We picked the Samsung Bespoke Jet to be our #1 vacuum cleaner because it has features that our #2 Dyson choice doesn't have and, at full bore, is as powerful as a (ahem) jet. And is better priced too. We hoped that Dyson's latest flagship, the Gen5 Detect, would find a spot in this list, but its price tag and unwieldy weight makes it hard to recommend over the V15 Detect, which retains its spot.
Sharmishta Sarkar, Managing Editor (APAC) - TechRadar
Today's best vacuum cleaners are smarter, more powerful and more useful than ever. And, besides cleaning quickly and easily, they can also handle trickier things like pet hair, allergens, and litter, which means that they can be a big help if you or someone in your household has allergies. In other words, they can make your life better.
What's more, there's more variety than ever before. We're not only talking about upright vacuums; powerful cordless ones are becoming more common as well. Some can become handhelds, others have clever features to make cleaning even easier. And, of course, there are the robot vacuums as well that are getting smarter each year.
But how to choose the right vacuum cleaner for you from the overwhelming choice we currently have?
The main criteria to look for is how easy a vacuum cleaner is to handle and how well it performs on any surface. The best vacuum cleaner combines powerful suction and a large dust canister so the chore of floor cleaning is a quick task. It should be able to collect fine dust as well as larger debris from both carpets and hard floors while it's at it.
Even with buying criteria narrowed down to two, it's a hard choice to make. Do you get an upright or a handstick? Should you opt for a cordless or a corded vacuum cleaner? Heck, would a robot vacuum just take care of it all?
A lot also depends on what kind of floors you have at home, whether you need to clean up after kids and pets, and what size home you live in. Your choice of vacuum cleaner should include features and attachments you're going to need the most, it should be easy to maintain as well, and offer excellent bang for your buck.
We've handpicked some of the best vacuums currently available in Australia, including lightweight cordless models, autonomous robot vacuums and the traditional barrel ones, big brands and the little ones, across different budgets.
They all suck, but in the best possible way.
Best vacuum cleaners in New Zealand ranked
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The best vacuum cleaners in the business aren't just competing in terms of suction power, but also in design. While Dyson has been a leader in both areas for a very long time, Samsung has stepped up to challenge the market leader with its Bespoke Jet. Everything about the South Korean brand's new vacuum cleaner is well thought out, doing a lot more than what any Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner can do.
Firstly, it self-cleans thanks to its Clean Station (also a free-standing charging dock) that sucks out the gunk from the dust canister at the push of a button. Secondly, it comes with four power modes, with the highest – called Jet – able to suck up a whole load of matted hair and fur off a piled carpet in a single pass. And then there's its ability to mop and... well, sweep too.
Importantly, it comes with two batteries, each with up to 60 minutes of runtime, and a plethora of accessories to get at any kind of dirt you need to. And when not in use, it looks pretty darn neat just standing up in a corner somewhere. All the tools and accessories have their own little cradle, which admittedly requires extra floor space but also provides a charging dock for the second battery (so it needs it own power socket).
All this for a price that competes with the Dyson V15 Detect (see below) that can't do as much means there's value for money here if you're willing to make the initial investment and take into consideration the ongoing cost of purchasing the disposable dust bags for the Clean Station.
Read our full Samsung Bespoke Jet review
Dyson's newest flagship floor cleaner is, beyond a doubt, one of the best vacuum cleaners we've tested. Not only is the improvement in suction power impressive, it's also adaptive. That means, when using the High Torque cleaning head, the V15 Detect can automatically increase suction when it detects a carpet or rug, and reverse back when it's back on a hard floor.
Then there's the headline feature of the laser light on the redesigned Slim Fluffy tool for hard floors. Sure, it's a little gimmicky and you can still get a good clean without really using it, but watching it illuminate dust, dirt and hair strands on a floor is... well, a little mesmerising. It's great to watch it all get sucked up, something you normally wouldn't be able to see with the naked eye.
And if you want more proof the vacuum cleaner is a good sucker, then the built-in piezo sensor 'listens' to the particles going through the handstick and gives you a graphical representation of what's getting pulled in.
