Panasonic MC-CG937 Canister Vacuum Cleaner
Panasonic MC-CG937 Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Best canister vacuum

The Panasonic MC-CG937 is a solidly built canister vacuum that does a good job of removing pet hair, and works on both carpet and bare floors. It comes with a variety of attachments and a 6-foot hose for cleaning tough-to-reach areas. With a lightweight build and carrying handle, it maneuvers easily and offers a variety of power options for cleaning many surfaces.
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Eureka 3670G Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum
Eureka 3670G Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum

Best cheap canister vacuum

The Eureka 3670G Mighty Mite is a top contender among low-priced canister vacuums, especially for users who have primarily hard floors. It's not the best choice for cleaning carpets as it doesn't have a powered brushroll, but it does perform exceptionally well at removing pet hair from hard surfaces and furniture. It's also versatile, converting to a blower to clean dust from keyboards or garage corners.
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Dyson Ball Multi Floor
Dyson Ball Multi Floor

Best canister vacuum for hard floors

The Dyson Ball Multi Floor is a quiet, powerful vacuum that gets rave reviews from experts and owners for its great performance on a wide variety of bare floor types. It's also very easy to maneuver and use, they say. With several attachments that are easy to switch out, the Dyson Ball Multi Floor offers good versatility for many cleaning tasks and it's durable, with great airflow and HEPA filtration to keep emissions at a minimum. It's backed by a five-year warranty.
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Kenmore 21714 Progressive Canister Vacuum
Kenmore 21714 Progressive Canister Vacuum

Best canister vacuum for pet hair

Loaded with onboard attachments, including one specifically for picking up pet hair, the Kenmore Progressive 21714 is a top performer, say experts and owners. It has a highly-rated HEPA filtration system with two filtration levels and certification from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, this canister vac traps more tiny particles that contribute to allergy and asthma symptoms in some people. It's also reported as easy to use and maneuver, but there are some durability complaints.

See a side-by-side comparison of key features, product specs, and prices.

Canister vacuums are bare-floor champions

Canister vacuums are not quite as common in most households as upright vacuums, but they can be a great fit for people with certain cleaning needs. Canister vacs are a particularly good choice for those who have a combination of hardwood floors and rugs, as well as those who need to vacuum stairs or above-the-floor items such as upholstery or drapes. Unlike upright vacuums, which you push in front of you, a canister vacuum is a smaller, squatter unit with a long hose that you pull along behind you. They also tend to be lighter, in general, than upright vacuums, so even if you do need to carry it upstairs or from room to room, it should be easier than hauling an upright. The one downside to a canister vacuum is that, in most cases, you have to switch out the heads when going between bare floors and carpet; although some use a single sweeper head with a brushroll that you can turn on (for carpets) or off (for hard flooring).

Whether or not a canister vacuum is easier to store is a matter of opinion. They tend to have a bigger footprint, so one could take up too much floor space in your storage closet. On the other hand, because they're so much shorter, a canister vac won't impinge on your hanging items if the only place you have to store it is in a coat closet.

Of course, if you have a lot of carpet, or deep-pile carpet, or your storage space won't accommodate a canister vacuum, we recommend some excellent upright vacuums in a separate report. Stick vacuums and handheld vacuums are also useful to have around for quicker, spot-cleaning tasks, like sweeping up small, dry spills and messes without having to haul out the bigger upright, and we cover them in separate reports as well.

The biggest decision to make when buying a canister vacuum is choosing between bagged and bagless models. There are pros and cons to each type: Bagged canister vacuums require replacement bags that are generally very affordable, but you need to keep an eye on them and replace them when they're full. Some bags are reported as easier to change out than others. Bagless canister vacuums have dirt canisters that must be emptied, which can be a messy process. That said, manufacturers are getting better about improving their systems to minimize reintroducing dust into the air, and owners say that taking a bagless vacuum outside to empty it helps as well.

Some canister vacuums boast features that make them better for allergy sufferers. HEPA filtration, for instance, traps 99.97 percent of particles, down to 0.3 microns in size, preventing them from being introduced into the air (via a machine's exhaust) as an aftermath of vacuuming. Many allergy sufferers say that a vacuum with HEPA filtration reduces the chances that they'll have an unpleasant reaction after a day of cleaning.

Other features that are important to look for in a good canister vacuum are accessories that add to its versatility -- such as swiveling heads, extension wands, special wheels to tighten the canister's turning radius and long power cords. Reviewers also like pet hair attachments, like rubberized power heads, and motorized brushes for cleaning upholstery.

There's no clear correlation between cost and performance among canister vacuums, and prices vary widely. The most expensive vacuum in this report has just the basic set of accessories; one of the cheapest has a full range. If you only need to vacuum bare floors, it is possible to find a decent, basic model for less than $100, although machines in this price range might not perform well on deep-pile carpets, rugs or upholstery.

To choose the best canister vacuums for pet-hair removal and bare floors, as well as the best canister vacuums overall, we evaluated thousands of owner reviews across retail sites to see how the vacuum performs in real-world use. These owner reviews also provide a window into long-term durability, as many users come back months or even years later to update their original reviews. In addition, we examined the results of professional tests conducted by, and The result of our research is our top recommendations for the best canister vacuums for any home, lifestyle, or need.

Elsewhere in this report:

Best Canister Vacuums: These canister vacuums excel at various tasks, including carpet, hard floors and in sucking up pet hair. We found a top canister vacuum for any home or budget.

Dyson Canister Vacuums: Dyson revamped and renamed their entire line of vacuum cleaners in 2015. We explain the new line, the older models and suggest which ones are worth the cost.

Buying Guide: There are thousands of options when it comes to canister vacuum cleaners. Our buying guide will help you choose the perfect canister vacuum for your cleaning tasks.

Our Sources: These are the expert and user tests, comparisons and reviews we used to find the best canister vacuum cleaners. They are ranked in order of their credibility and usefulness.

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