best vacuum cleaner for allergies

Allergies affect millions of people every year. Allergy triggers include animal dander, mold, dust mites, and even normal dust particles. When these fly around, they cause health problems. That usually happens when cleaning floors and other damp or dusty surfaces. Fighting these problems is possible by getting the best tool for the job – the best vacuum cleaner for allergies.

Investing in a vacuum that can deal with allergens reduces airborne particles, protecting your family from consequent health issues.

But what makes a vacuum great for allergy and asthma sufferers? I believe your first thought when searching for such a vacuum is related to its filtration level. A good vacuum for allergies should be airtight, capable of trapping over 99% of airborne particles, and a host of other qualities that make a cleaning device effective. Usually, when speaking of anti-allergy vacuums, HEPA filtration technology is the most prevalent feature in the discussion. A high-quality filtration system such as HEPA prevents the dust and other foreign particles from being blown back into the air. HEPA has been designed to support the suction at its best level while filtering tiny air particles (which are sometimes even less than 0.3 microns).

There are several filtration options available out there, so getting the right vacuum can be a daunting task for many people. In this guide, I will show you how to choose the right vacuum for your family in 2020, the type that keeps allergens trapped.

Best Vacuum Cleaner For Allergies

Best Overall: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional NV356E

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Bagless vacuums are popular for people who don’t want to purchase frequent bag replacements. If you have allergies but want the convenience of a bagless vacuum, the Shark Navigator is a popular choice.

What really sets this vacuum apart is the fact that it features a sealed air system with HEPA filter to trap 99.9 percent of allergens inside the vacuum. Allergy-sufferers will appreciate this feature that isn’t found on all models of vacuums.

The Shark Navigator also earns plenty of praise for its easy, lightweight maneuverability and lift-away canister. People like the convenience that this vacuum offers when it comes to cleaning tight spaces or specialized tasks, like stairs. The suction is also considered to be excellent, but be forewarned that it can fill the debris canister quickly.


Best Budget: Bissell 9595A CleanView Bagless Vacuum

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If you want a budget vacuum for allergies, the Bissell 9595A CleanView Bagless is a popular choice if you are willing to empty a dustbin.

Equipped with multi-cyclonic technology for deep dirt collection, this bagless upright vacuum has made a name for itself with its ability to extract dirt, dust, and dander from every crevice and corner. It’s a popular choice for anyone looking for an affordable vacuum, but the multi-level filtration and washable in-tank foam filter will help trap dust and airborne particles that may otherwise aggravate allergy-sufferers.

The biggest point of caution with this affordable vacuum cleaner for allergies is the fact that you will need to empty the dustbin, which may pose a problem if you have very sensitive allergies. While many allergy-sufferers say that using this vacuum has improved their condition, a few people complain of inhaling the dust and dander when releasing the contents of the dustbin, though you could do this outside to prevent contaminating the indoors. If you can handle emptying the dustbin (and don’t like buying replacement bags for a vacuum), then the Bissell 9595A CleanView Bagless Vacuum is easy on the wallet and will help eliminate common allergens from your home.


Best Canister: Kenmore Elite CrossOver Canister Vacuum

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For the convenience of a canister vacuum that is equipped for allergy-sufferers, check out the Kenmore Elite CrossOver.

This powerful canister vacuum is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) for its ability to capture allergens and provide a deep clean for your home. One of the key features of the Kenmore Elite CrossOver is the onboard HEPA filtration system. This canister vacuum has a HEPA exhaust filter to keep captured allergens from recirculating, along with a HEPA cloth bag to contain dirt and debris picked up through the vacuum nozzle.

In addition, the Kenmore Elite CrossOver has a two-motor system which it claims provides an increase of 20-percent more air power when compared to an average upright vacuum. In real-world use, many people agree that this vacuum does produce powerful suction. This is good news for anyone who suffers from allergies since greater suction means better elimination of dirt and dander. What people don’t like about the Kenmore Elite CrossOver is its sometimes finicky performance on higher-plush carpeting. A few people also say the machine is loud, though opinions are mixed on this. Despite this, this AAFA-certified canister vacuum is a solid choice.


