Did you know that the vacuum you choose can impact how clean your home is? With canister vacuums, those hard-to-reach spots and awkward corners may not be a problem anymore.
We’re making it sound like an infomercial, aren’t we? The only difference is that we’re not exaggerating here. Canister vacuums work like a charm, and you may save a lot of trouble if you get one.
These handy tools have the upper hand in cleaning because they’re versatile. They’re also easier to use than upright vacuums, and they’re lighter too. By investing in one, you’ll spend less time slaving away, and more time enjoying productive (and effective) cleaning.
- Speed and suction control
- Safety features
- Swiveling wheels
- Six speed settings
- Thermal protection
- Foot switch
- Motorized brush
- Reusable filter
- Telescopic wand
- Easily maneuverable
- Tri-step filtration
- Weighs 7.5 pounds
- Extendable hose
- Trigger grip
- Brush control
- Functions as blower
- Good for gadgets
Why Should You Buy a Canister Vacuum?
Canister vacuums are vacuums with detachable nozzles. The nozzle connects to the vacuum by a hose. Then, the motor, filter, and bags are contained in a described canister with wheels for ease of movement.
With upright vacuums, the suction unit and motor are the same. This means you have to push the entire thing around to clean. In comparison, canister vacuums are a piece of cake to use.
Canister vacuums are designed for hard surfaces or carpeted areas: your rug, the inside of your car or even your stairs. They’re an excellent choice for most homes because you’ll get a significant amount of use from one.
Upright vacuums are great too, but they’re made for carpets and won’t be as effective on your tiles or wooden floors. Deep-cleaner vacuums might have awesome cleaning power, but they require water and are intended for stain removal and carpet treatment. Handheld vacuums are nifty, but useless when it comes to cleaning large areas.
However, canister vacuums may not be best for you if you have overly fluffy carpets or need industrial grade cleaning machines. They are perfect for most homes though. Here’s why:
With canister vacuums, you’re not hauling the whole thing with you while you clean. This means that the motors can be bigger for more power.
They also make for more effective cleaning because they have stronger suction. Air flows better through canister vacuums. Unsurprisingly, your home is fresher for it.
They’re Easy to Use
Since the motors and nozzles are separated by a hose, cleaning is made so much easier. With upright vacuums, you need to force them into awkward angles. Canister vacuums, on the other hand, can easily reach corners, nooks, and crannies.
They often come with a range of nozzles, made for varying circumstances. Depending on your attachments, you can switch from cleaning tiles to sucking up stubborn pet hair with little effort.
Another factor is their weight. For one, the hose makes it so that vacuuming is easier on your arms (and back). Plus, canister vacuums have wheels, and so are made to move easily.
Though canister vacuums offer endless possibilities in size and power, you won’t exert yourself so much. They are generally lighter than upright vacuums regardless. They’re maneuverable and versatile — significantly less hassle for you.
The canisters contain sound. So, you won’t be subjected to the deafening noise that other vacuums make.
This might not be a huge selling point, but it comes in handy. Some of us enjoy cleaning for leisure and want a more relaxing experience. Others also have pets that are frightened by the racket vacuums make.
Whatever the reason, quieter vacuums are more enjoyable and canisters make less noise.
Drawbacks to Canister Vacuums
Keep in mind that no vacuum is perfect, though. There are certainly a few downsides to canisters. They’re not earthshaking, but you should consider these few cons before you buy one.
- They require assembly: Depending on the make or model, you might have to take a few moments to set it up. This can become a little tedious if you’re using many different attachments, or if you dismantle it when you stow it.
- Storage can be tricky: This only applies if you’re keeping it set up. The hose might make it awkward to stow. Upright vacuums can fit almost anywhere with little effort, but canisters have the potential to get in your way.
- They might get in their own way: Canister vacuums are easy to move but at a price. This is because you can’t really control where they go. They’re built to roll behind you, but this means they could bump into furniture, or roll over their own cables.
