House & Beyond is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Once I thoughtlessly bought a canister vacuum and it ended up a mess in my house. I couldn’t move it around easily, it was very loud and just too bulky. The hose was too short to reach the upper shelves and the power cord was not long enough to reach all corners of my living room. This experience made me search for the best canister vacuums that are powerful, convenient, and have smooth maneuverability.
After extensive research of more than 30 models, we came up with the list of 7 canister vacuums including our top pick – Prolux iFORCE. We took a careful look to determine whether their features met the high standard needed for industrial cleaning jobs and smaller household messes. These features included motor capacity – canister vacuums with a higher motor capacity tend to be more powerful and have a longer lifespan. Most of our products have a capacity of at least 2,000 Watts. We also looked at the bag capacity as you don’t want to empty it too often. The average bag capacity on our list is 4 liters. Another important feature is the length of the power cord as you want a model that can reach all corners of your room without having to change outlets too often.
Weighing only 10lbs this vacuum is extremely forgiving on injured backs, legs, and old age; it’s lightweight design is compact and allows for a powerful bagless deep cleaning with a removable clear-cylinder dirt catcher. This small machine has a 12-amp motor with an amazing 98 cubic feet of airflow per minute that can pick up to 1.2 liters of dust before your machine needs to be emptied.
Additionally, this unique motor uses a 2-stage filtration process with a HEPA filter for added motor life and air return which is devoid of up to 99.95% of all harmful allergens. With a limited hose and around 5 feet of cleaning room, this would be a hassle to move around, however it’s made easier with an impressively long 25-foot wall cord. All facets of this design are covered by a unique bumper-to-bumper warranty, even the additional 32mm tool attachments which include a upholstery tool, duster tool, and a crack/crevice tool.
An on/off easy switch incorporated into the handle makes for simple electric deep cleaning and unique suction changes for carpet and hard floor surfaces.
Why is it special?
Comes with three unique tools which help with all clean-up jobs
25-foot cord length makes it easy to move from room to room
Comes with an excellent 3-year warranty
What are the flaws?
This power nozzle is hard to steer and does not allow for 180-degree rotation
Limited hose length can make it so tall people have to crouch a little while vacuuming
More features: rubber wheels with felt treads, digital fingertip controls
For specialized cleaning that is safe on all surfaces, this is the highly technical pick for your needs; it includes specialized suctions settings and tools for cleaning delicate surfaces, thick rugs, hardwood floors, soft floors, and even just general carpet.
Rubber wheels won’t mark or scratch your floors and one brush attachment comes with extremely soft bristles. Ease of use is ensured with an easy-empty dirt tank (though this fills quickly), and an automatic foot-peddle automatic cord rewind. Batteries are included for a very unique function which is also one of our favorites: a fingertip control that allows you to power the vacuum for particularly delicate surfaces such as drapes and upholstery.
The included hose is 8 feet long for tall ceilings and deep corner vacuuming, although the wall cord is rather limited at only 16 feet. Finally, the dirt tank opens from the bottom for no-mess disposal and really straightforward manual cleaning of your device.
What are our favorite features?
Very fine function controls are great for all kinds of surfaces
Long hose makes it easy to clean ceiling corners of spider webs
Comes with a great 2-year limited warranty
What could be better?
Cord length limits room-to-room cleaning
The dirt bag is very small and fills quickly
Battery replacement required for the digital fingertip controls
More features: reusable commercial cloth bag included, built-in blower
Here’s a great option for commercial vacuuming and quick clean up at messy work sites, etcetera. This canister vacuum comes with a reusable cloth bag which can handle sharp glass and other metals without needing frequent replacement or patches; paper option is available.
Being one of the best commercial vacuums out there, it is very compact and easy to store, and has multiple attachments for small to big areas, and a built-in blower which allows you more versatility with cleaning your house or place of business. This option includes an extra-long 33-foot cord and a stretching hose for extended reach into corners and ceilings. 7.4 motor amps of suction make for a quick job and an added ability to pick up small particles and larger pieces (such as metals or bits of wood, etcetera).
