The best vacuum cleaners for 2021 make cleaning your floors an effortless task by combining powerful suction, dust canisters with generous capacities, and handy features that means you can clean even the smallest of spaces with ease.
There’s a wide range of different types of vacuum cleaners on the market, with some best suited to carpets, while others excel on hard floors. However, choosing the best hoover - the colloquial term for these floorcare devices coined because Hoover was one of the first brands to produce vacuum cleaners - for you can be a bewildering task.
As well as the best corded vacuum cleaners, it’s also worth considering some of the best cordless vacuums. Powered by long-lasting rechargeable batteries, cordless vacs are lighter and easier to push around your home, and many can be converted into handheld cleaners too.
Alternatively, the best robot vacuums will take on the chore of cleaning your floors for you, pootling around your home unaided collecting dust and debris from your floors. There are also dedicated handheld vacuums and stick vacuums that may be right for you too, as well as vacuums that can wash as well as suck up dirt from your floors .
Those looking for the best vacuums for pet hair should keep an eye out for models that come with dedicated tools designed to remove hair from your furry friends too.
Having one of the best vacuums is half the battle when it comes to keeping your floors clean, but it’s also worth discovering how to vacuum properly and how to clean your vacuum to ensure your floor-cleaning session are as effective as possible.
There’s a wide choice of vacuum cleaner brands to consider; with the likes of Dyson, Hoover, Miele, and Vax offering an array of models, alongside less well-known but no less efficient brands including Roidmi and Shark. We’ve tested an abundance of different types of vacuum cleaners on carpets and hard floors, assessing their ability to collect everything from fine dust to cat biscuits, cereal, and cookie crumbs to help you choose the best vacuum cleaner for you.
Best vacuum cleaners 2021: ranked
Dyson’s V11 is a surefire hit when it comes to cordless vacuum cleaners, and it's a firm favorite of households worldwide.
It's got a ton of useful attachments, as well as a handy LCD screen that shows you the current suction power and battery levels, so you can keep track of how much time you've left to clean.
You can easily clean under furniture, blinds, shelves, and skirting thanks to the numerous attachments, which all easily snap on and off and can be stored relatively quickly in a cupboard when not in use.
Read our full review: Dyson V11 (opens in new tab)
The first cordless vacuum from floor cleaning stalwart Miele is one of the best vacuum cleaners on the market right now. It’s powerful suction can easily rival Dyson’s top-of-the-range models, and it has a similar floor-sensing cleaning head, which adjusts the speed of the brush bar for a deep clean on carpets, automatically.
However it trumps Dyson because the main unit can be moved closer to the cleaner head converting it into a cordless upright cleaner. This makes the vacuum cleaner easier to manoeuvre and means it can be left free-standing rather than having to be lent against a wall or piece of furniture. However in this mode, we did find it struggled to get under some furniture.
The battery lasted a respectable 60 minutes between charges on the lowest power setting - although this reduced to 16 minutes when we ran it on the highest power setting. The battery can also be swapped out if you purchase an additional battery, to reduce interruptions to your cleaning (you’ll need to purchase an extra battery). It is one of the heavier cordless vacuums we’ve tested at 4kg as well as being one of the most expensive, but we think it’s worth it.
Read our full review: Miele Triflex HX1 Cat & Dog (opens in new tab)
Released just days after the V15 Detect Absolute (above) this compact and lightweight cordless vacuum cleaner from Dyson is the best we've tested when it comes to cleaning hard floors.
The Omni-glide's main cleaning head has not one, but two soft brush bars, so they can clean your hard floors faster than other vacuums, without damaging them. Four 360-degree castors can also be found on the bottom of the cleaning head, which in conjunction with the articulating neck, ensure the vacuum can be steered in any direction. It can even lie flat on the floor so it can be easily maneuvered under low-lying furniture.
In our tests, it made light work of everything from fine dust and biscuit crumbs to large debris such as cereal. It has a vertical handle, rather than the trigger-style found on the V15 Detect and V11. It houses the swappable battery, which offers up to 20 minutes of runtime per charge, but we found it made the vacuum cumbersome to use in handheld mode.
The Omni-glide is one of the most affordable vacuums Dyson offer, but it's still pricey when you look at other vacuums offered by rivals. That said, if you have primarily hard floors in your home, we think it's worth it.
Read our full review: Dyson Omni-glide (opens in new tab)
If you’ve got a bigger home, a bigger dust bin is a necessity, and thankfully the Dyson V11 outsize offers just this - at 1.9-liters it can hold 150% more debris than its sibling, the Dyson V11 Absolute and its newest cleaner, the Dyson V15 Detect Absolute (above). Combine this with a wider cleaning head and you’ll never have to abandon cleaning halfway through because the vacuum cleaner
The same suction and cleaning performance as its smaller sibling meant during testing it whipped away discarded biscuit crumbs, ground-in dirt, and even cereal and cat biscuits, almost instantly.