Needless to say it truly is an engineering marvel and definitely worth the upgrade... if you can afford it. The V15 Detect is the most expensive Dyson yet.
Read our full Dyson V15 Detect review
There are plenty of corded vacuum cleaners available on the market that are a lot cheaper than the Blizzard CX1 Excellence but you'll be hard pressed to find one as powerful. It employs what Miele calls Vortex Technology wherein air moving at speeds of over 100kph ensures it sucks up fine dust or hair that's embedded deep within carpet fibres.
That kind of power is plenty for old, dirty carpets and for a household with pets. And with three tools shipping with the vacuum – and stored on the body of the CX1 Excellence for easy reach – you can clean different surfaces and get into every nook and cranny. You can even reach for the cobwebs on the ceiling with the telescope tube.
With a cord of 6.5m in length, which retracts with a single, quick push of a button (no, you don't need to keep it pressed down), you get a full reach of up to 10m. The wheels move 360 degrees and it can even be stood upright if necessary.
Emptying the large bin is also easy, and you won't need to touch the lid to empty it out either. There's a discreet little button which will release the lid – you will have to push it close though and, if you're finicky, you can wash it out completely.
And where most vacuum cleaners require you to change the HEPA filter after a certain duration to ensure maximum efficiency, the CX1 Excellence has an AirClean filter that lasts a lifetime. There's also a CleanStream fine dust filter that cleans itself automatically, or you can do it yourself with just a press of a button.
The design is also quite sleek. It looks like a futuristic machine, with sharp angles on the sides. If storing space isn't an issue – as corded barrel vacuums can take up space – then we can't recommend this machine highly enough.
It's admittedly hard to recommend a vacuum cleaner that costs you well over a grand, but when you factor in the price of the competition and how many more features this LG offers over a Dyson, it makes it well worth the investment.
The A9 Kompressor (specifically the A9K Aqua model) is not only a powerful vacuum, it's also a pretty effective mop as well. In fact, you can do both at once if you want to save time. And don't be fooled by its regular-sized 0.44L bin. It can fit 2.4 times more dust and debris in there thanks to a compressor (which gives the range of vacuums its name).
With two batteries in the box – each with 60-minutes of fade-free power – you can clean a large family home in one go. Better yet, while you're using the machine with one battery, you can charge the other on the dock. Speaking of which: there's also no need to wall mount the handstick as its charging dock is free-standing, making it great for renters.
The only downside to the LG is its uneven weight distribution that makes it feel heavier than it is.
Read our full LG CordZero A9 Kompressor review
The main reason to get yourself a robot vacuum cleaner is so you can either put your feet up and get something else to do all the hard work for you, or so you get more time to do more important things – or perhaps both. And that's exactly what the X1 Omni will do, and do way better than most other robot vacuum cleaners... if you're willing to splurge a little.
There’s not much we can fault with this little droid: it vacuums, it mops – although mopping isn't as good as you may like but it's got no elbows to apply grease – then empties its own bin and cleans out its dirty mop water. It will also clean the mopping pads all by itself. Yes, you read that right – if there was a machine to do it all and make you lazy, then this is it. No wonder it costs an arm and a leg.
You are going to need some decent amount of floor space to stow it, though, as the docking station is large. That's understandable as it's got two tanks in there.
While its mapping and obstacle avoidance tech is quite impressive, it will plow over or thin cables and socks (or other smaller items), so you'd still need to make sure you pick up bits and bobs before the X1 Omni does its thing.
There's also a camera on board that can act as a security device for you. Since you can control the bot remotely via the companion app, you can send it on 'patrols' around your home and keep an eye on your pets if you need to.
If you really want to outsource your floor cleaning, this is the way to go.
Read our full Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni review
If you’ve got a bigger home, a larger dust canister is a necessity if you want to ensure your floor cleaning session isn’t interrupted, and thankfully the Dyson V11 outsize offers just this. At 1.9 litres, it can hold 150% more debris than the Dyson V15 Detect Absolute (above), and the wider-than-usual cleaning head, means you’ll be able to vacuum your floors quicker than ever too.
