Best Canister Vacuum


Best Canister Vacuum 2017

We update our list of Best Canister Vacuums annually and the 2019 list has just been released.
Our choice for the Best Canister Vacuum in 2019 is the Miele Complete C2 Hard Floor.  Top-notch consumer ratings, great performance on all smooth flooring, quality air filtration, and a lengthy warranty helped to nudge this unit to the #1 position.  As a matter of fact 5 of our top canisters this year are manufactured by Miele.  The Hard Floor is followed by the Cat & Dog, the Soft Carpet, the Calima, and the Marin. In short, if you want a quality canister vacuum you should probably be taking a hard look at a Miele – although they can be costly.

Other manufacturers who made the cut this year include Hoover, Bissell, Sanitaire (Electrolux) and Oreck.  In all, 9 vacuums make up the list and prices range from about $50 to over $1000.   The vacuums were chosen based on performance, cost, consumer ratings, features and warranty.

Best Canister Vacuums in 2019

 Rank  Vacuum Cleaner  Approx. Price (USD)
 1  Miele Complete C2 Hard Floor  500
 2  Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog  1000
 3  Miele Complete C3 Soft Carpet  950
 4  Miele Complete C3 Calima  700
 5  Miele Complete C3 Marin  1200
 6  Sanitaire S3681D  115
 7  Hoover Portapower  150
 8  Bissell Zing 4122  50
 9  Oreck Commercial XL Pro 5  100

See this and other Best Vacuum Lists at the Vacuum Cleaner Advisor page on Amazon.


Miele Soft Carpet

#1) Miele Complete C2 Hard Floor

The Miele Complete C2 Hard Floor is getting absolutely top notch reviews and ratings from owners.  It is designed to clean hard floors and it is very effective on tile, hardwood, linoleum, stone, concrete, etc.
So what makes this particular canister vacuum so great?

Vacuum is moderately priced.  You get a lot for your money with this particular Miele canister and it is less expensive than other C2’s and not much more than the more modest C1’s.  Also consider that some C3 units go for almost $1500USD.
Comes with 2 cleaner heads.  You get a Parquet Twister XL Floorhead (great on hard flooring) and an AllTeQ Combination Floorhead (can be used for hard flooring and even very low pile carpet and area rugs).
Bags/filters are easy to change.  The bags are large and they automatically seal when you remove them, so no puff of dust.  The filters are easy to swap out and you can even upgrade to other filter types if you want.
Provides quality air purification.  This vacuum has an Active AirClean filter and a sealed system.  Miele states that this combination will remove 99.9% of fine particles with the air.
Includes 3 tools that store on-board the vacuum.  A dusting brush, an upholstery tool, and a crevice tool all store inside a compartment built into the canister itself.  You do not have to fetch these tools from a bag in the closet – they are with you and accessible anytime you need them when you are vacuuming.
Tools/wand/floorheads lock together.  When attached these are “locked” and will not fall off or apart.  To detach them you simply press a button. Some vacuums use compression fit where you push sections together and pull them apart.  A lock fit solution is much better.
Has variable suction.  The Miele Complete C2 Hard Floor has 6 suction settings which vary the speed of the motor.  This allows you to set the suction for optimal cleaning and movement.  Low settings are very handy for cleaning delicate materials such as curtains or drapery.
Wheels are rubberized.  Gentle rubber wheels ensure that there is no scraping or marring of delicate flooring, such as some hardwoods.
Has a special Quiet mode.  The vacuum has a special energy saving mode which is also very quiet. 
Power cord is retractable.  No-one likes to gather up a manual power cord.  The C2 Hard Floor has an automatically retractable power cord that is activated by a button on the canister body.
The key with this machine is to buy it if you have entirely, or mostly, bare flooring to clean.  DO NOT get this if you have lots of carpet.
- Strong suction
- Variable suction
- Canister glides well on smooth surfaces
- Rubber wheels do not scratch flooring
- Includes two floorheads
- Parquet floorhead works very well on bare floors
- Retractable power cord
- Quality air filtering system
- Quiet operation
- Long hose
- Bags are easy to change
- Not good on carpet
- Fairly expensive vacuum
- No power ON/OFF control on handle
- Power cord is a bit short
You can read more about this vacuum in our Miele Hard Floor review.
Miele Soft Carpet

#2) Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog

Our number two pick for the best canister vacuum in 2019 is the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog.  This is an attractive, well-built vacuum that is manufactured in Germany.  Owners give it high praise and it is also capable on bare flooring, carpet and pet hair. 