Overall weight of this unit is extremely light and easy to move around (only 8 pounds) and added hose attachments are great for small spaces, large floors, corners, and softwood protection.
Why is it special?
One of the best options for glass clean up and commercial buildings
Reusable cloth bag saves you money in the long run
Comes with a great 2-year warranty
What are the flaws?
Clip connector between hose and main unit is fairly loose and unclips very easily
The included extension cord is not automatically retractable
Separate parts don’t clip onto the main unit and need to be moved around separately
More features: LED suction-power indicator, foam bumper, 4 tools included, S-class filters
Though this is perhaps one of the heaviest models on our list, it compensates for its weight with a massive cannister and one of the strongest motors with an included 12-inch power head that can handle all the suction. The power head is also highly durable and rubber coated for soft floors, it has an ergonomic comfort handle, and is capable of 180-degree steering.
With a flat-to-the-floor 3 ½ inch clearance this vacuum is best for furniture, hard floors, and thin carpets (though perhaps not the best choice for thick rugs). Power Head also includes 4 tool attachments so you can cycle between the best solutions for hard floors, pet hair suction, softwood floors, and general carpet maintenance.
The hose length is pretty standard but the cannister comes with a massive 40-foot wall cord that makes it unnecessary to unplug and move around. Handy canister controls let you control your vacuum’s functions and will show you the suction power with an LED indicator.
Why is it special?
Hospital-grade filtration for Allergy and Asthma relief
Comes with an amazing 5-year warranty
Easy to move around with rubber coated floor-protective wheels
What are the flaws?
One of the heaviest cannister vacuums
Suction switch sticks sometimes between settings
The power head does not include a light at it’s end and so it’s often easy to miss dirt and have to go over the floor a second time
More features: HEPA filter, 6-stage rotary selector, one-touch automatic cord rewind, FilterBag™ change indicator, dusting brush, upholstery tool and crevice tool included
Designed for simple straight-forward use, this cannister vacuum has some of the best extras to ensure you can handle any job quickly with very little hassle. First, each of its parts are designed with a practical locking system that ensure nothing ever comes loose; the floorhead, telescopic wand, and the handle all interlock with easy catches and pulls.
When put away, these unlocking components allow for some real space saving, especially since the HEPA filter is rather on the large side. Speaking of the canister, it includes a 5-stage rotary selector and a patented FilterBag with an indicator to let you know when it’s time to change it out. When you’re done, the wall cord rewinds with a simple tapping footswitch that pulls it back into a tight organized roll’ no hassle or pain from bending over again and again.
Finally, this product comes with multiple brushes designed for different purposes, such as the soft parquet brush intended for gentle and sensitive hardwood floors. Maximum suction power from this excellent separate motor ensures up to 1,200 Watts.
Why is it special?
Easiest mobility with long reach
A very compact design
This canister vacuum has a very quiet motor
Vacuum brush can be adjusted for rugs
What are the flaws?
The loading bags for this vacuum are very expensive
Included carpet brush is too heavy for some users
Wall cord is too short and requires and extension cord for bigger rooms
More features: HEPA filter, filterless dust cup, crevice tool, dust brush/upholstery tool, motorized pet Powermate pet tool
Overall this bagless canister vacuum with pet friendly functionality is going to save you a large chunk of money – though get used to frequently emptying it. This vacuum is designed with a compact body that’s very versatile and extremely lightweight, only 22 lbs. Equipped with a retractable cord and a transparent dust bin, this vacuum makes your job easier by showing you when it’s full and needs to be emptied while allowing you to unplug and move quickly from room to room. Additionally, its vacuum head comes with a 360-degree swivel hose so you never miss any messes, and its cyclonic design picks up all particles and runs them through a HEPA-certified filter with significant allergen removal. A unique patented attachment, the PowerMate, lifts har, dander, and more from all carpets, rugs, and furniture; if you have pets this is the vacuum of your dreams. Compression technology also pairs with the super strong motor to ensure there is no loss of suction the whole time you’re vacuuming. Finally, when you’re done or cleaning your machine, the quick releases let you detach all tools, hose, HEPA filter, and dirt chamber.
