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Best Vacuum Cleaner 2024: Our top choices for a whole home clean

Trusted Reviews reveals the best plug-in vacuum cleaner you can buy right now, including, bagged, bagless, cylinders and uprights, based on our vacuum cleaner reviews.

Whether you hate vacuuming or find it a welcome distraction, we can all agree on one thing: it’s important to have a vacuum cleaner that can clean quickly and efficiently, providing all of the tools that we’ll need to get into every nook and cranny. Needs differ between people and households, but here we have a list of the best plug-in vacuum cleaners to suit everyone.

This list focuses on the best plug-in vacuum cleaner. If you want a different type of cleaner, check out our guides to the best cordless vacuums, best robot vacuums and best vacuums for pet hair.

The main benefit of the plugin vacuum is that you don’t have to worry about battery life but they are, generally, also more powerful than cordless cleaners. At Trusted Reviews we test for vacuum suction power in AirWatts, which is a mark of efficiency based on the lift power and airflow (the higher, the more powerful). Our test showed that, on average, plug-in vacuums are more powerful at 316AW compared to cordless vacuums, which averaged 144AW.

Higher suction power is particularly useful when using tools, as it can make it faster and easier to pick up spills. Suction power alone, isn’t the only indicator of performance.

The quality of a floor head and its ability to agitate dirt is important. For that reason, we also test for real dirt pickup on hard floors and carpet.

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Types of vacuums in the list

Making a decision on which plug-in vacuum to buy can be tricky but also personal to the layout and size of your house. If you have a smaller home or struggle to lift heavy items, a smaller cleaner will be best suited to you; if you have a larger home, then a bigger vacuum will make more sense.

There are two main types of vacuum cleaners: cylinder and upright. Cylinder cleaners have you drag around the main vacuum cleaner body, while you hold the hose. They’re a little more cumbersome to store, but for the most part, you only have to hold the hose and floor head, so they feel lighter. Upright cleaners are a little neater, combining everything into a single body. Just plug them in, lean them back and start pushing. 

Which type is best for you is personal and would be impacted by the size and layout of your home and your general cleaning requirements. If you live in a bungalow or flat then an upright cleaner is probably right for you. But if you live over multiple floors and need to clean stairs the cylinder cleaner can have better all-round utility.

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Buying advice

We report on all our specs and test data at the bottom of this list. This is to supplement our advice and to help you make an informed decision. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Weight: While cleaners spend most of their time on the floor, weight is still important, particularly if you have multiple stairs, so have to lift the cleaner often. A 4-to-5kg cleaner is quite light, 5-7kg cleaners sit in the middle, and 7kg+ are heavy.
  • Vacuum cleaner type: Cylinder cleaners can feel lighter to move around and are easier to get under furniture; upright cleaners are neater with an all-in-one design; wet and dry vacuum cleaners are best for DIY as they can suck up wet mess.
  • Provided head: A floor head (get one that suits your flooring, such as carpet and/or hard floor) and crevice tool are the minimum you need. Look for a dusting tool to speed up cleaning and a pet tool for cleaning sofas and pet beds.
  • Bin capacity: A minimum of a 1-litre bin is a good idea, but up to 1.5-litres will reduce how often you have to empty. Those with larger houses should get bigger cleaners.

Most importantly read our real-world testing summary and, if you’re still not sure, visit the review.

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Best vacuum cleaners at a glance

How we test

Learn more about how we test vacuum cleaners

We put each of these vacuums through the Trusted Reviews testing methodology in our purpose-built lab where we have custom-made rugs, carpet tiles, carpet and hard floors. We also make sure that each flooring type has tight corners to test how effective the vacuum is at getting dirty in the corner.  For each listing, you’ll see a link to our full review. If you’re still on the fence about which vacuum to buy we always recommend reading the full review.

The performance test we performed on these vacuums are:
Carpet test
Pet hair test
Hard floor test
Edge cleaning test
AirWatts measured at the handle on all power settings
Noise tests using a decibel meter

Further on the performance tests, we also run some real-world tests such as the ease of assembly, manoeuvrability, dust capacity, ease of emptying, and an overview of accessories.

