The 6 Best Canister Vacuums
Canister vacuums are a great choice for those in need of a user friendly and easily maneuverable unit, that is easily stored after use.
We’ve gone through thousands of reviews and test results to identify the best canister vacuums in the market right now, and price doesn’t always make the difference.
This buying guide has been put together after carefully researching and reviewing the best canister vacuums in the market, and below are the top rated products at the time of writing.
The top picks
Editor’s choice (bagged): Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction
This is a high-quality entry-stage vacuum, that is popular among users across multiple online stores. It is super easy to use, maneuvers perfectly around corners and narrow areas, and it works on any surface from carpets to wooden floors.
Best value (bagged): Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G
This ultra popular canister vacuum has been praised by thousands of buyers as one of the best affordable vacuums in the market. It performs really well on hard floors, and has 1-gallon capacity.
Editor’s choice (bagless): Bissell Zing 2156A
Cheap doesn’t always mean bad, and this bagless canister vacuum is a great example of that. According to thousands of users, it performs really well on most surfaces, and it’s a great add-on to your household cleaning equipment.
Best value (bagless): Dirt Devil Featherlite SD40120
Just like the name suggests, this is a “feather”light canister vacuum, but most importantly: It’s an affordable vacuum too. It has a dust bin instead of a dust bag, and is super easy and simple to use.
Editor’s choice (for pet hair): Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog
Miele is well known for their premium vacuums, and the Blizzard CX1-series is no exception. This model is specifically designer to pick up pet hair on any surface, and the performance is out of this world. It’s also bagless.
Best value (for pet hair): Miele Compact C2 Electro+
Being one of the preferred vacuum cleaner brands across Europe, Miele, raises the bar for household cleaning appliances, and the Electro+ vacuum has a powerful brush head that works well on both carpets and hard floors.
Questions? Ask our experts:
How did we find the best canister vacuums?
At ConsumerJar we independently select the products we consider the best in each category. Besides reviewing the products ourselves, here’s a breakdown of the entire process:
This is the total amount of products we’ve reviewed, before carefully selecting the ones featured in this guide. You can look into these products by scrolling to the “Honorable Mentions”-section further down.
Expert reviews analyzed
As part of our extensive research process, we go through reviews from reputable experts such as Good Housekeeping, Consumer Reports, TopTenReviews, PetHairPatrol, The Spruce, Wirecutter, Reviewed, and Nerd Wallet.
User ratings analyzed
We believe user ratings indicate the short-term satisfaction level of any given product, and we skim through thousands of user reviews from numerous retailers. That includes Amazon, Abt, The Home Depot, Sylvane, Allergy Buyers Club, and Wayfair.
In-Depth Reviews of the Best Canister Vacuums
Below are in-depth reviews and details on each canister vacuum featured in this buying guide:
Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction
This entry stage vacuum is popular among most users, easy to use, lightweight, and extremely versatile.
- Bagged/bagless: Bagged
- Dust bin capacity: 0.9 gallons
- Weight: 14.8 pounds
- Cord length: 18 feet
Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction is an entry-level model, designed to be lightweight and useful in small homes. According to Miele, this vacuum will last up to 20 years if used for up to 45 minutes on a weekly basis. It is a bagged vacuum, which usually means low dust emissions and a reasonable noise level, and the bags have a capacity of 0.9 gallons. It weighs 14.9 pounds total, which includes all accessories. Cord length is 18 feet, and it has an automatic rewind, which most canister vacuums have.
What experts say: Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction has been tested and reviewed by numerous experts, and most of them agree that this is a powerful and versatile vacuum cleaner in Miele’s entry-level range. It is easy to use and comes with a suction adjustment, with illustrations of the recommended use for one of 6 specific settings.
What buyers say: Miele vacuums are usually very popular among buyers, despite its sometimes high price tag. This model is no exception, and it is also one of the cheapest models available. Most buyers love this vacuum cleaner, and recommend it for quick cleaning on smaller areas, but also for people with small homes and various floor types. It does a great job on all hard floors and most low pile carpets, since the floor attachment is adjustable and therefore works on multiple surfaces with a flick of a button.
- This vacuum is perfectly suitable for small spaces, and small homes.
- The suction power is great, and combined with a multifunctional floor attachment it works well on most floor types.