Best High-End: Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister Vacuum

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If you are looking for a high-end and well-built vacuum cleaner for allergies, the solid Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister Vacuum is a pricey but popular choice.

Best known for their German-engineering, Miele vacuum cleaners have a reputation for superior performance and longevity. The C3 Marin is a great choice for allergy-sufferers since it features a sealed air system that won’t release allergens back into the air as you vacuum. In fact, the AirClean filtration system uses a HEPA filter and retains an impressive 99.9 percent of all particles.

As for cleaning performance, this canister vacuum has a variable motor speed with six settings to match power to any surface. This more expensive Miele model also includes a premium power brush for cleaning high-pile carpet, along with an attachment for hard surface floors. The powerful cleaning capacity and versatility of the canister design justify the price tag that creeps over $1,000. Many allergy sufferers are impressed by what the Miele’s AirFiltration system is capable of doing to contain allergens, making this an easy pick for a high-end vacuum for allergies.5

Best Cordless: Dyson V8 Animal Stick Vacuum Cleaner

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Cut the cord and chase down dander and dust anywhere with the Dyson V8 Animal Stick Vacuum Cleaner. This cordless vacuum cleaner for allergies is the ultimate in cleaning convenience.

Dyson has become well-known for their deep cleaning and innovative design, and the V8 Animal Stick Vacuum Cleaner is no exception. If you have allergies, you’ll definitely appreciate the whole-machine HEPA filtration that traps the tiny particles that trigger allergy attacks.

In addition, this cordless vacuum has a direct-drive cleaner head, which means a motor inside the brush bar will keep the nylon bristles working overtime to churn up dirt, pet hair, and more. A max mode will amp up the power even more to provide an exceptionally deep cleaning. However, this is where the V8 Animal shows its weakness—the 40-minute run time is dramatically reduced in max mode or when using attachments. One other thing to consider is the fact that you’ll need to empty a dustbin with this model of cordless vacuum. However, Dyson designed a hygienic dirt ejector that will help make the task easier. If you want to conquer allergies without a cord, choose the Dyson V8 Animal Stick Vacuum Cleaner.

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.

1. Handheld

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.

2. Canister

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.

3. Upright

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.

4. Stick

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.

Vacuum Cleaners

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.

Bare Floors:

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.

Types Of Vacuum Cleaners Explained

The types of vacuum cleaners to choose from can be overwhelming. Each one comes with its pros and cons.

1. Handheld Vacuum

Cleaning the sofa with a handheld vacuum

The handheld vacuum cleaner is good for cleaning hard-to-reach places. Think of your car, between the couch cushions, and underneath the bed. You can even use this handy machine for cleaning corners in rooms for a thorough clean.PROS:

  • Good for nooks and crannies.
  • You can keep it in your car.
  • Corded or cordless.
  • Good for pet hair.


  • Not good for general cleaning, as it would take too long.
  • Less power than a canister or full-sized vacuum.

Additional Specs

Cleaning SurfaceAny fabric, hard floor, carpets, cars
Best for CleaningDust, crumbs, hair
Noise LevelQuiet
Storage SizeSmall

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2. Canister Vacuum

Vacuuming a laminate floor

This powerful vacuum comes with a separate canister attached to the wand of the vacuum. Because of the separate canister, the engines of these vacuums can be bigger. If you’re looking for amazing suction and airflow, consider a canister vacuum.PROS:

  • Powerful vacuum.
  • They can clean floors, stairs, under furniture, upholstery, and curtains.
  • Lightweight.
  • They come with a variety of tools for different surfaces and flooring types.


  • They are bulkier, making them harder to store.
  • You need to assemble it before use, so it’s not as quick as other vacuums.
  • You have to take the canister with you as you vacuum.
  • Not good for people prone to back pain, as you’ll have to bend down to lift the canister and switch the vacuum on and off.

