A canister vacuum will give you a different type of suction than your standard vacuum. The power behind it will leave the hand held vacuums in the dust and its quiet operation will blow away the upright competition. If you’re thinking of making the switch to a canister vacuum but aren’t sure where to begin, let us help. We’ve done the homework for you and all you need to do is read below to find the best vacuum for your home.
We reviewed dozens of canister vacuums to identify the best of the best. We found the bagless canister vacuums, and the bagged vacuums that minimize your dust while dumping. We looked at utility canister vacuums that are just as efficient for wet as dry and those that will clear dust with a HEPA filter. No matter what your priorities are with your new canister vacuum, we’ve got you covered.
From nearly the beginning of our search, we could point out our top pick. The Oreck Super Deluxe Compact Canister Vacuum Cleaner is easily the best overall canister vacuum. With its compact size, you can take it nearly everywhere and with such power, you’ll definitely want to take it those places.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Canister Vacuums
|Best Overall Canister Vacuum
|Oreck Super Deluxe Compact Canister Vacuum Cleaner
|Best Canister Vacuum for Pets
|Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum
|Best Budget Canister Vacuum
|BISSELL Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum
|Best Bagless Canister Vacuum
|Armor All 2 Peak HP Wet Dry Utility Shop Vacuum
|Best HEPA Canister Vacuum
|Severin Germany Nonstop Corded Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaner
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Canister Vacuum Overall: Oreck Super Deluxe Compact Canister Vacuum Cleaner
The Oreck Super Deluxe Compact Canister Vacuum Cleaner is a handheld style canister that packs quite the punch. It only weight four pounds, so you’ll easily be able to tote this vacuum off to any room you need and slinging it over your shoulder is well within possibility. And the suction power will not leave you unsatisfied; this tiny canister can lift a sixteen pound bowling ball right off the ground.
This vac is all about versatility. It comes with a complete set of attachments, including two wand extenders, a flexible hose, upholstery brush, nozzle, and a mini tool that will allow you to do fine detailed cleaning like a keyboard or phone. And these accessories are all easily stored within the included vinyl caddy, making your life more organized.
With nearly 500 customer reviews on Amazon, this canister’s overall rating of 4.3 stars is all the more believable and with that kind of rating, there’s every reason to believe you’ll be well satisfied with this compact canister vacuum.
Oreck Super Deluxe Compact Canister Vacuum Cleaner Key Features:
- Uses hypoallergenic, disposable dust bags
- Additional 6 attachments and flexible hose
- Storage case included
Best Canister Vacuum for Pets: Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum
The Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum uses no bag, so you’ll save big in the long run with this vacuum. It includes a pet attachment that will lift your pet’s shed hair as easily as the dander. You can attach this pet brush and rid your home of nearly any trace of your pet. Additionally, this vacuum comes with a telescoping wand, a floor brush, and a combination crevice nozzle and bristle brush. And without the hassle of a bag, this vacuum is so easy to use, you won’t need to worry about your dread to operate it making you put off regularly using it.
This vacuum features a multi-level filtration system that includes a HEPA filter to eliminate 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 micrometers – that’s 300 times smaller than a single hair. With that in mind, you won’t need to worry about pet dander or stray fur bothering your sensitive allergies anymore. And even if you don’t have any pet sensitivities at all, it’s still nice to know that your home won’t be riddled with those allergens.
At right around 1,500 customer reviews for this vacuum on Amazon, you can take comfort in the accuracy of the overall 4.1 star rating and if you have a pet, this is one vacuum you won’t want to ignore.
Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum Key Features:
- 1200-Watt power
- Step on/off button
- LED light notification to change or clean dust container and filters
Best Budget Canister Vacuum: BISSELL Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum
The BISSELL Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum uses the same attached head to sweep both carpets and hard floors – and that’s okay! Typically, using a carpet vacuum to sweep up the hardwood floors goes pretty poorly, but with a quick switch, the nozzle with adjust, cleaning one surface as efficiently as the other.
