Best vacuum cleaner 2023

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Best vacuum cleaner 2023

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Whether you hate vacuuming or find it a welcome distraction, we can all agree on one thing: it’s important to have a vacuum cleaner that can clean quickly and efficiently, providing all of the tools that we’ll need to get into every nook and cranny. Needs differ between people and households, but here we have a list of the best plug-in vacuum cleaners to suit everyone.

We’ve focussed on just the plug-in vacuum cleaners in this list, but you can check out our guide to the best cordless vacuum cleaners if you want something battery powered. While cordless cleaners may be getting more powerful, and there are models suitable for whole-home cleaning, the humble plug-in cleaner still deserves a place in many homes. Not least, because these vacuum cleaners run at higher suction levels by default and they never run out of battery, so you can clean for as long as you want.

There are two main types of vacuum cleaner: cylinder and upright. Cylinder cleaners have you drag around the main vacuum cleaner body, while you hold the hose. They’re a little more cumbersome to store, but for the most part you only have to hold the hose and floor head, so they feel lighter.

We also review wet and dry vacuum cleaners. These are generally cylinder cleaners and suck dirt into a bag, but they can have a filter added that lets them suck up wet mess, too. These are really designed for mucky jobs, such as DIY.

Upright cleaners are a little neater, combining everything into a single body. Just plug them in, lean them back and start pushing. We rate all vacuum cleaners based on how easy and comfortable they are to use and point out who they’d be good for.

Suction power is important for any vacuum cleaner. We measure power in airwatts (AW), which is a mark of efficiency based on the suction ability and airflow (the higher the better). Simply listing suction power alone doesn’t tell the true story, so be wary of reviews and specs that quote this.

Suction power alone doesn’t tell you everything about cleaning quality, as many cleaners now use rotating floor brushes that agitate dirt, and therefore require less overall suction power. As a general rule, a plug-in cleaner with a powered floor head should generate over 200AW, one without a standard floor head should generate 300AW or more.

Wet and dry vacuum cleaners are a different beast again, and are even more powerful so that they can suck up water and the kind of debris you’d get from DIY jobs. Expect these to get to around 400AW.

Raw power is an indication of quality, but we use real-world tests to see how well each vacuum performs. We test their ability to pick up dirt from carpet and hard floors, and how well the floor head cleans to the edge of the rooms, using a single pass. The reason for this is that the best vacuum cleaners should be able to tackle any mess quickly, without multiple sweeps.

As this list is about form, we’ve listed plug-in vacuum cleaners at a wide range of prices for all budgets, with each review clearly explaining where a product is good and any flaws it might have.

Best vacuum cleaners at a glance

How we test

Learn more about how we test vacuum cleaners

We put every single vacuum cleaner through the same set of tests, so that we can tell the good apart from the bad. We measure all vacuum cleaners for suction in air watts (AW), which is a combination of both airflow and vacuum suction. This is the only true measurement of a vacuum’s ability, with the higher the number the better.

While that figure tells you how powerful the vacuum cleaner is, it doesn’t tell you how well it performs in real life. For this reason, our real world tests show you before and after pictures of dust collection on carpet, hard floor and at the edge of the room, using a combination of dust from flour and rice grains to pet hair.

If you want to learn more, read our detailed page on how we test vacuum cleaners.

Shark Stratos Pet Pro Anti Hair Wrap Plus Anti-Odour Upright Vacuum NZ860UKT

The best overall vacuum cleaner
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  • Flexible cleaning
  • Powerful
  • Anti-Odour pods make your home smell fresh


  • Can be fiddly to empty bin

Not just a simple update to last year’s model, the Shark Stratos Pet Pro Anti Hair Wrap Plus Anti-Odour Upright Vacuum NZ860UKT is a brand-new vacuum cleaner, with several neat new features. First up, is the new DuoClean floor head, which is designed to work on hard floors and carpets.

This new model has an updated version of Shark’s Anti Hair Wrap tech: in testing, both the soft brush roll and carpet brush came out completely clean.

This floor head takes the Shark Anti-Odour pod, which release a sweet smell as you vacuum. It’s a neat add-on, and we like the fresh smell if left behind, making our house feel as clean as it was.

