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Best Vacuums of 2019

These vacuums really suck—which is exactly why they excel in Consumer Reports' tests

Someone vacuuming hardwood floors in the kitchen.

It's been a fascinating few years in Consumer Reports’ vacuum labs. Cordless stick vacuums are better than ever and have crowded out corded stick vacs at major retailers—and in our ratings. And robotic vacuums have finally moved from novelty item in YouTube cat videos to legitimate cleaning tool.

But while these new and convenient contenders deserve a place in your cleaning arsenal, they still can't replace your trusty upright or canister.

"For some people, it might make sense to have multiple vacuums, for different situations," says Frank Rizzi, a senior lab technician for CR who tests vacuums. "A robotic vacuum can help with maintaining your pristine floors and a stick can help with quick messes alongside your bigger upright or canister."

How We Test Vacuums
To find out how well a vacuum picks up dirt, how much debris it retains, how easy it is to maneuver, and how noisy it is, CR's engineers put vacuum cleaners through a set of tough tests. We embed talc, sand, and pet hair into carpet before vacuuming. We use the same type of litter on bare floors and observe whether the vacuum picks it up or scatters it about. And we maneuver the vacuum around the floor, just like you would, to judge how easy it is to operate.

The Overall Score for each model also incorporates predicted reliability and owner satisfaction ratings from our 2018 Summer Survey. The survey leverages data on more than 51,000 upright, canister, and stick vacuums that members purchased between 2008 and 2018.

Here are reviews of the best vacuums you can buy right now, from each type we test. Drumroll—er, brush roll, please. 

1
Bagged Upright
Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly 31150
Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly 31150

    Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly 31150

    CR’s take: The midpriced Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly 31150 earns top marks on bare floors and scores well for tool airflow. That means it’s exceptionally powerful when used with its attachments, which include a crevice tool, bristle brush, and power roller. On bare floors it captures almost every particle, keeping them contained in its disposable bag. And it’s no slouch at removing embedded dirt from carpet or tackling pet hair, either, although it’s a little louder and tougher to handle than some bagged uprights. It’s not the cheapest model you’ll find, but this impressive performer is certainly among the best vacuums we’ve tested. This Kenmore receives middling scores for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. See our upright vacuum ratings for other models.

    2
    Bagless Upright
    Shark Navigator Powered Lift-Away NV586 (Target)
    Shark Navigator Powered Lift-Away...

      Shark Navigator Powered Lift-Away...

      CR’s take: A Target exclusive, this Shark Navigator has a 26-foot cord and weighs roughly 16 pounds. It receives an Excellent rating in both our pet hair and bare floors tests, though it doesn't fare as well on carpet (though it's still pretty good). But this vacuum is very noisy compared with other upright vacuums, and our testers note that it wasn't the easiest vacuum to use. Shark gets the highest scores for owner satisfaction among upright vacuums, meaning CR members who own them are highly likely to recommend them. Check out our upright vacuum ratings for other great options.

      3
      Bagged Canister
      Miele Complete C3 Marin
      Miele Complete C3 Marin

        Miele Complete C3 Marin

        CR’s take: Our top-performing canister vacuum, the Miele Complete C3 Marin earns perfect marks in almost every test we throw its way. It’s a champ at bare floors and embedded pet hair but also excels at capturing dust particles. Powerful airflow makes its attachments especially effective. It’s also noticeably quieter than many models. It gets dinged a bit on our handling test, but that’s true of most canister vacuums, which trail behind you at the end of the suction hose. At more than $1,000, it may suck up a big chunk out of your bank account, too. Miele vacuums earn top scores for both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. See our cannister vacuum ratings for other high-performing options.

        4
        Bagless Canister
        Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog
        Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog

          Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog

          CR’s take: This bagless canister is on the pricey side for vacuums, but it is one of the best bagless canisters you can buy. It earns an Excellent rating on our bare floors test, proving that it can suck up 5 grams of Maine Coon cat fur in no time flat. It's not so great when it comes to cleaning carpet; canisters are better for bare floors. Allergy sufferers may appreciate that this vacuum also performs well in our emissions testing, releasing little debris back into the environment after sucking it up. Miele vacuums earn top scores for both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. See our cannister vacuum ratings for other high-performing options.

          5
          Stick Vacuum
          Shark Rocket Complete with DuoClean HV380 (Walmart)
          Shark Rocket Complete with...

            Shark Rocket Complete with...

            CR’s take: Priced at $150, the Shark Rocket Complete with DuoClean HV380 (available exclusively at Walmart) is the best in its class. It is corded, which means it might be a pain to move around your home, but the cord lends it the power boost it needs to pick up pet hair and debris. It earns an Excellent rating in our carpet cleaning and pet hair pick up tests, so if you have a pet in a heavily carpeted house, this is a great vacuum for getting recently shedded fur. This Shark gets the highest scores for owner satisfaction, meaning the likelihood of a CR member in our survey recommending this vacuum to a friend was very high. If you're looking for a cordless model, check out our stick vacuum ratings and select "Cordless" from the "More Filters" menu.

            6
            Robotic Vacuum
            Samsung POWERbot R7065 VR2AM7065WS/AA
            Samsung POWERbot R7065 VR2AM7065WS/AA

              Samsung POWERbot R7065 VR2AM7065WS/AA

              CR’s take: In a category you might associate with Roomba—and one that has seen an onslaught of noteworthy new entrants, including models from premium brands Dyson and Miele—it’s Samsung’s Powerbots that steal the show. The Powerbot R7065 deftly handles dirt on carpets and bare floors, acing both tests, and even finds its way into tight corners, thanks in part to its rectangular bumpers. It operates quietly enough that it’ll go unnoticed, though it’s hard to resist watching it return home to dock and charge after each intensive 86-minute cleaning session. Ultimately, no robotic vacuum can replace a full-sized upright or canister. But the Powerbot comes closer than any other robotic. Check our our robotic vacuums ratings for more choices.

              7
              Hand Vacuum
              Shark Pet Perfect II SV780
              Shark Pet Perfect II SV780

                Shark Pet Perfect II SV780

                CR's take: The Shark Pet Perfect does everything a great hand vacuum should, in an inexpensive and easy-to-use package. It excels at sweeping small messes from bare floors and easily gets into corners. It runs for 19 minutes—longer than you’d need for most small messes—and even comes with a rotating brush roll that helps lift pet hair or spot-clean carpets. We also appreciate that the nickel-cadmium battery is replaceable. (Not so nice: It takes 16 hours to charge.) Note that its rating in our noise test is middle-of-the-road. Still, for a tool you may need only occasionally, this hand vac is a great way to stretch out more thorough cleanings and tackle messes such as spilled Cheerios on the spot before they get tracked through the rest of the house. Check out our hand vacuum ratings for more choices.

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                Haniya Rae

                I​’m interested in the intersection between design and technology​—whether for ​drywall or robotic vacuums—and how the resulting combination affects consumers. I’ve written about consumer advocacy issues for publications like The Atlantic, PC Magazine, and Popular Science, and now I’m happy to be tackling the topic for CR. For updates, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@haniyarae).