Whenever we make videos which involve a vacuum, I get asked about the vacuums I have at home. Because of these requests, I decided to create a video and blog post detailing the vacuums I have at home, what I use each one for and my opinion (pros and cons) of each.

Now, I know I’ve got 4 vacuums and you are probably thinking I have way too many for one household, especially for a person that openly admits her disdain for vacuuming.  But keep in mind, Clean My Space keeps me, well, cleaning and I’ve got to use different vacuums for different applications.  So I can assure you, I know a thing or two about them and here are my deepest, darkest thoughts on the topic.

If you are reading this or watching the video because you are in the market for a new vacuum, my goal is to explain which ones I think work for which spaces and groups of tasks, and you can make your call from there.

For more product reviews check out Clean My Space Product Reviews!

The Compact Vacuum

Dyson DC44 Animal

Let’s start with this one cause it’s so darn popular…

This is a Dyson DC44 Animal.  It’s got a 20 minute battery life, a Max Power function (extra suction, which shortens battery life), Dyson Cyclone Technology, and a variety of attachments and a telescopic wand.  Attachments include a power head, an upholstery brush, a small bristle brush, and a crevice tool.  The power head swivels on the ball, making it easy to manoeuvre.

Pros: compact, lightweight, 20 minute battery life (longer than some other models), small – but handles big messes, different attachments, mini-powerhead.

Cons: expensive, battery life could be a little better

Recommended for: condo dwellers (or just small spaces), people with only a few carpets in their house, people who struggle with vacuuming stairs (the cordless and lightweight factors make stairs a breeze), cleaning smaller spaces such as cars and handling tasks like cleaning upholstery.  It’s great for ‘in-between’ cleans and quick touch ups and is compact which makes for easy storage.  It’s also easy to empty!  I like it compared to a regular stick vacuum, which can only clean floors and does not come with attachments.  It’s a lot more versatile.

I’ve had this vacuum for about 2 years and it’s been a great addition and has kept up without fail.

The Full-Size Vacuum

Dyson Canister Vacuum

This is what gets pulled out when the house needs a full blown vacuuming, my Dyson DC23.

Now, they’ve stopped making this model but there are similar ones out there comparable to this.  We purchased it 2 days after we got our first cat, Malee…you can probably guess why.  The central vac in our house was not going to cut it with a kitten around!  The first time using a Dyson can be downright freaky.  That clear canister fills up with a hideous concoction of dirt, debris, hair and all kinds of strange things that you wish you never knew lived in your carpet.  Dyson also has good customer service; we had an issue with our hose and they sent us a brand new one, no questions asked.

Pros: powerful, big canister, cyclone technology, bagless, HEPA filter (washable), different attachments (crevice, brush, hard floor), powerhead, customer service (part replacement).

Cons: expensive, power button issue (ours has to be stomped on to work), and clunky to carry around.  There is a lot of technology in this vacuum, and my model isn’t light or necessarily easy to carry around despite the design.  I know it’s part and parcel of vacuuming but I just find it to be big.  I would still choose this over an upright vacuum however; I feel canister models offer far more versatility than uprights do (primarily for large open surfaces).  Also, the canister is clear and you can see everything, so when it gets grungy I clean it out or else it looks yucky. This is an extra step!

Recommended for: people with lots of carpet or larger homes, pet owners, parents (kids playing on carpet), people with allergies or asthma, people who want versatility from a vacuum (this has more to do with the canister design than the brand).

Note: I’ve had this vacuum for about 5 years and it’s in great shape.  When the time comes to replace it, I would also look at a Miele.  If I am going to spend that kind of money, Miele would be in the running.  I haven’t tried one for a prolonged period but I know how great of a vacuum they make and I’d like to certainly consider it next time round.

The Deep Cleaning Vacuum

Bissell Lift Off

I whip this mighty piece of machinery out about twice a year (or for urgent issues) to give the carpets a really deep cleaning.  Rather than bringing in a pro, we do it ourselves.  If you bring in a pro because you require the specific benefits of carpet cleaning (dust mite, bed bugs, major stain removal, allergens, etc.) then keep doing it, this is not a professional grade machine.  It’s good for regular maintenance, but for serious issues I’d say leave it to the pros.  This machine is more for the folks that rent carpet cleaners from the grocery store.  You won’t get professional results, but you will get really good results and I can live with that.

