Top 10 Best Canister Vacuums of 2020

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Best Canister Vacuums 2020: Questions & Answers

What are the advantages of canister vacuums?

Canister vacuums have several benefits over upright vacuums. For one, they are usually much quieter. They are also generally more portable and come with a variety of cleaning tools for furniture, in corners, stairs, and on walls and ceilings. They are also able to clean hardwood and tile surfaces, which upright vacuums are not effective at. Overall, canister vacuums are more versatile and less bulky than upright vacuums.

What vacuums are on the quiet side?

There are quite a few canister vacuums that are designed to be quieter than both uprights and other canister vacuums. The Electrolux UltraSilencer (EL6986A) in particular is great for nearly silent cleaning. It has a sound dampener so you can clean without disturbing sensitive pets or sleeping children. Other quieter vacuums include the Miele S6270 Quarz and Miele Classic C1.

What are the pros and cons of bagged vacuums?

Canister vacuums come in both bagged and bagless forms, which each have their own advantages and disadvantages. For bagged vacuums, pros include easier and cleaner disposal. All the dust and dirt is contained within the bag that you just throw away. Bags with HEPA media also double as filters, so dangerous allergens are unable to escape the bag. On the other hand though, you do have to keep buying bags, and with some vacuums, they can be expensive, small, or hard to track down. You also should expect loss of vacuum suction as the bag gets fuller, which can extend your cleaning time.

What about bagless vacs?

Bagless vacuums have become very popular over the years and have some great features, as well as some cons. On the plus side, you don’t get the loss of suction you do with bagged vacuums. The centrifuges of air within the vacuum keep dirt and dust moving around so nothing gets clogged or stuck, which stops up the suction. It’s also more environmentally-friendly to just empty out the dust cup without also throwing out bags, which usually end up in landfills. The main problem with bagless vacuums is that when you empty the dust cup, you are exposing yourself to all that dirt and allergens. For people who are sensitive to dust or have lung conditions, this exposure can be dangerous.

What vacuum can I get for hardwood floors?

Canister vacuums are especially effective at cleaning smooth surfaces like wood and tile. The most notable vacuum is the Bissell 1161 Hard Floor Expert Deluxe canister vacuum. It has specific design features like non-marking, rubber wheels and soft brush bristles to keep your hard floors scratch-free and free from dust and dirt. Other great vacuums for smooth surfaces include the Miele S6270 Quartz and Eureka AirExcel Compact (990A). In terms of pricing, the Eureka AirExcel is the most affordable and comes with special attachment brushes for smooth surface cleaning.

Is there a vacuum that can handle a lot of pet hair?

Pet hair is one of the hardest things to vacuum up and causes a lot of frustration. Luckily, as a pet owner, you have several solid options for canister vacuums. The Dyson DC39 Animal canister is specifically designed for strong suction that can really dig deep into carpets where hair tends to hide. It also comes with a tangle-free turbine, so the vacuumed hair doesn’t wind around inside the turbine and cause blockages. Another (more affordable) vacuum that specializes in pet hair is the Kenmore Canister. This vacuum has a Pet HandiMate attachment and offers deep cleaning on carpets and furniture.

Is there a vacuum that can get rid of all the dust and allergens flying around in my house?

Most vacuums come with some kind of filter that will deal with tiny allergens found in fleas, mice dust and dirt. The filters will either be part of the bag itself or separate. Look for HEPA filters and bags with HEPA media, as HEPA is able to filter out 99.97% of allergy-causing pollutants. Some vacuums that include HEPA are the Eureka AirExcel Compact (990A) canister, the Electrolux UltraSilencer bagged vacuum, and the Miele Classic C1 Capri, that comes with both a bag and an AirClean filter. If you are especially sensitive to dust, a bagged vacuum will probably be best as it keeps all the dirt out of the air.

Is there a canister vacuum with enough power to deep clean carpet?

One criticism of canister vacuums in general is that they are not great when it comes to cleaning carpet. The suction power is just not there in the smaller motors, and the vacuum heads just swirl dirt around. Most canister vacuums are only able to clean low-pile carpet really well. However, there are at least two vacuums with very powerful suction that can dig into high-pile carpet. The Panasonic MC-CG937 “OptiFlow” has a power nozzle that really works out ground-in grime, while the Electrolux UltraActive DeepClean has a special powerhead and two motors designed specifically for deeper carpets.

