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When you’re shopping for the best HEPA filter vacuum, that means that you’re focused on removing airborne particles, including dust, pollen, mold spores, pet hair, and possibly even smoke from the air. In this case, your top priority is going to be confirming that the vacuum you want contains a HEPA filter which helps to trap up to 99.97% of particles that are drawn into the vacuum — especially dust.
But other factors also matter. In particular, how effective is the suction power on your favorite vacuum cleaner? Can it suck up larger items without getting clogged? Also, consider whether you want a bagged or bagless model or even if you want a robotic vacuum as opposed to a stick, cordless, or upright model. And finally, you’ll want to think about the weight — especially if you vacuum frequently or have a larger home. Keep reading our best HEPA filter vacuum buying guide to learn more.
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Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: An advanced, fully closed filtration mechanism on this unit traps dog hair, dust, and pollen. This model has a detachable canister that simplifies cleaning on stairs and furniture.
Thanks to an innovative Lift-Off system, the Bissell MultiClean Allergen Lift-Off Pet 2998 vacuum cleaner offers a detachable canister for cleaning up after pets. This vacuum is equipped with a tangle-free brush roll that is especially suited for pet hair. It has a sealed HEPA system that prevents dirt and small particles from escaping back into the air after cleaning. This model is equipped with swivel steering, allowing users to maneuver around furniture effortlessly. However, this vacuum is a bit heavy.
This vacuum has a cyclonic pet hair spooling system that is especially suited for hair and dander. A one-touch mechanism simplifies emptying the dust bin. The vacuum features a brilliant LED headlight for illuminating the floor, and it improves visibility when cleaning in dark spots under furniture. We like the on/off brush roll switch on this model, which helps users switch easily between cleaning carpets and hard floors. It comes with a 30-foot power cord that offers extended reach.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This vacuum has plenty of power, picking up dirt fast. It has a dual-HEPA filtration system and boasts a motorized LED brush that agitates carpets, removing dirt effectively.
The Nequare S182 vacuum cleaner is a stick vacuum with incredible suction power. This 600W device boasts up to 18 Kpa of suction, removing both small and large particles from the floor. It is especially suited for pet hair and has a multi-surface cleaning brush head that’s great for carpets and hard floors. This vacuum cleaner has a motorized floor head with stiff nylon bristles that agitate the carpet to remove deeply embedded dirt particles. However, this vacuum struggles on deep-pile carpets.
LED headlights on this model illuminate the cleaning surface, enhancing visibility. Featuring a four-stage filtration system, this vacuum cleaner effectively traps dirt particles without causing obstructions. It has dual HEPA filters for trapping small particles such as dirt, mites, and pollen. Weighing just 2.5 lbs, this stick vacuum cleaner is lightweight, allowing one-handed operation. It comes with a flexible brush and crevice tool for cleaning various surfaces, including ceiling fans, and various pieces of furniture.
Award: BEST ATTACHMENTS
WHY WE LIKE IT: With a collection of attachments that include a multifunction cleaning attachment, this vacuum cleaner is effective on floors, stairs, and ceilings. It features swivel steering and has headlights to enhance visibility.
Designed for homes with pets, the Kenmore DU2015 vacuum cleaner has plenty of features optimized for cleaning up after cats and dogs. It has a multi-surface brush, which is great for carpets and hard floors. The vacuum has a two-motor system that provides lots of suction, removing small and big particles fast. This vacuum cleaner has swivel steering, negotiating corners flawlessly. However, this model doesn’t have onboard storage for all attachments.
A number of attachments enhance the functions of this vacuum cleaner. It comes with a three-in-one crevice tool, a dirt brush, and an upholstery brush for cleaning various surfaces. A Pet Handimate removes pet hair effectively, and it’s well suited for stairs and furniture. This model also has a flexible 10’ hose for floor-to-ceiling cleaning. A HEPA filtration system traps dust and allergens. It is equipped with headlights to improve visibility when cleaning under furniture.
Award: BEST FOR STAIRS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This vacuum cleaner has a sealed filtration system that will appeal to users with allergies. The vacuum has a detachable pod that comes in handy when cleaning on stairs.
The Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet NV752 vacuum cleaner is an upright model that is suitable for large homes. Thanks to lift-away tech, this vacuum lets users lift off a detachable pod to clean stairs and furniture. This vacuum has a sealed filtration system with a HEPA filter, removing up to 99.9% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. However, the 0.8L dust cup on this device is a bit small.
