The 6 Best Vacuums for Allergies of 2022

The Shark Navigator uses a sealed air system to trap allergens and dust

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The 6 Best Vacuums for Allergies of 2022

Verywell Health / Sabrina Jiang

Having indoor allergies can leave you with red, itchy eyes, or a cough. You wipe down surfaces, but still come home and are triggered by dust or pet hair. The missing ingredient to help assuage indoor allergies could be the type of vacuum you are using. Because dust and animal allergies happen so often, the importance of having a powerful vacuum to suck up any debris that could cause an attack is so important. 

Reviewed & Approved

The Shark NV356E S2 Navigator Lift uses a sealed air system to trap dust and other allergens. The Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum sucks up dirt and pet dander.

People with allergies should be looking to purchase vacuums with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, says Jennifer E. Fergeson, DO, Florida-based allergist and immunologist. HEPA filters can pick up the smallest dust and dander particles, therefore vacuums with this tool are the best for indoor allergy sufferers.

We researched dozens of vacuums for allergies and evaluated them for cost, weight, use on various floor types, and suction power. Each of the vacuums chosen in this article was determined to be the best of these factors.

Here are the best vacuums for allergies on the market today.

Best Overall: Shark NV356E S2 Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum

4.9
Shark Navigator

 Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • HEPA filtration

  • A sealed system keeps allergens in the vacuum

  • Large dust cup capacity

  • Includes accessories for pet hair

Cons
  • Handle may be too short

  • Heavy

If you’re looking for a vacuum to help with your allergies, the last thing you’ll want is a vacuum that sucks up dirt and dust from the floor and shoots tiny particles back out into the air—all because the filtration system isn’t closed.

The Shark Navigator was specifically designed with an enclosed HEPA filtration system that pulls in dirt and dust and traps it inside the vacuum, all while filtering out any other particles in the air through the HEPA filter.

It’s also incredibly portable and can maneuver well — thanks to the swiveled vacuum neck that can help reach difficult areas. The main suction pod and attached hose can also be removed so you can easily clean those unusual or tight spaces like stairs and hard-to-reach places.

Charge Type: Corded electric | Capacity: 2.2 quarts | Additional Cleaning Tools: Pet power brush, crevice tool | Extra Features: Lift-away vacuum pod for extra portability

Best Budget: Hoover WindTunnel 3 Max Performance Pet Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Hoover WindTunnel 3 Max Performance Pet Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • HEPA filtration

  • 15-foot cord for hard to reach places

  • For both hardwood and carpeted floors

  • Included tool for picking up pet hair

Cons
  • On/off switch can be tough for those with mobility issues

  • Vacuum is very powerful and may be hard to maneuver

For the price, this is one powerful vacuum. Using a wind tunnel design for extra suction, this vacuum can switch between a hardwood suction cleaner to a rotating brush carpet cleaner with just one button push.

This vacuum also includes an additional brush attachment that can loosen and lift pet hair as well as a 15 foot extended reach attachment so you can reach high up places like the tops of shelves or ceiling fan blades. It also features a HEPA filter with activated carbon to help slow the spread of allergens and reduce overall pet odor in the air.

However, some reviewers reported that the vacuum was too powerful and sometimes clung to the carpe, which may be worth considering if you think it might be hard for you to use.

Charge Type: Corded electric | Capacity: 1.5 quarts | Additional Cleaning Tools: Pet turbo tool, extended reach tool, and crevice tool | Extra Features: Button for switching between hardwood and carpet vacuums.

Best High-End: Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Miele
Pros
  • HEPA filtration

  • 99.9% particle filtration system

  • All attachments store securely on a canister

  • Silent motor and overall quiet operation

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Main canister is heavy

If you’re looking for one of the top vacuums that money can buy, the Miele Complete C3 Marin vacuum might be one of the best high-end models on the market.

It features a silent motor that helps the vacuum to operate very quietly compared to other vacuums. It also has a very effective “AirClean” HEPA filter that can filter out and traps 99.9% of the particles and allergens that the vacuum picks up.

This vacuum includes additional cleaning accessories that are stored nicely on the canister, as well as a self-rewinding power cord can that can be started with a simple button push. The long power cord allows for a full 36-foot cleaning radius from any wall outlet as well as six different cleaning strengths so you can get the deep clean that you are looking for regardless of the floor or carpets around your house.

Charge Type: Corded electric | Capacity: 4.7 quarts | Additional Cleaning Tools: Upholstery tool, dusting brush, and crevice tool | Extra Features: L.E.D. lighting, self-rewinding power cable

Best Cordless: Dyson v8 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

4.5
Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • HEPA filtration

  • Multiple cleaning modes

  • Cordless with 30+ minute runtime

Cons
  • Debris canister fills quickly

  • Slow battery charge

This cordless, lightweight vacuum is easy to use just about anywhere around the home. It can charge up at any wall outlet (it can take a few hours to fully charge) and can run cordless for approximately 30 minutes without losing any of its power.

