Facebook
When you shop through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

Best HEPA Vacuums of 2022

Updated
Breathe easier with vacuums that also clean the air.

Do you struggle with allergies? Are you sensitive to dust or pet hair? Have you found that your vacuum isn’t cleaning as effectively as you hoped it would? If so, you should be considering a HEPA vacuum cleaner.

HEPA vacuums are becoming more standard, and they can change how you clean. They’re the machines of choice for folks with allergies and those looking to deep clean.

We’re going to show you some of our favorites. We’ll explain exactly how HEPA filters work and review seven of the best HEPA vacuums currently on the market.

Our Top Picks

Oh So Spotless earns a commission through the following independently chosen links at no additional cost to you.
Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Handheld Vacuum Cordless, 8000Pa Handheld Vacuums(Wall-Mount, 3H Fast Charge, 30Min Runtime, Washable HEPA Filter), Hand Held Vacuuming Cordless Rechargeable, Hand Vacuum Pet Hair, Home, Car, Stairs
Best Value
Elovam Handheld Vacuum
  • Wet/dry capabilities
  • Lightweight and quiet
  • Multi-surface ability
Product Image of the Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister HEPA Canister Vacuum Cleaner with SEB236 Powerhead Bundle - Includes Performance Pack 16 Type GN AirClean Genuine FilterBags + Genuine AH50 HEPA Filter
Most Trusted
Miele Complete C3
  • Genuine HEPA filter
  • Excellent for carpets
  • Parquet floor brush
Product Image of the Shark AZ1002 Apex Powered Lift-Away Upright Vacuum with DuoClean & Self-Cleaning Brushroll, Crevice Tool, Upholstery Tool & Pet Power Brush, for a Deep Clean on & Above Floors, Espresso
Affordable Alternative
Shark APEX
  • Zero-M brushroll
  • Affordable alternative
  • DuoClean technology
Product Image of the Wowgo Cordless Vacuum Cleaner, 160W Powerful Suction Stick Vacuum with 40min Max Long Runtime Detachable Battery, 4 in 1 Lightweight Quiet Handheld Vacuum Cleaner for Home Hard Floor Carpet Pet Hair
Most Versatile
Wowgo Cordless Vacuum
  • Versatile uses
  • It’s quieter than other models
  • Cordless for flexibility
Product Image of the Shark NV352 Navigator Lift Away Upright Vacuum with Wide Upholstery and Crevice Tools, Lavender
Best for Pet Owners
Shark Navigator
  • Pet specific design
  • Swivel steering
  • 25 feet long cord
Product Image of the Vacmaster 4 Gallon, 5 Peak HP with 2-Stage Industrial Motor Wet/Dry Floor Vacuum, VF408, Blue
Most Efficient
Vacmaster Industrial Vacuum
  • Multi-purpose cleaning ability
  • Great accessories
  • Less noise produced
Product Image of the Robot Vacuum Cleaner and Dock - 1500pa Suction w/ Scheduling Activation and Charging Dock - Robotic Auto Home Cleaning for Carpet Hardwood Floor Pet Hair & Allergies Friendly - Pure Clean PUCRC95, Red
Most Convenient
Pure Clean Robot Vacuum
  • Convenient for busy people
  • Side sweepers clean edges
  • Multi-floor ability


Product Reviews

If you want an allergy-friendly vacuum, here are seven to consider.

1. Elovam Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Best Value HEPA Vacuum

This handheld vacuum boasts 2,200 mAh battery power that lasts for up to 30 minutes for every full charge. It supports two charging methods: a wall-mount charger or a jack plug.

At only 1.89 pounds, it’s lightweight and makes very little noise. The ergonomic handle provides extra comfort and maneuverability.

This vacuum comes with two attachments. It has a crevice tool for hard-to-reach spots and a brush nozzle for stubborn dirt. There’s also a cleaning brush for the machine.

Overall, we think this vacuum comes with more than enough for the price you pay. If you want good value for money, then this will impress you.

What We Like

Wet/Dry Capabilities

Vacuums that clean up liquids are always appreciated, and this handheld comes through. Its wet capacity makes it all the more useful and convenient. HEPA vacuums are typically for dry surfaces and substances only, so this machine stands out.

