Finding the best Cleaning Robot or robot vacuum cleaner can be hard if you’re unaware of what features to look for especially that there are so many of them to find around. For this reason, we’ve put up a guide highlighting the top best budget robot vacuum options in the category.
Our team has researched and reviewed these products to help you come up with a better decision.
The obsession with robot vacuums is obviously the fact that they make your life 100 times easier, but there’s a hard part to the process: picking one.
“Roomba” and “robot vacuum” are essentially interchangeable terms at this point, but the robot vacuum market ain’t what it used to be. Though we totally back nearly every iRobot Roomba model, there’s a whole new world of brands that you should be considering during your vacuum cleaner research.
We know, we know: Keeping the Roomba models straight is a headache in itself — comparing handfuls of models from competing brands makes sticking with your old, barely-working vacuum look not so bad.
Trust us, that’s not the move.
This criteria can help narrow down your options:
- Some robot vacuums are great at cleaning, but get stuck on carpets or rugs when they have to switch over. If your space includes a multitude of floor types, be on the lookout for this.
- Some robot vacuums navigate between table legs like it’s their job, but some bump and stumble like they’re wearing a blindfold. If you have a lot of close-together furniture, pay attention to this.
- Some robot vacuums can run for two hours on one charge, but some max out at an hour. If you have a larger home that will need longer cleanings, make sure to consider the battery.
best cleaning robot
Best Overall Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum
- Automatic dirt disposal reduces airborne allergens
- Easily picks up dirt on carpet and bare flooring
- Automatic dirt disposal has a large footprint
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In our Lab tests, the iRobot Roomba s9+ excelled on hard floors, and impressively picked up 99% of the uncooked oatmeal, sand, baking soda and small nuts and screws we spread on the floor —and it spot cleaned a small area faster and more thoroughly than the competition. When Roomba detects it’s on carpet, it automatically pumps up the suction to clean deeper. Its onboard high-efficiency filter traps irritating allergens, while the corner brush reaches deep into corners and along edges to nab stray crumbs.
Robot vacuums can be messy to maintain, but Roomba’s double rubber roller brushes didn’t clog with pesky pet hair like bristle brushes did and its automatic dirt disposal system makes clean work of emptying the dust cup. Once cleaning is complete, Roomba returns to its charging base and the dirt it has collected is automatically transferred from the robot into the bag-lined dustbin without you having to touch the mess. Its large-capacity bags will last through multiple cleaning sessions and seal completely before you toss them so dust and dirt is contained.
One of the smartest robot vacuums we tested, Roomba maps and remembers multiple rooms and floor plans so it’s easy to direct just where you want it to via the app or by voice command. And when its battery is low, even in the middle of a large cleaning job, it’ll recharge itself quickly and go right back to where it left off, cleaning until the job is complete, yet avoiding the spots it’s already done. Brilliant!
Best Value Robot Vacuum
eufy RoboVac 15C Max Robot Vacuum
- Slim design gets under low furniture
- Multiple options for deep or regular cleaning
- Removes pet hair from carpet with ease
- Random cleaning pattern
- Filters aren’t washable
One of the quietest vacuums we tested, the Eufy robot was a top performer — thanks to its two side brushes and roller brush action — and is packed with high-end features all at a price that’s hard to pass up, making it a favorite with Amazon reviewers. Its sleek, super-slim design (just under three inches tall) means it can slip beneath low ottomans and couches to nab even the most difficult-to-reach dirt.
Eufy uses BoostIQ Technology to automatically increase suction power when it detects an extra-strength cleaning job is needed. Its large wheels helped it climb over door ledges and easily move from medium-pile carpet to hardwood or tile. With its advanced sensors, Eufy avoids any tumbles off ledges or stairs and bumping your furniture. There’s a remote control for spot cleaning or for cleaning just the edges of your rooms while the smartphone app lets you customize a cleaning schedule that suits you, and syncs with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice-control convenience. In our tests, it ran for almost two hours on a single charge, and the large dustbin means less-frequent emptying. Like most robot vacuums, Eufy knows to return to its charging base when the battery runs low to fully recharge before the next clean.
