One of the most important features of a vacuum is its ability to pick up debris from all types of surfaces. Good suction performance is usually the first criteria you research when buying a new vacuum.
Unfortunately, aside from wattage, manufacturers don’t always advertise suction. When they do, they don’t measure it in one way. A vacuum’s suction power can be measured by its airflow, CFM, amp, or Pa.
All of these components affect how well a vacuum will clean up stubborn messes – but don’t necessarily imply that the vacuum cleaner is powerful.
To evaluate a vacuum’s suction power, we took into account overall good performance on different types of surfaces from shaggy carpet to tile flooring. Our selection was not only based on performance but also on their features, price, and battery life.
Here’s our results for the best vacuum cleaners with good suction on the market.
Our Top PicksThe HouseWire earns a commission through the following independently chosen links at no additional cost to you.
1. Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction : Shark NV352 Navigator Lift Away Upright Vacuum
Read Full Review: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Vacuum Review
- Large dust capacity
- Detachable pod
- Powerful suction and brush roll
- Bulky design
The upright mode combined with a powerful suction lets you clean both hard surfaces and carpeted areas with ease.
This Shark navigator vacuum also comes with a brush roll to help you clean deep down into your carpets. When you want to switch to hard floors, just press a button and the brush roll lifts up.
But if you want to tackle stairs, you can detach the canister and use it as a handheld.
This Shark comes with other attachments like an extendable wand, to make tough spots accessible. The dust-away attachment is also a convenient little extra. Use it to clean your couches and curtains or to suck up dust and grit that made their way in between your hardwood floors planks.
This vacuum includes a HEPA filter, and even claims to trap 99.9% of dust and allergens thanks to its anti-allergen seal.
Also be aware that at 13.7 pounds, it’s a bit heavy and bulky. Likewise, it comes with a 25-foot-long cord. It’s quite long – but shorter than other similar Shark vacuums models.
What Customers Are Saying
Many positive reviews commented on the vacuum cleaner’s sturdy construction, while other satisfied customers complimented its easy-to-use design. But while it does suck up pet hair effectively, many reviewers had issues cleaning pet hair from the dust bin. With so many nooks inside the canister, you’ll end up pulling out pet hair by hand to clean it.
This vacuum cleaner is the top performer in our test with its powerful suction on both carpet and tile floors. And despite its heavy design, we were surprised at how it was easy to maneuver on our thick carpet.
The extra-large 1.2-quart dust bin is also a feature we found practical. We don’t have big homes – but it’s perfect for fuss-free full house cleaning. We also found the transition from full upright vacuum to handheld pod seamless, with just the press of a button.
While a powerful vacuum cleaner, some features also add bulk. One of our main gripes while testing was the size of the cleaning head and canister. The bulkiness made it hard to reach under furniture, and get into narrow spaces.
|Bin Volume||1.2 Quarts|
|Cord Length||25 feet|
|Cleaning Path Width||11 inches|
|Surface Type||carpet, bare floor, upholstery, stairs|
2. Best Canister Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction : Miele Classic C1 Pure Suction Vacuum
Read Full Review: Miele Classic C1 Review
- Versatile mode
- Telescoping wand
The addition of the 1,200-watt vortex motor makes this vacuum a force to be reckoned with. And despite its powerful motor, this vacuum runs without much noise.
An excellent feature of this Miele vacuum is the adjustable suction setting. There are 6 levels of suction to choose from: curtains and fabric, upholstery and cushions, deep pile carpets, quiet mode, low pile carpets and rugs or hard flooring. With this mighty canister vac, you get the best results no matter what surface.
The flexible telescoping hose allows you to clean around corners, into tight spaces such as under sofas, or up stairs – without having to lift it up constantly.
Three different attachments – a dusting brush, upholstery tool, and crevice tool – fit right onto the hose. They aren’t fancy but standard – yet efficient for even more versatile cleaning.
And with such a compact size and an 11.4 lbs lightweight design, this canister vacuum cleaner can easily be stored out of sight in any closet.
Despite a combination floorhead, it doesn’t come with a brush roller. It’s also quite difficult to maneuver on thicker surfaces. So it’s not the best choice if you have a lot of thick carpeted areas at home.
What Customers Are Saying
Many satisfied customers complimented the 18 feet long cord with customers explaining that this allowed them to move from room to room without interruptions.
Negative reviews questioned the design mishap with the 6 suction settings, with a few customers complaining that the settings are illustrated only with pictures. This makes it hard to decipher what each one means. The addition of a caption would make this feature more user-friendly.
This canister vac proved to be an all-around vacuum cleaner, making it our second-best performer. Its efficient power settings and easy-to-maneuver design helped to clean our laminate, tile and rug with ease. Rubber wheels made this vacuum gentle but effective on hard surfaces – especially on our hardwood floors.
