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Top five vacuum cleaners for 2018

By Matthew Knight

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

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Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

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 top vacuum picks for 2018, and the models to avoid, to help you find the right one for you.

The 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. 

If you're looking for the best lightweight vacuum cleaner or the best vacuum for cleaning cars, we've picked out our favourites for those jobs too. 

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? Join Which? to get instant access.

To get straight to the best light vacuums or vacuums for cars, use the links below:

 

Top 5 vacuum cleaners for 2018 

Best cylinder vacuum cleaner

Lowest price (in stock) £229.31
Which? score 82%
Reviewed Mar 2018
Carpet cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Large debris removal:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Type (cylinder/upright):
Member exclusive
Bagged or bagless:
Member exclusive
Capacity (l):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This bagged vacuum is one of the quietest models we've tested and it's brilliant at cleaning too. It's fantastic at deep-cleaning carpets and good on flat hard floors. Pet hair is sucked up easily and it doesn't let allergens escape back into the room. It's also generally easy to use - we liked the adjustable suction controls.

Best upright vacuum cleaner

Lowest price (in stock) £199.99
Which? score 78%
Reviewed Dec 2017
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Large debris removal:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 55 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) £124.99
Which? score 71%
Reviewed Feb 2016
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Large debris removal:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 55 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

Typical price £89.00
Which? score 73%
Reviewed Jul 2018
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Large debris removal:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Type (cylinder/upright):
Member exclusive
Bagged or bagless:
Member exclusive
Capacity (l):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This vacuum cleaner is fantastic value and excellent at cleaning on hard floors, in crevices and on carpet.

Best cordless vacuum cleaner

Typical price £300.00
Which? score 81%
Reviewed Oct 2017
Carpet cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 55 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 joint-best cordless vacuum cleaner we have tested so far. It's great on carpets and hard floors, sucks up pet hair quickly, and the battery lasts for well over an hour. In handheld mode it’s a bit awkward to use. Overall, though, it cleans so well it's worthy of its place at the top.

Typical price £450.00
Which? score 81%
Reviewed May 2018
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 55 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 is the joint-best cordless vacuum cleaner we've tested. It's good at cleaning all floor types, excellent at picking up pet hair and keeps allergens safely locked up. It's a little noisy, but otherwise it's a top-notch vacuum.

Best lightweight vacuums and vacuums for cleaning cars

Best lightweight vacuum cleaners 

Here's our top pick if you're after a lightweight vacuum:

Best lightweight vacuum cleaner

Typical price £89.00
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Large debris removal:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Type (cylinder/upright):
Member exclusive
Bagged or bagless:
Member exclusive
Capacity (l):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This vacuum cleaner isn't only our lightest Best Buy vacuum cleaner, it's also one of the best value. It only weighs 5.6kg, more than a kg lighter than average. It also has easily variable suction and a turbo pet tool, which aren't features you would automatically expect to see on a vacuum cleaner at this price point.

Vacuum cleaners weigh around 7kg on average, but they can weigh as much as 11kg, or as little as 2.5kg. Even a 7kg vacuum cleaner can feel heavy to carry up and down the stairs, so it's worth considering lighter options if you find this a struggle.

We weigh vacuums with all of the tools attached, just like you would use it at home to give you a true measure of how heavy it will be. We also measure how much force is required to push the vacuum over carpet (push force). If you want a light vacuum cleaner it's worth checking both these ratings in our vacuum cleaner reviews before you buy. 

It's also worth considering a cordless vacuum cleaner as they tend to be much lighter, weighing 3kg on average. Some weight less than 2kg. Take a look at our Best Buy cordless vacuum cleaners to see the models we recommend.

Best car vacuum cleaners 

If you want to give the inside of your car a good clean, this is our favourite option:

Best car vacuum cleaner

Lowest price (in stock) £205.37
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Carpet cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Large debris removal:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Type (cylinder/upright):
Member exclusive
Bagged or bagless:
Member exclusive
Capacity (l):
Member exclusive
Reach from plug (m):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This cylinder vacuum cleaner has the longest reach of any Best Buy vacuum. The 13 metres of cable and flexible hose should help you reach all the way around your car and deep inside its nooks and crannies. It comes armed with a crevice tool for hard to reach places and an upholstery brush for the dashboard.

A good car vacuum cleaner will have the necessary tools and attachments to clean under seats, in crevices and in a tight glove compartment. It will also have a long and very flexible hose, as well as a lengthy overall reach from plug socket to suction nozzle.

Cylinder vacuum cleaners tend to be easier to use in tight spaces than uprights. They have more flexible and longer hoses which help you stretch across the back seats and deep inside pockets and crevices.

Cordless vacuum cleaners can be the easiest and most convenient way to vacuum your car. They are much lighter than corded equivalents and freedom from a cord makes them more versatile and easier to use in small spaces. Make sure you opt for a model with a handheld mode if you want to clean your car, too.

If you're happy with your main vac, you could opt for a Best Buy handheld vacuum cleaner, which is a good car cleaning accessory.

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 51 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Large debris removal:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Allergen retention:
2 out of 52 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 £70.00
Which? score 44%
Reviewed Mar 2018
Carpet cleaning:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Large debris removal:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Allergen retention:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Type (cylinder/upright):
Member exclusive
Bagged or bagless:
Member exclusive
Capacity (l):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This vacuum cleaner does a great job of tackling stray pet hair, but unfortunately it's really awful at other important jobs. It’s poor at cleaning carpets and mediocre at cleaning hard floors.

Don't Buy vacuum cleaner

Typical price £50.00
Which? score 33%
Reviewed Jan 2018
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Large debris removal:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Allergen retention:
2 out of 52 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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