Best Canister Vacuum Consumer Reports, Tips, Reviews, Ratings, and Guides in 2022
There are a variety of factors to consider when purchasing a new canister vacuum. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to determine which model is best for your needs. Fortunately, there are several reputable consumer reports that can help guide you in making the best purchase decision. In this blog post, we will look at some of the best canister vacuums based on customer feedback. We will also explore what makes these models stand out from the competition. So, if you’re in the market for a new canister vacuum cleaner, be sure to read on!
What is a canister vacuum?
A canister vacuum is a type of vacuum cleaner that features a flexible hose and long handle. Instead of having the suction power at the end of the machine, like upright models, this style will have it contained within the body. This allows you to clean above-floor areas without having to move the device around excessively. As well as being an extremely convenient design, canisters are also much more versatile than other types of vacuums. The long hose gives you the ability to clean up high or down low without any hassle.
Most Common Types of canister vacuum:
There are two main types of canister vacuum cleaners. Let’s take a quick look at the difference between upright and canister styles:
Upright style: This is by far the most common type of vacuum cleaner. It features a large cylinder body which houses the motor and dust bag. The nozzle is situated at the bottom of the machine. You will push this up and down while cleaning to interact with different floor types.
Canister style: As mentioned above, canisters are extremely versatile. The lack of a large body means they are significantly lighter than their upright counterparts. The suction mechanism is in the handheld section of the vacuum cleaner (usually attached via long hose). With this design, you’re not limited to vacuuming one area at a time like with an upright model (provided you have enough length on your power cord).
Factors to Consider before buying canister vacuum:
Wheel: One of the first things you should consider before purchasing a new canister vacuum is the wheel design itself. Canisters that feature 3 wheels will be much easier to maneuver around furniture and other obstacles. If a model only has 2 wheels, it may have a hard time going over carpeted areas without rolling off to one side or getting stuck. The extra set of wheels helps keep this from happening as often.
Attachments: If you plan on using your vacuum cleaner to clean upholstery or stairs, then this is another feature you’ll want to consider before making a purchase. Most canisters don’t include built-in attachments, so if this is something important to you, be sure to read reviews carefully and make note of any comments about this aspect.
Cleaning Power: This will depend somewhat on what types of surfaces you plan on cleaning with your canister vacuum. Those who need it mostly for bare floors should go with an upright model (see chart below). Meanwhile, those looking to take care of carpets will benefit more from a canister design (specifically one that has a motorized brush roll). This allows you to deep clean and shampoo carpeted areas without getting tangled in the process.
Ease of Use: Consider how easy it will be to switch between floor types and move around your home with the vacuum cleaner once it’s assembled. Most models are straightforward enough, but some canisters have more difficulty moving up and down stairs or maneuvering over thick carpets. So, if you have lots of different surfaces throughout your house, this may be something to keep in mind before buying.
Brand: Consider the brand itself. Many different manufacturers have created canister vacuum cleaners to suit almost any need. When searching for a model, it makes sense to spend some time reading reviews and checking out other consumer feedback, so you know what’s available on the market. By doing this, you are much more likely to find a vacuum that truly suits your needs without spending too much money in the process. The best way to do that is by considering customer satisfaction rates as well as price, durability, size, weight, and maneuverability among other things before deciding on one specific model.
Power: One thing that’s worth mentioning is that many canisters don’t have as much power as their upright counterparts. If cleaning effectiveness is important to you, then this is something to keep in mind before making your purchase.
Human Assist: Some models are designed with human assist functions. This means they are ergonomically designed so the body doesn’t put strain on your back or arms while cleaning. This is another factor to consider depending on what type of surfaces you will be cleaning and for what duration.
Warranty: Most canister vacuum cleaners come with a one-year warranty (2 years if it’s on the high end). This standard warranty covers most manufacturers’ defects, but some may offer more longterm warranties or money back guarantees if you don’t feel entirely satisfied after your first purchase.