The maneuverability on thick carpet was one of the only let downs. Even if it picked up all debris, the wheels and the heads were difficult to pull over the long fibers.
|Bin Volume||4.76 Quarts|
|Cord Length||18 feet|
|Cleaning Path Width||11 inches|
|Surface Type||bare floors, low pile carpet|
3. Best Budget Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction : BISSELL Featherweight Stick 2033 Vacuum
Read Full Review: BISSELL Featherweight Stick 2033 Review
- Easy to empty
- Bagless vacuum
- Easy to clean
- Short cord
- Small dust bin
Weighing in at just lightweight 3 lbs, this small convenient vacuum cleaner punches well above its weight class.
When you need to clean stairs, counters or high ledges, just detach the handheld component. The handheld vacuum attaches to a crevice tool so you can clean in between couch cushions too.
Almost the entire vacuum is made from plastic, which makes this vacuum easy to wash with soap and water. The dust bin doesn’t have a bag, so you just have to dump the dirt in the garbage. Even the filter can be simply washed with water.
And with this vacuum’s compact size, you won’t have trouble finding a place to store it.
What Customers Are Saying
Many positive reviews centered around the vacuum cleaner’s versatility with many customers stating that it was effective at cleaning a variety of floors.
Negative reviews complained about the vacuum’s cleaning performance regarding fine particles like dust and sand. Gritty boot prints and spilled flour took reviewers several passes to suck up completely.
We were impressed by the power of this small but mighty vacuum. The vacuum cleaner is an excellent performer, cleaning effectively on both upholstery and hard surfaces. It even rivals some of its more expensive competitors such as BISSELL Adapt Ion Pet. Pet hair and food spills were no match for this vacuum in both upright and handheld mode.
Where this vacuum suffers is in its design. The short power cord allowed us to only vacuum a few feet at a time. And although it comes in fun colors, these colors prevented us from seeing how full the small dust bin is.
|Bin Volume||0.67 liters|
|Cord Length||15 feet|
|Cleaning Path Width||9.5 inches|
|Surface Type||bare floor, low pile carpet, stairs, counters|
4. Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction : Tineco Floor ONE S3 Cordless
- Two useful water tanks
- Suitable for hardwood floors
- Easy to maintain
- Battery life
This Tineco is the ultimate time saver, and cordless vacuums mean you can clean any room without restrictions.
With it, you can clean both dirt and liquid spills with one pass. No guesswork is required, since the sensor will adjust the cleaning mode for you depending on the level of dirtiness.
The rounded LCD screen is also a handy helpful feature. It will give you various information such as battery percentage or the amount of debris it’s picking up thanks to a blue-red ring.
While sucking up anything and everything sounds great, the cleanup usually isn’t quite as fun. Thankfully, the Tineco One S3 has a self-cleaning function that flushes the water lines of dirt. It even has an auto scrub function for the rollers, so your hands will stay clean.
The wet suction helps to lift dirt from the grooves of hardwood and other plank flooring. During our test, we noticed visibly cleaner floors.
However, this powerful machine isn’t suitable for thick carpets. If you try it on those surfaces, the vacuum will send you several error messages.
What Customers Are Saying
Many positive reviews praised the vacuum’s ability to leave the floors streak-free thanks to its good suction.
Negative reviews complained about the battery charging time and many said that the battery took several hours to recharge fully.
One surprising feature we noticed in our tests is the self-propelling function. The vacuum essentially cleans by itself, you just have to guide it. That means no hauling this vacuum anywhere, just step back and let it work.
While it’s great to suck up all the mess at once, getting rid of that mess was another story. Emptying the canister with its mixture of hair, dirty water and debris gets a bit gross. It’s best to have a sink strainer to avoid all that yuck from going down your drain.
|Bin Volume||0.5 liters|
|Battery Life||35 minutes|
|Cleaning Path Width||10 inches|
|Surface Type||bare floors|
Read Full Review: Dyson V11 Animal Review
- 3 cleaning mode
- Powerful beater bar
- Handheld design
The Dyson motor, paired with in-line configuration, helps give this cordless stick vacuum top of the line suction.
You almost expect that a machine with such a powerful motor will cause a racket, but not this Dyson. This vacuum hums along quietly while you clean, thanks to its vibration absorbing design.
While many vacuums make you flip a switch going from hard floor to carpet, this vacuum does it automatically so you can vacuum the whole room seamlessly.
Dirty carpets are no match for the powerful beater bar, which pulls out dirt then sucks it away. Meanwhile, a seven-cell battery allows you to clean every room in your house with fade-free power.
One drawback though is that this Dyson vacuum makes you hold down the trigger for power, which can lead to sore wrists.
What Customers Are Saying
Positive reviews complimented the innovative LED screen, which allows you to change modes and check the battery life. No more guessing when your battery will die.
