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The best vacuums

Every home needs a vacuum. So does every car, workshop, tool shed, and flooded basement. Vacuums are also must-haves for pet owners, people on a tight budget, and those dealing with hardwood floors, carpets, or both. Even those who never want to vacuum again need at least a decent robot vacuum.

While certain vacuums are best at handling certain messes, surfaces, and live/work situations, we’ve narrowed down some of the best models in multiple categories and answered all your questions so you can choose confidently. Our top choice is the Roomba S9+. This robot vacuum can be voice-controlled through Alexa and it is self-cleaning.

Check out the best vacuum deals and best robot vacuum deals, if you’re working with a tight budget.

At a glance

The best vacuum: iRobot Roomba S9+

Why we picked the iRobot Roomba s9+:

When it comes to the ultimate robot vacuum, there’s nothing quite like the iRobot Roomba S9 Plus! While most robovacs tend to be circular, the Roomba S9 Plus features a unique looking design that’s meant to clean corners and edges with ease thanks to its PerfectEdge Technology and advanced sensors. Dirt and debris stand no chance against the vac because its 3-Stage Cleaning System leverages dual rubber brushes and a 40-times suction to suck up fine particles, such as pet hair and dirt, from deep within carpets.

You’ll be impressed by the amount it’s able to collect, making it one of the best robot vacuums for pet hair. One of its most distinguishable features is its ability to empty out its dustbin after each use, something that very few robot vacuums can perform on their own. Thanks to the Clean Base, the Roomba s9 Plus will automatically dispose of the contents in its dustbin — where the debris will then be ejected into an AllergenLock Bag. Outdoing its predecessor, the bag can now hold up to 60 deposit bins before it needs to be replaced.

The iRobot Roomba S9+ isn’t just a self-emptying robot vacuum — it’s much more than that. It’s smart too, not just because it can be voice-controlled via Alexa and Google Assistant, but due to the fact that its Imprint Smart Mapping feature enables the robot to determine the best way to clean every room. This results in a spotless clean that’ll adjust suction depending on the surface, as well as an efficient clean that will avoid obstacles in its path.

Read our full review of the iRobot Soomba s9+

The best vacuum for carpets and hardwood floors: Shark Apex Uplight

Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

Why we picked the Shark Apex Uplight:

With its DuoClean technology, the Shark Apex Uplight is fully capable of tackling carpets and hardwood floors thanks to its soft brush that polishes and cleans floors, while a separate brush roll cleans carpets. There’s no fuss around having to switch between tools with this vacuum because its soft brush roll can suck up dust and small particles from hard surfaces, and a self-cleaning brush roll deep is perfect at grabbing hair and other debris embedded deep with carpets.

Much like Shark’s other vacuums, the Apex Uplight comes bundled with several attachments to better facilitate your cleaning routine, including an 8-inch long crevice tool to clean hard-to-reach places. Another key feature about the Apex Uplight is its detachable body, which adds versatility to operating it as a handheld device.

On its own as an upright vacuum, it handles nicely because it’s remarkably lightweight at 10.7 pounds — besting our previous favorite in this category, the 14 pound Shark Ninja Lift-Away Pro. Even vacuuming in the dark is made better with the Apex Uplight’s LED lights, which also helps to better illuminate pet hair, dust, and dirt on the floor that otherwise might be overlooked by the naked eye.

Better yet, the Shark Apex Uplight is an example that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a powerful vacuum with lots of features.

Read our full review of the Shark Apex Uplight

The best cordless vacuum: Roidmi X30 Pro

Why we picked the Rodimi X30 Pro:

Cordless vacuums have evolved in the last few years, making them lighter and more powerful than ever before. While the name may not be familiar to some folks, the Rodimi X30 Pro stands out among the pack for its impressive specs, strong suction, and plethora of accessories that makes it more than just another vacuum. In addition to the standard set of cleaning tools, the Rodimi X30 Pro also packages in a mattress brush, an extension hose perfect for pets, and, yes, a mopping attachment.

The Rodimi X30 Pro leverages a six-level filtration system combined with a 26500Pa suction to trap dirt and debris within its 0.55L dust bin. Vacuuming tough carpets is its specialty, thanks in part to its V-shaped roller brush that reduces tangles, while hardwood and tile floors can be quickly cleaned using the included mop attachment.

