Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

A Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide To Educate You

The Greatest Appliances Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide offers an in-depth analysis of what it takes to get the best value. Use our guide, make informed buying-decisions and save money.

Being able to actually see lines on the carpet from your vacuum cleaner just has a way of making you feel like your house is cleaner. How would you like it if you were able to experience that all the time? Want to see gleaming floors that are free of dust? Our Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide will educate you in what you need to keep an eye out for when you want to get the best vacuum cleaner to meet your needs and, more importantly, your budget.

If you already know all about the different vacuums and just want to find the best one to meet for your needs, be sure to check out our Vacuum Cleaner Reviews. You should also check out all of our Appliance Buying Guides.

Whether you love clean flooring, or a fanatic about vacuum lines in your carpet, you have come to the correct site to help you find the best vacuum cleaner for your needs. We’ve examined over 130 models of vacuums, running them over countless miles of carpet, hardwood, and vinyl flooring just to help you choose the right cleaner.

image of a variety of vacuums for our vacuum cleaner buying guide

Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide To Vacuum Types

You will begin your quest to finding the best vacuum cleaner by figuring out what type of cleaning you prefer doing. If your house has wall-to-wall carpeting, or even a lot of rugs, upright vacuums is what you will want to focus on.

However, if you have a lot of stairs, hardwood, laminate, or tile flooring, the canister models will be much easier for you to move around. Hand-held and stick vacuums are awesome for lesser-tasks that call for prompt action. A robot vacuum cleaner is the choice for you if you are on the go. To find the best vacuum cleaner in every category, simply go check out our Vacuum Cleaner Reviews.

image of hoover upright vacuum cleanerUpright Vacuum Cleaners

Advantages: Uprights are usually a little cheaper than canister vacuums and provide a wider cleaning swath. In general, they are better at deep-cleaning carpets—specifically the models with bags. For the most part, they’re a snap to store.

Disadvantages: The weight of the machines, pushing them and pulling them. Some of our best performers weigh as much as 20 pounds and even more, however models that don’t weigh that much are still able to do a great job. Uprights are usually more noisy than canister vacuums.

Click here to see our list of the Best Upright Vacuum Cleaners

Canister Vacuum Cleaners

Advantages: When it comes to cleaning stairs, bare floors, under furniture, upholstery, and drapes, canisters are better than uprights – and some are even equal to uprights when it comes to cleaning carpets. The majority of them are quieter, and the separate power head makes them feel lighter too.

Disadvantages: These vacuum cleaners tend to be more bulky than their upright counterparts. The hose and wand make a canister more difficult to store in a closet.

Click here to see our list of the Best Canister Vacuum Cleaners

image of stick vacuum cleanerStick Vacuum Cleaners

Advantages: Similar to uprights, Stick Vacuums have tall bodies and handles, as well as a powerhead. Most are powered by a battery. They’re light and convenient whenever you have to clean up a mess quickly. They also keep you from needing to bend over to clean a dirty floor.

Disadvantages: The majority of these units don’t have good performance on carpet like regular-size vacuums. They are mainly designed for picking up surface litter and should not be considered as a replacement for a traditional vacuum. The capacity of their dirt bin is normally pretty small. The majority of them are pretty loud.

Click here to see our list of the Best Stick Vacuum Cleaners

Hand-Held Vacuum Cleaners

Advantages: These miniature electric models are available in both the corded or cordless variety. They’re ideal for light, quick surface cleaning on short-pile carpets and bare floors; some are able to handle pet hair on upholstery. They’re also handy for cleaning up the interior of your car.

Disadvantages: They do not possess the power or the capacity of canister models or full-sized uprights.

Click here to see our list of the Best Hand-Held Vacuum Cleaners

Robotic Vacuum Cleaners

Advantages: While you relax, you can set it and let it run and do the dirty work. In rooms without a lot of clutter, a robotic is able to touch up between regular, manual vacuuming periods. The higher-end models are able to find their way out of tight spaces and avoid extension cords. A couple of the latest models are even able to be controlled by a smartphone app.