Regardless, we think that the pros of a canister vacuum outweigh its cons. The above drawbacks are all preventable problems with a little planning or extra attention.
Still, many people prefer canister vacuums because there is so much variation in their use. You won’t get far attempting to clean your car or mattress with other types of vacuums. Canisters get it right and take care of your heavy household work too.
We consider them the best of both worlds. However, you will still have to put some thought into which model you buy. Not every canister vacuum will suit your exact needs.
Choosing the Best Canister Vacuum
You’re up to speed on what makes and breaks canister vacuums, but how do you know which one to pick? Here’s what you should think about before you choose one.
Bag or Bagless?
Bags are convenient and generally healthier, but they have environmental consequences. Bagless vacuums might be greener, but they’re inconvenient.
The problem with bagless vacuums is that when you empty them, you release dust and dirt back into the air. You might even set a few mites free. This is problematic for people with allergies or sensitivities (1).
So, bagged vacuums are much cleaner and easier to get around, but the disposable bags aren’t good for the earth. We can’t say which is better. This is a matter of personal preference.
Whether or not you choose a bag, you should think about the capacity of your vacuum. The more it can clean, the less you’ll have to maintain it.
If it has disposable bags, you’ll get rid of less of them, making them somewhat greener. If it’s bagless, you won’t have to empty it manually as often. But remember, there will be more dirt to chuck out when you do.
Which Attachments Does It Include?
The more you have to clean, the more attachments you’ll want. You don’t have to go all out and buy every add-on known to man, but some you don’t want to miss.
Some are better for carpets, while others are made for tiles. Some are heavy duty, and others are gentle for sensitive surfaces.
Where you need to clean also factors in. If you plan to vacuum behind, or under, furniture, smaller attachments come in handy. These are the attachments that we enjoy the most:
- Upholstery tool: You can use this to clean all sorts of fabrics, from your mattress to cushions to the carpets on your stairs. They’re great for removing pet hairs too.
- Crevice cleaner: You’ll need one of these if you want to effectively clean behind and under furniture and appliances or in awkward spots.
- Dusting brush: These are designed to remove stubborn dirt without causing abrasions on your surfaces.
- Multi-angle brush: We like these because they’re made for small, out-of-reach places. Try using one on the interior of your car. It may change your life.
There are many more accessories to choose from, from floor sweepers to fan blade dusters. But these are considered extras rather than must-haves.
This is a simple one, and you might have already considered it: how big a vacuum do you need?
Some canister vacuums are a bit chunky and will take up room in storage. The bigger it is, the greater the chance of it getting in your way. If you have a humbler home, an overpowered, massive machine will be more of a hindrance than anything else.
The length of the hose matters if you have a bigger place or need to reach further. They can only stretch so far. Then there’s weight. It’s not to say that lightweight vacuum cleaners trump heavier ones, but they’ll demand less energy from you.
Of the canister vacuums that we have chosen to show you, the lightest one is 4 pounds, and the heaviest is just over 13 pounds. This should give you a good idea of how weights can vary.
You don’t want a feeble little thing that sucks in every way except how it’s supposed to. The specifications of your vacuum should come into play to prevent that.
You want a vacuum that works, so go for one with a good filtration system. These vacuums not only pick up dirt and dust but also trap it too. This leaves your home (and the air) fresher, healthier and cleaner.
Some vacuums have different filtration settings that you can switch between. These are excellent but might affect the price of what you buy.
Keep in mind that you don’t need an entire song and dance from your vacuum. Flashing lights and fancy buttons are often traps for stylish, but ultimately useless vacuums.
All you need is a vacuum with good suction, the required attachments, and perhaps different levels of power.
The Best Canister Vacuums of 2020
Are you ready to go shopping? We’ve selected seven of our favorite canister vacuums, and we’re sure you’ll see something you like. The following is based on track record, reputation and customer satisfaction.
