Written By
Published Oct. 5, 2021

According to Consumer Reports, canister vacuums make up only about 2% of the overall vacuum market. But they’re finally starting to grow in popularity, and it’s not difficult to see why. Unlike standard upright vacuums, canister vacuums are generally more lightweight, quiet, and maneuverable, making them the ideal choice for houses with hardwood floors, tight spots, and multiple levels.

Canister vacuums can be moved around easily because the weight is distributed between the canister and the powerhead. That way, you’re not lifting the entire vacuum around as you clean. Plus, the attached wand and hose give you more extension for hard-to-reach spots such as blinds, curtains, and overhead fixtures. This extra-long reach even makes them well suited for cleaning the interior of your car.

Because of their maneuverability, canister vacuums work great on all types of hard flooring and are perfect for getting dust bunnies that accumulate under raised furniture. But some models on the market today even do a great job on carpeted floors as well. If you’ve ever considered upgrading your home vacuum, this list of the best canister vacuums we’ve put together is a great place to get started. You may never go back to upright or stick vacs again!

How We Picked the Best Canister Vacuums

Methodology

There are so many technical specifications to compare and contrast when shopping for electronic devices that it can be downright confusing. To narrow down this list to just five picks, we looked at no fewer than two dozen of the best canister vacuums on the market, which we then refined by brand, average customer ratings, and reviews.

We also selected a range of products that address a wide assortment of consumer needs. For instance, people who have multiple pets may need a canister vacuum tailored to picking up pet hair. In contrast, people with young children might want precision tools and accessories to remove even the smallest specs of dirt and dust to stay clean and sanitary.

Affordability was another factor we took into consideration. While we could put together a solid list of the best canister vacuums with prices of $500 and above, that might not work for all budgets. So if you’re looking for a vacuum that costs under $100, we included options that come in at lower price points.

The Best Canister Vacuums: Reviews & Recommendations

Best canister vacuum overall: Miele Blizzard CX1 Turbo Team Bagless Canister Vacuum

Incredible Performance

Powerful vortex motor technology provides the deepest clean possible. Miele

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: German-engineered vortex technology puts this powerful yet quiet bagless canister vacuum far above and beyond the competition.

Specs:

  • Weight: 19 pounds
  • Surface Type: Hard floors, carpet
  • Collection Method: Bagless

Pros:

  • Miele-made vortex motor
  • Maintenance-free lifetime HEPA filter
  • Four suction power settings

Cons:

  • Cord could be longer
  • Suction might be almost too powerful

Clean up even the biggest messes faster with the Miele Blizzard CX1 Turbo Team Bagless Canister Vacuum. This powerful yet quiet canister vac employs powerful vortex technology to provide the deepest clean possible, with the ability to switch between four different suction power settings specific to the surface being cleaned. It also comes with a Turbo Brush Floorhead for low-to-medium pile carpet and a Parquet Twister floor head with soft bristles for hard floors.

Whether using or emptying this bagless canister vacuum, dust will be the least of your worries. The double-pronged approach of the maintenance-free HEPA Lifetime Filter and Gore CleanStream Fine Dust Filter ensures top-notch filtration, eliminating up to 99.98 percent of dust and allergens. And with specially-designed hygienic emptying, you won’t get a cloud of fine dust particles in your face when emptying the dust cup the way you might with other bagless models.

This vacuum is so powerful that it can even be compared to a good shop vac, albeit a quieter one with multiple settings. In fact, one of the downsides is that because the vacuum does its job so well, you really have to be diligent about picking up items off the floor that you don’t want sucked up before using it. Another minor complaint from some users is that the cord length would be perfect if it were just five or 10 feet longer. An extension cord may be an easy solution.

Best vacuum for pets: Kenmore BC3005 Pet Friendly Lightweight Bagged Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Powerful Double-Motor Cleaning

Reach heights of over nine feet with its aluminum telescoping wand. Kenmore

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: Pet hair and dander are no match for this canister with a triple HEPA filtration system that traps more than 99 percent of dirt inside the vacuum.