Disadvantages: You will fail to experience the deep cleaning you get from the best canister and upright vacuums. The robot is also a poor choice if you have any shag area rugs or carpeting.

Click here to see our list of the Best Robotic Vacuum Cleaners

Central Vacuum Cleaners

Advantages: These are much more easy to use than a canister. Because of the missing vacuum body, you’ll be able to carry just the hose and powerhead. Central vacuums are typically reasonably quiet, and you can go extended periods of time without needing to empty their dirt chambers.

Disadvantages: Central vacuums can be expensive and sometimes call for professional installation. Their long hoses tend to be cumbersome and consume significant storage space.

We do not currently conduct reviews on central vacuums.

Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide For Shopping

image of bissell canister vacuum cleanerOur Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide understands that, these days, vacuums are available in a wide range of slick colors, designs, and sleek shapes. However, how well they clean is what matters the most. Keep it in your head that, even if you have a personal preference for a type of vacuum, your actual cleaning needs should be your first priority. If you are a pet owner, know that upright and canister vacuums did the best job at picking up pet hair. This is not a surprise as they also did the best at completing regular jobs as well.


Check Features

Our Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide strongly suggests that, if you have a vacuum that has a motorized brush, you will find it’s going to do a better job cleaning carpets than one that is only powered by suction. If you have bare floors or need to avoid a little debris on the floor, you can flip a switch to deactivate those brushes. Give consideration to models that have a manual height adjustment control as well as a suction control to clean delicate fabrics and draperies.

Bagged or Bagless

You can save on the cost of buying bags when you have a bagless model, however they need more filter attention than the bagged vacuum. You will either need to clean or replace the filter of the bagless more frequently than the bagged model. Also, if you have allergies or asthma, the mess that you find when emptying out their bins may be a bit of an issue for you.

Try It Out

We suggest that, even if you are buying your new vacuum online, test it out first. If you are buying online, go to a store first find the model you are considering and push it, pull it, lift it, turn it and get a feel for it. See what kind of features and controls come with it. If the price online is cheaper than the store, check with the manager of the store to see if they’ll match the price. You never know unless you ask.

Keep an Ear Out for Noise

You are not likely to find a vacuum that requires ear protection but just about any vacuum is going to be more noisy in a room that has a lot of echo, like a bathroom. The quietest type of vacuum tends to be the Canister.

Keep an Eye Out for Sales

More and more frequently you can find discounts of 20 to 30 percent on vacuum cleaners, especially during the holidays. For the big market brand names, you usually won’t need to wait for a big sale. Just check store advertisements or sign up on manufacturer websites to receive discounts and news of special offers.

image of brush agitator for hoover vacuum cleanerVacuum Cleaner Buying Guide Feature Fundamentals

A lot of vacuum cleaner features improve performance or get rid of a little of the drudgery involved with cleaning. However don’t become blinded by gadgets. Below you will find some of the more useful vacuum features to take into consideration.

Add-On Cleaning Tools

A lot of vacuums provide basic tools that should be more than adequate for the majority of cleaning chores: A thin device meant for crevices, a small upholstery brush, as well as a brush for dusting. On canister vacuums, a powered intake will clean carpets better than a basic suction intake. Edge cleaners are optional tools which are able to pick up debris below the entire area of the cleaning head. That’s handy whenever you have to clean wall-to-wall carpeting; the vacuum will clean right up to the area that the carpet intersects with the wall.

Bagged vs. Bagless

A number of upright vacuum cleaners, as well as canister models, use bags and some just use bins to collect dirt and dust. Bagged vacuums usually hold more dire and, when you empty the bag, will usually lead to the release of less dust in the air. You will find an indicator light to let you know whenever the bin or bag is full and needs to be emptied. On the other hand, with bagless vacuums, you might save money because you do not need to purchase bags, however these eat up more filters (like HEPA filters) which must be cleaned or replaced periodically. Replacement filters are usually significantly more costly than bags. Another thing to consider: Emptying the dustbin and cleaning a filter is often messy, and handling them will sometimes expose you to dust and other allergens.

