The 12 Best Vacuums of 2022, Tested and Reviewed

We like the Dyson V11 Animal for its suction power, lightweight design, and advanced features that take the guesswork out of vacuuming.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best Vacuums

Dera Burreson / Real Simple

Investing in the right vacuum is the easiest way to make the laborious chore a bit more doable. However, choosing a vacuum cleaner can be a daunting task, especially given how advanced (and expensive) modern models can be. 

To come up with these recommendations, we tested 93 vacuums—including cordless, upright, and robot models—in our Lab and at home. Each vacuum was evaluated on its effectiveness, maneuverability, ease of emptying, portability, noise level, setup, and value. For expert tips on how to choose a vacuum, we tapped Kathy Cohoon, director of franchise operations at Two Maids & A Mop

“More expensive doesn’t always mean better, so take inventory of what you need,” says Cohoon. “Do you have pets? Make sure to look for a model designed to pick up pet hair. Live solo with no animals? A lighter, less expensive model may do the trick for your space.”

Our top pick is the Dyson V11 Animal because it’s effective at cleaning all types of surfaces while remaining lightweight and easy to maneuver. It's great for cleaning your entire home as well as spot-cleaning small messes. 

Here are the best vacuums, according to our in-depth testing.

Best Overall Vacuum: Dyson V11 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

4.7
dyson-v11-animal-cordless-stick-vacuum-cleaner

Best Buy

Who it’s for: People who want a lightweight cordless vacuum that can be used for whole-home cleaning. 

Who it isn’t for: People who prefer the heft of an upright or canister vacuum. 

Unlike many cordless stick vacuums, the Dyson V11 Animal is engineered with enough suction power and battery life to clean your entire home. Our tester found it to hold up well to six months of use, without any reduction in the suction power over time. The V11 Animal is particularly effective at lifting deeply embedded dust and hair from high-pile carpeting, thanks to its powerful motor that offers 20 percent more suction than its predecessor, the Dyson Cyclone V10. “This is my go-to vacuum for both routine cleaning and spills/messes,” says our tester. “It's effective on all the surfaces in my home and lightweight enough that I can pull it out and use it for even a small clean with minimal fuss.”

The vacuum utilizes a Dynamic Load Sensor system, which automatically optimizes the motor speed depending on the floor type, making transitions between carpet and hard floor seamless. And at just under 7 pounds, the V11 is lightweight and maneuverable enough to carry up and down stairs, as well as slim enough to glide under low-lying furniture. 

The V11 has an LED display that alerts you to any blockages, gives filter maintenance reminders, and allows you to shuffle between three different cleaning modes (auto, eco, and boost). In auto mode, the vacuum will automatically adapt to different floor types and dirt levels, while in eco mode, the vacuum can run for up to 60 minutes for longer cleans. Finally, the boost mode is designed for more intensive cleaning. 

In terms of attachments, you’ll find a variety of brush heads and tools for different tasks, including a hair screw tool for picking up long hair and pet hair, as well as a crevice tool for getting between couch cushions and other hard-to-reach places. Although not labeled as a true HEPA filter, the washable and reusable filter is reportedly effective at filtering 99.9 percent of dust and particles as small as 0.3 microns, which is within HEPA standards. And given the size and weight of this vacuum, the “point and shoot” dustbin is relatively easy to empty directly into the trash can—although our tester did find that long hair sometimes got tangled in the dustbin. When you’re ready to recharge, simply drop the vacuum into the wall-mounted charging dock. 

This vacuum is in the upper mid-range of Dyson’s cordless stick vacuums, but it’s well worth the investment if you’re looking for one reliable vacuum that can be used for every cleaning task. 

Price at time of publish: $639

Product Details:

  • Type: Cordless stick 
  • Weight: 6.7 pounds
  • Cord Length: N/A 
  • Battery Life/Runtime: 60 minutes
  • Dust Capacity: 0.76 liters
  • Attachments: High Torque cleaner head with anti-tangle comb, hair screw tool, combination tool, stubborn dirt brush, crevice tool

Best Budget Vacuum: Hoover Complete Performance Bagged Upright Vacuum Cleaner

4.7
Hoover Complete Performance Corded Bagged Upright Vacuum

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want an affordable vacuum that seals in dust and other allergens.  

Who it isn’t for: People who don’t want to buy replacement vacuum bags. 

