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Don't Buy vacuum cleaners

by Matthew Knight

The worst vacuum cleaners we've tested pick up less than half the dust of a Best Buy vacuum, allowing grime to build up in your home.

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A bad vacuum cleaner won't just fail to suck up dust and dirt from around your home, it will also struggle to keep the dust it does pick up safely locked away, leaking allergens back into the air. 

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Vacuum cleaners to avoid

Dust-busting ability is the key test for any vacuum cleaner - a poor score will push it into Don't Buy territory. After all, there's no point paying for a product that can't do its core job effectively.

To add insult to injury, the worst models may also be deafeningly noisy - despite being ineffective - and could be cumbersome or fiddly to use. Some vacuums will start out relatively well, before rapidly losing suction when used, so you find it increasingly difficult to clean your house over time.

With many vacuum cleaners these days costing well over £200, you don't want to get stuck with a vac that makes you curse every time you get it out of the cupboard. We've tested hundreds of vacuum cleaners to find the best for different households and to suit a variety of budgets. Our independent vacuum cleaner reviews can help you to compare models and find the best vacuum cleaner for you. 

How we uncover the best and worst vacuum cleaners

Our top-scoring vacuums do a brilliant job of sucking up dust and dirt in their path. They'll also be simple to use, so you can tackle everything from stairs to tight corners with confidence. The way we test vacuum cleaners reflects how you use them at home, so you'll know they can handle everyday struggles like picking up fluff and fur, and reaching into tight corners. Our tests include:

  • Dust pick-up - we rate how well each vacuum sucks up dust from carpets and different types of hard floors. We also measure how well a vacuum cleaner retains the dirt it sucks up. 
  • Suction power over time - we check that you won't lose power as the vacuum cleaner fills up with dust, so that a brilliant new vacuum doesn't end up being a disappointment a few months down the line.
  • Hair - whether it's stray pet hairs on your upholstery, or longer hair that's tangled in the carpet - we check how well every vacuum cleaner we test can suck it up, so your surfaces look spotless again.

Which? is independent - we work for you, the consumer, so you can be sure that our product recommendations are influenced only by our test results. We're not influenced by third parties and we don't accept freebies from product manufacturers or retailers. We buy all the products that we test ourselves, so our advice helps you to make the right choice first time and avoid costly mistakes.

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