Pros: excellent suction, deep cleaning, large head means less work for you, detachable body which can be used on stairs, cars and upholstery, you get to see the dirty being sucked up, great at removing common household stains, freshens the carpet (reducing odours), your carpets do feel cleaner!

Cons: expensive considering how much it’s used, cumbersome and heavy, has a learning curve, can leave chunks of hair behind if you didn’t vacuum well enough before using it, requires a lot of storage space, you need to purchase the Bissell specialty product or else you’ll void the warranty, and it’s loud.

All that being said though, I still really like it.  I am just giving you the most honest feedback I can about it – and the cons are inherent to the machine itself.  It has to be large and loud for all the work it does!

Recommended for: pet owners, people with lots of carpets, people who want to deal with carpet stains as they happen, people who want to handle their own carpet maintenance and don’t have any professional-grade challenges.

The “I don’t have to actually vacuum” Vacuum

iClebo Arte

Back in March, we attended a huge housewares trade show where we first learned about the iClebo Arte.  I got to watch this beautiful piece of machinery root around looking for dirt and dust using its intelligent systems to seek and destroy dirt and debris.  It’s got powerful wheels, cameras for eyes and it intelligently maps (read: remembers your room) so it knows where it’s been and still needs to go.  It leaves no square inch unturned and rarely gets caught, never falls over stairs or ventures into a space it can’t retrieve itself from.  It has a little HEPA filter and a good bristle brush.  The canister is plastic so no bags are required.  When it’s getting low on battery life, it zooms back to its base and charges up on its own.  I love sitting with the remote, clicking it on and letting it roam while I do something else, like paint my nails.  It’s a truly winning situation.

Pros: I don’t have to do anything – it vacuums while I do things that are NOT vacuuming! It’s quiet, easy to operate, easy to maintain, has a good amount of functionality and options, it doesn’t get stuck in corners or fall off stairs (meaning I don’t have to babysit it), ‘t actually does a good job on carpets and a very good job on hardwood and tile.  It manages dust and debris between full vacuums (meaning my floors are cleaner and less dust settles around the house) and prolongs the amount of time I can go without vacuuming the house.  It is also amusing to watch it and my cats together in the same room.

Cons: expensive (like all robot vacuums are, but you get what you pay for), sometimes it gets trapped under furniture which is too low for it to effectively get out of (it can gage thresholds well; heights are a challenge), it’s a good vacuum, not a great vacuum – you’d always need another vacuum in the house.  It doesn’t have the power to do what a full-sized vacuum can do (not that I was expecting it to, I’m just sharing this with you).

We’ve circumvented the issue of entrapment by blocking areas which are too low for the vacuum to effectively get out of by placing objects around the perimeter of the furniture.  We’ve only had to retrieve it a couple of times since we’ve had it, which is pretty great for a robot vacuum.  I really like it and

Recommended for: people who want to cut down on their vacuuming by having a robot do it most of the time…people with pets who find hair to be a daily, issue, people who want to reduce dust in the home.

I have not been paid by any of these companies to make this video – I simply wanted to share my honest opinion and show you the vacuums I use around my home.
Now that you know about my vacuums, I want to know what vacuum do you have? – or – if you don’t have a vacuum, what vacuum do you really want?

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. Great list you share! I think a suitable vacuum cleaner that is capable to clean up everything of my home like floors, carpets, ceiling, furniture, car etc. I also select handheld, portable vacuum cleaner. Dyson, Bissell and Eureka has some handheld cleaners that is multi-usable. Thanks for awesome post.

  2. GI GUYS.

  3. I have a Kirby Ultimate G. LOVE LOVE LOVE this machine. Bought it in 2002. Had it serviced once a little over a year ago. The machine was costly at first but given it has lasted this long (14 years!) and I haven’t had to do anything but buy bags it’s a bargain. If you figure a typical basic machine is about $250 and only lasts 2 years if you’re lucky this glorious machine is worth the price!!!

    I used it to vacuum a 2,300 sq ft house 2x a week with 3 kids, 3 cats & 2 dogs. Now it only cleans a much smaller space (950 sq ft) once a week with no kids and only 1 little dog. I expect this machine to last me another 10 years under its current workload.