Best Wet/Dry Robot Vacuum
Ecovacs DEEBOT OZMO 950 Robot Vacuum
- Automatic carpet detection protects rugs from wet cleaning
- Multi-floor mapping capabilities
- Not great at spot cleaning
- At 3.7 inches, it may not fit under low furniture
If you want a gadget that does double-duty, this Ecovacs DEEBOT OZMO 950 can’t be beat – it’s the only one of our winners that can vacuum and wet-mop your floors simultaneously, using an innovative electronic water pump, reservoir, and either reusable or disposable pads. And you don’t have to worry about your carpet getting wet while using the DEEBOT. Thanks to its carpet detection capabilities, the robot automatically avoids them. While vacuuming, the DEEBOT knows when it’s on carpet and automatically increases the suction to clean more deeply.
In our tests, the DEEBOT easily transitioned from bare floors to carpets and at 3.7 inches high, it maneuvered and cleaned exceptionally well under and around a love seat and end table and ran for an impressive three hours and 20 minutes. With its methodical vacuuming pattern, three levels of suction, and over three hours of run time, this vacuum is ideal for larger homes. Sensors prevent the robot from bumping into obstacles, or falling off ledges or down stairs.
Other cool features include its ability to create up to three different maps of your home’s floor plan while it navigates its way around. Then, through the smartphone app you can access the map to set up a custom cleaning schedule and set boundaries for the robot around where you do and don’t want it to clean. The app allows you to remotely start its cleaning cycle even before you get home and syncs with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.
Best Robot Vacuum for Large Houses
Miele Scout RX2 Home Vision Robot Vacuum
- Optional live feed for remote monitoring of your home
- Great maneuverability without bumping into obstacles
- Initial app setup requires remote use
- Pet hair can be difficult to remove from the brush roller
With outstanding maneuverability, the Miele Scout RX2 Home Vision can vacuum through your home for up to two hours, taking care of your floors and carpet without bumping into obstacles. During testing, this pick vacuumed every size mess efficiently and more quickly than our other winners. It was speedy at spot cleaning, too.Rotating front brushes reach deep into corners and edges. It has multiple cleaning modes, depending on the cleaning you need (the turbo mode is noisier, though) and its multiple sensors prevent it from bumping into furniture, or toppling down stairs. Don’t rely on only the sensors to protect your investment — a handy boundary strip (included) is easily installed to stop the robot from entering a no-go area.
If you want to check that everything is okay at your home while you’re on the go, the two front cameras on the Scout RX2 Home Vision can transmit a live unrecorded image feed (encrypted) via the app to your mobile device while it cleans – the arrow buttons make navigating the robot a breeze. And if you’d prefer to not be that connected to your robot, you can completely remove the Wi-Fi module from the robot and use the remote control to schedule cleaning sessions, or direct the robot to an area for spot cleaning. A 2-year warranty comes standard, which is double the usual duration, and the cleaning tool for maintenance is installed in the dustbin, so it can’t get lost or misplaced.
Quietest Robot Vacuum
- Quiet and powerful basic model
- Ability to schedule cleanings without Wi-Fi
- Sensors detect stairs to prevent falls
- Small dust bin means frequent emptying
- No Wi-Fi connectivity
With its wonderfully quiet motor, we almost forgot the Bissell EV675 was maneuvering its way through our test rooms, running for up to 100 minutes before it needed recharging. It uses two edge brushes and a rotating brush roller to quickly clean pet hair and dry messes on bare floors, including along edges and in corners. Its low profile design helped it navigate into tight spaces and under furniture.
Though it’s not Wi-Fi connected, with the remote, you can direct the robot to clean only the edges, or do a quick spot clean, which it did very well. You can also easily set a future cleaning schedule to take care of your home when you’re away. Like others, the automatic sensors detect stairs and drop-offs and alert the robot to low battery levels so that it can automatically return to the docking station to recharge. The Bissell is a great starter robovac for those not into techy gadgets.
Best Robot Vacuum for Pet Hair
Robot vacuums can often struggle with pet hair, but the budget-friendly Amarey A900 was the top scorer for pet hair pickup among our winners and any hair that got stuck in the brush was easier to remove. Using visual navigation, the Amarey maps out your space, following the optimal cleaning path around obstacles. Its first cleaning session may seem erratic while mapping, but the maps enable it to become substantially more efficient with future cleanings.