A rotating powered brush roll agitates carpets, removing deeply embedded dirt and hair particles. Fingertip controls enable hassle-free switching between carpet and hard floor mode. This vacuum comes with a Pet Power Brush designed for removing pet hair. The brush has a self-cleaning system that prevents tangling. An included crevice tool helps users clean hard-to-reach spots in the home, while the LED headlights on this model illuminate the cleaning surface for visibility.
Award: BEST LOW-WEIGHT VACUUM
WHY WE LIKE IT: Weighing just 3.3 lbs, this vacuum cleaner is easy to carry around. It produces plenty of sucking power for cleaning hardwood floors and low-pile carpets. It could be one of the best vacuums for elderly folks.
Owing to a long 23-foot power cord, the Iwoly V600 vacuum cleaner offers extended reach. This device runs on a powerful 500W motor that avails up to 17 Kpa of suction. It easily picks small dirt particles and larger particles such as bread crumbs. With a cyclonic filtration system, this vacuum removes dust from rooms, and it has a HEPA filter for trapping allergens and pollen. However, this model doesn’t have a motorized brush, so it’s not recommended for deep carpets.
A telescoping wand that adjusts in height between 17 and 28 inches lets users customize this vacuum’s reach. The vacuum weighs just 3.3 lbs, so it’s easy to carry up a flight of stairs, and it’s detachable, converting easily to a handheld unit for cleaning in vehicles. This model comes with wall mounting hardware for convenient storage. It has a one-touch dust cup emptying mechanism for convenience. This vacuum cleaner comes with a crevice tool and dusting brush for wide-ranging use.
Award: BEST MANEUVERABILITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This vacuum cleaner has a unique joint system that offers excellent maneuverability in homes with furniture. A whole-machine filtration system prevents captured dirt from leaking back to the air.
This Dyson Ball Multi Floor Origin vacuum cleaner is a corded upright model that offers effective cleaning and reliability. It has an instant-release wand that helps extend the reach of this vacuum. Radial Root Cyclone tech allows capturing small and large particles without losing suction. This vacuum cleaner has a high-quality floor head with innovative self-adjusting technology that will suit homes with a mix of carpets and hard floors. However, this model lacks LED headlights.
A whole-machine HEPA filtration system traps allergens, dust, and bacteria for effective cleaning. This vacuum has a brush roll with stiff bristles for removing dirt from carpets. A one-touch dust cup emptying mechanism allows removing dirt hygienically. Equipped with an innovative ball mechanism, the vacuum easily maneuvers flawlessly in homes with furniture. This vacuum cleaner is UL-listed and comes with useful accessories, offering an all-around home cleaning solution. The canister on this vacuum is removable for hassle-free cleaning.
A HEPA filter vacuum is a vacuum that also contains a HEPA filter. These vacuums are designed to effectively remove most pollutants from the air — especially dust, pollen, pet hair, and mold. Short for High-Efficiency Particulate Air, HEPA filters are incredibly efficient at removing up to 99.97% of pollutants from the air, including particles as small as 0.3 microns.
This is especially important because many standard vacuums, while featuring strong suction power, can also throw allergens back into the air through their exhaust vents. In contrast, HEPA filter vacuums not only draw in dirt and dust but trap it, thus preventing it from being pushed back into the air. For more vacuums with good filters, include vacuum cleaners with water filters, and the Roomba J7 and S9.
HEPA filter vacuums are ideal for people who suffer from respiratory conditions or allergens. For instance, if you are allergic to mold, you may buy the best HEPA vacuum for mold to purify the air in your house. These vacuums come in a variety of configurations, including bagged versus bagless, corded and cordless, and even robotic models for people who don’t have the time or desire to push a vacuum around their home.
The most significant difference between a HEPA filter vacuum and other vacuums is the presence or absence of a HEPA filter. As we mentioned above, a big concern with traditional vacuums is that pollutants can be expelled back into the air through the exhaust vents. HEPA filter vacuums ensure that the majority of contaminants drawn into the device don’t escape, which is something many professionals want when they’re looking for a great vacuum for their cleaning business.
However, the one drawback of HEPA filter vacuums compared to standard models is that the filter must be replaced periodically. And similar to other air quality appliances, replacement HEPA filters can be pricey.
Beyond the additional filter, HEPA filter vacuums are relatively identical to standard vacuums. You can get them in upright, canister, stick, handheld, central, and robot configurations. Additionally, they come in a variety of weights and with varying suction power ranges.
While you can find bagless HEPA filter vacuums, many experts recommend that you opt for bagged models. This is because bagless models can release dust clouds when you clean out the bin.