Specs:

  • Weight: 24.2 pounds
  • Surface Type: Floor, upholstery, carpet
  • Collection Method: Bagged

Pros:

  • Triple HEPA filtration system
  • Two powerful motors for deep cleaning
  • Telescoping wand for above-floor cleaning

Cons:

  • No carrying handle
  • Floor brush not as durable as higher-end models

Say goodbye to even the most stubborn pet hair on floors, upholstery, and other surfaces with this Kenmore canister vacuum that does the heavy lifting for you. A combination of two motors provides effective brush rotation and powerful suction for deep cleaning. The aluminum telescoping wand has a reach of 9.5 feet, and the detachable handle is perfect for cleaning furniture, car interiors, and other tight spaces.

Your allergies will also thank you since the triple HEPA filtration system traps 99.97 percent of dirt inside the vacuum. Other great features include an automatic cord rewind that quickly retracts 26 feet of cord with the push of a button. In addition, the upper and lower wands release easily to effortlessly switch from cleaning the floor to upholstery and the ceiling.

The main drawback some users have reported is that it can be slightly cumbersome to carry this vacuum around because there is no carrying handle. Others say that the floor brush that comes with the vacuum isn’t as well-made as some previous models, but fortunately, that’s easy enough to upgrade.

Best attachments: Oreck Commercial XL Pro 5 Super Compact Canister Vacuum

Amazing Suction

Experience commercial-grade power with the convenience of a handheld vac. Oreck Commercial

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: This compact, lightweight canister vacuum can be carried by hand or over the shoulder and comes with a full accessory pack of tools for cleaning any surface.

Specs:

  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Surface Type: Upholstery, carpet, wooden floors, laminate floors, tile floors
  • Collection Method: Bagged

Pros:

  • Complete set of detailing tools
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Extra-long 30-foot cord

Cons:

  • Shoulder strap becomes detached easily
  • Exhaust is as powerful as the suction

When people say the Oreck Commercial XL Pro 5 Super Compact Canister Vacuum sucks, they mean it really sucks. Weighing in at just about five pounds, this extraordinarily lightweight yet mighty canister vac cleans floors, stairs, furniture, ceiling fans, bookshelves, curtains, light fixtures, and more with a precision set of detailing tools.

The accessories included are a telescopic wand, upholstery tool, dusting brush, crevice tool, universal adaptor, detachable accessory caddy, and a floor-cleaning nozzle with hard floor and carpet settings. It also comes with a 30-foot-long power cord that conveniently wraps around the bottom of the vacuum and a shorter, five-foot “slinky” style hose that lets you put suction right where you need it.

But with great suction also comes great exhaust: When using this vacuum, you have to make sure that you’re not accidentally blowing around dust and dirt before you can suck it up. Many customer reviews also noted a design flaw that makes the shoulder strap fall off easily, so that’s something to consider before using it for the first time.

Best bagless canister vacuum: Bissell Zing Bagless Canister Vacuum

Easy to Empty

The removable dirt cup with locking lid ensures quick, mess-free emptying. Bissell

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: Never worry about purchasing vacuum bags again with this convenient bagless vac that uses handy filters to capture even more fine dust and particles.

Specs:

  • Weight: 9.3 pounds
  • Surface Type: Carpets, hard floors, upholstery
  • Collection Method: Bagless

Pros:

  • Easy-empty two-liter dirt cup
  • Automatic 15-foot power cord rewind
  • Airflow regulator helps control pressure

Cons:

  • Not ideal for carpeted floors
  • Attachments don’t always stay on well

Featuring cyclonic technology that delivers powerful, continuous suction, the Bissell Zing Bagless Canister Vacuum makes it easy to clean hardwood surfaces throughout your home. Weighing less than 10 pounds, it’s also simple to maneuver using the integrated carrying handle so you can get to those pesky hard-to-reach spots that traditional vacuums might miss.

And best of all, there are no vacuum bags ever to buy or change. The bagless design includes an easy-to-empty, two-liter capacity dirt cup and three stages of filtration, using filters in the dirt cup and one post-motor filter to help capture fine dust and particles. These filters are washable and reusable, so you’ll save even more money.

