Consumer Reports can no longer recommend the majority of upright vacuum cleaners we rate due to reliability issues. According to findings from our survey, seven of 12 brands of uprights have such high problem rates that they earn unfavorable ratings for predicted reliability.
Hoover, a company more than a century old whose name is synonymous with vacuuming, has eight upright vacuums that are losing their CR recommendation and will drop in our vacuum ratings. The other brand hurt by our new reliability ratings is Dyson, for its stick vacuums—five models are losing their recommendation. (Dyson upright and canister vacuums have fewer problems, according to our survey findings.)
Top 12 Vacuum
- Buy BISSELL, save pets; BISSELL donates up to 10 dollars to the BISSELL pet foundation for every pet...
- Powerful pet hair pick up with triple action brush roll + scatter free technology
- 3-In-1 design with onboard crevice tool allows you to customize your vacuum for your needs. At only 4...
- Eureka's Signature swivel steering improves maneuverability and cleaning efficiency when compared to...
- OnePass Technology with powerful suction and innovative brush design to clean on the first pass
- Scatter Free Technology reduces scatter on hard floors
- Powerful, convenient, and easy to use
- Powerful suction makes it great for quick pick ups with multipurpose versatility
- Every purchase saves pets
- One Pass Technology With Powerful Suction And Innovative Brush Design To Clean On The Initial Pass...
- "Best robot vacuums of 2019" by tom's guide.
- All-New RoboVac: Re-engineered to be the slimmest* RoboVac (2. 85'') but with quiet operation and...
- Buy BISSELL, save pets BISSELL donates up to 10 dollars to the BISSELL pet foundation for every pet...
- Triple action brush roll + scatter free technology maximize pet hair pickup – even if it’s embedded
- Dust cup capacity 1.3 quarts. Powerful upright vacuum with Lift Away pod for convenient cleaning of...
- Anti Allergen Complete Seal Technology, HEPA
- [Super Long-lasting Battery & Powerful Suction]: Outstanding 20-35mins CORDLESS running time ensures...
- [High-efficiency Cyclone + HEPA Filtration System]: It creates a high speed rotating airflow to remove...
- 【3 in 1 & Quick Pick Up】Outstanding 17000PA suction picks up larger debris with ease unlike other...
- 【2 Mode】A red button designed for different cleaning require,button upward,perfect for floor...
None of the uprights in our ratings earn Excellent ratings for both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction, although Sebo and Shark earn either a Very Good or Excellent in each. (We’ve tested Sebo uprights in the past, but there are models from the brand in our current upright ratings.) There are 15 Shark uprights in our ratings, and you’ll see the best clustered near the top—11 make our recommended list.
Canister vacuums are a good choice if you live in a multilevel home because they’re easier to maneuver on stairs, with the powerhead in one hand and the canister on the floor or the stairs. They’re also better at cleaning hardwood floors, according to our lab tests. But with their long hose connecting the powerhead and the canister, they can be bulky and a bit awkward to store.
Unlike canisters, the market for stick vacuums is growing at a fast clip. They represent a 17 percent share of the market, according to manufacturers, and more than a 25 percent share of our vacuum ratings. Many stick vacuums perform well in our tests, although the tests aren’t as tough as our tests for full-sized vacuums. That’s because we don’t expect them to accomplish the deep cleaning that full-sized machines are designed to handle.
The four most common problems members report with their vacuums are broken belts on uprights, dead batteries on cordless models, weak or broken suction, and brushes that don’t work properly or at all. Of course, members also complain about issues that don’t have to do with something breaking, such as vacuums that are difficult to maneuver. Here are the most common problems reported by our members, by brand:
- Belts. Around 16 percent of upright owners report problems with broken belts. Of those, Electrolux and Kirby have the highest rate of broken belts—27 percent each. Shark is the best of the lot: Only 1 percent of belts in its uprights break.
- Batteries. Among cordless vacuums, Electrolux stick vacuums are the most likely to have battery issues—25 percent of Electrolux stick vacuums had batteries that died, which is significantly more than any other brand. It’s not an uncommon problem, but the median of all the brands in the category is around 12 percent.
- Suction. Almost one-quarter of Dirt Devil uprights in our survey had problems with weak or no suction. Bissell uprights and Dirt Devil stick vacs are also more likely than other brands to have suction problems—16 percent each.
- Brushes. At 12 percent, Dirt Devil uprights also have the highest rate of brushes that don’t work properly.
Our survey team reports that 88 percent of the vacuums purchased by our members since 2008 are still in use. Eight percent were replaced because of reliability issues.
What to Consider While Shopping
Modern vacuums come in a range of designs, sleek shapes, and cool colors. What matters most is how well they clean. Remember that one type of vacuum might have features that appeal to you, but it should also fit your cleaning needs.
A vacuum cleaner with a motorized brush cleans carpets better than one powered only by suction. A switch that can deactivate the brush will help protect the finish of bare floors and avoid scattering debris. Consider models with a manual carpet pile-height adjustment control, along with suction control for cleaning draperies and other delicate fabrics.
Bagged vs. Bagless
Bagless vacuum cleaners save on the cost of purchasing bags, but they also require more filters that need periodic cleaning or—for HEPA filters—replacing. The dust and mess of emptying the bin of a bagless model can be problematic if you have asthma or allergies.
Try It Out
Even if you order online, go to a store first. Push, pull, turn, and lift the vacuum cleaners you’re considering. Check out the controls and features. If an online price is low, see whether the store will match it.
Keep an Ear out for Noise
No vacuum cleaner in our ratings is so loud that we recommend hearing protection, but any vacuum will seem louder in a room with a lot of echoes, such as a tiled bathroom. Canister vacuums tend to be quieter.
Watch for Sales
Discounts of 20 to 30 percent off are increasingly available, especially during the holiday season. For mass-market brands, you don’t have to wait until Black Friday. Check store circulars or sign up on manufacturer or retailer email lists to receive coupons and news of upcoming promotions.