Miele Complete C3 Kona
Miele Complete C3 Kona

Best canister vacuum

Pricey, yes, but experts agree that the Miele Complete C3 Kona is a purchase for a lifetime. It gets top scores across the board for its performance on carpet, bare floors and in dealing with pet hair. For those with high-end wood floors, this Miele includes a parquet attachment that will be tough on messes, but tender on delicate flooring materials. Sturdy and well-built, this Miele is backed by a long, seven-year warranty on most components.

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

Best value 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. The wide, 14-inch cleaning path is a favorite feature with owners.

$699.00
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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. At just 9 pounds, it's very easy to carry around.

$64.78
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Kenmore Elite 81714
Kenmore Elite 81714

Canister vacuum for pet hair

Loaded with onboard attachments, including one specifically for picking up pet hair, the Kenmore Elite 81714 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, which means 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, with a 10-foot tool reach and long, 26 foot cord.

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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 that 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.

Finding the best canister vacuum cleaners

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 ConsumerReports.org, Reviewed.com and TheSweethome.com. 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 | Buying Guide | Our Sources

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