Weight: The weight of a particular unit is another important factor to keep in mind when purchasing a new canister vacuum cleaner. If you have difficulty pushing heavy objects around, then something lightweight would probably be best for you. Of course, this also depends greatly on how large the model happens to be and where you plan on storing it when it’s not in use. Some units are quite bulky and may even have wheels attached to them. So, be aware of the dimensions before you buy so you don’t waste money on something that won’t fit in your home or storage space.
Size: There are several factors to consider when thinking about the size of your canister vacuum. The first is how much storage space you have for this type of device. If it’s not enough room for a large machine, then it would probably be best to go with a smaller unit that takes up less space as well as weighs less (so as not to damage your back any further). Also keep in mind where and how long you plan on cleaning since some units take longer than others to arrive at their full potential. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that will provide the best cleaning possible, then you may want to consider a canister vacuum that has attachments and all sorts of bells and whistles. If you’re only looking for something small and convenient for quick cleanups under beds and couches, then something simple with less features might be better suited for your needs.
Height: Some models are designed to be much taller than others. This is typically an advantage when it comes to overall functionality, but it all depends on your specific situation. For example, if you have vaulted ceilings in some parts of your home and lower ones in others, then a model with adjustable heights would probably suit you best.
Power cord: Most canisters come with standard power cords that tend to be between 20 and 30 feet long. This is usually sufficient for most people, but if you need something longer or shorter, then make sure to check this specification before purchase.
Lift away: Some canisters come with lift away options. They basically allow you to take the canister part of your vacuum cleaner off and use it like a standard upright unit (until the time comes that you must empty the dirt box or clean out other parts). If having an all-in-one solution is important to you, then lift away models may be worth looking into further.
Lightweight enough for good maneuverability: Many models are quite lightweight which makes them especially useful if you plan on doing a lot of vacuuming throughout your home (on different surfaces) over an extended period of time without stopping to recharge.
On board tools: Canisters come with either on board or attachable tools that help make cleaning under furniture, stairs, upholstery, etc. much easier (and neater). Some even include LED lights to help you see better when cleaning in the dark.
Accessories for above floor cleaning: Canisters often come with accessories such as extension wands and various other tools to make cleaning things like blinds, windowsills, upholstery, etc. much easier (and neater). Some even include LED lights to help you see better when cleaning in the dark.
Additional Features: Many canisters come with an array of additional features. Some of the most common include on board storage for attachments, HEPA filters, adjustable handle heights, cord rewinds, LED lights, brush rolls that turn off when not in use (to protect hardwood floors), etc.
Price: Like anything else you buy, there are low-end models and high-end ones. The price largely depends on what you need it to do as well as how simple or complex the machine happens to be. There are some excellent canisters out there for less than $200, but there are also some professional grade models that cost over $1k. Just keep in mind what features are most important to you so you don’t have to settle for a machine that has a bunch of bells and whistles you don’t need.
Motor Power: Most canisters come with motors that range between 500 and 1200 watts (0.7 to 1.3 HP). This is usually more than enough for most people, but it largely depends on what you’re planning on cleaning as well as the types of surfaces. So, if you’re thinking about buying a canister vacuum cleaner, make sure to check out all these specifications before making your purchase.
Cleaning Stages: Canisters often come with an assortment of settings regarding suction. For example, some units have standard suction settings while others include high power, low power, etc. Also keep in mind that many models will automatically adjust the amount of power depending on the type of surface being cleaned (longer/slower when cleaning hardwood floors).
Bag or No Bag: Canisters come with either a bag or a bagless dirt box. The difference is that when using units without bags you’ll have to empty the dirt box out rather than just taking out the bag itself. This can be messy, but it also allows for less frequent emptying (which in turn, results in less time spent doing so).
Noise Levels: Canisters are generally very quiet regardless of their power levels. Most vacuums in this category operate at around 80 db which is equivalent to hearing someone talk during normal conversation (hence why they’re often referred to as “whisper” cleaners). On average, most units in this category range between 65 and 75 db which makes them much quieter than uprights (at around 85-90 db). This will vary depending on the size, but canisters are generally much quieter than uprights.