The Hoover Complete Performance Upright Vacuum delivers a powerful clean in a more compact form than competing upright models. At under 10 pounds, it’s closer in weight to a cordless vacuum but still delivers the thorough clean of an upright vacuum. In our Lab tests, it was able to clean all debris in just two passes, and it performed very well on both carpeted and hard surfaces. Using the included pet upholstery tool, our testers found this model was able to remove hair from an upholstered surface in two passes.

This vacuum comes with four different height adjustment settings, which allows you to get an effective clean on bare floors and carpeting of all different piles. It also comes with a crevice tool and a telescopic extension wand, the latter of which has an eight-foot reach when attached to the hose. Plus, all of the tools can be stored onboard—meaning they won’t get lost in a closet or drawer. 

This Hoover vacuum is one of just three bagged vacuums on our list. Once the vacuum bag is full, simply use the release button to drop the sealed disposable bag directly into the trash can. This makes it a great option for allergy sufferers, as it keeps dust and other allergens from recirculating into the air during the disposal process. Keep in mind that this does mean you’ll need to purchase replacement bags, but fortunately both the allergen bags and HEPA bags are relatively inexpensive. 

Price at time of publish: $160

Product Details:

  • Type: Upright
  • Weight: 9.3 pounds
  • Cord Length: 25 feet 
  • Battery Life/Runtime: N/A
  • Dust Capacity: Not listed
  • Attachments: Pet upholstery tool, crevice tool, telescopic extension wand

Best Robot Vacuum: iRobot Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum

4.5
iRobot Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a robot vacuum that can be scheduled to run automatically. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a robot vacuum with more advanced features such as smart mapping and object avoidance. 

A robot vacuum takes all the heavy lifting out of cleaning your floors, which is why they’re great for pet owners who need frequent cleanings and anyone who isn’t fond of vacuuming. You can even set them to run while you’re away from home, making them a great option for frequent travelers or people with busy schedules, too. We named the Roomba 694 our best overall pick out of the 31 robot vacuums we tested because it’s reasonably priced and was able to clean up all sorts of debris, including pet hair, cereal, and even sand from different surfaces. 

In our tests, this vacuum did a good job of navigating around the obstacles we placed in its path. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have object avoidance or smart mapping technology, so you will need to do some tidying up around the house before using it. It travels around your space somewhat at random (instead of in a grid pattern) and returns to its dock once the battery begins to run low. Some people may prefer the formulaic coverage you get with more expensive models, but at the end of the day, the 694 achieves the same goal. 

The device is WiFi compatible and can be connected to an app or a voice assistant, from which you can turn it on or off or even set a schedule. Our long-term tester was so impressed with the performance of this vacuum that it actually replaced their existing vacuum: "I decided to get rid of my cheap stick vacuum and just use the Roomba because it picks up way more dirt/hair on its own than the stick vacuum did.”

Price at time of publish: $274

Product Details:

  • Type: Robot
  • Weight: 6.8 pounds
  • Cord Length: N/A
  • Battery Life/Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Dust Capacity: 0.35 liters
  • Attachments: N/A

Best Cordless Stick Vacuum: Tineco Pure One S15 Pro Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

4.8
TINECO PURE ONE S15 PRO CORDLESS STICK VACUUM CLEANER

Tineco

Who it’s for: People who want a lightweight stick vacuum with smart features and a freestanding docking station. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a vacuum for whole-home cleaning may find the runtime too short and the dustbin too small. 

Cordless stick vacuums are all about convenience, and the Tineco Pure One S15 Pro certainly excels in that arena. At just under 7 pounds, this vacuum is very lightweight and easy to maneuver—testers note that you could easily carry it up and down the stairs with one hand. In our Lab tests, this vacuum was effective at picking up everything from cereal to kibble to pet hair, and it transitioned seamlessly between carpet and bare floors. Tineco uses iLoop Smart Sensor Technology to automatically adjust the suction power based on the mess (which helps to prolong the runtime), and our testers confirmed that the motor speed frequently increased when the vacuum passed over debris. 

This pick from Tineco is one of the “smarter” vacuums on our list: It’s WiFi-enabled and connects to an app, where you can track your cleaning progress, adjust settings, and more. It also uses voice prompts to guide you through the cleaning process, but this feature can be turned off. The handle has a touch bar where you can adjust the suction strength, along with an LCD display that alerts you when the vacuum detects debris and again once the debris has been cleared. Plus, it has five layers of filtration, including a HEPA filter. 

