people's choice

The Best Vacuum Cleaners on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

Photo: Steven Gottlieb/Corbis via Getty Images

Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)

While we’ve written about vacuums of all shapes and sizes, from the best handheld models to the top cordless, stick, and robotic picks, and even vacuums that pick up pet hair — here, we’ve rounded up the best vacuum cleaners, according to the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.

Best-rated vacuum cleaner

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional NV356E

With over 6,700 five-star reviews, this upright-canister hybrid is praised by users for its versatility and power. From pet owners to vacuum snobs, this model has earned its share of converts. “I had seen the good reviews about this vacuum and finally ordered it when we moved,” one writes. “Our new house had a mix of thick carpet, linoleum, and wood floors, and my old vacuum wasn’t going to cut it. It pulls the dirt out of next week, I swear to you. Almost every use we had to empty the container, which made me feel full of regret for not ordering it sooner, because it was clearly having to do the work of my old vacuum on our area rugs. It transitions between the floor types with a quick click, and the wand and attachments are well stored and quickly accessible to make transitioning from floors to ceilings quick.” Another reviewer says, “Day one I decided to give this a ‘test drive.’ Six hours later, I ended up cleaning the entire place; not just the floor but all the corners — switching attachments was a breeze. This thing goes around corners and turns with your wrist.” The admirer continues, “The weird part is — I ENJOYED it. The canister really made you feel like you were winning, as you watch it fill up.” Another reviewer puts it simply: “Buy it. I can’t imagine you being disappointed.”

Best-rated (less expensive) vacuum cleaner

“This little vacuum is small, lightweight,” notes one reviewer, “but also MIGHTY!” For just $25, the Bissell Featherweight Stick Lightweight Bagless Vacuum is a crowd-pleaser, not a compromise. True, “it’s not sucking up any gravel or chunks of mud,” acknowledges one reviewer, but it still has “nearly as much power as a machine twice its size…for what I need it for (pulling dust, hair, and other particulates out of the hallway rugs) it’s perfect.” Happy owners praise the “superior build quality,” “powerful” suction, the way the vacuum “gets into corners beautifully,” and the fact that it’s “very easy to change and clean.” As one enthusiastic purchaser notes, “I would absolutely buy this vacuum 100 more times. At this price, why not?”

Best canister vacuum cleaner

Bissell’s Zing Canister vacuum gets top marks from those looking to save money without having to compromise on suction power. “This vacuum is so powerful!” writes one happy customer. “I expected it to work pretty well after reading the reviews, but I wasn’t expecting it to literally suck up everything in its path. You know those TV show scenes where someone takes the vacuum cleaner and sucks everything off the dining room table including the table cloth? That’s literally what I thought was happening.” Another reviewer adds, “There’s so much suction power, you can actually clean your hairbrushes with this vacuum cleaner.” There are fewer attachment tools included than with other pricier vacs, but customers don’t seem to mind. As one reviewer puts it, simply, “Do not hesitate to get this vacuum. It’s way cheaper than the others I’ve bought but outperforms them all!”

Best large canister vacuum

While the Bissell vacuum can hold two liters, this Eureka model can hold 2.5 liters, and reviewers say that extra bit of room is helpful for those with larger homes or people who don’t want to change the bag as much. One customer used to clean homes professionally and keeps this vacuum in her house. She hates having to constantly change the bag after cleaning her house almost daily: “I have three short-haired dogs in a one bedroom house and I replace my bag two times a month and I use vacuum two times a week so you can see how long a bag will last.” She thinks that you can get three cleanings from one bag if you have multiple dogs and a large home, though. And another customer even replaced her Dyson with this vacuum. She personally “hated the bagless design, because it meant she always needed to touch and handle the dirt. This vacuum is smaller, lighter, and just as powerful as the Dyson but cost $50.” And the best part for her is that “the bags are really large and super cheap.”

Best bagged vacuum

Oreck Commercial Upright Vacuum Cleaner XL

“I love this ugly thing so much,” writes a satisfied reviewer, who’s one of hundreds who appreciates that this vacuum has a bag. “I like having a bagged vacuum because I hate emptying the bagless canisters because no matter what, dust gets everywhere — especially in the air. The bags for this vacuum are huge and last a long time.” Another says, “No matter what you do, the bagless vacs retain dirt and odor with all the nooks and crannies of their cyclone technology and hidden filters,” but with this, they explain, “The bag fills up, you toss it out along with all the odor and dust.” More than 200 reviewers also reference how powerful this Oreck is. “The aforementioned beefy motor sucks up everything just fine, from stale cereal my 1-year-old hid behind the couch for later to my wife’s forgotten hair ties to every single cord I forget to get out of the way before I start vacuuming,” one writes. It does all this while still remaining lightweight. The same user compares its weight to “about as much as a gallon of milk.”

Best vacuum cleaner with extra-long cord

The Shark Rotator Professional Corded Bagless Vacuum is a runaway favorite for its maneuverability and versatility, especially in tight spaces like stairs. “I was surprised at how easy it was to maneuver,” writes one exhilarated reviewer, who continues, “The Shark was very easy to push around, and the ball pivot head really makes maneuvering around furniture and corners a breeze. I love the removable tank portion for doing the stairs. That makes the stairs an order of magnitude easier.” A narrow head also wins praise from reviewers: “I love the width of the floor nozzle. It is narrower than what I am used to. I can get into all sorts of corners and spaces that I had to resort to hand attachments before.” And though it’s not cordless, reviewers insist that the extra-long cord more than makes up for the difference, writing, “The Shark cord is seriously incredibly long, allowing us to vacuum the entire house by just using a centrally located outlet.”

Best upright vacuum with HEPA filter

“Allergens? Your days are numbered,” writes one reviewer, setting the tone for hundreds of others who feel the Shark Navigator is the solution to their lifelong struggles with allergies while cleaning. “I have allergies, and when I used to vacuum, I would get itchy eyes and end up with a runny nose the rest of the day. Now that is a problem of the past!” With a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, and anti-allergy one-way seal, this vacuum is designed to keep allergens out of the air while in use. “My allergies have improved, the carpets are softer and they look better. I actually know my carpets are clean now, which is a big deal when you have a 2-year-old rolling around on the floor.”

Best vacuum cleaner for pet hair

Bissell Cleanview Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner 1831

Pet parents rave about this Bissell Cleanview Upright Bagless vacuum. “I am both delighted and horrified by this vacuum. The amount of dog hair (100-pound German shepherd and 65-pound lab/shepherd) this sucked out of the family room carpet is impressive and disgusting.” Writes another, “I have seven cats, a toddler, and I have long hair. In the past few years every vacuum we have bought could not stand up to the hair and dust our house accumulates. This is the ultimate pet and dust vacuum! Brings new life to my carpet! I even feel as though my air in my house is cleaner after vacuuming!” One happy owner adds, “I was amazed as the rug began to appear under all the fur that previous vacuum cleaners couldn’t touch.”

Unlike other models, clogging was not an issue for most reviewers. “Hair doesn’t get stuck in the roller. It picks up hair and fine dust.” The bagless system appeals to many as well. “I liked the way that the canister could be lifted off and taken somewhere to be emptied.” One happy customer sums it up neatly: “It seems like my dog has met his match and not a moment too soon. This is peak shedding season.”

Best lightweight upright vacuum cleaner

This Eureka vacuum cleaner “looks like it might be a little flimsy,” admits one reviewer, “but it really packs a punch.” Another happy owner writes, “When I first picked up this vacuum I was pretty convinced I’d been ripped off. The material felt light and cheap. But then I turned it on, and holy moly. This thing gets the job done.” Even seasoned vacuum-owners are impressed: “I am 74. I have purchased many different vacuum cleaners in my life — one for over $1,000. And none of them can compare to the cleaning power of this one. Lightweight, easy to assemble and run — easily one of the best purchases I have ever made.”

Best upright vacuum for hardwood and carpet

Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away

It’s hard to sum this vacuum’s strengths up better than one Shark-obsessed reviewer, who says: “I purchased this model because of the supposed ease of cleaning the roller. Let me tell you, it more than met expectations. Between my cat and long-haired daughter, my previous vacuum roller was a nightmare to clean. This Shark’s roller is visible from above (so you can see when it needs cleaning), pops out easily, and is a snap to clean with the built-in hair cutter. The roller even features a groove, so you can lift and cut the hair away. Well-thought-out design indeed!” Other reviewers rave about this vacuum’s ability to tackle carpeted surfaces, as well as hardwood and even tile. One vacuumed an area rug and wrote, “I swear there is dog hair in there that is from dogs that haven’t been around for a couple years. This thing pulled everything out from in between the tufts and probably all the way down to the hardwood. And amazingly, my area rugs look brand new and like they’ve just been cleaned.” They add, “It also worked great on my bare hardwood, as there is an easy fingertip adjustment for high, medium and low. Absolutely perfect for my needs.”

Best vacuum for people with long hair

Shark APEX Upright Vacuum with DuoClean

Advocates for the Shark APEX Upright Vacuum love that it deals handily with the issue of raveling hair that gets spun around a vacuum’s roller. “My daughter has long curly hair and with my old vacuum I would be having to cut off hair with a knife and tweezers after every cleaning,” writes one such reviewer. “It is so easy to get anything stuck in or around the brushes. Just pop the top off and reach in there. It makes my life so much easier.” Other reviewers love that it’s “lightweight but powerful” and “cleans dog hair wonderfully on both the hard floor and the carpet.” It’s easy to change functions, too: “You can change from hard floor to carpet with just a push of the button, which is great since we have a number of throw rugs. You can change the power of the suction, too, with a twist on the handle.”

Best upright vacuum cleaner with retractable cord


More than 15 percent of reviewers reference this vacuum’s retractable cord as a selling point. One calls it “so handy,” while another says it “worked flawlessly.” But that’s not the only convenience of this vacuum. “I really like that there are no hand controls — incline, power, and cord retraction are all pedals you can operate with one foot,” one writes. Another says, “I really love and appreciate that it’s designed to hold all the attachments right on the vacuum itself,” and they add, “It’s convenient and saves me the never ending cycle of immediately losing them all.” As for its overall functionality, one user says it can pretty much pick up anything: “Dirt, small rocks, bits of branches and wood and cardboard, dog food, egg shells, coffee grounds, fluff from stuffed animals, strips of cloth (sometimes they get stuck in the roller, but they’re easy to pull right back off), paper, yarn… yeah, basically anything that’s on your floor it can suck up.”

Best vacuum cleaner with lights

Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet Upright Vacuum

“I like to vacuum again,” says one delighted owner of the Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet. “This baby has suction like a beast and maneuvers so nicely—it actually pulls you along like an eager pup.” Other reviewers concur, noting unique features like lights on the vacuum head: “This vacuum will light up your filth like luminol lights up a crime scene. You will be shocked at what you’ve unknowingly been living with.” They also appreciate the Shark’s relative quietness: “It makes no noise rolling across the floor.” The substantial cord is another selling point, with one writing, “The cord is like 5,000 feet long, so you don’t have to keep moving the plug around the house. I can vacuum my entire apartment plugged into the same outlet.”

Best wet-dry vacuum cleaner


Most vacuums only work to pick up dirt, but this wet-dry vacuum washes them as it sucks up dirt. And one reviewer seems to think it is “going to change [her] life.” She describes it as “lightweight and easily maneuverable,” and she actually thinks it’s “fun to use, once [she] got over the disbelief that [she] could vacuum up wet or dry debris on the floor and wash it at the same time.” With this machine, she says, “Everything is cleaned up beautifully.” Another reviewer had concerns about cleaning the actual vacuum because it seemed a lot more messy than a regular vacuum: “I was afraid that this would be one of those ‘EWWW I have too much to clean’ appliances and I would use it a couple times, take the thing all apart, have to scrub and scrub all the parts I just took apart, and it would end up staying in pieces here, there, and everywhere, and one piece would get separated in the scramble for company coming over, and end up in pieces in the garage or something.” But she admits she was very wrong, describing the vacuum as “easy to clean, easy to dry, easy to put back together or keep all together until the next time.” And compared to other wet-dry vacuums, this one is a “Lighter weight machine, easy to maneuver, easy to fill, easy to dump and rinse the dirty water tank,” says another reviewer.

Best vacuum cleaner with swivel head