Consumer Reports tests vacuums to find best one for your home

It’s winter outside, but the vacuum labs at Consumer Reports are ready for when you get that spring-cleaning itch. Testers share which canisters, uprights, and stick vacs did the best in CR’s tough tests.

When Consumer Reports tests vacuums, it doesn’t mess around. Well, actually, that’s kind of what it does. All of the tests duplicate what people would do in their homes.

Testers drop rice, cereal, sand, and other debris on bare floors to see how many passes it takes for a vacuum to pick it up.

And if pet hair is a problem, CR checks that, too. A really good vacuum picks it up instantly, and the hair doesn’t get caught in the brush roll and makes it into the bin or bag.

Then there’s the tough test that measures how much embedded sand a vacuum can lift from carpet.

CR reveals where you can get a great vacuum for under $300. If your home has wall-to-wall carpeting, an upright like the Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly 31150 for $294 is a good choice.

If you need to switch between bare floors and rugs, consider a canister-style vacuum for its maneuverability. The Kenmore Pop-N-Go BC4026 for $290 performs just as well as a vacuum that costs more than $1,000 on bare floors, carpet, and pet hair.

For quick cleanings, stick vacuums are an option, and they’re becoming more powerful. You could use a stick vac as your sole vacuum but only if you have a small area to clean or maybe bare floors.

CR says to can skip battery-powered stick vacs and save hundreds with a corded stick vac like the recommended Shark Vertex Ultralight HZ2002 for $180

If you’re ready for a more hands-off approach, you might be interested in a robotic vacuum. CR’s tests have found that robovacs continue to improve when it comes to performance and navigation. But for deeper cleaning, you’ll still want a regular vacuum.

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