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Best deep clean vacuums 2021

Best deep clean vacuums 2021
(Image credit: Getty)

With the best deep clean vacuums, you can really get your carpets as squeaky clean as possible, lifting up dirt and grime much more effectively. The top-rated deep clean vacuums for home are built to handle pet hair, expel dust and lift debris from floors at the flick of a button. Deep clean vacuums are designed with more power than the best vacuum cleaners for home, which means they’re able to eliminate dirt your ordinary vacuum might not have the suction to reach.

To help you discover the best deep clean vacuums, we’ve rounded up models that are built to tackle a wide range of flooring types. We’ve included those that can power through thick rugs and carpets, those that are best for hard-to-reach places like under the sofa or the bed, and deep clean vacuums for pulling up pet hair that won’t budge with your normal cleaner.

Choosing the best deep clean vacuum for you can be tricky, considering there are so many different options out there. But when it comes to finding the right one for your home, first look at the suction power it offers. From there, look at whether it has any different heads that you can attach depending on what area or surface of your home you are cleaning, and decide whether you would prefer a bagged or bagless design. 

Bagless deep clean vacuums will save you from having to purchase vacuum bags, but if you suffer from allergies we’d recommend investing in a bagged model - you will have less contact with dust. If you’re looking for more ways to clean your floors, also check out our guide to the best robot vacuums.

1. Shark APEX DuoClean: Best deep clean vacuum overall

Best deep clean vacuums: Shark APEX DuoClean review

(Image credit: Home Depot)

Shark APEX DuoClean

The best deep cleaning vacuum overall

Tools are stored on-board for easy access
Strong on both hardwood and carpeting
The pull-apart design makes cleaning stairs easy
Emptying the dustbin creates a large dust cloud

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.

2. Dyson Ball Animal 2: Best deep clean vacuum for power

Best deep clean vacuums: Dyson Ball Animal 2

(Image credit: Dyson)

Dyson Ball Animal 2

This is the most powerful deep cleaning vacuum out there

Strong on carpets and pet hair
Super powerful suction
Lightweight design
Struggles to reach under low furniture

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.

3. Bissell PowerForce Helix: Best deep clean vacuum on a budget

Best deep clean vacuums: Bissell PowerForce Helix

(Image credit: Amazon)

Bissell PowerForce Helix

This best budget deep cleaning vacuum we reviewed

Great for pet hair
Good warranty
Struggled with large debris 

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. 

4. Miele Dynamic U1: Best for carpets

Best deep clean vacuums: Miele Dynamic U1

(Image credit: Amazon)

Miele Dynamic U1

This is a great deep cleaning vacuum cleaner for carpet and pet hair

Its bag holds dust particles well
Runs quietly
Easily maneuvered 
Very heavy

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.

5. Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro: Best lightweight

Best deep clean vacuums: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro

(Image credit: Amazon)

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro

The best lightweight model we tested, and it also works well on hardwood

It functions as an upright and canister with the pull-apart design
Brushroll for cleaning hard woods
Comes with a lot of tools 
Some machines have longer cords 

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.

Today's best prices on the best deep clean vacuums

Best deep clean vacuums FAQ

What are the benefits of using a deep clean vacuum cleaner?

Your everyday vacuum might remove the surface level dirt lying on your floors and help maintain a clean looking home. But the best deep clean vacuums can clear weeks, months and – in some cases – years’ worth of dirt that’s built up deep within your surfaces.

So deep clean vacuums deliver a much more thorough cleaning experience than the average vac. That’s because they come with more suction power and different attachments that are specifically designed to eliminate different types of dirt. For example, many models come with an extension wand, a pet grooming tool, a crevice tool and a head for upholstery.

Deep cleaning your surfaces can increase the longevity of them. Plus, it will help those who suffer from allergies breathe easier by ridding dust and pet hair build-up (also read our guide to the best air purifiers for allergy sufferers). Using a deep clean vacuum cleaner can also remove trapped pollutants such as pet dander, and even help to prevent mould growth.  

Deep clean vacuums vs standard vacuum cleaners

The first main difference is the amount of suction power a deep clean vacuum comes with. Secondly, unlike many standard vacuum cleaners, deep clean vacuums come with a wider choice of attachments like a crevice tool, dusting brush, turbo brush and pet power brush. This helps to give your floors a deeper clean than ever before and reach spots your normal vacuum cleaner might have missed.

Another main difference is the different cleaning modes. Many of the best deep clean vacuums are designed with several different cleaning options. This can include an option for hard floors, low-pile carpets and thick carpets and shaggy rugs. These different cleaning modes change the brushes and suction power for each type of surface. Whereas an everyday vacuum cleaner had limited cleaning modes.

How to choose a deep cleaning vacuum cleaner

It can be difficult to judge the most important feature of any vacuum before you buy – its cleaning power. Keith Quimby, a Utah-based vacuum dealer and repairman with more than 30 years of experience, said the best way to evaluate a vacuum's cleaning ability before you buy it is to get a demonstration in a shop that services vacuum cleaners. 

Those are the people who know what will break first on a vacuum, and they know the reliable products and brands. However, it's not always possible to get an in-person demonstration, which is why we put all of the vacuum cleaners in our guide to the test to make sure they live up to expectations.

Maintenance also plays a major role in determining how well your vacuum is cleaning, especially as it gets older. Cleaning filters and dust cups regularly can make all the difference, according to Caitlin Wagner, product manager for upright vacuums at Shark. Ignoring maintenance can lead to less suction or even the total loss of a vacuum cleaner. "That's when you do see a lot of malfunctions in a vacuum," said Wagner.

How much do deep cleaning vacuums cost? 

The deep-cleaning vacuums we tested cost an average of $288 and our tests proved you don’t have to spend a lot to get a good vacuum. Several of the $200 vacuums we tested outrank those costing $400 or more.

Best deep clean vacuums: Shark Navigator Deep Clean Vacuum

(Image credit: Shark)

How we tested the best deep clean vacuums

We sprinkled the same amount of debris on thin carpet, thicker carpet, and hardwood flooring to gauge each unit's ability to clean thoroughly. The vacuum cleaners that completed the tasks with the fewest passes scored the best. We purposely ground in much of the breakfast cereal to recreate a common scenario in most homes. We also purposely used debris of different types to get a sense of each vacuum's suction.

We wanted to evaluate more than just cleaning power, so we also ran each vacuum cleaner through an obstacle course in our laboratory. We observed how well each unit could get around table legs and under low-slung furniture. 

We also used a sound meter and made note of the decibels produced when using each vacuum cleaner. Finally, we considered features that impact portability, including each vacuum cleaner's weight and the quality and quantity of handles.

Should you vacuum hardwood floors? 

Because most vacuum cleaners have a stiff rotating brush on the front, it may seem like a bad idea to use them on hardwood floor, especially older flooring or flooring with a thinner finish. However, this hasn't been an issue in our experience – we have tested a lot of vacuum cleaners on a lot of surfaces and haven't seen any scratches or nicks. 

Some people say that the rotating brush can wear down the finish over time, but we assume that is only on the most delicate flooring. Also, while metal wheels on really old vacuum cleaners probably did cause a little damage back in the day, most are now made of softer material.

The bigger problem with vacuuming hardwood flooring is it just doesn't get clean. The rotating brush often knocks debris out of the suction path or the suction is too far from the surface to pull stuff in. You should look for vacuum cleaners that address these problems specifically if you want to clean your hard flooring. Our best overall pick is great with hardwood floors, with its soft rolling brush at the front of the cleaning head.  

What to consider when buying a deep cleaning 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.