What do we love it for?
Bagless canister will save you money
Comes with a brush designed to pick up small hairs; especially animal hairs
HEPA filter removes up to 90% of all allergen particles
What were we disappointed with?
Inner vacuum filter isn’t self-explanatory to remove and clean.
Reading the manual is necessary for attaching and removing most parts
The canister has a limited space and must be emptied frequently
More features: HEPA filter, XL parquet nozzle; upholstery, furniture, crevice nozzle; 35” long xl-easytouch telescopic tube, 6’ xl premium suction hose included
This is the best cored canister vacuum with tons of reach; it includes a 6-foot long hose that attaches to a telescopic tube which can extend your vacuum and additional 35-inches. This machine is also very lightweight, only 19 pounds, and with the extended tubes, you’ll infrequently need to move the canister around for different jobs.
Making its reach even better, this vacuum comes with two different attachments: a crevice nozzle for tight corners and under furniture, and a parquet nozzle for furniture and hardwood floors. These attachments make it a good vacuum for long hair, pet hair, and various debris removal from bare floors. Its motor is super quiet with only some limitations on suction. Additionally, this canister vacuum is equipped with a HEPA filter for the removal of allergen particles and does not require bag changes; instead, it has a removable clear chamber that’s easy to empty and clean.
Last but not least, this option comes with an extra long 20-foot wall cord and wheels around with little hassle for one of the quickest cleaning jobs.
What do we love it for?
Super quiet vacuum at only 77 decibels
Comes with a 6-foot extra-long premium suction hose
Additionally, the telescopic hose can extended up to 35 extra inches
What were we disappointed with?
This machine isn’t friendly for soft wood floors and baseboards
Suctions is somewhat limited because of the weaker motor and extra-long hose length
The remainder of this buying guide is provided to explain uses of canister vacuum cleaners as well as the features which make these devices more usable and better for certain households or commercial clean-up. Additionally, we include top nominations and answer many frequently asked questions.
Sucked into it – why to purchase a canister vacuum cleaner
These tools allow you to clean a variety of spaces rather than either just wood floors, just tiled rooms, or just carpets. Most cannister vacuums are appropriate for cleaning all around your house, additionally they improve your living environment by offering a healthier living space devoid of bacteria, dirt, debris, and even allergens. Also, based on your budget or preference many of these tools are available right now for any job you have in mind.
In and out – what can canister vacuums clean?
First let’s focus on your setting and the needs you have for a vacuum cleaner. Put simply, where will you be cleaning? If it’s a standard small apartment a regular push vacuum cleaner will typically do the job, but with the complication of allergens and pet hair/dandruff even small apartment renters can benefit from owning a canister vacuum. Large homes and commercial locations should certainly consider owning them, especially if you have: lots of stairs, an increased residential capacity, very thick carpets, or even just frequently large messes. As a point of reference, many industrial construction jobs use one or more canister vacuums for messy drywall, metal shavings, and other large messes.
At home (especially with pets) carpet is often trickiest to clean because it’s thick with small particles that weak push vacuums can’t pick up.
Canister vacuums have a higher rate of suction and therefore even the cheapest canister vacuums can remove dust, pet hair, and allergen particles from almost any think carpet. With the addition of rotating brushes that remove hidden dirt, you’ll see an unbelievable difference between cleanings.
Hard wood floors, on the other hand, can only benefit from canister vacuums with higher settings and protective rubber wheels/etcetera. With these precautions, cannister vacuums can easily make your wood floors shine.
