtiest part of your home, but motivating yourself to vacuum can be difficult, especially if you have pets or kids and you always seem to be cleaning up.

That’s why finding the right vacuum cleaner is essential: You want a machine that will make this undesirable task so easy that you won’t mind doing it as much.

Choosing can be tricky, though, because you have to consider the flooring types and environmental factors (like pets and kids) to figure out which model will give you the best user experience and the cleanest floors. If your family has allergies, you’ll want to be sure that your vacuum can pick up the smallest particles, too.

Here are the best vacuums for every type of flooring and living situation, so you can find the model that will make vacuuming less of a chore — so you’ll actually do it. 

 

How to choose a vacuum for multi surfaces

Most homes don’t have just one type of flooring, so chances are good that you have both carpeting and hard flooring in your home. But not all vacuums can transition from carpeting to hard floors, so you have to be careful with the model you choose.

For multiple flooring surfaces, a vacuum should offer enough suction and brush roll power to pull all the dirt from carpets but won’t just push the dirt around on bare floors. Some vacuums even have different settings for carpeting and hard floors, which adjusts the suction and brush roll to offer the most effective cleaning for each surface. 

 

The best vacuum for multi surfaces

 

Shark Navigator Powered Lift-Away Upright Vacuum: $189.99 at Wayfair

This vacuum is perfect for homes with multiple flooring types because it features a motorized brush roll that you can turn on and off — it even features a specific bare floor option. It offers a 25-foot power cord, too, making it quick and easy to clean large rooms. It also features advanced cyclonic technology to prevent clogs, so suction power is never compromised.

 

How to choose a vacuum for hardwood floors

Hardwood floors add serious style and warmth to any home, but they need the right care to maintain their condition. Dirt and debris also show up on them very easily, so you need a good vacuum to keep them clean. 

Vacuums with brush rolls can easily scratch hardwood flooring, though, so they’re best avoided. Instead, you want a vacuum with superior suction power to suck up all the dirt without a rolling brush to push it around.

 

The best vacuum for hardwood floors

 

Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction Powerline Canister Vacuum: $379.50 at Amazon (was $399)

A canister vacuum like this highly rated model from Miele is ideal for hardwood floors because it’s lighter than upright models, which leads to less damage. Miele’s version also has a metal sole plate for smooth gliding as well as rubberized wheels to prevent scratches. Best of all, it features adjustable suction power to adapt to the flooring type you’re cleaning. 

 

How to choose a vacuum for thick carpet

If you have a thick carpet with a deep pile, you have to ask a lot from your vacuum. That’s why you need a model with serious suction power that can draw deeply embedded dirt out of the fibers. You also want an effective brush roll to help scrub the dirt loose.

Some vacuums for thick carpeting can also handle liquids, so if your kids or pets cause any spills, it can suck that up along with any dirt. You’ll want to pay attention to the vacuum’s filter system, too — because thick carpet can have so much hidden dirt, debris, and other allergens, it helps to have a model with a HEPA filter that traps the smallest particles. 

 

The best vacuum for thick carpet

 

Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum Cleaner: $359.99 at Amazon

This vacuum is designed specifically for soft, plush carpeting and uses sonic vibrations to free deeply embedded dirt and particles from the pile. It features a brush roll to agitate the dirt, too, but the brush has ultra-soft bristles to prevent damage to the carpet fibers. It also has a HEPA filtration system that can remove 99.97 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns. 

 

How to choose a vacuum for tile floors

As with hardwood flooring, it’s important to keep tile floors clean to help them stay in good condition. They’re not as prone to scratching as hardwood, but you still have to choose a vacuum with enough suction power to not just push the dirt around on the hard surface. 

Tile floors can also get sticky or stained and sometimes require cleaning with water, so some vacuums for tile floors have a mop or steam mop feature.

 

The best vacuum for tile floors

 

Bissell PowerFresh Vac & Steam All-in-One Vacuum and Steam Mop: $179.99 at Amazon

Want to cut down on the cleaning time for your tile floors? This Bissell model allows you to vacuum plus steam tile and other hard surfaces at the same time. It offers powerful cyclonic vacuum suction to remove all the loose dirt and debris and a steam function that kills 99.9 percent of bacteria. Best of all, the user-friendly digital controls make it super easy to switch between the vacuum, steam, and dual functions. 