Bare-Floor Options

These assist in the cleaning of vinyl, hardwood, or other flooring that is not carpeted. The most typical is a bare floor setting and an on and off switch for the brush of the vaccum.

Brush Agitator

Sometimes referred to as a roller brush, this feature is located under the vacuum. This roller comes with bristles attached and goes across the width of the entire base. This roller dislodges dust, grit, and dirt from the carpet to allow the intake to more easily suck it up. Some of the models provide a switch so you can turn the brush off when you are cleaning a bare floor.

Carpet Pile-Height Adjustment and Suction Control

This allows you to adjust the height of the vacuum’s brush so you can maneuver more easy over carpet and still achieve a thorough cleaning of the room. Some models have an automatic adjustment setting but, to be more precise in cleaning, manual is the best option. Some models have a switch to control the amount of suction, airflow through the hose, so that you can have a better, more controlled experience when cleaning curtains and upholstery.


An increasing amount of vacuum cleaner manufacturers claim their product filters the fine particles that could otherwise pass through the machine and escape out of the machine through the exhaust. Micron filters are capable of providing a higher level of filtration than basic models either through the bag or a separate filter, but probably not quite as high as high-efficiency particulate-air (HEPA) filtration. HEPA filtration may be of some benefit to people with asthma or allergy issues. In our reviews, models that had a HEPA filter were extremely effective at limiting emissions. Some models without HEPA filters, however, performed every bit as good in our reviews, and vacuums without the HEPA filter costs less in most cases.

Cord Control

Most often found in canister vacuums, it lets you rewind the cord by giving a little tug or the press of a button. The majority of machines come with an electrical cord of at least 20 feet; sometimes cords can reach longer than 30 feet. A cord-release clip, provided mainly on upright models, allows you to free the entire cord at one time, instead of going one wrap at a time.


This feature normally utilizes a transmission and drive system to aid in the pushing and pulling process of vacuuming, thereby greatly reducing the amount of effort needed from the user. The bad part is it increases the total weight and can make the vacuum a little more difficult to lift and carry.

Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide Frequently Asked Questions

How Frequently Do You Vacuum?

When choosing a vacuum cleaner, it is important that you take into account how frequently you clean. In case you clean every day, you will want a lightweight type that perfectly maintains your home. But if you will be cleaning once a week, you can opt for a larger canister or upright model with a more robust motor.

Do You Have Stairs?

If you have stairs, you will want to choose a canister that has a long hose as well as attachments to enable you get in and around railings. But in case you are just looking for a cleaner that cleans your whole house, you should avoid choosing a cleaner with a complex canister that you will have to drag constantly between floors. Instead, choose a lightweight upright machine. Alternatively, you can go for a used cheaper model to be used for cleaning upstairs.

Does Your Family Suffer From Allergies?

A vacuum is designed to work by drawing air, debris and dust in and then sending them out in the exhaust air. If you have a vacuum cleaner with lots of crevices or poor filtration, it means it can scatter irritants and this can make you wheezy and sneezy. In order to be on the safe side, pick a vacuum that is both sealed and also has HEPA filter. This enables it to trap 99% of dander, dust, mold spores and pollen. Our Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide feels that allergies are a very important consideration.

What Is Your Power Requirement?

As a Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide, we do believe the most important thing to consider when shopping for the best vacuum cleaner is suction. Another thing is cyclonic action, which is what the vac uses to draw particles and dust into the machine. Agitation and air flow, which is just the ability of the cleaner to deeply penetrate the carpet and remove dirt, is also important. All these functions have to do with suction power. While most manufacturers are boastful of the amperage of their products, what matters most is air watts. These measure the cleaning power of a machine more accurately. Experts recommend a vacuum cleaner with more than 200 watts as this is generally a powerful machine.

What About A Warranty?

