Can your vacuum ever provide too much power?
Nope, it can’t.
That’s because modern-day vacuums have to do much more than picking up dust and debris. They have to clean up after your furry friend, suck the dirt trapped in thick carpets and prove effective on various types of floor. And they have to do all of that while remaining in your budget.
Don’t think such a vacuum even exist?
That means you haven’t come across the best canister vacuums yet. With their huge engine size, they offer brilliant flow rate and incredible suction power to meet (almost) all of your cleaning needs.
Miele Compact C1
For those of you who simply want the best canister vacuum that is out there, check out the Miele Compact C1.
Why Do We recommend it?
The Miele Compact C1 is undoubtedly one of the best canister vacuums on the market. It has a rotating turbo brush which ensures deep cleaning of thick carpets and its six-speed variable controls allow you to adjust the C1 to the surface you intend to clean.
Equally useful is its Air Clean Sealed System which doesn’t allow the entrapped dirt to get out of its filter, thereby preventing the formation of a cloud of smoke. An automatic height adjusting brush roller, meanwhile, prevents the loss of suction power by adjusting the height of the vacuum’s head.
Also, to let you clean more area in less time, this model has a long stainless steel wand which gives it a cleaning radius of 29.5 feet. You can also reach hard-to-reach areas, furniture, and curtains with this model as it offers a host of useful accessories in its package.
Bissell Zing 2156A
If the price is an issue for you, then the Bissel Zing 2156A might come in your budget.
Why Do We recommend it?
The Bissell Zing 2156A belies the myth which says you have to spend a fortune to land a top quality product. It comes with Cyclonic Action Technology which provides this model with uniform suction power across all types of surfaces.
It also has a multi-floor tool which requires you to flip a switch before adjusting the vacuum’s cleaning power to complement the upcoming floor type. You also get a two-stage filtration system in this model to get a long shelf life and it also has a dusting brush attachment to let you clean upholstery.
What’s more, you don’t have to get your hands dirty while cleaning the dirt cap of this vacuum. Instead, all you have to do is press a single button and the cap would automatically come out. Moreover, since it empties sideways, no dirt will be coming at your face.
Best Canister Vacuum Comparison Chart 2019
Best For Pet Hair
Best Dyson Canister Vacuum
Dyson DC39 Multi-Floor
Best For Hardwood Floor
Kenmore 81614 Bagged
Best Canister Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide
How do you know which vacuum is best and which one is just bluffing about its ability? That’s right; by looking at their features.
Benefits of a Canister Vacuum
If you still have any doubts about the utility of a canister vacuum, this section is for you:
1. Compact and Lightweight
The main reason why canister vacuums are lighter than their upright counterparts is because of their even weight distribution. With a lion’s share of their weight on the canister – the unit that’s lying on the floor – you don’t have to expend much effort while pushing them around.
Consequently, if you live in a multi-story house and need a vacuum which is easy to move up and down the stairs – as these vacuums have long wands which make them ultra-maneuverable, what you need is a small canister vacuum like the Bissell Zing 2156A.
2. More powerful and strong cleaning ability
In case you are wondering, the reason behind canister vacuums being extremely powerful lies in their design. Since they have a huge canister, these vacuums have much space which they could use to install a powerful motor with more bells and whistles.
Having such a power-hungry motor provides the canister vacuums with various benefits, the first of which is the strong cleaning ability which comes from extra power provided by the model. You also get more suction power which results in better cleaning action, especially on hardwood and bare floors.
3. Less noise
As you can see from the diagram, the extra space which their design affords the canister vacuums makes them ultra-quiet. That’s because these models install their filter and motor in separate parts, a mechanism which allows the manufacturer with enough room to install installation and come up with super-quiet models like the Electrolux EL4021A.
4. More attachments
A mere glance at the Miele Compact C1 should be enough to prove our point. In addition to providing the crevice tool – which helps clean nooks and other hard-to-reach areas, most canister vacuums give an upholstery tool for sofas and drapes, and a mechanized brush for carpets and rugs.
Canister Vs Upright – Which One Should You Choose?