1. Miele Classic C1 Limited Edition Canister Vacuum
Right off the bat, this canister vacuum cleaner is built to be efficient. It’s easy to work your way around and it has impressive, yet simple, features.
For one, you can adjust the motor’s speed easily with a well-designed dial. You also get three attachments included: for hard floors, rugs and difficult-to-reach spots. Included with this product are an upholstery brush, crevice tool, and a dusting brush.
We also like that this vacuum has swiveling wheels, which makes it so much easier to move and handle.
This canister vacuum uses the “AirClean” filter system. Though this may sound complicated, it’s simple to understand. The vacuum motor and exhaust work hand-in-hand to contain dust and dirt as air flows through the machine.
Additionally, it has a dust bag which locks, adding extra efficiency to dust trapping. It’s an excellent feature that will show a noticeable difference in how you clean.
We like that this vacuum is built to last. It’s got protective features that guard it against electrical damage and overheating. Even though its parts won’t need replacing as often, you still get a seven-year warranty on the body and motor.
We think that this choice is of superior quality both in its build and cleaning power. We also love that it’s much more affordable than others in its caliber.
Why We Love It
You Can Control the Power
The ability to control the speed and suction of this vacuum makes it a winner. The dial is easy to work and makes a big difference in the efficiency of your cleaning.
A vacuum cleaner that protects itself from damage? Yes, please! These features expand this vacuum’s lifespan, which is excellent for your wallet.
It’s such a simple feature that is overlooked by so many brands. Miele has done it right, and it makes your cleaning so much easier.
This is an all-rounder machine that you can use in all areas of your home. The three attachments included are good for carpets, hardwood floors, corners, cushions, and even stairs.
Keep In Mind
It’s Not for Thick Carpets
As much as we love this one, we have to say that it’s not intended for thick carpets. Regardless of its excellent power, it’s better suited for more basic homes. If you need an industrial-strength machine, you might want to look further than this one.
|Suction Power||High (1200 watts)|
|Cleaning Radius||29.5 feet|
|Dimensions||18.2 inches by 8.7 inches by 11 inches|
|Warranty||7 years for the body and motor|
2. Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister
Here’s another one from Miele that we like. If you have the budget for a super-powered vacuum, we highly recommend it. While the “Limited Edition” is better suited for humble homes, the “Complete” rendition goes above and beyond in cleaning.
This canister vacuum was built with both convenience and excellence in mind. You can use it on most surfaces, and it gives you six speeds to choose from. Also, you can effortlessly adjust the speed using the footswitch, for seamless cleaning.
We like that this canister vacuum is as functional as it is versatile, and there are few aspects to cleaning that it doesn’t fulfill. Integrated into the machine are four extra accessories. These are a parquet twister for smooth surfaces, crevice nozzle, dusting brush, and upholstery tool.
As above, it makes use of the “AirClean” filtration system, capable of removing up to 99 percent of harmful pollutants from the air in your home. Don’t let its small stature fool you, though. This machine is reliable, durable and powerful.
Why We Love It
Six Speed Settings
The control you have over this vacuum is amazing. If you have several different surfaces to attend to, a single vacuum just won’t do. With this vacuum, you don’t have to worry about damaging your home — it’s tailored to be versatile.
It might be missing the electrical safety feature, but the Miele Complete C3 still saves itself from overheating. This preserves the integrity of the machine and saves you money in the long run.
With Foot Switch
Controlling this vacuum is so much easier with the addition of a foot switch. This eliminates a lot of effort and strain.
The Extras Are Great
Complimenting the varying speeds, the extras that are thrown in preserve your home too. You won’t need to buy specialized tools for each task, and that could save you a lot of money.
