The best vacuum cleaners right now
If there’s one essential bit of kit of your home, it’s a vacuum cleaner. Getting the best vacuum cleaner will help you make your home cleaner, faster. And that’s where we come in, with our guide. Here, we’ve rounded up plug-in vacuum cleaners. These can’t run out of battery power partway through a clean, and generally offer the best performance. If you’re looking for a battery-powered model instead, then our cordless vacuum cleaner guide is for you.
We’ve tested hundreds of plug-in vacuum cleaners, putting them through tests on hard floors, carpets, stairs and furniture, tackling everything from regular spills to pet hair. This means that our list is accurate and up-to-date, containing only products that we have actually tested.
We’ve chosen a wide variety of vacuum cleaners, covering different styles and prices to help you find the right vacuum for your needs at the right price.
What to look out for when buying a vacuum cleaner
If you already know what you want, then you can skip down to our list.
When choosing a vacuum cleaner, there are a few thins to look out for, so you get the style and power that suits your needs. Here are some of the questions that you should be asking.
- What style of vacuum cleaner do you want? Cylinder cleaners have the power in a wheeled unit that you pull around behind you. There’s less weight in your hand, as you hold the wand and hose only, and you only occasionally need to drag the cylinder where you need it. They’re not quite as quick to get going with as an upright cleaner, which you plug in, pull back on and get going with. Upright cleaners are generally more popular as a result.
- Do you need a bagged or bagless cleaner? A bagged cleaner adds running costs into the mix, but you get a simple bag that you pull out and throw away, which can be better for allergy sufferers. With a bagless cleaner, you get a removable bin that needs emptying, which saves on cost but can lead to dust spreading in the air as you empty.
- What accessories do you need? All vacuum cleaners come with a floor head. Given the power available, some don’t require a spinning brush, but look out for models that do, as motorised brushes can make dirt pick-up more efficient, particularly when dealing with pet hair. You’ll also want to get a crevice tool and dusting tool, at the minimum, for close-up work; look out for a mini motorised brush if you have pets and want to tackle furniture.
- How much power do you need? Most plug-in models are limited to 750W of power, but the actual suction available and cleaning quality differs from vacuum to vacuum. Read our reviews to find out which vacuums clean the best.
- Do you need a wet and dry vacuum? Wet and dry models can tackle wet spills as well as dry, although you may need to do a bit of conversion before switching modes. These models can have more powerful motors, but they’re specialised tools that excel at tough jobs, such as DIY mess, and cleaning out a blocked washing machine.
Now, onto the full list of the best vacuum cleaners
The best vacuum cleaner is the Shark Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner with Powered Lift-Away and TruePet NZ801UKT
Vacuum cleaner type: Upright with Lift-Away mode | Size: 1170 x 260 x 300mm, 6.5kg | Provided heads: DuoClean floor head, turbo tool, dusting brush and crevice tool, under appliance brush, upholstery brush and car detailing kit | Bin capacity: 0.83-litres | Bagless: Yes | Run time: Mains powered
You can read our detailed review of this excellent vacuum cleaner. Flexible and powerful, it scored 4.5 out of 5.
- Powerful cleaning on all surfaces
- Extremely flexible
- Floor head doesn’t get tangled with hair
Do you need a plug-in vacuum cleaner that can happily cope with any job going? The Shark Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner with Powered Lift-Away and TruePet NZ801UKT could well be the model for you. This vacuum cleaner has Shark’s DuoClean floor head, which has two rollers to cope with hard floors and carpets. It works brilliantly and means that you don’t have to change heads through cleaning.
In our tests, the NZ801UKT managed to clean up perfectly in our pet hair, hard floor and carpet tests. What’s more, the Anti Hair Wrap technology meant that the rollers staid free of hair, even in a house with three people with long hair.
As with other Lift Away vacuums, the central bin and vacuum unit lift out to create a more portable vacuum cleaner that you use with the wand, hose and accessories for detail cleaning. Suction remains just as powerful, but you get a more nimble and easy-to-use vacuum cleaner.
Well-priced and with plenty of accessories, the Shark NZ801UKT strikes the perfect balance between a powerful upright cordless vacuum cleaner and a more nimble cleaner that can tackle any other job. If you want the best mains-powered vacuum cleaner, then this is it.
