Best Canister Vacuums On Today's Market Reviewed & Compared

Best Canister Vacuums On Today’s Market Reviewed & Compared

A canister vacuum is designed with two components: a handled wand with a brush head and a primary suction motor. This style of vacuum gets its name from the cylinder shaped housing unit where the vacuum’s motor is stored. Often, the canister is built on wheels, which makes it easier to take from room to room during use. In this Buyer’s Guide we will show you some of the top rated models according to our tests and get a few more tips into what is important when buying the best canister vacuum cleaner. First, let’s start with a little comparison table between our top 3 models.

Canister Vacuums Comparison Chart

ImageSelling PointPriceOur Rating
Dyson Cinetic Big Ball
Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Canister Vacuum
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Best price-to-value ratio$$$$5/5
Bissell Zing
Bissell Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum
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Best reviewed by customers$$4.5/5
Soniclean Galaxy 1150
Galaxy 1150
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Decent price with good reviews$$$4/5

Our Top 3 Models

Below we’ve compiled a list of the three best models we handpicked for you. We’ve taken all their features into account when giving them a final score. If you want to see a more detailed review of them click the buttons below each preview.

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Canister Vacuum Review

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Canister Vacuum

Our Rating: (5/5)

The Cinetic Big Ball Animal canister vacuum by Dyson is a popular model that has a lot to offer in terms of accessories, power and ease of use. With this model there’s no need for a filter, which means less work for you. This canister model is able to pick up fine dust, dirt and debris with ease and comes equipped with an air driven brush that can be used on carpet and smooth surfaces. The innovative ball design improves the user’s maneuverability and the insulating materials used work to significantly minimize sound, allowing you to vacuum any time of the day or night. This model weighs in at a little more than fifteen pounds, which makes it easy to transport from room to room or up and down stairs. This is our top rated product and one that received plenty of consumer praise.

Soniclean Galaxy 1150 Canister Vacuum Cleaner Review

Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The Galaxy 1150 canister vacuum by Soniclean is equipped with a powerful 1150 watt motor and weighs in at just ten pounds. It also comes with a turbo carpet nozzle which can be used on low or medium pile carpet. The addition of a HEPA filter has made this model one of Sonicleans’s top sellers. This filter is designed to remove microscopic particles from the air including pollens, pet dander, fine dust, debris and dirt. A lower priced model, this canister vac works surprisingly well and has a lot to offer in terms of power and versatility.

Bissell Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum Review


Our Rating: (4/5)

The Zing bagged canister vacuum by Bissell comes equipped with a telescopic wand, cord rewind and can be used on a wide range of surfaces including hardwood, tile, and medium and high pile carpets.

This is a vacuum that also features a lightweight design, which can make it easier to clean stairs and transport. The strong suction power of this vacuum gives it the ability to remove deep down dirt and debris and fine dust. This model received mixed consumer feedback regarding its effectiveness on different flooring types and surfaces.

Canister Vacuum Buyer’s Guide

Generally, a canister model will offer a lot more suction power, trumping the average upright model. The housing units on canister vacuums are able to accept more powerful motors, which in turn allows them to generate a higher airflow. Additionally, the shape of the canister is actually more accommodating to sound dampening insulation, resulting in quieter operation.

The Benefits Of Having A Canister Vacuum Cleaner

A canister model will provide greater versatility due to its two part design. In a home with predominately smooth floor this style of vacuum is ideal because it utilizes the flat brush instead of the typical rotating brush that you’ll find on upright models. The flat brush will also scatter less dirt into the air. Canister models also boast a longer reach due to their telescopic wands. These wands can reach impressive ranges when using such attachments as dusting brushes, upholstery wands or crevice tools. Tasks such as vacuuming under short tables, or the stairs are achieved easily with a canister model.

The style of vac called the stick vacuum is considered a good supplement for any vacuum collection. It’s very maneuverable and lightweight compared to the average canister style or upright models. They are also ideal for handling smaller vacuuming jobs. The flexible stick will allow the vacuum to access tighter spaces and constricted areas that you cannot reach when using a larger model.  The stick vacs use a combination brush tool which is designed for more versatile cleaning. This type of vacuum can go from low pile carpets to smooth floors with the flip of a switch and they’re available in bagless or bagged styles.

Bagged and Bagless Vacuums

Bagged Models

Often, the bag in the vacuum is critical to its effectiveness and changing the bag regularly and often will be essential for proper operation. The bag in a vacuum must be changed once a month, or more often, depending on frequency of use. In a house with pets or children you may need to change it more frequently. These bags are available in a wide variety of sizes and types with some models specifically designed to contain finer particles.

Before you put the bag in, you must open the pleated filter paper and ensure that the bag is properly positioned so that it connects with the tube and seals correctly. This allows dirt, dust and debris to flow freely into the bag. Fine debris and dust can clog a vacuum quicker than ordinary dust and dirt.

Bagless Models

Bagged and Bagless Vacuums

Bagless models have gained in popularity over the years, however, traditional bagged models are still the most commonly used style. With a bagged system, the dust and dirt will enter the machine and will be deposited into the bag. Depending on the composition and quality of the bag you use, a small amount of particles will be released back into the system. The post filter is made to trap these remaining particles, although some are usually released into the air or re-deposited back into the vacuum system.