Additional Specs

Cleaning SurfaceCarpets, fabrics, hard floors, stairs
Best for CleaningDirt, pet hair, dust, food
Noise LevelModerate
Storage SizeLarge

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3. Upright Vacuum

When you visualize vacuum cleaners, an upright vacuum is probably the image that comes to mind. These vacuums are popular in households because they are effective for cleaning carpets and hard floors. They’re also affordable, powerful, and easy to maneuver.PROS:

  • Easy to store.
  • Stand up on their own.
  • Great for cleaning carpets, but can also be used on hard floors.
  • They come with attachments for different uses.
  • Wide cleaning path which is good for large areas.


  • Typically heavier.
  • They can be quite noisy.
  • Difficult to vacuum stairsbecause the cord or the body of the vacuum gets in the way.
  • Not efficient in hard-to-reach places or corners without attachments.

Additional Specs

Cleaning SurfaceCarpets and hard floors
Best for CleaningDust, allergens, hair
Noise LevelLoud
Storage SizeMedium

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4. Stick Vacuum

Woman cleaning hard floor with a cordless stick vacuum

Stick vacuums can be corded or cordless. They are the least powerful of these types of vacuum cleaners but they are good for small, narrow spaces.

Because of their stick-like design, they’re slender and simple to store.PROS:

  • Easy to store.
  • Lightweight.
  • Good for quick, small messes.
  • They work great on hardwood floors.
  • Corded or cordless.


  • Not as powerful as other vacuums.
  • Small dirt bin capacity.
  • Noisy.

Additional Specs

Cleaning SurfaceHard floors, light carpet, and rugs
Best for CleaningSurface litter, like crumbs and hair
Noise LevelLoud
Storage SizeSmall

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5. Robot Vacuum

Robotic vacuum cleaner cleaning the carpet

robot vacuum is like having a well-behaved dog. They clean up your mess, and you don’t even need to train them.

Robot vacuums are becoming more and more popular. That’s because of their wonderful convenience. This vacuum does the work for you while you’re out or while you’re home, cleaning floors and underneath furniture.


  • You can relax while the vacuum cleans.
  • The vacuum can find its way around the room and navigate between tight spots.
  • You can control it with your smartphone.
  • Takes only a small storage area.


  • They clean small messes, so you might need to vacuum manually every so often.
  • Small dirt bin capacity.
  • Expensive.
  • Not great on shaggy carpets or rugs.

Additional Specs

Cleaning SurfaceHard floors and carpets
Best for CleaningDirt, dust, hair, crumbs
Noise LevelQuiet
Storage SizeSmall

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6. Backpack Vacuum

backpack vacuum is a vacuum you can wear like a backpack. This can be a good choice for people who experience back pain.

While these have decent suction, they aren’t as powerful as some of the previously mentioned vacuum cleaners.PROS:

  • Good for people with back pain.
  • They pick up soil and dust.
  • The wand is lightweight.


  • Straps can be hard to adjust.
  • The storage bags inside are usually quite small.

Additional Specs

Cleaning SurfaceFloors, carpets, furniture
Best for CleaningSoil and dust
Noise LevelMedium
Storage SizeLarge

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7. Wet And Dry Vacuums

Vacuuming tile floor with a shop vacuum

wet and dry vacuum has the ability to vacuum up dry dirt and wet spots, a very useful function. So whether you’ve got spilled milk or sprinkled sawdust, this vacuum can solve your problem.PROS:

  • Vacuums wet and dry debris.
  • Good for inside the home but also on industrial sites.
  • Easy to wash out the separate filters.
  • Nozzle for getting into small spaces.
  • Inflates mattresses and paddling pools.


  • Corded, so if using outside, you’ll need to use multiple power supplies.
  • It gets smelly, especially if you’re vacuuming up urine or vomit.

Additional Specs

TypeWet and Dry
Cleaning SurfaceFloors, cars, furniture
Best for CleaningLiquids, solids, foods, glass, dust
Noise LevelMedium
Storage SizeLarge

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8. Central Vacuum System

If you’re tired of plugging and unplugging vacuums, you can get a central vacuum system installed in your home.

You get a tubing system hidden inside the walls of your house. That’s connected to a motorized suction unit usually stored in basements or garages. The tubing system can also connect to wall ports throughout the house.

