The 10 Best Vacuum Cleaners for Every Kind of Floor and Mess

Updated: Feb. 01, 2024

Whether you're making a brand-new purchase or upgrading an old model, the best vacuum cleaner keeps your entire home tidy.

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Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum CleanerVIA MERCHANT

A vacuum cleaner is one of the most essential cleaning tools for cleaning floors, managing pet hair and removing cobwebs. At Family Handyman, we are constantly looking for the best cleaning products to improve the quality of your home life. And while we’re confidently knowledgeable when it comes to the best vacuum cleaners, we reached out to Petar Dzaja, a car detailing expert and the founder of Car Detailing Planet, to weigh in.

You might be thinking, “What does car detailing have to do with vacuums?” But the floor of your car is often the place that needs vacuuming most, and Dzaja has years of experience using various types of vacuum cleaners for both personal and commercial use. Dzaja is also a proud pet owner who understands the challenges of dealing with pet hair on a daily basis.

“The right choice of vacuum cleaner depends on your specific needs,” Dzaja says. “For instance, the cleaning requirements of a single person living in a studio apartment with hardwood floors will be different from a family of four with two dogs living in a two-story home with carpets.”

From stick vacuums to vacuums for cars and even vacuums for laminate floors, there isn’t a type of vacuum our team hasn’t researched—and that includes a handheld cordless vacuum for pet owners. But with all of the choices out there, how do you know which is the best vacuum type for your living situation? We’re here to help.

The Best Vacuum Cleaners

1 / 10
Shark Navigator Lift Away Pro Vacuum
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Best Overall Vacuum Cleaner

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro Vacuum

Our top pick is a classic corded, upright option. We love the Shark Navigator Vacuum for the way it works on laminate, hardwood, tile and vinyl floors. You can separate the canister from the base to tackle stairs, which is normally a problem for most traditional upright vacuums. It also works on tougher messes, like pet hair, and the 5-foot hose allows you to access hard-to-reach areas.

The Navigator’s swivel steering lets you maneuver around furniture with ease, and the high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter traps up to 99% of dust and allergens. This vacuum has an on/off switch for the beater brush, a bare floor setting (of course!) and onboard attachments for upholstery and more.

Pros

  • Center pod detaches to clean hard-to-reach places
  • Features an anti-allergen seal
  • Has a 2-liter dust cup capacity
  • Has a 30-foot power cord
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Number of latches and releases might get confusing

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2 / 10

Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Vacuum Canister
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Best Value Vacuum Cleaner

Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Vacuum Canister

We picked the Eureka Whirlwind vacuum for the combination of low price and quality features. At a featherweight 8 pounds, the Whirlwind is light, effortlessly maneuverable and easy to carry all through the house. It has three multi-surface suction settings—carpet, upholstery and hard floors—and it’s bagless with washable filters for even more cost savings. This best vacuum cleaner features swivel steering, a telescoping metal wand, automatic cord rewind and one-button dirt cup release.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Automatic cord rewind
  • Bagless and has a washable filter
  • Has three settings for carpet, upholstery and hard floors

Cons

  • Loud
  • 16-foot cord is on the shorter side

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3 / 10

Bissell Crosswave Hydrosteam Wet Dry Vac
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Best Wet-Dry Vacuum Cleaner

Bissell CrossWave HydroSteam Wet Dry Vac

The Bissell CrossWave HydroSteam is widely considered one of the best wet-dry vacuums on the market. If you’re looking for a versatile vacuum cleaner that sucks up messes, as well as wash and steam your floors, then this wet-dry vac is for you.

Switching between the vacuum’s cleaning functions can be done with the press of a button, and it’s just 21 pounds, which makes moving between rooms a breeze. Unlike some other wet-dry vacuums, this one works on rugs, carpets and mats, as well as hard floors.

The CrossWave HydroSteam is powered by a 25-foot cord. So, you don’t have to worry about stopping for a recharge, but you will probably have to refill the water tank if you’re using it for mopping or steaming.

