A rough-and-tumble market is driving new designs and features as the once humble vacuum cleaner goes high-tech. But we've found that high-priced, feature-laden machines don't necessarily clean better. You'll find strong performers for as little as $100. Use our vacuum cleaner guide to select the best model for your home.
The right vacuum for the job
Carpets top the list of critical cleaning chores, an area where upright models have traditionally excelled. But you may prefer a canister or a central vacuum for other cleaning. Within types, check our Ratings (available to subscribers) of canister and upright models for a powerful unit, one that performed well on carpets, bare floors, and in our airflow tests. Here's what else to go by when shopping:
Try before you buy
Some vacuums are easier than others to push, pull, and carry. See which feels best at the store. Many of the heavier upright vacuums do not score well in our handling tests.
Protect your ears
The noisiest vacuums we tested produced 85 decibels or more, the level at which we recommend hearing protection. Canister vacuums as a group tend to be quieter.
Copyright © 2006-2012 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.