The best large-home vacuum cleaner is the Shark Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner XL with Powered Lift-Away and TruePet AZ950UKT
Vacuum cleaner type: Upright vacuum cleaner | Size: 1175 x 305 x 280mm, 7.5kg | Provided heads: Motorised floor head, pet power brush, 2-in-1 crevice tool, upholstery brush | Bin capacity: 1.65-litres | Bagless: Yes | Run time: Mains powered
You can read our full detailed review of this top vacuum cleaner. With its very large floor head, and flexible body, this is a great choice for large homes and scored 4.5 out of 5.
- Exceptional cleaning performance
- Large capacity bin
- Lift-Away mode adds flexibility
- A little bulky to get around some furniture
If you’ve got a large home or regularly need to vacuum, then look no further than the Shark Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner XL with Powered Lift-Away and TruePet AZ950UKT. With its extra-wide head and 1.65-litre bin, this is a cleaner that can tackle large areas quickly without having to constantly empty the cleaner.
Thanks to the DuoClean floorhead, which has a soft roller and a brush, the cleaner can move effortlessly between hard floors and carpets without affecting how well it cleans. And, as you can tell from the Anti Hair Wrap in the name, this cleaner uses Shark’s clever tech that stops hair clogging up the rollers, too.
Although the AZ950UKT is big, it has Shark’s Lift-Away tech, where the main cylinder can lift out of the cleaner, turning this vacuum into one that can reach into harder-to-get-to areas, from cars to behind cupboards. It makes this vacuum cleaner incredibly versatile.
With excellent cleaning on all surfaces and a great array of accessories, this is the ultimate vacuum cleaner for dealing with large homes or heavy spills.
The best cylinder vacuum cleaner is the Bissell SmartClean Pet
Vacuum cleaner type: Cylinder | Size: 1270 x 300 x 480mm, 9.98kg | Provided heads: Motorised floor head, crevice tool, dusting brush | Bin capacity: 3-litres | Bagless: Yes
You can read our in-depth review of this powerful vacuum cleaner: Large buy easy to push around, this powerful cylinder cleaner scored 4.5 out of 5.
- Very powerful
- Adjusts power on the fly
- Excellent dirt pick-up
- Large bin
- No mini motorised tool
Although it’s big and heavy, the Bissell SmartClean Pet is easy to move around thanks to its large wheels. With its long reach, you won’t have to pick it up too often, either. The main advantage of the large body is that there’s a 3-litre bin, so you can clean a large house without having to empty the cleaner too often.
This cleaner is the Pet version, which means that it has an anti-tangle motorised brush head, which really works: we didn’t end up with any hair clogging this cleaner up. Performance on carpet and hard floors was excellent, and this is one of the most powerful vacuum cleaners that we’ve tested. Our one minor complaint is that there’s not a mini motorised tool for dealing with upholstery.
If you’re looking for a large and powerful bagless cylinder cleaner, then this is the one that we recommend.
The best bagged cylinder vacuum cleaner is the Hoover Telios Extra TX50PET
Vacuum cleaner type: Cylinder | Size: 237 x 443 x 300, 5kg | Provided heads: All floors head, carpet head, parquet head, crevice tool, dusting brush, furniture nozzle | Bin capacity: 3.5-litres | Bagless: No | Run time: N/A
You can read our full review of this compact and powerful vacuum cleaner. Cheap and easy to use, it scored 4.5 out of 5.
- Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre
- Cleans well on all surfaces
- Easy to store
- Too many floor heads
- Carpet Optimax head is hard to push
You don’t see a lot of cylinder vacuum cleaners any more, which is a shame going by the quality of the Hoover Telios Extra TX50PET. This vacuum cleaner is very powerful, easily managing to suck up dust in all of our tests. Sticking with the two-in-one floor head is best, as the special carpet head had far too much suction and made it hard to push.
There’s a handy compartment in the vacuum cleaner for taking the extra tools, so you can carry around the brush and crevice tool everywhere. For sofas, the pet tool is excellent at picking up pet hair, getting you clean results quickly.
Hoover has made it easy to store the Telios Extra TX50PET, and it can stand upright or flat, with the floor head slotting into a holder, and the hose wrapping around the body.