- The vacuums build quality is usually described as good, with a durable construction and simple yet robust accessories.
- The noise level is on the quiet side, which is especially great when living in an apartment and don’t want to disturb your neighbors.
- The vacuum is easy to use, with a simple panel featuring only a few buttons for all settings.
- The capacity is not very high, making this canister vacuum unsuitable for homes with pets.
- While the suction is generally described as powerful, it doesn’t come with a motorized brush attachment, and therefore doesn’t work well on medium- to high pile carpets.
- Some buyers think the bags are a bit expensive.
Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G
Though it might not appear mighty, the Mighty Mite does a great job on hard floors and is very popular among thousands of buyers.
- Bagged/bagless: Bagged
- Dust bin capacity: 1 gallon
- Weight: 8.5 pounds
- Cord length: 20 feet
With more than 5,000 reviews on Amazon alone and still counting, it goes without saying that this canister vacuum is among the most popular models in the market. But how much do you actually get at such a low price? According to both experts and buyers, this is a neat little canister vacuum designed particularly for hard floors, and it even comes with a blower port so you can blow debris away from a garage, patio, workshop, etc. It also features a 20 feet power cord, and weighs only 8.5 pounds.
What experts say: The Eureka Mighty Mite has been reviewed by several expert panels in the last couple of years, and the verdicts are usually very positive, mentioning only minor flaws. After all, this is a very cheap canister vacuum, which is one of the main reasons it keeps surprising.
What buyers say: Most buyers praise the low price tag and features of the Eureka Mighty Mite, saying it is one of the best and most efficient vacuums for hard floors they have ever owned. It doesn’t do well on carpets though, and it doesn’t really have any functions – only an on/off switch and a slip ring on the hose handle, which works as an adjustment for the suction power. It does have a blower port though, so it serves multiple purposes around the home.
- Features a blower port on the behind, making it useful for both vacuuming and blowing indoor and outdoor areas as well.
- Due to its compact design, it works particularly well in small areas or small homes.
- The suction is powerful enough to remove all types of debris from hard floors.
- The design is simple, keeping the maintenance requirements at a very low level.
- The vacuum doesn’t have an automated cord rewind, meaning you have to rewind the cord manually after use.
- It isn’t possible to adjust the suction power electronically, meaning the motor is always on 100 %. If you want to lower the suction power, you need to adjust the slip ring on the hose handle.
- The floor attachment doesn’t work on carpets, as it is not designed for this purpose.
Bissell Zing 2156A
Bissell Zing 2156A is not only one of the cheapest canister vacuums in the market, it is also bagless and among the most popular models.
- Bagged/bagless: Bagless
- Dust bin capacity: 0.5 gallons
- Weight: 10 pounds
- Cord length: 16 feet
Cheap, bagless, lightweight and easy to use. What more could you wish for? The Bissell Zing 2156A is a bagless canister vacuum featuring a simple and wellknown design, with a detachable dust bin that opens in the bottom from a click on a button. That way it is easily emptied over a trash can, causing no mess while doing so. The canister vacuum even has an automatically retractable power cord with a length of 15 feet, and the floor attachment works for both hard floors and carpets. The vacuum is primarily suitable for hard floors, though, but can be used on low pile carpets as well.
What experts say: The Bissell Zing 2156A bagless canister vacuum doesn’t have any expert reviews yet, however it has a large amount of user reviews with most of them being very positive. Therefore we have chosen to rely on user reviews, as the amount is significant enough to give us a good and general impression of its performance.
What buyers say: While this is a bagless vacuum, it doesn’t need recurring bag replacements. And along with a very low price, this is exactly what makes this canister vacuum very attractive. For only a fraction of the price of similar vacuums, the Bissell Zing 2156A offers great basic features, that most users seem to love. It is extremely lightweight at only 10 pounds, and according to most buyers it works especially great on hard floors, yet also manages to clean low pile carpets as well.
- At under 10 pounds, this vacuum is very lightweight. Combined with large wheels, it maneuvers easily through narrow spaces.
- The vacuum is easily emptied over a trash can, due to the detachable dirt cup with a bottom lid that opens with a touch of a button.
- The large handle on top of the vacuum makes it easy to carry around, which is great when you need to vacuum the stairs.
