When looking for the best canister vacuum, you might have thought you had to choose between price, performance, and reliability without actually knowing if the vacuum was going to be any good!
I experienced this same problem when I had vacuum after vacuum die on me just after owning it for six months. That’s when I decided to stop buying crap vacuums and hunt for the best vacuum cleaners online and in particular canister models.
I spent months compiling information from hundreds of different vacuum cleaners online from product descriptions, reviews, and personal experience. I put in all this work, because when I was searching online for my new vacuum cleaner, there wasn’t a resource like this and I decided I was going to make the ultimate guide to helping people find the perfect vacuum cleaners for them.
You may already know the benefits of using a canister model vs the other alternatives, but my goal here is to share advice and buying tips to help you decide (and find) the best canister vac to purchase for your home and family.
Most people just buy their vacuum based on price and looks and then be done with it. Little do they know, just a few months later, their new vacuum is broken plastic junk.
Our Annual Canister Vacuum “Top Rated” Guide
Are you less concerned with what the “pros” think of each vacuum and want to know what other people like and dislike about vacuums that they use in their own home? Check out our most recently published 2014 Comparison Guide. Once a year we take all our research and information regarding what consumers liked / disliked and place the top 5 vacuums into our annual report.
Does Price Really Matter?
Canister vacs, like any other vacuums come in all price ranges from around $50.00 to upwards of $1,000.00. Could there be that big of a difference in performance? Let’s take a look at some of the more popular models and compare.
The Cheapest Models
The Bissell Zing Blue Canister Vacuum, which sells for around $50.00 is a small canister vac that would be an ideal option for a small space, with not a lot of carpet. The bagless version doesn’t come with as many attachments but has good suction power with the attachments it does have and is easy to empty.
However, there are a lot of downsides to this vacuum. It is very noisy and begins to smell like burning plastic after normal use. Being only $50.00, the quality of this model is extremely shoddy with reports of it breaking just after a few months of use. Although it comes with a 1 year warranty, vacuum cleaners should last much longer than this.
Now, Bissell does have another model, around double the price called the Bissell Opticlean. Again, you’re provided with good suction and it also offers multi-surface cleaning with only the flip of a switch. No need to change attachments. It’s a bigger model, which holds more dust and debris before needing to empty and would definitely work in larger carpeted areas.
Unfortunately, there are still many problems and annoyances with this vacuum. First, the hose is very short compared to other canister models and it tends to kink. This makes it very difficult to store. Also, the materials used are of cheap quality and we see reports of this vacuum lasting less than a year. It only comes with one attachment, which is also awkward to use.
Bissell provides a one year warrant on this model, but the warranty explicitly states that it doesn’t cover items like the brushes, belts, and fans, which are the parts most likely to break.
The Cheaper Models
Add about a hundred more dollars to the mix and you’re looking at the beautiful Panasonic OptiFlow. This vacuum is a full-size model and has impressive storage capacity. The OptiFlow includes cleaning and upholstery tools specially designed for removing pet hair from carpet and furniture. A telescopic wand and 6-foot hose make cleaning ceilings, curtains and elevated corners and crevices simple and easy while the HEPA filtration gives you cleaner exhaust air. Also, a super handy benefit to this model is that it sports a stair grip, and the vacuum will sit on any staircase while vacuuming.
This vacuum is of higher quality than the previous Bissell models mentioned earlier, but Panasonic still uses many cheap plastic parts. However, many customers are very happy with their purchase over a year later, but some do say that parts have broken within the first year. Lastly, some cutomers say that when in use, this vac emits a strong chemical smell that has required some owners to open all the windows in their house to air it out.
Once you enter the $300 range and up, you can start opening up your options to really good quality vacuums. This model is the Olympus from Miele. Made in Germany, Mieles are our favorite vacuum cleaners here at Consumer Vacuums.
The Olympus is one of the most inexpensive Mieles, but provides a very high quality option to the people who just need a great vacuum that will actually last! The Olympus is perfect for hardwood and flat surfaces, but also handles low pile carpet and pet hair extremely well. We really love the Olympus because it has great value for what you get.
The Olympus, and all other Mieles, are made with high quality materials and are extremely durable with many owners claiming their vacuums have lasted far longer than 10 years (some even 20). It has a near 30 ft cleaning radius, six suction power settings (great for switching between floor and furniture), an auto-seal closing filter bag, the same 1200 watt vortex motor as the more expensive Mieles, a retractable power cord, and it’s exceptionally quiet.
We really love the Olympus from Miele and it’s the first vacuum on this short list that we can feel comfortable recommending. Plus, it has a complete 7 year warranty.
The Medium Priced Models
Another Miele, the Quartz, is in the $400 range. The Quartz uses the same 1200 watt motor as its much more expensive counterparts and provides the same great power. What separates Miele models prices is the extra features.
The Quartz is our favorite entry level Miele and you can’t go wrong with this vacuum. Many owners are often surprised by the quality of this vacuum and Miele offers the same 7 year warranty on this model. Our favorite things about this vacuum (well besides the quality and durability) is how it’s extremely quiet compared to other vacs, effortless and accurate maneuverability, and its so lightweight it makes vacuuming the stairs a breeze.
The main differences between the Quartz and the Olympus, is that the Quartz features a the AirClean Sealed System (helps keep allergens out), weighs less than ten pounds (Olympus is 13 pounds), has a one touch retractable power cord, and has a slightly larger cleaning radius (33ft vs 29.5ft).
This is one of the best canister vacuum cleaners one we can feel good about recommending people buy.
Yes, Price Does Matter
We wish we could say that the $100 vacuum cleaners work just as well as the $400 models, but that’s simply the not the case. Just like with many products and appliances available today, the saying rings true with vacuums, too: you get what you pay for.
We recommend spending a bit more on a vacuum that will last years to come and that you will enjoy using time and time again like the Mieles mentioned above.
Advantages of a Canister vs. Upright Vacuums
Canisters have a much longer and more flexible hose which allow for ease of handling when working with stairs or in places that are elevated (such as cleaning blinds or ceiling corners). You do not have to worry about multi-tasking, and struggling to balance the vacuum while extending the hose and attachment to reach the area you want to clean.
Canisters are also easier to store as they do not require a lot of space, can stand upright for storage purposes. In fact, they can be tucked away in a small closet or utility room without any hassle at all.