FAQs

Shark Stratos Pet Pro Anti Hair Wrap Plus Anti-Odour Upright Vacuum NZ860UKT

The best overall vacuum cleaner
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Pros

  • Flexible cleaning
  • Powerful
  • Anti-Odour pods make your home smell fresh

Cons

  • Can be fiddly to empty bin

Not just a simple update to the previous model, the Shark Stratos Pet Pro Anti Hair Wrap Plus Anti-Odour Upright Vacuum NZ860UKT is a brand-new vacuum cleaner, with several neat new features. First up, is the new DuoClean floor head, which is designed to work on hard floors and carpets.

This new model has an updated version of Shark’s Anti Hair Wrap tech: in testing, both the soft brush roll and carpet brush came out completely clean.

This floor head takes the Shark Anti-Odour pod, which release a sweet smell as you vacuum. It’s a neat add-on, and we like the fresh smell if left behind, making our house feel as clean as it was.

What hasn’t changed is performance, and the Shark Stratos Pet Pro Anti Hair Wrap Plus Anti-Odour Upright Vacuum NZ860UKT is hugely powerful, coming in at 268AW. That’s not the most powerful we’ve seen (the Henry has more suction), but the NZ860UKT doesn’t need quite as much power, as its floor head agitates dirt for removal. It works brilliantly: on hard floors, carpets and with pet hair, the NZ860UKT aced every single test. Our one minor complaint is that the bin can take a bit of shaking to get everything out of it.

This vacuum cleaner has Lift-Away mode, where the central cylinder lifts out. This makes it easier to get the wand and floor head under sofas and the like, plus it makes this a more nimble vacuum cleaner, whether you’re cleaning your car or just getting into a hard-to-reach place in your home.

All-round, this is the best overall plug-in vacuum cleaner that we have reviewed.

Weight6.7 kg
Vacuum cleaner typeUpright
Provided headsDuoClean floor head, crevice tool, multi-surface tool, turbo pet brush
Bin capacity1.3 liters
AirWatts (high)268 AW
Sound (high)74.3 dB
ReviewerDavid Ludlow
Full reviewShark Stratos Pet Pro Anti Hair Wrap Plus Anti-Odour Upright Vacuum NZ860UKT review

Shark Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner CZ500UKT

The best overall cylinder vacuum cleaner
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Pros

  • Powerful
  • Cleverly placed controls
  • Excellent build quality
  • Flexology makes cleaning under furniture easy

Cons

  • A little cumbersome to store

The Shark Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner CZ500UKT is small yet powerful. As its cylindrical body weighs just 4kg and is fitted with four wheels, manoeuvring the Shark CZ500UKT is incredibly easy and doesn’t require much lifting or bending down. In fact, even its controls can be found neatly listed on the handle.

Its main floor head, the DuoClean, features both a soft roller for hard floors and a brush for carpets and has Shark’s Anti Hair Wrap technology. Anti Hard Wrap means the brush won’t become tangled with long hair, which usually requires users to cut it out themselves, making it a great option for pet owners too.

Thanks to Shark’s Flexology design, the wand hinges in the middle so you can seamlessly vacuum under objects without bending down. 

Included with the Shark CZ500UKT is a set of useful wand attachments for all types of jobs around the house, such as a crevice tool for harder to reach areas, an extra brush and a mini motorised pet tool which is ideal for stairs and upholstery. 

The Shark CZ500UKT boasts a powerful motor that we found to clean well across all surfaces including carpets and tiles. We tested this with various dirt and debris, including flour, rice and even combed in pet hair, and found the suction was impressive and collected most of the spills it went up against. 

It’s worth noting that unlike upright vacuum cleaners, the CZ500UKT isn’t the easiest to store, yet there are a few nifty tricks you can do to make this easier such as a retractable 9m power cable and on-device clips to hold the wand upright at the back of the vacuum.

Slight storage issues aside, the Shark Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner CZ500UKT is a fantastic option which includes useful tools, a powerful motor and is packed with features to make light work of household cleaning. It has well and truly earned its place as the best overall cylinder cleaner we’ve tested.

