15 Top-Rated Vacuum Cleaners That Can Handle the Dirtiest Floors

Dirt, dust, crumbs, pet hair—begone!

July 23, 2021
Photo by James Ransom

A good vacuum can be life-changing, if I say so myself. I remember the first time I bought a Dyson after years of using other brands—the amount of pet hair that came out of my carpet was honestly a little concerning and I was left thinking, “Oh, that’s how it’s supposed to work!”

If your vacuum needs a dozen passes to leave your floors looking even remotely clean, short of changing out the filter, it’s safe to say that you need a new one. Luckily, there’s no shortage of top-rated vacuums, especially on Amazon Prime where you can take advantage of its free two-day shipping and easy returns.

Here are the ones that the internet loves the most, several of which we’ve tested and loved.

Upright Vacuums

Upright vacuum cleaners are one of the most popular styles because they’re easy to use and store. They have a wide cleaning path and a freestanding design that surprisingly takes up minimal space when not in use, and they tilt backwards for more ergonomic and comfortable vacuuming. Plus, most models are bagless so they’re easier to maintain and clean. Overall, they’re a great main vacuum cleaner for any home.

1. Dyson Ball Multi Floor Upright Vacuum, $350

4.5 Stars / 1,900+ Reviews

This Dyson Ball upright vacuum is designed to “seal in” suction on both carpet and hardwood flooring, giving you a more thorough clean. Plus, it has whole-machine HEPA filtration to help trap allergens and bacteria. What more could you want from a vacuum?

Photo by Amazon

2. ORECK XL COMMERCIAL Upright Vacuum Cleaner, $148.44

4.4 Stars / 9,000+ Reviews

For those that prefer a bagged vacuum cleaner, this upright model from ORECK delivers professional-grade results. It has a built-in squeegee that collects dirt and dust from all surfaces, and its handle lies completely flat, making it easy to clean under furniture. Plus, it has a 35-foot power cord that’s ideal for vacuuming larger homes.

Photo by Amazon

3. Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional, $199.99

4.5 Stars / 22,000+ Reviews

This vacuum even looks powerful. This professional-grade, mid-price upright vacuum has a HEPA-grade filter to remove allergens from your home, and you can detach the canister for a more portable cleaning session.

Photo by Amazon

Canister Vacuums

Canister vacuums feature a rolling component that you pull along while using the hose and cleaning wand. While sometimes awkward to maneuver, canister vacuums tend to be better at cleaning hard floors, stairs, and beneath furniture, making them ideal for households with a lot of obstacles.

1. Miele Pure Suction Canister Vacuum, $399

4.6 Stars / 6,000+ Reviews

People swear by the German engineering behind Miele vacuums, and we have to say the glowing reviews on this canister vacuum are compelling, to say the least. Happy users write that the vacuum is light, versatile, and impressively powerful.

Photo by Amazon

2. Bissell Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum, $59

4.4 Stars / 17,600+ Reviews

Bissell is crushing it with the affordably-priced, highly-rated vacuums. This canister model is lightweight and compact, making it easier to tow around the house. Don’t let it mislead you about its power—reviewers say the suction is still incredibly strong.

Photo by Amazon

3. Kenmore Pet Friendly Crossover Bagged HEPA Canister Vacuum, $449.99

4.5 Stars / 1,500+ Reviews

Not only does the Kenmore Crossover Canister Vacuum come in several pretty colors (finally!), but it has a unique brush head with a built-in floor brush that you can easily pop out as you move from one area of your home to the next. The bagged vacuum has a HEPA filter to help capture allergens and a motorized pet tool that gets hair out of carpet and upholstery with ease.

Photo by Amazon

Cordless Vacuum

Tired of playing musical outlets as you move from one room to another? Then a cordless vacuum might be just what you need. These models run on battery so they’ll have limited runtime, but they still provide a surprising amount of suction and work well for small to large homes—if you don’t mind charging it halfway through. While they might look like canister vacs, they usually can’t stand on their own so be prepared to share some wall or floor space.

1. Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner, $498

4.4 Stars / 4,300+ Reviews

This vacuum isn’t cheap, but according to our market editor Jada Wong—and more than 4,300 reviews—it’s definitely worth it. The Dyson V8 Absolute provides a huge amount of suction power, but without the annoying power cord. It comes with a variety of attachments and you can also take off the neck to use it as a handheld vac, too. Plus, it delivers an impressive 40 minutes of runtime per charge—which is about as long as you’d want to spend cleaning anyway.

Photo by Amazon

2. BISSELL CrossWave Cordless Max Wet-Dry Vacuum Cleaner and Mop, $399.99

4.3 Stars / 4,400+ Reviews

Shave some time off your cleaning routine with the BISSELL CrossWave, a cordless tool that vacuums and mops at the same time. It has two tanks that keep clean water separate from dirty water and debris, and it can run for up to 30 minutes on one battery charge.

Photo by Amazon

3. Shark Navigator Freestyle Upright Stick Cordless Bagless Vacuum, $149.99

4.4 Stars / 13,500+ Reviews

This vacuum is essentially a cordless upright model. It can stand up on its own and you can take it anywhere thanks to its cord-free design. Reviewers love that it’s so lightweight, and many say it’s ideal for picking up quick messes around the house.

Photo by Amazon

Handheld Vacuums

It’s annoying to drag out the full-size vacuum for a small mess. That’s what makes these top-rated handheld vacuums so great—they’re much more convenient! Handheld vacuums aren’t meant to clean full rooms, but rather act as supplementary cleaning tools to your full-size vac. They’re ideal for tasks like sucking up spills, capturing dust bunnies monsters, or cleaning out your car.

1. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum, Corded, $36.99

4.4 Stars / 15,900+ Reviews

If you fight a never-ending battle against pet hair in your home, you’ll fall for this handheld vacuum from Bissell. The light, compact tool is the Ultimate Hair Clean Up Machine, sucking up impressive amounts of fur from furniture, stairs, and more.

Photo by Amazon

2. BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum, $43.99

4.5 Stars / 34,200+ Reviews

Dust doesn’t stand a chance against the BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster. Our market editor uses this in her car to pick both large and small debris—the cordless design means it’s super portable. At only about two pounds, it’s also incredibly lightweight.

Photo by Amazon

3. BISSELL AeroSlim Lithium Ion Cordless Handheld Vacuum, $39.99

4.4 Stars / 9,500+ Reviews

Most handheld vacs are compact by design, but this one is smol—it’s as tall as a roll of paper towels and only half as wide. It comes with a convenient charging stand that also holds its dusting brush. The small vacuum can only run for around 12 minutes per charge, but that’s perfect for cleaning up messes on and around tables, or in the car.

Photo by Amazon

Robot Vacuums

Robot vacuums can navigate around space home on their own, cleaning under furniture and around obstacles. This luxury is going to cost you a bit of time and money though—it’s usually the most expensive type of vacuum and you’ll need to empty the small dustbin after every cleaning session. Since they’re roaming freely around your space, they can also get stuck on cords, curtains, and other obstacles if you don’t lift them off the floor. Depending on your space and needs, they can either be your main vac or a supplementary one. Either way, they’re super convenient and can help save you a ton of time actively vacuuming.

1. eufy Boost IQ RoboVac 11S, $149.99

4.5 Stars / 46,300+ Reviews

This robot vacuum from eufy has an impressive 4.5-star rating on Amazon, and it’s a bit more affordable than many other models. Best of all, it’s slim, quiet, and powerful. Our market editor runs this every other day while working at home to keep her space dust- and crumb-free.

Photo by Amazon

2. iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum, $440

4.3 Stars / 10,700+ Reviews

If you’re looking for a robot vacuum that you can schedule and control from your phone or Amazon Alexa, this iRobot Roomba can get to work even when you’re not at home. It has a three-stage cleaning system and multi-surface brushes to make sure you come back to a spotless pad. At around $400, it’s not cheap but it’s certainly less expensive than other iRobot models.

Photo by Amazon

3. iRobot Roomba i6+ Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal, $680

4.6 Stars / 6,400+ Reviews

But if you have the budget, you might like the i6+ more for its convenient features. One of the main downsides of robot vacuums is that they have small dustbins that need to be frequently emptied. However, the i6+ solves that issue with its automatic dirt disposal. When it senses a full dust bin, the vacuum intelligently navigates back to its docking station and empties its bin into the base, which can hold up to two months worth of dirt. This high-end Roomba also has smart mapping and a three-stage cleaning system.

Photo by Amazon

This post was updated July 2021 with more top-rated vacuum cleaners, including ones we've used ourselves.

Which vac would you use to clean your dust monsters? Let us know in the comments!

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Gammy
  • Constance Chaffee
    Constance Chaffee
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Gammy July 26, 2021
Shark owner here! We have 2 homes and 3 Sharks, 2 uprights and one robotic (not mentioned above). The robotic is used a couple times a week as we also have 2 cats. Does a wonderful job going under furniture to pick up those kitty tumbleweeds and I love that it is so easy to disassemble to completely clean out the wheels.
Constance C. December 7, 2020
we, ve had a little pink Philips vacuum for about 15 years and it still has great suction as long as you clean filters👍

Justina H. January 22, 2019
I've used the Dyson Ball (my mom's) and the cordless Dyson (my bff's) and both are amazing. The Dyson Ball works really well on the old carpeting at my mom's house AND the wood floors (though it is seriously powerful and can eat area rugs, be careful!), and the cordless Dyson is perfect for my bff's apartment with hardwood floors. Both make me regret my Dirt Devil, lol.
Chris January 19, 2019
Simplicity vacuums are hands down the best. Best agitation, best suction and Made in the U.S.A.!! No other vacuum compares.
Nathan T. January 19, 2019
Vintage Electrolux! I have one from the 1930's. On Sled Runners! Still going strong! More than likely any new vacuums you buy today will not last 80 years, let alone a year or 2! IMHO, Nothing Sucks like a Vintage Electrolux!
BerryBaby January 19, 2019
Shark! We have for upstairs and one for downstairs.
It's like a transformer, the canister is removable and cleans the stairs, drapes, ceiling fan, beautifully!💕
Carmela W. January 19, 2019
The best vacuum cleaner is a Kirby. My mother just brought her 3rd one. She is 76 years old. I just bought my 2nd. Im 56. I gave my old one to my daughter. They have the same interchangeable parts. The hoses, brushes, etc from an old one will fit the new one. They are just made with lighter weight materials. Thats the reason i bought a new one. Its significantly lighter than my old one. You can only buy one from the Kirby company. They dont advertise. I take it to the Kirby factory store for a tune up every 3 years or so. They are awesome. They last forever.
Pamela P. January 18, 2019
Living in an apartment, I'm always looking for multipurpose everything. In that light, what does Amazon recommend to vacuum both floors and furniture?

Thank you very much for your assistance.
Chris January 19, 2019
I recommend a Simplicity canister vacuum. You can dial down the suction when cleaning furniture, drapes etc...can even vacuum over loose papers without sucking them up the hose. Agitation is what you want, and a Simplicity will loosen all dirt, even the deep dirt. Expensive, but most have a 5yr or longer warranty and lifetime belts. Worth the money and you won't have to by another vacuum in 2 yrs like you would with a Shared, Dyson, Bissell etc..