Designed to help clean up stubborn, stuck-on pet hair, this model includes attachments for cleaning up after your favorite furry friend. The long vacuum neck and floor attachment can also be removed and replaced with a short rotating brush head for more up-close and targeted cleaning.

While the dust bin can be a little small (especially if you have a pet prone to lots of shedding!) it can be emptied through a touch button door that opens at the bottom of the bin so you don’t need to touch the bin or risk too much of it puffing back up into the air.

Charge Type: Cordless | Capacity: 0.56 quarts | Additional Cleaning Tools: Pet hairbrush, thick brush attachment | Extra Features: Handheld conversion, docking station

Best for Pet Allergies and Dust: Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum

4.5
Dyson-ball

Courtesy of Amazon 

Pros
  • HEPA Filtration

  • Fully-internal filtration to minimize airborne allergens

  • Strong suction power

  • Removable wand for longer reach

Cons
  • Heavy

  • Expensive

When it comes to trusted vacuum brands, Dyson is one of the first that comes to mind. The Dyson Ball Animal 2 may appear a little bulky but its large rotating ball design allows for a good range of motion and increased suction that can work on many different types of flooring.

With a HEPA filter and an internal filtration system, many of the dust and allergens that would normally get kicked back up into the air stay trapped in the vacuum along with any pet hair that could trigger allergies.

To also help minimize any allergic reactions—like most other Dyson vacuums—the entire dust bin detaches easily and can be dumped directly from the bottom of the bin and into the trash.

Charge Type: Corded electric | Capacity: 2.2 quarts | Additional Cleaning Tools: Turbine, stair, and combination tool | Extra Features: Long reach hose for high ceilings and under the furniture cleaning.

Best Robot: iRobot Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum

4.5
iRobot Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum

Amazon

Pros
  • Different sized brushes can handle all types of mess

  • Programmable to clean at certain times

  • Compatible with a smartphone app

Cons
  • Debris canister fills up quickly with pet hair

  • Can get stuck behind furniture

The iRobot Roomba 694 blends many of the benefits of a quality robot vacuum with a more affordable price compared to other robot vacuum models. It’s one of the only robot vacuums that have a High-Efficiency Filter, which traps 99% of cat and dog allergens. Compared to earlier models, the Roomba 960 Robot has multi-surface rubber brushes and five times the lifting and suction power, which makes picking up dirt, debris, and pet hair easy. 

This robot vacuum also intelligently maps your home, all while learning your cleaning habits and paying attention to the areas of your home that get the highest foot traffic. Patented iAdapt technology with vSLAM navigation actively captures thousands of precise measurements each millisecond to optimize coverage. You can also use Google Assistant or Alexa to command your iRobot to start cleaning from the sound of your voice.

Charge Type: Automatic docking and recharging | Capacity: 0.36 quarts | Additional Cleaning Tools: Attached rotating brush | Extra Features: Automatic recharging at the dock

Final Verdict

We recommend the Shark NV356E S2 Navigator as our best overall pick for its HEPA filter that doesn’t make you sacrifice strong suction or an affordable price either. But, if you’re looking to free yourself from scheduling “vacuum time” with something that you can set and forget, the programmable iRobot Roomba 694 can remove a lot of the worst allergens from your floors without much work at all.

How We Selected the Vacuums for Allergies

When selecting vacuums for allergies, we spoke with allergists and spent hours combing the web for the best and most effective devices. After taking all of our options into consideration, we determined which to feature based on a few key criteria: suction power, blowback, additional features, and smart capabilities.

Once we narrowed down our options, we compared each vacuum’s benefits to its price tag. While some choices on our list may be more expensive, we wanted to give a wide range of options that would fit all needs and budgets. Based on all of these factors, we compiled this list of the best vacuums for allergies.

What to Look for in a Vacuum for Allergies

Filters

Experts overwhelmingly recommend people to consider a vacuum with a HEPA filter if a priority is to reduce allergens in their environment. “Most do well with vacuums that have a HEPA filter in it,” says Kevin McGrath, MD, a spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and allergist in Connecticut. “These would at least filter some of the allergens that come out the exhaust of a vacuum cleaner.” 

HEPA is an acronym for high-efficiency particulate air. This means that the filter can trap a large number of very small particles that vacuums with other filters would likely just recirculate into the air instead of capturing. HEPA vacuums are capable of minimizing dust and other allergens from the environment with their filters. But the devices can then also “expel cleaner air” into the environment, says Melanie Carver, the chief mission officer of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). 

