Why a Canister Vacuum?
The choice of an upright vacuum and a canister vacuum is as based as much on personal preference as it is design and efficiency. Upright vacuums have long been the market leader in American homes. Many more people are choosing a canister vacuum when the time comes to replace their existing vacuum.
There are some compelling reasons for choosing a canister vacuum, and there are some cautions and considerations that are necessary as well. A canister vacuum may not be the right choice for every home or every user.
Before we get to our list of the best canister vacuums, we should look at the pros and cons of owning a canister vacuum. We cannot decide for you if a canister vacuum is a good choice for your situation. We can provide the information that you need to make your own informed decision. That is our goal.
Pros of Canister Vacuum
Canister vacuums seem to be gaining in popularity in the United States. Their popularity in the UK is much greater than for upright vacuums. Proponents of the canister vacuum list many reasons for the rise in popularity.
The Noise Factor
Canister vacuums tend to be much quieter than upright vacuums. The canister design allows the manufacturers more room to install sound insulation. There may be a perceived difference for users based on the different methods of using vacuums. AN upright puts the motor and fans in front of the user while the canister vacuum usually puts the motor and fans behind the user. The location of the noise generating part of the vacuum may give a perceived difference in noise levels.
The Accessory Factor
Vacuums don’t just do floors anymore. And most people expect their vacuums to clean in places that were once only cleaned by hand. These types of jobs require a different approach to vacuum design and features. The types and styles of accessories that come with vacuums are the keys to how versatile a vacuum is for cleaning different surfaces, materials, and in hard to reach places.
Canister vacuums come equipped with a wider range of tools and accessories than upright vacuums. Such items as crevice tools, powered upholstery brushes, stairway tools, dusting brushes are standard fair with most canister vacuum packages. Some canister vacuums can even clean carpets, not just vacuum.
The Ease of Use Factor
Maneuverability is a big selling point for canister vacuums. The ability to access places that an upright can’t manage is also another feature that many people like about canister vacuums. With the motor, fans, and dust collection system at the back end of the hose and only a powered roller brush head at the working end of the hose, it is much easier to maneuver the cleaning end of the canister vacuum into tight places, low places, and hidden places.
Maneuvering the hose in and around furniture is easier than trying to manage an upright vacuum for some people. Without the weight and bulk of the motor assembly and the dust collection system out in front, the wand, hose, and cleaning brush of a canister vacuum becomes much lighter and much easier to handle.
The Weight Factor
If you live in a home with multiple levels or if you need to move your vacuum from one location to another, a canister vacuum is a logical choice. Overall, canister vacuums tend to be lighter and easier to carry than a comparable upright vacuum. Most canister vacuums have handles on top of the canister to make lifting and carrying the canister easier.
The Power Factor
Putting the motor, fans, and dust collection system in a separate unit from the cleaning end of the canister vacuum, manufacturers have more room with which to work. Having more room allows the use of more powerful motors and fans and more room for dust collection. Bigger motors and fans mean more suction at the business end of the vacuum that translates into better cleaning.
Cons of Canister Vacuum
Canister vacuums are not without their problems. Every design has its limitations, and canister vacuums are no different. Those who shun the canister vacuum design for the upright vacuum point out some of these shortcomings.
Drag vs. Push
Most users of the canister vacuum tug the vacuum along behind themselves, using the hose to pull the vacuum around the house. Pulling the canister vacuum can lead to the vacuum going errant and bumping into walls, door facing, and furniture as it follows along the way.
Where to Put the Vacuum
Storage of a canister vacuum can pose problems. The hoses, accessories, and the canister need more room for storage than an upright vacuum. The hoses and wands don’t conform well to most storage closets. They often seem to be in the way or are constantly falling over and out of the storage space when you try to access anything else in the closet.
Getting Ready to Clean
With an upright vacuum, you can pull it out of the closet, plug in the power cord and got tow work vacuuming the floors. A canister vacuum typically takes a bit more time and effort to get to the point of doing the chore you set out to accomplish. Hoses must be connected, accessories fitted, and the whole assembly moved to where you want to work.
The Physical Factor
Many users of the canister vacuum complain that using a canister vacuum requires them to spend more time bending over while using the vacuum. Many canister vacuums mount the controls and switches on the canister itself. Having to return to the canister to use the controls a bit more effort.
The constant bending to access the controls on a canister vacuum plus the lifting and carrying of the canister may cause problems for anyone with back pain. Using the wand with the remote power roller brush head may require additional bending or stooping to use the tools effectively.
With the pros and cons of canister vacuums clearly stated, let’s move on to our list of the best canister vacuums.
