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Best Canister Vacuum of 2024

Updated February 2024
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Miele Classic C1
Miele
Classic C1 Canister Vacuum
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Best canister vacuum
Bottom Line

With six power settings, a HEPA filter, and a lightweight design, this quickly became a team favorite during testing.

Pros

Each setting offers ample suction power to effectively clean various surfaces. Comes with a variety of easy-to-install attachments. The three-tier filtration system ensures thorough air purification, capturing even the finest particles and allergens.

Cons

Requires a bag, which can sometimes make it harder to clean.

Best Bang for the Buck
Oreck XL Pro 5 Super Compact Canister Vacuum
Oreck
XL Pro 5 Super Compact Canister Vacuum
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Best lightweight canister vacuum
Bottom Line

You won't have to sacrifice power for maneuverability, as this lightweight vacuum provides both.

Pros

Stands out for being extremely lightweight yet powerful. An excellent choice for a variety of flooring types including carpet, hardwood, tile, and more. Includes a wide variety of attachments.

Cons

It needs replacement bags and filters, and it's somewhat noisy.

Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction Powerline Canister Vacuum
Miele
Compact C1 Pure Suction Powerline Canister Vacuum
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Best bagged canister vacuum
Bottom Line

The Compact C1 filtering system prevents fine dust and dirt from escaping, earning our cleaning expert's approval.

Pros

Six suction power settings accommodate multiple floor types. Vacuum bag included. Designed with AirClean Sealed System to prevent the release of fine dust and dirt. Has an incredibly lightweight design.

Cons

Not ideal for Berber carpets.

Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister Vacuum
Eureka
Whirlwind Bagless Canister Vacuum
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Best bagless canister vacuum
Bottom Line

With no bag to worry about, emptying this canister vacuum is easy.

Pros

It's great for low-pile carpet, upholstery, and hard floors, with easily adjustable suction levels for each floor type. We appreciate that the filters are washable, so there's no replacement cost. Its retractable cord makes chores easier.

Cons

Our testers found this model didn’t clean as effectively on hard floors compared to the competition.

Kenmore 81214 200 Series Bagged Canister Vacuum
Kenmore
81214 200 Series Bagged Canister Vacuum
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Best canister vacuum for pet owners
Bottom Line

The Kenmore stands out as a great canister vacuum for pet owners, featuring powerful suction with adjustable intensity, a convenient on/off switch on the handle, and a two-in-one floor-cleaning nozzle.

Pros

Adjustable to four height levels to suit different carpet pile heights. One simple step automatically rewinds the cord. Includes crevice tool, upholstery brush, and bare floor head.

Cons

Can be difficult to maneuver under furniture.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 
HOW WE TESTED

After going through an intensive research process to narrow down our short list of top products in this space, we tested the Miele Classic C1 to be sure that it’s worthy of our recommendation. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter and test to verify manufacturer claims.

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Buying guide for best canister vacuum cleaners

Every home needs a vacuum cleaner, but which one is right for you? One thing is certain: The ability to clean floors quickly and easily is a top priority in your home. And if you have hardwood floors, you know just how luxurious and beautiful your home can look when your bare floors are cleaned right.

Finding the best vacuum cleaner for your home is not a straightforward process when you consider all of the available options. Would an upright vac from a traditional brand like Hoover or Eureka suit your needs best? What about a lightweight stick vac with a swivel head? Or perhaps a canister vac with an array of cleaning tools and powerful suction would render the cleanup you’re looking for.

Expert Tip
Canister vacuums require more storage space than some other types of vacuum cleaners because, although low to the floor, they tend to be bulky. 
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Buying guide for Which canister vacuum is best?

Hard floors and carpets face a range of challenges, from everyday dust to pet hair and spills. To handle these issues, the best canister vacuums have a lightweight design, powerful suction and a variety of convenient attachments. Compared to uprights, canister vacuums are easier to maneuver under furniture and on stairs, and most have cords that automatically retract at the press of a button. 

