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Canister Vacuums Buying Guide

House vacuums always seem to do just enough to get the job done, but always leave you wishing things could be cleaner and the job done quicker. It also feels as though vacuums are kept around far too long and get passed around a lot because the investment into a brand new one always seems steep and intimidating.

What do you ultimately buy when there are so many different models out there with equally bold cleaning promises? Do you go bagless? Do you go for the ultra-portable, standing, or handheld styles? Well, the truth is that favorite vacuum models and brands are highly subjective, but if you want to get a reliable vacuum cleaner, a canister model is going to be your safest bet.

Why Buy a Canister Vacuum?

There are distinct advantages to buying a canister vacuum over other models. For one thing, they’re light and easy to move around. The reach of a canister model enables you to reach those spaces under furniture or above cabinets. Canister vacuums also combine the best of both worlds with good capacity and power. Oftentimes, even for high-end vacuums, you will need to trade capacity for power.

Types of Canister Vacuums

You’re going to find three major categories of canister vacuums based upon the type of cleaner heads they have: standard suction, turbine, and power.

  • The names can vary sometimes, but your standard canister vacuum is for basic hardwood and short-fiber carpets.
  • The turbine canister vacuum utilizes a brush that moves with the vacuum’s airflow. The power models also have a brush that revolves, but it is powered directly and is much stronger.
  • The power brush is meant for professional usage or situations where heavy cleaning is needed, almost like a street sweeper for your home.

Next up is deciding whether you want a bagless model or one with a bag. There is no superior choice, you will need to determine which one has the most important pros or cons for you and your house needs. These are the major differences between the two:

  • Bagless: No bags means no going out and buying them every few months. Bags also conceal what gets picked up. While this isn’t a big decision-maker for bagless vacuums, it is helpful in judging how full your vacuum is getting. Cleanup might turn messy if you’re emptying out your bagless vacuum’s canister at the full capacity.
  • BaggedThe classic bag-style vacuum cleaner may seem archaic, but it is still an efficient way of dealing with dirt. They give you control as to how and where you can just toss out your dirt and debris. They also allow you the freedom to choose the quality of filtration you want to use with your vacuum, either standard or advanced HEPA filtration systems for those with sensitive allergies.

Important Considerations

Be on the lookout for these key features when shopping for a new canister vacuum:

  • Adjustable cleaning head range: The wider the range, the greater the surface coverage with different surfaces. Some vacuum cleaners have an auto adjuster that knows the correct height based on pressure sensor detection.
  • If you’re buying a power brush vacuum, make sure it comes with an easy access switch to turn off the brush head to avoid scratching floors, snagging loose threads, or moving around fine dirt.
  • Automatic suction settings will improve the effective cleaning capabilities of the vacuum when using it on furniture, draperies, or curtains.
  • Anti-clogging technologies will come in handy if you have a pet and want to vacuum freely without dealing with clogs and hair stuck in the motors.
  • HEPA filtration systems, especially for bagless models is important. You will be inhaling a lot of particulates, even if you can’t see them in air.
  • Having a nice variety of vacuum attachments included is often overlooked, but it does help make cleaning jobs easier in hard to reach places.
  • Get an extended warranty with whichever vacuum cleaner you end up buying. Even the best brands can be known to fail just before their standard warranty runs out. It’s better to be prepared.

Reviews Highlights

  • When you’re shopping for something that is going to get a lot of use and will have to deal with unknown objects that you could come across on the floor, you don’t want to cheap out on quality. The key is here is quality, not just power specs. What looks good on paper doesn’t necessarily work in practice. Whatever you do, don’t buy a vacuum online without having the opportunity to test it out in-person first.
  • Price doesn’t automatically indicate quality, either. Just go off of what your own needs are and what your budget is, if you can’t afford the vacuum that checks all your boxes, then simply hold off until you have saved up for it. You may regret it later if you choose the cheaper one with missing features.
  • When it comes to which features are worth the premium price tag, look for things like automatic cleaning head adjustment, wide cleaning path, wireless models, or models with retractable power cords to make cleaning faster and easier.
  • Compare canister features, such as capacity and built-in filter functionality. Smaller canisters may be lighter, but they’ll require more maintenance and emptying, so it might not be the best choice for large homes or places that receive high traffic from outside. Warranty coverage plans should be your last major detail to consider when comparing vacuums. Read the fine print and don’t be stuck with a vacuum cleaner that breaks on you right before your warranty expires.

Popular Canister Vacuum Brands

  • Panasonic: Everyone knows Panasonic for their home entertainment and kitchen appliances. This a brand with a lot of experience and history with building reliable electronics. They don’t make the loudest noise in the vacuum cleaner industry, but they are certainly a very competitive brand in both quality and overall value. You’ll find them all over the budget priced canister vacuum cleaner listings with a nice variety of models.
  • Electrolux: While not exactly a household name, Electrolux targets the premium end of the vacuum cleaner market without being totally inaccessible by the average family household. They make practical and reliable canister vacuums in the mid-to-high tier price range. The key here is to find a vacuum that fulfills all your cleaning needs and expect it to last well beyond the typical lifespan of your average budget vacuum cleaner.
  • Hoover: Synonymous with the word vacuum, Hoover is a historic American company that is over 100 years old. Hoover has a wide range of models on the market, with every budget in-mind. The best thing about Hoover is their familiarity with independent repair shops, if you happen to come across a used model. Expired warranties aren’t the end of the world, as they are easy to diagnose and fix than other brands.
  • Shark Ninja: A family-owned vacuum cleaner and one of the fastest growing names in the business, Shark Ninja started in Europe and quickly grew to a global phenomenon. You’re find some of the best mid and high-end canister vacuums that are some of the lightest models on the market. Shark Ninja is known for their competitive pricing, but not considered the highest quality manufacturer on the market, like Electrolux.

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