Many typical vacuum cleaner models are heavy, which can make them challenging for elderly people to maneuver. However, plenty of lightweight, yet powerful, models are on the market. Even though they are less taxing on the back, legs, and joints, these vacuums can suction dirt, dust, and other debris just as effectively as standard vacuums.
Not all lightweight vacuum models are the same. Most elderly people need a vacuum that’s not only powerful but that also can clean the entire home, whether the floors are hardwood or carpet. The best vacuum cleaner also can clean stairs and pet messes. Many models have a variety of extra features that may be particularly helpful to the elderly, such as HEPA filters and ergonomic handles.
- BEST OVERALL: Shark Anti-Allergen Cordless Lightweight Stick Vacuum
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Eureka Lightweight Powerful Upright Vacuum Cleaner
- BEST UPRIGHT: Oreck XL Commercial Upright Vacuum Cleaner
- BEST CORDLESS STICK: Eureka Stylus Lightweight Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
- BEST CANISTER: Bissell Deluxe Canister Vacuum
- BEST FOR HARD FLOORS: Dyson – Omni-glide Cordless Vacuum
- BEST FOR CARPET: Shark Vertex Ultra Lightweight Cordless Stick
- BEST FOR PETS: Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet Cordless Upright Vacuum
- BEST HANDHELD: Shark Wandvac Power Pet Cordless Hand Vacuum
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Lightweight Vacuum Cleaner for Elderly People
Shoppers have a variety of considerations when choosing the lightweight vacuums for seniors, including furniture height, weight, power source, type of filtration, and other useful accessories. Also consider the physical condition of the potential user; for example, someone with issues bending may prefer a cordless option. Filtration is important for elderly people with allergy or respiratory problems. Weight is a critical element, because the heavier the appliance, the more challenging it is to operate. When choosing a lightweight vacuum cleaner for elderly family members or friends, consider the following major features.
- Upright vacuums stand on their own. These models are generally the most powerful, but also the heaviest.
- Stick vacuums, a newer technology, are generally lighter than standard uprights. With a body that looks like a stick, the dirt cup is typically near the top of the unit, making disposal easier. Some stick vacuums have a wall mount for easy storage.
- Canister vacuums have a wheeled body that’s attached to a hose and head. The canister holds the motor, filter, and possibly a dust bag.
- Robot vacuums operate on their own but produce the least amount of suction and control. They can supplement regular vacuuming, so the chore can be done less frequently.
Weight and Maneuverability
Heavier vacuum cleaners are more difficult to maneuver. Eldery folks with mobility issues or injuries may prefer a lightweight vacuum cleaner. However, heavier vacuums generally have more powerful motors, which are useful in homes with pets or grandchildren. A weak vacuum motor could lead to repeated vacuuming over the same area, which could be physically strenuous for seniors.
Some heavier vacuums have features such as ergonomic handles, which can be useful for older people with pain in their wrists or hands or a weaker grip.
Corded vs. Cordless
Cordless vacuums are more maneuverable and lighter, and their dirt cups empty quite easily. Their batteries must be recharged, however, so they won’t die in the middle of a cleaning session.
On the other hand, corded vacuums don’t require batteries or charging. However, they can be tripping hazards or pose problems for people who experience difficulties in bending down. Cleaning an entire home typically requires the user to bend multiple times to reposition the power cord.
Bagged vs. Bagless
Most of today’s vacuums are bagless. Instead of a bag, they contain a dirt cup, sometimes called a dirt canister. Users simply push or slide a button to empty the collected dirt and dust into the trash.
Bagged vacuums require periodic disposal and replacement of their bag. While more cumbersome than simply touching a button, the dirt and debris remain in a sealed bag, reducing the risk of exposure to harmful allergens. A bagged vacuum may be a better choice for someone with allergies or respiratory problems.
Moreover, those with allergies, asthma, or respiratory issues may want to consider a vacuum with a HEPA filter. HEPA, an acronym for “high efficiency particulate air,” means the filter can improve the air quality in a room. HEPA filters trap particles, while a regular filter recirculates them into the air. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, HEPA filters can remove at least 99.97 percent of pollen, dust, bacteria, and mold, as well as airborne particles as tiny as 0.3 microns.
If the vacuum will be used to clean upholstery, sofa cushions, and curtains, look for a vacuum with special attachments, such as pet hair brushes and crevice tools.
Headlights illuminate dirt, dust, pet hair, and other debris to make sure the vacuum picks up everything. They also make vacuuming easier for those who suffer from visual impairments.
Also consider the location of the buttons. When on the bottom of the vacuum, they require additional bending or foot dexterity to get to them.