Lightweight and Quiet

Cleaning would be a breeze when using this device as it only weighs a little close to two pounds. This is way lighter as compared to many traditional vacuums.

Moreover, it emits as low as 70 decibels of noise, even better than the noise created by a washing machine! So, this is a definite win.

Multi-Surface Capability

The combination of its suction and wet/dry capabilities make this machine a true all-rounder. So you can imagine our joy when we found out that it’s also a multi-surface vacuum!

Yes, the Elovam handheld is suitable for hard surfaces, carpets, stairs, car interiors, furniture, and upholstery. Plus, it’s cordless and portable too.

What We Don't Like

Unfamiliar Brand Name

There may be questions of durability when an item comes from an unfamiliar brand as compared to a well-known competitor in the market.

Not the Best Choice for Entire Homes

Don’t get us wrong; this vacuum is fantastic and effective. But, it’s still a handheld and won’t have the same efficiency as a bigger, traditional machine. So, if you’re aiming to vacuum large areas or clean frequently, you might want to consider one of the other models.

Product Specs

Power Not specified
Type Handheld
Weight 1.89 pounds
Special Features Wet/Dry capacity, lightweight, ergonomic handle
Accessories Crevice tool, brush nozzle

2. Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister

Most Trusted HEPA Vacuum

Here’s a multi-floor vacuum with a 1200 watt motor. The patented Miele Powerhead works extra-well on carpets. You’ll also get the Parquet Floor Brush which twists up to 90 degrees for reaching into and under tight spots.

This machine has a telescoping wand, automatic cord rewind, and a cleaning radius of 33 feet. Included are a genuine HEPA filter, four pre-filters, and 16 filter bags. The Airclean system is sealed, making it great for allergies, asthma, and other sensitivities.

On average, this model will last you for 20 years. It’s made of impact-resistant stainless steel and specialized plastic.

What We Like

Genuine HEPA Filter

We like that Miele takes time to produce quality HEPA filters that can’t be disputed. Not all manufacturers do this, so it’s a huge pro that this one does. You won’t have to worry that you’ve been duped or go through the extra hassle of having your vacuum tested.

Excellent for Carpets

If allergies are your concern, a vacuum specializing in carpets is ideal. This model will clean all types of carpets and even restore worn ones. It’s efficient at removing pet hair as well.

Parquet Floor Brush

This tool is an excellent addition to an already fantastic machine. The Parquet Floor Brush is made to clean all the spots you can’t reach under and behind your furniture. It’s a nifty add-on that makes the machine all the more versatile.

What We Don't Like

Handling It Is Tricky

A few customers have mentioned that the attachments don’t always connect easily and can be a hassle to utilize. Users also mention how easily they come loose, making it even more challenging to handle.

The attachments are not as ergonomic as customers expected, and a few users state that it’s cumbersome to carry. Regardless, users who touched on these flaws still appreciate the vacuum’s efficiency.

Accessories Aren’t as Durable

Customers mention that the accessories are not as high quality as the machine itself. Though they enjoy the vacuum, users criticize the durability of its accessories. Apparently, some add-ons seem flimsy, so be sure to handle them with care.

Product Specs

Power 1200 watts
Type Canister
Weight 10.35 pounds
Special Features Miele Powerhead, AirClean filtration system, telescoping wand
Accessories Parquet floor brush, Electro Comfort Electrobrush, crevice tool, dusting brush

3. Shark APEX DuoClean Upright Vacuum AZ1002

Affordable Alternative HEPA Vacuum

This model features all the best of Shark. Customers love the patented DuoClean technology, which deep-cleans carpets and polishes hard floors. Additionally, it includes Powered Lift-Away technology for extra maneuverability.

The canister can detach from the cleaner head, giving you more reach and versatility. For pet owners, there’s the Zero-M self-cleaning brush roll — a must-have in removing hair from your machine’s head.

It also incorporates Advanced Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology. This feature, combined with a HEPA filter, ensures better air quality. Another nifty feature is the LED light for better visibility in dark spaces.

What We Like

Self-Cleaning Zero-M Brushroll

How great is it that the brush roll cleans itself? We won’t lie; you’ll still have to pay some attention to the vacuum as a whole. But the automatic removal of pet hair is an amazing feature.

