Best canister vacuum


A person uses a canister vacuum to clean a carpet.

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Which canister vacuum is best?

While traditional upright vacuums and compact stick vacs seem to get a lot of consumer attention in stores, it’s the reliable canister vacuum that often fits the bill. A canister vacuum is ideal for cleaning hardwood floors and is surprisingly effective on thin or moderate carpeting.

Canister vacuums also excel at reaching remote areas with ease and accessing tricky areas, such as ceilings, stairs and furniture. One of the best is the Dyson Big Ball Multi-Floor Canister Vacuum.

What to know before you buy a canister vacuum


The main benefit of a canister vacuum is that the bulkiest parts of the machine, the motor and collection chamber, are separate from the lightweight wand and attachments. Users can access remote areas and staircases much easier than with an upright model.


Canister vacuums generally have a more extensive range than uprights because they include a longer onboard power cord that retracts on demand. It’s not unusual for a canister vacuum to have a 36-foot reach, which is more than enough for an average room. Many upright vacuums have non-retractable cords that can become tangled or damaged during use.

What to look for in a quality canister vacuum


Some models require special bags that fit inside the collection chamber and contain all the debris and dust until full. These bags may be proprietary to a specific brand, and replacement bags can be expensive. The other option is a bagless canister. The debris is still drawn into the collection chamber but it remains trapped in a permanent container until removed and emptied. Some users, especially those with allergies, may find this bagless design a little messy, but others prefer not to invest in disposable bags that can tear or leak.

Attachments and extensions

Canister vacuums also have an advantage over upright or stick vacuums when it comes to attachments and extensions. The wand of a canister vacuum can often extend like a telescope, or accept extension tubes. There are also powered brush heads for removing pet hair or performing a deeper cleaning. Upright models tend to have trouble accessing areas under furniture or overhead.

How much you can expect to spend on a canister vacuum

The average cost of a canister vacuum depends on the model’s power and number of accessories. A basic canister vacuum system can cost less than $100, but a more powerful model with extension tubes and numerous accessories can easily cost $200 to $700 or more.

Canister vacuum FAQ

Why should you switch from an upright to a canister vacuum?

A. One issue with an upright vacuum is accessibility. They work fine on long stretches of carpeted flooring but not so well behind furniture or under beds. A canister vacuum’s nozzle and attachments are not attached to the motor or collection bag.

Can you use a canister vacuum as a blower, too?

A. Some canister vacuums, especially ones designed for industrial use, have a blower option available. You have to make some minor adjustments with the hose and nozzle, but you should be able to blow dust off a woodworking project or blow leaves off a porch.

What’s the best canister vacuum to buy?

Top canister vacuum

Dyson Big Ball Canister Vacuum

Dyson Big Ball Multi-Floor Canister Vacuum

What you need to know: This powerful vacuum comes from one the most well-known vacuum manufacturers, and the vacuum can handle tough messes such as animal hair.

What you’ll love: Those who suffer from allergies appreciate the HEPA filtration system. It has a big dust bin, so you can clean without stopping. It features a long flexible wand and is designed to right itself when it falls over.

What you should consider: You pay a higher price for the luxury of a Dyson.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top canister vacuum for the money

Bissell Zing Canister 2156A Vacuum

Bissell Zing Canister Vacuum Cleaner

What you need to know: This affordable canister vacuum can handle hardwood and carpets.

What you’ll love: It has automatic cord retraction, a lightweight canister, crevice tool and dusting brush.

What you should consider: It performs better on hardwood flooring than carpeting. Suction power is variable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Oreck Commercial BB900DGR XL Pro 5 Super Compact Canister Vacuum

Oreck Commercial XL Pro 5 Super Compact Canister Vacuum

What you need to know: This canister vacuum can reach any space.

What you’ll love: Exceptionally lightweight, it is easy to carry up stairs or reach remote locations. It comes with a generous supply of useful attachments and a 30-foot power cord. It extends for overhead vacuuming jobs.

What you should consider: The attachments are not high quality and it is louder than expected.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Michael Pollick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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