The power cord will wind automatically with just another push of a button, making it easy to store and put away your vacuum in between uses. And the filters are reusable and washable, so you won’t need to spend a fortune maintaining your vacuum at optimal functionality. The dust bag is easy to remove and if you’re worried about allergens released while you dump it, you needn’t be with this quick remove-dump-replace set up.
There are an impressive number of customer reviews for this canister vacuum with well over 5,000. That number only lends weight to the argument to buy it; the overall rating for this vac is 4.1 stars. And if that’s not enough to sell it for you, try one more fact: You can pick it up for under $60!
BISSELL Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum Key Features:
- Bagless option available
- 3 color options
- 6′ hose length
Best Bagless Canister Vacuum: Armor All 2 Peak HP Wet Dry Utility Shop Vacuum
With the Armor All 2 Peak HP Wet Dry Utility Shop Vacuum, you’ll get more than just a bagless canister vacuum. You’ll have the full potential of a canister vacuum and that means a superb wet or dry clean that you’ll only get from a utility vacuum. The filter within the vacuum is a reusable cloth, so you’ll be able to save on replacing bags and the filters.
This heavy duty vacuum has a two horse power motor that will suck clean virtually anything you could need it for and with a ten foot power cord, it has plenty of reach, too. It comes with a six foot flexible hose that will extend the range even further and with all the included accessories, you’ll be able to tackle any job from your car to the spills in your mud room and everything in between.
With right around 4,500 customer reviews on Amazon, and an impressive overall rating of 4.2 stars, we think that’s a pretty convincing argument on its own. But if it’s not enough to sell you on this vacuum, keep in mind your risk is minimum: You’ll receive a manufacturer’s two year warranty, as well.
Armor All 2 Peak HP Wet Dry Utility Shop Vacuum Key Features:
- Multiple matching accessories available
- 2.5 gallon tank
- Wet/Dry utility function
Best HEPA Canister Vacuum: Severin Germany Nonstop Corded Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaner
The Severin Germany Nonstop Corded Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaner uses a robust HEPA filter to make sure your home is clean of all pollen, dust, mold, spores, and odors, making your home an allergen-free zone. And if you’re family is concerned with that, this is one vacuum you don’t want to pass up. You’ll be able to reuse this filter time and time again; in fact, it’s a lifetime filter. Just clean the filter regularly and it should last the entire life of the vacuum. Pair its high efficiency with the quiet operation, and you’re going to be sold.
The canister contains a one-push button release that will allow you to dump the dust cup easily with very little difficulty, and because it’s removable from the vacuum, you can even take it to the outside trash bin to ensure none of those dirt particles are released back into your home.
This vacuum has right around 150 customer reviews with an overall rating of 4.3 stars on Amazon. While there may not be quite as many reviews as the others in our top five, consider the reputation that Severin has built over its 120+ years of operation and you’ll understand why it’s prominently featured on our (and virtually all) top vacuum list.
Severin Germany Nonstop Corded Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaner Key Features:
- Lightweight; just 10 lbs
- Quiet: 77 db while in use
- 35″ telescoping wand and 6′ flexible hose
Who Should Buy a Canister Vacuum
Because the canister vacuum has probably the largest size of all vacuum types, there is plenty of space in the canister for anything it needs. That means it has no limitations on the motor it can contain. Having a larger engine will often (though not always) lead to a more powerful vacuum and that is probably the most convincing reason to convert to a canister vacuum. You will, in all likelihood, notice your home’s cleanliness increasing with your vacuum’s increased efficiency. The size of the canister will also mean there is space for a proper insulation on these vacuum styles. The insulation is what will minimize the sound and make the canister vacuum the quietest among its peers.
