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The Best Canister Vacuums

🕚 Updated August 2022

Canister vacuums are no longer the clunky, heavy machines of your grandparents' day. Newer models won't leave you with frustration and back pain. Check out these canister vacuums for fast and powerful cleanup.

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  Top Choice Best for Upholstry Best Extendable Premium Choice Most Portable
Zing Lightweight, Bagless Canister Vacuum
WhirlWind Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaner
BC3005 Pet Friendly Lightweight Bagged Canister Vacuum
Classic C1 Pure Suction Bagged Canister Vacuum
XL Pro 5
Our SummaryWith a large capacity and powerful suction, this canister vacuum glides seamlessly across your carpet, tile, and hardwood floors.This lightweight vacuum is easy to maneuver, so you can spend less time fussing with cords and clean up faster.This lightweight and multifunctional canister vacuum is convenient and small space-friendly.This multi-tool canister vacuum is ideal for homes and offices with hard floors and low pile carpeting.This powerful vacuum cleaner weighs in at only 5 pounds.
Pros2-liter capacity, lightweight, sturdy wheels on base, excellent suction, easy to clean.Filter cleans up easily, powerful suction, 3-liter capacity, ultra lightweight.Two HEPA filter bags, two powerful motors, easy-to-change accessories, telescopic wand.Extra powerful, German-engineered, three levels of filtration, whisper quiet.Handheld, holds up to 1.25 quarts, weighs less than 5 pounds, multiple accessories.
ConsShort cord.Switch in inconvenient place.Heavier than others.Prone to tipping.Uncomfortable shoulder strap.
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How Did We Research?

14 Models Evaluated

6 Hours Researched

32 Reviews Analyzed

The Best Canister Vacuums

Canister vacuum cleaner for home use on the floor in the apartment.

Buying Guide for Canister Vacuums

A canister vacuum cleaner on a white carpet.
Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

Why buy a canister vacuum?

Canister vacuums have larger, more powerful motors than traditional upright vacuums. They also tend to be lighter, more maneuverable, and quieter than traditional upright vacuums. Plus, canister vacuums often come with a variety of tools, so you can clean just about anywhere, including corners and stairs. Unless you have a lot of deep pile carpets in your home, a canister vacuum may be a better choice for you than an upright vacuum.

What should you consider in a canister vacuum?

  • Canister capacity: Depending on the size of your space, you’ll need to be sure you have enough room for all the dirt, hair, and other debris you’ll be cleaning. It’s a pain in the neck to have to empty your canister out multiple times while cleaning one area. If you live in a larger home, a larger canister may be best for you. But if you only need your vacuum for small jobs, you can enjoy a lighter-weight vacuum with a smaller canister.
  • Range: How far will the cord reach, and how far will the telescopic pole reach? These are great questions to ask when buying a canister vacuum, especially if you have lots of square footage in your home or lots of high or hard-to-reach areas you’d like to clean up.
  • Tools and accessories: Some canister vacuums are pretty limited when it comes to accessories, while others offer a range of accessories to clean all your corners and hard-to-reach places. Think about what you need to clean and the appropriate tools to get the job done right.

How is a canister vacuum different from an upright vacuum?

A canister vacuum has a body that contains the motor of the vacuum and a canister for collecting dirt and debris. This part is separate from the stick and hose that you maneuver around to aim at and suck up the dirt and debris. Often, the canister comes on wheels to glide around behind you as you clean up. This is different than an upright vacuum, where the filter, motor, and canister or bag are all in one piece with the maneuverable hose part.

Our Picks for the Best Canister Vacuums

Top Choice

BISSELL Zing Lightweight, Bagless Canister Vacuum

With a large capacity and powerful suction, this canister vacuum glides seamlessly across your carpet, tile, and hardwood floors.

Pros: This brand-name canister vacuum offers a 2-liter capacity canister for everyday cleanup jobs. It’s very lightweight, at just around 10 pounds, and the wheels on the base are large and wide, so it’s easy for most people to maneuver effortlessly. The suction is so strong that it may surprise you. Also, this is a bagless canister vacuum, and it’s super easy to empty out the canister. You simply flip it open and dump it out—no mess, no fuss.