There's a lot to consider when choosing a canister vacuum cleaner. For example, you should look at its suction power, which is measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm). A rate of over 100 cfm is considered well above average. You should also note what kind of filter it has and the capacity of the bag or dustbin before making a purchase. 

The BestReviews Testing Lab compared, scrutinized and tested the latest canister-style cleaners from the likes of Miele, Kenmore and Shark to help determine the best vacuums worth buying. Based on our extensive evaluation, we named the Miele Classic C1 as the best canister vacuum overall. We love its powerful suction and effective filtration system. 

Our top picks

Miele Classic C1

Black Miele Classic C1 on hard flooring
The strong suction power of the Miele Classic C1 greatly impressed us when we tested it. 

Best canister vacuum

Product Specifications: Suction Power: 140 cfm | Filtration System: 3-tier system | Bin Capacity: 4.75 qt | Cord Length: 18 ft | Weight: 11 lb

Messy toddlers, meet your match! The Miele Classic C1 passed our tough tests with ease, sucking up crumbs and everyday dirt effortlessly. Its powerful suction of 140 cfm, over 75% stronger than average home vacuums, makes cleaning a breeze. Plus, with its three-tiered filtration system, you'll breathe easier knowing dust and allergens are gone, not just swirled around your home. 

Despite the 18-foot cord, the hose extends the cleaning radius to a generous 29.5 feet. This means you can cover most rooms without switching outlets. Need to clean high ceilings? No problem. The hose and cleaning head reach 9 feet, making cobweb removal a breeze. 

The included crevice tool is sure to become your new best friend for cleaning baseboards, couch cushions and other narrow spaces. The dusting tool is also handy, although, after testing it, we noted that an adjustable suction feature for delicate surfaces would have been helpful. On the plus side, all the attachments are stored conveniently onboard the vacuum, so they're always ready when you need them — no need to rummage through your utility closet. 

All in all, this is a powerful vacuum that performs well on hard floors and low-pile carpets. While it's a premium investment, the features and performance of this high-end canister vacuum make it a worthwhile purchase for those seeking top-notch cleaning

Oreck Commercial XL Pro 5

Best lightweight canister vacuum

Product Specifications: Suction Power: 64 cfm | Filtration System: Bag and exhaust filters | Bin Capacity: 1.25 quarts | Cord Length: 30 feet | Weight: 5 pounds

Forget bulky wheeled vacuums that get stuck on every corner. Thanks to the XL Pro 5’s handle and included carrying strap, this model is more agile than the competition. 

This vacuum boasts a 30-foot cord, letting you clean a surprisingly long distance without unplugging and replugging. We love that its 5-foot hose gives you even more cleaning freedom. 

This versatile vacuum also comes with a range of cleaning attachments, including a standard cleaning head, a crevice tool and a dusting brush. You will, however, need to empty its smaller-than-average 1.25-quart bin more frequently — a small sacrifice for the freedom of not having to pull a canister behind you.   

If you're looking for a powerful yet compact and lightweight canister at an affordable price, the Oreck Commercial XL Pro 5 is a great choice

Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction 

Best bagged canister vacuum

Product Specifications: Suction Power: 140 cfm | Filtration System: 3-tier system | Bin Capacity: 3.5 quarts | Cord Length: 18 feet | Weight: 14 pounds

The Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction is a comparable alternative to our top pick, the Miele Classic C1. However, it distinguishes itself with a sleeker and more compact design featuring a smaller 3.5-quart bag capacity. Despite its compact size, it weighs slightly more, coming in at 14 pounds.

With an impressive 140-cfm airflow, this vacuum delivers strong suction that tackles dirt and debris on multiple surfaces. We like that a convenient dial lets you adjust the suction power for optimal cleaning whether you're working on hard floors, low-pile carpets or even delicate upholstery.