Replacement Bags: Most units require you to use special bags that are either proprietary or universal. This means that if you buy a certain model, you can only use the brand of bag it comes with. If your machine happens to use a different type of bag, this is usually reflected in the price. For example, some units will come with just the bare necessities (such as the motor and power head) while others include additional features such as on-board accessories or LED lights.
HEPA Filtration: Canisters usually come standard with HEPA filtration which removes up to 99% of all particles down to 0.3 microns including dust mites, pollen, mold spores, pet dander, etc. These filters are also replaceable which make them a little more cost effective.
Cord Length: Most units have about a 17–20-foot cord which allows you to clean a much larger area before having to change outlets. Just keep in mind that the length of the cord will vary depending on what type of machine you buy as well as its weight and size. Some canisters have retractable cords, others have fixed ones so pay close attention to this specification.
Maneuverability: Cleaning under and around furniture is easier with a canister. Since their main body sits at an angle, it’s much easier to move in and out of tight spaces. Canisters also come with swivel necks which allow you to clean faster and more efficiently. Although most uprights do have swivel necks, they don’t usually work as well as those found on canisters thanks to the difference in weight distribution (more on that later).
Design: Canisters come with a variety of designs. Some have spherical main bodies while others include atypical shapes such as D-shapes, U-shapes, etc. These odd shapes may look weird, but they allow for more versatility and maneuverability compared to most uprights.
Material: Canisters are made with lighter materials than uprights. This makes them easier to carry around (especially when using the shoulder strap). The material won’t affect performance, but it will determine its durability and life expectancy. Plastic components can be more prone to breaking making these units less cost effective in the long run.
Self-Propelled: Some canisters include self-propelled features which make pushing them much easier (and less tiring). When activated, these models move at speeds of up to 5 mph allowing you to clean large areas quickly. You simply push a button on top or handle which activates this feature then let go of the cleaner while it does all the work for you. However, keep in mind that even though some self-propelled models claim to be lightweight, they’re still heavier than uprights which can affect maneuverability.
The Pros and Cons of canister vacuum:
Quieter than uprights
Easier to clean under/around furniture
Retractable cords or swivel necks are preferable
Plastic components are prone to breaking over time
HEPA filtration is usually sold separately which can be cost prohibitive for some people. This will vary depending on the model though so it’s not exactly a con
What are the benefits of using a canister vacuum?
Canisters are much quieter than uprights. Since their main body sits at an angle, they’re also easier to move in and out of tight spaces and under/around furniture without having to pick them up first.
What attachments do canister vacuums use?
Most units include a variety of accessories which you would usually find on uprights such as crevice tools, dusting brushes, etc. Some come with LED lights as well to help you see better in darker areas.
Why should I buy a canister vacuum instead of an upright?
Canisters are generally much lighter than uprights making them easier to carry around especially when using the shoulder strap. They’re also more versatile since they have swivel necks that allow you to clean tight spaces with ease.
Are canister vacuums good for carpet?
Yes, but expect them to not perform as well as uprights that are specifically designed for this type of flooring. Most canisters come with bare floor cleaning modes (and sometimes low pile/medium pile modes) which you would need to turn on before using it on carpets. This will reduce the amount of suction power so clean these areas first then switch back to the normal mode afterwards. Also, keep in mind that these models aren’t self-propelled so maneuverability may be an issue depending on the weight and size.
How do a canister vacuum work?
Canisters are simple to use especially if it has a self-propelled feature. Simply push the power button then move it around as you normally would. If your model does not have this, simply grab the handle, and pull back first before pushing it forward making sure there’s enough slack in its cord first.
How do I clean filters on a canister vacuum?
You will need to detach them from the unit first using either screwdrivers or other tools depending on their design. Wash each filter with warm water then air dry for several hours until completely dry before reassembling everything again. Improper filter maintenance will shorten its life span so make sure you check these areas during regular upkeep/cleaning.
What is the difference between a canister vacuum, handheld vac and upright?