What hasn’t changed is performance, and the Shark Stratos Pet Pro Anti Hair Wrap Plus Anti-Odour Upright Vacuum NZ860UKT is hugely powerful, coming in at 268AW. That’s not the most powerful we’ve seen (the Henry has more suction), but the NZ860UKT doesn’t need quite as much power, as its floor head agitates dirt for removal. It works brilliantly: on hard floors, carpets and with pet hair, the NZ860UKT aced every single test. Our one minor complaint is that the bin can take a bit of shaking to get everything out of it.

This vacuum cleaner has Lift-Away mode, where the central cylinder lifts out. This makes it easier to get the wand and floor head under sofas and the like, plus it makes this a more nimble vacuum cleaner, whether you’re cleaning your car or just getting into a hard-to-reach place in your home.

All-round, this is the best overall plug-in vacuum cleaner that we have reviewed.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Read the full review: Shark Stratos Pet Pro Anti Hair Wrap Plus Anti-Odour Upright Vacuum NZ860UKT review

Shark CZ500UKT

The best overall cylinder vacuum cleaner
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  • Powerful
  • Cleverly placed controls
  • Excellent build quality
  • Flexology makes cleaning under furniture easy


  • A little cumbersome to store

Shark is best known for its upright and cordless models, but with the Shark Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner CZ500UKT the company debuted its first cylinder cleaner. This model has many of the features that we’ve come to know and love from Shark cleaner, only in a different form factor. Its excellent cleaning on all surfaces and brilliant design make it our favourite cylinder cleaner.

Cylinder cleaners are often easier to move around because you drag the cylinder behind you. Here, Shark has made that job very easy with four caster wheels that we found made it effortless to slide around.

If there’s one issue with cylinder cleaners, it’s that the controls are on the main unit, so you have to bend down to use them. Here, that’s not the case, as the controls are all on the handle, so we could toggle power and change mode all with the flick of a thumb. This certainly saved our backs.

In the box, you get a motorised pet tool, crevice tool and brush, which gives you plenty of flexibility for detail cleaning. The main cleaning head is a DuoClean (this has a soft roller for hard floors and a brush for carpets) with Anti Hair Wrap (this honestly works and stops hair from wrapping around the brush).

Shark has clips to hold the wand and floor head in place, and there’s an accessory clip so you can carry around the detail tools with you.

I measured the vacuum cleaner at a decent 92AW on Eco mode (about the same as a cordless in its regular mode), 227AW on Standard and a massive 285AW on Max: that’s a truly huge amount of suction power for the biggest spills.

Not that we needed this often. We found that Eco mode was enough to tackle our test dirt on carpet, with the floor head agitating dirt brilliantly. One sweep through was enough to leave a clean path. We used Standard for everything else: hard floors and pet hair. On our edge test, the cleaner slightly lagged behind Shark’s best uprights and we did have to finish off with the crevice tool, but that’s our only minor complaint.

If you like cylinder vacuum cleaners and want the features that Shark usually has with its uprights, then this is the a great choice.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Read the full review: Shark Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner CZ500UKT

Stihl SE 33

The best wet and dry vacuum cleaner
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  • Very powerful
  • Large capacity
  • Can blow as well as suck
  • Excellent performance on all spills


  • Can be hard to push on some surfaces

Normal vacuum cleaners aren’t built to handle the kinds of dirt and mess you get from DIY, which is why you may also want a powerful wet and dry vacuum cleaner, such as the Stihl SE 33. This looks much like any cylinder vacuum cleaner, but as well as sucking dirt into a paper bag, and make for easier emptying, you can fit the filter and suck up wet mess, too. It’s hugely powerful but great value, making this the best wet and dry vacuum cleaner that we’ve reviewed.

One big difference between wet and dry vacuum cleaners and your standard models is that they can exceed the power limits set: the SE 33 draws 1400W, whereas a standard cleaner will be 750W or less. This translates into more raw power: we measured it at 406AW, which is double the power of many other models in this list.

In fact, it’s so powerful that we found the suction makes the bog-standard floor head hard to push on some surfaces, such as carpet: we needed a huge amount of force at times to get the head to move at times. It should be no surprise that this vacuum cleaner scored perfectly in our carpet, edge, pet hair and hard floor tests. We also spread wet Weetabix onto the floor: no problem for the SE 33 at all.

So, why so much power? With the accessories, the amount of suction on offer let the SE 33 quickly suck up DIY mess, even bigger bits of debris. For these kinds of jobs with more mess than general house dirt, the SE 33 excels and shows why it needs so much power.