Weight6.99 kg
Vacuum cleaner typeCylinder
Provided headsMotorised floor head, crevice tool, brush, Pet tool ships with pet edition
Bin capacity1.5 liters
AirWatts (high)284.83 AW
Sound (high)71.3 dB
ReviewerDavid Ludlow
Full reviewShark Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner CZ500UKT

Stihl SE 33

The best wet and dry vacuum cleaner
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Pros

  • Very powerful
  • Large capacity
  • Can blow as well as suck
  • Excellent performance on all spills

Cons

  • Can be hard to push on some surfaces

Normal vacuum cleaners aren’t built to handle the kinds of dirt and mess you get from DIY, which is why you may also want a powerful wet and dry vacuum cleaner, such as the Stihl SE 33. This looks much like any cylinder vacuum cleaner, but as well as sucking dirt into a paper bag, and make for easier emptying, you can fit the filter and suck up wet mess, too. It’s hugely powerful but great value, making this the best wet and dry vacuum cleaner that we’ve reviewed.

One big difference between wet and dry vacuum cleaners and your standard models is that they can exceed the power limits set: the SE 33 draws 1400W, whereas a standard cleaner will be 750W or less. This translates into more raw power: we measured it at 406AW, which is double the power of many other models in this list.

In fact, it’s so powerful that we found the suction makes the bog-standard floor head hard to push on some surfaces, such as carpet: we needed a huge amount of force at times to get the head to move at times. It should be no surprise that this vacuum cleaner scored perfectly in our carpet, edge, pet hair and hard floor tests. We also spread wet Weetabix onto the floor: no problem for the SE 33 at all.

So, why so much power? With the accessories, the amount of suction on offer let the SE 33 quickly suck up DIY mess, even bigger bits of debris. For these kinds of jobs with more mess than general house dirt, the SE 33 excels and shows why it needs so much power.

The difficulty pushing this cleaner on everyday surfaces mean that it’s not the ideal everyday cleaner: instead, this level of power is best directed at DIY debris, from sawdust to wet plaster mess. This is a great addition to any household, as a DIY or workshop vacuum cleaner, able to cope with those dirty jobs that a regular vacuum can’t touch.

Weight5.4 kg
Vacuum cleaner typeWet and dry
Provided headsFloor nozzle, crevice tool
Bin capacity
AirWatts (high)405.89 AW
Sound (high)71.3 dB
ReviewerDavid Ludlow
Full reviewStihl SE 33 review

Shark Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner XL with Powered Lift-Away & TruePet PZ1000UKT

The best vacuum cleaner for large homes
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Pros

  • Very powerful
  • Clever controls
  • Excellent cleaning on all surfaces
  • Lift-Away mode is very useful

Cons

  • Bulky

The Shark Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner XL with Powered Lift-Away & TruePet PZ1000UKT takes everything great about the company’s Lift-Away vacuums and super-sizes it. Here, there’s a wider floor head than normal and a huge 1.6-litre bin, so we could clean for longer without having to empty. Its incredible cleaning power and wide floor head let us cover a big area in a short amount of time, making this our best upright vacuum cleaner for large homes.

Shark has used its DuoClean tech on the floor head: it has a soft roller for hard floors and a brush roll for carpets. It’s a smart design, as you don’t have to swap floor heads ever, and it’s Anti Hair Wrap: genuinely, we have never managed to clog this floor head with hair.

Having a wide floor head means you can do more in one go. With our regular carpet test, the PZ1000UKT made a clean sweep through the middle of our test mess, leaving nothing behind and, the width of the head meant fewer sweeps were needed to clean everything. Multiply that up around a house, and the wide head captures more dirt on fewer sweeps, so you we found that we could clean faster. Performance right to the edge of rooms was excellent, as was the perfect pet hair and hard floor pick-up.

It helps that this vacuum cleaner is so powerful: 270AW on hard floor mode (more than most cordless cleaners in their short-lived boost modes), and 254AW on carpet mode (here, the brush roll spins faster to agitate dirt). There’s also a Deep Pile mode, which cuts suction to 159AW and reduces the roller speed: this prevents clogging and tangling.