The High Torque cleaner head can automatically adjust the suction power needed based on the floor type, or you can opt to manually adjust it. The power settings, along with the remaining run time and any blockages and where they can be found, are displayed on the vacuum’s LCD screen.
Slightly more expensive than the Dyson V15 Detect, this vacuum could be worth the extra investment if it means your floor cleaning isn’t interrupted.
Read our full review: Dyson V11 Outsize (opens in new tab)
The Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal is one of the predecessors to the Dyson V11 range, and even though it’s more than three years old now, the vacuum cleaner can hold its own when it comes to cleaning power. With a slightly more affordable price tag than its newer siblings, although not quite as competitive as other models on the market, it’s worth considering.
From fine dust and pet hair to cereal and cat litter, the vacuum cleaner sucked up everything in its path with ease. It’s got a bin capacity to match the Dyson V11 and can equal Dyson’s newest vacuum when it comes to runtime - although this isn’t on the most powerful setting, unlike the V11.
There’s no LCD display or High Torque cleaner head which adjusts the suction automatically based on the floor type, but it is lighter and as we’ve said already, a little cheaper too.
Read our full review: Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal (opens in new tab)
If you’re looking for a compact vacuum that you can grab quickly to clean up the odd spillage straight away, the Shark WandVac is the best stick vacuum for the job.
Relatively lightweight and simplistic, the Shark WandVac can be used as a stick vacuum or in handheld mode. It comes with a cleaning head, for when the vacuum is used in stick mode, that features self-cleaning silicone ‘Powerfins’, rather than conventional bristles, which prevent pet or human hair from getting stuck. While for handheld mode, a crevice tool and a fluffy brush head that’s ideal for cleaning blinds or delicate surfaces, are included.
The vacuum cleaner performed better at sucking up fine dust, as with large debris it did take a few sweeps back and forth to scoop up all of the mess. The Shark WandVac is loud in use and the battery doesn’t last as long as rival cordless cleaners - but if you’re mainly using it for quick spills, it doesn’t need to be as long lasting.
Read our full review: Shark WandVac (opens in new tab)
How we test vacuum cleaners
To find the best vacuum cleaner, we’ve assessed how well each model collects everything from fine dust and dirt to larger debris such as cookie crumbs and cereal. As well as evaluating how well floors are cleaned, we’ve also compared how easy the vacuum cleaners are to maneuver on carpet and hard floors, as well as whether fust pick up is evenly distributed across the cleaning head, or concentrated in one area. .
We rated each design on how durable it is, as well as simplicity of emptying, how loud it is during use and how long the battery lasts - if it has one. For each model we wanted to know whether it was easy to convert into other modes; such as a handheld vac, the useful tools and accessories it came with to clean edges or remove pet hair, and that it didn’t require reading a thick instruction manual before use.
Which type of vacuum should I buy?
As we’ve mentioned already, there are many different types of vacuum cleaners to choose from these days; cordless vacuums, traditional corded vacuum cleaners, handheld devices that are great for sucking up crumbs on a daily basis, and robot vacuums that take the hard work out of the chore completely.
On the whole, the best cordless vacuums offer the same suction power, and in some cases more, as their corded rivals but ensure you’re not restricted by the length of the wire. That said, we still believe there's still a place for corded vacuums. Often sporting wider floor headers than their cordless counterparts, they ensure your floors are dust-free in fewer sweeps, while models with extra-long hoses let you clean the stairs without moving the vacuum. You don't have to deal with the worry of the battery running out mid-way through cleaning either, which can be a common occurrence with cordless vacuums.
Want to know more? Check out our types of vacuum (opens in new tab) article to discover just what tasks the different models are best suited to.
How to vacuum
Knowing how to vacuum may seem pretty obvious, but you may be surprised to learn that darting back and forth across a room isn’t the best way to ensure your home is thoroughly free from allergens like dust and pet hair.
Taking a more methodical approach by dusting surfaces first, so the dust doesn’t settle on your clean floor, and traveling from one side of the room to the other, slowly pushing the vacuum forwards and backward in a sweeping motion, will actually suck up far more debris.
Want to know more? Read our How to vacuum (opens in new tab) article for further tips and tricks.
How often should you vacuum?
“When the floor looks dirty” I hear you cry, but to keep your home allergen-free and your floors as clean as possible, you’ll need to vacuum more regularly than this.
We recommend vacuuming most floors once a week while increasing this to twice a week in high-traffic areas such as hallways and doorways. Especially, if you have carpet, as the longer dust is left, the more it becomes embedded in the fibres making it hard to thoroughly clean.
While this may seem like a lot, vacuuming this regularly will ensure there is less dust to suck up each time, making cleaning your floors a quicker process.
For more on this, head to our full feature on how often should you vacuum? (opens in new tab)
- Check out these great robot vacuum deals