The Roidmi X30 Pro even features a magnetic charging system to recharge the vacuum, as well as an LED light on the brushing head to help sniff out any pieces of dirt hiding in corners and crevices. Best of all, it’s priced at roughly $550 to give some of its established peers some competition.

The best robot vacuum and mop combo: Ecovacs Deebot OZMO 950

Why we picked the Ecovacs Deebot OZMO 950:

Getting the most out of your hard-earned money is something that people appreciate, so when you’re spending a pretty penny on a robot vacuum, it’s expected to do considerably more than just vacuum carpets and hardwood floors. Enter the Ecovacs Deebot OZMO 950, the only vacuum or mop you’ll ever need!

The Deebot OZMO 950 intelligently maps out rooms to get the most efficient clean as possible, so it’s not wasting time going over places multiple times. It even offers support for multi-room mapping, carpet detection to increase suction power, and virtual boundaries that you can set to keep it away from areas you don’t want it to clean. And yes, it’s compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, which allows you to control it with your voice.

Extending its value over other robot vacuums, the Ecovacs Deebot OZMO 950 can also mop floors — while vacuuming at the same time. Call it double-duty, but the OZMO 950 will suck up dirt and debris using its dual brushes and underside roller, clearing the way for cleaning math on its underside to mop. For those worried about carpets during mopping mode, the OZMO 950’s sensors will detect carpets and avoid them entirely.

Read our full review of the Ecovacs Deebot OZMO 950

The best vacuum for pet hair: Dyson Ball Animal 2

Why we picked the Dyson Ball Animal 2:

Dyson already makes some of the prettiest, most well-equipped vacuums around. But, the suction on the Animal 2 is impressive. The ball movement takes the rails off your traditional vacuum experience, allowing greater maneuverability when navigating around corners and furniture, with the added ability to turn on a dime.

The cyclone technology enables the vacuum to capture tiny hairs, dust, and debris, while the cleaning head self-adjusts to get the best suction on hardwood and carpets. The included helpful attachments — a turbine tool with heads that rotate in opposite directions, a stair tool, and a combination tool — let you clean your home from top to bottom.

The Dyson Ball Animal 2, which has a .55 gallon capacity, retains great suction performance after years of use. Although this vacuum doesn’t have the best capacity on the market, it’s super easy to empty with a click of a button.

The best vacuum under $100: Eureka NEU180B Upright Vacuum

Image of Eureka NEU180B

Why we picked the Eureka NEU180B:

If you’ve got to keep costs low but don’t want to skimp on performance, the Eureka NEU180B is for you. Weighing only 10 pounds, this upright vac can be pushed around your living space with ease. With the five height adjustment settings, you can clean hardwood, tile, high and low carpets, and more. Better yet, the NEU180B’s deluxe stretch hose can be flexed up to four times its normal size, which means you can finally vacuum out your central air vents.

Another big perk, especially for pet owners, is the enormous 2.6-liter dust cup. Feel free to whip out the NEU180B for an all-home clean once every Sunday. We bet the dust cup will last all month without being emptied (unless your home is gargantuan, of course). Maintenance is a breeze, too. Just unseat the washable filter and rinse it thoroughly.

For the money, the Eureka NEU180B can do everything most mid-tier vacuums are capable of, which makes the price even better. The only setback we can think of is the cord length. If you don’t have easy-to-reach electrical outlets in each room, the short cord can limit your vacuuming range. One Amazon reviewer ended up using an extension cord to work around the issue.

The best wet-dry vacuum: Armor All AA255 Utility Vacuum

Image of Armor All AA255

Why we picked the Armor All AA255:

This could be the best vacuum ever made for cleaning your car. Lightweight and portable, the 2.5-gallon Armor All AA255 comes with several brush attachments, letting you clean everything from seat cushions to dashboards with ease. Not to mention the deluxe car nozzle, which is tailor-made to dive between the front seats and center console. Goodbye, french fry from three years ago!

The fun doesn’t stop there, though. The AA255 can also be converted to a blower, making it ideal for drying vehicle surfaces and other drenched items. If you’re dealing with a true liquid situation, then set it back to vacuum mode and start sucking the water out of your flooded basement (the writer could have used this little guy when his sump pump failed). Don’t worry about the tank getting too full. Once the vac hits capacity, it automatically powers down.

