The Best Canister Vacuums

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Cleaning your home is probably something you don’t look forward to doing on a daily basis. Nonetheless, scooping up the sand, dirt, dust, and human and animal hair that can accumulate on the floor, carpet, curtains, and furniture needs to be done on a regular basis. A good canister vacuum is probably one of the easiest ways to get rid of it all, making quick work of a chore few people enjoy.

The canister vacuum you choose can become one of the most important tools in your cleaning arsenal. It should be powerful enough to suck up the kind of dirt that is specific to your home without stalling or overheating. If you have a large home, the size of your vacuum will matter greatly, so pay close attention to the capacity it holds.

Other factors to consider are: the weight of the vacuum for easy handling; the length of the cord and hose, the surfaces it cleans; and, the attachments it comes with to handle various upholsteries and curtains.

Below, you’ll find our recommendations for the best canister vacuums, along with information on how they work and how to determine which one will work the best for you.

1. Editor's Pick: Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister Vacuum

1. Editor's Pick: Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister Vacuum
  • Lightweight
  • Large dirt cup
  • Cyclone filtration system
  • Not ideal for pet hair

Key Specs

Item Weight: 8.29 lbs.
Dirt Capacity: 3L
Cord Length: 16 ft.
Rectractable: Yes

This bagless canister vacuum from Eureka is a step up from the Bissell Zing in price and functionality and is still lightweight and affordable for anyone looking for an easy-to-use cleaning solution for their floors, carpet and upholstery.

Weighing just over eight pounds, it's easy to manoeuvre this machine under and around furniture and stairs due to its swivel steering and telescoping metal wand. At the same time, an integrated airflow control on the handle lets you flip a switch to choose how much suction you need for specific tasks using one of three settings: carpet, upholstery, or hard floors.

A two-in-one crevice tool is integrated into the hose handle so it’s at your fingertips whenever you need it. Disconnect the handle from the hose to switch between a crevice tool and the dusting brush. Each part securely locks into place with a snap; the hose, tube, and brush include a locking fit so that everything can be easily attached and detached.

The large three-litre dust container means more cleaning before it has to be emptied and the filter is washable so you don’t have to spend extra on dirt bags or filters. The 16-foot cord lets you travel farther within a room without changing outlets, and when you’re done there’s no fussing about winding the cord around the machine’s body as it will automatically retract back into the machine. This canister vacuum is also ideal for cleaning baseboards, sofas, hard-to-reach areas, carpets, upholstery, and floors.

2. Best Runner Up: Bissell 2156C Zing Bagless Canister Vacuum

2. Best Runner Up: Bissell 2156C Zing Bagless Canister Vacuum
  • Affordable
  • Removable and easy to empty dirt cup
  • Includes crevice tool and dusting brush
  • Air-flow regulator
  • Hose can be too short for people over six feet tall
  • Cord length may be too short for large rooms

Key Specs

Item Weight: 7.48 lbs.
Dirt Capacity: 2L
Cord Length: 15 ft.
Retractable: Yes

It’s not always easy to lug around a heavy canister vacuum, especially if you have stairs to clean. And if you are physically petite or have strength issues, pushing a vacuum can be challenging. This lightweight canister vacuum from Bissell is a compact option for anyone looking for a quick and easy way to vacuum the floor and carpet without too much physical exertion.

The large wheels on this machine make it easy to roll from room to room. It weighs less than eight pounds so it’s light enough to carry around, especially using its convenient handle.

The vacuum also features cyclonic technology that provides powerful, continuous suction across both carpets and hard floors. Equipped with a foot switch, you can easily move from hard surfaces to low-pile carpeting or area rugs and its swivel steering make manoeuvring around furniture and between rooms a snap.

This little machine also comes with an extension wand and a combination crevice tool/dusting brush so you can capture dirt and dust from above-floor surfaces, and the variable suction control allows you to reduce the suction level to clean the delicate fabric on curtains.

There is a decent 15-foot cord with auto rewind and with a two-litre capacity dirt cup, you can pick up a fair amount of dirt before it needs to be emptied. With no dirt bags to buy, you’ll also end up saving money in the long run. This lightweight model is also ideal for anyone starting out in their first apartment or small condo.

3. Best High End: Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction Powerline Canister Vacuum

3. Best High End: Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction Powerline Canister Vacuum
  • Wide cleaning radius
  • Ideal for cleaning pet hair
  • Has an air filtering system
  • Powerful motor and suction
  • More expensive than other models
  • Uses dust bags that need to be replaced

Key Specs

Item Weight: 14.8 lbs.
Dirt Capacity: 3.8L
Cord Length: 18 ft.
Retractable Cord: Yes

For a canister vacuum that offers up more power, functionality, and the ability to filter the air as you clean, we recommend this model from Miele — a brand that is known for its superior quality and German engineering that produces vacuums designed for long-lasting performance.