- For a larger home, this vacuum is a great supplementary purchase, and it is also a useful addition to the home with a robot vacuum.
- Despite its size and low price, it seems to surprise most buyers with its powerful suction.
- The vacuum doesn’t come with adjustable suction power, meaning the motor goes on full speed all the time. There is an air flow regulator, though, which releases some of the suction power when opened.
- The overall build quality is mediocre, however, that would be expected for such a cheap vacuum.
- The attachments and wand extenders don’t lock into each other, meaning they can fall off while being used.
- There is an external holder for extra tools included, but it tends to catch on to furniture and fall off.
Dirt Devil Featherlite SD40120
Being lightweight and easy to maneuver on most floor types is what makes this bagless canister vacuum a great budget choice.
- Bagged/bagless: Bagless
- Dust bin capacity: 0.16 gallons
- Weight: 10.14 pounds
- Cord length: 16 feet
What experts say: While the Dirt Devil Featherlite SD40120 doesn’t have any expert reviews yet, it receives hundreds of positive reviews from real buyers at several retailers including Amazon, The Home Depot, Best Buy, etc.
What buyers say: The low price, compact design and light weight is what most users love about this bagless canister vacuum. Despite its low price it surprises many users with its powerful suction, making it a great purchase for both hard floors and some types of low pile carpets. Buyers across multiple retailers also love the fact that it is easy to maneuver and handle, with an easily detachable dust bin that opens in the bottom for easy emptying into a trash can.
- The great value of this bagless canister vacuum makes it a suitable budget choice for smaller homes.
- Despite its low price, the suction is powerful enough for most everyday tasks on hard floors and some low pile carpets as well.
- Weighing only 10.14 pounds, this vacuum is very lightweight and easy to carry around.
- It works well as a supplementary vacuum, e.g. for a small second floor or for spot cleaning in areas where a robot vacuum can’t reach.
- The automatic cord rewind might not last long, as several buyers reported that it started failing, meaning they would have to manually push the cord back in.
- Some buyers also had issues with the cord retracting itself during use, as the lock mechanism simply wasn’t strong enough.
- While this is a rather small canister vacuum, the noise level is a bit higher than on other models. This might cause nuisance, but if you aren’t sensitive about noises, it might not be a problem at all.
- Due to its light weight, it might not have the best grip, which might cause it to flip over if pulled too quickly around corners.
Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog
The ultimate vacuum for pet hair? Feast your eyes on this German piece of engineering!
- Bagged/bagless: Bagless
- Dust bin capacity: 0.53 gallons
- Weight: 19.2 pounds
- Cord length: 21.8 feet
Most cats and dogs shed a lot of hair during the day, and they usually end up in your carpets, or perhaps they whirl around on your hard floors, ending up as hairballs in every corner of your house. It goes without saying, that it takes one powerful vacuum cleaner to pick up all this hair, especially when it’s stuck in your carpets and elsewhere. Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog handles this without breaking a sweat, and being a premium bagless vacuum it comes with loads of features that will make the vacuuming a lot easier.
What experts say: Experts praise the Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog for being extremely efficient while picking up pet hair, and it works very well on multiple floor types – from hard floors to carpets, it does a great job. The powerful suction combined with great floor attachments, makes it easy to clean large areas in a hurry. It is also said to be among the most quiet bagless canister vacuums out there, and it is especially suitable for homes with only one floor, as it is on rather bulky and impractical to carry upstairs.
What buyers say: Most buyers are generally very excited about the Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog vacuum, as it is considered one of the most versatile and efficient models in its class. Its design is modern and futuristic, and buyers love all the features, making it easy to handle and use on a daily basis. The motorized brush attachment works very well on pet hair, and the vacuum itself is said to be very quiet. Buyers also love the ability to easily adjust the handle, and the grip feels ergonomic and pleasant. It is on the heavy side though, so it can be quite a workout if you need to pick it up and carry it around.
- One of the most advanced canister vacuums for picking up pet hair on most floor types.
- The vacuum is said to be very quiet, making it pleasant to work with on a daily basis.
- The detachable dust bin is easily emptied into a trash can, so you avoid making a mess while doing so.
- The accessories are beautifully nested in the back of the vacuum, giving easy access when you need them.