The difficulty pushing this cleaner on everyday surfaces mean that it’s not the ideal everyday cleaner: instead, this level of power is best directed at DIY debris, from sawdust to wet plaster mess. This is a great addition to any household, as a DIY or workshop vacuum cleaner, able to cope with those dirty jobs that a regular vacuum can’t touch.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Read the full review: Stihl SE 33 review

Shark PZ1000UKT

The best vacuum cleaner for large homes
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  • Very powerful
  • Clever controls
  • Excellent cleaning on all surfaces
  • Lift-Away mode is very useful


  • Bulky

The Shark Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner XL with Powered Lift-Away & TruePet PZ1000UKT takes everything great about the company’s Lift-Away vacuums and super-sizes it. Here, there’s a wider floor head than normal and a huge 1.6-litre bin, so we could clean for longer without having to empty. Its incredible cleaning power and wide floor head let us cover a big area in a short amount of time, making this our best upright vacuum cleaner for large homes.

Shark has used its DuoClean tech on the floor head: it has a soft roller for hard floors and a brush roll for carpets. It’s a smart design, as you don’t have to swap floor heads ever, and it’s Anti Hair Wrap: genuinely, we have never managed to clog this floor head with hair.

Having a wide floor head means you can do more in one go. With our regular carpet test, the PZ1000UKT made a clean sweep through the middle of our test mess, leaving nothing behind and, the width of the head meant fewer sweeps were needed to clean everything. Multiply that up around a house, and the wide head captures more dirt on fewer sweeps, so you we found that we could clean faster. Performance right to the edge of rooms was excellent, as was the perfect pet hair and hard floor pick-up.

It helps that this vacuum cleaner is so powerful: 270AW on hard floor mode (more than most cordless cleaners in their short-lived boost modes), and 254AW on carpet mode (here, the brush roll spins faster to agitate dirt). There’s also a Deep Pile mode, which cuts suction to 159AW and reduces the roller speed: this prevents clogging and tangling.

Power and mode selection controls are all on the main wand, so you can reach them without bending down. As this is a Lift-Away model, the main cylinder comes out, so you can use the long-reach of the wand and hose to use the detail tools, including the excellent crevice tool and powerful anti-tangle pet brush, which worked wonders on our sofas.

The slight downside is that this large vacuum cleaner is heavy at 6.8kg, and it’s large. If you’ve got lots of storage room and a big house, it’s a brilliant choice, but those of us in smaller homes or flats may find we’re better off with a smaller cleaner from this list.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Read the full review: Shark Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner XL with Powered Lift-Away & TruePet PZ1000UKT review

Bissell SmartClean Pet

The best cylinder cleaner for large homes
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  • Very powerful
  • Adjusts power on the fly
  • Excellent dirt pick-up
  • Large bin


  • Large
  • No mini motorised tool

A beast of a cylinder vacuum cleaner, the Bissell SmartClean Pet weighs 9.98kg. This size doesn’t go to waste: the wide head and large 3-litre bin mean that you can clean a large area quickly, making this our favourite cylinder vacuum cleaner for large homes.

If the weight is causing concern, don’t let that put you off, as the large wheels make this much easier to move around. In our review, we found that this cylinder cleaner was as easy to move as any. There’s a long 3m hose gives you plenty of reach: we could tackle our stairs with the cleaner at the bottom. In fact, the only time we had to lift this vacuum cleaner was to physically go upstairs.

The core tool is the motorised brush, which is suitable for carpets and hard floors alike. It’s an anti-tangle brush, designed to stop hair wrapping around it. And, it works well: we didn’t have to cut any hair away from the roller during our testing.

As this is a large vacuum cleaner, it has a huge 3-litre bin. That’s absolutely massive to the extent that we only had to empty it every couple of weeks or so.

We measured suction at 227AW in maximum mode (that’s the required amount of power and outdoes many cordless cleaners on turbo mode), down to a more sedate 185AW on minimum: that’s a more useful power mode for thicker carpets. There’s an Auto mode, too: we found that this lets the SmartClean Pet adapt to the surface it was on perfectly.

Real-world tests showed that this cleaner was excellent: perfect cleaning to the edges, clean sweeps on carpet and hard floors and pet hair removed with no issue.

There’s are multiple clips for the wand: one for storage while cleaning, and a second one underside for storage when the vacuum is stood on its back. It’s a shame that there are no clips for the brush and crevice tool. The lack of a mini motorised tool for upholstery is a little disappointing, particularly for a vacuum cleaner aimed at pet owners.