All three share similar characteristics that they’re lightweight, versatile and have retractable/swivel cords. However, these units have different designs which affect maneuverability and storage capabilities. Canisters are best known for being easier to carry around with a shoulder strap while uprights allow you to stand in one place without having to bend over or pick them up. Handhelds fall somewhere in between since they typically weigh less than an upright but not as much as a canister.
What are some common complaints about canister vacuum cleaners?
Plastic components like the extension wands and crevice tools tend to break more easily than uprights. You also need to detach these before storing them which can take a lot of time compared to using an upright’s built-in storage area. Canisters are also prone to overheating especially when used for longer period of times so you would need frequent breaks if this were the case. Also, there’s the added cost of buying HEPA filtration separately with most models so this is something you’ll want to consider as well.
Do all canister vacuums have shoulder straps?
No, some units may not include one or might only come with carry handles depending on their design and weight. A good rule of thumb would be to look for canisters that are under 20 lbs. if you want one with a strap.
What should I do before using my new canister vacuum?
Make sure everything is properly attached (especially the hose) and there’s enough slack in the cord before turning it on. Also, make sure all filters are properly installed and none of them are clogged/broken which will cause overheating issues. Most units come with simple instructions on how to get started so follow these guidelines first until you feel comfortable with handling your device after some practice.
Do canister vacuum have wet/dry function?
No, most cordless models would have this feature but not the upright or canister itself.
How many amps do I need to run my new canisters?
While 8 amps should be enough for most tasks, you might want to consider units that are at least 10 amps in this case for more power especially when dealing with thicker carpet. Keep in mind that higher amp units tend to cost more so make sure you budget properly according to your needs.
Why are canister vacuums better for hardwood floors?
Cordless models are known for this advantage since you can quickly transition to different areas without dealing with cables while uprights usually need to remain plugged in the entire time. For hardwood floors, you will also want to get a unit that has soft bristles or comes with an upgrade kit if your model does not have this already.
Are canister vacuums more difficult to use?
Not at all, in fact you will find this type easier to handle if you want the flexibility of moving around without carrying something too heavy. Keep in mind that some canisters may be heavier than uprights depending on their design and capabilities so choose one based on your needs first before taking this factor into consideration.
Are canister vacuum cleaners better for pets?
They usually are but not as efficient as uprights with special tools designed for pet hair removal such as main/combination brush rollers and extended crevice nozzles among others. This is because most models come with a regular brush which won’t pick up anything larger than small debris or dust particles compared to more advanced designs like those with motorized brush rollers.
How often do I need to replace my canister filters?
Depending on how often you use your device, the general rule of thumb is to do it every 6 months or whenever you notice significant dust buildup. Over time, air flow will be reduced which can result in lower suction capabilities, so this is something you’ll need to consider when dealing with older units. Also, make sure all filters are properly installed before powering on the unit for safety reasons.
Why should I buy a handheld vacuum cleaner?
They’re great at picking up small debris both dry and liquid substances especially in tight places that are difficult to reach. If your home needs quick touch ups between thorough cleanings, then this might just be what you need even though they tend to have shorter run times when to uprights plus they don’t use bags.
What does HEPA stand for?
High-Efficiency Particulate Air or filters that can trap harmful particles including dust and allergens down to 0.3 microns in size over 99% of the time compared with standard filters which may miss small debris and spread them around instead. If you have pets, this is something you might want to look at especially if your allergies are acting up frequently when spending most of your day indoors.
Based on the factors we’ve covered; you should have a better idea of what to look for when choosing the right model for your needs. While cordless canisters offer more portability and maneuverability around tight corners, uprights usually provide higher capacities especially when dealing with larger homes. In terms of performance, HEPA filters are always a plus but make sure it’s something essential to your needs first before going all out. Airflow is another big factor that you might want to consider since this will determine how well suction is distributed over a large area which makes a huge difference in terms of convenience and efficiency overall. With these tips, we’re pretty sure you’ll be able to find the right canister vacuum for your home and purposes so try taking these things into consideration as much as possible. For more guides like this, make sure to check out our blog section for all kinds of useful information.