What are the features that make the best self-propelled vacuum? These are the best vacuum cleaners to make your life easier and help you create a more effective cleaning routine, thanks to self-propulsion technology and powerful suction capabilities. Plus, these models also offer advanced technology like self-cleaning brush rolls, swivel steering, and large dust cup capacity.
If you find yourself tired after vacuuming, or you’re not able to clean due to an injury or disability, then a self-propelled vacuum can help. While these are technically heavy vacuums, their self-propelled motors allow you to push them around without any effort at all. Even better, self-propelled vacuums don’t sacrifice cleaning ability, meaning you’ll still be able to use them to clean dust particles, pet hair, and other dry messes with ease.
Read on below to learn more about the best self-propelled vacuums, what makes them work, and how you can find the best model for all of your cleaning needs. The need for maintenance also comes up from time to time, so you can learn about vacuum motor repair too.
Top Self-Propelled Vacuums
#1 Flagship Dyson Vacuum Cleaner
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: You’ll appreciate the number of smart features packed into this vacuum, including the instant release wand. It’s also a highly maneuverable option that won’t wear you out while cleaning.
- Instant release wand
- Easily maneuverable design
- Advanced filtration system
- Canister is on the small side
If you’re looking for an ultimate clean, this little vacuum will make a difference to your household because of the Radial Root Cyclone technology. This allows for a powerful clean that captures more dust than competing models. It’ll provide an incredibly deep clean to carpets. Unfortunately, you won’t have a high-capacity dust canister if you go with this model. It’s better suited to small spaces, like apartment homes, rather than larger houses.
All it takes is a turn of the wrist to get this vacuum cleaner moving in the desired direction because of the Ball technology. This makes it highly maneuverable and a great option for those who find their wrists hurting after vacuuming. It also allows you to quickly get into difficult spaces or move around furniture. You’ll enjoy the whole-machine HEPA filtration system, which keeps your air much cleaner even while kicking up dust when cleaning.
#2 Shark AZ2002 Vertex Vacuum Cleaner
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: The inclusion of multiple different accessories makes this a great model for anybody on a budget. It also offers innovative cleaning technology that helps you get a cleaner home that much easier, especially with housepets.
- Multiple accessories included
- Innovative cleaning technology
- Great for homes with housepets
- Has a power cord
The innovative cleaning technology offered by this model cannot be understated, especially with the self-cleaning brush roll. This brush roll is specially engineered to pick up fine pet hair without the hassle of hair-wrap. You’ll be able to use this model on all different types of flooring. Unfortunately, this is a model with a power cord. This could be a dealbreaker for those looking for the convenience and efficiency a cordless model can often bring.
The DuoClean PowerFins will ensure a more thorough cleaning throughout your house, no matter the type of flooring. It’ll dig deep into carpets to get them spotless and dig out ground-in dirt and debris. The detachable pod allows for cleaning in tighter spaces, like underneath your furniture. You have to detach the lift-away pod and use the nozzle in those tight spots to get a deeper clean in every nook and cranny. If you need to pick up both dirt and liquids, the top wet dry vac can pull it off.
#3 Oreck Elevate Conquer UK30300 Vacuum Cleaner
Award: BEST FOR DIFFERENT MODES
WHY WE LIKE IT: You’ll be able to choose between two different speeds when you go with this model, making it a more advanced option. The highly effective filter design will ensure that your air stays clean while vacuuming.
- Offers 2 modes for cleaning
- Highly effective filter design
- Extremely mobile option
- Not great on high-pile rugs
You’ll love how much this high-capacity model can handle when it comes to dirt and debris. It’s able to hold up to four times more than the average competing model that is also bagless. This means that you won’t have to worry about constantly emptying out the dust canister while cleaning. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that this is not a model meant to clean high-pile rugs. If you have a lot of thick carpeting in your living areas, it might not be the best-suited model.
There’s an advanced HEPA filtration system in this model. That means you can rest assured that up to 99.97% of unseen particulate matter, such as mold and dust, will be kept out of the air. It’s also a lightweight model that won’t wear you out while you clean. To add to the ease of usage while cleaning, swivel steering is built into this system. This will make it easier to pivot around furniture and other obstacles.