Power and mode selection controls are all on the main wand, so you can reach them without bending down. As this is a Lift-Away model, the main cylinder comes out, so you can use the long-reach of the wand and hose to use the detail tools, including the excellent crevice tool and powerful anti-tangle pet brush, which worked wonders on our sofas.

The slight downside is that this large vacuum cleaner is heavy at 6.8kg, and it’s large. If you’ve got lots of storage room and a big house, it’s a brilliant choice, but those of us in smaller homes or flats may find we’re better off with a smaller cleaner from this list.

Weight6.8 kg
Vacuum cleaner typeUpright
Provided headsMotorised floor head, crevice tool, multi-surface brush, mini motorised pet tool
Bin capacity1.6 litres
AirWatts (high)260.85 AW
Sound (high)68.8 dB
ReviewerDavid Ludlow
Full reviewShark Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner XL with Powered Lift-Away & TruePet PZ1000UKT review

Bissell SmartClean Pet

The best cylinder cleaner for large homes
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Pros

  • Very powerful
  • Adjusts power on the fly
  • Excellent dirt pick-up
  • Large bin

Cons

  • Large
  • No mini motorised tool

A beast of a cylinder vacuum cleaner, the Bissell SmartClean Pet weighs 9.98kg. This size doesn’t go to waste: the wide head and large 3-litre bin mean that you can clean a large area quickly, making this our favourite cylinder vacuum cleaner for large homes.

If the weight is causing concern, don’t let that put you off, as the large wheels make this much easier to move around. In our review, we found that this cylinder cleaner was as easy to move as any. There’s a long 3m hose gives you plenty of reach: we could tackle our stairs with the cleaner at the bottom. In fact, the only time we had to lift this vacuum cleaner was to physically go upstairs.

The core tool is the motorised brush, which is suitable for carpets and hard floors alike. It’s an anti-tangle brush, designed to stop hair wrapping around it. And, it works well: we didn’t have to cut any hair away from the roller during our testing.

As this is a large vacuum cleaner, it has a huge 3-litre bin. That’s absolutely massive to the extent that we only had to empty it every couple of weeks or so.

We measured suction at 227AW in maximum mode (that’s the required amount of power and outdoes many cordless cleaners on turbo mode), down to a more sedate 185AW on minimum: that’s a more useful power mode for thicker carpets. There’s an Auto mode, too: we found that this lets the SmartClean Pet adapt to the surface it was on perfectly.

Real-world tests showed that this cleaner was excellent: perfect cleaning to the edges, clean sweeps on carpet and hard floors and pet hair removed with no issue.

There’s are multiple clips for the wand: one for storage while cleaning, and a second one underside for storage when the vacuum is stood on its back. It’s a shame that there are no clips for the brush and crevice tool. The lack of a mini motorised tool for upholstery is a little disappointing, particularly for a vacuum cleaner aimed at pet owners.

This is a very large and heavy cylinder vacuum cleaner, but if that doesn’t bother you, its power and cleaning ability make it a great choice, particularly in large homes.

Weight9.98 kg
Vacuum cleaner typeCylinder
Provided headsMotorised floor head, crevice tool, dusting brush
Bin capacity
AirWatts (high)227.56 AW
Sound (high)79.9 dB
ReviewerDavid Ludlow
Full reviewBissell SmartClean Pet review

Miele Boost CX1

The best compact cylinder cleaner
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Pros

  • Compact
  • Well-marked controls
  • Useful selection of tools

Cons

  • Can be hard to push across some surfaces

If there’s one problem with cylinder vacuum cleaners, it’s that they’re often bulky and messy to store. The Miele Boost CX1 is different.

First, it’s very small (280 x 400 x 400) and it weighs 7.8kg, which makes it more compact than the competition. Secondly, there’s room on board for all of the tools (dusting brush, crevice tool and upholstery brush), and there’s a clip for stowing the floor head. All-in, we found this the neatest and most compact cylinder we have tested.

The minor downside to such a cleaner is that the hose is a little shorter than on rivals, as is the power cable. As such, you may need to use a couple of extra power sockets to clean your home, compared to a regular cleaner.

We loved the power settings on this vacuum cleaner: they’re clearly labelled for the job at hand with settings for curtains and upholstery, rugs, carpet and hard floors. No more guessing which mode to use.

