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Best Canister Vacuum

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We update our list of Best Canister Vacuums annually and the 2016 list has just been released.

Our choice for the Best Upright Vacuum in 2016 is the Miele Alize.  Top-notch consumer ratings, great performance and a lengthy warranty helped to nudge this unit to the #1 position.  As a matter of fact 4 of our top 10 canisters this year are manufactured by Miele.  The Alize is followed by the Cat & Dog, the Capri and the Olympus. 

Other manufacturers who made the cut this year include Hoover, Bissell, Sebo, Electrolux, Eureka and Dyson.  10 vacuums make up the list and prices range from about $50 to almost $1000.   The vacuums were chosen based on performance, cost, consumer ratings, features and warranty.  Following is our table of the top 10 canister vacuums available on the market today. 

 Rank  Vacuum Cleaner  Approx. Price (USD)
 1  Miele S8590 Alize  650
 2  Electrolux UltraFlex  400
 3  Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog  400
 4  SEBO Airbelt D4  990
 5  Miele Classic C1 Capri  400
 6  Bissell Zing 4122  50
 7  Hoover Portapower  130
 8  Miele S2121 Olympus  330
 9  Eureka AirExcel 990A  80
 10  Dyson DC39 Animal  300

 

Miele Alize

#1 – Miele Alize
Our pick for the best canister vacuum in 2016 is the Miele Alize.  This vacuum gets rave reviews from consumers and they rate it an average of 96 out of 100.  The Alize is lightweight, powerful and packed with useful features.  It also excels at cleaning bare floors, tile, vinyl, rugs, and - to a lesser extent - low pile carpet.  Like most Miele machines however, it is not cheap at about $650, but consumers still love this vacuum despite the hefty price tag.

10 reasons why the Alize is the best canister vacuum in 2016:

1) Very highly rated by consumers.  There are very few disparaging remarks about this vacuum and the consumer ratings figures - from all sources - are consistently over 90%.

2) Variable suction.  There are 6 suction settings which allow one to increase or decrease suction.  There is also an automatic suction setting which optimizes suction for any surface.

3) Built-in LED headlight.  An LED headlight in the handle illuminates dimly lit areas at the press of a button.

4) Automatic retraction of power cord.  Miele tests this feature exhaustively and it shows.  The auto retraction works flawlessly and is very convenient.  No more manually wrapping power cords.
 
5) Great on hard surfaces. The Alize excels on hardwoods floors, vinyl, tile and even area rugs.

6) Designed to last for 20 years.  Miele indicates that this machine has an average lifespan of 20 years residential use.  This is far beyond what most vacuum cleaner manufacturers provide these days.

7) Lightweight.  At about 12 lbs it is easy to maneuver and carry up and down stairs.

8) Very quiet.  Consumers frequently comment upon how very quiet the vacuum is.

9) Seven year warranty on motor and casing.  This is a very long warranty compared to most other vacuum cleaners.

10) Packed with features.  The Alize has a lengthy list of useful features including: filter replacement indicator, bag change indicator, deluxe handle grip, automatic standby switch in rear park, HEPA filtration, sealed system construction, 3 tools, crush proof hose, stainless steel telescopic wand, air-injected caster wheels (with shock absorbers), thermal cut out switch, wrap around bumper, and more.

Check out pricing and reviews on Amazon.
Read our full Miele Alize review...

A list of pros and cons taken from our review is shown below:

PROS
- Very quiet
- Lightweight
- Powerful
- Well made
- Built-in headlight
- Great for bare floors and low-pile carpet

CONS
- The power cord is a little short
- Expensive machine
- Not a good fit for medium to deep-pile carpet

Note: Should you require a Miele vacuum that is more capable on medium to deep pile carpet you will likely want a floor tool with a brushbar (preferably motorized) -– perhaps the Miele Cat & Dog, our #3 below would be a good choice.

Electrolux UltraFlex


#2 – Electrolux UltraFlex
The Electrolux UltraFlex EL4335A is a fairly new machine and it has been getting some impressive ratings and reviews from consumers. This bagless canister vacuum has a washable HEPA filter and a sealed system which make it ideal for those suffering from allergies or asthma. It is also designed for bare floors and low-to-high pile carpet, and comes with specialized bare floor and carpet nozzles. The pros far outweigh the cons with this vacuum, however there are a few issues such as the narrow cleaning path width and smallish dust canister.