#4 BISSELL 2252 CleanView Vacuum Cleaner
Award: BEST FOR EASE OF USAGE
WHY WE LIKE IT: The specialized steering of this model will ensure that it’s effortless to maneuver as you clean around your home. Beyond this, it has a high-capacity design that means you don’t have to worry about emptying it all the time.
- Extremely easy to use
- High capacity design
- Offers specialized steering
- Wand is on the short side
If you’re somebody who has pets in your household, this vacuum is a powerhouse of cleaning potential. It’s made specifically to pick up fine pet hair than competing models might miss. This is important, especially for those struggling with allergies or asthma. If you want to clean a ton of crevices or other tight spaces, you might want to look elsewhere. This vacuum has a hose on the smaller side, so the length of it might not be enough.
The triple-action brush roll has scatter-free technology. This means that it won’t send particles and debris flying when you’re trying to vacuum hard flooring, such as wood. Instead, it’ll make sure that it gets sucked right up into the dust container. The swivel steering allows easy maneuvering, even in crowded rooms with tons of furniture. You’ll also receive some specialized tools made just for getting pet hair out of your carpets.
#5 Hoover Commercial HushTone CH54115 Vacuum Cleaner
Award: BEST FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
WHY WE LIKE IT: The advanced circuitry of this model ensures that you’re able to enjoy a long-lasting belt. This will keep you from replacing it as regularly as with competing models. It also has a 2-speed motor design.
- Cleans multiple types of floor
- 2-speed motor design
- Extended-life belt
- Wheels might come loose
The inclusion of a 2-speed motor ensures that you get far more power from this vacuum cleaner than you do with other models. You’ll be able to toggle between two different modes because of this. One has a quiet 69-decibel range, while the other is a “boosted” mode that provides extra power. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that the longevity of this vacuum cleaner has been called into question by some consumers. Some of them have reported wheels coming loose.
You’ll also enjoy the advanced circuitry included in this model. It protects the belt and gives it extended life, making sure that the motor shuts off automatically to avoid breakage. This vacuum cleaner is perfect for those with allergies or asthma because it is a sealed allergen system. It will trap 99% of pollen, dust, dirt, and other particles as small as 0.5 microns. This allows you to breathe cleaner air after you’ve vacuumed, especially with the inclusion of Hexaguard technology.
#6 Kenmore BU4022 Intuition Vacuum Cleaner
Award: BEST FOR HIGH POWER
WHY WE LIKE IT: The PowerFlow bag chamber enables strong suctioning ability in this model, even when the bag begins to get full. You’ll also enjoy the inclusion of a combo accessory that provides three tools in one package.
- Extremely powerful option
- Includes a combo accessory
- Has a PowerFlow bag chamber
- Works best on hard floors
The “No Touch” bag technology eliminates many headaches involved with changing out bags. This will keep the process cleaner for you and your household. You’ll be able to enjoy self-sealing bags, which are far less messy than competing models that don’t offer this technology. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that this is a model that works far better on wood floors than it will on carpeting. It is the best fit for a household that is mostly hard flooring.
There is also lift-up technology that allows you to detach the pod from the vacuum to clean stairs and other tight places more easily. This will keep you from having to lug a dangerous onto the stairs, which can be a hazardous activity. You’ll also enjoy the PowerFlow bag chamber. It allows for stronger suction, even while the bag fills up with debris. You’ll have the assurance of strong suction no matter what.
Beginner’s Guide to Self-Propelled Vacuums
What Are Self-Propelled Vacuums?
Self-propelled vacuums are home cleaning appliances that give you the ability to clean up dirt, dust bunnies, pet hair, and dry food spills more easily. These vacuums are unique because they feature an extra motor for propelling the vacuum forward while you clean, making maneuverability much more convenient. But, make sure you know the parts of a vacuum in the event you need to dismantle it and clean it.
Additionally, these vacuums have incredible suction power that works great on carpeted floors. What’s more, having a bagless model, makes vacuum maintenance much easier.
Self-Propelled Vacuums vs. Traditional Vacuums
Depending on the specific model you purchase, self-propelled vacuums offer the same general design and form factor as standard vacuums. They also work similarly, utilizing an electric motor and fan combination to create suction power. Will it last longer than a traditional vacuum? That depends on how frequently it’s used and how much cleaning you do. In fact, if you were to compare a self-propelled model to a traditional alternative, you may have a hard time differentiating between the two.
