Top five vacuum cleaners for 2019
By Matthew Knight
Last updated: 22 November 2018
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.
Our recommended vacuums 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 - or even one for your car - we've picked out the best options below.
- Top five best vacuum cleaners
- Best lightweight vacuum cleaners
- Best vacuums for cleaning cars
- Vacuum cleaners to avoid
- Vacuum cleaner buying tips
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. Our top five includes a brilliant option for less than £60.
We've also listed three of the worst vacuum cleaners from our recent tests, including two stinkers from major vacuum brands - and one dreadful vacuum that picked up less than 20% of the dirt in its path.
Best cylinder vacuum cleaner
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
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.
Great value vacuum cleaner
This vacuum is fantastic value. It just misses out on a Best Buy, but we still think it's great, particularly for under £100. It keeps dust safely locked up once vacuumed, thanks to top-notch allergen filters. It has variable suction too - a rare feature on such a modestly priced vacuum. It struggles a bit with larger debris, but in general, this is a great vacuum and a bargain to boot.
Best cheap upright vacuum cleaner
This is one of Shark's older models, but it still cleans brilliantly. It's a good choice for pet owners, as it easily sucks up fur and fluff, and prevents allergens and fine dust from leaking back out again. It just misses out on a Best Buy because it's only average for cleaning flat hard floors, but it's still a good vacuum cleaner and a great cheaper option.
Joint best cordless vacuum cleaner
This is the joint best cordless vacuum cleaner we've tested. It's battery life isn't as lengthy as some, and it's dust capacity is a little under average, but it's fantastic at cleaning carpets and hard floors, brilliant at sucking up hair and fibres, and really easy to use too.
Not found the one you're after? See our vacuum cleaner reviews to compare models and filter by price or type.
For all our top cordless vacuum picks, including the best cheaper options and the best cordless Dyson, see our full round-up of the top 5 best cordless vacuum cleaners.
Sick of hefting a heavy vacuum up and down the stairs? 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.
Here's our top pick if you want a light vacuum cleaner:
Best lightweight vacuum cleaner
This brilliant vacuum is both lightweight and cheap. It weighs just 5.6kg, at least a kilogram less than average. It also has easily variable suction and a handy turbo tool for tackling pet hair, which are great extras for a vacuum cleaner at this price point. Crucially, it does a great job of sucking up dust, leaving your home pristine.
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 each vacuum 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. You can also filter our reviews to look for models weighing less than 7kg.
It's also worth considering a cordless vacuum cleaner. These tend to be much lighter, weighing 3kg on average. Some weigh less than 2kg. Take a look at our Best Buy cordless vacuum cleaners to see the models we recommend.
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.
If you want to give the inside of your car a good clean, this is our favourite option:
Best car vacuum cleaner
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.
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 and the lack of cord makes them easier to use in small spaces. Make sure you opt for a model with a handheld mode if you want to clean your car.
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.
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. Here's our pick of three vacuums to avoid:
Don't Buy 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 for you, 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.