  4. Hiya, Melissa and Chad! I currently have a first-run Dyson DC 07, and it’s still going strong, but obviously Mr. Dyson has made improvements since this one debuted, and I’m almost looking forward to the day when this one keels over so I can replace it with something even better. 🙂 It’s occurred to me, watching your videos, that a canister might be more useful than an upright, especially if one is using the vacuum for more than just floors with lots of right angles. Is there a particular reason you chose a canister over an upright? Is there a way to use the canister for, say, cleaning out high cabinets and such, instead of buying a hand vac as well? Thanks in advance for your expertise!

  5. I live in a very small apartment (officetel, how they call it here in Korea) and I don’t own the vacuum. I would buy a small one, the handheld Dyson. It seems to be powerful enough. I’ve tried couple other handheld vacuums in the office where I work – they all are terrible. But Dyson is expensive and it stops me. I’m super-super clean resident, I mop the floors and dust thoroughly and it seems like enough. Plus I don’t have a carpet… so I don’t think I need a vacuum that badly.

    Thanks for your great videos!

  6. Hello Melissa…I’m in the market to buy a new vacuum…my first vacuum I bought nearly thirty years ago was an Electrolux..which lasted a very long tme ..the last three have been not so good! They are not made to last …my oreck was a great choice I thought…but it was easily done in..the next ones were terrible ..the Hoover wind tunnel….I have to confess we had new carpet …and I think that contributed to their poor performance…cuz I let them get over filled with all that carpet fiber…but I never had that kinda trouble before …so I was lookin to get a Dyson…it was good to hear what you use and like …That does help me just remember years ago most were made of metal now the are made of plastic to make them light…but plastic breaks easy….so you have to be more careful with them

  7. Is there a vacuum you would suggest for tile floors? I have 4 cats and 130lb dog and we live in a very hot climate so shedding can get crazy. I am also about to have our first baby so the cleaning bug has bit hard and the only thing driving my nuts is the floor. I don’t want my baby to have a fur sweater when she starts crawling!

  8. I have a Miele HS 01 I purchased about 15 years ago when I discovered I had lots of allergies. This model is no longer available because they have made improvements but I’ll tell you about it anyway. I have had it serviced only once in the 15 or so years I’ve had it. It has two different types of filters (the reason I got it in the first place). It carries almost all accessories in a hidden compartment that is part of the canister so they are easily transported anywhere I take the vacuum. Replacement of filters and bags is simple and clean. I love the push button cord roll up thing so I don’t have to take the time and energy to roll it up myself. It cleans very well and is designed so it can get under relatively low furniture easily. It is not terribly heavy so I can carry it relatively easily upstairs and down.

    Cons: I lost the head that is used for wood or tile floors because it did not fit in the attachment compartment. However the carpet cleaning head works well on these surfaces anyway. Also, the newer models feature a carpet cleaning head with its own power that moves it forward as it beats the carpet to bring out small particles but it can’t be used with my older model. It was expensive, about $500 at time of purchase.

  9. Hi, Melissa, I’m from Germany and found your site a few months ago. You especially taught me the extended use of soda.

    I live in a condo and have two vacuums.

    My full vacuum is a Miele Eco Line. This http://www.miele.de/haushalt/testsieger-s8340-ecoline-3144.htm is not the exact model but from the same series, and at the time when I bought it about 7 years ago, it was considered best by “Stiftung Warentest” which is an organization here in Germany which is testing and ranking products. I prefer vacuums with dust bags (don’t know the correct english expression). I think it’s cleaner. You just remove the bag and throw it away. I like this vacuum. It’s strong, but a little heavy.

    Then I have a Vorwerk storage battery vacuum for the little mess: http://kobold.vorwerk.de/de/produkte/kobold-vc100-akkusauger/ I really really love it.

    If I had to choose a new full vacuum, I would consider this one from Vorwerk: http://kobold.vorwerk.de/de/produkte/kobold-vt270-bodenstaubsauger/ I would do so for one reason: The Miele has its hose at one side which means I have to turn the whole heavy thing, when I change the direction of vacuuming. The Vorwerk has it’s hose attached on the top with a entirely turnable – well, how to say? – ankle?

    Looking forwards to more videos!


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