Best Canister Vacuums Chart
|Name||Item Weight||Shipping Weight||Dimensions||Manufacturer|
|Rainbow Model E2 Complete Cleaning System||19 lbs.||35 lbs.||15.5 x 11.8 x 15.8 in.||Rexair|
|Dyson Cinetic Big Ball||17.64 lbs.||24.8 lbs.||12.1 x 15.7 x 13.7 in.||Dyson|
|Bissell SmartClean Canister Vacuum 2268||18.1 lbs.||23.1 lbs.||19 x 12 x 50 in.||BISSELL Homecare Inc.|
|Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum||19.4 lbs.||28.6 lbs.||19.5 x 11.2 x 8.9 in.||Miele|
|Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum||12 lbs.||13.35 lbs.||11.5 x 15.5 x 10 in.||OVENTE|
|Oreck Commercial BB900DGR||5 lbs.||11.85 lbs.||13.5 x 5.2 x 8 in.||Oreck Commercial|
Best of the Best – Rainbow Model E2
If the price is no object and you want the most features and the widest range of options available in a canister vacuum, then the Rainbow E2. There is no doubt that the Rainbow E2 is a powerful canister vacuum and can clean floors. Rainbow has upped the canister vacuum game with such a wider range of optional accessories and tools that the Rainbow E2 is unparalleled in its cleaning capabilities.
The list of features and optional cleaning tools is enough to make a case for the Rainbow E2 as our Best of the Best canister vacuum. The Rainbow E2 comes with these standard features and attachments.
- Water Filtration system for maximum dust and allergen control in the home
- All controls conveniently mounted on the handle of the wand
- Quick connect and disconnect fittings on hoses, wands, and attachments
- LED headlights on the powered roller brush attachment
- Floor and wall brush for cleaning hard surface flooring
- Dusting brush for getting into the small spaces and on delicate furniture
- Upholstery tool that can safely clean even the most delicate fabrics
- Crevice tool for getting into those narrow spaces in furniture and along walls and baseboards
- Confined space tool that also doubles as an inflator
- A pet grooming too that makes keeping your furry friends clean and happy
- Wet pickup and extractor head. The water filtration system on the Rainbow E2 makes it possible to clean up small spills.
- Aerofresh bag for refreshing pillows and cushions
- A special tool for cleaning the coils on your refrigerator which will extend this expensive appliance life and help it run more efficiently
That list is impressive, but we have more. The optional cleaning accessories sold separately raise the bar on the expectations of a canister vacuum.
- The power nozzle is the advanced floor cleaning tool with a powered roller brush and LED headlights on the powerhead.
- If you want to clean your carpets, there is no need to rent or buy a separate machine. The Rainbow E2 coupled with the AquaMate® extraction head turns the Rainbow E2 into a carpet cleaning machine
- If you have a large area of hard surface floors, the RainJet® may interest you. A powerful water jet on the attachment with interchangeable sponge and brush attachments allows you to clean hard surfaces, not just vacuum.
- Deep cleaning upholstery is a breeze with the RainbowMate® powered upholstery cleaning system. This tool works great on furniture, stairways, mattresses, and even car interiors.
- If you have small stains that require special attention, the MiniJet® attachment is the choice. This tool is especially useful for pet stains.
With all these features, accessories, and options, it is not hard to understand why the Rainbow E2 gets our Best of the Best Canister Vacuum. The downside is that the basic Rainbow E2 package comes in at about $1300, and if you want any of the optional tools, the price goes up.
Consumers who purchase the Rainbow E2 also rate as a negative marketing approach used by Rainbow. Many wish that the supplies and optional accessories were available from other retailers. Unfortunately, Rainbow’s marketing and sales strategy are to make these items available only through its distributor network.
If you don’t have budget issues and you want the premier canister vacuum. You can learn more about Rainbow vacuums and how to get a demonstration in our home at this link.
Best Overall Value – Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Multi-Floor Canister Vacuum
Our choice of the Best Overall Value label goes to the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Multi-floor canister vacuum. It doesn’t come with all the extra bells and whistles as the Rainbow E3, but it also comes in at about one-third the cost. What you won’t lose in the price difference is performance, power, and quality.
You also get some innovative technology that improves the overall performance of the Dyson Big Ball vacuum. The features list is rich without making the Dyson Big Ball a wallet buster. For example:
- Radial Root Cyclone ™ technology has 19 individual cyclonic ports arranged in two tiers to create a powerful centrifugal force to capture microscopic dust particles.
- You get extra maneuverability with the patented Dyson ball, and, if the ball falls over, it rights itself without having to bend over to pick up the ball.
- Dyson’s bagless technology allows you to remove the dust bin and dump the debris without ever having to touch anything but the level on the outside of the dust bin. The cleanest dust bin empty you will ever experience.