The main difference between the two then becomes a matter of the self-propel function. While all vacuums feature one motor for creating powerful suction, self-propelled options feature a secondary motor to create a forward or backward movement for the vacuum. This means you won’t have to manually push the vacuum in order to clean, which often results in strained arm and back muscles. Moreover, this is great, especially if you vacuum frequently.
Furthermore, the lift-away feature makes it easy to reach into tight spaces. For an affordable vacuum, you may want to consider purchasing one with additional tools, such as an extension hose or retractable cord.
While this additional propulsion motor allows you to maneuver your self-propelled vacuum more easily, it also means the vacuum itself ends up being heavier and bulkier than standard options. This is because the vacuum needs extra space to house the additional motor. If that bulky factor causes you some disinterest, there are slimmer vacuums on the market, like stick vacuums. Pet owners will also appreciate certain vacuums designed for picking up fur, like the best cordless stick vacuum for pet hair.
How Self-Propelled Vacuums Work
When it comes to cleaning functionality, a self-propelled vacuum is the same as any other type of vacuum. The appliance uses a combination of an electric motor, a spinning fan, and intake and exhaust ports to create a powerful suction effect that captures dust and other debris while you clean. Once you turn the vacuum cleaner on, the motor spins the fan, and air flows throughout the vacuum through the intake and exhaust ports, carrying debris into the dust canister.
The self-propulsion feature also starts operating as soon as you turn the vacuum on. The motor turns a drive mechanism connected to your vacuum’s wheels, propelling the appliance forward or backward based on your guidance. Some of the vacuum cleaners in this category are upright models that require your input, while others are robot vacuums that operate entirely autonomously.
Do You Really Need a Self-Propelled Vacuum?
Have you ever felt sore and tired after a particularly long cleaning session with your vacuum? This is because you’re most likely doing all of the manual work while you push and pull the appliance across your floors. The top self-propelled vacuums cleaners can help alleviate the stress on your body and make the overall cleaning process much easier. If you want a more convenient vacuuming experience, you can’t go wrong with a self-propelled model.
Is a Self-Propelled Vacuum Worth Buying?
- You Want an Easier Vacuuming Experience: Vacuuming your entire home can be rough on your body, especially if you’re using a large and heavy vacuum. If you’re looking for more convenience in your daily cleaning routine, then a self-propelled vacuum is an excellent choice for you. This is especially true for anyone who needs to vacuum large spaces or has a lot of thick carpet in their home.
- You’re Elderly: Vacuuming becomes even more challenging as you get older. If you find your age prevents you from cleaning your home as often, then we’d highly recommend purchasing a self-propelled vacuum. While using one of these models, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to push around the house and complete your vacuuming much faster.
- You’re Injured or Have a Disability: People with injuries or disabilities particularly benefit from the aid self-propelled vacuums provide. The self-propulsion functionality enables you to clean your home more easily without third-party help or risking further injury to yourself.
Why a Self-Propelled Vacuum May Not Be For You
- You Need a Portable and Lightweight Vacuum: While self-propelled vacuum cleaners are easier to operate, they tend to be heavier and larger than other options. If you have trouble carrying your vacuum while it’s switched off, then you may want to consider a lightweight and compact option. Some alternatives include the best small vacuums, including handheld vacuums or cordless stick vacuums.
- You Have Hardwood Floors in Your Home: These models are best suited for cleaning carpets, where maneuvering a vacuum is harder by nature. However, if you have hardwood floors in your home, you may want to consider something like a multi-surface vacuum. The self-propulsion feature is more likely to scratch wood floors than other types of vacuums.
- You’re on a Budget: Self-propelled vacuums tend to be on the more expensive end of the price range. If you’re on a tight budget, you may need to sacrifice the convenience for something more affordable.
How Long Will a Self-Propelled Vacuum Last?
According to professional cleaning companies like Classic Cleaners, most vacuum cleaners offer an overall lifespan between five and seven years. This expected lifespan assumes that you maintain the vacuum well with the proper maintenance. However, your vacuum’s durability can increase or decrease depending on how often you use it and the types of messes you clean up regularly with it.
How to Choose a Self-Propelled Vacuum
As you start shopping for a new self-propelled vacuum for your home, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. Before you start looking at options, make sure you have a budget in mind and identify some of the key features that are most useful for your individual needs and preferences. And, if you have pets at home, it’s best to look for an option with a motorized brush attachment, known as the best dog vacuum brush.