The three-tier filter system includes an AirClean exhaust filter, a Miele dustbag and a motor protection filter, making it a great buy for those who suffer from allergies. This nimble and reliable canister vacuum conveniently lets you stow its included tools on its body as well.

Eureka WhirlWind 

Best bagless canister vacuum

Product Specifications: Suction Power: 85 cfm | Filtration System: Washable disc filter | Bin Capacity: 2.6 quarts | Cord Length: 16 feet | Weight: 8 pounds

If the thought of changing vacuum bags gets you down, check out the bagless Eureka WhirlWind canister vacuum. We appreciate how easy it is to empty the dirt container into the trash at the press of a button. The downside is that vacuum bags act as filters, so this model has less filtration than some with just a washable disc filter. 

With a suction power of 85 cfm, it isn't as powerful as Miele models, but this is still a respectable level of suction — and at an affordable price. Another great thing about this canister vac is that it weighs just 8 pounds, which makes it one of the lightest we’ve come across. 

We think this vacuum cleaner is a great choice for hard floors and low-pile carpets. We like the convenience of a bagless canister vacuum and the fact it doesn't lose suction as it gets full. 

Kenmore 81214 200 Series 

Best canister vacuum for homes with pets

Product Specifications: Suction Power: 140 cfm | Filtration System: HEPA filter | Bin Capacity: 3.5 quarts | Cord Length: 24 feet | Weight: 19 pound

This Kenmore canister vacuum is a pet owner's dream. Its dual-motor system, with one motor in the canister and another in the brush head, tackles deep-seated dirt and pet hair like a champ. The powerful rotating brush digs deep into carpets, pulling out fur and debris tracked in by your four-legged friends.

With a mighty 140-cfm suction, this vacuum blasts through the dirt and debris pets track in. But it doesn't stop there. The HEPA filter captures pesky pet dander, leaving your home cleaner and the air less irritating for allergy sufferers. We appreciate its retractable 24-foot cord as well. 

At 19 pounds, it isn't the lightest canister vacuum on the market, but it's still manageable and is a beast at sucking up pet hair and messes.

Bissell Zing Bagless Canister Vacuum

Best compact canister vacuum

Product Specifications: Suction Power: Not specified | Filtration System: Dirt cup filter and post-motor filter | Bin Capacity: 2.1 quarts | Cord Length: 15 feet | Weight: Under 8 pounds

The Bissell Zing is one of the most compact and lightweight canister vacuums on this list. We love that it weighs just under 8 pounds, so it's easy to lift and carry up the stairs. While its compact size makes it easy to store and maneuver, its dustbin capacity of just over 2 quarts is smaller than some other vacuums. However, for a bagless canister vac, it holds its own and is a good choice for smaller living spaces.

The cfm rating of this vacuum isn't specified, so we can't quantify its suction power. However, most users seem to agree that it's an effective cleaner.

Overall, we consider this a solid canister vac at an affordable price. It's great for people who want a lightweight canister and don't want to deal with bags. 

Expert Tip
When deciding whether to get a canister vacuum cleaner with wheels, you'll want to consider how easy it is for you to bend over and retrieve items. A model with wheels allows you to move the vacuum around without bending and lifting.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Why choose a canister vacuum cleaner?

When it comes to basic floor care, there are three common types of vacuum cleaners: uprights, stick models and canister varieties. Each type offers strengths and weaknesses.

Canister vacuums

Canister vacuum cleaners excel at the task of cleaning all floor types, from hard floors to low-pile, medium-pile and thicker carpets. Unlike traditional upright vacuums, canister models boast exceptional maneuverability. Their lightweight bodies and smooth-rolling wheels allow you to effortlessly drag them around (and under) furniture, corners and tight spaces.

Canister vacuums are the best option if you have thick carpets and plan to frequently clean stairs and upholstery and under furniture. They can even be used to clean your car's interior, assuming you have access to an outdoor outlet.