When you need to vacuum, you connect a long hose to the wall ports and turn it on. Then you vacuum as normal around the house. The debris goes down the hose, through the tubes, and into the debris collection container.PROS:

  • More powerful than normal vacuum cleaners.
  • You don’t need to bring anything around with you.
  • Healthier indoor air quality since the debris container is located outside of living areas in the house.
  • Quiet.
  • The suction isn’t affected as the container fills.
  • You add value to your house.


  • These systems are expensive, costing roughly $1,000 to $3,000.
  • You have to carry around a pretty long hose.
  • Less energy efficient.
  • Difficult to vacuum stairs.
  • Not that effective on carpets.

Additional Specs

TypeCentral vacuum system
Cleaning SurfaceCarpets, hard floor, furniture
Best for CleaningDirt, debris, dander
Noise LevelQuiet
Storage SizeSmall

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Is A Vacuum Cleaner Really Necessary?

Maybe you’re quite happy with your broom and dustpan, but here are some reasons that a vacuum cleaner is necessary.

What Are The Advantages Of A Vacuum Cleaner?

  • It’s good if you have allergies: If you don’t vacuum, your allergies could worsen (1). Dust, pollen, and pet dander never go away. Dust mites breed quickly, too (2).
  • Your carpets and rugs will last longer: The more often you vacuum, the cleaner your house will be, therefore, lengthening the lifespan of your carpets, rugs, and other furniture.
  • Vacuuming purifies the air: To an extent, vacuuming can purify the air, especially if you’re a smoker. Smoke gets caught in carpets, curtains, rugs, and couches. Vacuuming is a good way to lessen the amount of old cigarette smoke in your home (3).
  • Vacuuming gets rid of mold: Mold has the creepy ability to move around your home. Vacuuming sucks some of that mold up, cleaning your home (4).
  • Your home looks cleaner: Finally, it’s important to vacuum your home for aesthetics. There’s nothing worse than visiting a friend and being totally uncomfortable in their dusty, dirty home. Vacuum your floors to create a pleasant and clean environment.

Location, Location, Location

Each type of flooring requires a different vacuum cleaner. Consider these tips when choosing the right vacuum cleaner for you.

Hard Floors

If you have hard floors in your house, such as hardwoodtiles, and laminate, your best option is a vacuum cleaner that comes with a number of attachments. You also want to opt for a lightweight vacuum cleaner so you prevent scratches on your floor.

An upright vacuum cleaner can scratch your floors and leave debris on your floors. Some upright vacuums do come with a setting for hard floors, but you’re better choosing something like a canister vacuum.

Canister vacuums usually come with an attachment brush for bare floors, which prevents scratching. Plus, they are good for rugs if you have any on your hard floors.


If you’ve opted for a cozy carpet in your home, it’s important to care for that. For carpet, you need something quite powerful. It needs to be able to pull out dirt and debris from carpet strands.

You don’t need to worry about floor scratching, so an upright vacuum cleaner is a fantastic option. So, when you have wall-to-wall carpet, shaggy or smooth, or even area rugs, an upright vacuum is best for you.

Bagged Vs. Bagless

When it comes to deciding between vacuum cleaners, you might also want to consider if you want a bagged or bagless device. There are pros and cons to both.

Bagged Vacuums


  • It’s good if anyone in your family has allergies. Bags trap most of the dirt, dust, and pollen. Exposure is minimal even when you’re emptying them.
  • There is less mess. The dust doesn’t go everywhere when you empty the vacuum, because all the dirt is in a bag.
  • Vacuum bags are available at most supermarkets.


  • You have to change the bag regularly.
  • There is more waste and an extra ongoing cost to your vacuum cleaner.

Bagless Vacuums


  • Environmentally friendly option.
  • You don’t need to stock spend money on vacuum bags.
  • Usually, you can see how full the dirt container is so you know when to empty the vacuum.


  • It’s messier. When you dump the vacuum contents into the trash, dust tends to fly up everywhere. We often find we need to vacuum around our garbage can after emptying our vacuums.

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