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Top five vacuum cleaners for 2017

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 suck up ingrained grime, leaks allergens back into your home, or is a nightmare to use. We've rounded up our five top vacuum picks for 2017 - plus the vacuum cleaners 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 options. 

On a budget? Some cheap vacuum cleaners can be really poor, but we've got the inside track on the ones worth buying. We've included our best value vacuum cleaners in the list, both of which cost less than £150. If you just want to see all the models we recommend, head to our round-ups of all our top recommendations: 

Only logged-in Which? members can see which vacuums make our top five picks below. If you're 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 program. It is great for cleaning carpets and hard floors, and it handles either 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) £263.80
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Jan 2016
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 a top class upright vacuum cleaner. It is particularly good at sucking up pet hair, it absolutelly 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 of fine dust and also larger debris. It is a bit on the noisy side, and like most uprights it's quite heavy, but all things considered we don’t think you can do better when it comes to upright vacuum cleaners.

Best value cylinder vacuum cleaner

Lowest price (in stock) £109.97
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 (not in stock) £199.99
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Jun 2016
Carpet cleaning:
5 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
2 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 upright vacuum cleaner really impressed us, and not only because it is available from as little as £130. This vacuum cleaner cleans carpet brilliantly, is great on pet hair and fibres and keeps allergens locked up nice and tight within the machine. If you are after a bargain upright, then this is the best choice around.

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 like inside a car. Overall though, it cleans so well it is well 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. While we have found some gems that cost less than £100 and shine in our tests, we've also unearthed some dreadful vacuums that fail to suck up dust and dirt from your surfaces and are an almighty inconvenience to use. Below we highlight three poor vacuum cleaners that you should avoid.

Don't Buy vacuum cleaner

Typical price £55.00
Which? score 38%
Reviewed Jun 2016
Carpet cleaning:
3 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:
4 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

Don't be tempted by the price tag of this vacuum cleaner. It is terrible at cleaning hard floors and its allergen retention is appalling, which makes it a poor choice for allergy sufferers.

Typical price £54.00
Which? score 36%
Reviewed Jun 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:
4 out of 5
Type (cylinder/upright):
Member exclusive
Bagged or bagless:
Member exclusive
Capacity (l):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

In our experience, very cheap vacuum cleaners are rarely worth the hassle and this vacuum cleaner is no exception. It’s poor on hard floors, difficult to use on the stairs, and, to top it off, incredibly noisy.

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.

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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