Some lightweight vacuums have ergonomic handles, an ideal feature for those who suffer from arthritis or weakness in their hands.
Our Top Picks
The following list contains some of the best lightweight vacuum cleaners currently on the market in the major categories: stick, upright, canister, or handheld.
Weighing just 7.17 pounds, the Shark Anti-Allergen Stick Vacuum does it all. With a HEPA filter and an anti-allergen complete seal, it’s a good choice for seniors with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions. The extra-large dirt cup holds plenty of debris, so it may not need to be emptied after each use, which is a convenient bonus.
Bright LED headlights are helpful for those with vision challenges. This vacuum has extra-powerful suction and a self-cleaning proprietary Powerfins brush roll to clean carpets and area rugs.
- Form: Stick
- Weight: 7.17 pounds
- Height: 46.1 inches
- Removable hand vacuum
- 40 minutes runtime in standard mode
- Pet tool, anti-allergen brush, and crevice tool
Get the Shark anti-allergen vacuum cleaner on Amazon and Walmart.
Easy to afford, assemble, and use, the Eureka Upright Vacuum Cleaner is an excellent value for the money. Although it weighs just 11.5 pounds, it’s still powerful enough to clean an entire home. Because this model’s cord is 25 feet long, moving it around the home won’t require too much bending.
The Eureka has five height adjustment settings, making it a good choice for homes with multiple types of flooring. It cleans low-to-medium pile carpet, plush, shag, and high-pile rugs, as well as hard floors. A variety of accessories are included to clean tight spaces as well as upholstery.
Because the filter is washable, it won’t need to be replaced, saving maintenance costs over the lifetime of the appliance.
- Form: Upright
- Weight: 11.5 pounds
- Height: 44.5 inches
- Can pick up microscopic dust
- Easy-empty dirt cup
- Crevice tool, dusting brush, pet tool, and upholstery tool
- Floor brush requires bimonthly cleaning
- No HEPA filter
Get the Eureka upright vacuum cleaner on Amazon.
Some seniors may prefer a more traditional vacuum without a ton of bells, whistles, and accessories. The Oreck XL Commercial Upright Vacuum Cleaner has strong suction and a high-speed roller brush that spins 5,000 to 6,000 revolutions per minute.
The power switch is under the handle, helping users avoid bending. Perhaps its best feature is its microsweep technology, which switches from carpet to floors automatically.
Weighing only 9 pounds, this model is lighter than most standard uprights. The 35-foot cord helps eliminate the need for continuous unplugging and replugging.
- Form: Upright
- Weight: 9 pounds
- Height: 35 inches
- Commercial-grade product
- Ergonomic handle
- Side brushes for cleaning crevices and baseboards
- No extra accessories or hoses
Get the Oreck vacuum cleaner at Walmart.
One of the lightest stick vacuums on the market, the Eureka Stylus Vacuum Cleaner weighs just 6.4 pounds. With a generous 45-minute runtime, users can clean multiple rooms with each battery charge. A wall mount is included for easy storage.
The LED headlights illuminate dirt and dust, making them easier to see and pick up. Its crevice tool can extract tiny specs of dust in corners, on baseboards, and between sofa cushions.
It contains a HEPA filter, making it ideal for those with allergies.
- Form: Stick/handheld
- Weight: 6.4 pounds
- Height: 43.3 inches
- Two modes: stick and handheld
- Three cleaning modes
- Microsweep automatically adjusts for carpet or hard flooring
- Could use more accessory options
Get the Eureka Stylus vacuum cleaner on Amazon.
Canister vacuums can be heavy, but the Bissell Deluxe Canister Vacuum weighs just 9.1 pounds. The dirt cup, which is at the bottom of the vacuum, has a 1-liter capacity, which means it doesn’t have to be emptied after every use. The cord rewinds automatically to help prevent bending, reaching, and tripping.
The bristles on the Bissell Deluxe Canister’s brush are softer than comparable models. With a flexible 8-foot hose and controllable suction, elderly users can clean drapes and curtains without straining.
- Form: Canister
- Weight: 9.1 pounds
- Height: 10.67 inches
- Non-marking wheels
- Controllable suction
- Easy to store
- Could use more accessories
Get the Bissell vacuum cleaner on Amazon or Walmart.
Weighing only 4.2 pounds, the Dyson Omni-glide Cordless Vacuum is one of the lightest models on the market. This compact vacuum cleaner was designed specifically for hardwood floors. Sporting the brand’s first omnidirectional soft roller cleaner, it picks up 99.99 percent of particles, dust, and allergens.