Like all other products that you might use, neither the canister canister nor the upright vacuum cleaners are best for all situations. That means that it is your requirements which determine which of these two will suit you more.
Canister Vacuum Cleaners
As their name implies, these cleaners have a canister body which is attached to the powerhead via plastic hose and tubes. Inside the canister are the filter, engine and dust bags. They also have a large wand which makes these models a cinch to maneuver.
In comparison with their upright counterparts, canister vacuum cleaners like the Kenmore 81614 have an independent hose which makes them a preferable choice if you’re going to clean stairs, hardwood floors and other hard-to-reach areas with them.
Choose a Canister Vacuum Cleaner If:
- You want your vac to be lightweight, compact and easy to maneuver
- You are going to clean hardwood floors or stairs with your model.
- You have to clean tight spaces (i.e. under the furniture, nooks, and crevices)
- You’d prefer a unit that is relatively quiet.
Upright Vacuum Cleaners
These vacuum cleaners have a more traditional design as their suction head, motor and engine are located inside the same unit. That aspect of their design allows the upright vacuums to consume less area in terms of storage space.
Additionally, since they have a foot pedal which gives you the freedom to oversee their transition from one floor to the other, upright vacuums are recommended if you live in a carpeted house. Though their one-piece design makes these vacs a little heavy to carry.
Choose an Upright Vacuum Cleaner If:
- You are going to clean large open spaces, rugs, and carpets
- You prefer a model which occupies less storage area
- You’re tight on a budget but still need a unit which cleans more area in quick succession
How to Choose a Canister Vacuum for Pet Hair?
While canister vacuums are your go-to model if you want your vac to pick up after your furry friend, you need to make sure that they come with the following accessories to make your job easy.
Brushroll / Roll Brush
If you have carpets in your home, don’t forget to check out that the vacuum you’re choosing has a brushroll in its package.
This accessory has beater bars using which it agitates the carpet, so as to make sure that any pet hair embedded within it are come out for the vac to easily suck them up.
High Suction Power
Vacuum cleaners which are specifically designed for pet hair – like the Eureka 3684-F Violet – have high suction power which enables them to catch fine particles with ease.
When trying to find out a model’s suction power, look out for its AW (air watts) and CFM (cubic feet per minute).
Soft Contoured Nozzle
Since pet hairs are featherweight, any ordinary wand or nozzle can’t pick them due to their lightness. What you need, therefore, is a soft contoured nozzle which could easily pick them up.
Otherwise, if you go in for an ordinary nozzle, it will just move over the fine pet hair without picking them up.
A feature which is mostly limited to high-end models, swivel head not only allows the vacuum to move around furniture but also increases the surface area of the vacuum which comes into contact with the ground.
As a result, vacuums with swivel heads are much more able to pick up pet hair, dust, and dander than those which do not offer this facility.
Do You Need a HEPA Filter for Your canister Vacuum?
In case you were wondering, the HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air – a rating which states that these filters trap particles up to 0.3 microns in size. And since not many particles in the air fall below this rating, HEPA filters capture most of the airborne allergens to make the air around you breathable
But how do they do that? That means you want us to get a little technical.
Design of HEPA Filters
Inside the HEPA filters is a fine mesh made of fiberglass that is interwoven to create a maze of tiny-sized layers. Once a vacuum traps air from the outside, it then passes that air through these fibers – thereby purifying the air from dust, dander, pollen and other fine pollutants.
As a result, when this trapped air goes back outside, it won’t pollute your surroundings, thereby allowing your air to remain breathable.
What’s a “True” HEPA filter?
Scour the market, and you might see that while some vacuum cleaners offer HEPA filters, others come with “True” HEPA filters. This term is used to differentiate filters which meet American standards from those which fulfill the European ones.
HEPA filters which meet European standards capture only 85% of particles with sizes up to 0.3 microns. On the contrary, those who meet the US Standards – and which are termed “True” HEPA filters – capture around 99.97% of particles sized of the same size.
Should Your Vacuum Have HEPA Filter?
For those of you have asthma or allergy patients in your home, make sure that your vacuum comes with a HEPA filter. Such filters capture the allergens inside the machine instead of pumping them back into your home.
