Three best canister vacuums

Kailey Fralick

Periodically check your canister vacuum’s brush roll to ensure no hair or debris is tangled around it. This can reduce suction power.

A vacuum is a necessity for keeping most homes clean. But a traditional upright vacuum can be heavy and cumbersome to move around. Upright vacuums can also have trouble reaching into tight areas. A canister vacuum, however, doesn't have these problems. But that doesn't mean that one is as good as the next. If you want to get the best clean, you have to choose your canister vacuum carefully based on the tasks you need it to perform. Here's a quick look at the factors you need to consider in order to choose the model that's right for you, including our product picks for the three best canister vacuums.

Considerations when choosing canister vacuums

Canister vacuums, like upright vacuums, come in either bagged or bagless models. The advantage of bagless vacuums is that you don't have to pay for new bags or deal with the hassle of changing them when you start losing suction power. The downside is that your vacuum's filter will get clogged more quickly and require more frequent changing.

Bagged vacuums are the way to go if you have allergies because they do a better job of trapping dust and preventing it from escaping back into the air. You also don't need to change the filter as often. However, you will need to buy replacement bags, and this cost can add up over time.


Once you've decided on the type of vacuum you need, there are several features to consider.

Coverage area

A good canister vacuum should have a long cord and a long hose, so you don't have to move the canister around as often.

Canister size

A large canister can hold more debris before it needs emptying, but it is also heavier and requires more storage space.

Carpet height adjustment

If you have multiple types of flooring in your home, you should choose a canister vacuum that has multiple height settings.

Speed settings

Vacuums that let you adjust the speed of the suction can be used on more delicate items like curtains.

Brush head size

The wider the brush head, the more ground it can cover at once. But a wider brush head is more difficult to fit into tight spaces.

Pet hair brush

Pet hair poses a challenge for all vacuums, and some canister vacuums clog easily after sucking up pet hair. If you have pets in your home, make sure the vacuum you choose is powerful enough to tackle pet hair.

Cord rewind

Some canister vacuums come with an automatic cord retraction feature. It's not essential, but it can save you a little time.


Q. When should I replace my canister vacuum's bag?

A. You should replace the bag as soon as you notice a decrease in suction power. With most vacuums, this happens when the bag is about two-thirds full.

Q. What's a HEPA filter, and do I need one?

A. A HEPA filter is designed to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns that may slip through a normal vacuum's filter. You may want to look for a canister vacuum with a HEPA filter if you suffer from indoor allergies.

Canister vacuums we recommend

Best of the best: Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister Vacuum Cleaner 

Our take: This canister vacuum delivers superior performance on all surfaces, but it may be more money than some are willing to spend.

What we like: This vacuum is lightweight yet powerful, and it comes with six speed settings and a height-adjustable brush for tackling different types of flooring. It also comes with a HEPA filter, which is great if you have problems with allergies.

What we dislike: The price tag may put this vacuum out of reach for some. Replacement bags are also expensive.

Best bang for your buck: Bissell Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum 

Our take: This is a powerful yet compact canister vacuum that will fit comfortably into any budget.

What we like: This vacuum comes with a five-year warranty, telescoping wand, automatic cord rewind, and variable suction control so you can adjust it for the surface you're on. It's bagged, which helps prevent dust from getting back out into the air.

What we dislike: Some users dislike changing bags. Replacement bags are also an ongoing expense.

Choice 3: Electrolux Corded Ultra Flex Canister Vacuum 

Our take: This is a versatile canister vacuum with some unique features, but it's on the pricier side.

What we like: The eight-foot hose gives this vacuum a long range, and the adjustable height and suction power make it versatile enough to use on any surface. It also has a self-cleaning brush roll that removes any debris tangled up in it.

What we dislike: Some users report that it doesn't take long to fill up the dust cup, especially if you're using the vacuum to pick up pet hair.

Kailey Fralick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.