This is a very large and heavy cylinder vacuum cleaner, but if that doesn’t bother you, its power and cleaning ability make it a great choice, particularly in large homes.

Review: David Ludlow
Read the full review: Bissell SmartClean Pet review

Miele Boost CX1

The best compact cylinder cleaner
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  • Compact
  • Well-marked controls
  • Useful selection of tools


  • Can be hard to push across some surfaces

If there’s one problem with cylinder vacuum cleaners, it’s that they’re often bulky and messy to store. The Miele Boost CX1 is different.

First, it’s very small (280 x 400 x 400) and it weighs 7.8kg, which makes it more compact than the competition. Secondly, there’s room on board for all of the tools (dusting brush, crevice tool and upholstery brush), and there’s a clip for stowing the floor head. All-in, we found this the neatest and most compact cylinder we have tested.

The minor downside to such a cleaner is that the hose is a little shorter than on rivals, as is the power cable. As such, you may need to use a couple of extra power sockets to clean your home, compared to a regular cleaner.

We loved the power settings on this vacuum cleaner: they’re clearly labelled for the job at hand with settings for curtains and upholstery, rugs, carpet and hard floors. No more guessing which mode to use.

There’s a lot of power in this cleaner, too. We measured it at 89AW on its lowest setting, up to a massive 422AW on its maximum power. That’s a huge amount of suction, and great for picking up larger spills fast.

In our real-world tests, we found that mess on carpet was gone straight away and that the cleaner reached right to the edge of rooms. Hard floor pick-up was flawless. The only test that this cleaner struggled with was pet hair removal: with suction only, the Boost CX1 struggles to agitate and remove hair, and a cleaner with a motorised brush is really required. Miele does sell a Cat & Dog version that adds a motorised brush for these jobs.

If you’ve got a more modest home and like the idea of a cylinder cleaner, this compact and powerful model is a great choice.

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Full review: Miele Boost CX1 review

Hoover Telios Extra TX50PET

The best budget cylinder cleaner
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  • Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre
  • Powerful
  • Cleans well on all surfaces
  • Easy to store


  • Too many floor heads
  • Carpet Optimax head is hard to push

Great value, with decent performance, the Hoover Telios Extra TX50PET is a great all-round cylinder vacuum cleaner for those on a tighter budget.

This model weighs 5kg, which is pretty good as far as plug-in cleaners go. Besides, as the vacuum is on wheels, we rarely had to lift it.

Storage of cylinder vacuum cleaners can be annoying to store, but not the Telios Extra TX50PET. Flip open the flat at the front, and there’s space for the crevice tool, dusting brush and furniture nozzle. There’s also a clip for the floor head, so you can store the vacuum cleaner upright with its hose wrapped around it.

Hoover provides three main floor heads in the box, but the 2-in-1 head was the only one we used: the parquet head felt superfluous and the Carpet Optimax head was practically impossible to push on carpet. It needed so much force, that we gave up.

We measured suction power at 207AW on maximum power and 117AW on minimum. That’s a little behind the most powerful cleaners, but these power levels are higher than cordless cleaners in standard mode, and you don’t have to worry about battery life here.

Performance is very good: the vacuum cleaned right up to the skirting board, tackled large debris on a hard floor without leaving anything behind and the furniture tool got cat hair off with ease.

Emptying the cleaner is easy, as the EPA bags just lift out to be thrown away. Note that these are HEPA bags, so homes with allergy sufferers may want to look elsewhere. Anyone looking for a neat, well-priced cylinder vacuum cleaner for homes with pets will like this well-priced option.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Read the full review: Hoover Telios Extra TX50PET review

Hoover H-Upright 300

The best lightweight upright vacuum cleaner
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  • Great value
  • Lightweight
  • Clever controls


  • Wand is fiddly to use
  • Not that powerful for a plug-in model

Well priced and extremely light, the Hoover H-Upright 300 is capable of good results on all surfaces, although you may need to use a few sweeps to pick up everything.

To use the vacuum, you just tip the head back and move it around. There’s a good amount of rotation in the floor head, so we could quickly nip around chair legs. Given the large 1.5-litre bin, you can’t get the vacuum cleaner under lower furniture such as sofas. For detail cleaning and getting under furniture, you can use the provided accessories: a crevice tool and dusting brush. Both clip to the back of the vacuum cleaner for easy storage, and the 8.1m power cable loops around the storage clips at the rear of the cleaner and provides plenty of reach for regular cleaning.

