For indoor allergy sufferers, an effective vacuum is a key tool for managing symptoms. The best vacuum for allergies cleans indoor allergens like dust, pet dander, and pollen from carpets, hard floors, and other home surfaces.
When it comes to eliminating indoor allergens, a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is the gold standard. HEPA filters trap as much as 99.97 percent of particulates that are 0.3 microns in size. These filters can trap common allergens like dust, mold spores, pet dander, and pollen. Read on to learn more about what to look for in the best vacuum for allergies, and discover why these models are some of the top picks.
- BEST OVERALL: Shark NV356E S2 Navigator Lift-Away Professional
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bissell, 2999 MultiClean Allergen Upright Vacuum
- BEST FOR PET HAIR: Shark ZU561 Navigator Lift-Away Speed Self Cleaning
- BEST CORDLESS: Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
- BEST UPRIGHT: Hoover WindTunnel 3 Max Performance Upright Vacuum
- BEST CANISTER: Kenmore 81414 400 Series Pet Friendly Canister Vacuum
- BEST HANDHELD: Bissell Cleanview Deluxe Corded Handheld Vacuum
How We Chose the Best Vacuum for Allergies
We researched the most sought-after vacuum cleaners for allergies from the best vacuum brands in their respective categories and discovered that the best models are determined by their filtration type, design, suction power, accessories, and other special features included by top brands.
After extensive product research, we included vacuums for allergies that have integrated HEPA filters, with some picks coming with activated-carbon filters, to reduce allergens and particles in the home. We were also sure to include upright, stick, and canister vacuums to ensure multiple user preferences were represented.
For more user-friendliness, we only included vacuums for allergies with high suction power that come with varying accessories and attachments, including crevice tools, brush rolls, upholstery tools, pet hair tools, hoses, and even extendable wands to tackle any mess. Finally, most of these options are lightweight enough to carry up and down stairs and come with swivel steering for easy maneuvering while cleaning.
Our Top Picks
On top of being powerful, maneuverable, and easy to use, the best vacuums for those with allergies have effective filtration systems that trap allergens for good. The top picks on this list are all equipped with HEPA filters to capture allergens. Read on to learn why these vacuums are some of the top choices for allergy sufferers.
From plush carpets to ceilings, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away vacuum can remove allergens from a variety of surfaces. To access hard-to-clean spaces, simply detach the canister pod and hose of this corded upright vacuum from the bulky handle and head and voilà—the vacuum is now portable.
This Lift-Away pod is ideal for cleaning stairs, furniture, and non-floor surfaces. Its 5-foot hose offers a wide reach and cleans dust from other areas in the home such as ceiling fixtures and baseboards. Included with the vacuum is a Pet Power brush accessory for capturing pet hair and a crevice tool to clean tight spaces.
When used as an upright vacuum, the Shark Navigator’s swivel-steering design is easy to maneuver on bare floors and deep carpets alike (an optional brush-roll feature makes the latter a breeze). With a sealed bagless design and HEPA filter, the Navigator traps 99.9 percent of dust and allergens—and once trapped, it doesn’t release them back into the home.
- Filtration: HEPA
- Type: Upright
- Suction power: 1,200 watts
- Accessories included: 5-foot hose, Pet Power brush, brush-roll feature (optional)
- Detachable canister pod; suitable for hard-to-reach areas
- Suitable for multiple surfaces: flooring, upholstery, furniture, lighting fixtures, etc.
- Swivel-steering design; easy to maneuver
- Bagless design; easy to empty with the push of a button
- Pricey compared to similar options
- Rotor brush may get tangled
Get the Shark Lift-Away Professional vacuum for allergies on Amazon.
This corded upright vacuum from Bissell boasts the allergen-trapping features of pricier vacuums at an affordable price. Its sealed HEPA filtration system traps 99.97 percent of particles, and it’s specifically designed to tackle pet hair and allergens. Its bagless canister is easy to empty with the touch of a button.