 

How to choose a vacuum for stairs and hard-to-reach corners

If you have multiple floors in your home — or lots of corners and other hard-to-get-to spots — you definitely don’t want a bulky vacuum. A lightweight, cordless model is your best bet because you don’t have to worry about working near an outlet or lugging a heavy upright vacuum up the stairs. 

With a cordless vacuum, you want a model with enough suction power to pick up dirt from both carpeting and hard flooring, plus long battery life. You should also consider how much the vacuum weighs to make sure you can easily carry it up the stairs.

 

The best cordless vacuum for stairs

 

Shark Rotator Freestyle Pro Cordless Bagless Upright Vacuum: $149.99 at Wayfair

Weighing just seven and a half pounds, this cordless vacuum is perfect for cleaning the stairs and any other hard-to-navigate areas of your house. It comes with a precision charging stand and can run for nearly 20 minutes on a single charge. You can also choose between two brush roll speeds for both bare flooring and carpeting. 

 

How to choose a vacuum for pet owners

Pets are usually treasured members of the family, but they can make a big mess in your home, even if they don’t intend to. If your favorite furry friend leaves lots of hair around the house, you need a vacuum with powerful suction to remove dander and any other debris. A pet-friendly vacuum should also be able to prevent the hair from tangling around the brush roll and affecting operation.

It’s usually a good idea to think about the filter system, too — a HEPA filter keeps microscopic pet dander from flying around your home. 

 

The best vacuum for pet owners

 

Hoover Power Drive Bagless Multi Floor Upright Vacuum Cleaner for Pet Hair: $149.99 at Amazon (was $179.99)

This vacuum from Hoover is perfect for homes with pets because its multi-cyclonic technology is meant to prevent it from ever losing suction. The advanced action brush roll prevents pet hair from getting wrapped around it, too, and the sealed allergen system sucks up to 99 percent of dust and allergens. 

 

How to choose a vacuum for allergy sufferers

If anyone in your family has allergies, you know how irritating dust and dander can be when it collects around the house. You need a vacuum with enough suction to pick up all the possible allergens in your home, so you don’t just wind up spreading them around further.

A HEPA filter is also essential. It can trap even the smallest particles and keep them inside the vacuum, so they don’t re-enter the air. You’re usually better off with a bagged vacuum, too, because you don’t have to worry about releasing dust and dander when you empty it. 

 

The best vacuum for allergy sufferers

 

Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly CrossOver Lightweight Bagged HEPA Canister Vacuum: $489.99 at Amazon

This bagged vacuum features an enhanced HEPA filter system that collects 99.7 percent of debris and particles to cut down on allergy-inducing pollutants in your home. It also has a motorized attachment for gathering stubborn pet hair and dander, which prevents the hair from collecting around the brush. 

 

The best vacuum for people with long hair

If you have long hair, you probably notice when you happen to shed strands and they show up on your floor. Combine that with any pet hair that may be in your home, too, and it’s not uncommon for your vacuum to get tangled. To combat that amount of hair, you need a vacuum that has the suction power to pull it up from carpeting and other surfaces and a brush roll that won’t get tangled and clogged. 

Some models have a self-cleaning brush roll that can cut off any hair that gets tangled around it. It also helps to find a vacuum with a motorized powerhead to loosen any hair that may be trapped in the carpet pile. 

 

The best vacuum for people with long hair

 

Bissell ICONpet Cordless with Tangle Free Brushroll: $199 at Amazon (was $349.99)

Fight long hair problems with this cordless vacuum from Bissell. Its tangle-free brush roll spins at 3,200 revolutions per minute, so hair isn’t able to wrap around it as easily. It also converts to hand vac if you need to clean up hair from other surfaces in your home.

 

How to choose a robotic vacuum

You should do a thorough vacuuming of your floors once a week, but dirt and debris can build up between cleaning sessions. A robot vacuum usually doesn’t work well as your main vacuum, but it’s an ideal option for picking up smaller messes between your deep vacuuming sessions. 

You need to be sure that a robot vacuum is suitable for both hard flooring and carpets and can expertly navigate obstacles. If you have a pet, you also want to check that it has the suction power to pick up all the hair and dander that can accumulate.

 

The best robotic vacuum for pet owners

 

Samsung POWERbot R7260 Pet Plus Robot Vacuum: $699.99 at Amazon

This robotic vacuum is an excellent option for any home, but it’s particularly well-suited for homes with lots of pet dander. That’s because it offers up to 40 times the cleaning power as regular robot vacuums and features a special brush that automatically detangles and removes any hair that gathers around it.

 

 

Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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