So just how clean can you get your home?
You are probably spending more time inside and exhausting your Netflix queue. You may also be trying to keep your place as tidy as possible, which is good on many fronts: Cleaning up can be great for both your mental health (especially if you have anxious tendencies, and who doesn't these days) and your physical health (especially if you have allergies).
Everyone needs a few cleaning tools to bust out occasionally to prevent their place from looking feral, and probably the most important one of all is a vacuum cleaner. With a vacuum cleaner you can really get in there and remove the dust that collects in the corners and also give your fan blades a nice zoosh. Or you can just push the nozzle around your floor and countertop for ten minutes and decide that's enough. Your call, really.
No matter how committed you are to cleaning, here are a few tips to keep in mind before buying a vacuum, courtesy of Bailey Carson, a New York City cleaning expert and the "Head of Cleaning" for the cleaning and handyman booking site Handy.
• Think About Your Back. "When purchasing a vacuum, try to find one that is slim and lightweight so it’s easy to move around and carry to clean higher up spaces," Carson says. "You’ll also want to find one that is rechargeable and portable so you don’t have to worry about finding a nearby outlet or vacuuming over the cord."
• Consider the Floors in Your House. "Most homes have a combination of flooring from tile to carpet and hardwood so you should look for a vacuum that works across multiple surfaces so you can use it throughout your home with ease," she says.
• Figure out What Attachments You Need. "Many vacuums come with different attachments so keep an eye out for vacuums that offer you the most for your money," she says, "and don’t forget to look at the warranty that comes with it in case anything happens to the vacuum and it needs to be repaired."
Carson also says that for best results, "be sure to vacuum 1-2 times per week to keep your home clean. If you have a pet though, I recommend vacuuming once a day to make sure you get rid of any hair, pet dander, or smaller allergens that can linger."
With that in mind, as part of our ongoing series of product recommendations from experts, here are the best vacuums, as recommended by cleaning experts.
Best Vacuum Cleaners: Updated 2021
Mélanie Berliet is the general manager of the lifestyle website The Spruce, and she calls the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional "the best overall vacuum. What’s great about this model is that it’s easy to assemble and use, plus it maintains powerful suction whether you’re using it on carpet or bare floors," she says. "For those suffering from allergies, the Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology traps dust and irritants, plus the vacuum comes equipped with a HEPA filter that traps 99.9 percent of allergens in the vacuum. The swivel steering makes it easy to maneuver, and the detachable and portable canister is ideal for hard-to-reach places."
As part of his duties with his real estate group Poplar Holdings in Granite Falls, Washington, Thomas Ngo has had to clean his share of investment properties. "Good equipment makes the job comes easier," he says. His Dyson vacuum cleaners "dig into the carpet very well. Many times I spray carpet cleaner and just vacuum it up," he says. And he appreciates the company's commitment to quality. "When I have a problem, the local Dyson shop fixes it for free, for years."
When it comes to floors, most of us have some combination of tile, hardwood, rugs and carpets, so it's good to pick a vacuum that can tackle whatever surface it's thrown on. If you mostly have carpeted surfaces, consider the Shark Apex Stick Vacuum.
Irina Nikiforova is the owner of the Los Angeles-based cleaning company Rocket Maids, and she calls the Shark Apex "lightweight but powerful enough to clean carpeted floors. Its brush roll is wonderful for collecting pet’s hair even the most stubborn ones," she says. "The dust cup is big enough even for a 3,000-square-foot house with pets. This vacuum won’t break your back even if you’re getting your house ready for the in-laws' visit."
Best Budget Vacuum Cleaner
Of course, as Berliet admits, "You don't need to spend a bundle to get a clean home. This top pick from the trusted brand Bissell will clean your house in a jiffy and all for under $50,” she says. “Its lightweight construction makes it easy to clean all corners of the home while a washable filter means you won't have to replace it often."
Best Vacuum Cleaner for Allergies
Cats and dogs provide love and companionship and snuggles. For some people, they also provide sneezes. If your lovable ball of fluff is wrecking your allergies, Samantha B. Wenig of the New York City home organization company Neat Spaces recommends the BISSELL Cleanview Swivel Pet Upright .
"Pet hair, human hair and dander are the main causes of allergies, and now that everyone is working from home, this vacuum will easily get the job done. It has specialized features such as triple action brush, which help to remove unwanted hair and particles in your house," she says. "With the swivel head, it makes cleaning around furniture and other large objects very easy. As a bonus, BISSELL donates up to $10 to the BISSELL pet foundation for every pet product purchase upon activation, so you're giving back and cleaning your home."
Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Handheld vacuums aren't what you will turn to when you want to clean your floor, but if there's a problem area that needs some elbow grease to take care of, they'll be your best friend. Berliet recommends the BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster.
"Small but mighty, this is a great vacuum for picking up small spills or getting to those hard-to-reach spots. Not only does the lightweight design make this model easy to use, but the narrow nozzle, with an optional brush attachment, means you can even reach those previously inaccessible spaces like the crevice between your counter and your refrigerator," she says. "Plus, the filter is washable, meaning you won’t have the extra cost of replacing it down the line."
Best Vacuum Cleaner for Liquids
A lot of vacuums can't handle water or other spills, so it's best to wipe up any wet spots you notice before you vacuum. But sometimes spills can get really out of control. So if you're looking for a vacuum that works on wet surfaces as well as dry ones, then Ryan Thompson, a Miami blogger and plumber, recommends the Vacmaster brand.
"As a plumber we often clean up after water and other liquid spills from broken pipes," he says. "The Vacmaster Professional is a wet and dry vacuum that makes for a great choice to clean up after spills in your home and cars. Its high-performing motor can remove any water or drinks from the carpet, and with the 20-foot power cord it makes it convenient to vacuum around the house. You can also use it to vacuum your car. It's not just for cleaning liquids either, it still does a great job at removing dirt and dust from the carpet."