Choosing an easy vacuum cleaner, or cheap vacuum cleaner for you and your home means thinking about more than just that. Consider what surfaces you’ll be vacuuming, how your home is laid out and how much time you have for cleaning up. Immediately below are our picks for the best best vacuum cleaner for home in key categories.
Basically, there are a lot of potential annoyances you can run into and it’s not like any of us need another excuse not to break out the vacuum. On top of that, today’s market has expanded to include a bunch of different vacuum categories. So how do you narrow down your options to find something durable that’s easy to use and cleans well? Well, by reading this buying guide, of course.
best best vacuum cleaner for home
Easy Vacuum Cleaner
1. DYSON BIG BALL ANIMAL 2 VACUUM CLEANER
Best for: All-rounderType: CylinderBagless?: YesCordless?: NoWeight: 7.9kgCapacity: 1.5ltrs
REASONS TO BUY
+Powerful removal of dust and pet hair+Easy to move, use and empty+Great on all surfaces including hard flooring
REASONS TO AVOID
-Quite rigorous carpet cleaning might make it hard work for someToday’s Best DealsCHECK AMAZON
For a large house with a few pets, this Dyson vacuum cleaner is simply the best vacuum you can buy. Its clever brush heads pick up all the hair our furry friends leave behind, without getting tangled up, and the motorised brush bar gets out stubborn dirt from muddy paws.
This cylinder model from Dyson is a firm favourite with anyone who wants a quick but highly effective clean. The pneumatic cleaner head automatically adjusts to different floor types for the most efficient clean we have seen. The vacuum is preset to easy mode with a max mode for extra stubborn dirt, but our reviewer found the easy mode was more than enough – in fact, the suction was so good that it did take a little bit more of a push over carpets. However it brought carpets up looking good as new, so you can’t complain too much about a bit of additional effort.
Great range of attachments
Stairs and furniture are easily cleaned with the right attachments. Rotating heads pick all manner of fluff and debris from surfaces and it has a turbine head for finer dust which is great for hard floors. The generous hose makes it easy to reach every nook and cranny.
Dyson’s signature ball makes this vac very easy to move. Although it is not the lightest, the compact design means it can be carried with ease – even up and down stairs which can be tough with a cylinder vacuum.
Real Homes rating 5 out of 5 stars
- Buy the Dyson Big Ball Animal 2
2. VAX ONEPWR BLADE 4 CORDLESS VACUUM CLEANER
Best for: CordlessType: StickBagless?: YesCordless?: YesWeight: 3.1kgCapacity: 0.6ltrs
REASONS TO BUY
+Light and easy to move around+Great for pet owners+Works well on all floors+Gets right under the furniture+Handy for the car
REASONS TO AVOID
-A full set of tools could cost you extraToday’s Best DealsCHECK AMAZON
This cordless vacuum gets our vote for the best cordless vacuum, so we’ve awarded it with our big yellow Real Homes Love badge.
It has almost three times more suction power than any of their other cordless vacuums – it lifted everything it was faced with, even mud, when our reviewer put it to the test!
Ideal for those with pets or anyone who regularly finds hair scattered around the house, it has a special head designed to pick up every bit of dirt including leaves, bits of small paper and big crumbs. This model also have DustTracker LEDs so you can easily see what else needs a clean.
Quick and easy vacuuming
The floorhead of the Blade 4 easily rotates which means that getting it exactly where you want it to go to is never a struggle. It’s also low enough to glide under furniture, and light enough to carry up and down the stairs. The handheld doesn’t drop is power, nor is it heavy either: it weighs just 2kg.
It does the job and more, and only needs three hours to charge, after which it will run for 45 minutes. As with slightly older Vax models, additional batteries can be bought which is great if you need a longer run-time. In our opinion, this is the best cordless vacuum cleaner you can buy right now.
Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
- Buy the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4
3. DYSON V11 ABSOLUTE CORDLESS VACUUM CLEANER
Best for: Lightweight powerType: StickBagless?: YesCordless?: YesWeight: 2.97kgCapacity: 0.76ltrs
REASONS TO BUY
+Incredible power+Long running time+Easy to manoeuvre +Notifies you when it needs to be emptied
REASONS TO AVOID
-Expensive-Takes a while to charge-Not the lightestToday’s Best DealsCHECK AMAZON
This is our favourite Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner, and it scored five stars in our vacuum cleaner review, but it has narrowly missed out on our top spot for the best cordless vacuum cleaner because of that steep price tag.
It has twice the suction of the others, easily power around the whole home on a full charge and, with a long running time, won’t need recharging until you’ve finished the job.
As well as high suction, the filter captures allergens with ease offering as thorough a clean as much larger vacuums. It has a good range of attachments and is well designed for the car or spot cleaning – thanks to its ability to transform into a handheld, compact vacuum – so you could happily have it as the only vac for a small household, or a portable back-up in larger homes. It will hit the floor running for up to 60 minutes, so as long as you have time to charge it (4.5 hours a pop), and its nifty LCD screen will let you know just how much running time you have left so you’re not left out on a limb.