PROS
- Rinsable HEPA filter
- Easy to empty dust canister
- Very good on both carpet and bare floors
- Good at pulling up pet hair on carpet
- Height of nozzle is adjustable
- Fairly quiet
- Adjustable suction feature
- Powerful suction
- Retractable power cord
- Includes 2 nozzles
- Easy to assemble
- Very maneuverable

CONS
- Fairly short power cord
- Bare floor nozzle is a bit narrow
- Dust canister is on the small side
- Tools stored on handle sometimes fall off

Check out pricing and reviews on Amazon.
Read our full Electrolux UltraFlex review...
 

Miele Cat and Dog

#3 - Miele C3 Complete Cat & Dog

The Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum Cleaner gets excellent ratings and reviews from owners.  It is also an attractive, well-built machine.  Consumers praise the unit’s quiet operation, ability to pick up pet hair, strong suction and robust filtration features.  It also comes with separate cleaner heads for carpet and bare floors, and the carpet tool is motorized so it is capable on low, medium and high pile carpet.  This is an expensive vacuum cleaner however and at most retail outlets it will set you back over $900.  

PROS
- Quiet
- Quality fit and finish
- No dust escapes when removing the bag
- Very good at picking up pet hair
- Long warranty
- Strong suction
- Leaves air smelling fresh and clean

CONS
- Carpet tool is heavy
- Both vacuum and consumables are pricey

Read our full Miele C3 Complete Cat & Dog review...

 

SEBO Airbelt D4 canister vacuum

#4 - SEBO Airbelt D4
The SEBO Airbelt D4 canister vacuum cleaner is made in Germany and while on the heavy side, it is a solid and durable machine.  Consumer ratings a very good and owners praise the vacuum for its exceptionally long cleaning reach, quiet operation, strong suction and cleaning ability on all manner of flooring.  This is also a bagged machine and the bags are nice and large.  The D4 is not cheap however and it will set you back over $900.

PROS
- Long cord
- Long hose
- Very good on both carpet and bare floors
- Capable on pet hair
- Quiet
- Strong suction
- Large bag
- Solid warranty
- Canister moves very well
- Motor speed control on handle

CONS
- Expensive
- A bit on the heavy side
- Some owners feel it is bulky

Read our full SEBO Airbelt D4 review...

 

Miele Capri

#5 - Miele Capri
The Miele Capri is part of the popular S2 series of canister vacuum cleaners.  It is a step up from the more affordable S2 Olympus as it has both carpet and bare floor tools (as opposed to a combination tool) and it gets very good grades from consumers. 

The carpet tool has a suction powered brushbar.  Owners praise the vacuum'’s powerful suction and also like that it is lightweight and quiet.  However like all of the machines in the S2 series the power cord is a little short.

PROS
- Very light
- Uses large vacuum cleaner bags
- Not too noisy
- Powerful suction
- Canister moves well and doesn'’t tip
- Long warranty
- Adjustable suction

CONS
- Short hose
- Power cord is a bit short

Read our full Miele Capri review...

 

Bissel Zing 4122 Canister Vacuum

#6 - Bissell Zing 4122
The Bissell Zing bagged canister vacuum (model 4122) is a fairly simple machine and it doesn’t come with a lot of frills and features.  It is also very inexpensive at around $50.  Owners are giving it great reviews and feel that it is lightweight, maneuverable and easy to store.  It is a good fit for a smaller home or apartment but it performs better on bare floors than carpet.

PROS
- Respectable amount of suction
- Lightweight & easy to carry
- Small and easy to store
- Very affordable
- Gets under furniture easily

CONS
- Not great on carpet - especially medium to high pile
- Short power cord
- Small vacuum bag
- Hose is stiff
- Crevice/brush tool isn’t very useful

Read our full Bissell Zing 4122 review...

