The Miele C2 Electro+ has a high-powered sealed motor that creates superior suction and a belt system that's repairable and built to last years longer than cheaper vacuums.
It may be hard to envision yourself spending more than $500 on a vacuum — it certainly is for me — but judging by the Insider Picks team's own experience, the longevity of the Miele C2 Electro+ is unparalleled among cheaper options. Consider it an investment. After all, you might run through several cheap vacuums before the Miele even starts to think about kicking the bucket.
The bottom line? If you have the extra money and don't plan on moving too far away anytime soon, it's probably worth the expense up front. Even if something does start to go wrong with your Miele, it can be repaired when other cheaper vacuums cannot.
One thing to consider with high-end vacuums like this one is buying a model that takes bags as opposed to a canister. While we hate to advocate for more waste, bagged vacuums seem to last longer. Although cheaper vacuums only tend to last a few years, a high-end vacuum cleaner will last more than a decade if treated well, and bags help prevent grit, hair, and whatever else from collecting within the machine and damaging the motor.
The Miele will also clean much deeper into your carpet than our other picks, and, being a true workhorse, is the best option for meticulously clean souls who feel obliged to run their vacuums daily.
While we've had our own positive experience with the Miele C2 Electro+, praise by experts at Wirecutter and customer reviews on both Bed Bath & Beyond (4.6/5 stars based on 63 reviews) and Amazon (4.3/5 stars based on 153 reviews) only further affirm its worth to us.
Pros: Extremely powerful, long life
Cons: Extremely expensive
The best cordless vacuum
The Dyson Cyclone is a sleek, cordless, easily-stowed vacuum that holds its charge for up to 60 minutes with non-motorized tools.
Cordless, compact, battery-powered "stick" vacuums are ideal for smaller homes and apartments where space is precious and vacuuming doesn't consume large amounts of time. Collectively, the Insider Picks team has tested a host of cordless vacuums, and several of us agree that the Dyson Cyclone has impressed us the best.
That said, the two more powerful options bring the price tag up to the Miele C2 Electro+, though they're not likely to last anywhere near as long, mostly due to the rechargeable battery.
Still, if you want the best vacuum you can get and don't have space for the Miele C2 Electro+, we're convinced that the Dyson Cyclone (whichever model you choose) is the best you can do based on compact size and performance.
A fraction of the price of our other picks, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away is not quite as powerful, but it will most certainly get the job done. We especially like that it works both with and without a cord, providing you with the best of both worlds. You can break from the tethering power cable to get into tight corners and other hard-to-reach spots.
The "Lift-Away" portion of the name refers to the option of lifting the canister and hose right off the base for easy vacuuming of stairs, underneath furniture, tight corners, and those pesky cobwebs dangling from the high reaches of your ceiling. You won't need super-strength to lift the vacuum up to those high corners, either. The whole vacuum weighs just 12.5 pounds or around eight pounds if you're only using the canister and hose portion.
This is a bagless vacuum cleaner, which is fine for vacuums designed to last less than five years. Still, the Lift-Away does use a HEPA filter and what the manufacturer calls "Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology," so you'll be protected from dust, pollen, animal dander, and other nose-provoking allergens. When it's time to empty the vacuum's dirt canister, simply unclip its fasteners, hold the canister over the trash bin, push the button, and watch the dirt and dust tumble into the trash.
The Wirecutter chose this vacuum as its recommended pick, praising it for reliability and durability, which reviewers found to be far superior to other inexpensive vacuum cleaners, and better than many pricier options. The Shark Navigator Lift-Away has quality belts and filters, rather than the cheap ones usually found in low-priced vacuums, so you'll get your money's worth and then some before this vacuum even begins to consider giving up the ghost.
Of the more than 3,700 Amazon customers that left feedback, 68% gave it 5 stars, with a 4.3-star average.
Buyers love the powerful suction, the ability to detach the canister for easier access to high or tight spaces, the beater that makes short work of removing dirt from carpet but switches off for safe cleaning of hard floors, the low noise level, and the ease of washing filters rather than replacing them. And of course, everyone loves the extremely reasonable price.
On the downside, owners wish the electrical cord was longer, and some said the vacuum cleaner was a bit top-heavy.