Emptying the cleaner is easy, as the EPA bags just lift out to be thrown away. Note that these are HEPA bags, so homes with allergy sufferers may want to look elsewhere. Anyone looking for a neat, well-priced cylinder vacuum cleaner for homes with pets will like this well-priced option.
The best vacuum cleaner for allergy sufferers is the Dyson Small Ball Allergy
Vacuum cleaner type: Upright | Size: 1057 x 384 x 281mm, 6.9kg | Provided heads: Motorised floor head, combination tool, stair tool, mattress tool, soft dusting brush | Bin capacity: 1.2-litres | Bagless: Yes | Run time: Mains powered
You can read the full and in-depth review of this vacuum cleaner. Lightweight and allergy-certified, it’s a great vacuum for households that need it.
- Easy to manoeuvre
- Powerful suction
- Lots of tools
Dyson had originally said that it wasn’t planning to release any new corded vacuum cleaners, so the Dyson Light Ball Allergy is nice to see. This model uses Dyson’s ball technology, which makes the upright cleaner super-easy to push around and get between furniture. We’d go as far as to say that this is the most manoeuvrable cleaner that we’ve used.
It comes with Dyson’s standard floor head, which did a great job picking up mess from carpet and hard floors alike. When you need a bit of detail cleaning, the wand can be removed and there’s a combination crevice tool and brush, and a soft brush for finer jobs. As this is the model designed for Allergy sufferers, it also comes with a mattress tool to keep your bed nice and clean. There’s only room on the cleaner for two of three tools, though. You also get Dyson’s premium filtration, including dual washable filters, to keep allergens trapped inside the bin.
We found the bin a bit stiff to open at first, but it should loosen over time, giving you one-finger emptying directly into your main bin, without spilling dust everywhere.
For allergy sufferers, the Dyson Small Ball Allergy is certified asthma and allergy friendly, making it a great choice. There are some slightly more flexible cleaners on this list if allergies aren’t your main priority.
The best wet and dry vacuum cleaner is the Karcher WD4
Vacuum cleaner type: Cylinder wet and dry vacuum cleaner | Size: 384 x 365 x 526mm, 7.1kg | Provided heads: Wet and dry floor nozzle, crevice tool | Bin capacity: 20-litres | Bagless: No | Run time: Mains powered
You can read our full review of this excellent vacuum cleaner. Powerful and able to cope with wet and dry mess, this is a great DIY companion.
- Easy to move and carry
- Top carpet and pet hair results
- Excellent water pick-up
- No swapping filter between wet/dry
- Use with or without bag (dry)
- Power cable could be longer
If you need the most flexibility, the Karcher WD 4 wet and dry vacuum cleaner is the model for you. This model uses the same filter for both wet and dry cleaning, making it easy to change mode. To use with wet spills you have to remove the bag, but you can also use the vacuum bagless in dry mode, making it great for picking up DIY mess: you just tip the mess into a bin when you’re done, emptying the huge 20-litre bin. Bags are expensive at £14 for a pack of four, although the size means that you have to empty the rarely.
The Karcher WD 4 comes with a series of well-designed tools, so you can easily tackle most jobs. In our tests, the Karcher WD 4 coped with our usual test spills with ease, but also sucked up liquid and followed our builder, picking up the mess left behind from rubble to plasterboard. Basically, as long as the mess fits down the hose, the Karcher WD 4 can pick up the mess with ease.
Vacuum cleaners with rotating brush bars tend to deal with normal dust on carpets better, but there are few devices that have the flexibility of the Karcher WD 4. If you’re looking for a well-priced vacuum to deal with all manner of really messy stuff, then this is the one that you should buy.
- Best vacuum cleaner: Shark Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner with Powered Lift-Away and TruePet NZ801UKT
- Best large-home vacuum cleaner: Shark Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner XL with Powered Lift-Away and TruePet AZ950UKT
- Best cylinder vacuum cleaner: Bissell SmartClean Pet
- Best bagged cylinder vacuum cleaner: Hoover Telios Extra TX50PET
- Best vacuum cleaner for allergy sufferers: Dyson Small Ball Allergy
- Best wet and dry vacuum cleaner: Karcher WD4