7 Best Canister Vacuums of 2019 – Reviews & Buyer Guide

If you’re in the market for a new vacuum cleaner, you might be confused. With so many models and features out there, how do you know which one to choose?

The good news is that you’ve come to the right place! We’ll tell you everything you need to know about the best canister vacuum cleaners on the market. And we’ll help you select the model that’s right for you.  

The Best Canister Vacuum of 2019

1. EUREKA 3684F-Violet – Best Canister Vacuum for Pet Hair

eureka canister vacuum bags

image: Eureka

The Eureka 3684F is a great choice if you share your home with a pet.

It comes with a specialist attachment to remove all traces of your pooch or pussycat. Just clip it to the end of the hose and it will remove every last hair in its path. The compact size means it’s easy to use on stairs and furniture as well as the floor.

This cleaner is a good option for allergy sufferers too. It’s equipped with a HEPA filter that removes an amazing 99.97% of dust particles from the air. The dust bag has a carbon filter to remove odors as you vacuum. And the 10 Amp motor gives plenty of suction.

If you’re looking for a vacuum that’s flexible enough to be used on curtains too, this fits the bill. It has a telescopic wand that will extend your reach to a maximum of 6 feet.

There’s also a crevice tool to help you clean out nooks and crannies. And when it’s time to clean your sofas and chairs, there’s a combined duster and upholstery tool to help.

The whole thing weighs in at less than nine pounds, so you won’t break a sweat carrying it around. Dust is collected in a robust bag, so it’s easy and mess-free to empty.

It does lose some points, though, with its cord, which is just 20 feet long. You may find you need to unplug and re-plug it more often than you’d like.

And you’ll need to rewind the cord by hand. Stand the cleaner on its side, and the cord wraps around a couple of holders. It’s a common enough design with canister cleaners, but that doesn’t stop it from being a bit awkward.

But if you can handle the issues with the cord, this is a good, powerful cleaner at a keen price.

Pros:

  • Good at removing pet hairs and odors
  • Includes a HEPA filter that captures 99.97% of dust particles
  • Weighs less than nine pounds

Cons:

  • At just 20 feet, the cord isn’t as long as we’d like
  • You’ll need to rewind the cord by hand when you’re done.

2. Bissell Zing 2156A canister vacuum – Best for the Money

bissell canister vacuum

image: Bissell

If you prefer a bagless cleaner, you’ll want to take a look at the Bissell Zing 2156A.

Here, dirt and debris are sucked straight into a plastic “dust cup”. When it’s time to empty it, just hold it upside down over a bin and push a button. The dust is ejected straight out – it couldn’t be easier. You’ll never have to remember to buy dust bags either.

So much for maintenance. But what about cleaning power?

The suction here is powerful. Really powerful. We’ve even heard of some people using it to clean their hairbrushes!

For more conventional cleaning of floors and carpets, it works like a charm. (There’s a simple switch to move between the two surfaces.) Just watch out for tassels on rugs. Once sucked in, you’ll probably have to turn off the cleaner to release them.

And for times when you need a lighter touch, there’s the option to reduce the suction. For cat owners, that works well for cleaning litter tray mats.

There’s a dirt cup and post-motor filter to capture dirt and dust. When they get dirty, just run them under water, leave them to dry, then pop them back in again.

Swivel steering makes cleaning around obstacles a breeze. And the cleaner weighs less than eight pounds, so it’s light enough to move from room to room easily.

That’s just as well, as the power cable is an inconveniently short 15 feet. When you’ve finished, just press a button and it will retract back into the body of the cleaner.

It comes with a crevice tool and duster brush, but they’re not as impressive as the rest of the machine.

The first problem is that the holder that’s supposed to keep them in place is pretty ineffective. The attachments are forever falling off, and you’ll probably find you relegate them to a cupboard. Not very helpful when you actually want to use them.

The crevice tool itself is short and too thick to get into tiny spaces. And the dusting brush attaches at a right angle to the hose, inhibiting the suction. The bristles are too short in any case to be much practical use.