Its slim design – only 2.75” tall – lets it glide under beds and low furniture to clean hard-to-reach places. It offers four different cleaning modes including spot cleaning and edge cleaning. The auto mode adjusts suction for different floor types, increasing suction when it detects carpet. In our tests, the Amarey was quiet and cleaned for up to two hours before returning to its charging dock. If it runs out of juice in the middle of a job, once it is fully charged it will return to pick up where it left off.
With both a remote control for basic functions like cleaning modes, suction levels and directing the vacuum, and an app to provide access to mapping, scheduling and voice commands, the Amarey is easy to use no matter how tech-savvy you are.
Best Robot Vacuum for Carpet
Samsung POWERbot R7070 Pet
Looking for a robot vac to clean your carpet while taking gentle care of your floors? Look no further. The Samsung POWERbot R7070 was excellent at picking up dirt and fluff from carpet, bested only by our Best Value pick. Its wide brush roller means a larger area is cleaned with each pass, and automatic detection of the surface types enables the POWERbot to adjust its suction for the best cleaning. Its onboard camera and FullView sensors create an ideal cleaning path while avoiding obstacles, but it’s the Edge Clean Master feature that blew us away. When the sensors pick up that it’s nearing a corner or edge, an innovative rubber blade extends to help pull dust and debris from these hard-to-reach areas into the vacuum.Advertisement –
Like others, the app enables you to control your robot remotely or via voice enabled devices, and the coverage map shows where the POWERbot has cleaned. You can also schedule cleaning times when it is convenient for you. If the battery needs charging in the middle of a cleaning session, the POWERbot will recharge and resume where it left off. We found taking care of this robot particularly easy too – the rubber roller brush automatically detangles and removes pet hair and the filter is washable.
Are robot vacuums worth it?
While no robot can manage stairs, or tackle ground-in dirt and debris as well as a stick or upright vacuum (yet!), the top performers in our tests do have impressive pick-up scores on hard floors and low pile carpets. They sweep up fine particles, like sand and baking soda, heavier debris, like oatmeal, orzo pasta, metal screws and nuts and even fluffy stuff, like pet hair.
Consider investing in one if you absolutely hate this chore or want your home cleaned more often than you have the time or energy for. Robot vacuums are great maintenance cleaners. Send them out several times a week and they’ll nab all the dust and pet hair, lint, and surface dirt on your floors before it has a chance to build up or get ground in.
Another benefit is that these vacuums clean under the bed, behind furniture, along the walls and in the corners that you might often skip or your regular vacuum can’t reach. (All of the vacuums we tested have brush rollers to lift away pet hair, were slim enough to clean under furniture at least four inches high, and most featured side brushes to help scoop dirt from deep corners and edges.) They’ll clean just the kitchen floor after dinner while you catch your favorite show or an entire floor of your home while you’re out of the house. Can you get it done faster with your regular vacuum? Sure. But the real question is, do you want to?
Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide
A comprehensive guide that will give you all the information you need on how to buy a new vacuum.https://www.youtube.com/embed/BO-4WsRd8oY?rel=0
Deciding on the perfect vacuum for your home can be tricky. There are a lot of styles, functions and high-tech features to choose from. So which one is right for you? This guide has been created to make your vacuum shopping experience as easy as possible. So let’s dive in!.Shop Vacuums
There are a few different types and styles of vacuums that we are going to address in this buying guide. We are sure you will find just the one to fit all of your cleaning needs.