With the bagless models, directional air patterns will spin the vacuumed dust and dirt into the centrifugal force, which will then throw the largest particles against the cylinder wall. Once it becomes full it must be removed from the vac and emptied. A bagless model usually has two or three more filters. The best models have a large pre-filter that protects the vacuum’s motor from dust particles. The pre-filters used in some models should be cleaned on a regular basis in order to ensure optimal performance.

The type of bags used will determine how effective the vacuum is. Cheaper bags usually consist of two or three ply paper that’s equipped with a cardboard collar. These cheaper bags often leak and tear. Expensive bags come with three ply paper and a cotton liner. They utilize synthetic cotton spun materials which capture smaller particles when in use. These higher quality bags also have a plastic closure or sticky paper to seal the hole up before you throw it out. This helps to prevent dust and debris from leaking back into the air.

The HEPA Filter and Different Floor Surfaces

Bagless or bagged vacuums, canister or upright, can release particles back into the air when in use. Many models use a post filter which works to contain the particles, preventing them from escaping. The best canister vacuum is capable of removing at least ninety-five percent of the tiny particles that pass through the filter.

Many people suffer from allergic reactions to these microscopic particles. These airborne allergens can irritate the skin and eyes, combining dander, pollen or dust to trigger respiratory problems. Which is why the addition of a HEPA filter can make such a big difference. These filters were actually first developed by the military and were designed to trap radiation particles. These filters have now become standard for medical filtering. This type of filter is able to remove more than ninety-nine percent of microns from the air. This in turn helps to keep allergies dormant. These filters must be replaced every six to twelve months, depending on how frequently you vacuum.

There are a variety of floor types found in homes these days including tile, linoleum, hardwood and carpet. While some homes feature only one type of flooring, most homes feature a variety. The pile height and thickness will also very from rugs and carpets. When you’re searching for the right vacuum, it’s important to consider different pile heights and floor types.

Additional Features Of Vacuum Cleaners

Vacuum Attachments and Accessories

Vacuums with powerheads work well at cleaning carpet, but they can be ineffective on smooth surfaces as the movement of the brush tends to scatter dust and dirt away from the vacuum instead of suctioning it up. Most models that feature powerheads allow the user to deactivate the brush for improved cleaning on smooth surfaces. However, specific smooth/hard floor brushes and attachments are often the most effective way to clean smooth surfaces.

Brushes And Tools

Many newer models of vacuums now use natural airflow in order to drive the agitator brush. This style is usually referred to as a turbo brush. While it doesn’t work very well on thicker carpets such as shag, vacuums with this feature are able to effectively clean low to medium pile carpeting.

In homes where smooth flooring or low pile carpeting is predominant, the ideal choice is a model with a combination tool. These tools feature a soft felt glide which prevents the vacuum from scratching smooth surfaces. It also comes with cleaning bristles which you can extend when cleaning low pile carpet or rugs. Combination tools do not employ an agitator brush and because of this they’re usually ineffective for cleaning high pile or even medium pile carpets.

Delicate hardwood floors such as those made from teak or mahogany can require special care in order to prevent damage and scratching. Specialty brushes that combine synthetic and natural hair to create a brush that’s designed for elegant flooring  are capable of retaining their function and shape for several years.

A vacuum can also be used to clean drapes, upholstery and other types of non-traditional surfaces. In order to avoid damaging these materials, most models of vacuums come equipped with adjustable suction power controls and special attachments.

The vacuum’s ability to swivel and maneuver will vary from model to model. Some models of canister vacuums are able to swivel 360 degrees, which definitely makes cleaning easier. More basic models of canister vacs are only able to move in a straight line which can be limiting. Certain models of uprights are equipped with necks that swivel, which gives the user more control and cleaning flexibility.

Cord Lenght

Cord length will also vary and the longer the cord the more uninterrupted cleaning you can enjoy. Some vacs have cords that reach up to forty feet. Of course, models that include a cord rewind feature are a must for longer lengths.

Ergonomic Handles

Models that feature special ergonomic handles offer a comfortable vacuuming experience. Some canister models feature telescopic wands which will allow you to extend or shorten the wand as needed.

An upright model will lock into an easy storage position, but the canister model can be too big and bulky for traditional closet storage. Some canisters are compact enough to store in tight spaces, but most are designed with built-in hooks used to secure the wand to the canister.

Sound Levels

How quiet or loud a vacuum is will depend on sound dampening insulation. Usually, the quieter a vacuum is, the higher the price tag.

Other special features for canister models include the radiator brush, mattress brush, handheld turbo brush, and parquet floor brush.

Some Final Words

When it comes to warranties on vacuums, most manufacturers will offer a one year limited warranty. Higher quality models can offer five to ten year warranties.

While buying a new vacuum may not be the highlight of your week, it can be much easier than it seems. Before you decide on which model to buy, consider your budget, floor type and whether or not the model includes a HEPA filtration system.

What types of floors do you vacuum the most often? If you mainly have smooth surfaces, your best bet is the canister model. Uprights still have a lot to offer in terms of power, but these newer more powerful models of canister vacs often feature more versatility, accessories and better filtration systems.


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