Suction

High-powered suction is another important consideration when purchasing a vacuum because it dictates how well the machine is capable of actually removing particles from the environment. The more suction power the vacuum has then the more dirt, debris, and allergens the device is capable of removing, thus leading to a higher-performing machine. Product reviews can assist in determining how powerful the suction will be on a device. 

Dr. McGrath also recommends cleaning out the vacuum between uses, as a full canister or bag could lead to diminished efficiency of the device’s suction. “Filter bags in vacuums lose their efficiency and their suction as they start to fill up,” he says. 

Blowback

The purpose of vacuuming is completely defeated if allergens and other particles are released back into the environment while using the device. That is why it's important that the vacuum’s canister is sealed and provides no leaks that would lead to particles getting expelled back into the environment.

Dr. McGrath also recommends cleaning out the canister or bag while outdoors instead of indoors in case any particles are released. This will help prevent the allergens from impacting people with allergies or resettling into the area that was just vacuumed. “Other options would be to open up doors and windows and allow the room to air out to relieve some of the allergen that’s in the air after vacuuming,” Dr. McGrath says. 

If you're experiencing blowback, make sure to clean the machine by following the manufacturer’s manual, as well as cleaning out the filter in the device. This can help prevent blowback during future vacuuming sessions. 

Smart Capabilities

There are several vacuums on the market that now include smart capabilities, such as the ability to connect to your smartphone device and to move throughout the home on its own while removing dirt and debris. These devices come with some benefits for the user, while also causing some drawbacks with the design. For people on the go, having a vacuum that can operate on its own with the simple touch of a button can be useful, especially if they are unable to vacuum at least once a week.

But these devices, such as a Roomba, often have smaller canisters to hold dirt and other particles, meaning they need to be cleaned out more often for optimal use. From AAFA’s perspective, the most important feature to look for when selecting a vacuum is “whether a product meets all of our certification testing standards,” says Carver. This includes the vacuum being able to “remove surface allergens” and that integrity is “maintained throughout the air filtration system.” All other added features are just extras that could provide some ease to the user. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is better for allergies: a bagged vacuum or a bagless vacuum?

    Vacuums come in several varieties but a key distinguisher between machines is if it's a bagged vacuum or bagless vacuum. Essentially, both options are capable of removing dirt, debris, and allergens from one’s environment. Dr. McGrath said a benefit to bagged vacuums is “you can get high-efficiency filter bags that would prevent many of the allergens from coming back out of the exhaust.” But this option can be more costly for users because it requires the purchase of new bags. “Filter bags in vacuums also lose their efficiency and their suction as they start to fill up,” Dr. McGrath adds. “For this reason and for convenience, most patients use the canister vacuums that are bagless.”

    Dr. McGrath recommends focusing on how the dirt and debris is removed from the machine versus if it is a bagged or bagless vacuum. “The best thing to do is to empty your vacuum no matter what type outside in open air and not in the home. Put it directly into a garbage bag, seal it, and put it in your garbage,” he says.

  • How often should you vacuum?

    Carver recommends for people to vacuum “once or twice a week” in an effort to “reduce allergens” in the environment most effectively. Besides vacuuming at least once per week, Carver recommends people find a vacuum certified by AAFA that shows its good for people with asthma or allergies. “Some poor quality vacuums release particles back into the air. That's why it’s important to find products proven to trap them,” she says. Selecting a vacuum that consistently releases particles back into the air will defeat the purpose of vacuuming, no matter how often the device is used throughout the week.

  • How do you clean a vacuum?

    Cleaning out a vacuum after each use, which includes emptying the bag or canister as well as wiping the machine down, is recommended for optimal use. Carver advises people with allergies or asthma to also wear a mask when doing housework, “especially when cleaning out your vacuum cleaner where particles may escape into the air.” The mask will add an extra layer of protection between the person and what’s being released as the vacuum is cleaned. 

    Additionally, using a damp cloth to clean out the vacuum canister can help between uses. “Sometimes you can clean the inside of vacuum canisters with a damp cloth which can also help keep particles from floating into the air,” she says. Changing or cleaning filters are also key when owning a vacuum. “This is often the best thing you can do with a bagless vacuum as they can clog easily if not cleaned regularly and emptied regularly,” Dr. McGrath says.

What the Experts Say

"The best thing to do is to empty your vacuum no matter what type outside in open air and not in the home. Put it directly into a garbage bag, seal it, and put it in your garbage.”—Kevin McGrath, MD, a spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and allergist in Connecticut

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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