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The 5 top-rated vacuums for allergies

Take care of allergies in your home with these HEPA filter vacuums.
Trap allergies and dust with a proper vacuum filtration system.
Trap allergies and dust with a proper vacuum filtration system.Shark; Dyson

Creating an allergy-free environment is made easier when using the right vacuum. There are many different types to choose from, but models made with a HEPA filter are ideal for combating allergens from pets and household dust.

We spoke to cleaning and vacuum experts to help you find a vacuum that’s the best at ridding your home of allergens. Whether it’s filtering out dust or the importance of keeping debris and allergens sealed in a vacuum bag. We also got recommendations on the best types to buy.

SKIP AHEAD How we picked the best vacuums for allergies | The best vacuums for allergies in 2024 | How to shop for the best vacuums for allergies

Selected.Our top picks

How we picked the best vacuums for allergies

Sucking up dust and other debris can aggravate allergies if not contained right. There are many types to choose from, but our experts directed us to which types are best when seeking an allergy-friendly vacuum. Here’s a summary of what influenced our recommendations.

  • HEPA filter: A HEPA filter, which stands for high-efficiency particulate air, is the number one priority when choosing a vacuum for allergies. Similar to air purifiers, they remove dust and other particles from the air. “By definition, they have to filter 99.97% of all particles as small as point three microns,” says Malcolm Berman, owner and founder of Green Clean NYC.
  • Bagged vs. bagless: Given that bagged keeps debris sealed, it makes it the best choice for severe allergies. Many non-bagged options with a dustbin, such as cordless vacuums, also include HEPA filters that are more lightweight. Ultimately, it depends on your personal preference and to what degree you want to keep allergens away.

The best vacuums for allergies in 2024

Best overall: Miele C3 Kona 

If you own a hefty-pile carpet, Paulina Terlecka, a sales associate and vacuum specialist at Abt, recommends the Miele C3 Kona for allergies. The included electro brush will wipe away debris and dust, while the HEPA AirClean filter clears allergens. Four other attachment heads are included — a parquet twister, dusting brush, upholstery tool, and crevice nozzle — while the vacuum has five height differences and six-speed settings. This vacuum is also ideal for different floor types when the appropriate attachment is connected.

Type: Canister | Run time: Corded | Dustbin capacity: 4.5 L  | Weight: 19.4 lbs.

Best budget pick: Simplicity Jill Canister Vacuum Cleaner

For a great budget option, this canister vacuum by Simplicity Jill has a certified HEPA filter that notifies you when it’s time to change the bag. “HEPA filters are essential because they trap all the dirt that you’ve collected inside the vacuum but  won’t let it out in the exhaust flow,” says Terlecka. The 20-foot cord is lengthy enough to navigate around a large room and also rewinds itself. The suction has varying levels and the hose turns 360 degrees to reach tough spots. An extendable wand can add 10 feet, which helps with reaching the ceiling or stairs.  This vacuum is ideal for hardwood floors and low-pile carpets, according to the brand. 

Type: Canister | Run time: Corded | Dustbin capacity: 2.7 L  | Weight: 12.9 lbs.

Best cordless stick: Dyson Gen5detect Cordless Vacuum

This Dyson vacuum incorporates one of the brands fastest motors with its washable HEPA filtration making it a top-notch cordless stick option. A fluffy optic cleaner head, digital motorbar XL cleaner head, hair screw tool, crevice and dusting tool and combination tool attachments are all included to tackle different needs. “If you’re looking for convenience, then I would choose cordless,” says Terlecka. An illuminating green light shows hard-to-see particles, while a piezo sensor automatically tracks the size and count of dust. The vacuum also uses dynamic load sensing that increases suction power depending on what debris is being dealt with, according to Dyson. It has a dustbin compared to a bag, but it can automatically be ejected into the trash.

Type: Cordless | Run time: 140 minutes | Dustbin capacity: 0.5 gal  | Weight: 8.6 lbs.

Best handheld: DeWalt 20V Vacuum 

This portable vacuum by DeWalt has a 4.7 rating from over 3,000 reviews. It may be small, but the model still includes attachments that a regular-sized vacuum offers, such as a crevice nozzle, round brush, gulper brush, floor nozzle, flexible hose and an extendable tube. It has a HEPA filter and bag to keep allergens concealed, while also being powerful enough to withstand suctioning drywall and screws, according to the brand.  An LED light is also built-in for nighttime or early morning cleaning.

Type: Cordless | Run time: 21 minutes | Dustbin capacity: 0.7 L  | Weight: 6.82 lbs.

Best upright: Shark Apex Powered Lift-Away

This upright vacuum by Shark is great if you have a pet at home thanks to its self-cleaning brushroll. It’s designed to pick up hair without getting stuck, according to the brand. The HEPA filter and “anti-allergen complete seal” keep allergens secure while you clean carpets or hard floors. It can also be converted into a pod mode, which allows you to remove the canister for more maneuverability. An LED light is integrated into the nozzle so you can see dark spots to clean at any time of day. Aside from its brush roll, crevice and upholstery tool attachments are also included.

Type: Upright | Run time: Corded | Dustbin capacity: 0.88 qt.  | Weight: 16 lbs.

How to shop for the best vacuums for allergies

There are a few attributes that vacuums offer to help clean allergens. We distinguished each type that we recommend. 

  • HEPA filters and air filtration: Both of our experts recommend HEPA filters and air filtration as essential when choosing a vacuum for allergies. “The third most important thing, if you have allergies, is an air filtration — the second most important thing is a vacuum with a HEPA filter,” says Berman. “The first important thing is to use both of them — the air filter can only filter particles in the air, whereas the vacuum can bring the particles that are unserved, so you need both of them for effective pest control.”
  • Bagged vs. bagless: Vacuums with a bag are often designed as wheeled canister vacuums. “It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s maneuverable,” says Berman. They almost always have a HEPA filter, while non-bagged vacuums have a dustbin. Bagged options are best for severe allergies given they keep everything sealed. Upright vacuums sometimes have a dustbin, while cordless always do.
  • Attachments: Vacuums come with a range of attachments to fit your specific needs. Look for accessories that specifically tackle dust, pet hair, upholstery and more.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts with specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Malcolm Berman is the owner and founder of Green Clean NYC, which offers residential, commercial, allergy, and specialty deep cleaning services. 
  • Paulina Terlecka is a sales associate and vacuum specialist at Abt, a national retailer of electronics and appliances based in Glenview, Illinois.

Why trust NBC Select?

Nicolette Accardi is a freelance writer who has written about tech, home appliances and smart home devices. For this article, Accardi spoke to two experts in the home cleaning space about how to shop vacuums best for allergies. She compiled their top choices, along with top-rated vacuums that include the recommended specifications.

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