It saves you time on maintenance and prevents clogging and loss of suction.

Affordable Alternative

Shark is a customer favorite because it produces competitive models at prices our wallets agree with. So, if you’re looking for a good upright vacuum that won’t cost an arm and a leg, we recommend this one.

DuoClean Technology

This multi-floor vacuum is excellent because it deep cleans carpets and shines your hard floors. It’s a feature unique to Shark, and users love it. It has an upholstery tool included to use on your furniture too.

What We Don't Like

Can Be Finicky

A few have reported that this vacuum is a bit tricky to get to grips with. Though the features are fantastic, some find the placement of its components to be counter-intuitive.

It May Be Unstable

Customers have also mentioned that sometimes this vacuum occasionally shuts down for no reason. It’s worth noting that users who mention this are still satisfied with the model.

Product Specs

Power 1350 watts
Type Stick
Weight 16 pounds
Special Features DuoClean technology, Zero-M brush roll, Powered Lift-Away technology, Advanced Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology, LED light
Accessories Upholstery tool, crevice tool, Pet Power brush

4. Wowgo Cordless Stick Vacuum

Most Versatile HEPA Vacuum

When it comes to power, this model may not be that powerful at 2000 pascals of suction. However, it tops our choice for its functionality and various features.

To begin with, this cordless vacuum from Wowgo is engineered to produce less noise. At 68 decibels, you should be able to vacuum downstairs while your baby is napping upstairs. Aside from that, you won’t be bothered, and your pets won’t be frightened.

You get some handy tools with this one as well. A mini cleaning brush, electric brush, crevice tools, wall bracket, bristle brush, and HEPA filter are included.

What We Like

Versatile Cleaning Capability

A perk of stick vacuums is that you can use them almost anywhere and on everything. This cordless model is a handheld convertible so that it can clean your car, cupboards, or other tight spots.

It’s great for pet hairs, carpets, and hard floors.

It’s Quiet at 68 Decibels

We like that Wowgo built this vacuum to make less noise. It’s easier to work around the sound it makes, and it won’t disturb or scare your pets. This is a massive benefit if you have kids too.

Cordless Design for Maximum Flexibility

This machine uses batteries, so you’ll save energy and money. It definitely adds to how maneuverable the machine is. You won’t have to bother with cords, power sources, or awkward storage.

What We Don't Like

It Sacrificed Some Suction

This is a powerful machine, no doubt. However, some customers mention that although it makes less noise, the suction doesn’t feel as strong as it could because of this. So, if you’re looking to deep clean, a traditional machine may be a better choice.

It Requires Charging

It’s a cordless model, so you will have to charge its batteries in between use. It will last up to 40 minutes a run and take four to five hours to charge fully.

Product Specs

Power 160 watts
Types Stick
Weight 3.3 pounds
Special Features Handheld convertible
Accessories Mini cleaning brush, electric brush, crevice nozzle, wall bracket, 2-in1 bristle brush

5. Shark Navigator NV352 Upright Vacuum

Best HEPA Vacuum for Pet Owners

Swivel steering makes this model more maneuverable and stable. It’s also a lightweight vacuum compared to other upright models and comes with a 25-foot cord. It includes lift-away technology and is suitable for carpets and hard floors.

There’s the Anti-Allergen Complete Seal technology and HEPA filter for pet owners. This combination will take care of hair, dander, and other irritants.

You also get a Wide Pet Upholstery tool, which will change how you remove pet hair from your furniture. We like this machine for its versatility and feel it’s extra handy in pet-friendly homes.

What We Like

Pet Specific Design

Not all vacuums are suitable for pet owners, but this one is. We love the addition of the pet-specific upholstery brush. It will make a huge difference in keeping your home free of shedding hair and fur.

Swivel Steering for Easy Maneuverability

This feature makes the vacuum so much easier to use and control. Combined with how lightweight it is, this will make cleaning more effortless. You’ll also get more precise suction from it.

Wide Cleaning Reach Due to Long Cord

Though this is a corded model, its cord is 25 feet long. The machine’s weight also makes it highly maneuverable, and it’s not as limited as other corded vacuums. It’s a product that you can use almost everywhere inside your home.