One of the more unique features of this vacuum is its freestanding charging base, which can store the vacuum upright—many cordless vacuums are unable to stand up on their own and must be wall-mounted. In terms of cleanup, you can simply release the contents of the dustbin using the trigger, which will even scrape debris and hair from within the bin—although testers did find they still had to remove some of the hair on their own. One thing to note: The Tineco Pure One S15 Pro is best suited for cleaning one room or mess at a time, as opposed to a full home, because it has a relatively small dustbin and a max runtime of 40 minutes. 

Price at time of publish: $599

Product Details:

  • Type: Cordless stick
  • Weight: 6.8 pounds
  • Cord Length: N/A 
  • Battery Life/Runtime: 40 minutes
  • Dust Capacity: 0.47 liters
  • Attachments: Mini-power brush, 2-in-1 dust brush, crevice tool

Best Upright Vacuum: Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet Cordless Small Upright Vacuum Cleaner

4.4
Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet Cordless Small Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Walmart

Who it’s for: People who want the convenience of a cordless vacuum with the full-size power of an upright vacuum. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a vacuum with lots of attachments. 

The Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet Vacuum may not look like an upright vacuum, and that’s because it’s not a conventional one. It’s cordless and weighs less than 9 pounds, so you can easily bring it up and down the stairs or carry it from room to room. But this doesn’t mean that it’s any less effective: It has the full-size power of an upright vacuum with a generous one-liter dustbin capacity, so you can still tackle big messes. And, unlike most cordless vacuums, it can stand upright on its own without the help of a docking station. 

 In our Lab tests, this compact vacuum was able to tackle pet hair with ease, thanks to the antimicrobial brush roll that easily lifts embedded hair from carpet. Additionally, it comes with a swivel head that makes maneuvering around and underneath furniture a breeze. “This was a vacuum I wouldn't have minded hauling around the house and up and down stairs,” says one tester. 

Unfortunately, this vacuum doesn’t come with any attachments—but it still makes a great option for those who struggle to lift heavy vacuums or who have a home with lots of stairs. And, given the affordable price, it’s hard to go wrong with this vacuum. 

Price at time of publish: $204

Product Details:

  • Type: Cordless upright
  • Weight: 8.6 pounds
  • Cord Length: N/A 
  • Battery Life/Runtime: 35 minutes
  • Dust Capacity: 1 liter
  • Attachments: None

Best Canister Vacuum: Miele Compact C1 Turbo Team Bagged Canister Vacuum

4.2
miele-compact-c1-turbo-team-canister-vacuum

Courtesy of Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a compact canister vacuum for floor-to-ceiling cleaning. 

Who it isn’t for: People who don’t want to have to bend over to adjust the settings on their vacuum. 

A canister vacuum is a great option for whole-home cleaning because it features multiple attachments for use on different surfaces and hard-to-reach areas. The Miele Compact C1 Turbo Team comes with the superior suction power and versatility of a traditional canister vacuum, but in a more compact size than many competing models. Our tester says they often opt to use this vacuum instead of their robot vacuum: “Unless I'm really pressed for time, I pretty much always reach for the Miele. It's powerful, effective, and gets everywhere.”

Like most canister vacuums, this model performs best on hard floors and low-pile carpeting, and you can toggle between six different suction settings depending on the surface you’re cleaning. For those who suffer from allergies, the Miele vacuum has a bagged design and self-sealing collar, so there’s no escaping once the dust and dirt are vacuumed. Plus, the bag holds a generous 3.3 liters, so you won’t have to replace it too often. Our tester notes that both the floors and the air feel cleaner after using this vacuum.

With a cord length of 18 feet and a total cleaning radius of 29.5 feet, this vacuum allows you to move freely about your space without needing to reposition or switch outlets frequently. And one small but significant feature: The cord retracts with the push of a button, so you’re not left to wrap the cord around the vacuum when it comes time to put it away. And speaking of storage, three of the included attachments—the upholstery nozzle, the crevice nozzle, and the dusting brush—clip directly onto the hose. However, our tester does note that the stainless steel wand can make it difficult to store the unit in tight spaces. 

Keep in mind that you will need to lift the canister as you move throughout your home. While it’s on the lighter end of the spectrum for a canister vacuum, it’s still more cumbersome to carry than a stick vacuum. However, our tester found it worth the trade-off for the power you get with this vacuum cleaner. Still, some people might find carrying around the canister and wand to be too laborious—“especially since the settings are on the canister, so you have to bend down and adjust whenever you need to change something,” our tester notes.