This vacuum cleaner buying guide also recommends that the machine you buy needs a good warranty. Typically, companies provide a one-year warranty period. This is not good enough. Look for 3 or even 5-year warranty periods. Make sure that the warranty also covers labor and body parts such as motor.

Apart from the warranty, make sure that you buy a durable vacuum cleaner. Ideally, your cleaner should serve you for at least 20 years. But you also have a role to play regarding how long the machine will last. If you buy your machine carefully, it can even last as long as you live.

Which Style Do You Need?

Bagless types are great and this is mainly because you won’t have to be concerned with stocking up on bags. Also, in most cases, you will not even be required to touch the canister in order to get rid of the mess. All you need is to simply press a button and then have it held over garbage can.

On the other hand, a vacuum cleaner with a bag means that all the dirt and grime is contained, and it also reduces your exposure to the grime when discarding it. The bottom line is that current brands of bagless vacuums are better than bag models as the latter lose airflow and suction as the bag is filled.

Our Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide List Of Popular Brands


Bissell vacuums can be purchased at a variety of mass merchants, including Target and Walmart. Upright models tend to be moderately priced, typically cost in the price range of $60 to $250. Bissell also makes hand and stick vacuums, canisters, steam mops, deep carpet cleaners, and even entered the robotic vacuum market recently. Our Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide recommends this brand.

Dirt Devil

Dirt Devil floor-care products focus on affordability and convenience. Part of TTI Floor Care, the Dirt Devil brand can be purchased at a variety of mass merchants, including Target and Walmart. Upright models typically cost in the price range of $40 to $200. Some of the brand’s upright vacuums are among the lightest models sold. Dirt Devil also makes canister vacuums, and hand and stick models. Our Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide recommends this brand for handheld models.


Colorful styling, innovative features, and well-known national advertising featuring its namesake owner and designer helped Dyson become a major player in the U.S. typically cost in the price range of $300 to $600, Dyson vacuums have helped increase the average price paid for uprights. Canisters have joined that lineup, as have hand and stick vacuums. The brand can be purchased nationwide through major mass merchants such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target. Our Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide recommends this brand.


Eureka offers a wide range of models the are aimed at addressing different needs, such as pet hair. Uprights typically cost in the price range of $50 to $200. You’ll find this national brand in an array of mass merchants, including Target and Walmart. Eureka also makes hand and stick vacuums, and canisters.


Hoover introduced their first vacuum way back in 1907 and established itself as one of the most recognizable consumer brands in America. Part of TTI Floor Care, along with Dirt Devil and Oreck, Hoover offers a wide variety of uprights at mass-market retailers, with models typically costing in the price range of $50 to $300. It also manufactures hand and stick vacuums, canister models (about $80 to $300), bare-floor cleaners, and deep carpet cleaners.


Introduced in 1927, Kenmore has earned a solid reputation with consumers. This midlevel, mass-market brand sells floor care appliances priced from $150 to 500. Once exclusive to Sears, Kenmore uprights can be bought in Kmart stores. Kenmore uprights typically cost in the price range of $150 to $400. Kenmore is the top-selling canister brand, with models that range in price from $150 to $400.


This German appliance company is family-owned and run, and it has been manufacturing vacuum cleaners since the late 1920s. In the U.S., Miele vacuums can be bought through small, independent vacuum retailers. However, the brand’s retail distribution now includes and Bed Bath & Beyond. Miele focuses on premium upright and canister vacuums, with prices typically running in the price range of $300 to $1,000.


Being known, at one time, for being the “infomercial” brand, Shark has leveraged its promotional edge to attain placement in huge retail stores. Including Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Kohl’s, which makes them one of the best-selling brands. Upright vacuum cleaners are their main focus, with models normally costing in the price range of $150 to $300. Shark also offers hand vacuums, stick vacuums, and steam mops.


iRobot, which was created by MIT roboticists back in 1990, manufactures the Roomba brand of robotic vacuum cleaners.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide and were able to gain adequate knowledge to make an intelligent decision.