Upright vacuums

Using spinning brushes to clean carpet or hard floors, upright vacuums typically include a removable hose that you can use to accomplish some above-floor cleaning, but they don’t clean carpets as thoroughly as canister vacuums and aren’t as easy to maneuver for cleaning stairs and upholstery. This vacuum type has a tilt-and-push design and comes in bag and bagless models. 

Stick vacuums

A stick vacuum is best for quick cleanups. Given its shorter runtime of 10 to 20 minutes, a stick vacuum may not be an ideal replacement for your regular vacuum cleaner.  For most people, a stick vacuum is a complementary purchase rather than a primary cleaning tool unless you splurge for a premium stick vacuum that includes additional batteries.

A stick vacuum is suitable for vacuuming up crumbs, last-minute cleanup to make your home presentable before company arrives and the ongoing task of sucking up pet hair. Many stick vacs have swivel heads that make them easy to maneuver, especially in tight spaces.

One drawback of stick vacs is a comparative lack of power. They often have around 500 to 900 watts of power, while canister vacuums pack an average of 900 to 1,200 watts.  Stick vacuums also have smaller dustbins that hold less than 12 ounces, whereas canisters can often hold 2 to 5 quarts of dust and debris. What’s more, the suction of a stick vac on a carpet is not highly powerful, especially if you’re working with a thick pile.

Bagged canister vacuums vs. bagless canister vacuums

In the battle of bagged canister vacuums versus bagless canister vacuum cleaners, owners are evenly divided in terms of preference. Both sides offer benefits and drawbacks, so the answer to which is better is a definite “it depends.”

Bagged canister vacuums

Bagged canister vacuum cleaners hold collected dirt and dust in a bag that is tossed in the garbage when full. Many bags have a HEPA filter that greatly cuts down on allergens and prevents dust from collecting inside the vacuum or blowing back into the room. HEPA filters undergo testing to ensure they trap at least 99.97% of particles  0.3 microns in diameter. This can include dust, pet dander and pollen. 

  • Pros: A bagged canister vacuum is the best choice if allergies pose a major problem in your home. You won’t need to replace or clean the filter as frequently, and you won’t be exposed to allergens or dust when replacing the bag.
  • Cons: You’ll need to buy bags, and most vacuums start losing their ability to pick up debris as the bag becomes full.

Bagless canister vacuums

A bagless vacuum has a plastic chamber or dustbin that collects dust and debris. You empty the dustbin when it gets full. Occasionally, this can be a  messy process that exposes the user to the allergens and grit inside the chamber.

  • Pros: There are no bags to buy, thus reducing your ongoing expense. Bagless vacuums tend to be more environmentally friendly because you aren’t throwing away a paper bag every time you fill it with debris.
  • Cons: Along with the potential for a dusty mess when emptying the chamber, you’ll have to clean the vacuum filter more frequently, as dust tends to escape and gather in the filter.
Expert Tip
When choosing a canister vacuum, knowing the size canister you need for your size home is very important.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Canister vacuum features to look for

Canister vacuum cleaners come with a wide array of possible features, and some of those features might satisfy your needs better than others. Here’s a list of the most common features to consider.

Long power cord

Unless you live in a tiny space, vacuuming your entire home generally means unplugging and replugging your vacuum cleaner cord at least once or twice as you work. A power cord length of 20 feet or longer is helpful in this regard. This generous cord length reduces the number of times you would need to repeat this action.

Cord rewind

Cord rewind is a handy feature that automatically retracts the power cord at the push of a button or with a slight tug of the cord. We've used this feature before and found it hugely convenient. It's so much easier than winding a cord by hand, which is one of those annoying tasks that can make us not want to vacuum.  

Hose length

While many canister vacuums have a hose that is 5 or 6 feet long, a long hose  (greater than 5 or 6 feet) simplifies the task of accessing tight spaces and underneath furniture. When we've used canister vacuums, we've found long hoses make it significantly easier to vacuum stairs. We've been able to leave the canister at the top or bottom of the stairs and reach each step with the hose. 