Whether you have a lot of stairs or mobility issues, this vacuum is suitably lightweight. Despite it being lightweight, the power, battery and dust capacity have not been compromised. The style also means it will clean all those high up corners and crevices with little fuss.
It is great in standard mode, but you will need to switch it to max power for tougher jobs. This gives it super suction but does result in a couple of drawbacks. Firstly, it cleans so well you find yourself emptying the bin and cleaning the filter very regularly. Secondly, max power does decrease the battery life so you can only use it in short bursts. This isn’t a problem if you keep on top of grime every couple of days, but if you are more of a fortnightly/monthly deep clean kind of person, you probably shouldn’t get a cordless.
Real Homes rating 5 out of 5 stars
- Buy the Dyson V11 Absolute
4. SHARK DUOCLEAN CORDLESS UPRIGHT WITH POWERED LIFT-AWAY AND TRUEPET
Best for: Upright fans in a cordless worldType: Upright styleBagless?: YesCordless?: YesWeight: 5.7kgCapacity: 0.6ltrs
REASONS TO BUY
+50-minute battery life+Versatile cleaning styles+Floor illumination+Battery can be charged separately
REASONS TO AVOID
-Long hair can get tangled-There are lighter cordless modelsToday’s Best DealsCHECK AMAZON
If you want the freedom of a cordless vacuum with the power and style of your old upright, then this Shark vacuum cleaner is for you.
A new breed of cordless
Most cordless vacuums come in stick format which some people find a little hard to get used to. They might be much lighter than your average vacuum, but you essentially have to carry them like a massive handheld. If you prefer an upright – something you can push – then this will really suit you. It can also be unclipped and, as the name suggests, you lift away the dust canister for use on stairs or those hard to reach places.
The style does make the unit heavier than most cordless vacuum cleaners, but it is at its heaviest when you have it in upright mode in which case you would be pushing it anyway.
Power and charging
The battery life is on the generous side for a cordless at 50 minutes. This gives you plenty of time to whizz around and you can buy a spare battery to charge while the other is in use. The power is impressive and it is surprisingly quiet.
Dust and hair busting
It also comes with a great range of tools and has a button to adapt from hard flooring to carpet. And as the name suggests, it is designed to work well on pet hair, either with the main foot, or the attachments. Our reviewer noted that longer hair did get tangled in the brush, but it can be easily removed.
Using the boost button does shorten battery time, but for keeping on top of dirt and fluff every couple of days, this won’t be a problem. Just make sure you have a second battery charged for a deep clean. It has a light too that is great for illuminating pesky dust particles.
Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
- Buy the Shark DuoClean cordless upright with Powered Lift-Away and TruePet
5. HENRY (NUMATIC HVR200-11) VACUUM CLEANER
Best for: BudgetsType: CylinderBagless?: NoCordless?: NoWeight: 8kgCapacity: 9ltrs
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
-A little heavy and cumbersomeToday’s Best DealsCHECK AMAZON
This vacuum cleaner is a real classic, and it’s not hard to see why. If you’re looking for the best vacuum on a budget, we recommend the Henry.
So user friendly
With specs like 620W or 1000W of power and a hefty 6 litre capacity, Henry is ever the under-rated wonder. Perfect for those who want a simple vacuum that just works and works well, it’s a name you can trust to have your cleaning done in no time.
Expert cleaning on a budget
There is a reason Henry and his Numatic family are so widely used by professional cleaners. They can clean for hours and hours before they need emptying, and the bags are easy to fit and empty. The range or attachments is good too, so he’s an all-round brilliant buy for homeowners on a budget. Quite a few of the Real Homes team have a Henry as a second vac for the really tough jobs. Think renovation dust, giving the car a deep clean after a muddy dog walk, or filthy carpets. If you have the room, he is a great back up for the nasty jobs.
While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend him for those with mobility issues, as he can be a bit heavy to lug around, Henry is certainly built to last. This is a vac that will stand up to everything life throws at it and if you do a lot of DIY and need a heavy-duty buddy for dust busting, he’s your man.
Prefer another Henry? We have more on our Henry vacuum 2020 guide who could fit into your lifestyle just fine.
- Buy the Henry vacuum cleaner
Things to Consider When Buying a Vacuum Cleaner
The old vacuum cleaner has “bitten the dust” and you need a replacement. One quick look online is all it takes to realize that choosing a new machine might be more challenging than you thought. It’s easy to get caught up in the “latest and greatest” when perusing vacuums online or in magazines and end up with a machine that is either too much or not enough, or just doesn’t fit your needs.
We’ve put together a few questions for consideration to help focus your search efforts before purchasing that new vacuum cleaner. Maybe you’ve already thought about some of these, so please use the following list to quickly navigate to the concerns most important to you.
What Flooring Types Do I Have?
Probably the most obvious consideration is whether you have mainly carpeting, hard floors, or a fairly even combination of both. Generally speaking, for homes with a lot of carpeting, especially in large areas, an upright vacuum cleaner is a good choice. However, if your personal preference tends toward canister style vacuums, there are quite a few excellent choices available. You will want to be sure that it has a floor nozzle with a motorized brushroll and height adjustment options for various pile carpets.
