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Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide -- I

May 25, 2015

Consider your cleaning needs when choosing between a canister and an upright vacuum cleaner. Try it before you buy it to make sure you can maneuver the vacuum cleaner comfortably and that it is not too noisy. If you're looking for information about vacuum cleaners, Consumer Reports is your best resource.Consumer Reports’ vacuum cleaner reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our vacuum cleaner buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased Ratings and vacuum cleaner reviews to help you choose the best vacuum cleaner for your needs.


Sleek shapes and trendy colors such as sienna, taupe, and goldenrod are turning some of the latest vacuums into fashion statements. Our tough tests of more than 100 models show that when it comes to cleaning, beauty can be more than skin-deep.

Our tests using more than 16 miles of carpet and floors also show that some pricey vacuums deliver less than their price tag suggests, and some of the lightest models are light on performance or features.


Nearly all canisters do a fine job of cleaning bare floors and on stairs, but carpets remain their toughest challenge. Top-scoring models combine impressive deep-cleaning with strong airflow through the hose for use with tools for cleaning upholstery and drapes. Most full-sized canisters tend to be heavier, bulkier and more expensive than uprights. Pay particular attention to our noise ratings if you have bare floors, which echo sound.

Considering a canister vacuum that's not in our Ratings? Our brand-performance data can tell you how a variety of manufacturers have done in our tests over time. That can give you some idea of how well an untested model from that brand is likely to perform. You can also compare overall performance between brands.


We've analyzed our entire vacuum Ratings over the past several years. Kenmore has consistently been among the top canister brands we've tested. Miele, Electrolux, Hoover, Aerus, and Sebo have been solid performers over time, though a notch below the top-scoring brand. Other tested brands have scored lower. And for some, performance varied too widely for an overall judgment, or we lacked the test data needed for an accurate assessment.