There’s a lot of power in this cleaner, too. We measured it at 89AW on its lowest setting, up to a massive 422AW on its maximum power. That’s a huge amount of suction, and great for picking up larger spills fast.

In our real-world tests, we found that mess on carpet was gone straight away and that the cleaner reached right to the edge of rooms. Hard floor pick-up was flawless. The only test that this cleaner struggled with was pet hair removal: with suction only, the Boost CX1 struggles to agitate and remove hair, and a cleaner with a motorised brush is really required. Miele does sell a Cat & Dog version that adds a motorised brush for these jobs.

If you’ve got a more modest home and like the idea of a cylinder cleaner, this compact and powerful model is a great choice.

Weight
Vacuum cleaner typeCylinder
Provided headsFloor head, crevice tool, dusting brush
Bin capacity2 litres
AirWatts (high)422 AW
Sound (high)68.4 dB
ReviewerDavid Ludlow
Full reviewMiele Boost CX1 review

Hoover HL4 Pet

The best lightweight upright vacuum cleaner
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Pros

  • Good value
  • High suction power
  • Easy to move around

Cons

  • Limited accessories

Even though the outstanding Hoover HL5 has a secure spot on this list, the company has another excellent vacuum that’s well worth checking out in the form of the Hoover HL4 Pet. While it shares quite a few similarities with the HL5, the HL4 is a smaller device overall which makes it better suited to those who don’t want to push around a heavier vacuum cleaner, or those who don’t have much in the way of storage space.

At its core, the HL4 has all of the main features that you’d want out of a vacuum, namely the ability to swap between hard floor and carpet modes, as well as a vent to give you more precise control over the suction’s power.

That suction power is pretty high too, with our in-house tests showing a peak of 243AW. At that rate, it’s just shy of the Shark NZ860UKT and can pick up plenty of debris, even from a distance which is handy for any hard to reach places.

As its name implies, the HL4 Pet is more than ready to tackle any loose hair found on your floors, packing the same great Anti-Twist floor head from the HL5 which can funnel hair into the 1.2-lite bin without it getting tangled, which saves you from any additional bother after the cleaning’s done.

Also working in the HL4’s favour is its low price point. With an RRP of just £219, and the fact that it can often be found for less, the HL4 is cheaper than both the HL5 and a fair amount of competing upright cylinder vacuums, making it an easy one to recommend for anyone on a budget.

The only thing that holds the HL4 back is its lack of accessories. There are only two included in the box – a crevice tool and a mini pet brush – so if you’re looking to give every area of your home a good clean then you might want to pick out a vacuum with more versatility.

Weight5 kg
Vacuum cleaner typeUpright
Provided headsCrevice tool, mini pet brush
Bin capacity1.2 litres
AirWatts (high)243 AW
Sound (high)71.3 dB
ReviewerDavid Ludlow
Full reviewHoover HL4 Pet review

Karcher WD6 P Premium

The best heavy-duty vacuum for messy cleanup jobs
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Pros

  • Super-powerful
  • Clever drainage system
  • Smart filter cleaning

Cons

  • Huge
  • Few tools

Big and powerful, the Karcher WD6 P Premium can suck up dust and larger debris from any surface fast. It comes with a smart filter cleaner, and can tackle wet spills without you having to change the filter. It’s perfect for proper filth and mess, such as wet plaster dust and sawdust from DIY jobs. If you find yourself doing a lot of work in and around your home, then the Karcher WD6 P Premium could well be for you.

Offering phenomenal power, an integrated power socket for power tools, and the ability to handle wet and dry mess, it’s an exceptional all-round vacuum cleaner. It’s quite large, though, and a bit unwieldy to store. As such, it’s best suited to those who have a garage or shed in which they can store the vacuum when it isn’t in use.

Karcher provides a few accessories in the box: a crevice tool, floor head (with a switch to raise the brushes for normal vacuuming, and lower them for water removal), a tool attachment, and a mini detail hose. The tool adapter lets you plug the vacuum cleaner into the back of a power tool to suck away dirt as you work.

