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10 terrific vacuums from Consumer Reports' tests

Vacuums you can love from Kenmore, Dyson, Hoover, and more

Published: October 02, 2014 03:45 PM
Photo: Paul Sahre

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 Kenmore Elite 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, $80 to $140, fell short for carpets, emissions, or both. Here are 10 top picks for several situations.

Kirby Sentria II

Best for carpet cleaning
Eureka Boss Smart Vac 4870 upright, $160
Kenmore Elite 21814 canister, $500

Best for pet hair
Kenmore 31140 upright, $200, CR Best Buy
Kenmore Progressive 21714 canister, $400

Best lightweight models
Hoover WindTunnel Max UH30600 upright, $180, CR Best Buy
Hoover WindTunnel T-Series UH30300 upright, $140

Best bagless
Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind UH70120 upright, $130, CR Best Buy
Kenmore 22614 canister, $350, CR Best Buy

Best for big spenders
Kirby Sentria II upright, $1,370
Dyson DC65 Animal upright, $600

—Ed Perratore (@edperratore on Twitter)

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