Best Canister Vacuum


Best Canister Vacuum 2017

We update our list of Best Canister Vacuums annually and the 2017 list has just been released.

Our choice for the Best Canister Vacuum in 2017 is the Miele Complete C3 Soft Carpet.  Top-notch consumer ratings, great performance on all surfaces and a lengthy warranty helped to nudge this unit to the #1 position.  As a matter of fact 3 of our top canisters this year are manufactured by Miele.  The Soft Carpet is followed by the Alize and the C2 Limited Addition. 

Other manufacturers who made the cut this year include Hoover, Bissell, Sebo, Shark and Dyson.  8 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 2017

 Rank  Vacuum Cleaner  Approx. Price (USD)
 1  Miele Complete C3 Soft Carpet  800
 2  Miele Complete C3 Alize  650
 3  Miele C2 Limited Edition  580
 4  Hoover Portapower  105
 5  Shark Rotator NR96  260
 6  Bissell Zing 4122  50
 7  Dyson DC39 Animal  400
 8  Sebo AirBelt D4 Premium  1300


Miele Soft Carpet

#1  Miele Complete C3 Soft Carpet
The Miele Complete C3 Soft Carpet is our number one choice for Best Canister Vacuum in 2017.  This is also the number one machine in our best bagged vacuum list and it happens to be the highest rated vacuum on our website to date.  This is a great vacuum for people with bare floors, all levels of carpet, and even pets.  

What makes this canister vacuum so special?
Very 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 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 for 20 years:  Miele states that this machine has an average lifespan of 20 years.

Lightweight:  At 11-12 lbs (canister only) it is lighter than many canister vacuums on the market today.

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.

Pros and cons for the Miele Soft Carpet are provided below:

- 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 Alize

#2 – Miele Complete C3 Alize
Our number two pick for the best canister vacuum in 2017 is the Miele Alize.  This vacuum gets rave reviews from consumers and they rate it an average of 93 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.

Why is the Alize one the best canister vacuums in 2017?

Highly rated by consumers:  There are very few disparaging remarks about this vacuum and the consumer ratings figures are consistently over 90%.

Great on hard surfaces: The Alize excels on hardwoods floors, vinyl, tile and even area rugs.

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.

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

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.
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.

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

Quiet operation:  Consumers frequently comment upon how very quiet the vacuum is.

7-year warranty on motor and casing:  This is a very long warranty compared to most other vacuum cleaners.

Tons of additional 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.

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

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

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

Read our full Miele Alize review.


Miele C2 Limited Edition

#3  Miele C2 Limited Edition
The C2 Limited Edition is designed for low pile carpet and bare floors.  Like most Miele canister vacuums this is a well built, bagged machine and it is fairly quiet. Unlike the C3 vacuums above, the C2 Limited Edition is smaller and more compact, it does not have a HEPA filter, and suction controls are via a dial (as opposed to a foot pedal on the C3’s).

Onwers like the C2 Limited Edition and consumer ratings are top notch.  The unit has powerful suction and has 6 different settings.  There is also a automatic rewind power cord which is a popular feature.  The cord is retracted at the press of a foot pedal built into the canister.

Two cleaning heads come with this C2:
1) The Miele SBD 285-3 Classic Combination Smooth Floor Brush
2) The Miele STB205-3 Turbo Comfort Brush

The Smooth Floor Brush is specially designed to clean bare surface and the Turbo Comfort Brush has an air-driven brushroll which makes it effective on low pile carpet.  If you want deeper pile carpet cleaning you will want a cleaner head with a motorized brushroll (like the one that comes with the Miele Soft Carpet).

Three tools are provided with the vacuum:  upholstery tool, crevice tool, and dusting brush.  These all fit conveniently into storage space built into the canister.  A stainless steel telescopic wand also comes with the vacuum.

The vacuum does not include a HEPA filter but a Miele HEPA filter can be purchased and it will fit in the unit.  Fortunately the vacuum does have a sealed system so it ensures all air entering the vacuum does get filtered properly (nothing leaks out).

- Very quiet
- Powerful suction
- Lightweight canister
- Quite maneuverable
- Variable suction
- Auto rewind power cord
- Bag full indicator
- Great for bare floors and low pile carpet

- Body plastic scuffs and scratches easily
- Bags are not cheap
- Suction driven brushroll in floor tool (not motor driven)
- Not so good on deeper pile carpet
- Power cord is a bit short

Read our Miele C2 Limited Edition review.


Hoover Portapower Vacuum

#4  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...


Shark Lift Away NR96

#5  Shark Rotator Powered Lift Away NR96
Shark (or SharkNinja as the company is now called) is well known for their bagless uprights and even their bagless stick vacuums, but they are not well known for bagless canisters.  Well, they did make one – the Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away NR96 and it is still on the market today.  It also gets very good ratings and reviews from owners.

It has the ever popular “Lift-Away” feature and has a cleaner head with a motor driven brushroll (an important feature for good carpet cleaning).  The NR96 has strong suction, a low profile nozzle, and a retractable power cord.  It is also a fairly compact machine which has its pros and cons.  It is fairly light and maneuverable but the cleaner head is small (which means more passes to clean a given area) and the dust canister is not very large.

It comes with a HEPA filter and a sealed system, ensuring properly clean air.  It also includes several tools.  The NR96 carries a 5-year warranty.  Some of the vacuum's pros and cons are listed below:

- Good suction
- Not too heavy
- Low profile nozzle
- Not too loud
- Maneuvers well
- Retractable power cord
- Lift-Away feature is very useful

- The main cleaner head is small
- On/off switch on canister body
- Smallish dust canister

Read our Shark Rotator NR96 review.


Bissell Zing 4122

#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 good 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.

- 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 our Bissell Zing 4122 review review.


Dyson DC39 Animal

#7  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.
- 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

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

Read our Dyson DC39 Animal review.


Sebo AirBelt D4 Premium

#8  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 are 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 and it will set you back close to $1300.  SEBO seems to have an almost cult-like following however and some people are not deterred by the price and swear by these vacuums.

- 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

- Expensive
- A bit on the heavy side
- A little bulky

Read our SEBO Airbelt D4 review.

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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


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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