However, even though this canister vacuum is marketed as working on multiple surfaces, some users have found that it doesn’t work as well on carpeted floors and that the wheels and bristles on the floor tool tend to collect hair. Others have had issues with the telescoping hose extenders and other accessories not locking into place, causing them to become dislodged, especially when used on carpets. But for hard floors, most users agree that you can’t beat this Bissell.

Best compact vacuum: Eureka 3670G Mighty Mite Corded Canister Vacuum

Lightweight Yet Mighty

Extension wands provide easier access to even the hardest-to-reach areas. EUREKA

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: Cleaning multiple surfaces around the home is quick and efficient with this canister vacuum equipped with a 12- amp motor to create powerful suction.

Specs:

  • Weight: 11.6 pounds
  • Surface Type: Ideal for hard floors; does well on carpets and rugs
  • Collection Method: Bagged

Pros:

  • 12-amp motor
  • Easy-to-use fingertip controls
  • Dust cup capacity of 2.5 liters

Cons:

  • No rotating brush head
  • Power cord can be cumbersome

For a compact vacuum that doesn’t sacrifice performance, the Eureka 3670G Mighty Mite Corded Canister Vacuum is equipped with brush rolls and a complete set of tools to help clean carpets, hard floors, stairs, and upholstery. It’s an ideal model for vacuuming quickly and efficiently, and even tricky pet hair and dust are no match for the powerful 12-amp motor.

This bagged model has a two-and-a-half liter capacity, and the bag comes out easily for a no-mess clean. Another great feature is the power-touch handle with easy-to-use fingertip controls that make switching between the deluxe floor brush and the bare-floor nozzle easy.

Customer reviews have pointed out some minor flaws, such as the absence of a rotating brush head, which can make deep-cleaning rugs and carpets difficult. Also, with no automatic rewind feature, the cord must wrap around the bottom of the canister, which makes for awkward usage and storage. Those are small inconveniences, however, when you consider the affordable price tag.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Canister Vacuum

With so many types of vacuums on the market, including upright, stick, handheld, and canister models, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to determine which is right for you. There are a few drawbacks to canister-style vacuum cleaners. For example, because most models don’t work as well on carpeted floors, a canister vacuum simply can’t compete with an upright vacuum, especially on high-pile carpets and rugs.

Another thing to consider is the overall square footage of the space you need to clean and where you plan to store the vacuum. Canister vacuums tend to have smaller heads and brushes, so it will take that much longer to clean large spaces. Because of their unique shape and design, canister vacuums can also be more cumbersome to store than upright or stick vacuums.

However, if you have hardwood floors, multiple floors, and curtains, high ceilings, or other hard-to-reach spots, a canister vacuum might just be the perfect tool to make your life easier. You may even want to purchase one in addition to your regular upright vacuum so it’s there when you have a tough job that needs this unique cleaning solution.

FAQs

Q: What are the benefits of using a canister vacuum?

There are many benefits to using a canister vacuum. In addition to flexible hoses and longer cleaning wands for hard-to-reach spots, canister vacuums tend to be lightweight and easier to carry than upright vacuums. They also generally have better suction and flow rate, meaning you can clean faster and more efficiently.

Q: Why are canister vacuums better for hardwood floors?

Canister vacuums are typically better for bare floors because, unlike upright or stick vacuums, they tend to be less likely to disperse dust and debris. But at the same time, the features that make them ideal for hard floors also make them ill-equipped for carpeted floors, which can clog the vacuum’s brush head with hair and fur.

Q: Are canister vacuums more difficult to use?

Canister vacuums may be more challenging to use than upright vacuums because their bulky design can make them awkward to carry around and store. However, canister vacuums are generally lighter and more compact than upright vacuums, so it boils down to which type of vacuum is more comfortable to use depending on the individual and the area that needs cleaning.

Final Thoughts

With its ability to clean carpeted floors and upholstery just as well as hard surfaces, our top pick is the Miele Blizzard CX1 Turbo Team. We love its bagless technology that still manages to keep dust from escaping the dust cup when emptying.

However, if the cost of the Miele is a bit too steep for your budget, the Oreck Commercial XL Pro 5 Super Compact Canister is a lightweight and efficient little machine with powerful suction and an extra-long cord for less than a quarter of the price.

MORE TO READ