With cannister vacuums thick rugs, carpets, and floor mats are especially easy to clean. Nails, screws, and tacks on the other hand can do sever damage to cannister vacuums (depending on the model), so be very careful. Liquids and fresh foods should also be avoided as these will cause motor trouble and can even get caught in the vacuum and spoil. Especially large objects – clothing, kid’s toys, cosmetics, plants, etcetera – should also be avoided and never sucked up.
Reciprocity – tips on cleaning your canister vacuum
Before cleaning, always ensure that your vacuum is unplugged; double check and don’t ask others to unplug it for you; electrical shock is a serious concern around powerful motors and while using tools to remove parts and clean certain areas of any machine. Next, remove and empty your vacuum canister/vacuum bag; you’ll clean these parts with a little bit of water or compressed air. Also remove the vacuum hose and run water or compressed air through it; if needed a straightened wire hanger can be poked inside of the hose to unclog any major debris.
For really deep cleaning a broom handle, mop handle, or garden hose can be covered with taped-on dryer sheets and ran along the insides of the vacuum hose. Or you can dampen taped-on paper towels with diluted vinegar that will kill up to 99% of lingering bacteria.
The most important areas to clean are the attachments and brushes; with scissors carefully cut out any stuck hairs, wires, or threads. Next, check the belt of these brushes for any cracks or other wear and tear; again, you can spray these parts with diluted vinegar to clean them more deeply.
For the deepest level of cleaning you can consult the included vacuum manual and totally dismantle your device to check for screws, loose metals, tacks, etcetera. However, we do not suggest this method unless you’re certain you’ve sucked up something which might damage the motor.
Features to consider while buying the best canister vacuum
You’ll have noticed many of the following features listed in the product reviews above, in this section we further elaborate on these features and how they’ll effect your product and purchasing process. Additionally, we’ve included some prime examples to help simplify the shopping experience for these vacuums.
For cannister vacuums you want a rather compact shape – the best of these move around on rubber wheels – that’s low to the ground and easy to pull behind you when you move. The Severin MY7115 Nonstop vacuum is a great example as it’s quite compact but still offers a strong motor with added suction.
Many canister vacuums can actually be rather heavy and hard to move around a room if not on wheels; additionally, these super heavy canisters are more likely to damage your floor or hurt your back while you’re lifting them. However, usually the lighter the cannister vacuum is, the more of a decrease in suction you get. The Miele C2 Electro+ offers a great middle ground; it’s only 9 pounds yet it still has amazing suction.
Bag or no bag?
Both bagged and bagless options exist for cannister vacuums and there are advantages and disadvantages for both. For bagged options you won’t expose yourself or your clean house to the dirt, dust, pollen, and pet dander that you’ve just cleaned up – however, typically you have to throw these bags away once they’re full and eventually you’ll have to buy more. Bagless canisters, on the other hand, save you money but need to be emptied on a consistent basis. One of our bagged options with a maximum capacity that will somewhat save you money is the Miele C2 Electro+. A great bagless option with plenty of space before getting full is the Prolux iFORCE. Finally, a unique option for you could be the Hoover CH30000 which has a thick cloth bag best for heavy materials, sharp metals, and glass.
Put simply, pick the right amount of suction for the job. Some cannister vacuums are only appropriate for thin carpets or certain types of flooring. The best vacuums offer a range of suction options which you can control and that will assist you in all kinds of cleaning: soft wood, hardwood, thick carpets, etcetera. Thick carpets especially require heavy suction to pull up dirt and debris deep from within them. One of the best options for added suction is the Bissell Deluxe.
Filters are a must, especially if you have asthma or other respiratory problems or are looking for a vacuum for allergies. For asthma, in particular, you might want to choose a vacuum with a HEPA filtration system; these systems often remove up to 90% of allergenic materials from dusty shelves, carpets, drapes, etcetera. For pet owners, HEPA filters will also clean up hair more easily and benefit those with animal allergies. Otherwise, most canister vacuums come with basic filters which remove finer particles that might pass back into the air. For a vacuum with a great several stage filtration system that includes a HEPA filter, consider the Kenmore 22614.