Are there any vacuums designed specifically for smooth maneuvering?

Being able to easily move a vacuum is important. If it’s too heavy or awkward, you’ll dread vacuuming and probably put it off. There are lots of canister vacuums with cool features and technology that make maneuvering around furniture and stairs very easy. The Dyson DC39 Animal canister uses ball technology that provides superior balance and exceptionally smooth movement. All of the heavy parts of the vacuum (including the motor) are built within the ball for a low center of gravity. The Hoover WindTunnel (SH40070) has steerable technology so you can easily glide around obstacles like chairs or couches.

What features should I look for when I want to vacuum my wall and ceilings?

The big things to look for are extension wands, a wide cleaning radius, and attachments like wall brushes and crevice tools. With these features, you have a lot of freedom to get up high, reach ceiling corners, and vacuum your walls without scratching off the paint. Some canister vacuums with excellent above-floor cleaning tools include the Electrolux UltraSilencer canister (it has a wall brush), the Miele S6270 Quartz (33-feet radius), and the Hoover WindTunnel (11-feet above ground radius).

What features should I look for in a vacuum to make vacuuming stairs easier?

For stairs, you want a vacuum with a long power cord and long wand. This way, you don’t have to be constantly lifting the vacuum up and down the stairs and accidentally pulling out the plug. The Miele S6270 Quartz is especially effective for stairs because it has a wide cleaning radius, wand, and a long cord, making it easy to clean up the stairs without straining.

What’s the price range on canister vacuums?

Because of their versatile cleaning abilities, canister vacuums tend to be more expensive than uprights, but there is a wide range. The lower end includes vacuums like the Eureka AirExcel and Hoover WindTunnel, which are both at or under $200. The price steadily climbs with Panasonics and the Electrolux UltraSilencer at $300-$400. Dyson vacuums tend to be pretty expensive, and the Dyson canisters are around $500 and above. The most expensive canister vacuums (like the Miele Complete C3 Kona) can go up to $1000.

Key Considerations


In comparison to upright vacuum cleaners, canister models tend to be a bit more expensive. Depending on the model and brand, the difference can be quite significant when compared to similarly featured uprights. The big tradeoff is that quality canister vacuum cleaners tend to last a fair bit longer than their upright counterparts. Consider the purchase of a canister vacuum as you would any long term investment and look for something that will fit within your current budget. Keep in mind that most models, standard and professional, will have some measure of maintenance cost in regards to filters, belts, and potentially bags.

Bag Versus Bagless

Canister vacuums are available in both traditional bag and container systems for collection. Both have their pros and cons, such as containers tend to be cheaper in upkeep but louder in operation volumes, while bag models tend to be quieter, easier to clean, and tighter on filtration, but they do add more to upkeep costs and garbage contribution. There is also a significant difference in the volume of dirt and dust they can hold, with containers usually being good for around one-half gallon and bags at least a full gallon’s worth. When looking for a good canister vacuum, you will find models of both variety that are highly rated, which means it is something that will come down to preference and how much you want to pay for maintenance.


One of the most common advantages to using canister vacuum cleaners is their tendency toward compact design. While there are slimline and fold-able models of upright vacuums, they tend to either be more expensive, or not as powerful as standard canister models that offer similar compactness. Look for a vacuum that not only meets your cleaning needs, but also fits into an allotted storage space.


Most modern vacuum cleaners today have some manner of air filtration on them. HEPA filters in particular have almost become standard. With bagless models, there is often one or two additional layers of filtration leading into and out of the containment compartment, while bag models sometimes include these in the bag itself. Regardless of the style, it is important to look for at least HEPA level filtration for the vacuum itself, which can help reduce allergens in the air.

Easy to Use Controls

When it comes to controls, nothing can make an excellent canister vacuum loose popularity points when they are cumbersome to operate. Some of the best control setups to look for are located on the handle of the cleaning wand. Typically you will want an on/off switch, settings switch, and perhaps a lighting on/off button to be easily accessible. The only major drawback to some canister vacuum designs is that the controls require you to bend down to reach them on the body. Some models do counter this with setting up the controls to where they are easily operated by foot, though such setups are not always as convenient as being able to operate it from the handle. Look for models that have easy use controls that will be easier for you to handle.