On test, it offered powerful suction that whipped away discarded biscuit crumbs, ground-in dirt, and even cereal and cat biscuits, almost instantly. However, we found the larger size made the vacuum cumbersome to use in handheld mode.
Performance is top-notch but it’s also the most expensive vacuum we’ve tested, putting it out of reach of some.
Read our full Dyson V11 Outsize review
With the arrival of the new Dyson V15 Detect and the V12 Detect Slim models, the older V7 and V8 will slowly start fading away into obscurity. After all, they can't match what the newer models do. And that brings us to the Dyson Cyclone V10.
It's now the midrange model in Dyson's stick vacuum arsenal and is often discounted, so it's possible to suck it up for a lower price than its current RRP. So you'll be getting a lot more bang for your buck here.
It's the first Dyson cordless to offer a maximum of 60 minutes fade-free battery life – provided you're on the lowest suction mode and using a non-motorised attachment – and all those marvellous innovations that we're seeing carried forward to the V11 and V15 ranges.
The V10 introduced us to the 0.76L bin canister, that's far better than the 0.54L bin in the V8 models. It also proved to us that cordless vacuum cleaners are more than capable of competing with traditional corded ones, like the Miele listed above.
Even the motor Dyson used in the V7s and V8s underwent a massive upgrade, with the V10 digital motor capable of an impressive 125,000 rpm (or 2,000 revolutions per second) as compared to the 108,000 rpm on the older handsticks. That means far superior suction, even on the lowest setting – 30% more than the V8 to be precise.
It's also easy to handle while cleaning ceilings, and quickly converts into a smaller handheld option for cleaning cars or furniture upholstery.
Read our full Dyson Cyclone V10 review
iRobot is arguably the most popular robot vacuum brand in the world. Most people would have heard about a Roomba at some time, and they're getting smarter by the iteration. The i7 range has two models – both are identical in every way, with the sole exception of a self-emptying base available with the i7+ model.
The Roomba i7, even when bought on its own, is frightfully expensive, yet we can't leave it out of this round-up. It's got one of the smartest navigation systems on a robot vacuum and it cleans a lot quicker than most advanced models. It's perhaps the only robovac that uploads maps of individual rooms in a house to iRobot's servers. This smart map can take a few tries to complete but once done, you can tell the Roomba to clean any specific room via the app.
If you've got smart speakers with with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, then you'll be able to control the i7 with a simple voice command. And, if you can spare the coin for purchasing the Clean Base (which is essentially the i7+ model), then you won't even need to worry about emptying the i7's bin after every single cleaning run. Only when the Clean Base is full – perhaps once a month – you'll need to empty it. However, the Clean Base uses bags which become an additional ongoing cost.
Read our full iRobot Roomba i7+ review
There's no question that Dyson's manoeuvrable and endlessly convenient stick vacuums are incredible, sporting powerful suction and a modular design that allows for a number of area-specific attachments – all without having to worry about pesky cables getting in the way. However, cordless vacuums do have their caveats.
Getting a limited amount of vacuum time from a battery that takes hours to charge can be extremely frustrating, and there are times when you may require a more powerful and heavy-duty vacuum solution. Cordless models are often pretty darn expensive, too.
If you share these concerns, Dyson's Cinetic Big Ball vacuum may be a terrific alternative, offering the same quality cleaning experience that the company's vacuums are known for, while avoiding all the usual annoyances that may inspire people to choose a cord-free option.
Most vacuums will tip over as they're dragged along the floor – not the Cinetic Big Ball, with its ball-shaped design that has been perfectly weighted to roll back into place whenever it falls down – it's a neat example of Dyson's knack for finding solutions to problems that have plagued these kinds of products for decades.
Another advantage over cordless vacuums: its suction power leaves them in the dust, literally. At 250 air watts, the Cinetic Big Ball is even more powerful than the new Dyson V15 Detect, which offers a little less at 230 air watts of suction.
Taking into consideration that you can now pick up a Dyson Cinetic Big Ball for around NZ$500 to NZ$750 (depending on discounts available), and what you have is a highly-recommended alternative to Dyson's pricier cord-free options.