The good news is that this is a powerful, lightweight cleaner at a very economical price. Use the money you’ll have left over for a separate dusting brush and crevice tool, and you’ll get excellent results.

Pros:

  • Really powerful suction
  • Simple to empty and you’ll never need to buy dust bags
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver

Cons:

  • The 15 feet long power cord restricts movement
  • Crevice tool and dusting brush are pretty ineffective.

3. Miele Compact C2 canister vacuum – Our Top Recommended

miele canister vacuum

image: Miele

If you’re prepared to pay a little more for your cleaner, Miele’s Compact C2 is well worth a look.

The 1200 Watt motor is one of the most powerful on our list. It’s efficient too, and you can choose from six different power settings.

Select your chosen setting by turning a simple dial. Options include upholstery, curtains, and even a quiet mode for times when you need to vacuum in peace.

The floorhead is just as clever as the motor. It can be set to any one of five different heights. That means it will clean effectively whether on a thin rug or the deepest of deep-pile carpets.

There’s also an electrical beater bar. That will agitate carpet fibers to extract dirt from right down at the base. Beware of using it, though, if you have loop pile carpets. The bar can damage the loops and ruin the finish.

If you have hard floors, there’s a separate floorhead dedicated to the task. Soft natural bristles allow it to glide smoothly over the surface without scratching. And there’s a wide outlet to suck up even bigger lumps of dirt.

This is a cleaner that uses a dust bag, so you’ll have to buy new ones from time to time. The bag is great quality though. And combined with the HEPA filter, motor protection and exhaust filters, it will capture 99.9% of dust. For anyone allergic to dust and mites, this could be well worth the investment.

You’ll get three different accessories included in the package. There’s a good quality crevice tool, dusting brush and upholstery cleaner. The cord retracting button works reliably and the motor is quiet too – even on the standard settings.

So is there anything not to like?

Well, not everyone will want to spend this much money on a vacuum cleaner. The replacement dust bags are pricey too. The cord is only 18 feet long, and it’s not the lightest machine on our list.

But for sheer cleaning power, this is hard to beat.

Pros:

  • Powerful motor and strong suction
  • Six different cleaning settings
  • Dedicated hard floor and carpet floorheads, each with variable settings

Cons:

  • Expensive – and the dust bags aren’t cheap either
  • The weight and shortish cord mean it’s not as easily maneuverable as some other cleaners.

4. Ovente ST2010 canister vacuum

ovente canister vacuum

image: Ovente

The Ovente ST2010 canister cleaner offers a whole range of features for its modest price tag.

Like the more expensive Miele Compact C5, it’s powered by a 1200 Watt motor. Its non-stop suction will pick up most hairs, dust and debris in a single pass.

It comes with a HEPA filter too. That will trap any dust particle bigger than 0.3 microns. That’s 300 times smaller than a human hair. Anyone with a dust or pet allergy will find this a very reassuring feature.

There’s an automatic cord rewind, so you won’t have to scrabble around with the cord when you’ve finished. And there are no bags to empty, just a translucent plastic container. An LED will come on when it’s full. Tip it out over the bin, then rinse it out with water. Clean the filters the same way.

The power button is operated with your foot. The hose rotates through 360 degrees and there’s a telescopic wand for vacuuming curtains and hard-to-reach areas.

The floor brush has different settings for hard floors and carpets, and a range of different accessories are included. There’s a crevice tool for reaching awkward spots, combined with a bristle brush. A separate upholstery cleaning tool, great for cleaning pet hair, completes the package.

There are a few issues to be aware of. Some people love bagless cleaners, and you’ll never have to remember to buy bags. But you do need to be prepared to clean out the container. And it can be tricky to empty the canister without sending dust clouds into the air. It’s certainly a job that’s best done outside.

It’s not as sturdy as the Miele, and the accessories aren’t the same quality. But at a tenth of the price, this offers a good deal for your money.