This style of vacuum is going to be the most popular type of vacuum that can be found in many households today. It’s the best go-to vacuum for removing dust and dirt from carpeting, and is able to clean large areas of carpet quickly. They also work well on area rugs and hard floors.However, it is good to note that not all upright vacuums can be used on hard floor surfaces, since doing so might cause damage to some floors and vacuums. If this is an important factor it’s smart to do research on the brand of vacuum you are looking into, to make sure it works well on hard floors too. A brush on/off switch is recommended, as it will help protect the finish on bare floors.Some other things to look for when deciding on your upright vacuum are onboard attachment, bag-less or not, and the weight of the unit. Upright cleaners come in a variety of styles and sizes, each varying in weight. Some uprights include edge cleaning, which picks up dirt under the entire area of the head. This is a helpful feature especially when cleaning wall-to-wall carpeting. Suction control is another useful feature to look at when cleaning draperies and upholstery.Shop Upright Vacuums
Canister Vacuums are portable and easy to use. They are well suited for people who clean a variety of surfaces but are most popular for those who have little carpeting and like to vacuum their hard surfaced floors. They tend to be lighter than other vacuum designs, plus they have a highly maneuverable power head that can reach tight spots with ease.Canister vacuums have the motor and bag in a separate unit, which is usually mounted on wheels to help with maneuvering. The canister itself is connected to the vacuum head by a flexible hose. By using a revolving brush system or brush agitator, it can dislodge dirt particles from the carpet so they can be picked up easily; this comes in handy when picking up things like pet hair. Without a built-in revolving brush, canister vacuums use straight suction to clean. Most canister vacuums have a bag that needs to be replaced, however there are bag-less models available, which eliminates the additional cost of buying dust bags.Bottom line, this style is perfect for vacuuming hard-to-reach spots and furniture; it’s also great for cleaning cars and drapes as well.Shop Canister Vacuums
Handheld & Stick Vacuums
These types of vacuums are the smallest and lightest options available, they are often cordless and operate on batteries. They also offer lots of convenience when it comes to a variety of cleaning tasks around the house.Handheld vacuums are perfect for cleaning closets, vents, blinds, upholstery or car interiors, and made mostly for above-the-floor cleaning. They’re best used for tasks such as cleaning up small spills, getting cobwebs out of corners or vacuuming dirt out of windowsills.Stick vacuums are very similar to upright vacuums. The design is the same, but stick vacuums tend to be a lot lighter in weight and usually do not come with any attachments. If you have a multilevel home, a stick model vacuum is great to keep on the second floor and eliminate the need to carry your main one up and down the stairs. Not to mention, there are certain models out now which have been designed with handheld features, making it easy to clean stairs, ceiling fans and more.Shop Handheld & Stick Vacuums
Robot cleaners are completely hands-free, battery-operated vacuums. They seek out and suck up dirt, debris and dust from carpets and hard surface floors. They are a great choice for light, daily cleanings and extremely popular with pet owners, allergy sufferers, busy households, or just anyone who wants their floors to stay constantly clean.A robot vacuum is self-propelled and programmable, so you don’t have to do any extra work when it comes to vacuuming. These nifty gadgets use sensors to avoid obstacles and stairs, while smart enough to still easily clean underneath furniture. If you’re someone who simply does not have enough time to vacuum regularly, a robot vacuum can help you solve this problem.Shop Robot Vacuums
Commercial & Garage (Wet & Dry) Vacuums
Commercial and garage vacuums are often referred to as shop vacs. They offer extra power when it comes to professional-sized messes. These vacuums are the perfect type when it comes to cleaning up things such as sawdust in basements, dirt and water in garages, or any other mess, wet or dry. Many labor workers use them on job sites as they can handle that kind of debris. To choose the right commercial or garage vacuum, one must think about how they will use it and where it will be stored.Smaller models will be easier to move around, but they will not be able to handle larger messes.Shop Commercial & Garage (Wet & Dry) Vacuums
Carpet cleaners come in a variety of different styles ranging from uprights to portable spot cleaners, even smaller handheld carpet cleaners, all of which are capable of cleaning and disinfecting furniture, drapes or rugs.Even if you vacuum your carpets pretty regularly things such as dirt, pet dander, bacteria and dust mites remain deep in your carpet’s fibers. To fix this issue, carpet cleaners use moisture and heat to loosen the dirt and stains that a regular vacuum can’t suction. Not to mention, they can also disinfect carpets by killing unwanted germs. If you’re looking for a deep clean, a carpet cleaner is your best bet.Steam cleaners have become very popular in recent years because they are considered the healthy and “green” alternative to cleaning. Many steam cleaners look like upright vacuums, they have a large tank that dispenses hot water with a cleaning solution, while another tank holds the dirty water. If you or anyone in your home suffers from allergies and chemical sensitivities, a steam cleaner is a healthy way to deep clean a variety of surfaces without aggravating allergy symptoms. You and your family can live healthier and breath better by using a steam cleaner on a regular basis.Shop Carpet/Steam Cleaners
Central Vacuum Systems
Central vacuum systems are the most durable options available. Although they may be a bit more expensive up front, the lack of maintenance and longer lifespan often make up for the cost and then some. Unlike traditional vacuums, the motor and collector of a central vacuum system is installed into the home, typically in the basement or garage. From there, vacuum piping runs through walls, crawlspaces, or other out of the way areas of the home to floor or wall-mounted inlet valves in a handful of locations around the house. By attaching a hose to these inlets, like those used by canister vacuums, you’re able to vacuum all of the areas of your home without lugging around a heavy canister or upright vac. The hoses are typically 30 feet long, allowing you to vacuum multiple rooms from a single inlet. These systems also offer all the same kinds of attachments you’d find on traditional types of vacuum cleaners, from wands to crevice tools to pet brushes.Installing a central vacuum system offers a number of benefits over traditional models. In addition to their longer lifespan, central vacuum systems also provide far greater suction capabilities when compared to other types of vacuum cleaners. More powerful motors translate to greater cleaning potential, allowing you to pull more particles out of thick carpets or upholstery.