All in all, as long as you’re purchasing an option with powerful suction, large dust cup capacity, and plenty of accessories, you’ll be sure to get a good experience. You should also consider the types of flooring in your home so you don’t choose a vacuum that will damage any of your floors.
Best Self-Propelled Vacuum Key Factors to Consider
1. What type of self-propelled vacuum should you purchase?
While there are many different kinds of vacuum cleaners available on the market, only a few offer self-propulsion functionality. Take a look at the following vacuum types to determine which one best suits your needs:
- Upright: These models are the most common on the market today, and they are probably what you envision when you hear the words ‘vacuum cleaner.’ Upright vacuums balance on top of the vacuum head and intake port. Most self-propelled vacuums are upright models. However, even upright vacuum cleaners come in different shapes and sizes. You’ll have the option of purchasing a stick vacuum, which is a more compact and lightweight version of traditional upright models. These are typically cordless vacuums instead of corded models. Another way to avoid the strain of the pushing and pulling is to go for the best backpack vacuum, though you’ll need to wear the appliance when using it.
- Robotic: These models are autonomous cleaning tools that don’t require manual input from you. Instead, you will program the robotic vacuum first, which tells it where to go and how often to clean. These are expensive vacuums, but the completely hands-off operation is well worth the added cost.
- Handheld: Some handheld vacuums are also self-propelled, but they are few and far between. Self-propelled handheld options are excellent for cleaning carpeted stairs and tight spaces.
2. Should your self-propelled vacuum be corded or cordless?
Most self-propelled vacuum cleaners are corded vacuums, which means they need to be plugged directly into a power source like a wall outlet. This gives them more powerful suction, but it somewhat limits their movement and range.
If you want something more portable and with a longer range of movement, then you might want to consider a cordless vacuum. These options use a rechargeable battery for a power source and are typically more lightweight and portable than corded alternatives. Cordless vacuums are also usually more expensive.
3. What types of floors are self-propelled vacuums made for?
Take a look at the areas you need to vacuum in your home. What floors types do you have in those areas? Self-propelled options do best on low-pile carpet, medium-pile carpet, and high-pile carpet. The propulsion, often combined with swivel steering, makes it easier for you to maneuver over thick carpet fibers.
However, you’ll need to be careful when it comes to hardwood floors and vinyl floors. The self-propulsion feature doesn’t know how to distinguish between different floor types. As such, it will always operate at full power, which can damage sensitive floors like hardwood.
The only exception to this rule is robotic vacuums. If you purchase a robot option, you won’t need to worry about your hardwood floors. Thanks to dual multi-surface rubber brushes, most robotic vacuums can handle carpet and bare surfaces without damaging either. If you want a self-propelled appliance for cleaning up after pets, then you’ll want to consider the best robot vacuum for pet hair.
4. How powerful do you need your vacuum’s suction?
The amount of suction power you need from your self-propelled vacuum will ultimately depend on the types of messes you’re planning on cleaning with it. For large messes over large areas, you’ll want an option with a more powerful suction. This includes messes like pet hair and human hair. If you’re only using the vacuum to clean small messes over small areas, then you won’t need an option with as much suction power.
5. Should you purchase a bagged or bagless self-propelled vacuum?
All vacuums utilized replaceable vacuum bags to capture debris and dust in previous generations. However, more recent iterations have focused on using a bagless design featuring a plastic canister instead of bags. Similar to the Deboot vacuum, which uses a dustbin. Learn more in our Deebot D45 robotic floor vacuum review.
Bagged vacuums better retain dust and debris, but they require more operating costs and a longer emptying process. Bagless vacuums may let debris into your vacuum more, but they are much easier to maintain.
6. Do you need any kind of attachments or extra features for your vacuum cleaner?
There are many vacuum attachments you can use with your self-propelled vacuum, each with a different purpose. The attachments and accessories you should purchase rely entirely on your cleaning needs, but some options include:
- Crevice tool
- Dusting brush
- Upholstery tool
- High-efficiency filter
- Air-powered hand tool
- LED headlights
- Pet hair tool
You may also want to consider these advanced features for your vacuum:
- Two-speed control
- Manual mode
- Self-cleaning brush roll