Once you’ve finished cleaning, the bin lifts out of the cleaner, and you can flip open the bottom to empty dirt quite easily. There’s one filter here and another in the cleaner, both of which should be cleaned with water to maintain maximum suction.

The Hoover H-Upright 300’s suction in AirWatts is185.9AW, which is lower than many other plug-in cleaners, which usually come in around 200+. However, it’s still more powerful than most cordless models on their maximum setting.

Performance is good. Giving the H-Upright 300 a single sweep through a teaspoon of flour on the carpet, with the floor head set to carpet mode, we found that it left a trace of the mess behind. We closed the vent and put the cleaner in hard floor mode, where it was still easy to push on short-pile carpet. This improved results, and We soon picked up all of the mess. Quality results were seen in my pet hair test. Here, the H-Upright 300 managed to pick up all of the cat hair that we’d combed into the carpet.

A more difficult test is my carpet tile test, where we sprinkle flour right up to the skirting board. With the H-Upright 300 set to hard floor mode, it left a trace amount of dust behind. Approaching the mess from different angles and giving the H-Upright 300 a few more sweeps soon collected most of the mess, with just the crevice tool needed for the tiny particles remaining right at the edge.

Finally, we tested the vacuum on hard floor, sprinkling a teaspoon of rice onto the area. Here, a single sweep was all that was needed to pick up the mess, with no grains of rice dropping out.

For noise, we measured the vacuum cleaner at 74.3dB, which is about average for a plug-in model: quite loud in use, but not distressingly so.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Read the full review: Hoover H-Upright 300 review

Karcher WD6 P Premium

The best heavy-duty vacuum for messy cleanup jobs
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  • Super-powerful
  • Clever drainage system
  • Smart filter cleaning


  • Huge
  • Few tools

Big and powerful, the Karcher WD6 P Premium can suck up dust and larger debris from any surface fast. It comes with a smart filter cleaner, and can tackle wet spills without you having to change the filter. It’s perfect for proper filth and mess, such as wet plaster dust and sawdust from DIY jobs. If you find yourself doing a lot of work in and around your home, then the Karcher WD6 P Premium could well be for you.

Offering phenomenal power, an integrated power socket for power tools, and the ability to handle wet and dry mess, it’s an exceptional all-round vacuum cleaner. It’s quite large, though, and a bit unwieldy to store. As such, it’s best suited to those who have a garage or shed in which they can store the vacuum when it isn’t in use.

Karcher provides a few accessories in the box: a crevice tool, floor head (with a switch to raise the brushes for normal vacuuming, and lower them for water removal), a tool attachment, and a mini detail hose. The tool adapter lets you plug the vacuum cleaner into the back of a power tool to suck away dirt as you work.

Wet and dry vacuum cleaners aren’t subject to the same power restrictions as normal vacuum cleaners, which means there’s a lot more power on offer here. This enables the Karcher WD6 P Premium to suck up water, large bits of debris, and even higher volumes of dust and dirt than a regular vacuum cleaner. We measured it at at a huge 472AW, the most that we have seen from any vacuum cleaner.

Its huge capacity, the ability to tackle wet and dry mess, and a ridiculous amount of power means that the Karcher WD6 P Premium is perfect for any messy cleanup job. Try to suck up sawdust, and it will quickly clean an area in a fraction of the time that it would take a regular vacuum cleaner. And with wet spills or larger debris, it sucks up the mess in an instant. It’s also easy to empty, and the integrated filter cleaning option helps to maintain top performance as you work. If you regularly have dirty jobs to contend with, you’re unlikely to find anything better.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Read the full review: Karcher WD6 P Premium review

Numatic Henry HVR160

An exceptionally powerful vacuum cleaner with huge bags that cleans all surfaces brilliantly
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  • Very powerful
  • Cleans brilliantly on all surfaces
  • Easy to move around
  • Large bags


  • Can be difficult to push across some surfaces
  • A little untidy to store

A design classic, the Numatic Henry HVR160 is more than just a pretty face. Its high suction power, large capacity and reasonable price make it one of the best cylinder cleaners you can buy, and it has a reputation for lasting forever.

It’s quite chunky, weighing 7.5kg, but you won’t have to pick up the vacuum cleaner too often, since it can be wheeled around easily. It has a long 10m power cable, plus a 2.4m hose length, providing a total reach of 12.4m from a power socket. In most homes, you’ll be able to clean an entire floor from a single power socket.