Cons: The cord on this canister vacuum is rather short, and some buyers have had to use an extension cord to manage the job more smoothly.

Bottom Line: This canister vacuum is made with cyclonic technology and multi-level filtration. That way, it captures fine dirt and particles without releasing them back into the air. And it has a carrying handle for ultimate convenience.


Best for Upholstery

eureka WhirlWind Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaner

This lightweight vacuum is easy to maneuver, so you can spend less time fussing with cords and clean up faster.

Pros: This canister vacuum cleans up easily. All you need to do is rinse the filter and the attachments every now and then, let them dry completely, and it’s good to go. This canister vacuum offers powerful suction and a larger canister capacity than some other brands at 3 liters. This vacuum also weighs less than 8 pounds, so it’s really easy to glide around and clean with minimal effort. And best of all, the tools and cord are designed in such a way to make storage a snap.

Cons: The switch on the handle that changes suction from hard surface to rug or upholstery can be easily moved while vacuuming, so you may need to check your suction while cleaning.

Bottom Line: This is a lightweight, brand-name canister vacuum with multiple functions to help you clean without breaking a sweat. It’s compact enough for easy storage, even in smaller spaces. And the retractable cord is a huge plus.


Best Extendable

Kenmore BC3005 Pet-Friendly Lightweight Bagged Canister Vacuum

This lightweight and multifunctional canister vacuum is convenient and small-space friendly.

Pros: This canister vacuum is a must-have for people with allergies. It comes with two HEPA filter bags to keep all dust and allergens away from sensitive noses. There are two separate, powerful motors inside this vacuum: one is on the brush for an ultra-powerful rotation that pulls hair and dirt from carpets and corners. Changing accessories is a snap as well. And best of all, it comes with a telescopic wand for cleaning far away or high surfaces such as ceiling fans.

Cons: This canister vacuum is heavier than many others.

Bottom Line: If you have pets and want a canister vacuum, this model is a great compromise. It’s heavier because of the bells and whistles needed to thoroughly clean and scrub out the dander in a pet-friendly household. However, the telescoping wand is a huge bonus.


Premium Choice

Miele Classic C1 Pure Suction Bagged Canister Vacuum

This multi-tool bagged canister vacuum is ideal for homes and offices with hard floors and low pile carpeting.

Pros: For people who love a little extra power in their canister vacuum, this German-engineered suction machine is perfect. It has six settings for suction, growing even more powerful as the settings increase. It has three levels of filtration, including an allergen-friendly filter bag. It’s very compact, especially since it’s so powerful. And it’s extremely lightweight. The telescoping handle reaches high corners with ease. And on top of it all, this vacuum is quiet as a whisper.

Cons: The canister is prone to tipping over.

Bottom Line: This powerful canister vacuum comes with several convenient accessories. It’s super powerful and lightweight. And it has a long reach for convenient cleaning up high and under furniture.


Most Portable


This powerful vacuum cleaner weighs in at only 5 pounds.

Pros: This is one of the best handheld canister vacuums you can buy. It has a surprisingly large capacity for a mini canister vacuum: up to 1.25 quarts. It weighs less than 5 pounds, so most people can carry it quite easily by hand or with a shoulder strap. It comes with a disposable filter bag for trapping dirt and allergens away from susceptible noses and lungs. The high-power motor will not disappoint; it cleans beautifully around all your hard surfaces and corners. And the accessory pack is extremely versatile.

Cons: Many people find the shoulder strap uncomfortable or awkward at best.

Bottom Line: This brand-name commercial mini vacuum delivers powerful suction where you need it most. It’s perfect for cleaning small jobs around the house or for cleaning out the car.

Final Thoughts

As many households are trending toward no or low pile carpet, canister vacuums are a great buy. They have powerful suction, are easy to clean, and have great reach.

Stacy Rounds Stacy Rounds
Stacy is a freelance writer. She has created a variety of web and print copy, from lifestyle and dating advice to small business reviews and short stories. She has a degree in business and marketing and has worked for several years as a social media manager. Through writing creative fiction, satire, and advertisements, she developed a passion for the written word. She enjoys cooking and painting in her free time. Read Full Bio »
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