Is it possible to love a vacuum? Owners of the legendary Kirby vacuums are so enamored of those expensive but long-lived machines that they have been known to pass them on to their children. Most of us might not obsess over our vacuum, but it’s true that it can be one of the most valuable tools for getting ready for the holidays. After all, frequent vacuuming does more than keep carpets and drapes pristine; it also helps make your indoor air cleaner.
What’s new in vacuums this year? Kenmore has been touting its “inducer” motor, claiming “20 percent more air power.” And sure enough, the $500 KenmoreElite 21814 bagged canister had the most suction for tools of any vacuum in Consumer Reports’ vacuum cleaner tests.
Our testers also got a surprise this time around. Consumer Reports has consistently found that vacuums with bags outperform the bagless variety at deep-cleaning carpets, which is why Dyson, which makes only bagless vacuums, doesn’t often make our picks. But for the first time in years, a Dyson machine made our recommended list. The Dyson Dc65 Animal, $600, performed well on carpets. Still, two other models did better for tool airflow and pet hair pickup for hundreds less.
One thing was no surprise: You get what you pay for. The Dirt Devil Featherlight M085590 upright is just $50 but performs only so-so on carpets, has little suction for tools, and is noisy. And four Bissell and Eureka uprights, $140, fell short carpets, emissions, or both. Here are 10 top picks for several situations.
Eureka Boss Smart Vac 4870 upright, $160
Kenmore Elite 21814 canister, $500
Kenmore 31140 upright, $200, CR Best Buy
Kenmore Progressive 21714 canister, $400
Hoover WindTunnel Max UH30600 upright, $180, CR Best Buy
Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind UH30300 upright, $140
Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind UH70120 upright, $130, CR Best Buy
Kenmore 22614 canister, $350, CR Best Buy
Kirby Sentriall upright, $1370
Dyson DC65 Animal upright, $600