Noise Level

As with any vacuum cleaner, canister models can have an issue with being loud. Container style systems are often more so than bagged. While some consider the sounds of a vacuum to be a form of white noise, it is not always desirable. Look for models that rate themselves as being quiet, or operate with “whisper” levels of noise to find those with the best quietness rating.


While upright models are well known for including a small assortment of accessories, the same should be true for a worthwhile canister vacuum. Basic inclusions should be adapters for the wand to extend the reach, or cleaning head, that adjust the size, or surface it is designed for. Look for models that come with the same three or four adapters that most models that have a hose come with; extender, narrow corner adapted head, and a smaller brush for upholstery or curtain-type surfaces.


A general standard for quality machines is not less than a 3 to 5 year warranty. Professional and commercial quality, especially when used in home, should last at least ten or more with regular use and maintenance. More expensive models are not always the longest lasting, as the majority of costs is comprised of extra features. Look for models that come with long term warranties, or that are highly rated for their durability.

Recommended Brands


Known for being an elite brand of professional quality products, Dyson is well known for both their upright and canister vacuums. They make two models of canister vacuums, the Dyson Cinetic Animal and Dyson Ball Compact Animal. Unlike other brands, Dyson can guarantee their products will not loose their suction rating over the lifespan of the vacuum, so long as regular care is maintained, their products can outlast many other brands.


One of the oldest names in carpet cleaning, Bissell began in 1876 and has not stopped being a solid provider of quality vacuums and carpet cleaning machines. They offer eleven different models of canister vacuums in both bag and container styles. Their pricing is also very competitive, as well as their reputation for quality. Their business model reflects a focus on making products that are well made, affordable, efficient and easy to use. The Bissell Zing Bagless Canister Vacuum is one of their best selling and highest rated models that retails below $100.


Another long standing name in vacuum cleaners, Eureka is an ancient expression that means, “I found it!” and is used to express joy at discovering something great. It has been the founding idea for the company and remains so to today. They are dedicated to inventing new and innovative technologies for vacuum systems, while also keeping the end costs low for consumers. Their best selling canister vacuum, the Mighty Mite, is packed full of features that comes in an extremely petite and easy to handle package.

Dirt Devil

An offshoot from Royal appliances that has been around since the 1980s, Dirt Devil brand vacuums have a trademark color scheme; bright red. The first vacuums they produced were hand held, “dust busting” style units, though they have since expanded into stick, upright, handheld, sealers and canister machines. Today, they offer wide selection of models, including their most popular Featherlite Cyclonic Bagless Canister (SD40100 for short).


With over a century in the floor cleaning industry, Hoover has a wide selection of machines. For their canister ranger, they produce four high quality models. Each of them use similar trademark Hoover technologies, which includes using a bagless containment system. The Zen, The Wind Tunnel, The Air Hard Floor and Air Pro each has a unique selling point, such as the Air Hard Floor model being designed for use on hard surface floors without scratching any finishes.


Electrolux has been a household name for several decades, with their innovative and high quality products focused on making work in the kitchen, laundry and general home easier and more efficient. They are often sold in conjunction with other well known brands, such as Frigidaire and White-Westinghouse. Their extensive collection of at home and professional quality canister vacuums easily places them as an easy competitor against professional brands such as Dyson. One of their more popular models is the UltraSilencer Canister Vacuum, which is applauded for living up to its namesake of being extremely quiet, without sacrificing suction.


A well known brand that is found in many areas of the home, Kenmore offers a lineup of fourteen different canister vacuums that range in functionality in price from economically compact to professionally full-sized. Their most popular model, the Kenmore Progressive Canister Vacuum, has been awarded with recognition and certification from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation for meeting or exceeding their standards by using a True HEPA filtration system. Such features are a trademark for the brand, including things like long time warranties and versatility in regards to types of floors they can clean.


While not known for just their vacuum cleaners, the Shark brand of cleaning products has been around since the 1990s. They continue to expand on their collection of floor cleaning items, including the addition of a unique and versatile vacuum, The Shark Pro Convertible. As the name implies, it is a professional quality vacuum that can be used as an upright, or converts into a convenient canister setup for increased versatility.

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