Price at time of publish: $549

Product Details:

  • Type: Canister
  • Weight: 15 pounds
  • Cord Length: 18 feet 
  • Battery Life/Runtime: N/A
  • Dust Capacity: 3.3 liters
  • Attachments: Upholstery nozzle, crevice nozzle, dusting brush with synthetic bristles, small parquet floorhead, turbo brush floorhead

Best Vacuum for Pet Hair: Kenmore Pet Friendly POP-N-GO Bagged Canister Vacuum

5
Kenmore Pet Friendly Pop-N-Go Canister Vacuum

Target

Who it’s for: People with pets who want a vacuum that will effectively remove hair and keep allergens sealed inside. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a lightweight vacuum. 

We’ve tested 37 vacuum cleaners that claim to be engineered specifically for pet hair, and the Kenmore Pet-Friendly POP-N-GO Bagged Canister Vacuum came out on top for pet owners. In our Lab tests, we pushed four ounces of pet hair into a carpeted surface and two ounces of pet hair onto an upholstered dog bed, all of which this vacuum cleaner suctioned up with ease. The hair didn’t tangle around the brush roll, either. On hard surfaces, this vacuum was slightly less effective at picking up hair, although it was able to get almost all of the kibble we sprinkled onto the floor. What’s more, the vacuum was relatively quiet given its strong suction power—even on the highest setting.

For those who suffer from allergies, whether pet or otherwise, the Kenmore POP-N-GO comes with a HEPA filter to trap irritants as small as 0.3 microns, as well as a cloth bag that seals in dust, pet dander, and other debris. Once it’s at capacity, you can simply toss the sealed bag directly into the trash can without recirculating allergens back into the air. (The box includes two bags, and you can purchase more separately when you run out.)

The main unit attaches to a hose that can be used with any number of the included attachments, such as the Pet PowerMate brush, the upholstery brush, or the telescoping wand (the latter is great for cleaning curtains and drapes). At 24 pounds, the canister is a fair bit heavier than the other vacuums on this list, although our testers were still able to carry it with one hand. Plus, it comes with a retractable cord that gives you plenty of slack when maneuvering around a room, despite being tethered to an outlet. And the onboard tool storage allows you to keep the vacuum and all the accessories neatly tucked away until your next cleaning. 

One thing to note: Depending on where you buy this vacuum, the color and cord length will vary. The blue vacuum has a 26-foot cord, while the purple vacuum has a 28-foot cord—but the manufacturer confirmed that they are both the same model, just different colors.

Price at time of publish: $400

Product Details:

  • Type: Canister
  • Weight: 24 pounds
  • Cord Length: 26-28 feet 
  • Battery Life/Runtime: N/A
  • Dust Capacity: 2.5 liters
  • Attachments: Pet PowerMate brush, crevice tool, dusting brush, bare floor tool, telescopic wand

Best Vacuum for Carpet: Dyson V12 Detect Slim

4.2
Dyson V12 Detect Slim

Dyson

Who it’s for: People who live in small, mostly carpeted spaces or people who want an ultra-lightweight stick vacuum. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a vacuum with a large dustbin capacity or people with mostly hard flooring. 

The V12 Detect Slim is part of Dyson’s lineup of vacuums engineered with “laser technology,” or a fan-shaped green light that illuminates ultra-fine dust that would otherwise be invisible. The V12 Detect Slim is the lightest vacuum of them all: At 5.2 pounds, it's 24 percent lighter than the V15 Detect. But don’t be fooled by its size—this vacuum gave a very impressive performance on carpeted surfaces in our testing. Its powerful suction coupled with its illuminating head makes it well-suited for picking up deeply embedded dust and debris, no matter how small. 

This vacuum also comes with several attachments, including a hair screw tool designed to pick up long hair and pet hair, a crevice tool, and more. It doesn’t come with an upholstery-specific tool, and we found it to be less effective on hard flooring, which is why we recommend this vacuum only to those with mostly carpeted spaces. 

Additionally, this model detects the floor type and soil level to optimize the motor speed, giving you the best clean and the longest runtime possible (up to 60 minutes!). The LCD screen displays a runtime countdown and maintenance alerts, and it allows you to select between three cleaning modes (eco, auto, and boost). 

