Best vacuum cleaners - review

Looking for the best performing vacuum cleaners? We look at the latest models in our labs, including leading brands like Miele, Dyson and Electrolux in our vacuum review (member content). We also help you decide on the type of machine in our latest vacuum buying guide.

Ask a question or share your vacuum cleaner experiences in the comments below.


I’ve owned a few vac’s including a couple of bagless models. I’m back to the Miele with a bag for the simple reason that all vac’s become dusty, inside and out, and require a ‘service’ once in a while to spruce them up - and I like just removing the bag and disposing the lot, with a minor cleanup before fitting the new bag.

I tried various tricks with the bag-less ones I had, including a Dyson, to empty them without it looking like Mt St Helens for the next half hour. Encasing the ‘catching tube of evil’ in a garbage bag and encouraging every last ounce of dust out of it then leaving it to ‘settle’ seemed to be the best approach. Bang it on the inside of a wheelie bin and cover everything in a square mile with the dust you sucked out of your lounge room wasn’t fun …

I’m a fan of tiled or otherwise hard floors. Carpet holds too much evil. Until moving to where I am now there was ancient carpet, and nothing out-sucked my Hoover model 612 - it “beats as it sweeps as it cleans” :slight_smile: they don’t make them like they used to … (mine is pre-1967 and still works well!) … It’s a bit loud though, and with little carpet the Miele is more pleasingly quiet.


We also have hard floors (timber prodominately to reduce allergies) and complement our Miele vacuum cleaner with a static mop. Static mops are quick and easy to run over the hard floor and capture most of the dust. Coarser materials not held by the mop fibres are swept into a pile using the mop and dust panned up. The mop is shaken outside to remove collected dust.

Static mops also or near 100% reliable, doesn’t use electricity, last for a very long time and only need a wash every year or so to remove any very fine dust build up.

Furniture and rugs are vacuumed or washed.

Doing this, we use about a bag ($7) every 9-12 months.

It is amazing how much dust (fabric fibres, dead skin, mineral dust etc) falls out in a house every week…and is more obvious with hard flooring.


What a classic machine @draughtrider, and it looks in good nic too :+1:

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I currently have two vacs and a carpet cleaner. The CC and one of the vacs (bagless) are Bissell brand, and I bought those because my last cat was the moultingest cat I have ever had. I could brush him 4 times a day and get enough fur to fill a small cushion each time, and still there was tons of cathair everywhere. The bagless was bought specifically for cleaning cat and dog hair, its its pretty effective, but I really detest the bagless thing. I’m with @draughtrider on that matter, which is why I now also have a Volta bagged vac. Trouble is, its not as effective as the Bissell. So, I use both, at various times. I really need to clean them up, sell them, and get a single vac which has a bag and is great at picking up cat hair. I had a Wertheim once which wasnt bad, gave it away to a friend when I bought the Bissell. Wish I had not. Decisions, decisions. IN the meantime its Mt St Helens more often than I would wish.

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We have all smooth (hard) floors too; and a Miele vacuum with disposable bags.
I get others to remove bag and bin it and put new bag in - due to dust allergies so there is no way I could have a bagless vacuum.


We’ve had a Dyson DC23 Motorhead for several years and were initially so happy to be rid of a previously Choice recommended disposable bag model Miele.
It wasn’t that the Miele was that bad - it was a great vacuum when the bags were new - however a 1/3 to 1/2 full bag & away went its vacuum power.
So on the DC23, good points:

  • motorhead works well, probably number one key to success
  • satisfying to see the dust pile up
  • satisfying not to be buying & buying & buying bags
  • the add-ons are generally good too
  • folds down to ~compact size
  • looks good
    and bad points:
  • Dyson says it doesn’t, but IT GETS CLOGGED - not in the normal way - the canister doesn’t always fill evenly & it is full at one section while empty over most of it. Need empty it prematurely.
  • the rear wheels catch on objects (this is the one design issue I’m stunned Dyson let through)
  • the way to empty the canister (drop bottom) is awkward & hard to do without a mess (especially if there’s a breeze)
  • the wand is very heavy and don’t think about overhead work without some muscle
  • the wand diameter is quite large when using other add-ons, making it awkward in tight spaces
  • very heavy to tug around - my wife hates the weight
    Would I buy again?
    I don’t regret the purchase back then, but can see there are other options today on the Choice list - & still never buy a bag machine.

Our vacuum cleaner review (member content) is now updated with the latest results.


@BrendanMays, this is another of those curious ratings where the disparity across the recommended to not recommended is curious. Have a look at how the scores go down from the top to the end of the recommended list, and then up as the not recommended group begins. If the ordering is purely based on cleaning I understand how it goes, but if that is the case the overall scores might be expected to follow suit.