What We Don't Like

Wobbly Vacuum May Tip Over

Customers note that there is a design flaw in this machine. It’s top-heavy and tends to tip over if left to stand on its own. This is not a dealbreaker but could be slightly annoying when in use.

It’s Tricky to Work Around

Some users say that the controls on this vacuum are oddly placed and counter-intuitive. Customers also say that the position of the cord is awkward, and it could potentially get in the way.

Product Specs

Power 1200 watts
Type Stick
Weight 12.5 pounds
Special Features Swivel Steering, 25-foot cord, Lift-Away technology
Accessories Wide Pet Upholstery Tool, dusting brush, 24-inch crevice tool, 5.5-inch crevice tool

6. Vacmaster VF408 Industrial Vacuum

Most Efficient HEPA Vacuum

Though this model is industrial, it’s not oversized. It’s a powerful, multi-purpose machine with a five-horsepower motor and a four-gallon tank. Onboard storage for each of its components and accessories is an added convenience.

Included are three extension wands, a crevice tool, a 2-in-1 utility tool, a floor nozzle, and a dust brush. There are also the HEPA filters, foam sleeve, cartridge filter, and dust bag.

The 18-foot cable has automatic rewind, and at 72 decibels, this is a reasonably quiet option. It also has wet/dry capabilities. Plus, users have reported that it’s excellent for outdoor use as well.

What We Like

Multi-Purpose Cleaning Ability

This machine goes above and beyond in cleaning. You can use it on almost anything, anywhere. It’s good for all surfaces, outdoors and can handle liquids too. These capabilities aren’t often found in traditional or residential vacuums.

Great Accessories for Deep Cleaning

Compared to other commercial vacuums, it stands out because it’s a complete package. Most of the time, vacuums for industrial use only come with the basics. But we like the add-ons included here, as they’re handy and add extra value.

It’s Quiet at 72 Decibels

Again, don’t be fooled by its industrial build. This machine doesn’t make as much noise as you’d expect. It’s engineered to be as quiet as possible without losing power or efficiency.

What We Don't Like

Not the Best Industrial Machine

Some customers complain that for all its charm, this vacuum is standard. We think you’ll only see its flaws if you intend to use it for industrial purposes. For home use, the majority of customers are satisfied with this machine.

More Maintenance Required

Users have also noted that the filters here fill faster than they expected. You’ll have to pay a little more attention to this machine, but we feel it’s worth the extra effort.

Product Specs

Power 960 watts
Type Canister
Weight 15 pounds
Special Features Onboard storage, wet/dry capabilities, insulated motor, automatic cord rewind
Accessories 3 extension wands, crevice tool, 2-in-1 utility nozzle, dust brush

7. Pure Clean PUCRC95 Robot Vacuum

Most Convenient HEPA Vacuum

Once scheduled, this model will activate itself to get to work. This is a self-charging machine, and the battery will last for a 90-minute run.

It’s suitable for tiles, wood, and carpets. There are sweeping brushes for corners, skirting, and sensors preventing bumps falls. It’s also small enough to fit under furniture and won’t struggle when left to its devices.

As for allergies, this is a great robot vacuum. On top of the HEPA filter, it’s good for pet hairs and debris and is built to avoid clogging.

What We Like

Convenient Design Requires Less Effort

There’s little for you to do when you invest in this vacuum. It’s self-charging, can be scheduled for activation, and has safety features that help it find its way. You can sit back and relax and still reap all the rewards of the HEPA filter.

If you’d rather be in control of it, it comes with a handy remote. Either way, it’s extremely convenient. Since it’s a robot vacuum, no manual operation is necessary.

Side Sweepers for Cleaning Edges

Some robot vacuums are ineffective at cleaning corners and edges. But the dual rotating brushes solve this problem. They’re great for cleaning your skirting, corners, or other linings on your walls.

This feature might even come in handy when the machine cleans under furniture. The side sweepers are a great addition.

Multi-Floor Cleaning Ability

You can use this robot on your carpets and hard floors, and it will also effectively pick up pet hair. We also like that it’s unlikely to clog. It even comes with a mopping attachment.