Central vacuum systems are also significantly quieter than their portable counterparts. Without the motor roaring next to you as you clean, the only sound is that of fast-moving air. Additionally, central vacs promote cleaner air quality by extracting and containing dust particles, allergens, and other contaminants, whereas other types of vacuum cleaners can end up releasing their smaller particles back into the air, often when being emptied.There are a handful of qualities to look for when deciding between central vacuum systems. First and foremost, you want to be sure to use a trusted brand. While you may save a few dollars opting for a cheap system, you’ll likely end up paying more in the long run with service calls and/or a shorter lifespan. For the best indicator of suction strength look at the Air Watts specification, with higher numbers signifying stronger suction. You also need to make sure the system offers enough suction to cover every corner of your home. Choosing a model that boasts a coverage area greater than the square footage of your home is a good idea as these numbers are calculated with perfect conditions in mind.Lastly, you’ll need to decide between bag systems, those that use filters, a hybrid of the two, or a cyclonic system.
Bagged systems use a bag inside their collector canister to contain debris. Although they don’t require outside venting, using a vent will reduce noise and odor. Filter systems similarly don’t require venting but benefit from it. These systems use one of a handful of filter types to protect dirt from contaminating clogging the motor, filing a canister or bag that needs to be emptied every three to six months. Cyclonic systems are the only ones that require outside venting. Most of the dirt is captured with the canister with a small percentage of tiny particles venting outdoors. Hybrid systems, those that use filters and bags are a great choice. They help keep the motor running clean and offer an easy to dispose of container for debris.Shop Central Vacuum Systems
Useful Features to Consider
Before settling down and picking a vacuum that will work best for you, take a look as some additional features that may be important or become important long-term:
Bag-less designs probably offer the utmost convenience by allowing you to simply detach the container unit from the vacuum. You can then quickly dispose of any dirt inside, without having to pull out and replace a bag. However, bag designs are still nice because they can usually keep dust contained a lot better, since the bag itself seals the dust away. This prevents any further messes from occurring when cleaning out your vacuum. Not to mention, if allergies are a concern the bag is definitely a smarter choice.
If you have a combination of hard surfaced floors and carpets, or lots of hard floors, a multi-surface vacuum is the best way to go. Multi-surface vacuums allow you to turn the brush roll on and off, so you can avoid scratching your hard floors when transitioning from carpets.
Filters are a must-have for anyone who is sensitive to dust or pet hair, as well as allergic to pollen. HEPA filters are considered to be the best because they remove particles such as dust, dander and allergens from the air. Some vacuum models feature a filter that needs to be replaced regularly, while some have started to include reusable filters that allow you to remove, clean and replace the same filter as necessary. Reusable filters would be the ideal kind to use, as they are a great money-saving option.Shop Vacuums
Vacuum Accessories & Attachments
If you’re looking to do more than just vacuum the floors around your home, you may need to consider certain vacuum accessories and attachments. In order to properly clean drapes, sofas and chairs, dust shelves, and get to all the nooks and cracks in your home, you’ll need the right attachments.A crevice tool is great for cleaning corners and tight spaces. A dusting brush can be used to gently dust shelves and tables, as not to scratch them. An upholstery tool is perfect for vacuuming your furniture without causing any damage. Turbo brushes can offer a deeper clean for longer carpets.