- There’s a HEPA AirClean filter included with this vacuum, making the vacuum able to retain up to 99.99 % of fine dust and allergens.
- Despite an overall great build quality, some plastic parts are a bit flimsy, according to some users. This is definitely not what you’d expect from a vacuum within this price range.
- While a powerful suction is usually a good thing, it makes it hard to clean carpets as the floor attachment gets very hard to push.
- One thing a high price tag can’t fix, is the weight. At 19.2 pounds, this vacuum is very heavy, and therefore not suitable for a house with more than one floor.
Miele Compact C2 Electro+
This vacuum is a great choice for smaller homes with pets. It features a motorized floor attachment, and is suitable for most floor types.
- Bagged/bagless: Bagged
- Dust bin capacity: 0.92 gallons
- Weight: 9.39 pounds
- Cord length: 18 feet
Being a middle class vacuum, the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ features some of the best form both worlds: It is compact and lightweight, yet powerful enough to pick up pet hair from hard floors and low to medium pile carpets. Its motorized floor attachment is a neat feature as well, and makes cleaning tasks a bit easier. It weighs only 9.39 pounds and has an 18 feet power cord.
What experts say: Miele Compact C2 Electro+ receives several great reviews from experts across multiple sites, and it is usually recognized as a powerful and versatile canister vacuum with great features for vacuuming most floor types. Its bagged system puts a limit on its capacity, though, so if you’re in a large home with pets you might be better off choosing a bagless canister vacuum instead.
What buyers say: Buyers are generally very happy with this canister vacuum, usually praising its efficiency on most floor types, and its overall high build quality. It is also said to be very quiet, and it is easy to handle due to its low weight. The bags are easily changed as well, and overall it is a very user friendly vacuum.
- Powerful suction, combined with a motorized floor attachment, makes it suitable for most floor types.
- An overall great build quality will most likely make this vacuum last for many years.
- Although the build quality is sturdy and the vacuum seems robust, it weighs only 9.39 pounds.
- The noise level is pleasant, so you won’t disturb your neighbors while vacuuming.
- The vacuum features a HEPA filter, meaning it retains most dust particles and allergens.
- While this vacuum features a motorized brush attachment for thorough carpet cleaning, its capacity is quickly reached if you have pets.
- The extra tools are stored in a VarioClip that goes on the wand, and therefore not internally stored within the vacuum.
- The motorized floor attachment is quite big, making it difficult to maneuver in tight spaces, e.g. in between tables and chairs, and other places.
Below are all great canister vacuums we included in our initial review process, that didn’t make the cut for one reason or another. These are all great machines, and acknowledged by our team as being among the best picks.
- Sanitaire SC3683B
- Tritan Bagged Canister Vacuum
- Atrix Canister Revo
- Dyson DC39 Animal
- Dyson Big Ball Multi Floor
How Is the Canister Vacuum Different?
In contrary to upright vacuum cleaners, the canister vacuum cleaners are separated into two parts: A telescopic handle, and a canister. Between the telescopic handle and the canister you’ll find a hose, which is usually made of a soft plastic material.
The hose has a handle with a connecting point at the end, so you can detach the telescopic handle and attach other equipment such as a crevice tool, brush tool, and upholstery tool. That way you’ll be able to quickly transform it to the task you need it for, and the different tools are usually carried onboard the vacuum itself – they either sit in a clip on the telescopic wand, or inside the canister
Here’s Why You Should Trust Us
By Thomas Hansen
Founder of ConsumerJar.
Finding the best canister vacuums is not an easy task. You can’t always rely on companies to tell you the positives and negatives of their own products, which is why you have to do some research on your own. You have to go through a large amount of reviews, and identify exactly which vacuum suits your needs the best.
Since late 2013, my team and I have been analyzing and reviewing hundreds of different vacuum cleaners. We’ve been skimming thousands of user reviews, and we also take a lot of expert reviews from various sources into consideration, to better identify which vacuums are the absolute best in the market. We believe all trustworthy sources are important while deciding on which products are the best, because we usually see a pattern from one source to another, which eventually confirms whether or not a product is suitable for a recommendation or not.