Pros

  • Features wet and dry cleaning modes
  • Works on rugs, carpets and mats, too
  • Affordable
  • Has a 25-foot cord
  • Separate tanks for clean and dirty water

Cons

  • Loud
  • Some users note water functions leaving streaks

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4 / 10

Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum Cleaner
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Best Vacuum Cleaner for High-Pile Carpets

Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum Cleaner

The Soniclean upright vacuum cleaner is the only unit that uses a patented high-frequency sonic cleaning technology to dislodge dirt embedded deep into carpet fibers—but that’s not its only patented feature! It includes three more: an EZ-Push adjustable vent system that helps push-and-pull the machine across the plushest pile, jam protection, which automatically shuts off the vacuum if something gets stuck and the Sonicfresh fragrance dispensing system (optional), which releases a light scent of freshly washed laundry every time you vacuum. Way to read our minds, Soniclean.

Pros

  • Patented technology to clean deep
  • Has a 35-foot cord
  • Features a HEPA filtration system
  • Has advanced jam protection

Cons

  • Doesn’t include attachments

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5 / 10

Dyson Outsize Cordless Vacuum
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Best Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Dyson V11 Outsize Cordless Vacuum

Dyson is known to make the most powerful HEPA cordless vacuums on the market. While the brand makes several quality cordless stick options, our favorite based on value, suction power and user reviews is the Dyson V11 Outsize.

Automatically adapting to any floor height, the unit’s whole-machine filtration traps up to 99.99% of particles, dust and allergens—a real plus for asthma suffers. The two battery packs deliver a combined 120 minutes per charge, providing more than enough time to tidy up a small, medium and large homes. The V11 Outsize comes with a wall-mountable docking station and five attachments, including a mini-motorized tool to get into tight spaces and remove pet hair from upholstery.

Dzaja has experience with a Dyson cordless stick vacuum, too. “It’s a cordless vacuum cleaner with twice the suction of other cordless vacuum cleaners,” he says. “It’s lightweight, making it perfect for quick, versatile cleaning.”

Pros

  • Comes with two battery packs
  • Motor speed and torque adapt to floor type
  • Has a full-size bin and full-size cleaner head
  • Features a wall-mountable docking station
  • Comes with five attachments

Cons

  • Expensive

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6 / 10

Black+decker Max Handheld Vacuum
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Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Black+Decker Max Handheld Vacuum

With tons of suction power for its size, this Black+Decker handheld vacuum is small enough to store in the kitchen, garage or RV. It cleans up common messes without special attachments or tools, using cyclonic action to spin dust and debris away from the filter for optimum suction capability. The pivoting nozzle and extending crevice apparatus make it easy to clean up tight spots, like between sofa cushions and behind appliances. Plus, the convenient charging base provides a compact storage solution.

Pros

  • Compact and weighs just 3 pounds
  • Features a 200-degree pivoting nozzle
  • Charging base doubles as storage
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Dirt bin capacity is just 15 ounces

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7 / 10

Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet Vacuum
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Best Vacuum Cleaner for Pet Owners

Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet Vacuum

If you have pets, then you know how fur gets under furniture and collects in corners. The Bissell Cleanview Swivel vacuum features a specialized brush roll for vacuuming pet hair. The vacuum’s triple-action brush roll gets down deep into carpets to loosen and lift out dirt and dog and cat hair. Scatter-free technology keeps debris from flying and flinging about, which is especially handy when vacuuming hard floors. This upright, bagless vacuum is simple to clean, thanks to the easy-to-empty 1-liter dirt cup. We also appreciate that part of every purchase goes towards supporting the Bissell Pet Foundation, which helps save homeless pets.

Pros

  • Triple-action brush roll lifts pet hair
  • Has scatter-free technology
  • Features swivel steering and edge-to-edge cleaning
  • Has a 27-foot cord

Cons

  • Doesn’t have automatic cord rewind

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8 / 10

Miele Complete C3 Marin
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Best Splurge Vacuum Cleaner

Miele Complete C3 Marin

As far as canister-style vacuums go, the Miele Complete C3 Marin is definitely splurge-worthy. Miele, the gold standard of home appliances, designed this heavy-duty workhorse to lift the deepest embedded pet hair from carpet and the tiniest particles off bare floors. Its flexible Parquet Twister, a double swivel joint cleaning head, is gentle on the most delicate hardwood floors. The height-adjustable electro brush with LED lights helps you see underneath furniture, where dust tends to gather.

Pros

  • Has a 1,200-watt vortex motor
  • Has 4.5-liter dust capacity
  • Includes integrated accessories and LED lights
  • Features a multi-stage HEPA filter
  • Available in various colors

Cons

  • May feel clunky to move around

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9 / 10

Irobot Roomba J7+ Robot Vacuum
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Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner

iRobot Roomba j7+ Robot Vacuum

Robot vacuums clean your floors without much effort on your part—and some even recharge themselves so you don’t have to do that, either. The iRobot Roomba j7+ returns to its base when finished cleaning, empties its bin into a sealed bag and then charges. It also has a built-in camera and navigation technology to automatically avoid household obstacles.

