Best Canister Vacuum of 2018 & Buying Guide

Buying a vacuum is always a bit of a process. There are so many things that you have to consider – the features, the price, the availability. Fortunately one of the things that you can eliminate from that list right away is the basic type of vacuum that you’re going to buy.

The three basic types are stand up vacuums, canister vacuums, and stick vacuums. If you’re reading this guide, then chances are you’ve already decided on or you’re considering buying a canister vacuum. Good choice. Canister vacuums are both versatile, lightweight and cheap, so you’re not going to have to spend a whole lot of time or money picking one that’s good for you.

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CLEANNERHUB RANKING

PRODUCT

CLEANNERLAB SCORE

CHECK PRICE

#1

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Canister Vacuum

98/100

#2

Eureka Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum

96/100

#3

BISSELL Zing Rewind Bagless Canister Vacuum

951/100

#4

Miele Complete C3

92/100

What makes a canister vacuum good?

Deciding to purchase a canister vacuum doesn’t put you away from all your worries. There are many canister vacuums available, and all of them have different features and functions. The trick to buying the best canister vacuum that you can buy is to decide what features you want in your vacuum and then pick one according to that.

So why would you want to buy a canister vacuum in the first place? Let’s compare them to the other types of vacuums

  • Compared to a canister vacuum, an upright vacuum is bigger, bulkier, and takes up more storage space. They may have more power, but when you buy a canister vacuum,  you know that you’re sacrificing a little bit of power for a cheaper price and much better storage space. Besides, you don’t really need the maximum suction power unless you’re cleaning an industrial space.
  • Stick vacuums are the other main option. They are often cheaper than canister vacuums but they don’t have nearly the same suction power. If you want to buy a  stick vacuum, then by all means, do so – but you’ll be sacrificing a lot of convenience for the price.

So what sort of things can you decide to buy a canister vacuum?

Canister vacuums boast a lot of cool features that you can’t get to the same extent in other vacuums.

  • Canister vacuums are fairly small, and they’re always short. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a canister vacuum that’s higher than knee-height. This makes canister vacuums very easy to store and easy to use, as well.
  • Canister vacuums provide a lot of versatility. You can use them to clean stairs, which you won’t ever be able to do with a standup vacuum. You can also use them to clean furniture and other upholstery surfaces, or other surfaces that you can’t clean with an upright or stick vacuum.

So now that you know what a canister vacuum will always be good for, it’s time for you to decide what kind of individual features and perks you want with your canister vacuum. Each canister vacuum carries with it a different level of quality and a different number of features, so you’ll be free to find a model that suits you according to the following needs.

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Filtration

Filtration is one of the first concerns for most people buying a vacuum, and especially for those with a concern for allergies. The filter is the unit that separates the dirt being sucked into the vacuum from the dirt being blown out. If you don’t have a vacuum with a good filter, or if you get one without any filter whatsoever, then you’re basically going to be breathing in the same air that you suck through the vacuum.

  • HEPA filters are your best bet. They’re considered to be the industry standard. HEPA stands for high energy particulate air, and the filter part means that you’re filtering all those particles out before they’re recycled into the air that you’re breathing.

It’s important to remember that not every HEPA filter is the same. Some vacuums boast the fact that they use HEPA filters, but these filters are not properly attached to the vacuum itself. You need to have a properly sealed gasket for your HEPA filter to work, otherwise unfiltered air is going to seep out through the gasket.

  • Foam filters are a heck of a lot cheaper than HEPA filters and a heck of a lot less effective. They can be easily changed, but they require that you do so very often.
  • Cloth filters are considered the lowest quality filters. They will filter something to an extent, but would you really trust yourself to use a cloth filter as a face-mask if you were trying to avoid allergens and unhealthy toxins?

Suction power

The suction power varies between different types of vacuum cleaners. Oftentimes when you’re paying for a vacuum cleaner with a very high suction power, you’re also paying for one that’s a bit bigger than the next best competitors. This is because suction power relies on the size and strength of the motor in the vacuum, and if you want a  big motor, you’re going to need a big vacuum.

Some vacuums offer variable suction power. These sorts of vacuums often have a switch that you can push, or a variable knob that you can turn to change the strength of the suction. These vacuums are typically best for cleaning multiple types of floors, so if you live in a big house with both carpets and hardwood floors you’ll want to look into variable suction.

Cleaning tools

A lot of vacuums come with cleaning tools. These are basically attachments that you can stick onto the end of the hose or other parts of the vacuum that enable you to clean different areas, or to clean in different situations than you would be able to otherwise. Such cleaning tools include

  • Crevice tools which are useful for getting into those hard-to-reach areas that are impossible to access with a regular vacuum hose
  • Upholstery tools are made to reduce or otherwise alter the suction of the vacuum so you can clean the upholstery of furniture without causing damage
  • Extension wands or hoses improve the reach of your vacuum without creating a lot of hassle
  • Pet hair brushes or tools are made specifically so you can clean up pet hair off your furniture and your floors, and they’re pretty much a requirement if you’re buying a vacuum to clean up after your pets.
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So what are the best canister vacuums?