Moving furniture to vacuum underneath it is a physically taxing chore, but that’s not necessary with the Dyson Omni-glide. It fits under low beds, tables, and sofas, making this vacuum an upgrade from an electric broom.
One of Dyson’s slimmest models, this small, powerful vacuum measures just 8.18 inches wide. It stores easily in a closet, pantry, or on the included docking station.
- Form: Stick/handheld
- Weight: 4.2 pounds
- Height: 42.4 inches
- Converts to a handheld
- Picks up dirt and debris both backward and forward
- Easy to maneuver
- Can’t be used on carpet
- May be too expensive for those on a fixed income
Get the Dyson vacuum cleaner at Best Buy or Bed Bath & Beyond.
Stick vacuums such as the Shark Vertex Stick work well in homes with large area rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting. Its DuoClean Powerfins maintain continuous contact with the surfaces, so it also can be used on hardwood floors. It fits under low furniture like an entertainment center or side table.
Those with allergies may want to consider this vacuum because it contains a HEPA filter and an anti-allergen complete seal. The filter and seal mean that dust, dander, and other allergens stay trapped in the vacuum, making the air cleaner.
- Form: Stick
- Weight: 9.04 pounds
- Height: 46.46 inches
- Long-lasting battery
- Crevice tool, anti-allergen brush, and pet multi-tool
- Self-cleaning brush roll
- Suction isn’t as powerful as other models
Get the Shark Vertex vacuum cleaner on Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Pets bring joy and companionship, but they also can create a mess. A good pet vacuum—such as the Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet Cordless Upright Vacuum—is designed for homes with pets. This Hoover lightweight vacuum remedies pet hair issues to help maintain a clean home.
The manufacturer claims this cordless vacuum weighs less than 9 pounds when lifted, yet feels like 2 pounds when reclined and in use. This model is a good choice for those with back or mobility issues. The battery takes just 2.5 hours to charge and has a runtime of up to 35 minutes.
The ONEPOWR also has an antimicrobial brush roll and pet filter, which can help prevent odor-causing bacteria from forming inside the vacuum.
- Form: Upright
- Weight: 9 pounds
- Height: 44 inches
- Removable brush roll
- High-capacity dirt cup
- Advanced swivel steering
Get the Hoover vacuum cleaner on Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Hoover.
The Shark Wandvac is lightweight, powerful, and completes cleaning chores quickly, whether vacuuming up cookie crumbs or pet hair. It comes with a crevice tool and a pet power brush. With a regular mode and a “boost” button, it can suck up sticky and deeply embedded messes.
This compact vacuum is easy to store on its charging station, which also holds the accessories. It can be left out on the counter instead of charging on the floor, where it could pose a tripping hazard or require bending to use.
- Form: Handheld
- Weight: 1.48 pounds
- Height: 15.4 inches
- Easily emptied dirt cup
- Small but powerful
- Accessories attach easily
- The dirt cup could be larger
Get the Shark Wandvac vacuum cleaner on Amazon or Kohl’s.
The Shark anti-allergen vacuum cleaner is the best all-around choice because it’s not only lightweight and versatile, but it also has lots of features. However, the price is on the high side, so seniors on a budget may want to choose the Eureka upright vacuum cleaner.
How We Chose the Best Lightweight Vacuum Cleaners for Elderly People
When compiling this list, we chose weight as the primary determining factor. None of the listed vacuums weigh more than 12 pounds and most weigh around 10 pounds. Next, we looked at price, often a critical feature for those on a fixed income. However, we also considered power; no one wants a vacuum that can’t generate enough power.
Brand reputation is another important factor, so we chose brands with reputations for producing quality products in each category. We also chose vacuum cleaners with especially useful features for elderly people, such as ergonomic handles. The vacuum’s power source and battery life are two other important characteristics, so we focused on vacuums with extra-long cords or long-lasting batteries.
Many seniors prefer lightweight vacuums because they allow them to clean their homes with less pain and risk of injury. If you need more information about choosing the best lightweight vacuum cleaner for yourself or the elderly person in your life, keep reading to find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about these products.
Q. What vacuum do professional cleaners use?
Professional cleaners often use commercial models, such as the Oreck vacuum cleaner.
Q. What is the easiest vacuum to push?
As the lightest model, the Dyson vacuum cleaner is the easiest to push.
Q. Can a lightweight vacuum help with a bad back?
A lightweight vacuum is useful for those with a bad back as long as they keep their spine in a neutral position and avoid twisting.
Q. What is the best cordless vacuum for the elderly?
The Shark anti-allergen vacuum cleaner is the best cordless vacuum for elderly people.