For 2015, Dyson streamlined their entire vacuum cleaner line, including upright vacuums, stick vacuums and canister vacs. Some models saw a price bump, some stayed the same, but others were lowered, bringing them more in line with like-performing competitors, and making them at least a little more affordable.
One of the most pleasant surprises is the Dyson Ball Multi Floor (Est. $300). Its superior performance on hard floors earns it a Best Reviewed nod from us in that category. This vacuum was formerly known as the Dyson DC39 Multi Floor and was our Best Reviewed canister vacuum overall in the previous version of this report -- when it carried a $450 price tag. You can still find the previous model, the DC39, for about $420 on "clearance," but there's no reason to pay the extra money since the Dyson Ball Multi Floor is basically the identical vacuum -- but at around $120 less.
The one factor that kept the Dyson Ball Multi Floor from being our top recommended canister vacuum overall was the fact that it doesn't perform very well on carpet. In one professional test it earns only a Fair rating, and users agree, saying it doesn't clean even low-pile carpets well, and is completely useless for deep-pile carpets.
However, on bare floors and when it comes to filtration the Dyson Ball Multi Floor excels, earning an Excellent score from testers and raves from owners. They also say it's uncommonly easy to maneuver, without any of the tipping or catching that's common when using canister vacs.
The Dyson Multi Floor offers two levels of filtration, including a lifetime, washable filter, a non-removable HEPA filter that captures particles down to 0.3 microns in size, and cyclone technology that's designed to capture dust and debris. It's bagless, so dust won't clog holes in a dirt collection bag to reduce suction. Specially designed airways maximize the flow of air through the canister, trap dust and debris, and filter it out efficiently so fewer particles end up back in the environment.
Some owners feel that the dirt collection canister is on the small side, with a capacity of about half a gallon, so it requires frequent emptying. Reviewers also suggest emptying the bin outside to help prevent dust from being reintroduced into the air.
Also new for 2015 is the Dyson Cinetic Animal (Est. $440), which replaced the now-discontinued (but still widely available) Dyson DC39 Animal (Est. $350). There are no expert reviews or professional tests of the Cinetic Animal canister vacuum, and the limited number of user reviews we found were posted after the reviewer received a free product, which may influence the review toward the positive. However, even within those reviews that were prompted by a free product, there are complaints of the Cinetic Animal being too powerful to use on throw rugs, but not powerful enough for carpet, as well as a too-small canister and too-short tools. So, it remains to be seen how the Cinetic Animal will do over the long run as expert sources begin to post reviews. Complicating matter is the fact that a Dyson upright vacuum now has the same name, and there are expert reviews for that particular model, but we can't correlate them with the canister vac.
As we noted, the Dyson DC39 Animal that the Cinetic Animal replaced is still widely available, but, ironically, in spite of it being designed specifically for pet hair cleanup, it gets poor reviews for that function. In one professional test, the Dyson DC39 Animal earns only Fair scores for its pet-hair removal capabilities; however, it does earn Excellent scores for bare-floor performance. Still, it has been discontinued, so if this is a vacuum you've always had your eye on, this would be the time to buy it before it's gone as the new model is pricier.
Last, but not least, is the final vacuum in Dyson's canister vacuum lineup, the Dyson Ball Compact Animal (Est. $360) . It's the same vacuum as the DC47 Animal Compact, (Est. $360) which is still available in limited quantities at some online retailers. The original DC47 gets good reviews from owners, but the newer version, the Ball Compact Animal, gets rather poor reviews even though it's supposedly the same vacuum. The biggest complaints we saw about the new version is that it's simply too small for all but the most basic, easy messes -- and is no match for a couple of animals -- or kids for that matter.
Elsewhere in this report:
Best Reviewed Canister Vacuums: Whether you need a whole-house canister vacuum, a vacuum for pet hair, or one dedicated to hard floors, these are the top canister vacuum cleaners.
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.
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.