Wet and dry vacuum cleaners aren’t subject to the same power restrictions as normal vacuum cleaners, which means there’s a lot more power on offer here. This enables the Karcher WD6 P Premium to suck up water, large bits of debris, and even higher volumes of dust and dirt than a regular vacuum cleaner. We measured it at at a huge 472AW, the most that we have seen from any vacuum cleaner.

Its huge capacity, the ability to tackle wet and dry mess, and a ridiculous amount of power means that the Karcher WD6 P Premium is perfect for any messy cleanup job. Try to suck up sawdust, and it will quickly clean an area in a fraction of the time that it would take a regular vacuum cleaner. And with wet spills or larger debris, it sucks up the mess in an instant. It’s also easy to empty, and the integrated filter cleaning option helps to maintain top performance as you work. If you regularly have dirty jobs to contend with, you’re unlikely to find anything better.

Weight9.6 kg
Vacuum cleaner typeWet and dry cylinder
Provided headsFloor head, tool connector, crevice tool, extension hose
Bin capacity26 litres
AirWatts (high)284.83 AW
Sound (high)71.3 dB
ReviewerDavid Ludlow
Full reviewKarcher WD6 P Premium review

Numatic Henry HVR160

An exceptionally powerful vacuum cleaner with huge bags that cleans all surfaces brilliantly
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Pros

  • Very powerful
  • Cleans brilliantly on all surfaces
  • Easy to move around
  • Large bags

Cons

  • Can be difficult to push across some surfaces
  • A little untidy to store

Easily one of the most recognisable vacuums in the UK, the Henry is known for its iconic design and (more importantly) its exceptional power and performance.

Available as the classic red Henry or the pink Hetty, the Numatic Henry HVR160 is able to make light work of most cleaning tasks from everyday household mess to even DIY work with minimal hassle. The Henry HVR160 is easy to manoeuvre too thanks to its wheeled cylindrical body however it’s worth noting that it does weigh 7.5kg so it isn’t the lightest vacuum to carry around.

Storing the Henry isn’t particularly neat either as there isn’t any dedicated space to house the 2.4m long hose, so it ends up loosely piled on top of the base. Having said that, the Henry does boast a manual handle to wind the cable back into the main body which neatens it up slightly. 

Included with the Henry HVR160 is a set of useful accessories, including a two-in-one floor head that can switch between carpets and hard floors, a crevice tool for hard to reach areas, a dusting brush and an upholstery brush. 

The Henry also boasts a massive 10m long power cable alongside a 2.4m hose, which should be enough to clean an entire floor from a single power socket. 

We found that the Numatic Henry was simply one of the most powerful vacuums we’ve ever tested, with its raw power measuring at a whopping 408AW. This means the Henry is able to pick up debris much faster than its rivals, although we did find that this sheer strength had a tendency to suck up lighter rugs, which can be a nuisance. 

Overall the Numatic Henry HVR160 is a classic for numerous reasons. Not only is it a design icon but it’s exceptionally powerful and comes equipped with numerous tools and a large 6-litre bin capacity.

Weight10 kg
Vacuum cleaner typeCylinder
Provided headsCrevice tool, mattress tool, brush, turbo brush, flexible crevice tool, carpet/hard floor head, hard floor head
Bin capacity15 litres
AirWatts (high)408 AW
Sound (high)68.1 dB
ReviewerDavid Ludlow
Full reviewNumatic Henry HVR160 review

Vacmaster Respira

Best budget upright
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Pros

  • Very powerful
  • Useful 2-in-1 tools
  • Great value

Cons

  • A little cheap in places

The Vacmaster Respira offers a back-to-basics approach for vacuum cleaners, but it doesn’t skimp out on the amount of power on offer.

It offers an upright shape that’s designed for more standard cleaning jobs, and comes either with or without a pet tool, depending on the model you go for. Even if you don’t have the pet model though, there are still a few functions to use on the Respira that make it a versatile cleaner. For instance, the three-in-one crevice tool is especially handy for dealing with upholstery.

This vacuum has a 2-litre bin, which should prove sufficient for a couple of cleans at least. It comes away from the vacuum cleaner’s body, with a button to open the trapdoor at its bottom releasing the dirt collected into a bin. This door was a little stiff at first, so I recommend opening and closing it manually a few times before using the Respira.

