The best vacuum cleaners for any budget
Choosing a vacuum cleaner used to be simple: upright or cylinder. Rechargeable models didn’t get a look-in and there were so few brands they were all known as Hoovers.
Today’s latest, greatest rechargeable vacuum cleaners offer cordless convenience combined with suction to rival traditional corded models. Corded models are great value for money and robotic vacs are intelligent enough that they’re well worth considering, too.
What’s the best vacuum cleaner in 2019?
Last year, Dyson declared that it was through with launching new corded vacuum cleaners. With the Dyson V11 Absolute (£590 on Amazon) it’s easy to see why. It’s pricey, but with this, our best vacuum cleaner, you’re buying quality design and performance. It’s powerful and manoeuvrable: a nippy little sports car of a vacuum.
If you don’t need a cordless cleaner, you’ll get more power for your pound. Our pick is the Miele Complete C3 Cat&Dog PowerLine (£204 on Amazon), which grabs the gong for best corded vacuum. It cleans brilliantly on all floor types, yet packs away surprisingly small.
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Robot vacuum cleaners can be scheduled to keep floors clean every day. Our best robot vacuum is the iRobot Roomba i7+ (£1,199 on iRobot) because you rarely need to tend to it: it empties itself into a large dirt bag in the charging base when it docks. It also boasts intelligent room mapping and both app and voice controls.
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Dyson V11 Absolute
Wired Recommends: The V11 offers easy cordless cleaning
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Run time: Up to 60 mins | Power levels: 3 including auto | Bagged or bagless? Bagless | Accs: 2 floorheads, 4 tools, charging dock
If money’s no object, the Dyson V11 Absolute (£590) is the cordless vacuum cleaner to go for, promising twice the suction, at the cleaner head, of its rivals. What’s more, its Torque Drive floorhead can automatically adjust suction to suit the surface: more for carpets and less for hard floors. This doesn’t just improve cleaning, it helps extend run time.
A colour display shows you how many minutes of juice you have left on the current mode and lets you easily switch modes between Auto, Eco and Boost.
As with its predecessors, it comes with plenty of accessories and a wall-charging dock, so it’s always ready for action. Its fluffy roller floorhead is best in class for lifting dirt from hard floors. The bagless dirt canister is easy to empty.
With the weight in your hand and a long tube, it’s easy to clean awkward corners and in all directions. We used the dusting brush to nix cobwebs from hard-to-reach skylights.
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Dyson has declared that it won’t launch any new corded vacuum cleaners and it’s easy to see why. The cleaning power and convenience of this cordless can tackle anything and will change the way you clean: you’ll find yourself blitzing a room or two at a time rather than vacuuming the whole house.
Pros: Auto floor detection; convenience; great controls
Cons: Pricey; finite run time
Price: £590 | Check price on Amazon | Dyson | Currys
Miele Complete C3 Cat&Dog PowerLine
Powerful, compact cleaning, pets or no pets
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Run time: N/A | Power levels: 6 | Bagged or bagless? Bagged |
Accs: 2 floorheads, 3 tools
This pleasantly compact Miele Complete C3 Cat&Dog PowerLine (£204) is the bagged cylinder cleaner to beat. We tested the Cat&Dog model (SGEF3), which comes with turbobrush and activated charcoal odour filter. There are also regular C3 PowerLine models from £180 without these extras, and a top-of-the-range C3 Total Solution PowerLine (SGFF3; £350), which adds HEPA filtration to remove allergens.
The Miele is a great cleaner by simple virtue of its performance. Suction is impressive and the brushhead lifts grime and hair brilliantly from all surfaces. And yet once you telescope the tube down and clip it to the side, it packs away neatly, taking up less cupboard space than many vacuum cleaners. Push your foot on a button and the 8.5m cord even retracts into the Miele.
The cylinder is small, light and obedient: it follows you around as you clean and, if it bumps a wall or furniture, it does no harm. Cord, hose and tube give you a 12m cleaning radius.
It comes with two floorheads: the cat and dog turbobrush and also a standard floorhead (no motorised brush) with a simple foot control to select hard or soft floor. On the body of the cleaner itself, you can choose from six power levels.
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Its three tools (crevice nozzle, dusting brush and upholstery tool) are carried onboard under a discreet cover that pops up at the touch of a button: between them, they do everything you might need. In all, it’s hard to fault.
Pros: Cleaning performance; onboard accessories; compact
Cons: Not the cheapest
Price: £204 | Check price on Amazon | Argos | Currys
iRobot Roomba i7+
The best robot vacuum cleaner
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Run time: 75 mins | Power levels: 1 | Bagged or bagless? Bagless robot, bagged base | Accs: charging dock
This is the best robotic vacuum money can buy right now for one simple reason: it empties its own dirt container.
The iRobot Roomba i7+ (£1,199) has a standard 0.4 litre dirt canister but the contents are transferred to a big dirt bag in the charging base when it docks. The bag can hold 30 robot bins, so you won’t need to replace it for weeks on end. Your easy floor cleaning just got easier.
Roomba initially does training runs to create sophisticated maps of rooms. You then name them, set cleaning schedules and tell it which rooms to clean via app or even voice (Amazon Alexa or Google Home). You can say: “Alexa, tell Roomba to clean the dining room.”