Among the MultiClean’s advantages are its swivel steering design and its extendable wand, which helps users reach dust, spiderwebs, and debris from ceiling to carpet. The quick-release wand has a 12-foot reach and can be used with the included pet TurboEraser tool, which effectively grabs pet hair, or the 2-in-1 dust and crevice tool. The machine’s tangle-free brush roll is ideal for carpeted floors, picking up hair and fur without clogging the machine.
- Filtration: HEPA
- Type: Upright
- Suction power: Unlisted
- Accessories included: Quick-release extendable wand, TurboEraser tool, and 2-in-1 duster crevice tool
- Bagless canister; opens with the push of a button
- Swivel steering and 12-foot reach; easy to maneuver and reaches hard-to-reach places
- Tangle-free brush roll; suitable for bare floors and carpeting
- Lightweight design; easy to carry up and down stairs
- No lift-off technology integrated
Get the Bissell MultiClean vacuum for allergies at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Wayfair.
Pets are our best friends, but their fur and dander can exacerbate allergies. For cleaning up after a furry friend, consider this corded upright vacuum from Shark. One of its best features is a self-cleaning, motorized beater brush that picks up pet hair without causing annoying tangles. This feature, plus the vacuum’s swivel steering and adjustable suction power, makes the Shark a terrific choice for those who often have to clean pet messes from floors.
Another feature that makes this vacuum worth considering is Shark’s Lift-Away design. Its canister and attached hose can detach from the rest of the vacuum to clean stairs, drapes, and pet beds with ease. This vacuum’s HEPA filters and sealed design work in tandem to trap over 99.9 percent of dust, fur, pet dander, and other allergens. The bagless canister has an easy to remove dust cup for quick emptying and the vacuum comes with a brushroll, crevice tool, hair removal tool, and upholstery tool.
- Filtration: HEPA
- Type: Upright
- Suction power: 800 watts
- Accessories included: Attached hose, brush roll, crevice tool, hair-removal tool, and upholstery tool
- Self-cleaning, motorized beater brush picks up stubborn pet hair
- Swivel steering allows for easy maneuvering
- Adjustable suction power levels; suitable for hardwood and carpeting
- Bagless canister allows for easy emptying
- Limited suction power compared to similar options
- No carpet-height adjustment
Get the Shark Lift-Away Speed vacuum for allergies at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Lowe’s.
This cordless stick vacuum is equipped with a HEPA filter, and it traps dust and allergens in its bagless canister. With its lightweight and maneuverable design, the Dyson V8 Animal vacuum can deep clean every corner of the home.
The Animal cordless stick vacuum’s motorized beater brush has stiff nylon bristles to agitate carpet fibers; to clean high surfaces, simply remove the vacuum head. Detaching its long wand transforms this cordless vacuum into a convenient handheld vacuum.
A floor cleaning head, a soft dusting brush, a crevice tool, a mini brush tool, and a multisurface tool are all included with the vacuum. These accessories help to make full-home cleaning—including upholstery, drapes, and furniture—easy. The vacuum takes about 4 hours to reach a full charge. Each charge lasts up to 40 minutes or up to 25 minutes when using the motorized beater brush.
- Filtration: HEPA
- Type: Stick
- Suction power: 115 air watts
- Accessories included: Floor cleaning head, soft dusting brush, crevice tool, mini brush tool, and a multisurface tool
- Features a handy combination tool with a wide nozzle and brush for quick switching between tasks
- Very powerful suction and filtering system traps 99.99 percent of microscopic particles as small as 0.3 micron
- Easy to empty with its hygienic ejection mechanism that drives out dirt and dust in 1 action
- Small dustbin means more trips to the trash for emptying
Get the Dyson vacuum for allergies at Amazon, The Home Depot, Dyson, or Best Buy.
The corded, bagless WindTunnel vacuum from Hoover has a wide 15-inch vacuum head that makes quick work of large rooms. It’s easy to switch from hard floors to carpets, too—the optional brush roll can be switched on or off with the touch of a button.
