Best vacuum cleaners for 2021
Each year we put dozens of vacuum cleaners through our rigorous lab tests. The best models sail through every task, gliding over carpets and leaving surfaces dust-free – but other vacs come unstuck on even the simplest cleaning jobs.
To help you avoid a substandard vacuum, we've highlighted our favourites from our full list of the , including our top cheap vacuum, the best option if you're keen on Shark and the one to buy for dealing with a dirty car.
We've also pulled out three models that are so terrible, we think you should avoid them no matter how good their prices may seem.
Best upright vacuum cleaner
Best cylinder vacuum cleaner
Best cheap vacuum cleaner
Best lightweight vacuum cleaner
Best cordless vacuum cleaner
Best car vacuum cleaner
Table last updated: March 2021
Three vacuum cleaners to avoid
Spending more, or opting for a well-known brand, doesn't guarantee good results, while buying a cheap vac can be risky. Our tests have uncovered pricey vacuum cleaner's from big-name brands that struggle to pick up dust, leave pet hair on carpets and are a nightmare to use. See below for three models to steer clear of.
Useful features to look for when buying a vacuum cleaner
Tools and accessories
Useful tools and accessories can make a basic vac much more versatile. But as most models are sold with bundles of attachments, a few useful ones to look out for include, a combination floor tool, mini pet turbo tools and a furniture brush.
Sometimes you can source accessories separately, but they can be expensive and hard to find.
If you suffer from allergies or a respiratory condition, it's important that your vacuum adequately retains fine dust. HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters alone are no guarantee of a good filtration system.
Variable suction power
If suction is too high on some surfaces, you'll find the nozzle of your vacuum sticking to the floor and you'll need to use some muscle to get it moving. According to our tests, pushing some models on carpet requires the same amount of force as it takes to throw an Olympic shot put. Variable suction power allows you to reduce the suction to a level that you can comfortably clean with.
The best vacuums maintain cleaning performance even with the suction reduced, so you can keep your carpets dust-free without needing the strength of an Olympian.