Like other Dyson cordless stick vacuums, this one comes with a “point and shoot” mechanism to eject what’s been collected in the dustbin, although we found longer hairs did have to be removed manually. The major trade-off of the small size of this vacuum is that it has one of the smallest dustbins out of all the vacuums on our list, so you’ll need to empty it after each cleaning. 

Price at time of publish: $650

Product Details:

  • Type: Cordless stick
  • Weight: 5.2 pounds
  • Cord Length: N/A 
  • Battery Life/Runtime: 60 minutes
  • Dust Capacity: 0.38 liters
  • Attachments: Laser Slim Fluffy cleaner head, hair screw tool, combination tool, Motorbar cleaner head, crevice tool

Best Vacuum for Hardwood: Eureka Lightweight Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

4.3
Eureka Lightweight Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a stick vacuum for hard floors that can be converted into a handheld vacuum. 

Who it isn’t for: People who have mostly carpeted homes or people who want a vacuum with a long runtime. 

Sweeping is both less effective and more labor intensive than vacuuming hard floors, so having a lightweight, cordless stick vacuum on hand for quickly suctioning up crumbs, dirt, and other debris from hard floors is always a good idea. In our testing, this vacuum cleaner performed best on hard flooring (it struggled a bit with carpet), and its crevice tool worked well on upholstery, too. It also comes with LED headlights to illuminate dust and dirt in its path. We particularly like that it can easily convert to a handheld vacuum for tackling small, hard-to-reach messes or even cleaning car interiors. 

At just over 7 pounds, it’s easy to carry up and down stairs for multi-level cleaning, and it comes with a generously sized one-liter dustbin. Testers found it easy to empty over a trash can, although some longer hairs had to be removed manually (we’ve found this to be a common issue with cordless vacuums). Overall, this is an affordable two-in-one vacuum that is effective at both spot cleaning and larger cleaning jobs on hard flooring. But keep in mind that it has a shorter runtime at 30 minutes, and it’s not very effective on carpet, so those who want a vacuum for large homes or mostly carpeted spaces should look elsewhere. 

Price at time of publish: $220

Product Details:

  • Type: Cordless stick
  • Weight: 7.2 pounds
  • Cord Length: N/A
  • Battery Life/Runtime: 30 minutes
  • Dust Capacity: 1 liter
  • Attachments: Crevice tool, 2-in-1 dusting brush

Best Lightweight Vacuum: Kenmore Elite CSV Max 21.6V Cordless Stick Vacuum With EasyReach Wand

4.3
Kenmore DS4095 Elite CSV Max 21.6V Cordless Stick Vacuum

Walmart

Who it’s for: People who have difficulty carrying heavy vacuums and bending down to reach underneath furniture. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a bagged vacuum that seals its contents. 

The Kenmore Elite CSV Max Cordless Stick Vacuum is another two-in-one cleaner that converts to a hand vacuum for cleaning car interiors, upholstery, or spot cleaning. When fully assembled, it weighs under 6 pounds (and just 3 pounds when converted into a hand vacuum). But despite its feather-light design, it has a generous dustbin capacity and a powerful suction that picked up all the debris on the carpet and hard floor in our testing. 

One tester notes that the swivel head is small and easy to maneuver around furniture and between floor types. A particularly unique feature of this vacuum is its EasyReach wand, which bends at the hinge to slide underneath furniture, so you don’t have to bend down yourself. In terms of noise level, our testers were impressed with the volume given the suction power: “This was by far the quietest vacuum I have ever heard,” says one tester. “The hand vac was barely audible, and I could hold a low-level conversation from about 10 feet away without competing with the noise of the vacuum.”

Additional features include an LED headlight, a 40-minute runtime, and a HEPA filter that traps 99.97 percent of particles down to 0.3 microns. The Elite CSV Max comes with two speed settings: low/eco mode and high/max mode, so you can optimize your settings to the floor type and the size of the mess. Our tester had to manually remove some of the hair and debris from the dust cap, but this wasn’t enough to dissuade them from recommending the vacuum, especially given the price. “It outperformed the more expensive cordless (and some of the corded) vacuums in every category I tested it in,” says our tester

Price at time of publish: $180

Product Details:

  • Type: Cordless stick
  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Cord Length: N/A
  • Battery Life/Runtime: 40 minutes
  • Dust Capacity: 1 liter
  • Attachments: 2-in-1 combination tool crevice/dusting brush

Best Vacuum and Mop Combo: Shark VacMop Pro Cordless Hard Floor Vacuum Mop

4.9
shark-vacmop-wet-dry-stick-vacuum

Amazon

Who it’s for: People with mostly hard flooring who want to clean both wet and dry messes. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want an appliance for whole-home cleaning or people who want to clean carpet. 

