In the world of manual vacuums, the question often is: upright or stick? Rarely does anyone mention a somewhat forgotten third option, the canister vacuum. But it’s worth giving the model another look. Canister vacuums are models where the vacuum’s motor and cannister are separate from the head of the vacuum. This makes it bulkier to store, but offers some advantages. Most notability, you get the maneuverability of a stick with the power of an upright. The head is lighter and easier to use under furniture and on stairs and blinds while still having a large motor on wheels. While high-end stick vacuums, like Dyson, now promise the same kind of high-powered, light-weight clean, that often runs to the tune of several hundred dollars. Canister vacuums, however, are widely available for a lot less.
Aside from the shape of the vacuum, there isn’t much else that makes all canister vacuums the same. Some have brush heads for cleaning carpets, some don’t. Canister vacuums often still require bags, though there are bagless models available as well. And while some models are heavier, others emphasize an easy-to-transport, light-weight engine and canister. Some even have a blower feature for clearing leaves and debris outside or in the garage. Ultimately, it’s up to personal preference and what works best for your home and cleaning style. Whatever you decide to go with, there are lots of good canister vacuums to choose from. Here are five we recommend.
This story was originally published January 3, 2020.
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1. Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaner
If you take more time rolling out, unraveling the cord, re-raveling the cord and putting away your vacuum then actually vacuuming, it’s time to swap it for a low-maintenance vacuum. You don’t need to buy any bags or filters for this vacuum. It just has a dust cup and washable filters and an automatic roll-up cord. Weighing in at less than 8 lbs., this canister vac has three different settings: Carpet, hard floors and upholstery.
2. Bissell SmartClean Canister Vacuum Cleaner
A heavier bagless model at 23 pounds, this vacuum is also heavy-duty. Three settings allow you to do everything from gently clean cobwebbed corners to dig dirt out of carpet. The vacuum’s head has side brushes that can be lowered to get hard-to-reach baseboards cleaned easily. Included head attachments are a brush and crevice tool and the wand telescopes out for extended reach.
3. Miele Classic C1 Pure Suction Canister Vacuum
While canister vacuums may seem like after thoughts to some manufacturers, Miele has staked its reputation on them. Their line of high-end vacuums are built to last, with a quiet, powerful motor and six settings. The extra-long hose is designed to stay in one place as you deep-clean rugs, upholstery and hard floors. There’s even a quiet setting for even more peaceful cleaning. While many Miele vacuums are pricier, this is a mid-range option and a good “starter” model for those interested in the German brand. While it does require bags, it does give you the advantage of no dust or allergens escaping when you empty a full canister.
4. Tritan Bagged Canister Vacuum with HEPA Filtration
This canister vacuum might be small, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful. The vacuum can suction up any dust and debris with its three-stage HEPA filter, leaving clean, allergy-free air in its wake. You can adjust the power settings with the selection knob on the vacuum. You can activate a brush tool with just a push of a button, allowing you to switch from hardwood to carpet in seconds.
5. Bissell Zing Bagless Canister Vacuum
Lightweight and easy to move, either by the wheels or by holding it by its handle, this small but effective vacuum cleans both hard and carpeted floors. Attachments, like a brush and crevice tool, make it even easier to get to hard-to-clean spots like blinds and baseboards. A retractable cord means no more tangling or untangling cables to plug it in. When you’re done, the canister can be emptied with one touch, no bag required.
6. Ovente Bagless Canister Vacuum
Another great value-driven option, this vacuum is good at getting dust and debris off hardwood and carpeted floors. Included powerhead attachments, including an upholstery brush, allow you to deep clean furniture as well as crevices. The vacuum’s wand also telescopes to give you more reach if you want to get up high or vacuum deep under beds. The canister is bagless and can be easily emptied when full.
7. Oreck Venture Pet Bagged Canister Vacuum
Even many high-end canister vacuums don’t offer a turbo brush setting or attachment. Instead, they rely on superior suction to deep-clean carpet. But if you can’t imagine getting rid of the brush feature, consider the Oreck Venture Pet Power canister vac. With five different speeds, you can already target even deeper pile carpet with the regular head. Add the turbo brush to clean upholstery and pick up even more pet hair. It’s also great for high-traffic carpeted areas like stairs.
8. Hoover PortaPower Lightweight Commercial Canister Vacuum
This commercial canister vac is designed to clean efficiently and quickly. There’s an extra long 33 in. power cord included, along with a commercial cloth bag and a paper bag attachments. The vac can clean upholstery, curtains, those hard-to-reach corners, under furniture and more. It only weighs 8.3 pounds, and you wear it with a convenient strap over your shoulder.