Best Canister Vacuums

Of the millions and billions of vacuum cleaners out there, finding the right one for your home is a bit challenging to say the least. Even though upright vacuum cleaners are the most widely used variety of vacuum cleaner, canisters are a very close second. Before we dive into what makes for a good canister vacuum, let’s talk about why you should consider picking one of these babies up.

Upright vs. Canister – Pros and Cons

Although there are way types of vacuums than these two (handheld, stick, steam, and so on), these two are by far the front runners of the vacuum cleaning game in terms of sales and usage. Let’s go over the advantages and disadvantages of uprights and canisters.

Upright Pros

First, upright vacuums are tall. Without leaning over, you can navigate the upright on any low-altitude surface. Of course, using the hose attachment is a whole other story.

Uprights are not the most powerful vacuums in terms of suction power, but they provide enough airflow to clean both smooth floors (laminated, tiled, hardwood) and medium-pile carpets. To tackle shaggy carpets and rugs, a brush attachment would be of tremendous help.

Finally, uprights have a wider vacuum head than other types. This means making fewer passes to completing vacuuming wide areas.

Best Canister Vacuum Cleaners

Upright Cons

Uprights may sound like the perfect vacuum type, but the actual sounds coming from these can be a bit noisy. All uprights lack the proper insulation to reduce loud vacuuming sounds. This is something you don’t need if you have pets or a baby at home.

Another significant disadvantage of uprights is their inability to vacuum sharp corners. This is only possible with a hose attachment and cleaning brushes. It’s not exactly a deal-breaker, but it can become annoying over time.

Canister Pros

As for canister vacuums, there are several more reasons why this should be your vacuum cleaner of choice.

They deliver considerably more suction power than uprights, making them the better option on high-pile carpets. The increased suction power also helps in picking up all sorts of large-sized debris like cereal, clumps of dried mud, and even pet hair.

The motor is concealed in a compartment which does much better at insulating sounds than uprights. But don’t expect whisper-quiet operations either; they produce around 65 decibels. That may seem pretty loud, but compared to an upright (more than 80 decibels on average), your snoozing child and pets will thank you.

Canister vacuums also come with a large assortment of attachments – brushes, crevice tools, extension wands, and so much more – which increase the versatility of this cleaning tool. Cleaning high places like bookshelves, upholstery, and even drapes is entirely possible with a standard set of included attachments.

Best Canister Vacuums with Powerhead

Canister Cons

Perhaps the worst thing about canisters is that you need to drag them behind you as you work. This may not seem like a bad thing initially, but if the unit doesn’t come with rubberized wheels and bottom plates, you’ll end up scratching your hardwood floors more than you realize.

Another thing that you might want to know is that canister vacuum cleaners, as the option with better suction power, can be quite a bit more expensive than uprights. However, the investment cost is worth it if you’re serious about maintaining clean carpets and floors.

In conclusion…

Although it doesn’t appear that canister vacuum cleaner will overtake uprights in the near future – at least in residential settings – they’re still a great option, especially if you’re dealing with tougher, larger pieces of debris. For the remainder of this article, we’ll ditch the upright vacuum cleaners and talk exclusively about canisters.

Canister Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

Now for the crux of the matter, how we can decide on which canister vacuum cleaner to settle on. It’d be nice if the first unit you saw were the best unit available, but for most people, that’s just not true. Finding the most appropriate model requires research. Don’t worry – we’ve done the research for you. So bear with us as we discuss the best canister vacuum with a powerhead, bags, and several, helpful attachments.

Best Canister Vacuums with Powerhead

Of the three main types of vacuum heads – powerheads, turbo heads, and straight heads – powerheads are the most powerful and require fewer passes to pick up smaller debris hiding in medium- to high-pile carpets. In this section, we’ll go over the major benefits of powerhead canister vacuums and what you need to look out for when shopping for one.

Best Canister Vacuums with Bags

What is a Powerhead?

The most significant difference between the three types of vacuum heads is that a powerhead is powered by its mini motor. The benefit of this is that it can roll an agitator brush for digging deep into carpets, dislodging debris from the fibers and allowing the intake to suction your floors clean.

The intake does not benefit from the motor localized in the vacuum head; in fact, it produces the same airflow with or without the powerhead. But the powerhead makes deep-cleaning carpets a breeze. It’s a must-have feature prior to washing or steam-cleaning carpets and rugs.

Suction Power

The right amount of suction power depends on what sort of messes you deal with regularly. If your floors are cluttered with cereal and other large-size debris, you’ll want a more powerful model – at least 150 CFM of airflow. For dust and other similarly sized particles, anything around 120 CFM would be appropriate.