Pros:

  • Powerful 1,200 Watt motor
  • Effective HEPA filter traps dust and allergens
  • Automatic cord rewind

Cons:

  • Not as robust as some more expensive cleaners
  • The bagless design means you’ll have to rinse out the dust container from time to time.

5. Dyson DC39 Multi-Floor – Best Dyson Canister Vacuum

dyson cinetic big ball animal canister vacuum

image: Dyson

Dyson’s mid-range DC39 uses its celebrated cyclone technology to great effect sucking up dust and dirt. The remodelled airflow and bagless design means there’s no loss of suction, even when the dust container is nearly full.

It will work on both carpets and hard floors. We really like the position of the function selection switch. It’s high up on the handle, so you won’t have to bend to get to it. And the beater bar is designed to extract dirt from even deep pile carpets.

It weighs 8.8 pounds so it’s easy to carry up and down stairs. It’s effortless to maneuver too. Rather than having wheels, the back of the machine sits on a large ball. That means it can move in any direction with ease.

The key mechanisms sit inside that ball too. The result is a cleaner with a low center of gravity, so it won’t tip over as it’s turning corners.

And it’s pretty quiet, meaning you can vacuum at antisocial hours without upsetting your neighbours if you want to. And the whole shebang comes with a five year warranty.

So far, so good. But it’s not all plain sailing.

Cleaning the orange filter in the dust container is a real challenge. You can’t take it out to wash it, so you’re left with two options. Either take a hose and force through water at high pressure, or scrub it with an old toothbrush. Neither will give perfect results, however.

The second flaw relates to the brush bar. That’s powered by the suction, rather than having an independent energy source. If you’re using it on very deep pile carpet, that can slow it down.

Pros:

  • Patented cyclone technology produces very strong suction
  • Ball design and low center of gravity makes this easily maneuverable
  • Five year warranty means you can buy with confidence

Cons:

  • One of the filters is tricky to clean
  • The brush bar struggles on deep pile carpet.

6. Kenmore 600 Series

kenmore progressive canister vacuum

image: Kenmore

If you share your home with a furry friend, the Kenmore 600 should be on your shortlist.

Its motorized attachment is called the “Pet PowerMate”, which tells you everything you need to know about its main purpose. Its clever design means long hair won’t tangle around the brushes. And that means you won’t have to stop every five minutes to clean it out so you can keep vacuuming.

The triple HEPA filter will suck in almost every bit of dust and pet hair. And there’s a dual motor system to clean deep down in carpets. And for times when you need a lighter touch, there’s variable suction control.

The cord here is longer than most, at 28 feet. It comes with a range of different accessories too. In addition to the Pet Powermate, there’s a crevice tool, an upholstery brush and a bare floor tool. And we particularly like the onboard storage, which avoids the problem of accessories dropping off as you clean.

This is a chunkier cleaner than some, and it comes with extra weight. It weighs in at 22.6 pounds, so it takes more effort to move around.

And the way the hose is attached to the body of the cleaner means you’ll be putting pressure on it as you pull. That may mean it suffers from wear and tear over time.

On the plus side, the telescopic wand extends to a whole ten feet, much longer than many of its rivals. If you’ve got high ceilings and curtains to match, it’s a good choice.

Pros:

  • The Pet PowerMate attachment is great for cleaning fur from upholstery
  • Onboard storage keeps extra tools secure as you clean
  • 10 foot telescopic wand gives longer reach than many other models

Cons:

  • At 22.6 pounds, this is heavier than most
  • The design puts pressure on the hose, making it vulnerable to wear and tear.

7. Electrolux EL4021A

electrolux vacuum canister

image: Electrolux

An update of earlier models, Sanitaire’s SC3683B comes with a range of accessories for cleaning all areas.

There’s a crevice tool – located inside the handle – and an upholstery brush. And there are two different telescopic wands to help reach into tricky spaces. Unlike earlier versions, though, those wands are made of plastic not metal. That unfortunately means they’re not quite as robust.