Read our full Dyson Cinetic Big Ball review
There's no denying Miele is one of our favourite vacuum cleaner brands, with plenty of powerful suckers that we've featured at top spot on this list. They've all been the traditional barrel vacuums, but the German brand finally has a cordless handstick as well.
The Triflex HX1 series handsticks convert easily from a cordless stick cleaner to a handheld to an upright, and can handle any job you throw at it – even dry pet food. There are three power settings to choose from and you'll get up to 60 minutes of run-time between charges. While the vacuum cleaner only ships with a single battery, additional batteries are available to purchase separately, and that could give you the same advantage as the LG A9 listed higher in this list.
That said, there are plenty of tools in the box, so you'll be able to get to any nook and cranny at home, and handle any surface – floors, upholstery, carpet, no problem. There's even an LED light on the main motorised cleaning head to help you spot dirt in those dark, nasty corners. This cleaning head also features floor sensors, so it automatically adjusts suction power when it detects different surfaces.
It does all this without being too noisy. Compared to several other cordless vacuums, the Miele Triflex HX1 is relatively quiet, even at its highest setting.
In case you can't find this Miele handstick at retailers in New Zealand, it is available on Amazon Australia (where it's occasionally discounted) and ships across the water for a price.
Read our full Miele Triflex HX1 Cat & Dog review
This barrel vacuum has a worthy spot in this guide for so many reasons. Shark is a renowned brand of vacuum cleaner that rivals Dyson with its cordless range, whilst offering something different with the corded vacuums. Because it's a Shark it comes with an anti hair wrap brushroll – always useful to have on a vacuum cleaner.
Performance wise we found that pick-up and manoeuvrability was good on the floors, and equally as impressive reaching overhead and on upholstery. The 1.6 litre dust canister capacity is a large size that we feel will suit bigger homes or indeed, homes with pets, very well.
However the wand hose makes this a bulky vacuum cleaner to store. We also found that the wand can be cumbersome when cleaning overhead and unlike some other Shark vacuum cleaners, the brushroll can't be switched off.
Read our full Shark Bagless Bagless Vacuum CZ250 review
How we test vacuum cleaners
To find the best vacuum cleaner, we’ve assessed how well each model collects everything from fine dust and dirt to larger debris such as cookie crumbs and cereal. As well as evaluating how well floors are cleaned, we’ve also compared how easy the vacuum cleaners are to manoeuvre on carpet and hard floors, as well as whether dust pickup is evenly distributed across the cleaning head or concentrated in one area.
We rated each design on how durable it is, as well as simplicity of emptying, how loud it is during use and how long the battery lasts (if it has one). For each model we wanted to know whether it was easy to convert into other modes – such as a handheld vac – the useful tools and accessories it came with to clean edges or remove pet hair, and that it didn’t require reading a thick instruction manual before use.
What to consider when buying a vacuum cleaner
As we’ve mentioned already, knowing which type of vacuum to choose can end up leaving you confused. However, considering the type of property you have will help you decide.
These days, cordless vacuums are some of the most powerful vacuums when it comes to suction and they ensure you’re not restricted by the length of the wire. However they can also be some of the most expensive too. Check how long the battery will last between charges, and whether the battery is swappable, so you can simply replace it and carry on vacuuming, rather than the floor cleaner being out of action completely while it recharges.
Corded vacuums are often more affordable than cordless models, and many have wider floor headers, which can ensure vacuuming is a much quicker task. Although if you have nooks and crannies the vacuum may not be able to reach them. For those with stairs, consider models with extra-long hoses so you can clean the stairs without moving the vacuum.
Robot vacuums are good for regular cleans, however with suction that can’t match the best cordless vacuums they’re not suitable for a deep clean, and struggle to suck up dust embedded in carpets.
If you have hard floors, look for a vacuum cleaner that comes with a dedicated cleaner head, which has a softer brush roll to ensure the flooring isn’t damaged when vacuuming.
Whichever style you select, consider whether the dust canister is large enough to clean all of the floors in your home, without needing to stop and be emptied half way through.