Keep In Mind
It May Clog Easily
One bothersome thing about this machine is how easily it clogs. Though it’s designed for convenience, it clogs faster (and easier) than other vacuums. It’s not the end of the world, but be prepared to spend some time on maintenance.
|Suction Power||High (1200 watts)|
|Dimensions||19.5 inches by 11.2 inches by 8.9 inches|
|Special Feature||LED light|
|Cleaning Radius||36 feet|
3. Ovente ST2620B Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum
Ovente has brought us a compact product that is excellent for preventing strain and sucking up pet hair too. Some vacuums, though they have great power, struggle a bit when fur is thrown in. This one does not, and we’re excited about that.
We recommend this vacuum to those who suffer from backache and pains when they clean. While this one is not a miracle (and you should still take it easy), it is slightly more ergonomic than others.
It’s also handy that you get a foot pedal which winds up the cable for you. You can also adjust the height of the floor brush using a foot pedal. There’s a slider that adjusts the suction when you’re dealing with sensitive surfaces or materials.
We like this vacuum because it’s versatile and simple. You get three accessories included: a motorized brush (excellent for picking up pet hair), a brush-crevice tool and a multi-angle brush. They’re great for stubborn dust, dirt and hard-to-reach spots.
This little canister vacuum has a surprising amount of power. Another noteworthy feature is that its HEPA filter is reusable and washable too.
Why We Love It
It Combats Stubborn Dirt
The multi-angle tool and high power of this machine make it a good match for hardy dust and dirt. This proves handy when deep cleaning and saves you some labor in the process.
The Motorized Brush
It’s heaven sent for pet owners. The other accessories are wonderful too, we just think this one deserves a special mention.
How great is it that you can easily wash and reuse the filter in this machine? It saves you money and saves the environment as well.
The foot switches make a big difference in how much strain your arms and back have to endure. We also love that one of those switches retracts the cable, which means there is even less effort on your part.
Keep In Mind
Maneuvering It Is Tricky
This is not the easiest vacuum to work with. You’ll have to keep an eye on it and might have to reset its position every so often. It’s compact, yes, but it may feel somewhat awkward to haul around.
|Suction Power||High (1400 watts)|
|Dimensions||15.7 inches by 11.4 inches by 13.4 inches|
|Special Features||Motorized brush for pet hair, adjustable suction, and bristle height|
4. Bissel Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum
One problem that canister vacuums tend to have is that they’re not all suited for carpets, but the Bissel Zing does well. It’s an excellent choice for hard floors, and almost every surface under the sun.
It has a telescopic handle, which makes using it simpler and more comfortable.
It’s also got a flexible hose that swivels in place. This handy feature means your hose will last longer, and you’ll have better reach.
The two attachments included are a crevice-dusting brush tool and upholstery tool. What we like most about this vacuum is that it doesn’t lose power when you change surfaces. It’s great for hard floors, carpets, cushions, curtains — you name it.
Its dial coincides with that. Changing the suction is easy and makes an even bigger difference in preserving what you clean. There is also a button to retract the cable, which is a bonus point in convenience.
Why We Love It
You can use this vacuum easily on plush carpets, which is something not all canister vacuums can boast. The added attachments complement this ability, making it a true all-rounder vacuum.
Its adjustable wand makes your load even lighter. You can set it to the perfect height for you, to lessen strain. The retractable cable also helps with less exertion on your part.
It’s Easily Maneuverable
Its small stature makes it portable, so moving it around won’t be a chore. This is great if you live in a multi-story home — hauling your machine up and down stairs could be tiring.
Keep In Mind
The Wand and Hose Tend to Detach
One complaint that we’ve seen customers describe is that this little vacuum is too powerful for itself. Since the wand and hose don’t snap into each other, the wand may get caught in carpets and pull apart from the hose.
Don’t let this flaw upset you too much. It’s a silly inconvenience in an otherwise excellent cleaner.
|Suction Power||10 amps|
|Dimensions||18.6 inches by 11.1 inches by 11.5 inches|
|Special Features||Swiveling hose, full bag indicator|
5. Bissel Zing Bagless Canister Vacuum
As with the one before, Bissel has innovated a lovely product in this one. It functions perfectly as a starter vacuum or one that you’ll use in limited spaces. Let’s not forget that it’s extremely affordable in comparison to others on this list.