Open the top of the bin and the central filter pulls out for easy cleaning. Plus, there’s a secondary filter on the underside of the bin that can be removed and washed.

The Vacmaster Respira has a single suction mode, although the button on the side lets you switch the floor roller speed between Hard Floor (labelled as “I”) and carpet (labelled as “II”). It’s a little cheap-looking, but that’s a minor complaint. If there’s too much suction to move the vacuum cleaner – as I found on short-pile carpet – then there’s an air vent that can be opened to reduce suction pressure.

At least the reason that the Respira is so hard to move is because it has a lot of power. I measured it at 229AW, which puts it within reach of the Shark NZ850UKT. That power translates into decent performance: a solid sweep through our test mess, although a trace of dirt left behind towards the edge of the floor head. Pet hair removal was spot on, removing every trace of dirt.

Vacmaster has opted for an anti-tangle head that stops hair from becoming caught around the roller. It’s a welcome addition, particularly on such a low-cost vacuum cleaner, since it saves the horrible job of cutting away tangled hair.

I found the Vacmaster Respira easy to manoeuvre, but the presence of the bin meant that often I couldn’t get the floor head underneath all furniture. The advantage of a rival cleaner, such as the Shark NZ850UKT, is that its Lift-Away mode lets remove the main cylinder and push just the wand and floor head around.

Weight6.4 kg
Vacuum cleaner typeUpright
Provided headsFloor head, crevice tool, brush
Bin capacity2 litres
AirWatts (high)226 AW
Sound (high)74.9 dB
ReviewerDavid Ludlow
Full reviewVacmaster Respira

Numatic Henry XL Plus

Best large budget vacuum
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Pros

  • Powerful suction
  • Huge capacity
  • Great set of tools

Cons

  • Regular floorhead not so good for pet hair

If you’re searching for a big vacuum cleaner on a small budget, the Numatic Henry XL Plus is an excellent pick. 

The Henry XL Plus presents a supersized alternative to the classic Henry vacuum cleaner, ideal for tackling bigger spaces that require a larger capacity cleaner. 

This model is large, measuring 510x350x370mm and weighing 10kg. Thankfully, the attached wheels make it easy enough to move around despite its size. The vacuum has a huge 15-litre capacity (twice that of a regular Henry) and requires NVM-2BH HepaFlo bags. There’s also a second filter that sits on top of the bag, locking in dust effectively. 

The controls are comparable to a regular Henry, with Numatic including a single on/off switch to toggle power and an air vent at the top of the wand to reduce airflow. 

The wand and hose have good reach and we found that we were able to clean a full flight of stairs without moving the vacuum further than the top and bottom steps. 

The Henry XL Plus comes with a regular floorhead for cleaning hard floors and carpets, along with a dedicated hard floor tool and a turbo tool to agitate dirt that works well with pet hair, though it’s a shame the brush isn’t an anti-tangle one. For this reason, you’ll be better off opting for one of our best vacuums for pet hair if you’re a pet owner searching for something a bit more adept at tackling fur. 

The vacuum has 431AW of power, which is similar to the suction power of the standard Henry and just above that of the Shark CZ500UKT. The Henry XL Plus performed admirably in our tests, making it an excellent pick for anyone looking for a large-capacity vacuum cleaner to tackle big spaces.

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Full Review: Numatic Henry XL Plus

Hoover HL5 Pet

Best for pet hair
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Pros

  • Good value
  • Doesn’t get tangled with hair
  • Powerful

Cons

  • No power to floor head in Push&Lift mode
  • Edge performance could be better

The Hoover HL5 Pet is a vacuum cleaner with anti-twist technology, making it ideal for cleaning up after your furry friend. 

The HL5 Pet is a smart-looking vacuum cleaner with a bold blue and yellow finish. There are also some useful design details, including a clear porthole in the top of the bin to show how full the vacuum is while cleaning. 

This particular model includes a large 1.4-litre bin with a filter that lifts out easily to be fully cleaned from time to time. There’s a washable foam filter beneath the bin and a HEPA filter at the front to keep dirt locked inside the vacuum. 

