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Best vacuums for allergies

Best Vacuums for Allergy Sufferers

6 picks from Consumer Reports' tests

A good vacuum can be a game-changer for anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies. But if your vacuum spews more dust and debris than it picks up, you could be doing yourself more harm than good.

That’s one reason Consumer Reports measures emissions when we test vacuums. The best vacuums keep dirt well-contained and keep the air clean.

If you’re especially sensitive to dust and allergens, buying a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter is a smart starting point.

“There are newer vacuum cleaners that have different filtration systems, but we always recommend that a HEPA filter is there somewhere,” says Sanaz Eftekhari, director of corporate affairs at The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. “The HEPA filter will trap the matters and molecules that are coming in, so they won’t go back into the air."

Another consideration is whether the vacuum has a bag or is bagless. While many of the bagless vacuums in our tests have low emissions, emptying the bin of a bagless vacuum can be a bit of a mess.

We asked Sue Booth and Frank Rizzi, who conduct our vacuum tests, to recommend bagged vacuums with the lowest emissions. As a bonus, most of these options are very good to excellent at picking up pet hair, another allergy trigger. For more choices, check our full vacuum ratings and recommendations.

Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly 31150

Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly 31150

Strong airflow for tools and superb pet-hair pickup are top attractions of this Kenmore bagged upright. While you can get a fine performer for less, its price includes helpful features such as a brush on/off switch, which safeguards a bare floor's finish and prevents scattering of debris; suction control (protects drapes); and manual carpet pile-height adjustment.

    Miele Dynamic U1 AutoEco

    Miele Dynamic U1 AutoEco

    A very good upright vacuum cleaner overall, the Miele did an impressive job removing embedded dirt from carpets but wasn’t as good for cleaning kitchen and hardwood floors. Its impressive pet-hair pickup is a benefit for dog and cat owners. At 22 pounds, it’s easy to handle and quieter than many vacuums we tested.

      Hoover WindTunnel Max UH30600

      Hoover WindTunnel Max UH30600

      The Hoover WindTunnel Max has impressive carpet cleaning and superb pet-hair pickup at a moderate price. It’s just as good at cleaning bare floors and has the airflow needed for cleaning tools. The Hoover is lightweight (17 pounds) but still feature-filled with manual carpet pile-height adjustment and a brush on/off switch to safeguard the finish of bare floors. One thing we miss is suction control, which helps protect drapes when using tools.

        Kenmore Progressive 21614

        Kenmore Progressive 21614

        Strong performance at a reasonable price helps make this bagged Kenmore a top pick. Carpet cleaning and airflow for tools are both impressive, and pet-hair pickup was superb. What's more, the model includes a brush on/off switch for bare floors, manual carpet pile-height adjustment for carpets, and suction control for drapes.

          Miele Complete C3 Marin

          Miele Complete C3 Marin

          Even though it’s a bit pricey, this Miele bagged canister is worth a look for its fine cleaning and pet-hair pickup. Carpet cleaning and airflow for tools are both impressive, and pickup on bare floors superb. Other pluses include manual carpet pile-height adjustment, suction control for drapes, a brush on/off switch for bare floors, and a retractable cord. The Miele is one of the quietest vacuums in our tests.

            Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly UltraPlush 81714

            Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly...

            A top-notch performer overall, this Kenmore did a very good job removing embedded dirt from carpets and cleaning hardwood floors. It’s a champ at pet-hair pickup, and airflow through the cleaning tools was strong. This model is a good choice if your home has ultra-plush carpets.

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