Filtering ability

Every vacuum cleaner has at least one filter, but some have more than one. And some have HEPA filters to catch even the tiniest allergens and dust particles. 

In the case of bagged vacuums, the bag itself serves as a filter. As mentioned, HEPA filters trap 99.97% of particles  0.3 microns in diameter, so hardly anything gets past them. These are excellent filters for people with environmental allergies (allergies to dust or pollen, for instance) as well as for homes with pets

Roller brush switch

The roller brush, also called a beater brush, loosens and lifts grime and hair out of carpeting. However, it could potentially scratch wooden flooring or other hard-surface flooring. Some canister vacuums have a switch that allows you to turn the roller brush off while cleaning wooden floors.

Powered head

When the roller head is powered by electricity instead of air, you get a much more powerful and effective suction on carpets and rugs.

Pet head

If you have pets, you probably deal with pet hair and dander regularly. Canister vacuums marketed as “for pets” generally come with a powered pet hair head, which is basically a miniature vacuum head that excels at picking up pet hair and dander from carpets, upholstery and drapes.

Sound level

Vacuum cleaners are noisy; there’s no getting around it. That said, some put out a little less noise than others. Most canisters on this list produce around 70 to 80 decibels. That might not seem like a big difference, but an 80-decibel sound is 10 times louder than a 70-decibel sound. 

How much does a canister vacuum cost?

Inexpensive

As a general rule, canister vacuums are more expensive than upright vacuums. However, you can certainly find some compact canister vacuum cleaners priced under $100. Two quality companies with several superior offerings in this price range are Eureka and Bissell.

Mid-range

Between $100 and $200, you can find mid-range canister vacuums from top companies like Hoover and Oreck. Though the vacuums may or may not be cordless at this price range, they employ a few more desirable features than the cheapest canister vacs. Helpful cleanup tools are usually included with these options, such as an attachment for bare floors and swivel steering. Some of these choices also offer an air-filtration system.

Expensive

If you want a canister vac with many desirable bells and whistles — HEPA filtration system, powerful suction, cordless capabilities and/or a long power cord — prepare to spend $200 or more. In our research, we discovered high-end canister vacs from the likes of Miele, Dyson and Kenmore that cost several hundred dollars.

How we analyzed

To get the lowdown on canister vacuums, we first spoke to our cleaning expert, Tia Daniels. We also tested one of the models — the Miele Classic C1 — putting it through rigorous testing to see how it performed. For our other top picks, we compared dozens of canister vacs on a range of factors including suction power, filtration system and bin or bag capacity. 

FAQ

Q. How often should I use my canister vacuum cleaner?

A. For many homes, a weekly session with the canister vacuum is enough. If you have pets, kids, lots of foot traffic or live in a dusty area, however, you’ll probably need to vacuum two to three times a week. And in some households, daily vacuuming is necessary to keep all areas sparkling clean.

Q. How often should I replace my canister vacuum bag?

A. It’s recommended that you replace your canister vacuum bag when it’s approximately two-thirds full. Beyond that point, your vacuum will start losing suction power.

Q. I bought a Hoover canister vac with an upholstery tool. What am I supposed to use this tool for?

A. An upholstery tool is an attachment that allows you to clean items other than your flooring, such as your couch cushions, curtains and mattresses. Some people take their canister vac outside and use their upholstery tool to clean the inside of their cars. But Hoover isn’t the only company that makes this handy attachment. Look for an upholstery tool in any vacuum cleaner product’s list of included cleaning tools before you consider buying it.

Our expertise

Lauren Corona is an experienced home products writer. She's written about vacuums, including canister vacuums, for BestReviews more times than she can count. Over her lifetime, she's used many canister vacs, giving her a good idea of which features work and which are best avoided. 

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