What We Don't Like

It’s for Floors Only

A drawback to all robot vacuums is that they only work on flat surfaces. If you have severe allergies, you may want to consider a handheld to supplement this one. It won’t work on your upholstery.

It’s Noisy and May Scare Pets

Some customers say that this robot vacuum is quite loud. This is a problem if you have pets who might be frightened by it. Keep in mind, though, that you can schedule it to run whenever it’s most convenient for you.

Product Specs

Power 24 watts
Type Robot
Weight 5.96 pounds
Special Features Self-activating, self-charging, pre-programmed safety features
Accessories Mop accessory, Dual Rotating Brushes, charging station, remote control

Product Comparison Chart

Product Best Power Type Weight
Elovam Handheld Value N/A Handheld 1.89 lbs
Miele Complete Most Trusted 1200 W Canister 10.35 lbs
Shark APEX Affordable Alternative 1350 W Stick 16 lbs
Wowgo Cordless Most Versatile 160 W Stick 3.3 lbs
Shark Navigator For Pet Owners 1200 W Stick 12.5 lbs
Vacmaster Industrial Most Efficient 960 W Canister 15 lbs
Pure Clean Most Convenient 24 W Robot 5.96 lbs

HEPA Filters Explained

Vacuums are excellent tools for tidying. But when it comes to deep cleaning, you need more than just suction.

Depending on who you ask, HEPA either stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air or High-Energy Particulate Arresting. They meet the same end. HEPA filters trap allergens and irritants like dust, dander, and pollen, leaving you with cleaner and fresher air (1).

They push air through mesh screens while trapping pollutants that standard filters let through. True HEPA filters can clean up to 99 percent of allergens and contaminants. Therefore, HEPA vacuums are popular in industrial or medical environments.

These filters work so well because they’re based on the technology used in gas masks during World War II. Back then, the US Army Chemical Corps, scientists, and engineers involved in nuclear testing used more advanced versions (2).

HEPA filters in most home vacuum cleaners may be smaller than industrial ones, but they’re just as effective. They can combat dirt, debris, pet hair, pollen, and other pollutants just as commercial units will. As you clean your surfaces, they do the same to the air. They are the most effective filters your vacuum cleaner could have.

Should You Buy a HEPA Vacuum?

Beyond more effective cleaning, there are other advantages to investing in a HEPA filter. While their primary purpose is to leave you with healthier air, they have benefits you won’t find in a standard vacuum.

Allergies

Perhaps the most sought-after benefit of a HEPA filter is that it can prevent the symptoms of allergies. For those with sensitivities to pet hair or dust, they’ll make a world of difference in your symptoms.

If you vacuum daily to fight allergens, you’ll find HEPA filters extra useful. They’re also helpful if you have asthma; they can improve or relieve other respiratory disorders.

Pollutants

Did you know that HEPA filters can even trap contaminants released by asbestos? It goes without saying that if you are living with asbestos, you should call in experts immediately.

Still, HEPA filters can clean up and effectively contain the harmful pollutants that make asbestos so dangerous.

This has everything to do with size. Dust particles, allergens, and the like are measured in microns. Asbestos particles vary between 0.7 and 90 microns, while HEPA filters trap particles as small as 0.3 microns.

Smoke

If you have a smoker in your household, HEPA filters can clear the polluted air. These filters don’t just trap smoke particles in the filter; they flush fresh air out in its place.

So, a HEPA filter won’t only protect you from second-hand smoke but will reduce the unpleasant odor too.

Go One Step Further

To fully combat the lingering smell of cigarette smoke, get an Activated Carbon Filter. A HEPA filter minimizes the effects of visible smoke, but these can deep clean the trace pollution it leaves behind.

Mold and Germs

As with asbestos, mold is not something you should tackle on your own. HEPA filters are effective enough to contain it. Likewise, they can sometimes trap bacteria too (3).

Take Note

Though HEPA filters can trap mold, it could grow on the filter itself. Frequent filter maintenance is required if you use your vacuum to clean mold.

So, to be safe, double-check your filter’s specs and capabilities. Make sure that it’s been approved or accredited by trusted quality control.