We like this vacuum because its strength lies not in deep cleaning, but in everyday tidying. If you’re sensitive to dust and have to clean every day, this little machine could be what you’re looking for.
It’s compact, and won’t make your electric bill skyrocket. It’s almost seamless in surface cleaning, and since its bagless, you won’t dispose of filters. It even uses a “Tri-Step” filtration system to trap dirt and produce what could be the cleanest air your home could have.
Though it’s a small and light vacuum, its extendable hose helps you reach all sorts of awkward spots. So, while it’s not made for heavy-duty cleaning, it sure does excel at keeping your home fresh every day.
You also get the basic tools for extra utility: a crevice tool, a dusting brush, and a handy multi-surface cleaning accessory.
Why We Love It
This particular vacuum works wonders if you have dust allergies. You’ll feel the difference in the quality of air. You can really breathe easy after using it.
Only Weighs 7.5 Pounds
Since we’re recommending this for everyday use, its weight has to be considered. This little vacuum cleaner only weighs 7.5 pounds.
It’s a good choice if you tidy every day, if you’re prone to muscle strain or backache, or live in a multi-story home. We love that it’s so portable.
Extendable 4.8 Feet Hose
This comes in handy when you’re trying to get rid of dust that you can’t quite reach. The hose extends for an extra 4.8 feet.
Keep In Mind
It’s Not for Heavy Duty Cleaning
We like this vacuum, but it’s better suited for light household work. It won’t do a good job of deep cleaning, and you’ll be disappointed by it if you push past its limitations.
The Wand Comes Loose
It’s the same problem as the bagged version above. The wand and hose do not lock in, and there is a possibility that it could come loose during vacuuming.
|Suction Power||9 amps|
|Dimensions||14 inches by 11 inches by 12 inches|
|Special Features||Extendable hose, “Tri-Step” filtration|
6. Dyson DC39 Multi Floor Canister Vacuum
We’ve looked at all sorts of vacuums based on their power, accessories, and intention. We don’t want to downplay the capacity of this machine, but we love it for a different reason. The Dyson DC39 has innovated a way of handling vacuums that will change your life.
It all comes down to its design. Where other canister vacuums follow the standard chunky shape, the Dyson DC39 uses a special ball design. It saves space and it makes this cleaner move effortlessly. What’s not to love?
This vacuum doesn’t only stand out because of its quirky design. It has special features too. Our favorite is the trigger grip. This genius addition allows you to shut off the suction without switching off the machine. How great is that?
It also has a switch right above the trigger grip that you use to stop the brush from rotating. This means a whole lot if you’re vacuuming wooden floors that you don’t want to scratch.
It uses cyclone technology to maintain suction power while cleaning more and better. It also has a HEPA filter, which will be appreciated by those who struggle with allergies and sensitivities. This is a powerful vacuum with few flaws.
Why We Love It
The ball design looks great and saves space. If you have limited storage, you’ll definitely want to look into this one.
Since it’s so much easier to move around, it saves you effort too. Cleaning with this vacuum is a breeze.
The Trigger Grip
We think that every vacuum should incorporate this technology. It comes in handy if you accidentally suck something up that gets caught in the hose. There’s potential here to save your stuff and to preserve the hose itself.
If you’re a lazy cleaner, or can’t be bothered to switch accessories in between, this will save you energy. Being able to stop the bristles from rotating prevents a lot of damage and scratches on wood and sensitive surfaces.
Keep In Mind
The Maintenance Can Be Inconvenient
This vacuum would have placed much higher on our list if not for the maintenance. When you empty out the dust, it flies everywhere and you have to be extra careful if you don’t want a face full of dirt.