Two cleaner heads. The powered carpet tool has a motorized brushroll and 5 levels of height adjustment.  The bare floor tool has a 180 degree rotating head, a low profile, and is lightweight.
Variable suction with a quiet setting. There are 6 levels of suction controlled by a foot pedal. The settings are “Draperies, fabrics”, “Upholstery, pillows”, “Thick pile carpets, rugs and runners”, “Energy-efficient everyday vacuuming, low noise”, “Low pile carpets”, “Hard flooring and intensive cleaning of carpets”.
Cleaning radius of 36 feet. This cleaning reach is the combined length of the power cord, hose and wand.  The power cord is 23 feet in length.
Special self-sealing dustbags.  The vacuum bags have a spring-loaded, self-sealing collar that ensures no dust is released when replacing the bag.  They are also fairly large with a capacity of 4.76 quarts.
Quality filtration with odor control. The Active AirClean filter removes 99.95% of all particles larger than 0.5 microns in diameter and it contains active charcoal layers which trap and neutralize odors.
Sealed system. This means that all the air entering the vacuum gets filtered.  No unfiltered air escapes through poor seals or cracks in the vacuum body.
Auto-retractable power cord. The auto retraction works flawlessly and is very convenient.
Respectable warranty. The Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog carries a 7-year warranty on the motor & casing, and a 1-year warranty on all other components.
- Quiet
- Includes two cleaner heads
- 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
- Carpet cleaner head is heavy
- Both vacuum and consumables are pricey
You can read more about this vacuum in our Miele Cat & Dog review.
Miele Soft Carpet

#3  Miele Complete C3 Soft Carpet

The Miele Complete C3 Soft Carpet was our number one choice for Best Canister Vacuum in 2017 and 2018, and it is still one heck of a vacuum.  This is a great choice for people with lots of carpet, but it is also capable on bare flooring and even in homes with pets. 
Highly rated by consumers. There are very few negative comments about this vacuum and the consumer ratings - from a host of sources - are consistently over 90%.
Very good on carpet. The C3 Soft Carpet excels on low, medium, deep, and even soft/plush carpet.
Capable on other surfaces. It is also good on bare floors and for removing pet hair.
Great for allergy sufferers. Has HEPA filtration and a sealed system.
Can upgrade to a specialized filter. Can be fit with a filter that has activated charcoal for odor elimination.
Well built. Manufactured in Germany
Variable suction. There are 6 suction settings plus a special setting for soft carpet.
Auto-retractable power cord. The auto retraction works flawlessly and is very convenient.
Built to last. Miele states that this machine has an average lifespan of 20 years.
Quiet. Consumers frequently comment upon the low noise level of the vacuum. It has special sound insulation.
7-year warranty on motor and casing. This is a very long warranty compared to most other vacuum cleaners.
Packed with features. Comes with 2 cleaner heads, a motor-driven brushroll in the electrobrush cleaner head, multiple height settings, a bag change indicator, 3 tools, a 36 foot cleaning reach, a crush-proof hose, a stainless steel telescopic wand, caster wheels with shock absorbers, a thermal cut out switch, a wrap around bumper, and more.

- Very quiet
- Good on carpet, bare floors, and even pet hair
- Able to clean soft carpet
- Strong suction
- Motor driven brushroll in cleaner head
- Variable suction controls
- HEPA filter
- Quality construction (made in Germany)
- Expensive
- Cleaner head is large and a bit heavy
You can read more about this vacuum in our Miele Soft Carpet review.
Miele Soft Carpet

#4) Miele C3 Complete Calima

If you want one of Miele’s C3 units - their premier lineup - the Calima is one of the most affordable C3’s.  The Calima is also getting excellent ratings from consumers and is manufactured in Germany.  This vacuum is best for hard flooring and low pile carpet.  It includes two cleaner heads and comes standard with a HEPA filter. If you have deeper pile carpet you should be looking at the Soft Carpet or the Cat & Dog above.

- Made in Germany
- Retractable power cord
- Very quiet
- Feels well-built
- Top-notch air filtration capabilities
- Cheerful bright yellow color
- Plenty of suction
- Great on hard surfaces
- Hose is a little short, especially for overhead cleaning
- Expensive
- Not a good fit for medium or deep pile carpet
- No power on/off controls on handle
You can read more about this vacuum in our Miele Calima review.
Miele Soft Carpet

#5) Miele Complete C3 Marin

Yes – yet another Miele canister vacuum.  This one is a higher-end C3 than the Calima.  It is manufactured in Germany and comes with a host of features.  The Marin can tackle pretty much any floor type (hard floor, low/medium/high pile carpet) and it includes an Electro-Premium cleaner head and a Parquet Twister cleaner head. Owner ratings are excellent.  It also has an automatic suction mode which automatically adjusts suction while you vacuum, depending on the flooring.

- Powered floorhead is effective on low/medium/high pile carpet
- Includes parquet floorhead for smooth flooring
- Both floorheads maneuver well (swivel steering)
- Effective on both cat and dog hair
- High quality air filtration
- Canister moves easily
- Very quiet vacuum
- Strong suction
- Includes an Automatic Suction setting
- Large dust bags
- Powered floorhead is heavy for some folks
- Expensive machine
- Some reports that it clogs easily
- Dust bags are not cheap
You can read more about this vacuum in our Miele Marin review.
Miele Soft Carpet

6) Sanitaire S3681D

The Sanitaire S3681D (brought to you by Electrolux) is a compact, bagged canister vacuum.    It has a 20 foot power cord and a couple of handy tools that store on-board (a tool caddy clips onto the wand collar).  The vacuum is also rather lightweight at just over 11 lbs.  Best for hard flooring and occasional low pile area rugs.

- No brushroll in cleaner head
- Great on hard surfaces
- Very reasonably priced
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Compact and easy to store
- Strong suction
- A bit on the loud side
- Not great on carpet
- No HEPA filter
Hoover Portapower Vacuum

7) Hoover Portapower 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.

 - Nice long power cord
 - Compact & portable
 - Strong suction
 - Long lasting cloth bag that is easy to empty
 - Reasonable price
 - Attachments work well
 - 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 Hoover Portapower CH30000 review.
Bissell Zing 4122

#8) Bissell Zing 4122

This vacuum has also made our best bagged vacuum list.  The 4122 is a simple machine with few frills and features, however performance is good and it is very inexpensive.  Owners feel that this machine delivers good bang for your buck and are pleased that the unit is lightweight, maneuverable and easy to store. 

The Zing 4122 is a good fit for a smaller home or apartment with mostly bare floors.  Note that this machine does not have a brushroll so this will limit its cleaning abilities on carpet.

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

- 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 the full Bissell Zing 4122 Review.


Miele Soft Carpet

9) Oreck XL Pro

The Oreck XL Pro is a very lightweight, bagged canister vacuum that is meant to be carried.  It also has a handy over-the-shoulder carry strap and a host of cleaning tools.  Some folks really like this machine and find it a great fit for their cleaning needs while it does not suit others.  You should read our detailed review before making a decision.
- Inexpensive
- Handy for overhead cleaning and stairs
- Long power cord
- Fairly lightweight
- Comes with quite a few tools
- Most owners feel it has strong suction
- Hose is a little short and stiff
- Extension wand can fall off while vacuuming
- Floor tool is not particularly good
- Tools easily knocked off storage unit on vacuum
- Not great on carpet

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About Me


I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer who loves to review vacuums, and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I strive to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide a score for each and every vacuum I investigate.  My goal is to help you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.

Also, watch my video reviews on the Vacuum Cleaner Advisor YouTube Channel.