How to Choose a HEPA Vacuum

Before buying a HEPA vacuum, you should take a few things into account. Noting these details will ensure you end up with a vacuum that’s suitable for your needs.

Bagged or Bagless?

We can’t tell you which type of vacuum is ultimately superior – it’s a matter of personal preference. Bagged vacuums are often more affordable, while bagless models win in terms of convenience. When it comes to HEPA filters, though, bagless vacuums could be better for your health.

With bagged vacuums, there is a risk of releasing more dust and dirt back into the air as you empty it. So be sure that the bag has a tight seal. It also helps to empty it often before it fills entirely.

Bagless models, especially smaller vacuums, often come with a release button that deposits dirt without you needing to handle it. It could prevent dirt and allergens from getting on your skin and makes maintenance easier.

Is the Filter Washable?

Again, we can’t say which is best for you, but you have a say in how long your HEPA filter will last. Disposable HEPA filters can last anywhere from three months to three years. The only way to know for sure is to look at the manufacturer’s specs.

Washable filters, in comparison, are made to last a lifetime. However, they demand a bit of attention because you will have to wash them every once in a while.

Also, using a washable filter could cost you more initially. But over time, it will spare you the cost and hassle of replacements.

Is It a True HEPA Filter?

Don’t be fooled by filters listed as “HEPA-type.” They function much the same as true HEPAs but aren’t as efficient. Manufacturers choose to use them because they’re cheaper to produce.

A True HEPA filter, on the other hand, adheres to quality standards. It meets the requirements established by the US Department of Energy (DOE) (4).

If you’re not looking for one to fight allergies, you may not feel the difference. However, to those who need all the power of a HEPA filter, it will be hard to miss.

How Is It Designed?

The installation of your vacuum’s components can reduce the efficiency of the HEPA filter inside it. If the machine’s motor is placed above the filter, exiting air will have traces of dirt. The filter should be the last thing that air travels through before leaving the vacuum.

If possible, find out if any components obstruct or restrict the filter. The placement of certain parts, like gaskets, can interfere with the airflow. And this can essentially render your HEPA filter largely ineffective.

What’s the Rating?

You may have to do some digging to find this out. Filters have a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV.

Simply put, this ranks how effective the filter will be at cleaning the air. It’s rated from 1 to 20, and the higher the number, the more effective the filter.


How to Care for Your HEPA Vacuum

Careful maintenance can prolong your HEPA vacuum’s lifespan. While you can maintain your machine, as usual, your filter may require some extra attention. Here’s what you can do to keep it running effectively:

  • Keep an eye on it: A residential HEPA filter, including those in vacuums, could last for years – but you should check it regularly. If it has extensive damage or is irreversibly stained, replace it.
  • Check for odors: Apart from the usual freshly vacuumed smell, your vacuum shouldn’t stink when it’s in use. If you pick up a musty smell when it’s in operation, your HEPA filter might need cleaning (or washing, if it’s reusable).
  • Check your pre-filters: Not all HEPA vacuums have them, but if yours does, you should check and maintain them at least every three months. If pre-filters become clogged or obstructed, they’ll restrict the efficiency of the HEPA.
  • Tidy first: Dusting your furniture before you vacuum could help your machine trap more dirt. When you dust, you loosen dirt, often causing it to settle on the floor. If you want a HEPA vacuum for sensitivities, this little bit of extra work could leave you with cleaner air and shinier surfaces (5).
  • Keep it dry: If you’re using a washable filter, make sure it’s completely dry before using it again. Using a wet filter could damage your vacuum’s motor. Even worse, it breeds mold in your machine. A 24-hour drying time is usually recommended.
  • Clean your other filters, too: Some HEPA vacuums will come with extra foam or activated charcoal filters. Don’t forget to wash these as well.

Quick Tip

You shouldn’t wash your disposable filters, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep them clean. Instead of soaking or rinsing them, wipe them down with a damp cloth. Don’t get them too wet, and leave them to dry before using them again.

Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?
Headshot of Matthew Sullivan

About the Author

Matthew Sullivan

Matthew is a freelance writer with several years of experience in DIY and HVAC. For as long as he can remember, Matthew has always found great pleasure in taking things apart and learning how to put them back together.