The HL5 Pet is easy to use in its upright mode and the LED lights highlight the floor as you clean, though not quite as strongly as the laser on the Dyson V15 Detect. The vacuum is lightweight and easy to push around with an air vent that helps reduce power when needed. There’s also a carpet mode, which sets the brush to maximum speed. 

The Push&Lift feature makes this cleaner very nimble when tackling tricky areas like stairs and car interiors, while the anti-twist technology prevents hair from getting caught in the roller making the HL5 Pet ideal for cleaning up after pets. 

Furthermore, there’s a crevice tool and a motorised pet tool in the box for stairs, pet beds and sofas, along with a wand and hose for reaching ceilings. 

The HL5 Pet is incredibly powerful for an upright vacuum, hitting 332AW in our tests. For comparison’s sake, the Shark NZ860UKT has 268AW of power, though the Shark vacuum does do a faster job in many instances. The HL5 Pet also performed well in our real-world tests, especially when faced with pet and human hair. 

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Full Review: Hoover HL5 Pet


FAQs

What style of vacuum cleaner do you want?

Cylinder cleaners have the power in a wheeled unit that you pull around behind you. There’s less weight in your hand, as you hold the wand and hose only, and you only occasionally need to drag the cylinder where you need it. They’re not quite as quick to get going with as an upright cleaner, which you plug in, pull back on and get going with. Upright cleaners are generally more popular as a result.

Do you need a bagged or bagless cleaner?

A bagged cleaner adds running costs into the mix, but you get a simple bag that you pull out and throw away, which can be better for allergy sufferers. With a bagless cleaner, you get a removable bin that needs emptying, which saves on cost but can lead to dust spreading in the air as you empty.

What accessories do you need?

All vacuum cleaners come with a floor head. Given the power available, some don’t require a spinning brush, but look out for models that do, as motorised brushes can make dirt pick-up more efficient, particularly when dealing with pet hair. You’ll also want to get a crevice tool and dusting tool, at the minimum, for close-up work; look out for a mini motorised brush if you have pets and want to tackle furniture.

How much power do you need?

Most plug-in models are limited to 750W of power, but the actual suction available and cleaning quality differs from vacuum to vacuum. Read our reviews to find out which vacuums clean the best.

Do you need a wet and dry vacuum?

Wet and dry models can tackle wet spills as well as dry, although you may need to do a bit of conversion before switching modes. These models can have more powerful motors, but they’re specialised tools that excel at tough jobs, such as DIY mess, and cleaning out a blocked washing machine.

What can a plug-in vacuum cleaner do that a cordless model can’t?

For basic cleaning, there’s not much between the two types, but the plug-in model does have some general advantages. First, you can keep cleaning for as long as you want, and don’t have to stop to recharge. Sure, some cordless cleaners provide power for whole-home cleaning, but even they will run out if you want to deep clean your house, tackle your sofas and car, for example. With a plug-in cleaner, you can just keep on going, and you run them at higher suction power for a deep clean.
A smaller advantage is that you can generally use plug-in cleaners for other suction jobs as they don’t cut out; cordless cleaners often (although not all models) have suction protection, turning off when they detect a blockage. For example, if you’ve got a vacuum drill attachment, where dust from drilling is sucked away before it can make a mess, this will work more easily with a plug-in cleaner. With a cordless cleaner, this kind of accessory may not work. Likewise, for vacuum storage bags, some cordless cleaners will cut out before you’ve compressed your bag; a plug-in cleaner will not.

What’s the difference between a regular model and a wet and dry vacuum?

A wet and dry vacuum cleaner can suck up dry dirt and water, although you usually have to convert between the two modes. As well as that clear difference, wet and dry vacuum cleaners don’t have the same power limitations placed on them, so they’re more powerful making them great for DIY jobs and dealing with the messiest of dirt.

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Specifications Compared

Here are all the specs for our best vacuum cleaners. Make sure the one you want has the tools you need: a mini motorised brush is excellent for pet owners that want to clean their sofas. Bagged cleaners have the ongoing cost of bags, but they’re easier to empty and generally better for those that suffer from allergies. Bin size is important, too: the bigger the bin the less often you’ll need to empty your vacuum cleaner.

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