Now that you know some of the things you’re going to want to look for in a canister vacuum, we’re going to provide you with a list. This list contains the best over-all general purpose canister vacuums that we’ve reviewed, as well as a list of pros and cons for each unit. Hopefully this helps you make a good choice.


1. Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Miele has earned themselves a name as one of the most prestigious brands in vacuum cleaning. Unfortunately, their prices reflect that, especially with this canister vacuum which costs over a thousand bucks. However, Miele quality is hard to match.

This unit is particularly powerful, boasting 1,200 watts of suction. The suction coupled with the other features of this vacuum make it best for mid-to-high carpet cleaning, but it works well on hardwood floors as well.

It uses LED headlights so you can see the floor directly in front of the vacuum, which is otherwise hard to do. The speed of suction can be adjusted with plus and minus buttons that are easily reached by your feet so you can switch suction speeds in the middle of a clean.

It’s also a highly durable unit that will last you a long time, so you can be assured that your thousand dollars is going to good use.

Pros:

  • Made by one of the most reliable vacuum brands
  • Easily adjustable suction speed controlled by foot levers
  • Great for cleaning carpets
  • Has LED headlights
  • Can be used on other floors
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Very high price
  • Decently heavy

2. Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Canister Vacuum

This vacuum has topped more than one of our lists, which is proof enough that you can use this unit for more than cleaning up pet hair. This vacuum boasts consistent suction that isn’t compromised no matter what type of floor you’re cleaning.

It’s also next-to-impossible to clog this vacuum thanks to the 36 tips that Dyson adds to the filtration system. These manage to clean all the microscopic bits out before they can clog the system, such as what happens when using other vacuums.

This vacuum also has a bit of robotic sense, because if it gets knocked over, it rights itself back up again. How many other vacuums can do that?

When you’re emptying the dirt canister, there’s a hygienic power that pushes dirt and dust out in a smooth fashion to keep you clean and to make sure there’s nothing left over. So aside from picking up fine dust, it also helps eject it without you having to breathe it.

Pros:

  • Self-righting unit that doesn’t stay knocked over
  • Able to filter out microscopic dirt other vacuums can’t
  • Great for many types of floor
  • Power-propelled dirt emptying system
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Cons:

  • Needs you to hold a button to use it

3. Eureka Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum

This is a cheap, versatile vacuum that is made for multi-purpose use. It uses a 12-amp motor which means you’re getting more than the average level of suction, and it’s also lightweight and has a convenient handle so you can move it around your house, inside or outside, and up stairs without a problem.

The cord for the vacuum is held in an on-board unit that prevents it from tangling or getting in your way during use. This vacuum has a variety of tools for cleaning different areas or different types of surfaces. It’s also made to be used inside and outside, so you can suck up leaves or organic debris without compromising it.

Pros:

  • Very versatile and can be used indoors or out
  • Good price
  • Powerful suction
  • Easy to move around thanks to the handle
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • The hose isn’t the most durable

4. BISSELL Zing Rewind Bagless Canister Vacuum

This is the cheapest canister model on the list, but we just chose it because of the name. Zing! Kidding.

This unit is designed to be very versatile and is capable of cleaning your whole house, even if you have a variety of different floors. It’s easy to move around the house because it’s not too heavy and has a very convenient handle.

This is also the best budget model you can find, coming in at less than a hundred bucks, without losing function. Many budget models sacrifice significant amounts of suction or function, but this one’s still pretty good.

It’s got a variable suction adjustment that allows you to clean furniture, and the settings go so low that you can even vacuum your curtains without sucking them off the wall. These settings can be easily controlled by pushing a switch.

Pros:

  • Easy to switch the suction settings
  • Good for cleaning all types of floors, some better than others
  • Can be adjusted to clean things as gentle as curtains
  • The cheapest model on the list
  • Good handle for easy transportation

Cons:

  • Not the best for cleaning carpet

So which one’s the best?

As always, the Dyson model wins. The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Vacuum is capable of doing much more than just cleaning up pet hair, and because of that, it’s earned its place as the number one canister vacuum.

The fact that it can pick itself back up if it’s knocked over is enough to suggest that this vacuum packs more power than a lot of other models. There’s more than that though.

Since it was designed to be able to handle massive quantities of pet hair, Dyson put 36 extra tips in for the filtration system. This allows the vacuum to pick up tiny microscopic bits of dust and filter them out without clogging itself. Most vacuums get clogged eventually with this tiny dust.

That also means this vacuum will last you a long time, so you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.