No vacuum excels at all types of cleaning— your home’s layout and even décor dictate the type you might need. That will become clear as you get ready for a thorough spring cleaning. Do you have lots of carpet or just bare floors? Drapes or shutters? And it will be especially apparent if you have pets that are leaving little reminders of their winter coats everywhere you look.Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Pet UH30310. It gets superb marks for pet-hair pickup and has a manual adjustment for carpet height. At 17 pounds, it’s also light enough to maneuver easily.
If you have few carpets and lots of tile, bare wood, or vinyl flooring, you can get a bagless upright—say, the $260 Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away NV501—and enjoy easy handling in a lighter-weight vacuum. Other full-sized vacuums might do almost as well for carpets while excelling at bare floors, a relatively easy task.
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In addition to our vacuum cleaner ratings, our brand-repair history lists the percentage of upright and canister vacuums that failed or had a problem that was unresolved. Sometimes you need just a light cleaning before guests show up. For that, see our recommended handheld and stick vacuums. None of them can handle carpet deep cleaning, but they do a decent job.
- Top-rated: Kenmore Elite 31150, $314
- CR Best Buy: Kenmore 31140, $210
- Top-rated: Miele S 8590 Marin, $1,000
- CR Best Buy: Panasonic MC-CG937, $330
- Top-rated: Dyson DC59 Animal, $375 and up.
- Top-rated: Shark Pet Perfect II SV780, $60
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