The Shark Vacmop Pro makes quick work of cleaning hard floors—it vacuums and mops, cleaning wet and dry messes in a single pass. Here’s how it works: As you vacuum, dry debris is suctioned up into the disposable pad and wet messes are absorbed into the pad. For tough jobs, press the button to spray the area with a cleaning solution (a 12-ounce bottle is included) before passing over it with the pad. When you’re finished, you can release the pad directly into the trash without even touching it. After six months, our tester still uses this vacuum-mop combo in their regular cleaning routine. 

“I rarely need to make more than one pass to collect debris, and it's been able to grab hair off my bathroom floors with ease,” says our tester. “Overall, I definitely enjoy using it on almost a daily basis and am continually impressed that such a lightweight, storage-friendly, and budget-friendly vacuum is as effective as it is, and without producing any excessive noise in the process.”

Keep in mind that the Vacmop is designed for use on hard floors only, and with a runtime of just 12.5 minutes, it’s not designed for whole-home cleaning. Our tester said the battery life was the biggest obstacle to using this vacuum and found that the runtime may have decreased over time. They also note that the cleaning solution runs out somewhat quickly and that you have to hold the power button down for the duration of cleaning—another reason it’s not designed for longer cleanings. But because it uses a disposable pad instead of dust bins and filters, maintenance is very easy. Plus, it’s the lightest product on our list at just over 3 pounds. Overall, this is a great multifunctional appliance to have on hand for small cleanups—but those looking for a whole-home solution should probably skip this one. 

Price at time of publish: $100

Product Details:

  • Type: Cordless upright
  • Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Cord Length: N/A
  • Battery Life/Runtime: 12.5 minutes
  • Dust Capacity: N/A
  • Attachments: N/A

Who it’s for: People who want a cordless vacuum with a large dust capacity and an extra-long runtime for deep cleaning. 

Who it isn’t for: People who are not in a position to spend a lot on a vacuum and people with arthritis or grip-strength issues.

Dyson’s Outsize vacuums are engineered with deep, whole-home cleaning in mind. We tested a different Outsize model that’s now out of stock, but the Outsize+ is also worth considering. Unlike many stick vacuums, which are reserved for spot cleaning and small spaces, the Outsize+ is designed for regular deep cleanings in large spaces. It has an impressive runtime of up to 120 minutes (especially considering it’s a cordless stick vacuum) and an extra-large canister capacity of nearly two liters. 

Like the Dyson V12 Detect Slim, the Outsize+ employs laser technology to illuminate even the tiniest of particles hiding on your floors. And like the other Dyson vacuums on our list, this model comes with many attachments and a “point and shoot” mechanism for emptying the dust cup. 

However, this vacuum still has its limitations. Our tester found that the large dust cup makes the Outsize vacuums a bit top-heavy, which can put some strain on the wrist. It’s also the most expensive vacuum on our list. But given that it can be used for whole-home cleaning as opposed to just spot cleaning, those with larger spaces may find it well worth the investment. 

Price at time of publish: $884

Product Details:

  • Type: Cordless stick
  • Weight: 8 pounds
  • Cord Length: N/A 
  • Battery Life/Runtime: 120 minutes
  • Dust Capacity: 1.9 liters
  • Attachments: Laser Slim Fluffy cleaner head, hair screw tool, combination tool, mini soft dusting brush, Digital Motorbar XL cleaner head, crevice tool, stubborn dirt brush

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Dyson V11 Animal because it’s very effective at suctioning up embedded dust and hair from high-pile carpeting and other surfaces while remaining lightweight and easy to maneuver. It also automatically optimizes the motor speed depending on the floor type and has a slim build that easily slides under furniture. 

For a more budget-friendly option, the Hoover Complete Performance Upright Vacuum is a compact yet effective upright vacuum that performs well on both carpeted and hard surfaces. And for those with allergies, it comes with a sealed disposable bag that you can drop directly into the trash without wafting dust and other allergens back into the air.