Apart from the brush, every part of the vacuum can be washed, but this means you’ll spend a little extra time taking it apart and cleaning it. It’s not fun.
|Suction Power||275 a/w|
|Dimensions||10.2 inches by 19.5 inches by 14.2 inches|
|Special Features||Trigger grip, brush control, unique design|
|Accessories||A stair tool and a combination tool|
7. Oreck Super-Deluxe Canister Vacuum Cleaner
We’ve covered vacuums that are perfect for standard homes. So lastly, we’ll show you a somewhat industrial one.
First, you have to understand that this canister vacuum cleaner is intended for lightweight cleaning. It’s technically not an industrial vacuum, but it resembles one and has a few tricks up its canister.
It might not be the prettiest vacuum you’ve ever seen, but it’s powerful and so light you’ll barely feel it. It only weighs 4 pounds, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find something lighter. It’s portable, easy to move and won’t cause you pain or hassle.
Even though it’s such a lightweight, you can use this vacuum almost anywhere: your home, car, boat, commercial property or even on other gadgets. It even doubles as a blower, with one swift flick of a switch.
Its bag is hypoallergenic, making it a top choice for those with allergies or sensitivities. It’s easy to clean too.
The reason we’ve chosen to place this one last is that it’s sacrificed durability for portability. There are more complaints about breakages and failures than we hoped to see.
It’s still a wise choice, you’ll just have to be extra careful with it. While it’s not made for heavy-duty cleaning, it works wonders on smaller tasks.
Why We Love It
Goodbye strain and effort. On top of the fact that it’s as light as it is, we have to mention that it is easy to operate too.
Functions as a Blower
You may think you don’t need a blower, but you’ll change your mind when you see how handy it is. Sure, not everyone has a use for this feature, but if you do, why not kill two birds with one stone?
It’s Good for Gadgets
The mini attachments are charming. You can use them to clean cramped spaces, or even to clean your computer, or other fragile electronics.
Keep In Mind
It Might Fail
If only this vacuum were a little bit stronger, we’d give it much more praise. Its fragility could cost you, so you’ll have to use it as intended. If you’re using it for light cleaning, no problem, but don’t expect it to restore your home.
|Dimensions||19.5 inches by 11 inches by 9.5 inches|
|Special Features||It’s a blower too|
|Accessories||A range of mini attachments for more detailed cleaning|
|Miele Classic C1||Our All-Round Favorite||1200 W||16.1 lbs||18.2″ x 8.7″ x 11″||Bag|
|Miele Complete C3||Full Cleaning Experience||1200 W||19.4 lbs||19.5″ x 11.2″ x 8.9″||Bagless|
|Ovente ST2620B||Best For Pet Owners||1400 W||13.2 lbs||15.7″ x 11.4″ x 13.4″||Reusable filter|
|Bissel Canister||Best For All Surfaces||1200 W||12.5 lbs||18.6″ x 11.1″ x 11.5″||Bag|
|Bissel Bagless||Best For Everyday Cleaning||1140 W||7.5 lbs||14″ x 11″ x 12″||Bagless|
|Dyson Vacuum||Best For Maneuverability||1300 W||8.8 lbs||10.2″ x 19.5″ x 14.2″||Bagless|
|Oreck Compact||Best For Fine Cleaning||—||4 lbs||19.5″ x 11″ x 9.5″||Hypoallergenic bag|
Vacuuming Shouldn’t Suck
Vacuum cleaners are one of the greatest cleaning inventions. Canister vacuums go the extra mile by minimizing effort while maximizing power. So which one is the best for you?
Unfortunately, we can’t make that decision for you. It depends on the size of your home, your physical needs and your budget, of course. We hope that our selection has made it easier for you to choose one.
Remember to consider all your needs first, to be sure that its capacity, dimensions, and features fit your home. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what it looks like, so long as it gets the job done.
Tell us which one you like the most in the comments. Don’t forget to add to the conversation by giving us your recommendations too.