If you're buying a new vacuum, you could always just pick whatever's on sale. Or, you could do some research, spend a little more money, and get a machine that actually meets your needs.
See, vacuums aren't just about suction and cleaning power. They're about versatility. Different surfaces need different kinds of cleaning. For instance, a deep-pile carpet needs a rotating brush to agitate out all the hidden dirt, while a hardwood floor requires a more delicate touch.
Choose the right vacuum, and it will help you spend more time with your family and pets instead of cleaning up the messes they make.
Best Upright Vacuum
Miele S7260 Cat & Dog
Miele's S7260 is a high-end vacuum that's made in Germany. It's not cheap, but it offers unparalleled cleaning performance on all kinds of floors, HEPA filtration, and a 7-year limited warranty. Edge cleaning is superb, and a detachable hose helps with spot and upholstery cleaning. We're also fans of how easy it is to use. The handle swivels for easy maneuverability, all controls are at your fingertips, and it requires little force to push and pull. (Est. price: $649)
Read our full review of the Miele S7260 Cat & Dog.
Best Mid-Range Upright Vacuum
Kenmore Elite 31150
The Kenmore Elite 31150 offers excellent performance at a reasonable price. This bagged vacuum cleans well on both carpet and wood floors, and comes with a separate turbine brush for cleaning pet hair off upholstery. All attachments clip onto the body of the vacuum itself, and powerful suction pairs with a powered brushroll to capture dirt hidden deep down in carpet fibers. (Est. price: $280)
Read our full review of the Kenmore Elite 31150.
Best Canister Vacuum
Miele S8990 UniQ
The Miele S8990 UniQ is a truly luxurious vacuum. In addition to flawless cleaning performance, it's a delight to use. With smooth-gliding caster wheels all around, a swiveling neck, and an easy-to-extend wand, it makes vacuuming seem effortless. A surprisingly quiet motor won't wake up the kids, and HEPA filtration should help the whole family breathe easy. If you hate vacuuming, this Miele will change your mind. If you love vacuuming, you'll love the S8990. (Est. price: $1,499)
Read our full review of the Miele S8990 UniQ.
Best Mid-Range Canister Vacuum
Kenmore Progressive 21614
Great vacuums don't have to be expensive. In fact, the Kenmore 21614 performed nearly as well as the Miele S8990 in our tests, but costs a fifth of the Miele's price. The Kenmore might not be as refined, but it will get your house just as clean. It did a great job in our edge cleaning, debris pickup, and carpet cleaning tests, and an extendable wand makes it easy to reach under furniture or to clean corners both high and low. (Est. price: $260)
Read our full review of the Kenmore Progressive 21614.