WindTunnel’s 15-foot extendable wand is convenient for tidying out-of-reach surfaces, particularly when it is used in conjunction with the accompanying attachments: The vacuum’s Pet Turbo tool, pivoting dusting brush, and crevice tool all capture dust and allergens from up high or in corners. If this wand isn’t reason enough to give the WindTunnel serious consideration, its allergy-alleviating HEPA filter and odor-reducing carbon filter should help to persuade allergy sufferers.
- Filtration: HEPA and carbon filter
- Type: Upright
- Suction power: 1,200 watts
- Accessories included: Pet Turbo tool, pivoting dusting brush, and crevice tool
- 15-inch vacuum head pulls up more debris per pass
- 15-foot extendable wand; suitable for catching materials in hard-to-reach places
- Brush tool can be switched on and off easily
- Larger than comparable options; may be hard to maneuver and store
- Heavier than comparable options
Get the Hoover vacuum for allergies at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.
Those who prefer a bagged vacuum should consider this corded canister vacuum from Kenmore. Its bag-style design and HEPA filtration system keep allergens contained, even when the bag is being emptied.
This vacuum handles hard floors and carpets equally well; it comes packaged with a bare floor cleaning head and a carpet cleaning head with a beater brush that are both easy to attach. The carpet cleaning head has four adjustable heights to accommodate low- and high-pile carpets.
A 26-foot retractable cord and a 9-foot wand means that every nook and cranny of larger rooms can be reached without having to find a new electrical outlet. Two specialized attachments—a dusting brush for cleaning upholstery and a crevice tool for vacuuming along baseboards and in corners—remove dust and dander from often overlooked spots.
- Filtration: HEPA
- Type: Canister
- Suction power: 120 watts
- Accessories included: 9-foot wand, dusting brush, and crevice tool
- 2 cleaning heads included; suitable for use on carpeting as well as bare floors
- Carpet-cleaning head has 4 height settings; suitable for pet hair and tough fibers
- 26-foot retractable cord; suitable for large cleaning tasks
- Heavier than comparable options; 22-pound design
- No carrying handle; may be tricky to carry up and down stairs
Get the Kenmore vacuum for allergies on Amazon.
Cleaning localized debris—like cereal under the kitchen table or dirt on a stair tread—is easy with the Bissell Cleanview Deluxe. This small handheld vacuum has a HEPA media filter to contain allergens while cleaning up dust and crumbs. With a comfortable handle and an 18-foot power cord, it’s the ideal tool for cleaning quick messes.
One of the Cleanview Deluxe’s best features is its flexible rubber nozzle head that removes dirt and hair from fabrics. When the rubber nozzle is replaced with the hose attachment, it becomes a vacuum that can access high shelves, nooks and crannies between seats in the car, and other hard to reach places. The vacuum’s hose can be capped with the wide-mouth tool or the crevice tool to reach even more surfaces. When the cleaning job is done, the bagless dust canister is easily emptied.
- Filtration: HEPA
- Type: Handheld
- Suction power: Unlisted
- Accessories included: Rubber nozzle head, hose attachment, wide-mouth tool, and crevice tool
- Comfortable handle reduces hand fatigue while cleaning
- 18-foot power cord allows for large cleaning jobs
- Bagless dust canister; easy to empty when done cleaning
- Small dust capacity; may need frequent emptying
Get the Bissell Cleanview vacuum for allergies on Amazon.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Vacuum for Allergies
The best vacuum for allergies won’t circulate allergens around the home. Instead, it should suck up and trap allergens as well as dust, dirt, and debris. When shopping for a vacuum, look for a model that can clean a variety of surfaces in a user’s home, including hard, bare floors, thick carpet, and upholstery. Users may also want to give some thought as to whether the vacuum is upright or handheld, how it is designed, and its suction power, filtration system, and ease of use.
There are a variety of vacuum types that can help alleviate allergy sufferers’ symptoms, including canister, upright, stick, handheld, and robotic vacuums.
