The 5 Best Canister Vacuums, According to Cleaning Experts

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The 5 Best Canister Vacuums, According to Cleaning Experts

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You’ve got the bases covered, but then there are all the creases and crevices that your upright vacuum can’t get to no matter how hard you shove it in the corner. And that’s why the canister vacuum exists. The cleaning nozzle — which is attached to the vacuum via a long hose — makes it SO MUCH EASIER to work your way up a staircase, go across the tops of ceiling fans, get all up in your upholstery, plus a million other dust-bunny-prone places in your home.

The Good Housekeeping Cleaning Lab’s top pick is the Miele Complete c3. This cleaning beast was able to suck up dirt on plush carpets and bare floors alike. It’s backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal, too, so if your product ends up being defective within two years of buying, Good Housekeeping will send you a full refund. You can read more about our limited warranty here.

To inform their recommendations, the Cleaning Lab pros have looked at a wide array of canister models over the years, judging for how well they picked up debris, trapped allergens, and worked across various floor types. They also looked at how intuitive controls were, how heavy each vacuum was, and how simple it was to empty bags or dust bins and to clean filters. The Miele Complete C3 stood up to their criteria across the board. Here’s more info on why — plus four other canister vacs to consider — below: Advertisement – Continue Reading Below


Top Lab Pick: Miele Complete C3

MIELE Miele Complete C3 Vacuum amazon.com $949.00 SHOP NOW

Miele’s vacuums have won over our pros in past cleaning tests, and this Good Housekeeping Seal star is no exception. Knowing that super soft or plush carpets are often harder to clean because of dense tufts, the Miele Complete C3 comes with a brush roll that can flip between five different sizes to make plowing through plush easier. A metal telescoping wand (for tight spaces), a dusting brush, an upholstery tool, and a crevice tool are also included in its accessories set as is a Pure Suction Floorhead made for use on all smooth flooring. The vac uses a high filtration bag and HEPA AirClean filter that the company claims will retain 99.99% of dust from being released back into the air — a plus for allergy sufferers.

Weight: 20 pounds
Cord Length: 24 feet


Bagless: Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Canister

DYSON Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Canister Dysonamazon.com $599.00 SHOP NOW

If you don’t want to keep a stock of extra bags and filters for your vacuum, stick with this pick from Dyson. Instead, it comes with a built-in bin that you can empty over the trash can just by pushing a button. Our pros also recommend using the built-in scraper to clean off the filter to prevent microscopic dust from clogging up the vacuum and reducing suction. The Dyson Big Ball comes with a self-adjusting floor head that adjusts to create an optimal seal for whatever type of floor it’s cleaning and in our lab evaluations, it picked up an average of 99.9% of debris from hard wood floors.

Weight: 17.64 pounds
Cord Length:
 21.3 feet


Best for Pet Hair: Kenmore Bagged Canister with Pet PowerMate

KENMORE Kenmore Bagged Canister with Pet PowerMate amazon.com $257.81 SHOP NOW

No one understands the need for a good vacuum like a pet owner. This option from Kenmore comes with a metal telescoping wand and a motorized Pet PowerMate attachment that not only picks up fur, but also can suck up embedded dust and dirt on upholstery. Online reviewers loved that it picked up even the finest hair in one passand the HEPA bag and filter make for easy clean up (just throw the whole thing away!). It’s a bit heavy, but the foot controls make it easy to change the tools without having to bend over or lift up the canister.

Weight: 22.6 pounds
Cord Length:
 28 feet


Portable: Oreck Pro 5

ORECK Oreck Pro 5 Oreckamazon.com $139.00 SHOP NOW Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

For smaller jobs, the Oreck Pro 5 weighs just 5.5 pounds (the lightest of our picks) and is more portable than the traditional canister. It comes with a shoulder strap and a telescopic extension wand for nabbing dust in hard-to-reach places like window frames, ceiling fans, and light fixtures. There’s also a 20-foot cord so you don’t have to worry if your messes (such as spills in the car) aren’t close to an outlet. While it can’t deep clean pile carpets, our pros were impressed with its pick-up on hard floor, flat carpets, and area rugs.

Weight: 5.5 pounds
Cord Length:
 20 feet


Lightweight: Eureka Mighty Mite

EUREKA Eureka Mighty Mite amazon.com $69.99 SHOP NOW

Apartment-dwellers or college students often don’t have the space for a canister vacuum, but this model is a lightweight and compact machine that doesn’t lack in power. It’s racked up a 3.8 out of 5 star rating from more than 5,000 reviewers who sing its praises for how easy it is to sweep up and down the stairs and its two wand attachments that have excellent pick up in tough-to-reach places. It’s best for quick clean-up jobs on bare floors or smooth surfaces and comes with a blower port for blowing leaves or debris in the garage. That said, you’ll want to stick with the Miele if you are looking to deep clean your carpet.

Weight: 9 pounds
Cord Length: 
20 feet

Click here to learn more about the Good Housekeeping Institute and our testing methods. SARAH BOGDAN, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING INSTITUTE Product Analyst, Home Appliances & Cleaning Products LabSarah Bogdan, a trained mechanical engineer, researches and evaluates home appliances and cleaning tools for the Home Appliances & Cleaning Products Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute — whether she’s assessing irons and vacuums or detergents and cleansers, she’s constantly analyzing data and tracking what’s buzzing with consumers.


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