The Main Vacuum Types
There are five primary shapes of vacuum cleaners, each performing a slightly different function, although some combine those forms in order to provide more bang for your buck. Being aware of the expectations you have of your vacuum cleaner can help you more intelligently and decisively pick one of the following.
Handheld vacuums are perfect for getting those painfully hard-to-reach areas that desperately need a cleaning. The most common example for use is in vacuuming cars, since, as the name suggests, this model can be held in only one hand. Its versatility makes it a dream for suctioning up dirt and debris in a variety of tight places, but it would not serve well for general flooring cleaning, which would take a long time to clean with a handheld. This type of vacuum cleaner comes in all sorts of different forms with equally different price tags.
Canister vacuum cleaners are a happy medium between the upright model and the stick model. They are powerful like the upright cleaners, but feature a slender frame, like the stick cleaners. In this case, a separate canister is attached to a long wand which can be used to maintain not only carpeted areas but also bare flooring as well. This style of vacuum cleaner tends to be one of the most expensive options, given its technologically-forward and multi-functional design.
These cleaners are perhaps the most popular and sought-after forms of vacuum cleaners. When you imagine a vacuum cleaner or see one advertised in media, the image you picture is probably that of an upright machine. These models provide the most powerful clean-up for your house, and offer the comforting benefit of usually easy-to-understand functions and accessories, since most people have used an upright vacuum cleaner at least once in their lifetime. Most models provide settings that allow these vacuum cleaners to be used not only on carpeted surfaces but also bare floors.
While perhaps the least powerful of the vacuum models, stick vacuums have a knack for getting into narrow places and doing a tremendous job on hardwood floors, area rugs and light carpeting. This type of vacuum features a long stick-like handle and a slender construction. The slimness of this model makes it a perfect addition to any closet space, as it tucks neatly into most corners after its purpose has been served.
5. Autonomous / Robot
Robot vacuum cleaners have gained a lot of popularity in recent years, mainly due to the fact that they require little effort on your end. These vacuums are able to roam freely around your home, sucking up any small mess in its way. They not only save you time, but they are also able to reach places that larger vacuums wouldn’t be able to, such as under the couch. One main drawback of robot vacuums is that they typically come at a steep price.
Location, Location, Location
Do you have primarily hardwood floors throughout your house? Are these floors covered with area rugs, or are they bare? Is your home filled with wall-to-wall carpeting? These are considerations you must make before taking the leap and purchasing your very own vacuum cleaner.
If you have bare floors, you’re better off with models that provide a number of attachments and which don’t have quite as much heft as some of the others. Using a regular upright vacuum on flooring like hardwood poses a number of problems, which includes scratching your smooth and coveted floors and being counterproductive by scattering debris across their surfaces. Some upright vacuums do provide settings that function better on non-carpeted areas, but for the most part your best bet would be with a model like the canister vacuum, which can also take care of your area rugs if you have any. These vacuums usually come with a bare-floor brush, which makes keeping your floors squeaky clean and scratch-free a piece of cake.
On the other hand, if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s definitely worth considering a model with different advantages than a vacuum cleaner suited for hardwood flooring and tiling. You won’t need to worry about scratching the surface of your carpet, and in fact, you’ll want something powerful that pulls up all the lingering debris from the carpet strands. In this instance, an upright cleaner is a great way to go. There are all sorts of extra conveniences that upright vacuums have recently come out with, including a dirt sensor which makes sure you get that last speck of grime.
Know the layout of your flooring and what sorts of surfaces you’ll be dealing with to ensure your needs will be met with your new vacuum cleaner.
To Bag or Not To Bag
The general consensus is that, whether you have a bagged vacuum or a bagless vacuum, your house will be clean either way (as long as you keep using it). However, there are a few small differences that may make or break your decision to buy one or the other.
If you or any of your family members are sensitive to allergens or have asthma, the bagged vacuum is probably more for you. Dust exposure is minimized when the bag is emptied and most bags are guaranteed to trap all but .03% of the dust and pollen in your carpeting. You do have to replace the bags on a regular basis, although these are typically available at most supermarkets.
If you are environmentally-minded and prefer to not have to deal with replacing bags, the bagless vacuum is more for you. These vacuums usually have a see-through canister which gives you perfect access to seeing how full the vacuum is, which can help you determine when you need to empty it out.