Just 26% of vacuums clean thoroughly, reveals Which? testsWe reveal the truth behind vacuum makers' claims

05 January 2016

Vacuum floorhead cleaning carpet

Surprisingly few vacuums can be trusted to rid your carpets of dust and pet hair

As shoppers across the country stock up on cut-price vacuums in the January sales, Which? research shows it's worth doing your homework before splashing out on a new vacuum cleaner.

Just a quarter of the vacuum cleaners we’ve tested can be relied upon to remove 80% or more of the dust in your carpets. So although your carpet may look clean after a run over with your vacuum, fine dust that’s hard to spot may still be lurking beneath.  

To find the best models, every vacuum cleaner we review is tested out on more than 280 metres of dust ridden carpet.

Our results show that the best models pick up twice as much as the worst. In fact, nine models failed to pick up more than 50% of dust and only 26% managed to pick up over 80% of the dust, which we consider to be an excellent effort.

Our Best Buy vacuum cleaners page reveals the top scoring models that are proven to whip up the most dust and dirt.

Pet hair problems

And it's not only dust that proves a problem for many vacuums. If you have a pet you'll know all too well how strands of fluff and fur can creep into the pile of your carpets, where it then proves a pain to remove. 

To find out which models can prise hairs from carpet quickly, we comb real cat and dog fur into an area of carpet and time how long it takes each vacuum cleaner to pick it up. 

These tests show that a disappointing 85% of vacuum cleaners we’ve tested take longer than 40 seconds, while a hair-raising 19% take longer than three minutes of repeated attempts to finally suck it all up.

Discover which models failed to make the grade in our Don't Buy vacuum cleaner hall of shame.

Which? vacuum reviews

To ensure we continue to make our tests as realistic as possible we’ve just updated how we test vacuum cleaners. Not only do we assess vacuums on how well they pick up pet hair and dust from a variety of floor types, we now include human hair too. So for those of you who are prone to shedding your locks, you can now find out which vacuums are the quickest at disposing them.

Use our vacuum cleaner reviews to find one that will be the best fit for your household’s needs this year.

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