Its suction and rubber brushes lift dirt well for a robotic cleaner. There’s just one power level, but Roomba can be set to automatically detect dirt and make extra passes to clean more thoroughly. This works impressively well. As does its object detection: it calmly rejigs plans if there’s a piece of furniture in the way.
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Little and often is key with robotic cleaners. The Roomba’s run time is 75 minutes, but charge time is only 90 minutes, so you can schedule it to clean up twice a day or more. Alternatively, command it ad hoc to pick up crumbs after mealtimes.
The self-emptying bin is our favourite feature for sheer convenience, but its smart maps come a close second. You know which rooms need cleaning and which are too cluttered. Simply tell it where to clean as you go out, then leave it to do the housework.
Robot cleaners don’t do stairs, dusting, furniture or even get in little gaps between furniture, but they do keep your floor clean on a daily basis. If you want one then the Roomba i7+ is the best.
Pros: Self-emptying; smart room mapping; voice control
Cons: Expensive; only cleans floors
Price: £1,199 | Check price on iRobot | Harrods
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Hoover Velocity Evo Reach VE02
Finally a corded upright with tools onboard
Run time: N/A | Power levels: 1 | Bagged or bagless? Bagless | Accs: 1 floorhead, 2 tools
If you prefer a traditional upright vacuum cleaner, look no further. This Hoover Velocity Evo Reach VE02 (£132) is great value for money.
Its powerful rotating brushbar lifts hairs well from soft floors. The brushbar stops moving when you stand it upright, so it doesn’t wear the carpet, while a button on the cleaner body lets you turn it off completely for hard floors.
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Beside this is a button to turn the power on and off (there are no controls on the handle). You can’t control the suction, it’s simply on or off. Cleaning is cyclonic with an easy-to-empty dirt canister and a washable HEPA filter that’s good for allergy sufferers.
Our favourite feature, though, is the accessories. Not just the selection (extension tube, small turbo brush plus a 2-in-1 crevice and dusting tool) but the fact that they’re all stored onboard ready for use. The Hoover’s handle pulls out and becomes a wand to use with the onboard hose.
The Hoover also boasts a 12m power cable, so you won’t need to plug it in every time you move from room to room. Together with its 4.5m hose, this makes for a 16.5m cleaning radius. You can safely park it at the bottom of a flight of stairs and clean all the way up.
Pros: Powerful cleaning; onboard accessories; value
Cons: Not the most stylish
Price: £132 | Check price on Amazon | Currys | AO
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AEG FX9 Ultimate Animal & Pet
Buy for pet hair and versatile cleaning
Run time: Up to 60 mins | Power levels: 4 including auto | Bagged or bagless? Bagless | Accs: 1 floorhead, 4 tools, charging dock
If you have pets then the big and small motorised brushes on the AEG FX9 Animal & Pet (£399), combined with HEPA filtration and cordless convenience, are hard to beat.
Controls are right under your thumb. There are three power levels plus, like the Dyson, an auto mode that senses and adapts to flooring. It’s bagless and easy to empty. Pet owners will also appreciate the HEPA filter which tackles allergens including particulates.
The specs are good, performance is excellent, but what surprises is its unusual design. The cleaner body can slide up and down the telescopic handle. This gives you the ultimate in versatility: you can have the centre of gravity low to whizz around floors, or pull it up nearer your hand and use it as a stick cleaner.
We loved the telescopic handle’s wide range. Long it’s great for tall users, while short is good for stairs, lets the kids vacuum their own crumbs after dinner and packs away small. We also liked the compact floor dock that lets you stand the AEG to charge when not in use.
The floorhead is a motorised brush that lifts pet hair and grime well. Shrink the body of the cleaner and optionally extend a hose from the bottom to use the smaller tools: a smaller motorised brush that’s great for lifting hair from upholstery plus three hand tools. Its only downside is it doesn’t shrink down super-small for use as a handheld.
Pros: Motorised brushes; compact; versatile design
Cons: Bulky as a handheld
Price: £399 | Check price on Amazon | AO | John Lewis
Numatic Harry HHR200
A workhorse that’s tough as old boots
Run time: N/A | Power levels: 1 | Bagged or bagless? Bagged |
Accs: 1 floorhead, 4 tools
Harry – Henry’s sibling – is a solid workhorse cylinder cleaner that should serve you for years, if not decades. He (it?) has the same specs as Henry but with a couple of extra features that are aimed at pet owners, but frankly good for all users. He also goes by the name Henry Pet PET200.
The 9-litre capacity on the Numatic Harry HHR200 (£149) is huge and takes up a large proportion of the vacuum’s drum-like body. The design is bagged. Older models of Henry could be used without a bag but newer models like this really need the bag: it serves as a first layer of filtration. Dust is locked in the bag for easy emptying. A pet-inspired addition is an activated charcoal filter which removes odours as you clean.
The build is solid, industrial even. A 10m cable plus hose and two-part wand give a total cleaning radius of 13m. Accessories include a crevice nozzle, dusting brush and a 2-in-1 upholstery tool with brush. Plus Harry comes with the HairoBrush, a small turbo brush that lifts hair. It’s great on rugs and furniture, but it’s small: you wouldn’t use it to clean a whole floor. You can store two tools on board at any time.
If you want a strong, unsubtle workhorse, Harry’s your vac.
Pros: Solid build; huge capacity; odour filter; value
Cons: Industrial look and feel