Part of the reason that the Henry is so large is that it holds 6-litre bags that will last you for some time to come. Replacements are well priced and cost from £4.49 for three.

In the box, you get the standard set of accessories, including a floor head that can switch between carpets and hard floors, plus a crevice tool, dusting brush, upholstery brush and extension tube.

The Henry is one of the most powerful vacuum cleaners we’ve tested, coming in at 408AW. Part of the reason for this power is that Henry doesn’t have any motorised tools for agitating dirt. Instead, it relies on good old-fashioned suction power to pull dirt out of carpets and off hard floors, which it does superbly well. However, all that power does mean that the floor head can be difficult to push across some surfaces, having a tendency to suck up lighter rugs.

In our carpet test, we throw a teaspoon of flour onto the carpet. A single sweep forwards and backwards was all it took to leave an entirely clean path through the mess. In the tricky edge test, where we sprinkle flour on the carpet tiles right up to the skirting boards, the Henry performed perfectly, clearing everything right to the edge. It also picked up pet hair, although this required a bit of back and forth as the cleaner doesn’t have a motorised brush, and excelled in our hard floor test.

If you want a solid, reliable bagged vacuum cleaner offering plenty of power, this is a well-priced option. The relatively low price, excellent cleaning ability and the track record of previous Henry vacuum cleaners to last a fair while make it a great vacuum cleaner for any home, although go for a cleaner with a brush roll if you have pets.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Read the full review: Numatic Henry HVR160 review

Vacmaster Respira

Best budget upright
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  • Very powerful
  • Useful 2-in-1 tools
  • Great value


  • A little cheap in places

The Vacmaster Respira offers a back-to-basics approach for vacuum cleaners, but it doesn’t skimp out on the amount of power on offer.

It offers an upright shape that’s designed for more standard cleaning jobs, and comes either with or without a pet tool, depending on the model you go for. Even if you don’t have the pet model though, there are still a few functions to use on the Respira that make it a versatile cleaner. For instance, the three-in-one crevice tool is especially handy for dealing with upholstery.

This vacuum has a 2-litre bin, which should prove sufficient for a couple of cleans at least. It comes away from the vacuum cleaner’s body, with a button to open the trapdoor at its bottom releasing the dirt collected into a bin. This door was a little stiff at first, so I recommend opening and closing it manually a few times before using the Respira.

Open the top of the bin and the central filter pulls out for easy cleaning. Plus, there’s a secondary filter on the underside of the bin that can be removed and washed.

The Vacmaster Respira has a single suction mode, although the button on the side lets you switch the floor roller speed between Hard Floor (labelled as “I”) and carpet (labelled as “II”). It’s a little cheap-looking, but that’s a minor complaint. If there’s too much suction to move the vacuum cleaner – as I found on short-pile carpet – then there’s an air vent that can be opened to reduce suction pressure.

At least the reason that the Respira is so hard to move is because it has a lot of power. I measured it at 229AW, which puts it within reach of the Shark NZ850UKT. That power translates into decent performance: a solid sweep through our test mess, although a trace of dirt left behind towards the edge of the floor head. Pet hair removal was spot on, removing every trace of dirt.

Vacmaster has opted for an anti-tangle head that stops hair from becoming caught around the roller. It’s a welcome addition, particularly on such a low-cost vacuum cleaner, since it saves the horrible job of cutting away tangled hair.

I found the Vacmaster Respira easy to manoeuvre, but the presence of the bin meant that often I couldn’t get the floor head underneath all furniture. The advantage of a rival cleaner, such as the Shark NZ850UKT, is that its Lift-Away mode lets remove the main cylinder and push just the wand and floor head around.

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Full review: Vacmaster Respira

Numatic Henry XL Plus

Best large budget vacuum
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  • Powerful suction
  • Huge capacity
  • Great set of tools


  • Regular floorhead not so good for pet hair

The Numatic Henry XL Plus is our pick for the best big vacuum cleaner on a budget. 

You shouldn’t need to splash out on an expensive vacuum to suck up large amounts of dust or clean spacious rooms, which is where the Henry XL Plus comes in. This vacuum has a huge 15-litre capacity and is powerful enough to tackle many jobs. 

If you’re struggling to imagine 15-litres, the XL Plus has double the capacity of the regular Henry. It’s also physically larger and heavier than the standard Numatic vacuum, though we found the wheels on the bottom made it easy to transport around. 