With a larger size, you may expect the canister vacuums to be bulky and hard to move around, but that’s not the case. Most are even lighter than the uprights (although, undeniably will still weigh a bit more than the handhelds). Even without that being the case, though, the maneuverability of a canister would still be impressive because of its other features. Most will come on wheels that actually work. Unlike the wheels on an upright or stick, the canister frequently comes on larger, more robust wheels that will lift it up off the carpet and make it easier to glide from room to room. Additionally, the suction is coming from a hose that often has an incredible range on its own. Between the power cord, the wheels on the canister, and the flexible hose, the canister vacuum will probably give you the best range of motion of any corded vacuum.
Important Features to Consider
A canister vacuum should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting a canister vacuum for your home:
- Hose length. The canister vacuum style is generally less portable than other types. They can be heavy (though not as a rule) and awkward to move around your home too terribly much. If that’s the case with your vacuum, you’re definitely going to want a long and flexible hose. Keep in mind you may lose some of the power in the suction, but when you’re starting with a canister, that’s not quite as concerning as with an upright or handheld. The flexible hose will allow you to reach unique angles and clean in deep crevices that you may not have ever cleaned before. The hose is a must for deep cleaning your home.
- Bagless vs. bagged. A bagless vacuum will remove the financial constraints that are sometimes tied to having a bagged vacuum and that can’t be undersold. The dirtier your home, the more bags you’ll go through but more than that, bagless vacuums can make getting rid of the dirt and debris all the easier. For a lot of bagless vacuums, it’s a simple matter of popping the release button over a trash can and allowing the dust and dirt to fall away into the trash can. One thing you’ll want to keep in mind, though, is that this process allows for more of the dust to release into the air. A bagged vacuum may still be the best route for those with sensitive allergies. You’ll have to keep buying new bags, it’s true, but you’ll be able to keep the allergens more easily contained while you dump your vacuum. And vacuums with a bag tend to have a larger capacity, making the time between replacing longer than the time between dumping the dust cup.
- Filters. Your vacuum will very likely have some sort of filter to protect your home from any blown out debris while your vacuum is sucking it all in. You can even opt for a canister vacuum with a HEPA filter to really make sure that you’re not releasing dirt, dust, and bacteria back into your home. Some filters will be replaceable and other will be washable. Most will be some combination of the two; that is, you can usually clean the filter in your canister vacuum, but when it gets to be too much on the filter, replacing it is an option, as well. Check the instructions to make sure and never use a torn or broken filter.
- Noise. With great power comes great – noise? Because the canisters tend to have a stronger suction, you may expect them to have a louder motor, making it less pleasant for household use. But the truth is just the opposite. With the larger space available for their insulation and the motor itself, you can actually save your house’s noise annoyance by getting a good canister vacuum. And if you have a baby or pet who freaks out over the vacuum sound, this may be a big win for you.
- Wet/dry vacuum. Having a wet/dry vacuum will give you so much more power than you can imagine. And while it’s cleaning up just about any mess you can imagine, wet or dry, you’ll greatly appreciate the ease of use. You may not want to use the same vacuum in your kitchen that you use to clean up your car’s grimy floors, but if your garage, mud room, or entry way is in dire need of cleaning, there is no better tool than a utility vacuum.
- Attachments. The strength of the vacuum’s suction will do you no good if you can’t get all parts of your home clean. That means you’ll need to reach them, yes, so those extenders will come in handy. But you’ll also need something to keep your belongings safe from that ultimate suction power; the right tool is necessary for each job or you run the risk of damaging what you want to clean. You can’t very well use the crevice attachment on the curtains, or the upholstery brush on the hardwood floor. You’ll need to consider what you’re going to use your vacuum for and then make sure the canister vacuum you select has the proper attachments to make cleaning effective.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a canister vacuum cleaner?
