Best Toy Vacuums

Updated January 2022
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best toy vacuums

Most kids love to pretend they are all grown up. This is evident in the imaginative games they play. They may pretend to be an astronaut, a doctor, an adventurer, a police officer, a teacher, or a parent. Besides being a fun way to reflect what they see in the world around them, acting like an adult helps them prepare to eventually take on grown-up responsibilities.

As long as the activities are safe, this type of play should be encouraged. One way to do that is by purchasing toys that are based on tasks you perform in your day-to-day life.

The best toy vacuum is colorful and easy for your child to handle. Some of the more modern options may even turn on, make noise, and pick up small debris so your child can actually help with the chores while playing.

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Allowing your child to help with the cleaning tasks (even if it’s just pretend) can help them learn how to communicate, problem solve, and function as part of a team.

Key considerations

Benefits of a toy vacuum

By purchasing a toy vacuum for your child, you are gently introducing them to the notion of taking pride in a job well done. Willingness to do chores (and to do them well) is needed to succeed in life. Not only will the toy help teach your child how to one day care for their own home, it will give them an early understanding of why tasks such as cleaning go hand-in-hand with a healthy and wholesome lifestyle.

Beyond being more independent, some studies suggest that children who partake in chores develop higher self-esteem and become better equipped to deal with life’s inevitable frustrations.

Types of toy vacuum

Just like real vacuum cleaners, you can purchase any type of toy vacuum that you’d like. There are toy robot vacuums, toy handheld vacuums, toy canister vacuums, toy upright vacuums, toy stick vacuums, and even toy shop vacs. Chances are, the type of vacuum your child sees you using will be the one they want. However, if you want to make sure they are happy, allow them to be involved with the decision-making process when choosing one.

Battery-powered vs. battery-free

Another decision you will need to make when purchasing a toy vacuum is if you want one that is battery-powered or not. While a non-powered model is less expensive and will encourage your child to more fully engage their imagination, there are some fun features that only battery-powered toys can offer. If your child wants their play vacuum to sound like a real vacuum, for instance, a battery-powered model can do that. Additionally, some battery-powered vacuums light up. However, the biggest benefit to purchasing a battery-powered toy is that some can actually function as a vacuum!

Children love to play with the devices they see their parents using. Giving your child their own toy vacuum can make them less tempted to experiment with your high-end vacuum cleaner.

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Features

After deciding which type of vacuum to get and whether you want one that actually cleans, there are a number of other elements you’ll want to consider.

Sized for little hands

Toy vacuums come in a variety of sizes. If you have a smaller child, make sure the model that you are considering is sized for their little hands.

Makes sounds

A battery-powered toy vacuum can make a noise similar to a real vacuum. However, some kids might not like that. Alternatively, you can get a toy vacuum that pops little balls around inside the unit as the wheels roll.

Lights up

If you purchase a battery-powered toy vacuum cleaner, one that also lights up will give your child an added dimension of fun.

Has a dust bin

One nifty feature you will only find in a model that actually vacuums is a removable dust bin. This is used just like a dust bin in a real vacuum: when it fills up, simply remove the dust bin and empty it.

Can be adapted to different cleaning tasks

Some higher-end toy vacuums have pieces that can be added or removed to change how the toy functions. For instance, a stick vacuum might disassemble so it can also be used as a handheld vacuum.

Is a recognizable brand

There are some toy manufacturers who make toy vacuums that are replicas of real vacuums. Often, a child will have the most rewarding experience when they use the same vacuum that their parents use.

Is colorful

For a child, if a toy looks boring, it is boring. Look for a vacuum that is brightly colored so it stimulates and engages your child’s senses.

Includes accessories

Just like real vacuums, toy vacuums may come with attachments and accessories. The attachments can range from a crevice tool to an upholstery tool while the accessories may include anything from a dust brush to a cleaning bucket and rags. If this sounds like something your child would like, look for a toy vacuum that comes with a variety of attachments and accessories.

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DID YOU KNOW?
Letting a child partake in chores with a working toy vacuum can bolster their pride and give them a sense of independence.
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Toy vacuum prices

Low-end: Lower-priced toy vacuums cost between $10 and $25. Many of these models will be smaller, handheld toys such as dust busters or even robot vacuums. While it is possible to find a quality toy in this range, be careful of the overall build quality and durability.

Mid-range: The bulk of the toys in this range will be upright vacuums or stick vacuums. These may feature recognizable designs with familiar names attached to the toy, such as Dyson or Black & Decker. The cost of the vacuums in this mid-range bracket will span from roughly $25 to $40.

High-end: Occasionally, you may find a higher-priced toy vacuum that costs over $40. Before selecting, make sure you are getting a good quality toy and not just a higher price. The bulk of the toy vacuums in this higher-end range tend to come with additional cleaning tools such as a bucket, broom, spray bottle, dustpan, and more.

Toy vacuums do not provide adequate stability and should not be used as an aid to teach your child how to walk.

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Tips

There are certain toys that your child might not be inclined to play with on their own. A toy vacuum may be one of those toys. To have the most fun playing vacuum (while also teaching your child some valuable cleaning strategies), consider the following tips.

  • Vacuum together. Activities are always more fun when you do them together.
  • Allow your child to do it their way. While guidance is important in many situations, the quickest way to take the fun out of playing is to constantly correct your child. Let them discover their own strategy for cleaning.
  • Make it fun. Figure out creative ways, such as singing songs or playing Follow the Leader, to make vacuuming even more fun.
  • Never use a chore (even a pretend one) as a punishment. Never use vacuuming (or any chore) as a punishment because it will make your child associate them with bad things.
  • Establish a schedule. To help subtly teach chore strategies, set a regular time for playing vacuum.
  • Add challenges. If playing with a toy vacuum becomes too routine and your child starts losing interest, you can make it more challenging by adding obstacles to the vacuuming course.
  • Thank your child for helping. When the game is done, thank your child for playing with you and for helping you complete your grown-up chores.
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Some toy vacuums include a fake electrical cord for authenticity. Be careful with these models, as the cord may pose a tripping or strangulation hazard.

FAQ

Q. At what age can my child get a toy vacuum?

A. For the most part, toy vacuums are not recommended for children under three years old. However, not all models are the same, so be sure to verify the recommended age before purchasing. Also, know your child. If your child thinks it's fun to swing their new stick vacuum around like a baseball bat, you might want to wait for a little before purchasing one.

Q. Does a toy vacuum really vacuum?

A. To an extent, certain models can and do allow your child to actually vacuum. However, do not expect the same kind of results that you would get with a real vacuum. A toy vacuum is best for picking up lighter materials, such as little clumps of dust or tiny scraps of paper (think hole-punch size), but it will not work on ground-in dirt or anything requiring a great deal of power.

Q. Can a toy vacuum assist in your child’s development?

A. Definitely. Whether it’s a functioning model or not, a toy vacuum can help a child develop better hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, and depending on the model, it may even help with balance and overall coordination.

Q. Is there anything else a toy vacuum can teach my child?

A. Learning how to run a vacuum so your child covers the entire floor in a room can help them learn more about strategies and taking an organized approach to accomplishing a task. Additionally, it can help your child understand some of the most basic concepts of time management and accepting family responsibility.

 

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