A common criticism from several reviewers is that this vacuum is just too heavy. A top heavy design means all the weight is right at the handle.
In our tests we found the Dyson to be most impressive on Boost mode. Even fine dirt between the floorboards was sucked up instantly.
One disappointment was the small dust bin size. For the size of the vacuum, the dust bin seemed disproportionately small. On that note, the vacuum does keep its powerful suction, even with a full dust bin.
|Bin Volume||0.2 gallons|
|Battery Life||60 minutes|
|Cleaning Path Width||9.84 inches|
|Surface Type||bare floor, carpet, upholstery|
6. Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaner With Good Suction : Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+
- Suitable for small spaces
- Large dust bin
A tangle free pet hair attachment will tackle your upholstery, while the cordless vacuum frees you from restrictions. This handy little machine is great for the car, travel and everyday spot cleaning.
You might expect a small vacuum to come with a small dust bin, but not with this one! The XL 0.45 quart dust bin lets you get the job done without needing to empty in between. You can tackle every windowsill, sofa cushion and counter without interruption.
This Shark also has a reusable filter that just needs to be rinsed with water. No need to run out to the store to buy costly replacements.
A design hiccup with so many handheld vacuums is their lack of power. Fortunately, two cyclonic air streams give this vac good suction.
And, it uses a lithium ion battery to ensure long lasting battery life while you clean.
What Customers Are Saying
Positive reviews rave about the amount of hair that came off their sofas, with users commenting on the rubber paddles helping grip onto hair and pulling it off fabrics.
Many negative reviews noted that pet hair and other large debris gets stuck inside the grooves in the dust bin. To get it completely clean sometimes requires you get your hands dirty and pull out embedded gunk.
|Bin Volume||0.45 quarts|
|Cleaning Path Width||2.55 inches|
|Surface Type||upholstery, counters|
How We Tested
To test these vacuums, we put them to work in our own homes on a variety of surfaces. We specifically looked at their suction performance on carpet, upholstery and bare floors.
And we threw everything at them, including flour, pet hair and large debris like food.
Some of the criteria we used to review these vacuums includes:
- the number of passes to pick up debris
- weight and maneuverability
- transition to carpet/bare floor
- ability to suck up pet hair
- battery life
What to Look For In a Suction Vacuum
- Canister vacuum: These usually offer the most suction, since the motor sits in a separate casing from the vacuum wand. This leads to more powerful motors, thus more suction power. Canister vacuums like Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine are perfect for sucking dirt from hardwood floors.
- Upright vacuum: These vacuums are bulkier than canisters, since they have an all-in-one design. They usually include a beater bar on the floor head, and are best for cleaning carpets. This Shark APEX Upright Vacuum has a beater bar that deep cleans carpets and sweeps dirt from bare floors.
- Robot vacuum: These hand free vacuums usually have less suction, but they do the work for you. Some models allow you to change the settings to deep clean certain areas of your floors.
- Handheld vacuum: These vacuums are convenient for quick clean ups, but often sacrifice on power. Models like the Shark ION W1 WANDVAC have both convenience and powerful suction.
- Stick vacuum: Stick vacuums combine good suction with lightweight design in one sleek package. Some of the most popular models include the Dyson V15 Detect and the Wyze Cordless Vacuum.
Some brands like Dyson use air watts to describe their suction power. Other brands might refer to amp (motor power), RPM (motor speed) or PA (unit of pressure).
Models like the RYOBI 18-Volt ONE+ Project Wet/Dry, refer to CFM (cubic feet per minute) to measure suction. CFM measures the air flow, and how much force is being exerted by the air picking up dirt. Air flow in CFM is one of the most common measurements of suction power.
If you clean often, and can’t wait hours for a battery to recharge, buy a model with two batteries. This way, you can have one charging in the wings just in case.
Power Cord Length
To keep that versatility, opt for a model with a longer cord—anything greater than 20 feet will do.
But corded vacuums have their drawbacks too. The cord gets in the way of cleaning, and can be a hassle to wind up after. They’re also susceptible to damage if you run them over or bend the plug.
Suction Vacuums Comparison Chart
|Product||Weight||Bin Volume||Surface Type||Rating|
|Shark Navigator NV352||12.5 pounds||1.2 quarts||carpet, bare floor, upholstery, stairs|
|Miele C1 Pure Suction||11.4 pounds||4.76 quarts||bare floor, low pile carpet|
|BISSELL Featherweight 2033||2.6 pounds||0.67 liters||bare floor, low pile carpet, stairs, counters|
|Tine Floor ONE S3||17.64 pounds||0.5 liters||bare floor||N/A|
|Dyson V11 Animal||6.68 pounds||0.2 gallons||bare floor, carpet, upholstery|
|Shakr UltraCyclone||2.8 pounds||0.45 quarts||upholstery, counters||N/A|