Our Testing Process

To date, we’ve tested 93 different vacuums and have compiled results based on our in-depth Lab tests and months of at-home use. In our Lab testing, each vacuum was evaluated on its effectiveness at cleaning different floor types (including upholstery, when applicable), as well as its maneuverability, ease of emptying, portability, noise level, setup, and value. For vacuums designed for pet owners, we tested each model’s ability to clean real pet hair. We also made sure to test special features, such as mop functions for vacuum-mops hybrids and object avoidance technology for robot vacuums. 

After completing our Lab tests, the vacuums were sent home with real-world testers who provided feedback on how well they held up after six months of use and whether they improved their regular cleaning routine.

The 12 Best Vacuums of 2022, Tested and Reviewed

Dera Burreson

How to Shop for Vacuums Like a Pro

Type

Upright Vacuums: An upright vacuum is what most people would consider a “traditional” vacuum cleaner. These are self-contained vacuums that usually feature a hose, a bag or a dustbin, and a motor all in the same body. Upright models are well-suited for carpeted surfaces, particularly in households with pets, because the weight of the unit combined with the motorized brush attachments make them very effective at lifting embedded dirt and hair from carpet fibers. They often come with an extendable hose that can be used with different attachments to clean upholstery, stairs, crevices, and more. You can find both corded and cordless upright vacuums—the latter tend to be more lightweight and thus better suited for carrying up and down stairs, such as the Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet Vacuum

Cordless Stick Vacuums: For cleaning small spaces, low-pile carpeting, or the occasional mess, stick vacuums make an excellent lightweight option. This type of vacuum cleaner has skyrocketed in popularity, and newer models are getting closer and closer to having the suction power of upright vacuums. They’re slim and easy to store, and they typically weigh well under 10 pounds. Many stick vacuums are cordless, so you’re not tethered to an outlet while you clean. Keep in mind that because they’re typically battery-powered, cordless vacuums have a limited runtime—usually anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. For this reason, not all stick vacuums are suitable for whole-house cleaning, especially in larger homes (although the Dyson Outsize+ is engineered with the runtime and dustbin capacity to clean an entire home). 

Canister Vacuums: For floor-to-ceiling cleaning around the whole house, consider a canister vacuum. These versatile appliances consist of a main unit with a motor and a vacuum bag or dustbin. The main unit connects to a hose that can be used with multiple attachments for cleaning hard-to-reach areas such as draperies, underneath low-lying furniture, or in small crevices. And these vacuums typically come with onboard storage so you can keep all the attachments together in one place. Compared to upright vacuums, canister vacuums are better suited for cleaning stairs and hard surfaces, however, they take up more space and tend to be more expensive than upright vacuums.

Robot Vacuums: As the new kid on the block, robot vacuums still have their skeptics. But today’s robot vacuums are smarter and more powerful than ever. These vacuums do the hard work for you with the press of a button, and many can even be scheduled to run automatically on a regular basis. They don’t lift dirt as effectively as traditional vacuums, but they can keep your floors clean with little to no effort on your end. Pet owners may also consider a robot vacuum for picking up pet hair and dander in between deeper cleanings with a traditional vacuum. But although many robot vacuums come with object avoidance technology and smart mapping, they can still get stuck on loose objects and struggle to navigate around tight spaces, so briefly tidying up before running is often necessary.

The 12 Best Vacuums of 2022, Tested and Reviewed

Dera Burreson

Weight

It’s important to strike the right balance between a vacuum that’s heavy enough to clean effectively but not so heavy that it’s unwieldy to use. “A heavy-duty vacuum may look amazing, but if it is too heavy, lugging it around the house will become a huge chore and you can even risk injury,” says Cohoon. “Test holding a vacuum if you need to in order to make sure you can carry it comfortably.” 

And don’t forget to consider storage—stick vacuums have a smaller footprint and many can even be mounted to the wall, the trade-off being that they have limited run times and less suction power.

Suction Power

To get the best return on investment, Cohoon suggests looking “for a vacuum with strong suction and, if needed, multiple settings for flooring, carpeting, upholstery, etc.” Many vacuums feature variable suction for cleaning more delicate items such as curtains. Suction power is most commonly measured in air watts (AW). In general, an upright vacuum cleaner should have about 100 AW, while a canister vacuum cleaner should have about 220 AW—but we’ve found that few manufacturers disclose this specification. 

