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Top five vacuum cleaners for 2018

By Matthew Knight

We round up our favourite top-scoring Best Buy vacuum cleaners in five different categories, to help you find the best vacuum for your home.

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Don't get stuck with a vacuum cleaner that fails to clean properly, leaks allergens back into your home, or is a nightmare to use. We've rounded up our five top vacuum picks for 2018 - and the vacuum cleaners to avoid, to help you find the right one for you.

The top vacuum cleaners listed below have all gone through our rigorous lab tests, so you can be sure they'll do a great job of leaving your floors and other surfaces clean and dust-free. Whether you're after a bagged, bagless, upright, cylinder or cordless vacuum cleaner, we've picked out the best option. 

On a budget? Some cheap vacuum cleaners can be really poor at cleaning, but we've got the inside track on the ones worth buying. We've included our best-value vacuum cleaners in the list below, but you can jump straight to the full list of our top models for 2018 here: 

So you know which vacuum cleaners to avoid, we've also listed three of the worst models from our recent tests, including one that picked up less than 20% of the dirt in its path. Only logged-in Which? members can unlock our recommendations below. Not yet a member? Take a trial to Which to get instant access.

Best cylinder vacuum cleaner

Typical price £330.00
Which? score 79%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Carpet cleaning:
5 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
2 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
5 out of 5
Large debris removal:
3 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
4 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 5
Type (cylinder/upright):
Member exclusive
Bagged or bagless:
Member exclusive
Capacity (l):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This bagless vacuum cleaner is quite simply the best we have tested under the current test programme. It is great for cleaning carpets and hard floors, and it handles both longer hair or pet hair with ease. It also has a dial that lets you adjust the power, so you can turn it up or down according to the surface you are cleaning. It doesn't cost the earth either, so if you are after a bagless cylinder cleaner this is our top recommendation.

Best upright vacuum cleaner

Lowest price (in stock) £219.00
Which? score 78%
Reviewed Dec 2017
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
4 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
5 out of 5
Large debris removal:
5 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
5 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 5
Type (cylinder/upright):
Member exclusive
Bagged or bagless:
Member exclusive
Capacity (l):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This is the best upright vacuum cleaner in our current set of test results. It's particularly good for pet owners - it absolutely blitzed the pet hair we embedded into carpet during our testing. It's also no slouch when it comes to cleaning carpets and hard floors. Despite the manufacturers claim, it's actually slightly heavier than an average vacuum cleaner, but we still think it's great. It's pricey, but the best upright you can buy.

Best value cylinder vacuum cleaner

Lowest price (in stock) £129.00
Which? score 71%
Reviewed Feb 2016
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
4 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
5 out of 5
Large debris removal:
1 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
4 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 5
Type (cylinder/upright):
Member exclusive
Bagged or bagless:
Member exclusive
Capacity (l):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This bagged vacuum isn't quite a Best Buy, mainly because it doesn't do as well when cleaning up large debris as the very best vacuum cleaners we've tested. However, it is brilliant at cleaning carpet and on hard floors. What is so fantastic about this vacuum is the price. We have sometimes seen it on offer for as little as £90. The brand that make this vacuum cleaner has a really good reliability record and its vacuums tend to be top notch. If you are after a bargain that you can tell your friends about, then this is one of the best out there.

Best value upright vacuum cleaner

Lowest price (in stock) £95.00
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Jun 2016
Carpet cleaning:
5 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
4 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
5 out of 5
Large debris removal:
3 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
5 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 5
Type (cylinder/upright):
Member exclusive
Bagged or bagless:
Member exclusive
Capacity (l):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

It isn't often we find a very good upright for under £100, but this one bucks the trend. It's great at cleaning carpets, sucks up pet hair easily and has great allergy filters. We do have some concerns over the brands reliability, it only gets an average score in our latest reliability survey and has been poor in previous years. Despite this, this vacuum cleaner does a brilliant job of cleaning and is a bargain too.

Best cordless vacuum cleaner

Typical price £399.00
Which? score 81%
Reviewed Oct 2017
Carpet cleaning:
5 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
5 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
4 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
5 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 5
Weight:
Member exclusive
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

This cordless vacuum cleans up on our tough dust and debris tests and is the best cordless vacuum cleaner we have tested so far. It's great on carpets and hard floors and sucks up pet hair quickly, too. The battery on this cordless cleaner lasts for well over an hour. In handheld mode, it’s a bit awkward to use, especially if you want to tackle smaller spaces such as inside a car. Overall, though, it cleans so well it is worthy of its place at the top.