So you can rest easy knowing that the sucked dirt isn’t coming out of your model.
Buying a canister Vacuum Cleaner Specifically for Hardwood floors?
For a vacuum cleaner to perform seamlessly on hardwood floors, it must have the following features:
As you can gauge by looking at the models we are recommending, most of them offer the suction control feature. If you don’t know the reason, here’s why a hardwood vacuum needs to have a suction control feature.
First of all, when you’re dealing with small messes on a hardwood floor, a suction control feature – by letting you decrease the power of the vacuum – will automatically reduce its suction noise to make sure that you don’t spread the mess while trying to capture it.
Secondly, if you want to clean quickly, the more powerful models like the Dyson DC39 Multi Floor will allow you to do more in less time by letting you increase the suction power via this feature.
What’s worse than having a dirty hardwood floor? A hardwood floor which contains scratches left behind the sharp wheels of a vacuum cleaner. Also, the latter situation is worse because it is irredeemable – as you can do nothing about scratches.
Which is why we recommend that regardless of the model you might end up choosing, you should guarantee that its wheels are soft-gliding. Lest you want to cover the scratches by pulling a carpet over that area.
Bare floor brush
Ask homeowners who have a hardwood floor in their homes, and they might testify that it is a magnet for loose dirt. So you need a tool which has short, stiff bristles which could easily remove grit and fine dirt.
That’s where a bare floor brush comes in. With its narrow opening and stiff bristles, this tool gathers the dirt before collecting it, thereby making sure that the dirt can’t scatter as you’re trying to clean it.
Powerhead with microfiber pads
First things first, never buy a powerhead which has a revolving brush which cannot be turned off for your hardwood floor. Otherwise, just like plastic wheels, a revolving brush might end up leaving scratches on your floor.
To be extra careful, you can get models which have microfiber pads. By making the contact area between the floor and the vac as soft as possible, these pads reduce the likelihood of any mishap.
Bagged or Bagless?
Regardless of the type of vacuum cleaner, you might be looking for, you have to make a decision between bagless and bagged models. Both of them have their own plus points and limitations, so it’s your preference which will have a final say in this matter.
Bagged Canister Vacuum Cleaners
Bagged vacuum cleaners like the Miele Compact C1 store the dust they capture from outside in a dirtbag which, in turn, has a cloth section surrounding it. These vacuums generally have larger capacities and require less maintenance.
What’s more, some of these vacuum cleaners even has an indicator light which lets you know when the bag is full. They also make sure that you have as little contact with dirt as possible, as all you have to do to clean the vac is to remove the old bag before throwing it away.
That said, there’s a reason why some of you might not prefer a bagged model. Their bags have a limited shelf life and are generally not washable. Also, when the bag starts to fill to capacity, the suction power of the vacuum might start to decrease.
Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaners
Provided you decide to go for a bagless vacuum cleaner, you would save on the money of buying bags since they have washable filters to store dirt and debris. Also, while they are generally expensive, models like the Bissell Zing 2156A cost no more than their bagged counterparts.
Having said that, there’s a reason why many experts don’t recommend these models. Which? A UK consumer group claims that with bagless models, cleaning the filter is messier as you have to do it manually.
Consumer Reports, meanwhile, finds that bagless dumping might exacerbate allergies or asthma. Then there is Choice (an Australian group) which warns that with bagless models, you’re more likely to accidentally inhale the out-coming dirt.
Best Canister Vacuum Reviews of 2019
1. Miele Compact C1 – Top Recommended
The Miele Compact C1 is a blissfully quiet model which offers six cleaning modes and is ultra-quiet in its operation. Add to the equation its four-stage filtration system and a sleek design, and this model stands out from the competition.
Design-wise, the Miele Compact C1 hasn’t put a foot wrong. Its egg-shaped model contains a grey theme with specks of white and black. These three color patterns combine to provide a sleek appeal to this model, one which makes it instantly noticeable.
