We’ve tested standard canister and upright vacuums to find which models are the best at carpet cleaning and removing pet hair.
Our overall score combines test performance (how well the appliance works) with predicted reliability (how likely models from the brand are to remain free of faults) and owner satisfaction (how likely owners of the brand are to be very satisfied).
We’ll only recommend appliances you’ll love to own, that work well and keep working well for a long time.
It’s no good if a product lasts for several decades if it doesn’t work well in the first place. A disappointing product will soon become unloved and unwanted. For this reason, our independent lab testing still forms an important part of our overall lifetime score.
Our vacuum cleaner test includes:
We test a machine’s ability to remove dirt from carpets (assessing a quick clean of four passes over the same spot, and a deeper clean of 10 passes), see how close it gets to collect dirt from corners and edges and how well it picks up pet hair.
Ease of use
We push and pull a vac across carpet and use it to clean under furniture. We drag and carry it around, measure its reach from a power point, and assess its controls and how easy it is to use features like telescopic wands. We empty dustbins, or change bags, and replace filters.
It’s reasonable to expect a new appliance to remain fault-free for at least the first five years. Our predicted reliability won’t tell you whether the vacuum cleaner in your laundry will stop sucking tomorrow, but it does show which brands make models that are less likely to fail.
Satisfaction is important – no appliance should be a source of buyer-regret. Appliances with very satisfied owners are more likely to get cleaned regularly and maintained well. Their owners are more likely to seek repair for faults than look for a quick replacement.
Repairability (coming soon)
Older appliances are more likely to go wrong, but common faults should be repairable. Repairs should be affordable and convenient – parts need to be easy to find at a reasonable cost, instructions should be available, and repair shouldn’t need hours of expert labour.
We haven’t been able to assess repairability yet, but it’s important, so we’re gathering data and forming a plan so we can start including it in our lifetime scores. It will be challenging. We’ll need to analyse product failure data in our reliability surveys, conduct hands-on inspections to evaluate how easy products are to take apart, and investigate which brands make spare parts available at a reasonable price.
Survey data 101
In our annual reliability and satisfaction survey, consumers tell us about faults that have left an appliance they own unusable or mean they’ve had to change how they use it. We also ask them how satisfied they are with the appliance. We use their data to produce our predicted reliability and owner satisfaction scores.
We use a statistical test to rate the relative performance of each brand. Compared to data we have for all products (of the same type) in the survey, we rate each brand with excellent, good, average, poor or terrible reliability and satisfaction. You can compare the rating of different brands for the same product type (for example, the reliability rating for Miele and Haier washing machines), but you can’t compare the results for different product types (for example, satisfaction of LG TVs and Samsung phones).
We analyse brands that get at least 30 responses in our survey. That means there are some brands we can’t analyse because we don’t have enough data. For those brands, we assume they have average predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.
Our data is based on responses for 2271 canister and upright corded vacuum cleaners in our 2021 survey.
We've tested 49 vacuum cleaners.
Find the right one for you.