- The dust bin is one of the largest of any canister vacuum on the market. You must stop and empty less often which means more efficient and faster cleaning.
- The extra reach of the 50-inch wand gives you more cleaning range with less effort.
- The Dyson Big Ball canister vacuum is certified asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. The whole-machine HEPA filtration system keeps the dust in the vacuum and not back into your house.
- The f-year Dyson warranty makes the purchase of the Dyson Big Ball canister vacuum worry-free.
The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Multi-Floor Canister Vacuum is on the pricier side of most canister vacuums. However, the technology and features that the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball offers for the money certainly merit its place on our list as the Best Overall Value.
A survey of users of the Dyson Cinetic Big ball rate the vacuum positively. Some complaint about the short power cord on the vacuum as well as the lack of on-board storage for the attachments. Some point out that the carpet head is air-driven instead of a power roller-brush which they say is less effective.
To learn more about the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Canister Vacuum follow this link.
Best Budget Choice – Bissell SmartClean® Canister Vacuum
Moving to the other end of the budget spectrum, we find the Bissel Deluxe Canister Vacuum. The Bissell Deluxe finds a place on our list as the Best Budget Choice for a canister vacuum. Just because the Bissell SmartClean® vacuum gets our budget choice label doesn’t mean it is short on features or power.
The Bissell SmartClean® canister vacuum delivers on power in a small package. At 18.8 lbs., it is one of the lightest of the full-featured canister vacuums on our list. The Bissell SmartClean® is a bagless canister vacuum. The canister features Bissell’s hygienic no-touch emptying system.
Comparing the Bissell SmartClean® canister vacuums list of features to more expensive models, you won’t find big gaps in the Bissell line-up.
- Self-retracting 30’ power cord
- Multi-Cyclonic Spooling System guarantees power suction and dirt collection
- Three-speed digital suction controls for precise cleaning of any surface or material
- Edge cleaning bristles on the cleaning head for picking up debris along the edges of baseboards
- Dusting brush for cleaning hard to reach space or delicate items
- Crevice tool for those deep edges in upholstered furniture
- Telescoping wand to make reaching those high places easier
- Large 2-liter dust cup
- Auto height adjustment for cleaning multiple surfaces
- 5-year warranty
Not many vacuums in this price point boast a five-year warranty. The features offered by Bissell with the SmartClean® canister vacuum, the great warranty and the price put this vacuum on our list as our choice of the Best Budget Choice in canister vacuums.
Surveying users of the Bissell SmartClean® canister vacuum did find some complaints and shortcomings. The lack of a power roller brush head is the main complaint seen. Some consumers found the Bissell to be less effective on pet hair then they expected and saw this as a problem.
Want to completely solve the problem of pet hair? Read our Best Shark Vacuum For Pets.
Check out more information about the Bissell SmartClean® consider vacuum at this link on Amazon.
Best for Pet Hair – Miele Complete C3 Cat and Dog Canister
If you live with a furry family, you know that the challenge of keeping pet hair under control is a large one. That is why pet owners often opt for a specialized vacuum to keep the pet hair problem manageable. The Miele Complete C3 Cat and Dog canister vacuum is designed specifically for homes with pets. Its features and its capabilities make it our choice for Best for Pet Hair.
Standard with the Miele Complete C3 is the Electro Plus electrobrush and a 180-degree rotation on the power roller brush to make getting into narrow spaces easier. The Miele is nowhere close to being the cheapest vacuum on our list. In fact, this vacuum is near the top in terms of price. However, the features that it offers and the vacuum’s ability to manage pet hair make it the perfect choice for our list.
Features offered by Mieles with the Complete C# Cat and Dog Canister vacuum include:
- High Suction Power
- Active AirClean filter technology to eliminate pet odors as you clean
- Convenient foot controls on the canister let you manage power settings without having to bend
- Never loses suction even when the dust bag is full
- Includes three integrated accessories
- Upholstery tool
- Crevice tool
- Dusting brush
- Parquet Twister hard surface cleaning head
- Handheld turbo brush
- Electro Plus carpet cleaning head.
- Silence System for quieter running
- Onboard parking system to hold the powerhead when not in use.
- Auto power cord rewind
- Comfort control handle
If you live with pets and managing the pet hair situation is a priority, then the Miele Complete C3 Cat and Dog canister vacuum may be just what you need. The extra cost to get a vacuum optimized for managing pet hair should not be a stumbling block. The value of specialty cleaning with the other features offered by the Miele vacuum gets it a place on our list as the Best for Pet Hair.