More importantly, located just below the handle of this unit is a knob which rotates to provide six - yes, SIX – cleaning options. You can switch between these options to clean curtains & lightweight fabrics, cushions and upholstery, high pile rugs and carpets, low pile and hardwood surfaces.
In addition to cleaning your floors, this model also cleans your house’s air thanks to its 4-layers of filtration. And once the messes are in its bag, they stay there. Even when you empty the bag, you won’t encounter any puffs of dust – which is a welcome feature if you’re allergic to dust.
Yet another area where this model excels is its noise. When measured using a sound meter at a distance of 3’ away, the vacuum was churning out 81dB of sound. For the sake of comparison, that is less noise than what your hair dryer emits (90dB), which means that this model is super-quiet.
Finally, none of the other models in this review can rival the Compact C1 when it comes to filters. It provides three filters in its package including a pre-motor filter to protect the motor, an exhaust filter to ensure that emissions aren’t dangers and a HEPA filter to protect allergy and asthma sufferers.
Unfortunately, though, the presence of these three filters comes across as a double-edged sword. While there’s no doubting that they make this model’s operation safe, these filters increase its maintenance costs as well. As you have no choice but you have to replace all of these filters at one time or another.
- Six cleaning modes
- Extremely quiet operation
- Incredibly easy to maneuver
- Four-stage filtration
- Recurring maintenance costs
2. Bissel Zing 2156A – Budget Pick
The Bissell Zing 2156A is available in three colors, has a huge suction power and provides a considerable number of attachments in its package. Throw into the mix its meager price tag for a canister vacuum, and it’s of little wonder that this model is our budget pick.
First things first, the Bissell Zing 2156A has a Cyclonic Action technology to provide fade-free suction. This technology operates by creating a whirlwind of air to trap dust and dander from outside – a mechanism which ensures that the suction power remains consistenteven when the dirt cup is almost full.
In contrast to some other vacuums, the 2156A doesn’t force you to manually change its height when switching between multiple surfaces. Instead, it has a multi-surface floor tool which requires you to flip a switch when moving from one floor to other, after which the unit would adjust its height accordingly.
Additionally, this model has a two-stage filtration system to provide added protection. While the first filter will remain with the dirt cup, the Post-Motor filter will capture those dirt particles which were able to bypass the first one, with both filters being reusable and washable.
Fortunately, in contrast to other bagless vacuums, the 2156A won’t force you to get your hands dirty to clean its dirt cup. It has an Easy-Empty cup which comes out with the press of a single button. Also, since it will clean sideways, you won’t have the problem of the dirt reaching your face.
Lastly, one complaint which some users might have about this model is the absence of a HEPA filtration system. Granted, it does offer two filters in the package. But for those of you who suffer from skin allergies and asthma, an HEPA filtration system is a better choice to have.
- Fade-free suction power
- Two-stage filtration system
- Effortlessly cleans multiple floors
- Dirt cup is incredibly easy to empty
- Doesn’t have a HEPA filtration system
3. EUREKA 3684F-Violet – Best Canister Vacuum for Pet Hair
Although you might already be aware of them, there is a certain set of features (which we mentioned in our buying guide) which makes a canister vacuum best for pet hair. The presence of a majority of those features in the Eureka 3684F-Violet is what makes it a must-have for pet lovers.
In case you were wondering, the reason why we’re recommending this model for pet hair has to do with its performance and the attachments which it provides.
Starting with the former, it has a high-filtration dirtbag which not only captures pet dander but also eliminates pet odors. More important, however, is its huge suction power of 12AMP which would be sufficient to pick up the minutest of pet hair.
As for the latter, it comes with “Pet Power Paw” attachment which allows it to easily suck up pet hair from upholstery and stairs. You also get a crevice tool to capture dirt from nooks and crannies, and there’s a dedicated pet hair attachment too which does what its name implies.
Additionally, to give you the freedom of cleaning the entire room in one go, the Eureka 3684-F provides a decent combo of a 20-foot cord and a telescoping wand. While the former would save you the trouble of switching between plugs every now and then, the latter makes the cleaning of high-lying areas a cinch.