It works great on hard floors, and there’s a separate carpet attachment for rugs and low-pile carpet. Press a switch on the floorhead to move between the two functions.

It’s not the best design if you’ve got thick carpets, though. You’ll find it difficult to move the head back and forward, and it won’t pick up dirt effectively.

It does, though, give powerful suction, and at 10 pounds it’s fairly lightweight. And it’s just as good at picking up pet hair as it is dirt and dust. It has a HEPA filter, so it’s great at trapping tiny dust particles. Anyone suffering from allergies or asthma will appreciate the benefits.

You will, though, have to wind up the cord manually when you’ve finished cleaning. The cord holders aren’t big enough for our liking, so getting it to sit tight isn’t easy.

Pros:

  • Good range of accessories for cleaning in different areas
  • HEPA filter effectively traps dust and particles
  • Powerful suction and great at picking up pet hair

Cons:

  • Not great on thick carpets
  • You’ll have to rewind the cord by hand.

Best Canister Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

Still not sure which is the right canister vacuum cleaner for you? Read on for our guide to the features to look for before you buy.

What will you be cleaning?

Canister Vacuum Benefits

Do you need a cleaner for hard floors? Rugs? Low or deep-pile carpets? Some models will work better than others on different surfaces. Deep-pile carpets in particular can be a challenge, so check reviews before you buy.

Check out the accessories too. Do you need a smaller head for cleaning stairs? What about an upholstery brush for sofas and chairs? A telescopic wand can be great for reaching up to clean curtains. And a crevice tool is invaluable if you have to get into awkward nooks and crannies.

Finally, if you have pets, look for cleaners with beater brushes or dedicated pet hair attachments. And models with carbon filters are great at eliminating any doggy odors.

Bag or bagless?

Bagged or Bagless canister vacuum Cleaner

Some canister vacuum cleaners collect dust in removable bags, while others are bagless. So which is better?

There’s no easy answer, as both have advantages and disadvantages. Bagless cleaners mean there are no extra costs in buying bags. And you won’t have to remember to keep them stocked up.

But some models can be difficult to empty. You’ll have to tip them up over a trashcan or bin bag. And you’ll need to take care to avoid releasing clouds of dust over your clean floors. So if you’re looking at a bagless cleaner, check out the mechanism for emptying it before you buy.

Dust bags can be easier to empty without releasing dust, especially if they have a one-way vent. But not all are effective; and you’ll usually have to pay more for more robust materials.

Do you or others in your home suffer from allergies?

canister vacuum with hepa filter

If you do, getting the right vacuum cleaner is very important. Many cleaners can actually disturb dirt and dust without capturing it, making the air dirtier after you’ve vacuumed. That’s bad news if you suffer from asthma or allergies.

Deal with this by looking for a cleaner with a HEPA filter. These capture all but the tiniest dust particles. With regular use, they’ll make a huge improvement on the air quality in your home.

Consider how easy the cleaner is to use

best canister vacuum for hardwood floors

Check the length of the cord to see how far you’ll be able to reach without unplugging the machine. And look for the position of power buttons and switches to select hard floor or carpet functions. Will you have to bend to use them?

A cord that retracts automatically is a big bonus. And check the weight too, especially if you’re going to need to carry your cleaner up and down stairs.

Let’s go shopping!

That brings us to the end of our round-up of seven of the best canister vacuum cleaners available right now. We hope it’s helped you narrow down the options that will work best in your home.

Our top pick is the EUREKA 3684-F. It’s excellent at dealing with pet hair and odors, and the HEPA filter is brilliant for allergy sufferers.

For a great budget buy, we recommend the Bissell Zing 2156A. Its amazingly powerful suction and swivel steering give cleaners twice the price a run for their money.

And if you’re ready to spend big, we love Miele’s Compact C2. It has all the quality and power of Miele cleaners in a compact package.

Whichever option you choose, we hope it gives you many years of reliable service. Happy cleaning!