 

Hoover Portapower Canister Vacuum

#7 - Hoover CH30000
The Hoover Commercial Portapower Vacuum, or Hoover CH30000 as it is also known, is the replacement (new version) of the Hoover Portapower C2094.  This is a compact, portable vacuum with good suction and plenty of attachments.  It is also not too expensive.  Consumer reviews and ratings indicate that this is a well-liked machine.

PROS
 - Nice long power cord
 - Compact & portable
 - Strong suction
 - Long lasting cloth bag that is easy to empty
 - Reasonable price
 - Attachments work well

CONS
 - May lead to sore shoulder if you vacuum for a long time
 - Best on hard surfaces or low-pile carpet (not as effective on deep-pile carpet)

Read our full Hoover CH30000 review...

 

Miele Olympus

#8 - Miele S2121 Olympus
Like many of its canister brothers the Miele Olympus vacuum cleaner (recently renamed to the Miele Classic C1 Olympus vacuum cleaner) receives high grades from consumers.  Owners praise the vacuum for its powerful suction yet quiet operation.  It is also very effective on bare floors. However if this unit has a weakness it is likely its limited cleaning ability on carpet.  On very low-pile carpet it works well, but it struggles with anything deeper than this.

PROS
- Very light
- Very quiet
- Powerful
- Not too expensive (for a Miele)
- Good on bare floors
- Vacuum bags last for a long time

CONS
- Only average on carpet
- Power cord is short
- Some comments that the attachments don’t seem durable
- Hose is short
- Vacuum bags are not cheap

Read our full Miele Olympus review...

 

Eureka AirExcel 990A Canister Vacuum

#9 - Eureka AirExcel 990A
If you want an inexpensive lightweight canister vacuum for bare floors then the Eureka AirExcel may fit your needs.  But if you have lots of carpet to clean then this machine is probably not the best choice.  Owners like the unit'’s powerful suction, relatively quiet operation and retractable power cord but lament the lack of a brushbar in the nozzle which impairs its performance on carpet.  It performs remarkably well on bare floors but does not clean or move well on carpet.

PROS
- Not too loud
- Lightweight
- Retractable power cord
- Good on bare floors
- Easy-to-empty dust canister
- Strong suction
- Good for removing pet hair from bare floors
- Long hose

CONS
- Not very effective at cleaning carpet
- Nozzle head doesn’t move well on carpet
- Short power cord
- Has no brushbar
- Attachments don’t store on-board
- Filter cover and filter have a tendency to fall off
- Long hose makes it a bit awkward to store

Note: This machine is getting harder to find nowadays so you may have to look around a bit.  Also you will find prices vary significantly.  You should be able to get this for $100 or less.

Read our full Eureka AirExcel 990A review...

 

Dyson DC39 Animal canister vacuum

#10 - Dyson DC39 Animal
This machine elicits many “I love it” and “I hate it” consumer comments at the same time.  There are quite a few 5 star ratings but also a number of 1 or 2 star reviews.  Having said that, the “I love it” camp outweighs the others and as a result the average consumer rating for the machine is quite high.  Owners praise the vacuum for its strong suction, ability to pick up pet hair, easy maintenance, and low profile nozzle, however there are also comments that the dust canister has to be emptied frequently, the hose is short and the nozzle is hard to move on bare floors.
 
PROS
- Parts all click-fit together
- Sleek, attractive looking machine
- Compact
- Not too loud
- 5-year warranty
- Most owners report that it is effective on pet hair
- Most owners feel the suction is strong


CONS
- Expensive
- Brushroll is powered by suction only
- Dust canister needs frequent emptying
- Power cord and hose are a bit short

Read our full Dyson DC39 Animal review...

 

 

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Comments  

0 # janice plott 2016-01-26 22:08
Is there a light weight canister vac that is able to sweep oriental rugs? I am very small. I had purchased a not cheap Panasonic canister vac that weighs a ton and is nearly impossible to clean my oriental rugs because of the powerful suction. HELP!!
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About Me

Hello!

I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer originally from the west coast of Canada.  I love to review vacuums and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I make every effort to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide average consumer ratings for each and every vacuum cleaner I investigate.  My ultimate goal is to ensure you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.  

I also like to help when I can so feel free to send comments.


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