On top of everything else, this vacuum cleaner provides a premium HEPA filter in its package. Apart from removing dirt and dander from the floor, this filter won’t let the captured dirt back into your room. So you can rest easy knowing that the air around you is breathable.
On the flip side, even though this model is designed for pet hair, it doesn’t have a brush roll in its package. That means that this model might not be sufficient to capture pet hair embedded in thick carpets. So if you’ve rugs in your home, you might have to purchase this attachment separately.
- Lightweight and competitively priced
- HEPA filtration system
- Telescopic wand and 20-foot long cord
- “Pet Power Paw” attachment
- Doesn’t have a motorized brushroll
4. Dyson DC39 Multi-Floor – Best Dyson Canister Vacuum
Thanks to the innovations Dyson has brought in this industry, its brand-name is typically synonymous with top rated canister vacuums. The Dyson DC39 Multi-Floor is the brand’s flagship model with its innovative design, unique features, and incredible power not many other vacuums can compete with.
Starting with the best feature that this model has to offer, and its radial cyclone technology comes into play. The presence of multiple cyclones not only helps ensure optimum airflow – but it also guarantees that the dirt and allergens will remain in the bin and won’t be jettisoned into your room.
Equally important is the way this versatile vacuum handles multiple floors. You might have seen other multi-floor vacuums requiring you to bend to adjust their height according to the new floor. Not Dyson. It has included a trigger on the handle using which you can effortlessly switch between different surfaces.
What’s more, if you’re cleaning hardwood floors, you can press a button on top of the trigger grip to stop its brush bar from spinning, thereby preventing scratches on the hard floor. It also has a bare floor brush whose soft, stiff bristles make it a must-have for removing dirt and grit from tiled-floors.
Another noticeable feature of this model – one which allergy sufferers would love – is its HEPA filter. You’d also find it good to know that every piece of this vacuum – except the brush bar – is washable. Just throw them in the sink, and your DC39 will keep looking new for a long time.
Unfortunately, we weren’t as impressed with the dirt-cup cleaning mechanism of this model. Once you remove the dirt cup, there’s a button pressing which all the dirt should be ejected into the bin. However, as we found out, you’d have all the dirt on your face unless you hold the cup practically deep into the garbage before pressing the button. That means that you will get dirty in the process.
- Won’t require you to bend
- HEPA filter are lifetime washable
- Incredible suction power (280 AW)
- Can use it on bare/hardwood floors
- Messy to empty its dirt cup
5. Kenmore 81614 Bagged – Best Canister Vacuum for Hardwood Floor
The 22-pound Kenmore 81614 isn’t the most lightweight vacuum in this review. However, with its triple HEPA-filtration system, 2-motor suction power, and a 28’ cord, this model does everything to justify its heavy weight with aplomb.
Provided you were thinking, there are two reasons why we recommend this unit for hardwood floors. First, it has a Pop-N-Go brush whose narrow opening and soft bristles – without leaving any scratches – gathers the dirt before collecting it.
Secondly, it has a variable power control mode. This option allows you to decrease the suction power of this unit when cleaning hardwood or bare floors. However, if it is rugs that you want to clean, you can increase the suction power to suck deep-embedded debris
Also, this model has a 2-motor system which provides it with powerful, fade-free suction. It creates a centrifugal force to pick up dirt and dander from your home. And with the interior cyclonic design of this model complementing the motor, it does a pretty good job of cleaning messes.
As far as the attachments of this model are concerned, you won’t have any complaints. Apart from the telescoping wand, the Kenmore 81614 includes a crevice tool, an upholstery tool, and a motorized pet tool. In addition to all this, you also get a standard vacuum attachment in its package.
Then there is its three-stage HEPA filtration system which captures 99.97% of all dirt particles. Its 28’ cord, meanwhile, will allow you to clean all but the extra-large rooms without switching power outlets. And once you’re done using this model, press a button to retract its cord and store the vac away.
Finally, one negative point which we noted about this model is that its beater brush is of low quality. It wears out quickly and provided you have a fully carpeted home, you’ll have no choice but to replace it. Which is why we recommend that you purchase this model only for hardwood floors.