Wand and hose
Put simply, the longer the hose the more places you can reach and the less bending and moving around you’ll do. Wand’s can additionally extend to reach crevices and high ceilings. Also, understand that with a short wand or limited hose you’ll most likely be unplugging your vacuum more often and potentially hurting your back if bending over to reach low messes. A great option with an extended wand and hose is the Severin MY7115 Nonstop.
Brushes are an important feature for thick carpets and hardwood floors. These rotating brushes pull up old dirt that’s deep in carpet or caked onto the floor so that it can be sucked up; however, be aware that the best vacuums allow you to turn off the spinning brushes when you’re cleaning softwood floors and trying to avoid scratching the sensitive surfaces.
Retractable cords are just a bonus, especially if your back injures easily or you have an existing injury and have trouble stooping and gathering up a cord after vacuuming. Typically, retractable cords have a push peddle system or button that draw their extended length back into a part of the vacuum without the operator ever needing to bend over and gather the cord on their own.
Tools are a must! A crevice tool is especially useful as it can reach tight spaces and under furniture. Dusting brushes help with delicate surfaces as well as shelves, tables, and anywhere else dust can be knocked free. Upholstery tools are especially great for cleaning couches and beds while also removing tiny hairs (pet hair) and smaller particles which effect your nightly breathing.
Pick the right warranty for the purchase. If your purchase is anywhere over $100.00 at least ensure you have a year long warranty protecting you against manufacturing errors or shipping damage. You want a long enough period to test the vacuum consistently to ensure it has no defects that will ultimately limit its usefulness.
In many ways it depends on the type of cannister vacuum; typically, you want a machine with rubber protection (especially rubber coated wheels). Additionally, these precautions can be taken to protect your flooring: pick a model with a switch that can shut off the roller brushes, choose a model with multiple tool attachments, and choose a model with a long cord or long hose.
Emptying a cannister vacuum is pretty simple. First find the catches to pop open the canister lid – usually the manufacturers instructions will tell you where and how, though typically its quite self-explanatory. Next, you’ll slide the waste bag or waste bin out of the device; bagless models are easy to remove but include an extra emptying step (DO THIS OVER THE GARBAGE CAN OUTSIDE!). Disposable bags can just be thrown away when they’re full. Finally replace the bin or new disposable bag and clip the cannister lid back into place.
In a residential setting you should at least check your vacuum filters every six months; generally, be aware of spoiled smells, sharp objects, tearing in the filter, which will indicate its time to change the filters and buy new ones. Usually, however, residential-use canister vacuums won’t need filter replacement except once per year (some people do every 2 years). In a residential setting HEPA filters should be checked maybe once a year and replaced every 3 (if no obvious problems exist). When using vacuums for commercial buildings you should check the filter every three months, the HEPA filter every 6 months; if heavily soiled you should replace these filters, otherwise replace them at the end of the year. A general rule of thumb: if a musty odor is detected the HEPA filter should always be changed. If the system has a carbon pre-filter, it should be changed/checked every 2-3 years.
In closing, we always like to leave our readers with the top 3 products based on customer reviews and the features these products offer. In case you’re having difficulty choosing between items on our list, it’s our opinion that you can’t go wrong with any of the following products; these are easily the best canister vacuum cleaners.
The Prolux iFORCE is a powerful, lightweight, and compact vacuum that is perfect for small spaces. It has a long cord and comes with a few different attachments to make cleaning easier.
The Bissell Deluxe 1161 is a highly technical pick for your cleaning needs and includes specialized suction settings and tools for cleaning delicate surfaces, thick rugs, hardwood floors, soft floors, and even just general carpets.
The Hoover CH30000 PortaPower is great for commercial vacuuming and quick clean-up at messy work sites. The built-in blower is a great feature that allows you more versatility with cleaning your house or place of business, making it some of the best canister vacuums.