A canister vacuum cleaner is a vacuum that will utilize a base motor and flexible hose for the suction. Because the motor and suction are spread out, the canister itself can be lighter than a standard upright vacuum and due to the hose operation, it will traditionally be on wheels, allowing you to push and pull it from room to room. If it does not have wheels, then you can count on it being even lighter and the addition of a handle will keep it ultra portable, even with a power cord. Canister vacuums tend not to be battery operated, but you may be able to find some outliers that are. The battery charge will create too much of a variable power for most canisters, though, and considering the power ultimately used by the canister, the battery life will likely be inefficient. Because the canister has the ability to contain an, essentially, limitless size motor, you’ll find canisters have an impressive suction and the insulation that they have room for may make it quieter than any vacuum you’ve ever owned previously. The canister vacuum comes standard with far more attachments than any other type of vacuum, which means it is also the ultimate vacuum for versatility.
Are canister vacuums better than uprights?
Depending on what you’re looking for in a vacuum, a canister may very well be the best one available to you. If you want power, a canister is the way to go. It has a virtually unlimited space in which to keep its motor, so it has the potential to be the biggest vacuum engine on the market. While bigger is not always better, sometimes it is. The canister will give you more power than an upright, without a doubt. But the upright is more specifically designed for vacuuming your home’s carpets. That means you’ll be able to push it more easily and often the cord will be longer, allowing you to go from room to room without unplugging it. Some canisters will make allowances for that, but keep in mind that no matter how many they have, the upright will still probably be easiest to vacuum multiple rooms.
If you need versatility, though, the canister can give you that. While it may not be as good as its upright competitors for wall to wall carpet homes with no absolutely other needs, your home probably isn’t like that. If you need to vacuum steps, blinds, curtains, in between couch cushions, under or behind furniture, then the canister is more likely to come with attachments for each. And even if you find an upright that comes with these vacuums, it won’t be as powerful and effective at the tasks as a canister will. It’s also lighter and easier to carry, which helps really put those accessories to good use.
Are bagless vacuums better than bagged?
A bagless vacuum may be the easiest way to get rid of your vacuum’s dust and debris. It’s a simple process that often only involves pushing a singular button to dump the debris from the dust cup into an open waste receptacle. This will keep you from purchasing replacement filters over and over, saving you big in the long run. However, the bagless vacuums do tend to use more filters and while you can clean many, you may need to replace them every so often; and filters are more expensive than bags, usually. It should also be mentioned, though, that if you or a family member has allergies or are sensitive to allergens, this will need to be handled appropriately. That means you’ll want to step outside to dump the dust cup. For apartment living, that can be a big pain.
Depending on what aspects of a vacuum you prioritize above others, a bagged vacuum may still be the best for you. For example, if you don’t mind the extra expense, a bagged vacuum can be the easiest route. And if you find a good Subscribe and Save bag refill listing on Amazon, you won’t have to worry about running out of bags when you need them most. Bagged vacuums also tend to hold more dirt than bagless, which will make it longer between dumping. (Make sure you’re monitoring the fill level of both a bagged and bagless vacuum, though; a full vacuum may still function, but it won’t be as effective.)
Can I wash my vacuum filter?
Some models of vacuums will come with a disposable filter that cannot withstand washing and will deteriorate quickly. If that’s the case, it will be very easy to determine from the instructions, but you’ll probably also be able to tell by how it looks and feels. A reusable filter is a much more durable sort that will look and feel the part. You’ll be able to wipe clean virtually all filters, but for those that are truly washable, you’ll be able to submerge it into water and scrub or squeeze until it’s visibly cleaned.
One part of the cleaning process you may not consider: let it dry before putting it back in the vacuum. Your vacuum will seal pretty tightly and that means it may not dry once it’s placed back into the vacuum. That in and of itself may harm the motor of a vacuum not meant for wet/dry functions, but more commonly, you’ll need to worry about the mold that may be caused by wet fabric sealed up tightly in a dark place. Taking into consideration that the filter is designed to grab and hold onto the bad and harmful debris and particles, and you create a breeding ground for bacteria. Mold formed on even the most durable filters will break it down over time so you’ll want to make sure it’s 100% dry before replacing it into your vacuum
Other Canister Vacuums We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other canister vacuums. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best canister vacuums list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your home. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
Canister Vacuums with Bags
This vacuum comes standard with a telescoping wand, two vacuum heads, and four other specialty attachments.
