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9 picks are under $200

Consumer Reports magazine: March 2012

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Stellar scores in our latest brand-repair survey and stout metal parts could make the $1,350 Kirby Sentria upright the closest thing to a lifetime vacuum. But our latest tests of 100 models show that you can get top performance without the heirloom price.  

Two Hoover WindTunnel T-Series bagged uprights are additions to a long list of picks that include models priced at $200 or less. Both bagged uprights whisked away embedded grit and pet hair. Prefer a canister? A new $300 Kenmore Progressive is among the lower-priced bagged models that ranked high in our Ratings. Subscribe to get all the details of our latest tests.

How to Choose
Start by choosing a type. Uprights do better overall on carpets, while canisters are easier to maneuver, especially on stairs. We recommend that you try out the vacuum in a store, even if you order your vacuum online. Also:

Check the features. Major ones are a brush on/off switch to safeguard bare floors and prevent scattered debris, and a motorized brush, rather than suction alone. Manual pile-height adjustment is also a plus, as is suction control for drapes and edge tools for corners.

Consider bagless carefully. Bagless vacs save you the cost of bags but still require filters. And the dust and mess of emptying their bins is a concern if you have asthma or allergies.

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