Attachments

Strong suction power alone is not enough to make a vacuum effective at picking up dust, dirt, and other debris. You’ll also need to consider the design of the brush roll and make sure you have the proper attachments should you need to clean upholstery, drapes, hard floors, dust shelves, etc. Common attachments include crevice tools for cleaning corners, a dust brush for gently dusting shelves and tables, an upholstery tool, and a turbo tool for deep cleaning carpets. If these are not included with your vacuum cleaner, they can often be purchased separately.

Price

The 12 Best Vacuums of 2022, Tested and Reviewed

Dera Burreson

It’s not uncommon to find vacuum cleaners that retail for upwards of $1,000, but most people won’t need all the features that these pricey vacuums have to offer. For a quality vacuum that won’t require replacing within the year, you’ll likely need to spend at least $100–$150. But if you choose to spend more than this, you’ll be rewarded with convenient features, like extended battery life for cordless models or smart mapping for robot vacuums, just to name a few. 

More Vacuums to Consider

Tineco PWRHERO 11 Snap: This is another affordable cordless stick vacuum that can be converted into a hand vacuum, and it performed relatively well in our testing. However, it’s similar in design and price to the Kenmore Elite CSV Max Cordless Stick Vacuum, which has a better weight distribution and a better emptying mechanism. 

Shark Cordless Pro: This cordless vacuum performed well in our carpet and hard floor testing, but it fell short of the competition for its inability to clean upholstery. Our testers also had problems with debris falling out of the vacuum when they switched out the attachments. 

Questions You Might Ask

Do you need a HEPA filter?

A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is a mechanical filter that forces air through a very fine mesh, removing even the tiniest particles from the air. If you suffer from allergies, investing in a vacuum with a HEPA filter will keep particles from recirculating back into the air. 

Unfortunately, this clean air will cost you: HEPA filters cannot be washed and reused, and replacement filters can cost several times what conventional vacuum filters cost. If you’re buying a vacuum with a HEPA filter, make sure it’s a “true” HEPA filter, which means it’s been proven to trap at least 99.7 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns

Which is better, a bagged or bagless vacuum?

Allergy sufferers should also take into consideration whether a vacuum is bagged or bagless. “A bagged vacuum doesn’t run the risk of releasing debris into the air when emptying and doesn’t require filter cleanings like a bagless,” says Cohoon. However, bagless vacuums, meaning those with dust bins that you empty over the trash can, are more cost-effective. 

“Bagless vacuums are great for those who don’t want to spend money on replacement bags—just make sure to clean the filter on a bagless model often to avoid damage to the machine or an ineffective clean,” Cohoon adds.

How often should you vacuum your home?

How often you need to vacuum depends on the foot traffic in your home, the type of flooring, and whether you have pets or kids. “If there’s carpeting in heavy traffic or high-mess areas like pet spaces or playrooms, a quick vacuum each day could help to minimize long-term carpet damage and keep spaces debris-free,” says Cohoon. “Spaces that aren’t used as much can stand to be vacuumed once every week or two.” 

One advantage of lightweight cordless vacuums and robot vacuums is that they can make quick work of spot cleaning or picking up pet hair in between regular cleanings.

How often should a vacuum be cleaned?

Yes, you do need to clean your vacuum to keep it running efficiently. We suggest checking the brushes and bristles after each use for any stuck-on hair or debris and emptying the dustbin every few uses. Once a month, check on your vacuum’s filter, and if it’s washable, rinse it under cool running water and let it dry fully before putting it back. Finally, you should disassemble your vacuum cleaner about once a year and clean all washable parts with a little soap and water. It may sound like a lot, but it will be worth the effort to protect your investment. 

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Melanie Fincher, associate commerce editor for Real Simple with three years of experience writing product reviews and lifestyle content. To compile this list, we tested 93 vacuums both in our Labs and in our homes over the course of several months. Each vacuum cleaner was evaluated based on its effectiveness, maneuverability, ease of emptying, portability, noise level, setup, and value. Melanie also served as one of the long-term testers, and she now uses her robot vacuum cleaner almost every day to pick up pet hair and other debris. For professional insight, she consulted Kathy Cohoon, director of franchise operations at Two Maids & A Mop.

What Is Real Simple Selects?

Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn't an option. If that's the case, we test the product just like we test anything we buy, but we also disclose that we received it for free to be as transparent with you as possible. 

Love our recommendations? Check out more products that have earned the Real Simple Selects, from humidifiers to cordless vacuums.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles