Buying a vacuum cleaner is perhaps not the most exciting thing to do. But a good vacuum cleaner can make vacuuming at home so much easier. The latest vacuums combine excellent suction power with an easy to use comfort. When testing vacuum cleaners we always pay extra attention to the ease of use: is the cord long enough, are there enough accessories and is the dust bag easy to replace, for example. If you don’t have a craving for the latter, then bagless vacuum cleaners are the solution. Another critical point for us is the noise level.

Are Canister Vacuums Worth It?

This guide is outdated, we recommend you to visit our Best Canister Vacuum for Hard Floors: Buyer’s Guide

Many people still don’t have full confidence in stick vacuum cleaners, so they continue to swear by a classic canister model. Also because the better ones still have a superior suction power, and the capacity of the canister— whether it is bagless or not — is usually a bit larger.

Canister Vacuum

Canister vacuum cleaners almost always have a cord (Compared to stick vacuums), suck up the dust with a mouthpiece and collect the dust in a dust bag or dust bin. Do not use these canister vacuums to suck up liquids or large pieces of dirt. Filters can become clogged, the vacuum cleaner bag can tear and the motor willn be damaged. It is better to use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner for these jobs.

Should you choose an upright or canister vacuum cleaner

Collecting Dust

If you choose an ordinary vacuum cleaner, you will first have to choose between a model with or without a dust bag. Almost all vacuum cleaner brands, except for Dyson, have models with or without a dust bag. More than a quarter to a third of all vacuum cleaners sold are bagless.

dust containerWhen a dust bag is inside the vacuum cleaner, it holds the dirty particles as well as possible. This makes it the first and most important filter.

With a vacuum cleaner without a dust bag, the dirt is collected in a dust container or dust container. These vacuum cleaners use ‘cyclone technology’ in which the air rotates through the container via a kind of spiral. Larger dust particles come into contact with the outer wall of the dust container due to the centrifuging force and then fall to the bottom of the container. These vacuums are therefore also called cyclonic vacuums.

The Better Vacuum: Upright or Canister?

Bag or bagless: the Differences

Suction power

On average, a vacuum cleaner with a dust bag vacuums slightly better than a bagless one, but the differences are getting smaller and smaller and there are bagless models for sale that vacuum excellently.

Changing and emptying

When changing the dust bag you will not come into contact with the dust as much as when emptying a dust container. In a dust bag the dirt is kept together, but with a bagless vacuum cleaner you can knock the dust into the air. That makes it a dusty job. That makes a vacuum cleaner with dust bag more suitable for people with dust allergies.

Buying bags

Besides the fact that buying vacuum cleaner bags costs money (about €2), it can also be difficult to find the right bag. If you don’t have the right bag, this can cause problems. With bagless vacuum cleaners you don’t have that hassle. They are therefore ideal if you find it annoying to buy dust bags. You just empty the bin and you are ready to suck on.

We include the cost of vacuum cleaner bags in the calculation for the Best Buy vacuum cleaner.

Are Canister Vacuums Worth It?


Dust bags generally have a larger capacity than dust bins, so you can collect more dust in them. We measure how much dust you can collect as much as possible and do not take into account any markings on the dustbin. If you do take this into account, then even less dust will fit in a dust container.


Previously, bagless vacuum cleaners were much noisier than bagged vacuum cleaners. On average, bagged vacuum cleaners are still quieter. But nowadays you can find very quiet bagless, high-powered vacuum cleaners in shops. Compare vacuum cleaners by sound or look at the energy label.

No difference: decrease in suction power when more dust is in it

It is said that the suction power decreases faster with a vacuum cleaner bag than with a dustbin, but our tests do not show that. In both categories you will find vacuum cleaners that maintain either good or bad suction power as it becomes fuller. We also see that the vacuum cleaners that are good at maintaining the suction power of all brands can be.

Wet/Dry Vacuums

With cantilever vacuum cleaners with a water filter, the air flow is via water. The dust particles are retained by the water. You can fill the water container with tap water and empty it after use. Vacuum cleaners with a water filter claim a minimal dust emission and would therefore be particularly suitable for people with dust allergies.

Tests by our Portuguese colleagues show that these vacuums are by no means the best in terms of dust emissions. They barely achieve a sufficient and some even thick imperfections. Research has also been carried out into the possibility of fungi developing in the water, which is certainly not desirable in the case of an allergy.

The Best Vacuum Cleaners

How your vacuum cleaner works best

A vacuum cleaner actually works as a filter of the airflow. Dirty air is sucked in and the dirt is retained in a bag or container and filters. Clean air is blown out of the vacuum cleaner again.

As soon as the vacuum is switched on, the motor starts up a turbine which, due to the pressure difference, draws in air and dirt. The air flow moves from the nozzle through the suction tube, hose and carriage to the end of the vacuum cleaner.

The following components are important for an optimally functioning vacuum cleaner:

Efficient nozzle

A good nozzle is designed in such a way that the widest possible airflow enters the suction tube. As little air as possible leaks along the edges of the nozzle. Read more about nozzles.

Closed airflow

The more efficient the air can flow through the vacuum cleaner, the greater the suction power. This difference is noticeable when you open the airflow regulator. With a good vacuum cleaner, all parts fit together seamlessly, so that no air can leak.

Best Canister Vacuums

Good throughput

Too much dirt in the filters, dust bag or container stops the air flow. This can reduce the suction performance and overheat the motor, so maintain a vacuum cleaner well.

Efficient filters

A good filter stops as many (small) dust particles as possible before the air is blown out again. An engine filter protects the engine, an exhaust filter captures the last particles, read more about filters and dust allergy.

This guide is outdated, we recommend you to visit our Best Canister Vacuum for Hard Floors: Buyer’s Guide