Clearing Width

The clearing width refers to the width of the vacuum head. For obvious reasons, a wider clearing path is preferred over thinner ones for larger floors. However, they’re also a bit more difficult to navigate in corners and under and around furniture. The clearing width can be anywhere from around 8 inches thin to more than 16 inches wide. Feel free to choose which is most comfortable for you.

Swivel Neck

A swivel neck solves the problem of maneuvering the head around furniture. There are models out there with swivel necks that don’t turn or turn far too much in one or both directions so take some time to check the swiveling neck in action.

Rubber Wheels

Having rubber wheels or a rubberized under plate can be a good idea if you wish to use the canister vacuum’s vacuum head on hardwood, tiled, marble, or laminated floors. The rubber will prevent scratches that the wheels would otherwise leave, creating a whole new problem for you to solve.

Miele Complete C3 Brilliant Canister HEPA Vacuum

Miele’s Complete C3 Brilliant vacuum cleaner features an Electro Premium electro brush ideal for cleaning medium to high-pile carpeting. The Electro Premium electro… More

Miele Compact C2 Electro+ Canister HEPA Canister

The Miele Electro+ is lightweight and can be carried up and down the stairs with ease. The Miele Electro+ is also very quiet thanks to a noise optimized fan and… More

Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister HEPA Canister Vacuum

The Miele C3 Series – A perfect synergy of design and functionality, Miele’s C3 series sets new standards in floor care. These full-size canisters combine maximum… More

Best Canister Vacuums with Bags

Even though bagless vacuum cleaners – those that come with removable plastic containers for storing dirt – are all the rage, there are several reasons why you should stick to using bag models.

Best Canister Vacuums with Attachments

Storage Size

The biggest drawback of using modern bagless models is the size of their storage containers. For heavy-duty cleaning and super-dirty homes, the container can fill up rather quickly. This is more of an annoyance than anything else since you’ll have to dump out the contents every couple of minutes.

For large vacuum bags, this isn’t the case. Although there will be downtime is removing the bag, the size of the bag reduces the frequency of replacing, allowing you to do more work during each vacuuming session.

Works on All Sorts of Debris

One thing that future bagless vacuum cleaner buyers should consider before picking one up is what sort of debris they need to suction up. Are your floors cluttered with bits and pieces of food, of mud, of pet hair, or whatever?

However, if you plan on getting a bag model, you can forget about this as it’s designed to handle anything the intake can pick up. From microscopic particles to large bits of fallen cat food and pet hair, the bag will swallow it right up and prevent it from ever escaping. Which brings us to our next point…

Best Canister Vacuums Guide

Stuff Won’t Go Flying Around

One problem that exists in removable plastic containers is the contents get exposed to the air when dumping it out. Giving the container a few knocks on the side of a dust bin will also cause the dust particles to go airborne and possible enter your lungs – a place where it does not belong.

Dust bags, on the other hand, are simply removed from the canister, tied off, and thrown away. You’re not giving the dust a chance to escape from the clutches of these bags. Plus it’s a lot easier to just toss the entire bag out sight and out of mind.

Replacement Bags Aren’t Expensive

Although we do not have details on all of our readers’ finances, it’s safe to say that purchasing replacement vacuum bags will not force you to get a second or third job. Replacement bags are quite inexpensive, regardless of what brand they are. Of course, containers are considerably cheaper in the long run.

This, however, raises the question of whether one could use vacuum bags more than once by emptying it? Well, we’re not going to advise you to do so since it can create quite a mess and can introduce dust into the air in your home. Also, vacuum bags are made to be disposable, so its effectiveness at retaining dust drops quickly after it has reached capacity.

Kenmore 81614 Bagged Canister Vacuum

This vacuum’s 2-motor system and Power Flow technology ensure you won’t lose suction or leave debris behind. The Kenmore exclusive POP-N-GO floor brush located… More

Eureka Mighty Mite Bagged Canister Vacuum

Bissell Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum, Maroon, 4122

Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum, 4122 by BISSELL Canister Vacuum Cleaners BISSELL canister vacuums are light and easy to maneuver. They’re great for stairs and… More

Best Canister Vacuum Attachments

Canister vacuum cleaners come with a wide assortment of cleaning attachments. Keep in mind that like stick vacuums where you can lift them to do the cleaning in out-of-reach areas. For certain jobs, you’ll need to rely on certain cleaning attachments. Let’s go over to the most essential cleaning attachments to help make your home free of dirt.