The vacuum uses self-sealing NVM-2BH HepaFlo bags, which are slightly pricier than regular bags but, given its capacity, each bag should last you a long time. 

The wand and hose have good reach and the vacuum comes with more tools than the regular Henry. The kit includes crevice and mattress tools, brush and turbo brush for pet hair and a flexible crevice tool for getting into hard-to-reach areas. There’s also a regular floorhead with a button to move between hard floor and carpet modes and a second dedicated hard floor tool. 

There are storage slots in the back of the vacuum for your most used tools, as well as holder for the floorhead that keeps the wand vertical during storage. 

We measured the power of the XL Plus and found it measured 431AW, giving it similar suction power to the regular Henry and putting it just ahead of the Shark CZ500UKT in this respect, though the latter doesn’t require as much power with its motorosed brush design. 

The huge capacity and power of this vacuum makes it excellent for tackling more difficult jobs like DIY. It doesn’t specialise in pet hair and those looking for a wet and dry vacuum should look elsewhere (we recommend the Karcher WD6 P Premium), but as far as large affordable vacuums go, the Numatic Henry XL Plus is tough to beat. 

Reviewer: David Ludlow 

Read the full review: Numatic Henry XL Plus


What style of vacuum cleaner do you want?

Cylinder cleaners have the power in a wheeled unit that you pull around behind you. There’s less weight in your hand, as you hold the wand and hose only, and you only occasionally need to drag the cylinder where you need it. They’re not quite as quick to get going with as an upright cleaner, which you plug in, pull back on and get going with. Upright cleaners are generally more popular as a result.

Do you need a bagged or bagless cleaner?

A bagged cleaner adds running costs into the mix, but you get a simple bag that you pull out and throw away, which can be better for allergy sufferers. With a bagless cleaner, you get a removable bin that needs emptying, which saves on cost but can lead to dust spreading in the air as you empty.

What accessories do you need?

All vacuum cleaners come with a floor head. Given the power available, some don’t require a spinning brush, but look out for models that do, as motorised brushes can make dirt pick-up more efficient, particularly when dealing with pet hair. You’ll also want to get a crevice tool and dusting tool, at the minimum, for close-up work; look out for a mini motorised brush if you have pets and want to tackle furniture.

How much power do you need?

Most plug-in models are limited to 750W of power, but the actual suction available and cleaning quality differs from vacuum to vacuum. Read our reviews to find out which vacuums clean the best.

Do you need a wet and dry vacuum?

Wet and dry models can tackle wet spills as well as dry, although you may need to do a bit of conversion before switching modes. These models can have more powerful motors, but they’re specialised tools that excel at tough jobs, such as DIY mess, and cleaning out a blocked washing machine.

What can a plug-in vacuum cleaner do that a cordless model can’t?

For basic cleaning, there’s not much between the two types, but the plug-in model does have some general advantages. First, you can keep cleaning for as long as you want, and don’t have to stop to recharge. Sure, some cordless cleaners provide power for whole-home cleaning, but even they will run out if you want to deep clean your house, tackle your sofas and car, for example. With a plug-in cleaner, you can just keep on going, and you run them at higher suction power for a deep clean.
A smaller advantage is that you can generally use plug-in cleaners for other suction jobs as they don’t cut out; cordless cleaners often (although not all models) have suction protection, turning off when they detect a blockage. For example, if you’ve got a vacuum drill attachment, where dust from drilling is sucked away before it can make a mess, this will work more easily with a plug-in cleaner. With a cordless cleaner, this kind of accessory may not work. Likewise, for vacuum storage bags, some cordless cleaners will cut out before you’ve compressed your bag; a plug-in cleaner will not.

What’s the difference between a regular model and a wet and dry vacuum?

A wet and dry vacuum cleaner can suck up dry dirt and water, although you usually have to convert between the two modes. As well as that clear difference, wet and dry vacuum cleaners don’t have the same power limitations placed on them, so they’re more powerful making them great for DIY jobs and dealing with the messiest of dirt.

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Specifications Compared

Here are all the specs for our best vacuum cleaners. Make sure the one you want has the tools you need: a mini motorised brush is excellent for pet owners that want to clean their sofas. Bagged cleaners have the ongoing cost of bags, but they’re easier to empty and generally better for those that suffer from allergies. Bin size is important, too: the bigger the bin the less often you’ll need to empty your vacuum cleaner.

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Trusted Reviews Test data

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