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away comes with a dusting brush, an 8-inch and a 24-inch crevice tool, and a wide pet upholstery tool. — Nicole Price Fasig
Pros: Low price, superior performance, five-year warranty, lift-off canister and hose
Cons: Hose is a bit short at 5 feet; electric cord is relatively short at only 25 feet (but an extension cord will fix that)
The Black & Decker SMARTECH PET Cordless 10.8V Hand Vacuum is designed for pet hair, so don't get upset if you start crawling around on your hands and knees trying to gather dirt and general debris, or really much of anything other than pet hair or dander. That said, it is perfect for the task it was built to perform, and at under $100, it's a sensible purchase.
Keeping mammal hair at bay is a life's chore for a dog or cat owner, and there's no reason you shouldn't make it a little easier on yourself with a tool fit for the job. Sure, there are other ways to handle pet hair, which tends to gather on any and every surface you have to offer, but probably none quite so simple.
The Wirecutter also seems to have an affinity for Black & Decker's handheld vacuums, though they recommend an inexpensive robotic vacuum (the EcoVacs DeeBot N79) to keep pet hair at a minimum around the house, which is more expensive than the dustbuster, but valid if you have the extra money.
If you want to save money but require a dustbuster and an upright vacuum, the SMARTECH comes in a 2-in-1 package as well, which is by no means the most powerful vacuum, but it will get less demanding jobs done.
Pros: Lightweight, affordable, good suction
Cons: Battery is not removable, so you're stuck if you have to recharge, and when it dies, it can't be replaced
The $500 iRobot Roomba 960 is best for big homes, but the $300 Roomba 690 is also great — both have programmable features, superior navigation skills, and fall-prevention sensor.
I've dreamt of having robots do many things for me, but somewhere near the top of that long list is vacuuming. If you're anything like me, the incessant, incising drone, along the imagery of tangled cords, toppled machines, and seized motors — especially on the weekend when time would be better enjoyed doing almost anything else — all conjure up Colonel Kurtz' last words in the "Heart of Darkness": "The horror ... the horror ..."
In our tests, the 960 left less debris behind and managed to get more pet hair in a single pass than others. It navigated around obstacles fairly well and only got stuck when it ran into a stray power cord we'd left in its path. The vacuum goes back to its charging station as soon as it's done cleaning. You don't need to stop and restart it because it moves from room to room on its own.
Even though they can't climb to clean upstairs (don't worry, it has a sensor to prevent it from taking a fall that will end it all), and sometimes they might get stuck in certain corners, robotic vacuum cleaners are pretty wonderful things. With the iRobot Roomba's very smart programming, it'll even step up to the job when you're not there.
It also works with Alexa or Google Home, holds a charge while running for up to 75 minutes. When it does finally exhaust its lithium-ion battery, it returns to its charging station where it takes a little nap and recharges itself before finishing orders.
The only caveat we'd make is that if your pet has a habit of leaving you presents, you won't want to try running the vacuum with them on the loose in the house, at least when you're not around.
If you're interested in the iRobot 960 but don't want to dish out the dough, have a look at the Roomba 690, our top robot vacuum pick in our buying guide. The EcoVacs Deebot N79 also performed well in our tests, and costs slightly less at $199.99 (originally $299.99).
Pros: Simple configuration, fall prevention sensors
Perhaps the only thing worse for your floors than crumb-dropping kids is hair-shedding pets. But not to worry, the Shark Bagless Navigator Freestyle will restore your floors to furball-free status in minutes. Here are our top picks for the best cordless vacuum cleaners:
Some inexpensive vacuum cleaners cost you more in disappointment than they do in dollars. Sure, those ultra-expensive vacuums promise to extract every last speck of grime from your flooring, but do they really deliver results superior enough to justify their price?
We decided to solve this mystery once and for all, and to our surprise, we found that a good vacuum doesn't have to cost a fortune. In fact, you can buy an excellent vacuum cleaner with nearly as many bells and whistles as the more expensive models for just $300 or less – in some cases, a lot less. Here are our picks for the best vacuums for less than $300:
Vacuuming is a real pain, but robot vacuum cleaners can suck up the dust for you. Of all the robot vacuum cleaners we tried, the iRobot Roomba 690 proved to be the best for most people with its easy-to-use app, smart features, great suction, and affordable price. Here are the best robot vacuums you can buy: