Best vacuum cleaners

Need help keeping your home dust-free with minimum hassle? We put 15 of the UK's best vacuum cleaners to the test and our absolute favourite is the versatile and powerful Vax Blade 2 Max. Here are our vacuum cleaner reviews.

Best Vacuum Cleaner 2018

Vax Blade 2 Max

Choosing the right vacuum for your household can be a bit of a head-scratcher. Upright? Cylinder? Cordless? Bagged? Bagless? And what about filters? Which one is best for dealing with pet hair and how about hard floors? There's a lot to consider.

In our mission to find the best vacuum cleaner for most families, we trawled the Mumsnet forums to found out which products real parents were using and loving. We correlated this research with expert recommendations and bestseller lists to produce a shortlist of 15 models to put to the test.

Over a period of three months, we put each model through its paces in an average-sized three-bedroom house – also home to two children, a cat, two dogs and inevitable pet hair – and on a variety of floor types, including solid sealed wood, ceramic tiles, lino carpet and rugs.

After 150 hours of testing, we scored each vacuum on different categories – assembly, cord and charge, ease of use, manoeuvrability, performance on carpets, performance on hard floors, performance on pet hair, performance on stairs, maintenance, and value for money – and the five top-performing products were awarded a Mumsnet Best Badge.

Here are 15 of the best vacuum cleaners on the market right now

  1. Vax Blade 2 Max cordless vacuum cleaner (£249.99 from Currys)
  2. Vax Blade 32V (£169.99 from Very)
  3. Dyson Big Ball Animal 2 cylinder vacuum cleaner (£299 from John Lewis & Partners)
  4. Gtech Pro (£199.99 from Very)
  5. Hoover Enigma Pets Bagged (£99.99 from Very)
  6. Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away upright vacuum cleaner (£249.99 from Currys)
  7. Vax Air Lift Steerable Advance (£149.99 from John Lewis & Partners)
  8. Bosch Unlimited (£369.99 from John Lewis & Partners)
  9. Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat and Dog (£265 from Amazon)
  10. Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute (£449.99 from John Lewis & Partners)
  11. Dyson Ball Animal 2 (£299 from Currys)
  12. Hoover Discovery Pets (£139 from ao.com)
  13. Hoover Vision One-Fi (£129.99 from Currys)
  14. Numatic Henry Cordless (£189.99 from Amazon)
  15. Sebo Felix ePower (£227 at ao.com)

What is the best vacuum cleaner for 2018?

We think that the Vax Blade 2 Max is the best vacuum cleaner for 2018.

Verdict in 10 seconds

  • Powerful, but light, and its 45-minute battery life means there's enough charge to clean the entire house
  • Versatile and efficient – has the ability to deal with dirt and debris on any floor type
  • Portable and easy to move between different floor surfaces – it makes vacuuming a quick and easy job, which is especially useful if you have children running around the house

The Vax Blade 2 Max makes short work of day-to-day cleaning whether in stick or handheld mode. It's a real game-changer for families looking for a device that's both versatile and excellent value for money.

Pros

  • Quick and easy to assemble
  • Weighs only 3kg (2kg when used as a cordless handheld vacuum cleaner)
  • Great suction power on all floor types
  • Low profile head makes it easy to clean under furniture
  • Press a button to activate the brush bar – no need to change heads for different surfaces
  • Extra tools (crevice tool and dusting brush) included and all easy to use
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Bagless so a little messy to empty
  • Only 0.6 capacity
  • Quite noisy (in comparison to others we tested), particularly if using in turbo mode

How we tested vacuum cleaners

Each product was pushed to the limit in real-life situations. We tested for:

  • Assembly – we looked at how easy the vacuum was to unpack, took note of how clear the instructions were and assessed how quick and easy it was to put the vacuum together (without help).
  • Ease of use and manoeuvrability – our tester changed heads, changed settings for different floor types, and attached accessories. She looked at hose reach, cord length on uprights and cylinders, and charge length and run time on cordless vacuums. When it came to manoeuvrability, how easy was the vacuum to move around, particularly underneath low-rise furniture and when vacuuming the whole house? If its weight made it difficult to use, we flagged it.
  • Overall performance – we devised specific tests for different floor types. Our tester vacuumed hard floors, carpets, rugs, upholstery, pet bedding, skirting boards, ceilings, blinds, and underneath furniture. She checked how close to the edges each vacuum went and how many sweeps it took to pick up large and small pieces of debris, such as spilled cereal and crisps, toast crumbs, coffee granules and dust.
  • Performance on pet hair – she also tested how effective it was to pick up pet hair from different floor surfaces, including carpets, floor edges, pet bedding, upholstery and underneath furniture.
  • Performance on stairs – each vacuum was tested on the stairs (13 steps with a quarter turn, to be precise). Were they difficult to clean? Did our tester have to take the upright vacuums with her up the stairs? If so, how tricky was this? Did the hose reach far enough that she didn’t have to? When it came to cylinders, how heavy were they and did they rest safely on a stair half-way up or tumble down at the slightest tug? We also looked at whether our tester needed to change heads to vacuum the stairs, how easy it was to do this, and whether the models included extra tools to get into the most awkward of corners.
  • Maintenance (emptying, cleaning and charging) – every product was used daily so we could evaluate how often it needed emptying and how easy or messy this was, especially if bagless, although bagless vacuum cleaners can be easier and cheaper to maintain than bagged. We also looked at how the tools, brush bars, filters and other components could be cleaned and how often this needed to be done. When it came to charging and storing, how long did it take to get to full charge after use and was the vacuum easy and convenient to store?
  • Value for money – we tested vacuums with a broad range of price tags to find those that offered the best value for parents, looking at whether there were compromises to be made with the less expensive models and, if so, if those compromises were worth making.

All prices on this page are correct at time of writing

Read full review »

More Mumsnet Best Vacuum Cleaners

Best cylinder vacuum cleaner

Best Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner 2018

Dyson Big Ball Animal 2

Verdict in 10 seconds

  • Pioneering big ball design
  • Powerful suction means it's as effective on carpets and upholstery as it is on hard floors
  • Additional tools make vacuuming easier – a quick run round the house leaves it looking as though you’ve spent hours vacuuming

The Dyson Big Ball Animal 2 (£299 at John Lewis & Partners) is a bagless cylinder vacuum that's perfect for smaller households. It's easy to manoeuvre and its quick-release tools make cleaning simple, too.

What's more, it has more capacity than typical cordless cleaners, so you won't be going back and forth to the bin to empty its contents every other second.

Pros

  • Great on all surfaces, including carpets, rugs and hard floors
  • Self-rights when toppled
  • Rotating wand handle for easier cleaning (this does take some getting used to, but is very effective)
  • Tangle-free turbine tool for pet hair
  • Comes with quick-release tools and has an automatic cord return
  • 1.5 litre capacity

Cons

  • You'll need to take the machine with you to vacuum the stairs
  • Feels heavy when lifting
  • Bagless – some dust and debris when emptying
  • Pricey

With a wealth of tools, the Dyson works beautifully and will tackle most household vacuuming needs with ease.

Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

Read more »
Best vacuum cleaner for pet hair

Best Vacuum Cleaner for Pet Hair 2018

Gtech Pro

Verdict in 10 seconds

  • Ideal for pet owners – makes light work of getting rid of dried, muddy paw prints and lots of pet hair
  • Picks up everything in its path – and we mean everything – on all surfaces
  • Holds more dirt than bagless vacuums and barely needs cleaning

The Gtech Pro (£199.99 on Very) is versatile, light and takes care of pet (and human) hair in just a few sweeps. Its bagged design also mean there's no mess when it's time to empty.

We think it's a great buy for pet owners who want the versatility of a cordless vacuum and the convenience (and cleanliness) of a bagged.

Pros

  • One head for all floor types
  • Easy and hygienic to empty – no mess and no filters to wash
  • Bags hold up to 1.5 litres – that’s three times the amount of other cordless models of a similar size
  • Lightweight and versatile – can be used as a handheld
  • Short one-hour charge for a burst of cleaning
  • Fairly quiet at 78 decibels
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Can be tricky to remove the brush heads and wand
  • Not convenient to store – doesn't stand up when not in use and no wall bracket included

If you're a pet owner, the Gtech Pro deals with all manner of pet hair brilliantly while also making day-to-day vacuuming a breeze. Win win we say.

Buy now from Very

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Best vacuum cleaner under 100

Best Vacuum Cleaner Under £100 2018

Hoover Enigma Pets Bagged

Verdict in 10 seconds

  • Compact and easy to store – great for smaller homes
  • At just 66 decibels, this vacuum is lovely and quiet
  • One fifth of the price of the most expensive vacuum we tested – it performs just as well as, if not better than, much pricier cleaners

The Hoover Enigma Pets Bagged (£99.99 on Very) is a pro at dealing with pet hair and works really well on hard floors and carpets. It's simple to put together, easy to use and very powerful. All for under £100.