HEPA filter vacuums work similarly to traditional vacuums. A motor is used to power a fan that creates low pressure by drawing in air to develop suction. As the air passes over the surface of the floor, it pulls in light debris like dirt and dust.
The particles are drawn either into a container or bag, depending on the type of vacuum cleaner that is being used. Before being released back into the exterior through the exhaust vents, the air is then passed through a HEPA filter where any remaining particles are trapped in the filter.
After passing through the HEPA filter, the cleaned air is then released through the exhaust vents and back into the room.
These days, indoor air quality continues to be a concern for so many people. Especially for people with allergies or respiratory conditions, the last thing you want is to make air quality worse by doing what you’re encouraged to do — vacuuming to keep dust and allergen levels low.
Similar to so many other appliances, HEPA filter vacuums can last for quite a while as long as you take care of them. This means you aren’t throwing them down the stairs and are periodically emptying the canister or replacing the bag. In this scenario, it’s more likely that you’ll be ready to upgrade to a sparkly new model with more bells and whistles before your vacuum is no longer functional.
But similar to HEPA air purifiers, the question isn’t if the appliance will last but how frequently you need to change the bag (if your unit is bagged), empty the canister, and, more importantly, replace the HEPA filter.
HEPA filters can be pricey, which is why this product category can be out of reach for some people. And typically, HEPA filters need to be replaced periodically. People who are fastidious cleaners may need to replace their filters more frequently than people that only pass a vacuum occasionally over their floors.
Additionally, to keep your HEPA filter vacuum working properly, you need to either empty the bin or replace the bag. Emptying the bin can be a dirty task but saves you the expense of buying replacement bags. Keep in mind that most experts agree that bagged HEPA filter vacuums are better for people with breathing problems because the bags keep dirt, dust, and allergens contained.
If you’re shopping for a HEPA filter vacuum,an obvious priority is that it contains a True HEPA filter. But just like with other vacuum shoppers, you need to consider your home’s flooring, as well as what style and features or accessories are best for your cleaning goals.
Don’t be fooled by brands that promote “HEPA-like” filters. These are not the same as True HEPA. True HEPA filters can remove up to 99.97% of particles from the air, including particles as small as 0.3 microns.
“HEPA-like” filters can’t make those claims, even though they are relatively effective. So, if you’re trying to minimize allergies or respiratory irritants, look for True HEPA.
HEPA filter vacuums are available in upright, canister, stick, handheld, central, and robot styles. But you’ll need to think about which option is best for you and your cleaning needs. If you plan on vacuuming every day but don’t want to do it personally, a robot vacuum can be a great solution.
If you have a smaller space, a stick or handheld vacuum might be more efficient for you. A canister vacuum might be ideal if you need to cover multiple floors as they’re easier to lift. And central vacuums are expensive because they require professional installation but might be a good investment for someone who doesn’t want to lug a vacuum all over their house.
Again, this is another option that’s going to come down to preference. Cordless options can give you more mobility but often have limited battery ranges. In contrast, corded models can offer an endless supply of power but require that you periodically unplug and plug into different outlets as you move around a room or home.
This is one area where experts firmly recommend one option over the other. Bagged vacuums are considered better for anyone with a respiratory condition or allergies. The bag is usually self-contained and doesn’t need to be opened when it’s time to be replaced.
However, on top of the expense for replacement HEPA filters, you also need to buy additional bags. In contrast, a bagless vacuum can be cheaper to maintain — but will release irritants into the air every time you need to empty the canister.
Having a HEPA filter in your vacuum is irrelevant if you don’t have powerful suction. You shouldn’t have to keep vacuuming the same part of your floor multiple times to effectively remove dirt and dust. Look for a powerful vacuum so that you can keep the process efficient. Typically cordless vacuums aren’t as powerful as corded models.
Powerful suction can’t be determined by the motor alone. You’ll need to consider your flooring as not all vacuums are rated compatible with every floor type. Often you’ll note that some models are best for hardwood floors and others for carpeting.
But within carpeting, determine whether your carpet is low, medium, or high-pile. Note that high-pile compatible vacuums tend to be more expensive as they require more suction to effectively suction dirt from lower depths.
Vacuums can be light, and they can also be incredibly heavy. Added features like self-propelling functionality on an upright vacuum cleaner will make it significantly heavier. And if you have to lug your vacuum up and down the stairs, this can get frustrating.
Along with the main apparatus, you might want a vacuum with attachments like a crevice tool or a stair tool to get into specific spaces. A crevice tool can be especially useful to get into tight areas where dust may accumulate. Think about the surfaces you need to clean in your home and find a vacuum that can tackle those without having to buy additional attachments separately.