The Roomba j7+ has significantly more suction power than the Roomba 600 series, and it has an edge-sweeping brush to clean in tight corners. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, so you control it with your voice. That means you don’t even have to lift a finger to vacuum!

Pros

  • Smart mapping and scheduled cleanings through app
  • Compatible with Alexa and Google Home
  • Features a self-emptying base
  • Avoids pet waste

Cons

  • Expensive

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10 / 10

Roborock S7 Robot Vacuum And Mop
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Best Robot Vacuum and Mop Combo

Roborock S7 Robot Vacuum and Mop

This robot vacuum doesn’t just pick up dirt and debris—it also mops! You can’t trust any robot vacuum with a water tank on your expensive accent rug, but the Roborock S7 is smart enough to raise its mop up to 5 milliliters when it detects carpet.

The sonic mopping system offers multiple scrub settings via a removable mopping plate and reusable microfiber pad. And it’s no slouch in the vacuum department, either, with LiDAR mapping and a multi-directional floating brush system. The brushes keep close to the ground for a deeper cleaning, even on uneven surfaces. They also resist hair tangling, so this one is a smart choice for homes with pets.

Pros

  • Removable mopping plate lifts when carpet is detected
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Siri
  • Wi-Fi connection and app control
  • Features a reusable microfiber pad
  • Has a washable air filter

Cons

  • On the pricier side

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What to Consider When Buying a Vacuum Cleaner

We asked Petar Dzaja about what to look for when it comes to shopping for a new vacuum cleaner. Here are his top five things to consider before buying:

  1. Suction and clog prevention: “The power of a vacuum cleaner is important (I recommend at least 150 air watts), but what’s more crucial is its ability to prevent clogs and maintain strong suction,” Dzaja says. “A well-designed suction hose and anti-clogging system can make a world of difference. Features like a self-cleaning brush roll or a ‘cyclone spin’ system can prevent dust clogging and ensure efficient cleaning.”
  2. Type of filter: “Vacuum cleaners come with different types of filters. Some have extra features like a HEPA filter or ULPA filter,” Dzaja says. “It’s important to understand the type of filter used and the maintenance it requires. If you prefer low maintenance, opt for a vacuum with a universal fit for filters.”
  3. Design and function: “The design of the vacuum cleaner matters a lot,” Dzaja advises. “It should be able to reach tight areas, durable and ideally lightweight. Also, consider the type of vacuum—upright, cordless, stick, cylinder or robot—that suits your cleaning needs.” Don’t forget to consider if you’d prefer a bagless or cordless vacuum.
  4. Noise level: “The noise level of a vacuum cleaner can affect its usage. If you live in an apartment complex or have pets and children, a quieter vacuum will likely be more suitable,” Dzaja says.
  5. Pet hair cleaning: “If you have pets, a vacuum cleaner specifically designed for pet hair removal is a must. These vacuums come with specific bristles, filters and accessories focused on dealing with pet hair,” Dzaja shares.

How We Found the Best Vacuum Cleaners

At Family Handyman, we believe that cleaning is an essential part of home improvement, and our team is constantly researching and testing the best cleaning products on the market. While bringing you the best vacuum cleaners on the market is part of our brand mission, we also consulted an expert for his authoritative opinion on the best vacuum cleaners.

After that, we looked at over 30 of the best-selling vacuum cleaners out there, narrowing our list down based on value, real-life consumer reviews, editor testing, brand reliability and individual cleaning needs. We’re confident that you’ll be pleased with the final 10 best vacuums on our list.

FAQ

How much should I spend on a good vacuum cleaner?

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a vacuum cleaner for it to be effective. Our top choice above, the Shark Navigator Vacuum, will cost you a reasonable $200. However, if you’re looking for a high-end one to splurge on, some models will cost you $700 to $1,000 (or more).

How many years should a vacuum cleaner last?

According to Consumer Reports, vacuum cleaners last about eight years on average. Of course, the lifespan of any vacuum or household appliance will vary depending not only on the make and model, but also on the way it’s used. If you vacuum tough messes frequently (especially those with considerable amounts of long hair), your vacuum cleaner may have a shorter lifespan.

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