Hose Attachment

All canister vacuums feature a hose attachment. This is where all of the cleaning attachments, including the Powerhead, are connected to. The vacuum cleaner’s motor pulls in air through the hose before storing dust and debris in the canister or bag. This is where all of the cleaning attachments will connect.

Extension Wand

Perhaps you’d like to vacuum your drapes or any other surface far above the ground. Well, how can do you this? Lifting the canister vacuum is not feasible since there’s no easy way to lift it and hold it up while vacuuming. For cleaning high, out-of-reach areas, simply connect an extension wand to the end of hose attachment. This will give you an extra foot or so of reach to help get accumulated dust off of curtains and ceilings.

Canister Vacuums with Powerhead

Airflow Brush

The airflow brush attachment looks a lot like the tool’s Powerhead. The only difference is that it does not come with a motorized brush. This tool is great for cleaning tight spots where the standard Powerhead just won’t fit. This means tight corners, under and around furniture, and even on upholstery.

Crevice Tool

A crevice tool is a slim attachment that concentrates the intake’s airflow on a small area, allowing it to pick up more dust in tight spots. Use the crevice tool in between couch cushions, car seats, or even on the edge of bookshelves where dust collects.

Canister Vacuums with Bags

Dust Brush

Dust brushes are great for vacuuming sensitive objects where the Powerhead just won’t work. The dust brush comes with bristles surrounding the circular intake; the bristles agitate the surface, dislodging any dust and allowing the vacuum to clean it right up. This attachment is mainly used for bookshelves, around picture frames, fan guards, and air conditioner fins.

Upholstery Brush

The upholstery brush comes with stiff bristles around a rectangular intake. This tool is designed specifically for cleaning upholstery, though an airflow brush can do practically almost anything an upholstery brush can do. The flat vacuum head of the brush allows for quick cleaning across the entire surface of large furniture and beds.

Prolux TerraVac 5 Speed Quiet Canister Vacuum

Prolux TerraVac uses a 12 amp motor that pulls 107 CFM. The TerraVacs motor has 5 operating speeds so you have the ideal amount of suction for any… More

Kenmore Elite 81714 Pet Friendly Ultra Plush Bagged Canister

The Ultra Plush nozzle uses powerful airflow technology to remove even the most stubborn pet hair from floors and furniture for a deeper, more complete clean. More

Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum

Ovente’s ST2010 Cyclonic Vacuum is not only extremely beneficial for those with allergies, asthma, COPD, or other respiratory conditions, it’s also a very important… More

Final Remarks

Canister vacuum cleaners may not be as popular as uprights, but their impressive cleaning ability makes them the perfect solution for extremely untidy floors and homes. Unlike upright models, canister vacuums are created to handle several different cleaning tasks – from picking up tiny pieces to large debris, from deep-cleaning shaggy carpets to hardwood floors. Of course, this means finding a versatile canister vacuum which is every model out there.

In this article, we’ve talked about three crucial aspects of what makes a good canister vacuum cleaner. These are the Powerhead, the storage bag, and the various attachments to look for when shopping for a canister model.

The Powerhead is the standard vacuum head that comes with a canister. It features a motorized agitator brush for pulling dust out from high-pile carpets. The motorized brush needs to be deactivated before transitioning from carpets to hardwood floors to prevent scratching.

Bag canisters, as opposed to bagless models, are great for any cleaning job. If your floors are covered in tiny dust particles or large pieces of fallen pet food, a bagged canister will capture it all and prevent the contents from spilling out into the open air. Their large size also allows for longer vacuuming sessions between reaching full capacity.

Finally, the attachments for canister vacuums are many and for different cleaning tasks. More attachments would be better, but the most basic attachments include airflow brushes, upholstery brushes, extension wands, crevice tools, and dust brushes.

Canister Vacuums with Attachments

Overall Recommended Canister Vacuums
Best of the Best! Budget Option Also Great
Miele Electro+ Canister Vacuum Marine Blue (Compact C2) ureka NEN110A Whirlwind Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaner Miele Grey Classic C1 Pure Suction Canister Vacuum Cleaner
Miele Electro+ Eureka NEN110A Miele Classic C1
 • Hard Floor / Carpet
 • Filterbag
 • 18.7 lbs
 • HEPA Filtration
 • Hard Floor
 • Bagless
 • 8.3 lbs
 • -
 • Hard Floor / Low-Pile Carpet
 • Filterbag
 • 11.4 lbs
 • -