If you love hardwood or tile flooring with a few rugs here and there, or enjoy low-pile carpeting, a canister style vacuum is a great option. Using a specialized floor brush, these are usually very maneuverable for working quickly around and underneath furniture. Some are equipped with combination floor tools that easily switch to effectively clean scatter rugs. For true canister vacuum lovers, there are machines that feature high quality motorized floor nozzles that can effectively handle deep-pile carpets.
Most people have a combination of both carpeting and hard floors. At this point, style preference will be your guide. However, be sure to check for convenience features such as on/off brushroll control, height adjustment, and suction control. Be sure to note whether the brushroll is air-powered or electrically powered as this affects the effectiveness of deep-pile carpet cleaning.
Do I Need to Control Allergens?
This is a key question to consider since we spend, on average, about 90% of our time indoors where pollutants can be 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. This is especially important to ponder if you or someone in your family has asthma or allergies. A vacuum cleaner that provides HEPA filtration can be an important contributor to improving your indoor air quality. HEPA filters capture particulate matter down to 0.3 microns so that the exhausted air is actually cleaner than what was sucked into the vacuum. There are also machines that include some level of charcoal filtration to help control odors—great for pet owners.
An additional consideration is a vacuum that not only uses HEPA filters but does so in a completely sealed system. This means that there is virtually no leakage of air through the housing or fittings of the machine and all air (along with pollutants) is forced through the filtration system, leaving your indoor air allergen free. See this article for more information about allergies and vacuums.
How Often Do I Vacuum?
Something you may not have thought about, the frequency of your cleaning schedule can be impacted by the ease or difficulty of storing and accessing your vacuum. For those folks who shed their shoes the minute they hit the door, walking on floors that quickly accumulate pet fur, crumbs, and tracked-in dirt or sand, daily vacuuming is standard operating procedure. In that case, a vacuum that is difficult to access and use quickly can make this routine a real chore. Consider a robotic vacuum that can be scheduled to clean while you’re at work or running errands so you return to grit-free floors, really nice if you frequently bring home company.
If your debris tends to concentrate in specific areas, a stick vacuum is a champ at quickly taking care of daily messes whether on hard floors or carpets, as well as effectively handling more extensive weekly cleaning. There are also light-weight uprights and compact canisters with parking features that make them easy to store and use at a moment’s notice.
How Many Levels are in My Home?
In other words, how many stairs do you have to carry your vacuum up and down? There are many maneuverable, light-weight cordless vacuums that have great suction power and long run times that can handle multiple floor types. There are also lightweight vacuums in both upright and canister styles that make transporting them between floors easy.
An additional thought is the type of flooring on each level. While it sounds crazy, sometimes more than one vacuum is a very good idea. If you have a main floor that really benefits from a machine that can handle a variety of floor types, your upper floor may only require a vacuum best for carpets or hard floors. Or, the reverse may be true. In either case, consider purchasing a smaller stick vacuum for the space best suited for it, and save yourself grueling trips up and down stairs with your larger machine.
What Additional Surfaces will I be Cleaning?
If you like vacuuming away all the accumulated dust from furniture, curtains, moldings, and baseboards instead of dusting, you’ll want a vacuum that includes a variety of accessory tools. Most include at least a combination brush and crevice tool, while others have additional floor nozzles, an upholstery tool, and specialized accessories for specific types of cleaning. If you own pets, or have a lot of stairs, consider a vacuum that includes a mini-motorized tool for easy cleaning. Some offer an even wider variety of specialized tools and extension wands which you can purchase separately as you need them.
How Much Noise Can I Stand?
Given the technology, if you will, of vacuums, there is a certain amount of expected sound generated during use. Typically, the larger and more heavy-duty the machine for the job, the louder it is. For homes, and for office spaces where a quieter sound level is desired, there are vacuums that have been designed with insulated motor housings as well as newer low-noise motors for quieter operation. Some can run as lows as 47 dB at maximum power while still delivering 120 CFM. Vacuum manufacturers such as NaceCare, Miele, and Sebo have recently redesigned some of their machines for quieter operation. Check specifications for your selection before buying.
How Much Maintenance is Required?
This is a question that really depends on your definition of “a lot” and how tedious different kinds of maintenance are for you. Bagless vacuums don’t have bags that need to be changed, but dust bins still need to be emptied and washed periodically, especially if your home includes allergy-sufferers. Any vacuum with a HEPA filter will need that filter to be replaced when necessary, depending on individual home environments. The same is true for any other type of filter unless it is specified as a washable filter.
Brushrolls will collect pet fur, hair, threads and other debris and will need to be cleaned to maintain top operating capabilities. Ease of access to it should be a consideration. For quality vacuums that last for years, sometimes accessory tools like dusting brushes may need to be replaced. Check to see if these are available for purchase either at retail or from the manufacturer.
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.