This vacuum is equipped with a rug and floor combination nozzle that is designed to clean all low-pile carpeting and hard floors. Using a 1,200-watt Miele-made vortex motor, this machine works to increase power efficiency to the level you select for each task. For optimal cleaning results, you can easily adjust the suction power to accommodate the surface being clean using the six settings on the rotary dial located on the vacuum. A convenient foot switch allows you to switch from cleaning a hard floor to a carpet with ease, and also includes a metal sole plate for easy gliding across surfaces and rubberized wheels to prevent scratching the floor.

Not only will this machine clean your floors, it also has an air filter system consisting of a genuine Miele dustbag, motor protection filter, and AirClean exhaust filter that work together to ensure maximum filtration. With the self-sealing collar, dirt and dust cannot escape once it is vacuumed into the dustbag.

Accessories that come with the vacuum include: a dusting brush, an upholstery tool, and a crevice tool — all of which are suited to clean those hard-to-reach places. This vacuum uses dustbags that need to be replaced, though, which is an added expense.

4. Best Commercial: Hoover CH30000 PortaPower Canister Vacuum

4. Best Commercial: Hoover CH30000 PortaPower Canister Vacuum
  • Lightweight
  • Extra wide cleaning path to cover more area with fewer passes
  • Stretch hose to clean ceilings and hard to reach places
  • Comes with a shoulder strap for easy portability
  • Attachments are difficult to remove

Key Specs

Item Weight: 8.3 lbs.
Cord Length: 33 ft.
Retractable Cord: N/A

If you own a large property, a few rental units, a small motel, or a cleaning company, you understand the importance of owning a reliable canister vacuum that can be handled by anyone regardless of their strength. This commercial model from Hoover, a reliable name in vacuum cleaners, is lightweight option that’s easy to carry around when cleaning multiple rooms.

This canister vacuum can clean tight and large spaces and can be used for close cleaning and detailing as well as for travelling long distances like hallways with its 33-foot-long power cord. Now you can vacuum stairways, down halls, and around sharp corners with ease.

With its built-in blower, you can power away loose debris and then use the vacuum to clean hard-to-reach places such as draperies, upholstery, and inside vehicles. This versatile machine can use both a reusable commercial cloth bag and a paper dust bag, allowing you to switch and alternate between cleaning jobs. For example, use a cloth bag with sharper objects and a paper bag for dust, hair and dirt.

5. Also Consider: Ovente ST2620B Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum

5. Also Consider: Ovente ST2620B Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum
  • Suitable for cleaning hard floors, carpets and mats, furniture, pet beds, and curtains
  • Bendable, adjustable telescopic stainless steel wand
  • Crush-proof hose with airflow control on the handle
  • Dustbin requires frequent cleaning

Key Specs

Item Weight: 13.2 lbs.
Cord Length: 16.4 ft.
Retractable Cord: Yes

There are canister vacuums that pick up dirt and hair, and then there are models that go the distance for a deeper cleaning. This model from Ovente offers up 1,400 watts of power in a vacuum that is equipped with a HEPA filter that will effectively suck up and trap 99.7 percent of the dust mites and allergens on your floors and carpets that are up to 0.3 micrometres in size.

The unit comes with different attachments — a floor nozzle with two settings, a crevice and bristle brush, a furniture nozzle, a pet/sofa brush, and a multi-angle brush. The variety of the attachments helps you more effectively clean almost every part of your house, from hardwood floors and tiles, furniture and curtains, to hard-to-reach ceilings and the top of furniture.

You are also able to choose the level of suction and regulate how much power you use; minimum suction for collecting dust without disturbing the environment and the maximum suction setting for heavier cleaning work. And with a transparent dust compartment, you can see when the dust container and filter are full. Just empty the container and clean the filter, and the vacuum is ready to use again.

What to Look for When Choosing a Canister Vacuum

Size and Weight: There’s no use purchasing even the best canister vacuum on the market if it’s too heavy for you to move around your house. Check how much it weighs before considering it for purchase. That way, you’ll be able to wheel it easily around from room to room and up the stairs without injuring yourself.

Use: Once you’ve determined the size and weight, think about what you will use it for. If your house is carpeted and you have pets, then you’ll want something strong enough to suck up the hair without it getting clogged or the brushes becoming twisted. If you have a home with hard floors, wall-to-wall carpets and area rugs, then you’ll need a model that can handle all of these surfaces. Look for one that has a system that is easy to switch from one mode to another.

If you also want to be able to vacuum hard to reach places, whether that is under furniture or ceilings, the top of shelves, the blades of a ceiling fan, or curtains and upholstered furniture, make sure the vacuum you choose has all the right attachments to get each job done. This would include a long enough hose, a swivel head to reach around corners and the legs of tables, as well as specialized brushes.

Bags or No Bags: Some canister vacuums require you to use bags that you attach while vacuuming and detach and empty when they are full. Often you have to use only the name-brand bags that fit your specific machine. These have a larger dirt capacity than a bagless cup or container model, so they have to be changed less frequently, but purchasing the bags is an added expense. A bagless model is convenient, though, because you never have to postpone your cleaning if you’ve run out of bags. However, most bagless canister vacuums have smaller dirt capacities which means they have to be emptied more often. Still, you do save on having to purchase separate bags.

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