- Canister: A canister vacuum consists of a wheeled canister, a vacuum hose, and a wand with a vacuum head. Because they have several moving parts they can feel unwieldy to wheel around, but their long hoses offer a fair amount of reach. Since the vacuum head is attached to a hose that’s separate from the canister (unlike upright vacuums), they can be easier to maneuver for some jobs, like cleaning upholstery and drapes. Most canister vacuums are corded and come with a variety of attachments.
- Upright: Unlike a canister vacuum, which has distinctly separate parts, an upright vacuum operates as one unit. While they are heavier and bulkier than stick vacuums, they are reasonably easy to maneuver. Because an upright vacuum is one piece, its usefulness for cleaning stairs, drapes, and upholstery is limited. However, many have extendable hoses and attachments to tackle these types of jobs. Most upright vacuums are corded.
- Stick: Stick vacuums are similar to upright vacuums, but they are smaller and lighter in weight. They are easy to maneuver with one hand and are useful in cleaning stairs, furniture, and everyday messes. Stick vacuums can be corded or cordless.
- Handheld: For minor spills and messes, consider a compact handheld vacuum. Since they are smaller and less powerful than full-size vacuums, they’re not good picks for cleaning entire floors. These devices are convenient for eliminating crumbs, pet hair, or small messes from furniture, drapery, and cars. Handheld vacuums can be corded or cordless.
- Robotic: A robot vacuum does the work, saving users from puttering around the home with no help required (except to program and empty the vacuum). Robot vacuums don’t have as much cleaning power as full-size vacuums, but they are a convenient device for tidying up accumulating crumbs and dust.
Corded vs. Cordless
Corded vacuums are powered by electricity and need to be plugged into an outlet for use. The radius in which they can be used is limited by the length of their cords, but unlike cordless models, they will run for as long as they’re plugged in. Canister, upright, stick, and handheld vacuums are available in corded designs.
Cordless vacuums are powered by rechargeable batteries, with most lasting between 15 to 45 minutes on a full charge. These vacuums are lightweight and portable, allowing the user to vacuum freely without the cord getting in the way. The biggest downside to cordless vacuums is the battery can run out before the job is done. Due to their smaller size, cordless vacuums also tend to have a smaller capacity for debris and a less powerful motor. Cordless vacuums are available in stick, robot, and handheld vacuum types.
Bagged vs. Bagless
Bagged vacuums have a disposable bag that collects dust and dirt. For severe allergy sufferers, a bagged vacuum is usually a smarter pick. Because the bags contain the dust and dirt and are then disposed of, there’s less chance of reintroducing allergens into the air when emptying the vacuum.
Bagless options have a canister or dust cup that needs to be dumped out when full. Since the dust and dirt aren’t contained in a bag, there’s more risk of exposure to allergens. However, a bagless vacuum can still be a suitable choice for allergy sufferers if the canister is emptied into an outdoor trash can. Doing this will ensure that dust and allergens don’t make their way back into the house.
Cost is another factor to consider when choosing between a bagged and bagless vacuum. Bagged vacuums will have ongoing bag replacement costs, while bagless vacuums will not. Keep in mind, though, that a bagless vacuum will still require filter cleanings and replacements.
Suction power refers to the amount of suction strength a vacuum produces, but it’s not the only factor that determines effective cleaning. The vacuum’s design, and accessories like beater brushes and upholstery add-ons, will also affect its cleaning power.
While some manufacturers advertise vacuum power output, this does not necessarily refer to suction power. The best way to determine if a vacuum is powerful enough for user needs is to test out the vacuum before ordering online or read user reviews. A high-quality vacuum from a reputable brand should have enough suction power for effective cleaning. Canister and upright vacuums are generally more powerful than stick and handheld vacuums.
There is such a thing as too much suction. Strong suction can cause the vacuum to become stuck, especially in thick carpets. For ultimate flexibility, consider a vacuum with adjustable suction power. If users have high-pile carpets, consider a vacuum for thick carpets to ensure the device can effectively clean all floor coverings.
Vacuums suck up dirt and dust, trap it in a vacuum bag or a canister, and recirculate the suctioned air back into the room. For those with airborne allergies, it’s important to make sure allergens stay in the vacuum rather than circulating back into the air.