Not found the right one for you? See all our vacuum cleaner reviews.

And here are three vacuum cleaners to avoid...

Cheap vacuum cleaners can look tempting, especially when they look similar to pricier rivals, but it's a risky business picking a budget vacuum cleaner. 

Unfortunately, while we do find some gems that cost less than £100 and shine in our tests, more often that not we find cheaper vacs fail to make the grade. The worst models leave dust behind, or leak it back out once sucked up. They'll often also be noisy and a nightmare to use. 

Spending more doesn't always mean you get good results though - we've also found pricey vacuums that disappoint. See our pick of three vacuums that you should avoid below.

Typical price £45.00
Which? score 16%
Reviewed Jan 2018
Carpet cleaning:
1 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
3 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
1 out of 5
Large debris removal:
4 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
1 out of 5
Allergen retention:
2 out of 5
Type (cylinder/upright):
Member exclusive
Bagged or bagless:
Member exclusive
Capacity (l):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This is the worst vacuum cleaner we have tested. It's terrible on carpets, picking up just 17% of the dust in its path, and a measly 13% on hard floors with crevices. What's more, it has very poor allergy filters so struggles to contain the little dust it does manage to suck up. It's one to avoid at any cost.

Typical price £250.00
Which? score 32%
Reviewed Oct 2017
Carpet cleaning:
3 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
1 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
1 out of 5
Large debris removal:
1 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
5 out of 5
Allergen retention:
3 out of 5
Type (cylinder/upright):
Member exclusive
Bagged or bagless:
Member exclusive
Capacity (l):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This vacuum cleaner will suck up pet hair in the home, but unfortunately it's really awful in some important areas. It lets you down when cleaning hard floors and is only average at some of the basics like cleaning carpet and retaining dust and allergens.

Don't Buy vacuum cleaner

Typical price £50.00
Which? score 33%
Reviewed Jan 2018
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
1 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
1 out of 5
Large debris removal:
4 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
5 out of 5
Allergen retention:
2 out of 5
Type (cylinder/upright):
Member exclusive
Bagged or bagless:
Member exclusive
Capacity (l):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This shoddy upright is temptingly cheap and cleans carpets and pet hair well. However, its filters are very poor, so dust and allergens leak back into your home, plus it's terrible at cleaning on hard floors.

Useful features to look for when buying a vacuum cleaner

  • Variable suction power - this can make it easier to clean different surfaces. If suction is too high on some surfaces, you'll find the nozzle sticking to the floor and you'll need to use some muscle to get it moving. Variable suction lets you dial it down to a level you can clean comfortably with. In our tests we check how much effort it takes to vacuum, and test dust pick up on reasonable levels, so you know you'll get good cleaning without needing the strength of a weightlifter to push the vacuum.
  • Combination floor tool - these are suitable for both carpets and hard floors and mean that you don't need to change nozzles every time you move from one surface to another. Some models come with multiple accessories fine-tuned to specific floor surfaces. While this can be helpful, in reality you want a combi tool that does a good job across different floors so you don't have to chop and change constantly while cleaning.
  • Mini pet turbo tools - often the only difference between 'pet-friendly' vacuum cleaners and the standard version, these are mini tools with a brush bar that can help to remove engrained dust, dirt and hair from sofas, stairs and other fiddly areas.

For more advice on choosing the best vacuum cleaner, head to our vacuum cleaners buying guide.

Why Which? vacuum reviews are better

Which? is independent and doesn't accept advertising or freebies, so you can trust our reviews to give you the full, honest and impartial truth about a product.

As part of our vacuum cleaner tests, we spread super-fine sand from Arizona over a thick carpet and grind it in. We then strap each vacuum cleaner onto a rig and run it over the carpet five times to see how much dust it sucks up. Bad vacuums pick up less than half, while Best Buy vacuum cleaners remove twice as much.

We also measure how much noise the vacuum cleaner makes, whether suction is lost as the machine fills up, how well it tackles hair, fur and fluff, and whether it can suck up larger debris. To find out more, head to how we test vacuum cleaners.

Not quite what you were looking for? Get our verdict on the best cordless vacuums, handheld vacuums and robot vacuums.

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