- Bagged or Baggless
- 3-stage HEPA filtration
- 6 ft hose
This canister vacuum has convenient cord storage along its back to make stowing it a breeze.
- 10-amp motor
- 20′ power cord
- 4 color options
This canister vacuum uses the best German engineering to create a multi-level, variable speed motor.
- True HEPA filter
- 1150 Watt motor
- 360 degree hose rotation
This canister uses Miele’s patented AirClean sealed system to make sure the act of vacuuming doesn’t release more allergens into the air.
- 29.5′ cleaning radius
- Accessory storage directly on vacuum
- 7-year warranty
You can easily travel from room to room without unplugging and re-plugging this canister with a 35 feet power cord.
- Stainless steel construction
- 6′ hose length
- 3-year warranty
This compact canister vacuum packs plenty of power with its 4-amp, two stage, bypass motor.
- 30′ power cord
- 1 qt capacity
- 4′ flexible hose
You’ll be able to go from room to room without a care, using this vacuum’s auto carpet height adjustment.
- Lightweight: 11.5 lbs
- 4 accessories included
- Clip on accessory storage
With the proper insulation, this ultra-powerful vacuum still only has a 74 decibel noise level.
- HEPA filtration
- 1.8 L capacity
- 3 accessory tools included
Bagless Canister Vacuums
The dust cup of this canister vacuum empties from the bottom for a no-mess disposal.
- 7-amp power
- Digital fingertip controls
- Non-marking rubber wheels
This canister vacuum uses a carbon filter turbine to trap dust and debris, even as you empty the bagless dust cup.
- 21′ cord length
- 250 AW power
- 5-year warranty
This canister vacuum includes a blow feature that will maximize its versatility.
- 7.4 amp motor
- 33′ power cord
- Reusable cloth filter
The retractable, 24 foot power cord makes it easy-peasy, lemon squeezey to clean up and store this vacuum.
- HEPA filter
- 2 on board accessories included
- 22 lbs
This canister vacuum will clean your entire house with its included accessories that will even eliminate your pet’s dander and hair on the upholstery.
- HEPA filtration system
- 1-year warranty
- 4 colors available
Utility Canister Vacuums
This wet/dry vacuum includes seven accessories and an optional dust collection bag.
- Drain valve
- 2 sizes available
- 4 durable casters
This utility canister will allow you to vacuum and blow with ease, making it perfect for any home project or clean up.
- 10′ power cord
- Drain valve
- On board accessory storage
The heat resistant metal hose of this canister vacuum will make it all the easier for you to use for whatever project and mess arises in your home or out of it.
- 2 sizes available
- 10 amp motor
- 4 durable casters
With the brand name most closely associated with utility, wet/dry, canister vacuums, you know you’ll be getting a quality product from an experienced company with this Shop-Vac.
- 2.5 peak HP motor
- 7′ flexible hose
- 2.5 gallon capacity
This durable utility vacuum will give you just as much blowing power as it does suction, making it as perfect for blowing up air mattresses as it is for cleaning up saw dust.
- Steel container
- 10′ power cord
- 7 tank capacity options
This canister vacuum is so compact and light, you’ll easily be able to take it to your car and get those hard to reach places under and between the seats.
- On board accessory storage
- 3 peak HP motor
- 3 gallon capacity tank
With a five peak horsepower motor, a quick release detachable blower, and an extra large drainage port, this utility canister vacuum will be able to tackle nearly any job you can imagine.
- 5 size options
- 12′ power cord
- 240 mph blowing speed