The most effective and widely available vacuum for trapping allergens is one with HEPA filtration. These filters trap as much as 99.97 percent of particulates that are 0.3 microns in size. Most airborne indoor allergens like mold spores, pet dander, pollen, and dust, are larger than 0.3 microns and will be trapped by HEPA vacuums.
While other filtration systems may be as effective as HEPA vacuums, true HEPA filters meet the U.S. Department of Energy standard, making them a highly recommended pick for allergy sufferers.
HEPA vacuums need occasional cleaning or replacing. Some vacuums have disposable filters, while others have washable versions. Many vacuums include a multistep filtration system to capture larger particles, which helps the HEPA filter last longer.
Allergens can settle on every surface in the home. Although cleaning flooring is a vacuum’s main purpose, canister, upright, and stick vacuums usually come with accessories that make it easier to clean specific surfaces. Attachments include upholstery tools, crevice tools, extension wands, pet hair-removal brushes, and dust brushes. These add-ons remove dust and dander from a variety of surfaces, from hardwood floors to upholstered couches.
Handheld vacuums are primarily used to clean minor messes and are handy for smaller surface areas, such as upholstery, curtains, and car interiors. Robot vacuums only clean flooring.
Shoppers who live in homes with a lot of carpeting should look for a vacuum with a motorized brush roll to clean deep between the carpets’ fibers. These rotating brushes agitate the carpet fibers so the vacuum can suck out embedded dust and debris. Those who have pets in the home should consider vacuums designed to pick up pet hair.
Ease of Use
When weighing the myriad vacuum-cleaning options, remember that heavier vacuums are harder to push, pull, and carry, while lightweight models are easier to maneuver and take up and down stairs. The ideal choice for a user’s home will depend on the home layout and the surfaces that need to be cleaned.
A vacuum’s weight is usually directly proportional to how powerful it is. Canister and upright vacuums tend to be the heaviest, but they are also usually more powerful. Stick and handheld vacuums are lighter, but they may have a less robust motor.
While shopping for vacuums, don’t forget to weigh the small details that can make using a vacuum easier. Cordless models or corded models with long power cords are more likely to reach hard-to-access areas of a home. Vacuums that have wheels or swiveling heads are more maneuverable than those that do not. Features like ergonomic handle grips make all-day chore sessions more comfortable and manageable.
The noise level of a vacuum is another important factor to think about while making a selection. Most users expect a vacuum to be loud, but there’s no reason to settle on an excessively noisy model if there are comparable options available that are quieter.
Most vacuum cleaners operate at about 70 to 75 decibels. To put those figures in perspective, a garbage disposal has an average noise level of 80 decibels, while a quiet indoor conversation is about 50 decibels.
Some vacuums are specially designed to be quieter, and these are good picks for those who are sensitive to loud noises. If the noise level is a concern, research vacuums that operate at less than 70 decibels.
For those who suffer from airborne allergies, a powerful vacuum is a key part of an effective allergy management plan. A vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter can clean surfaces and prevent allergens from circulating back into the air. If you’re still looking for the best vacuum for allergies for your home, consider the answers to the following frequently asked questions.
Q. What is the best vacuum for pet hair and dander?
With a self-cleaning brush roll and adjustable suction power, the Shark ZU561 Navigator Speed Vacuum with Lift-Away is one of the best options for cleaning pet hair, dander, and other animal-related allergens.
Q. How often should I vacuum if I have allergies?
For those who suffer from allergies, it is best to vacuum once or twice per week. Regular vacuuming with a HEPA vacuum can remove common indoor allergens like pet hair, dander, mold spores, and dust mite particles to alleviate allergy symptoms.
Q. How do I take care of a vacuum for allergies?
Maintaining a vacuum for allergies is like maintaining any vacuum cleaner: It should be emptied and cleaned regularly, and its filters should be replaced when needed. Allergy sufferers are advised to empty the vacuum promptly and make sure the filters are washed or replaced regularly. With proper maintenance, the vacuum will trap allergens more effectively.
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