Sometimes, a classic vacuum just won't cut through the grime - in that case, investing in one of the best deep clean vacuums is something to consider.
While "standard" vacuums for home are great to tackle small messes and regular light cleans, but a deep clean vacuum have higher suction power and a variety of attachment to deal with even the most stubborn of messes. As with most recent vacuum cleaner models, they'll also be equipped with a powerful filter to make the air in your house cleaner, too.
If you've decided you're ready to invest, choosing the right deep clean vacuum can be a tricky task - with so many models out there and so many features to choose from, the decision can be overwhelming. Luckily, we're here to cut through the noise and ensure you find the perfect appliance for you. We've reviewed a range of vacuums from Dyson, Bissell, Shark and Miele so you can make an informed purchasing decision.
Before you add the product to your cart, you'll want to consider what type of flooring you have in your homes. Carpets require higher suction power to be fully cleaned, and some models are better suited to protect hardwood floors, for example.
Another factor to take into account is weight, as lugging a heavy vacuum around a large house can be a pain. You'll also want to choose between corded and cordless; the former is great for larger houses as the latter is more portable, but also risks running out of battery mid clean.
You’ll want to weigh up whether you would prefer a bagless or bagged model. Bagged designs make a great choice for people with allergies to reduce spillage of dust and pet dander when it comes to emptying the machine. Bagless models, however, can take away the hassle of having to change the bag. If you want to bypass the cleaning altogether, you may want to check out the best robot vacuums.
The best deep clean vacuums
For this comparison, we tested vacuum cleaners that are designed to deeply clean your home. The Shark APEX DuoClean Powered Lift-Away was noticeably faster and more powerful than most others. Many of the competitors took more than twice as many passes to clean as much as the APEX.
There were only a few that came close to the same performance. This is an especially good option if you have a variety of flooring in your home. It was the only one that got a perfect score for hardwood floor. Competing units flung kitty litter and cereal in every direction, requiring lots of passes to get it all cleaned up. The APEX quickly cleaned it all.
This is a very versatile machine. It pulls apart to give you a canister vacuum for cleaning stairs or furniture. It also comes with a long hose and lots of attachments that are stored on the body of the machine.
However, this vacuum is not perfect. The cleaning path is narrow and the main body is pretty bulky, so it can’t lay perfectly low and flat for cleaning under the bed. Also, bagless models such as this are cheaper for maintenance, but they always create a cloud of dust when it is time to empty – not the best for those with allergies.
- Read our Shark APEX DuoClean review
Dyson is an iconic vacuum cleaner brand when it comes to creating high-power and lightweight vacuums, and the Dyson Ball Animal 2 is no exception. This vacuum cleaner was the most powerful vacuum cleaners we tested, making light work of both large and small messes. We also found that this vacuum cleaner worked faster than many models we reviewed, clearing debris in fewer passes than average.
For a deep clean vacuum, the Dyson Ball Animal 2 is somewhat lightweight and boasts a slim design for easy storage. One of the problems we encountered was its inability to reach under low-lying furniture such as some couches and beds. This is because the ball element would force the head to lift off the ground, which is not ideal. Although the ball has its drawbacks, it also makes this vacuum one of the most maneuverable we tested.
As with other models in the Dyson range, the Ball Animal 2 is on the pricier side, so it won't suit anyone on a budget. It also does not have a headlight to light up the way as you're hoovering, a feature many more recent cordless models have.
- Read our Dyson Ball Animal 2 review
The Bissell PowerForce Helix had a pretty average performance when it came to deep cleaning carpets and hardwood floors. It performed particularly well when it came to pet hair, though, and it is very low in price for a heavy duty vacuum.
One of the major drawbacks we encountered was when it came to cleaning up large debris such as cereal. A common occurrence among the vacuums we reviewed was that they could spray this around, instead of cleaning it up, and the Bissell PowerForce Helix was no different.
We would expect a budget vacuum to have a basic warranty of one year, but the Bissell PowerForce Helix has an impressive two years of coverage. This vacuum cleaner is bagless, so you may find that some dust escapes as you empty it, but you’ll be spared the chore of buying vacuum bags.
- Read our Bissell PowerForce Helix review
As a vacuum with a bag, the Miele Dynamic U1 is ideal for allergy-sufferers. Bagged vacuums hold dust particles securely and eliminates them getting back into the air when you switch the bag out. Comparatively, vacuums with a dust cup tend to release a cloud of dirt back into the air around your garbage can.
Miele even sells high end HEPA vacuum bags to contain even the tiniest of allergy-causing particulates. This vacuum is also incredibly quiet given its size, but it’s not very portable. It’s also very good at cleaning all floor types, especially carpets, and gets under beds easily. This means you can use it to get rid of the stuff that makes you sneeze, even in hard to reach places.
On the flipside, this vacuum cleaner is very heavy, meaning it's not a great option for anyone with mobility issues or if you're looking to clean a large space. It's also one of the most expensive vacuums we've tested, so it's best reserved for households that need a beast of an appliance and can afford to splash some cash.
- Read our Miele Dynamic U1 review
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro is remarkably versatile. Even though it is lightweight and compact, it manages to do the duty of three machines – a strong upright, a canister, and a hand vacuum cleaner.
This machine has one of the Shark designs that pull apart, giving you a canister for taking up and down stairs or into other hard-to-reach areas. This vacuum has a long hose that can make it easy to clean tall draperies and cobwebs along the ceiling. It also comes with a lot of tools for multiple cleaning tasks – a crevice tool, pet power brush, dusting brush, turbo brush, and hard floor attachment.
The Dust Away tool has a microfiber pad that is designed to capture dirt from your tile and hardwood floors. There is also a brushroll control so you can clean on hardwoods without flinging debris everywhere.
Machines like this with a dust cup instead of a bag are not really known for their ability to trap allergens, but this one is designed with that in mind. It has a HEPA filter, and the vacuum’s components are designed to fit snugly together to seal in messes. The five-year warranty is an added bonus.
- Read our Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro review
What to look out for when buying a deep clean vacuum cleaner
For our deep vacuum tests, we considered any machine that is specifically designed to clean more deeply than normal vacuum cleaners – that can include either upright or canister-style designs. Our comparison includes bagged and bagless models.
Both have their advantages: Bagged units are generally better for containing dust at all points in the cleaning process, but they do add a layer of expense because you have to keep buying bags for the lifetime of the machine.
Bagless machines can sometimes create a dust cloud when being emptied, and are generally not as good at containing allergens during the cleaning process either, but you don't have to worry about buying bags.
The very best deep cleaning vacuums can cost more than $1,500. Our research indicates that most people are not willing to pay that much, though, even for a vacuum that is designed to have better than average cleaning power.
We decided to stay in a more universally accepted price range – right around $350 and below – and found some great vacuums for the money.
Whether you decide to use an upright or canister, bagged or bagless, you want a machine that gives you the right accessories. Look for the ones that come with brushes and other tools to help you clean furniture, draperies, stairwells and other surfaces besides carpets.
Features like a wide cleaning path and a long cord can add convenience by allowing you to cover more area quickly and to hunt for new outlets less often.
Help and support
All products are better with good customer support from their manufacturer. We looked for the ones that have long warranties and lots of ways to get answers when you need them.