Comments from users of the Miele Complete C3 Cat and Dog Canister vacuum are generally good with above-average ratings. However, some users do point out some failings of the Miele canister vacuum.
The suction only powered handheld turbo brush was seen by several as a negative. Some users found it hard to move the powerheads over the floor surface because of the strong suction. These users cite the lack of rollers on the floor tools a definite place for improvement.
Visit Amazon to find out more about the Miele Complete C3 Cat and Dog Canister Vacuum.
Best for Hard Surface – Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum (ST2010)
If your home has hard surface floor coverings over most of its floors, the demands on your vacuum are a lot different than for those homes with mostly carpet. Powered roller brush heads are not so much an issue when the surface you are trying to clean is flat and smooth.
Our choice of vacuum for Best for Hard Surfaces may come as a surprise, especially when you see the price. Easily found under $100, the Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum is a winner in the hard surface floor category. But don’t discount its ability to handle other jobs around the house, even some carpet and area rugs.
Ovente is not as well-known as some of the other manufacturers on our list, but they rate favorably among purchasers. Even at this low price, Ovente offers a full list of features and accessories.
- Bagless vacuum for easier cleaning and maintenance
- Cyclonic dust collections system
- HEPA filtration
- Automatic power cord rewind
- Floor Brush
- Handheld upholstery brush
- Dusting brush
- Telescopic metal wand
- Step button for on/off operation without stooping or bending
- 360-degree hose swivel
- Full dust bin LED alert light
The Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum can certainly hold its own on hard surface floors with vacuum costing many times more. It is effective on the carpet as well and you shouldn’t discount it as just a hard surface vacuum.
Reviewing customer and user comments, we found that overall the Ovente Bagless Canister Vacuum gets above-average rankings. Comments praise the features and power of this vacuum, and the value of the system as excellent.
There are a few negatives of which you need to be aware. Some users don’t like that you must put your hand inside the dust bin to remove and clean the filter. They found this a bit disgusting. Other comments focused on the connection between the hose and the canister. The connection is a simple twist and lock system. When using the vacuum, the hose may coil and twist and eventually unhook the hose from the canister. A few comments about the length of the hose and the length of the power cord stood out as well.
In the end, the features, user ratings and the value of the Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum earn a place on our list for Best for Hard Surfaces. It is a great value as a hard surface vacuum but shouldn’t get overlooked as an overall choice for a canister vacuum.
Follow this link to Amazon to discover more about the Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum.
Best Utility Canister Vacuum – Oreck Commercial XL Pro 5 Super Compact Canister Vacuum
To round out our list, we looked at utility canister vacuums. These smaller and lighter versions of the full-size canister vacuums don’t work for whole-house cleaning. Instead, they find a place to supplement a full-size vacuum to take care of small jobs that don’t call for getting the full-size vacuum out of the closet.
Most utility canister vacuums don’t come with casters or wheels. They get hand-carried to the job site, used, and then put away. They live in the garage for cleaning out cars and in craft spaces or other utility rooms where they come out to clean up small messes.
The feature lists are a bit different for utility canister vacuums but, surprisingly, there is a lot of crossover between utility canister vacuums and full-sized canister vacuums. The Oreck Utility Canister Vacuum brings some surprised to the features list as well.
- Two-stage bypass motor of more suction and power
- Adjustable extension wand and four-foot hose for overhead cleaning
- 30-foot power cord means more reach, and fewer stops to change outlets
- Weighs only 5 lbs.
- Dusting brush
- Upholstery tool
- A large floor tool for hard surfaces
- 1-year limited warranty
The small size and lightweight of the Oreck Commercial XL Pro Canister Vacuum belie its abilities and usefulness. Cleaning in high places or the upholstery and floorboards of your car can be much easier and quicker tasks with a lightweight, small canister vacuum like the Oreck Commercial XL Pro.
The Oreck Commercial XL Pro is a true commercial vacuum ruggedly built to withstand the rigors of use in a commercial environment. All these features when balanced against the price, make the Oreck Commercial XL Pro Super Compact Canister Vacuum our choice for Best Utility Canister Vacuum.
The consensus among users of the Oreck Commercial XL Pro is a good balance of price and features. There are some negative comments to be found. Complaints about the durability of some of the accessory parts seem pervasive. Some users complained that the power cord was too long and became a nuisance when the vacuum using the vacuum. Finally, a few users commented that the vacuum lacked any mind of filtration other than the bag, which made it unsuitable for use in the home.
To read more about the Oreck Commercial XL Pro Canister Vacuum, follow this link to Amazon.
Take it Home
If you are in the market for a canister vacuum, I hope that this list helps you make an informed and well thought out decision. Of course, we cannot make that decision for you, but our goal is always to help you make the best decision possible.