I can see what you mean, I’ll follow up on this to find out more. Thanks for the heads up :thumbsup:


An update for you @PhilT, the rationale is that to receive a CHOICE Recommendation the vacuums must score at least 75% overall and also 70% or over for cleaning performance score. In the current example overall higher scored product misses out on a recommendation because of its cleaning performance score. Despite this, it’s still worth considering for those on a budget though.


Our vacuum cleaner review (member content) is now updated for 2019.


That report really sucks.



Can’t argue with that :joy:


Only one Dyson hit some significant level status…is that telling of how hyped marketing can be to actual outcomes? By all the advertising you would think Dyson would be “cleaning up” in this market . They might be but not in the way we would like them to be?

A Vax one at a much cheaper price even performed better…


No doubt about the cost factor of the Dysons, I think that marketing is certainly a factor for consumers as you’ve suggested. Some models still perform well though :slight_smile:


A lesson in marketing. A few decades ago there was a global advertising program for Montblanc Meisterstuck pens. The pitch to pen lovers who were also status seekers was that it was the most recognised pen in the world. Having one was a key to success and status :roll_eyes:

Analysis was that it was indeed the most recognised pricey pen in the world because of the marketing blitz. A self-made prophesy. Dyson seems to be on a similar marketing plan where they tell ‘us’ it is so good enough believe it.

Choice to the rescue!


We’ve been using a ShopVac for a few years now, it performs way better than the more traditional type vacuum cleaners we’ve had over the years (and cost less!), so long as you don’t mind the industrial appearance.
For me it’s function over form any day!


Referencing also Choice’s poll in vac testing we just purchased a new vacuum selected from the Choice tests (thus no specifics here) and primarily used the scores for cleaning.

We went to the shops ‘dumb and blind and stupid’ to see how it would go. The pitches (when there were sales people rather than buy it from the shelf or not) went like:

  1. the salesmen asked all the ‘right’ questions to qualify what we thought we wanted.
  2. put standard dirt in The Demo Carpet and vacuum it with a commercial shop vac. Display the dirt collected.
  3. put ‘a competitor model’ to the test and it obviously got more, that was displayed.
  4. put ‘their target machine’ to the test and it got still more, and more, and that was displayed as well as the sight of the powerhead beating the carpet and uniquely sucking the dirt from in front of it.


  1. the demos were predictable, rehearsed demos, but the vacuums seemed to clean much as the Choice scores, suggesting the ‘standard sales demo’ and Choice tests may be superficially similar.
  2. we were able to negotiate an additional discount after the ‘best offer’.

On getting ‘it’ home (subtitled: reality sets in):

  1. we prefer bagless but a bag model came to the fore from Choice, and that model had better ‘bells and whistles’ than its sister bagless model so home we took it. Our carpet is medium pile wool. the vac has a powerhead (as did all our previous few vacs). Each vacuuming with a powerhead skims some fluff from the wool. The bag will fill with wool fluff regardless of dirt so bags, no matter how big, will fill sooner than they would with just ‘dirt’ so we also bought the diverter accessory (a small bagless attachment that collects most of the fluff and dirt before it goes to the bag). It is reminiscent of a stick vac cylinder.
  2. Running the powerhead, the diverter needed emptying (fluff) once per ‘normal’ room and twice for the ‘big one’ but is easy and tidy to empty.
  3. the powerhead has unusually stiff bristles. We did nothitnk about this whilst shopping. In retrospect maybe not the best for wool carpet life since the carpet will ‘erode’ more quickly than from a powerhead with softer bristles (or using a suction-only head). The powerhead has 4 height settings and on the highest it pulls slightly less fluff than the old vac that automatically set height based on brush drag, but on high setting it is not as engaged with the carpet as on the medium setting. The lower height settings are awesome but seem abusive to wool carpet IMO, and I suspect the cleaning performance might be noticeably reduced on high height.

Recommendation for Choice to consider: Add runs on each of nylon, polypropylene, and wool carpets with low and medium pile to the report. Who does 10-strokes (or religiously even 4) with their vacs? Differing carpet types should be added to the mix, and most carpets would thus be represented.


Thanks for this (apologies for the delay in response).

We’ve considered adding more carpet types to the testing, but it’s been a time issue with the project so we’ve targeted what we think is a majority use case (blend - 80/20 nylon/wool if I remember correctly).

If we find a way to streamline other sections of the testing we might be able to fit more carpet types into testing.

Adds a bit of cost to the project, since we buy about 15yrs worth per type.