Best HEPA Vacuum of 2018 & Buying Guide

When you’re buying a vacuum there’s a lot of things that you’re going to need to consider. Some of those things include the suction power of your vacuum, the budget, and the ease of use. One of the most important things you’re going to have to consider is the type of filtration system that you use in your vacuum.

There are many different types of filters that you can get with your vacuum. The most common, and the most effective filter that you can get is known as a HEPA filter. Unfortunately, getting a vacuum that’s labeled with a HEPA filter is not necessarily as good as the next vacuum you’ll get with the same label. We’ve written this article to help you figure out the differences between HEPA vacuums.

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CLEANNERHUB RANKING

PRODUCT

CLEANNERLAB SCORE

CHECK PRICE

#1

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Plus Allergy

98/100

#2

Kenmore 31150

97/100

#3

Vacmaster 8

95/100

#4

Miele Complete C3

94/100

So how do I know if I’m getting a good HEPA vacuum?

A lot of people decide to buy a vacuum purely because of the label that the vacuum maker puts over their filters. They say “HEPA filter included,” and people say, “Oh, well, a HEPA filter is good, so we should get this vacuum.” Right?

Wrong. Not all HEPA filters used in vacuums can provide the same amount of filtration.

The main thing that makes HEPA filters popular is the fact that they filter all the dust and dirt out of the stuff you’re cleaning before it’s spat out into the air that you breathe. HEPA filters are actually recommended because they can eliminate up to 99.7% of particles up to 0.03 microns in length.

Does that mean that every vacuum with a HEPA filter does the same thing? No. The most important thing that you have to consider when buying a HEPA filter vacuum is the type of gasket that’s involved. Any vacuum can install a HEPA filter and advertise that, but what you really need to know is whether or not the HEPA filter is installed properly. If it’s not, you can face several problems.

  • A HEPA filter needs to be installed via a gasket. The gasket is the piece that attaches the HEPA filter to the rest of the vacuum. You can have gaskets that are installed properly, and those that are not.
  • If you have a gasket that’s not installed properly, there’s a high chance that it’s going to leak air out between the unsealed parts of the gasket. The air that’s emitted from these parts isn’t going to be filtered, which eliminates the whole purpose of filtering air with a HEPA filter.

Not every HEPA filter is going to treat you the same so it’s good that you ensure whether or not the vacuum you’re considering buying has their HEPA filter installed properly.

You’ll still need to consider your living situation and your budget, as well as the layout of your house, before you can make a solid decision as to which HEPA vacuum will suit you the best.

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Choosing the style of vacuum

You know you want a HEPA filter, great. That makes things easier. Now decide whether you want a stand up vacuum, a canister, a stick, or a different type.

Stand Up vacuum cleaners are great and can make extensive use of filters because of their large size. Stand Up vacuum cleaners are bigger, bulkier, and can boast more power than other varieties. Since they’re so big, they’re often considered to be on the cheaper end of vacuums, though high-end ones come in well over a thousand dollars.

  • Stand up vacuums are great go-to vacuums for general use. Depending on the quality and design, stand up vacuums can clean many different types of floors. If they come with additional cleaning tool, they can clean furniture and other surfaces as well.

Canister vacuum cleaners are the next most popular variety of vacuums. They’re readily available and they take up a lot less space than your stand up vacuum will. Because of their ideal size for storage, they can’t always host as much technology as some stand up vacuums, but they come with their own unique set of benefits.

  • Canister vacuums can inherently be used to clean difficult surfaces, like furniture or even stairs, because they’re lightweight and easy to move.The most powerful filtered vacuums are often stand up.
  • Depending on the number of settings, they can be able to clean just as many floors as upright vacuums. They can easily fit a high-grade HEPA filter.

Stick vacuums aren’t considered to be the most powerful or classy vacuum cleaners but they certainly get the job done. Stick vacuums are particularly loved for the ease with which you can store them. Some of them can even be mounted on walls so they don’t take up any space in your closet.

Handheld vacuums are not the best option for you if you’re looking for a vacuum with a solid HEPA filter. Besides, a handheld vacuum won’t be a whole lot of use to you if you’re trying to clean an entire house.

Other things to consider when choosing a HEPA vacuum

The point of a filtration system is to get rid of all the little bits of dust and dirt that can be recycled into the atmosphere when you’re vacuuming. A lot of these particles are allergens, and allergies are a huge part of the reason that it’s so important to make sure you get a good HEPA filter.

Keep these things in mind as well when you’re buying your vacuum.

The number of suction fans is important because a two-fan suction can grab a ton more dirt and dust than a one-fan suction motor.

It makes more sense to get a two fan motor if you’re spending the extra buck on getting a good filter.

Make sure you understand how you change the dirt container or bag.

A lot of vacuums pay very little heed to the way their users empty the bags. A lot of the time vacuums are made so that you release a huge amount of dust and dirt into the air when changing the bag. A good example of a solution to this would be getting a vacuum with an ejectable dirt canister.

