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Consumer Reports: Best Vacuums of 2022

These upright, canister, stick, robotic, and handheld vacuums excel in CR's tests
Sue Booth, who oversees CR's vacuum testing, at work in the vacuum lab.
Sue Booth, who oversees CR's vacuum testing, at work in the vacuum lab.John Walsh/Consumer Reports
/ Source: Consumer Reports

This article is part of our Best Product Reviews series, a collaboration with Consumer Reports. Shop TODAY and Consumer Reports are editorially independent. If you purchase something through our links, we both earn a commission. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time. Learn more about Shop TODAY and Consumer Reports

You can spend a lot on a vacuum, but you don’t need to empty your wallet to get one that cleans well. Still, with vacuum cleaners ranging in price from under $50 to well over $1,500—and in configurations that range from a slim stick vacuum to a beefy canister model—it can be difficult to figure out which one is right for your home.

The performance of cordless stick vacuums continues to improve, though based on our exclusive member survey, reliability remains a concern. Robotic vacuums have also become more capable cleaners, and their prices keep dropping, making them worth a look, too. But while these convenient contenders may deserve a spot in your cleaning arsenal, they still can’t replace your trusty upright or canister, according to Consumer Reports’ vacuum tests.

“For some people, it might make sense to have multiple vacuums for different situations,” says Frank Rizzi, a senior lab technician who tests vacuums at CR. “A robotic vacuum can help with maintaining your pristine floors, and a stick can help with quick messes alongside your bigger upright or canister.”

In our lab, CR’s engineers put vacuum cleaners through a set of tough tests to evaluate how well a model picks up dirt, how much debris it retains, how easy it is to maneuver, and how noisy it is. We embed talc, sand, and pet hair into carpet before vacuuming. We use the same type of litter on bare floors and observe whether the vacuum picks it up or scatters it about. And we maneuver the vacuum around the floor, just like you would, to judge how easy it is to operate.

The Overall Score for each model incorporates results for each of these tests, as well as ratings for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction, which are based on our survey data on about 104,175 upright, canister, and stick vacuums that CR members purchased between 2011 and 2021.

Below, you’ll find reviews of the top vacuum of every type we test that you can buy right now. For even more information and choices, see our vacuum buying guide and our complete vacuum ratings.

Bagged Upright

Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly 31150

CR’s take: The midpriced Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly 31150 earns top marks on bare floors and scores well for tool airflow. That means it’s exceptionally powerful when used with its attachments, which include a crevice tool, bristle brush, and power roller. On bare floors it captures almost every particle, keeping debris contained in its disposable bag. It’s no slouch at removing embedded dirt from carpet or tackling pet hair, either, although it’s a little louder and tougher to handle than some bagged uprights. It’s not the cheapest model you’ll find, but this impressive performer is certainly among the best vacuums we’ve tested. Kenmore uprights received middling scores for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. See our full ratings for bagged upright vacuums for other models.

Bagless Upright

Shark Navigator Powered Lift-Away NV586 (Target)

CR’s take: A Target exclusive, this Shark Navigator has a 26-foot cord and weighs roughly 16 pounds. It receives an Excellent rating in both our pet-hair and bare-floor tests but doesn’t fare as well on carpet (though it’s still pretty good). Our testers found that this vacuum handles well and is pretty easy to push, pull, and carry, but it’s noisy compared with other upright vacuums. Shark uprights earned a Very Good score for predicted reliability and one of the highest scores for owner satisfaction among upright vacuums, meaning CR members who own them are highly likely to recommend them. Find other great options in our full ratings for bagless upright vacuums.

Bagged Canister

Miele Complete C3 Marin

CR’s take: Our top-performing canister vacuum, the Miele Complete C3 Marin, earns perfect marks in almost every test we throw its way. It’s a champ at bare floors and embedded pet hair and also excels at capturing dust particles. Powerful airflow makes its attachments especially effective. It’s also noticeably quieter than many models. It gets dinged a bit in our handling test, but that’s true of most canister vacuums, which trail behind you at the end of the suction hose. At more than $1,000, it may suck up a big chunk out of your bank account, though. Miele canisters earned top scores for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. See our full ratings for bagged canister vacuums for other high-performing options.

Bagless Canister

Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog

CR’s take: The Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog bagless canister is on the pricey side for vacuums, but it’s one of the best bagless canisters you can buy. It earns an Excellent rating on our bare-floors test, proving that it can suck up 5 grams of Maine coon cat fur in no time flat. It’s not so great when it comes to cleaning carpet; canisters are better for bare floors. Allergy sufferers may appreciate that this vacuum also performs well in our emissions testing, releasing little debris back into the environment after sucking it up. Miele canisters earned top scores for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. See our full bagless canister vacuum ratings for other high-performing options.

Corded Stick Vacuum

Shark APEX DuoClean Corded ZS360 (unavailable)

CR’s take: The Shark APEX DuoClean ZS360 is similar to the Shark APEX DuoClean ZS362 that we tested but that is no longer available; we expect the ZS360 to perform similarly. Its brandmate aced all of CR’s cleaning tests, including earning an Excellent rating on our difficult carpet test. The DuoClean powerhead includes a bristle roller and a soft roller, so you can easily move from floor to carpet and back again. And this machine cleans itself by automatically clearing hair from the brush roll. The little vac is easy to maneuver under furniture, and it has LED lights. The dustbin pops in and out with ease and, unlike some other stick vacs, this one stands on its own, making it easier to store. In our member survey, Shark corded sticks received Excellent ratings for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. For more options, see our complete corded stick vacuum ratings.

Cordless Stick Vacuum

Tineco Pure One S11

CR’s take: An all-around excellent performer, the feature-packed Tineco Pure One S11 boasts impressive cleaning ability, earning top marks in all our cleaning tests, including an Excellent rating for pet hair. An LED panel on the top of the handle displays the power level and battery time remaining, and alerts you if the vacuum experiences a clog. You can adjust the power settings by swiping up or down on the screen, and a dust sensor detects the amount of debris and adapts the suction power accordingly. It runs very quietly, and emissions are clean. For more options, see our full cordless stick vacuum ratings.

Robotic Vacuum

iRobot Roomba S9+

CR’s take: Part of the newer generation of iRobot models, the iRobot Roomba S9+ is pricey, but it delivers. This vacuum earns top scores down the line in our performance tests, and it’s the best of the best where edges and bare floors are concerned. This is also a self-emptying model that empties its dustbin into a dirt bag, no hands required. Like the iRobot Roomba e5 and the iRobot Roomba 960, the iRobot Roomba S9+ earns a Good rating for data privacy and a Very Good rating for data security. See out full robotic vacuum ratings for more choices.

Handheld Vacuum

Shark Ion W1 WV201

CR’s take: Not all handheld vacuums can tackle pet hair with aplomb, but the Shark Ion W1 WV201 aces that task, earning an Excellent rating. It’s also a champ at cleaning bare floors and getting into hard-to-reach places, and it’s not too shabby at cleaning carpet. The vacuum and all its attachments can be stored on the charging base, making it a real space saver. And at just 1.4 pounds, it’s the lightest handheld vac in our tests. The only downside to its small size is the small dustbin, which may have to be emptied more than once if you have a sizable spill. For more choices, see our full handheld vacuum ratings.

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