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Best and worst new vacuum cleaners revealed

Which? uncovers two new Best Buys - and three vacuums to avoid.

We’ve tested a new crop of vacuum cleaners and found two brilliant Best Buys that will leave your home spotless – but we also uncovered three vacuums that are so poor at cleaning we think you should steer well clear of them.

We put a bumper load of cheap vacuum cleaners through our tough lab tests. Ten of the 14 models we’ve just tested cost less than £100. We also put the latest premium vacuum cleaners to the test, including Miele’s first ever bagless vacuum, the Miele Blizzard (£350).

Years of experience testing vacuum cleaners has taught us that price is not always a good indicator of quality. It’s perfectly possible to find a good vacuum cleaner for around £100 – if you choose wisely – and some pricey vacuums have proved disappointing when we’ve tested them out.

Find out whether any cheaper vacuum cleaners triumphed in our latest tests by heading to our vacuum cleaner reviews.

Cheap vs expensive vacuum cleaners

Among the cheap vacuum cleaners we’ve put to the test are two John Lewis own-brand models. Both cost less than £100, and you have the choice between a bagged or bagless cylinder vacuum cleaner. We’ve also reviewed and rated several cheap models from Hoover and Vax. These models feature a variety of potentially useful extras such as pet-friendly odour filters and folding handles for easier storage. So what does a £350 vacuum cleaner offer that these models don’t?

Not all expensive vacuum cleaners are the same, but the sort of features you should be expecting from a premium machine include:

  • Adjustable suction power Top-end vacuums tend to give you the opportunity to adjust the power level depending on the cleaning task. Cheaper cleaners might not have this capability, or might have a more rudimentary version of it.
  • Advanced bin-emptying technology Premium bagless vacuums have recently started to have bin-emptying mechanisms that are claimed to make emptying the vacuum easier and more hygienic, so you avoid breathing in a cloud of dust.
  • Self-cleaning filters Some premium machines have filters that will clean themselves at the touch of a button or, in the case of Dyson’s Cinetic vacuum cleaners, do away with the need to clean or replace filters entirely.
  • Better ergonomics You’re more likely to see on/off switches on the handle, along with power adjustment settings, on premium vacs. Having these switches on the handle rather than the body of the vacuum means less bending down to make fiddly adjustments.

These features can reduce the effort needed to use and maintain your vacuum cleaner, but more features don’t necessarily always make for a better user experience. We’ve found that expensive vacuums aren’t always easier to use than cheaper machines for everyday vacuuming jobs.

How we uncover the best and worst vacuum cleaners

To achieve high scores in our tests, a vacuum cleaner needs to clean up a variety of household debris, including fine dust and larger items such as rice and lentils, from different floor surfaces. A good vacuum cleaner must also be able to tackle fur and fluff around the home – we test using lint, pet hair and longer human hair.

Once they’ve sucked up the dust and allergens, the best vacuum cleaners will keep them safely trapped, filtering out fine particles so only clean air is expelled back into your home.

Some vacuum cleaners do so badly across the board that we can’t recommend them. Any vacuum cleaner scoring less than 40% is considered so poor that we name it as one to avoid. Three of the vacuum cleaners we’ve just tested scored below this threshold. One particularly poor model scored just 36%, proving inept at cleaning fine dust and larger debris from hard floors and it was near-impossible to use on the stairs.

Find out which vacuum cleaners to steer clear of by checking our hit list of Don’t Buy vacuum cleaners.

Latest vacuum cleaner reviews for 2017

Below are all the vacuum cleaners that have just gone through our rigorous tests. You can click on the individual links to see the full reviews.

Alternatively, you can head straight to our best vacuum cleaners for 2017 to see which ones made the grade as Best Buys.

Prices correct as of 16 June 2017.

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