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So what are the best HEPA vacuums I can buy?

Now that you know what HEPA filters are, and you know that two vacuums with the same HEPA filter might not function the same, you can start looking for vacuums. We just gave you a lot of information, though, and it might seem pretty daunting to start trying to figure out what vacuum suits you best.

Fortunately, we’ve extensively reviewed a lot of vacuums and have concluded which ones make the best use of the HEPA filter. Naturally, due to the nature of filtration systems and the HEPA filter itself, a lot of these vacuums are branded as allergy-specific. Don’t let that be a concern if you don’t suffer from allergies – it just means that their filters are of good enough qualify to be certified for allergens.


1. Kenmore 31150 Elite Bagged Upright Vacuum Cleaner

You may have heard of Kenmore, and you may not have, but regardless, this is one of their most powerful vacuums. What does that mean when compared to more popular brands like Dyson or Shark? Well, it uses a technology known as a 3D inducer motor which actually makes it quite powerful even when compared to other companies. It boasts up to 20% more air suction than previous Kenmore entries.

This vacuum takes a lot of concern over the flow of air. Like Miele is known for doing, they arrange the vents on the vacuum so the air that is blown out doesn’t send dust and dirt flying out of the way before you can pick it up. This is great for people with allergies.

This vacuum not only has an LED headlight to let you see what’s on the ground in front of you, but there’s actually an infrared dirt sensor that tells you if you’ve missed something. Cool.

It uses a high-quality HEPA filter that’s attached properly. It traps dust, pollen, dirt and allergens easily.

Pros:

  • Good quality HEPA filter
  • Uses a unique engine to provide a lot of power
  • Good positioning of air vents
  • Has an LED headlight and infrared sensor
  • Great for pet hair

Cons:

  • Not the most dependable

2. Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Plus Allergy

That’s right – animal PLUS allergy. That’s a good indication of the power of the filtration system of this vacuum, which is advertised as being a full-body filtration system.

Dyson Cinetic is a mechanism that the company has developed to be able to capture extreme small bits of particulate matter. You know that old vacuum you had that somehow got clogged even though it didn’t look like anything was in it? This is because it’s hard to get rid of tiny particles – but not with this vacuum.

The cleaner head is self-adjusting which makes it extremely convenient for cleaning multiple types of floor because you don’t have to make manual adjustments.

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Another big score with this vacuum is that the dust canister has a hygienic release system, which is important for keeping dust and allergens out of the air. This one just launches your debris into the trash without you having to unscrew it or shake it up.

Pros:

  • Great for people with allergies or without
  • Easily cleans many types of floors
  • Self-adjusting cleaner head makes your cleaning session easier
  • Hygienic release system on the dust canister
  • Great for use with pets or without

Cons:

  • One of Dyson’s less-reliable models, but still stands up compared to other brands

3. Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister Vacuum Cleaner – Corded

This is another popular entry by Miele, who are pretty much the masters of filter systems when it comes to vacuuming.

This particular unit is a great convenience to use, mostly because of its easily adjustable six-speed system that you can adjust with foot pedals. It also makes use of an electro brush for cleaning furniture and smaller areas.

It uses a type of swivel steering known as the Parquet Steering system that’s particularly good for use on hard floors. This system allows you to easily move the vacuum without risking scratches to the floor.

The main attraction for me at least is the fact that this vacuum, like the previous model, has an automatically adjusting suction system. You can put the unit on ‘automatic’ and then you won’t have to switch between suction speeds.

Pros:

  • This is a very easy and convenient to use
  • Has an electro brush for cleaning furniture
  • Has a Parquet Steering system for even more convenience
  • Doesn’t risk scratches to your hardwood
  • Has an awesome automatic suction level

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Awkward dimensions

4. Vacmaster 8 Gallon HEPA Vac with 2 Stage Motor

If you’re looking for an industrial or commercial strength vacuum with a good HEPA filter, this is your best bet.

The whole system is built around its multiple-stage filtration system with a pre-filter and an exhaust filter built in as well. The thing comes with a 10 foot ‘crush-proof’ hose as well as a 30 foot cord and it can hold 8 gallons of debris in its ‘crushproof’ tank.

There’s a 2 stage industrial motor that ensures you get powerful, even suction when using this machine.

Pros:

  • Great price for an industrial vacuum
  • Very powerful filtration system
  • Two-stage motor provides crazy suction
  • Comes with a one year warranty

Cons:

  • Can be difficult – or impossible – to use in large-scale commercial areas or industrial areas like warehouses, since the cord’s only 30 feet.

Which one’s the best?

Some Dyson almost always seems to win any competition in which their vacuums take place in. The Dyson Animal & Allergy vacuum kicks some serious butt here, providing great suction power and incredible filtration.

This vacuum also uses one of Dyson’s trademark convenient Cynetic Filtration thing which helps to eliminate very, very fine dust that clogs other vacuums.

Overall this is a great choice and the price is much better than what you’ll get otherwise.