For big cleanups or more frequent use, some may be happier with a bigger vac. But for under $60, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a utility companion that’s as reliable and as mobile as the Armor All AA255.

Research and buying tips

How does a vacuum work?

In a nutshell, a typical vacuum cleaner uses a brush mechanism to loosen dirt and debris from the carpet. Then, an internal fan and motor create suction and suck the dirt and air into the machine. The machine then holds the dirt into a sealed container and releases the air through a filter.

How often should you vacuum?

It depends on factors like your lifestyle, your flooring, and your individual preferences. Most experts recommend vacuuming carpets at least twice a week, and you should vacuum high traffic areas more often.

How long do vacuums last?

Most quality upright vacuums can last between least 5 and 10 years with proper care and maintenance. Robot vacuums tend to have shorter life spans. Digital Trends’ testing indicates most robot vacuums last around two years (or longer if you replace the battery and brushes as directed).

Are robot vacuums worth it?

Yes. Robot vacuums help to maintain regular floor cleaning, and the price range is steadily declining. You can get a quality vacuum with features like room mapping, smart home compatibility, and powerful suction for the $200 to $300 range. This allows you to clean your home easily and effortlessly.

How is vacuum suction measured?

Many vacuum manufacturers use air watts to measure suction power, which takes airflow and water lift into account and measures how many watts are used to carry a unit of air through the vacuum’s head. Some manufacturers also use Pa to describe suction power (Pascal pressure units).

How do you dispose of a vacuum cleaner?

Contact your local waste management center or electronics recycling center and drop off your old vacuum cleaner. If the vacuum still functions, consider donating it to a charitable organization.

Does vacuuming kill fleas?

Vacuuming can help reduce flea numbers because it can remove larvae and food sources. It may not completely eliminate a flea infestation, however.

How many watts does a vacuum use?

Between 500 and 3,000, with the average vacuum using around 1,400 watts.

Are Dyson vacuum cleaners really that good?

Yes. Dyson vacuums are known for being quality machines with powerful suction, excellent designs, and smart (yet simple) engineering. However, they are typically higher priced than many other vacuum brands.

How does Digital Trends test vacuums? 

Our team considered multiple factors when building this best list. When testing the vacuums, we made sure they had a powerful suction but weren’t extremely loud; they needed to be able to cover a large area but not be overwhelmingly expensive. Overall though, we checked out how well they could clean carpets and hard floors. 

The Digital Trends benchmark process is similar to the ones that manufacturers use. It’s straightforward; we first throw several wildly different substances all over the ground. Then, we thoroughly grind that material into the carpet or hardwoods. Then we precisely measure how much the vacuum sucks up. 

While every vacuum on this list demonstrates excellent cleaning power, they also are functional and valuable devices. You can read more about our vacuum testing process here.

Overall, yes. However, it can take quite a long time to get a load of laundry completely dry. Also, the clothes may not have that warm feeling they’d have if they had just come out of a standalone vented dryer.

Can I use dryer sheets in a washer dryer combo machine?

We do not suggest using dryer sheets in your combo washer-dryer machine.

What else should I consider before buying a washer dryer combo?

Aside from your budget, another important consideration when purchasing a washer dryer combo is your laundry scheduling habits. If you try to wash everything on the same day or try to cram towels and clothes into the same load, the washer dryer combo isn’t going to work for you. It may be better for you to consider a laundry center as a whole to fit in your space. On the other hand, if you’re the type who puts clothes in the washer, forgets about them for a few days, and then has to re-wash them to get rid of the dingy smell, a washer dryer combo might be an excellent fit for you.

The combo machine’s load capacity is also critical. Even if you break things up into small loads, it’s frustrating to realize your washer won’t fit a blanket or your curtains. The hassle of taking these things to the laundromat isn’t worth it when you have the option to find the best laundry appliances for your needs. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to pre-plan where you want to place the machine and make sure it’ll fit in terms of size, design, and compatibility with your home’s electric system.

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Michael Bizzaco
Michael Bizzaco has been writing about and working with consumer tech for well over a decade, writing about everything from…
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