With all the Hoover's tools stored on board, there's no going back and forth when you realise you've left the tool you actually need elsewhere. We think it’s the best value for money of all the cleaners we tested.

Pros

  • Variable power – quick and easy-to-change suction means you can protect delicate surfaces
  • One head for all floor types
  • Light and easy to manoeuvre
  • Pet turbo brush to loosen and lift hair
  • Automatic cord rewind – saves having to manually wind up the cord when you've finished vacuuming
  • Compact and easy to store
  • 3.2 litre capacity
  • Bagged – no dust or mess when emptying

Cons

  • Instructions aren’t very clear when assembling
  • Doesn’t always get right to the edges of the carpet or stairs
  • The finish feels a little cheap

While it doesn’t have the technical wizardry or all the bells and whistles of a pricier product, it does a great job nonetheless. All in all, it’s a solid model that does what it says on the box.

Buy now from Very

Read more »
Vax blade 32v cordless vacuum cleaner

Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaner 2018

Vax Blade 32V

Verdict in 10 seconds

  • Incredibly light, which means you won't break a sweat
  • Cordless so there’s nothing to lug behind you up the stairs and no cord to trip over either
  • Cheaper than the newer Vax Blade 2 Max

The Vax Blade 32V (£169.99 from Very) is powerful, light and easy to use. Its 45-minute run time means there’s enough charge to clean the entire house (if you don’t live in a mansion, that is).

When it comes to day-to-day cleaning, the Vax Blade 32V does a brilliant job – it’s quite staggering just how much dirt and hair the cleaner picks up.

Pros

  • Lightweight at only 3kg
  • Steerable – easy to get around furniture
  • Effortlessly picks up dirt – boost mode gives extra cleaning power when needed
  • Reach wand means you can dust up high and in hard-to-reach places
  • Quick and easy to assemble
  • Simple to switch between tools
  • Press a button to vacuum different floor types
  • Great suction – no problems picking up large or small debris or pet hair
  • Effective on all floor types

Cons

  • 0.6 litre capacity
  • Bagless, so can be little messy to empty
  • Need to unscrew the brush bar to clean it
  • Need to buy direct from Vax to get extra tools

As our original Mumsnet Best Vacuum Cleaner 2018 winner, later pipped to the post by Vax's newer model (the Vax Blade 2 Max), the 32V is a top-performing cordless vacuum that's not too pricey either.

Buy now from Very

Read more »
Best upright vacuum cleaner

Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner 2018

Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away

Verdict in 10 seconds

  • Great on all surfaces and a pro at getting into those hard-to-reach places
  • You can use it like a handheld vacuum when you need to – ideal if you need to give upholstery or the stairs a quick once over when you’re short on time
  • Pricey, but worth the investment

The Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away (£249.99 from Currys) is a great all-rounder. The upright section is effective at dealing with pet hair and is effective on any surface, while the Lift-Away makes cleaning hard-to-reach areas super easy.

Even though it's a corded vacuum, it still gives you all the versatility of a handheld – meaning that it’s no problem to vacuum stairs, skirting boards, corners and underneath furniture – and it's a nifty gadget if you're blighted by back pain too.

Pros

  • DuoClean technology – two brush rolls in one head work together to remove large and small particles. The second soft brush means you can move easily from one surface to another
  • Powered Lift-Away – the main unit can be detached with the click of a button, so it's like having an upright and a handheld in one (bonus)
  • Easy to move from one surface to another – no faffing with different brush heads
  • Anti-allergen technology captures and holds dust and allergens inside the vacuum
  • Great manoeuvrability

Cons

  • There are two filters to be washed: pre-motor every three months and post-motor (HEPA air filter) every year
  • Quite heavy when used as an upright
  • 1.1 litre capacity
  • Expensive

Overall, the Shark successfully sets itself apart from other upright vacuums despite being at the higher end of the price scale.

Buy now from Currys

Read more »

How we test

Nothing quite beats a life-changing gadget, especially in a busy family home. Here's how we tested the best vacuum cleaners on the market.

Read more »

Vacuum cleaners

Buyer's guide

Everything you need to know when buying a vacuum cleaner, explained.

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