- 28’ retractable cord
- Has a telescoping wand
- Attachments for hardwood floors
- Quality of the beater bar attachment is questionable
6. Electrolux EL4021A – Minimum Noise
Don’t want to wake the whole neighborhood while cleaning your front room? Then you must check out the Electrolux EL2021A whose super-quiet operation makes it a treat for your ears.
Why is this model so quiet? Assuming that you’ll have this question after using this model, the answer lies in its unique Silence Pro system. It provides the EL4021’s canister, nozzle, and motor with sound-softening features to make sure that the device remains quiet than its counterparts.
As for its performance, this vacuum cleaner provides multi-surface cleaning thanks to its speed control switch. It also has a dual-nozzle design to capture maximum dirt in one pass and you also get a full-bin indicator. A HEPA filtration system – which captures more than 99% allergens – is also provided.
In addition to its standard cleaning head, the Electrolux EL4021A provides a 3-in-1 tool in its package. You can rely on this tool to clean hard-to-reach areas i.e. stairs. Then there is its dusting brush for cleaning hardwood floors and an upholstery tool using which you can rid your curtains off of dirt.
Furthermore, even though this model has a bagless design, its dirt-cup isn’t messy to clean. Pressing a single button takes the cup out of the vacuum and it empties sideways to protect your face from dirt. If that wasn’t enough, you get a swivel nozzle to easily maneuver this model in and around furniture.
Finally, for a model which offers lots of useful features, the Electrolux EL4021A lacks on one count. It doesn’t provide either a motorized brush roll or even a self-cleaning brushroll in its package. That means that its cleaning effectiveness on carpets would, at best, be limited.
- Super-quiet operation
- 3-in-1 crevice tool
- HEPA filtration system
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- No motorized brushroll for cleaning carpets
7. Ovente ST2010
Though not coming from as famous a brand as Dyson or Electrolux, the Ovente ST2010 ticks all the right boxes with its intuitive design, user-friendly features, and fade-free suction power. Therefore, if you aren’t brand conscious, this model might serve you well.
Every model in this review has its unique selling point, and with the Ovente ST2010, the sheer number of attachments that it provides is what sets this model apart. Think we are exaggerating things here? Then let’s check out what this model is offering.
Apart from the crevice tool which almost every cleaner provides, it offers a telescoping wand to increase the unit’s reach. Its pet brush lets you clean after your furry friend and the HEPA-filtration system makes the air around you breathable. And if you want to clean bare floors, check out this model’s floor brush.
Impressed? This model offers plenty more to gain respect. Take, for instance, its 360* hose swivel – which makes moving this vac in/around low lying furniture a cinch. Or its LED-light alert which starts glowing the moment its dirt cup is full to let you focus on cleaning.
Moreover, while it isn’t the lightest model in this review, the ST2010 has made good use of its design. It has a large-capacity dirt cup to gather extra dirt and provides an automatic cord-rewind mechanism too. So all you have to do once you’re done the cleaning is press a single button, and the unit will be ready for storage.
Unfortunately, if you want to use this model for hardwood floors, it might end up doing more bad than good. It has plastic wheels which are prone to leaving scratches on wooden surfaces. Granted, there is a bit of rubber covering all three wheels. However, as we found it, the covering is unable to prevent the plastic wheels from damaging hardwood surfaces.
- A large number of useful attachments
- Adjustable 360* hose swivel
- LED-light alert for when the dirt cup is full
- Telescopic Wand
- Wheels are plastic
There you have it; seven of the best vacuums money can buy. From a super-quiet model to one whose performance leaves everyone in awe – and from a vacuum which cleans after your furry friend to one which allows the hardwood floors to retain their newness for long – this list has everything you might ask for.
Therefore, now that we have done our part, we pass the baton to you. Define your preferences, check your budget and decide whether it’s a bagged or bagless model that would suit you. And once you have done that, make the purchase. You won’t regret it.
Hello, I’m Rita! Editor of Home/Made. We began this blog as a passion project geared toward sharing our love of all things home related. From DIY to cleaning tips, homemade wares to home living guides, We have truly found our proverbial muse in everything that goes into making a living space into a home.