Some of the sources we analyze include our sister website Reviuu.com, which gathers all the best vacuum cleaners in the market, but also several other credible sources like The Wirecutter, CNET, TopTenReviews, and Reviewed. Our research includes many more sources though, so this is just to give you an impression of which kinds of sources we usually trust enough to include in our ongoing research.
How to Find the Best Canister Vacuum
Finding the best canister vacuum might sound like an easy task. You just go for our top pick… right?
First of all, you need to realize that our top picks are just a general guideline meant to suit most people’s needs. If you’re in a hurry, our top picks are indeed great choices, but if you have specific needs you would be better off making it clear what you’re looking for. That way it will be easier for you to exactly identify which vacuum cleaner works best for you.
So let’s have a look at the basics, shall we?
Identifying Your Needs – Step by Step
First of all, you need to consider a few things. Do you want a bagged canister vacuum, or would you prefer a bagless model? Do you need a motorized floor attachment? Why/why not?
Find out below, why these and more things are important to consider.
- Bagged or bagless?
Bagged vacuum cleaners are usually more efficient, and less noisy, due to its closed airflow through the bag.
Bagless vacuums, on the other hand, have lower running costs and can be emptied in the trash can. You don’t need to buy new bags, however, bagless vacuums are usually a bit more noisy.
- Do you have pets?
As you probably found out by now, most pets (at least the hairy ones!) shed a lot of hair during the day, which fills up the vacuum quickly. If you have pets, you might want to consider a bagless canister vacuum over a bagged model, otherwise the runnings costs might add up quickly.
- Do you have carpets?
Carpets are magnets for all kinds of dust, hair and debris. Especially the medium- to long pile carpets, and you would be surprised if you knew how much dirt they collect over time.
If you have a lot of carpets in your home, you should consider a more expensive and powerful vacuum with a motorized floor attachment, as it has a rotating brush that goes deeper into your carpet and picks up the dirt in a more efficient way than most regular vacuums.
- Does your home have multiple floors?
If your home has a second floor or even a third floor, you might want to consider having one vacuum cleaner for each floor, or choose a lightweight vacuum with an ergonomic handle on it. Carrying the vacuum up and down the stairs multiple times every week is hard, and you might end up regretting buying an expensive and heavy piece of equipment, if you end up with a sore back.
- Do you need a motorized floor attachment?
Motorized floor attachments are most efficient on carpets, as it usually has brushes that lifts the fibers so dust and debris can get sucked up. But they also work great on hard floors, especially for picking up hair and larger pieces of debris that might end up being pushed in front of a regular small floor attachment.
- How heavy can a vacuum be?
Some vacuums can be extremely heavy, and depending on your needs, you might want to consider one of the lighter models. Heavy vacuums can go all the way up to 20 pounds or more, which is unnecessary if you live in a normal sized home with no pets. You can easily settle with a smaller and lighter vacuum, usually weighing from 8 to 12 pounds, making it much easier to handle on a daily basis.
- Are you on a budget?
If you’re on a budget, you need to be extra careful when choosing your new vacuum. You can get a great canister vacuum for no more than 50 bucks, but you can’t expect it to last for ages, nor be of the same build quality as a $1,000 Miele vacuum.
Cheap canister vacuums can be a great choice for a small apartment, a studio or similar, as it is usually compact and not as powerful as more expensive vacuums. It gets the job done though, and especially on hard floors it might work out just fine.
Why You Should Choose a Canister Vacuum
A canister vacuum serves many purposes, and are usually a great choice for most people. There are both cheap versions and high end versions full of features, and all of them are great at different things.
You should choose a canister vacuum if…
- You want a powerful and versatile vacuum cleaner.
- You want an easily maneuverable vacuum cleaner.
- You want a lightweight vacuum cleaner.
- You’re on a budget.
- You’re not on a budget and needs a high end vacuum cleaner.
- You’re seeking one of the best combinations of power, versatility and capacity.
Why You Should NOT Choose a Canister Vacuum
While canister vacuums are great for many things, they fall short at some important parameters as well. Not everyone are best served with a canister vacuum, and should rather look for another type of vacuum.
You should NOT choose a canister vacuum if…
- You live in a small home with only a little storage space.
- You live in a home with multiple stairs.
- All your floors are carpeted.
- You have a lot of fragile furniture, which might be ruined if a canister vacuum on-the-loose runs into it.