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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Best Vacuums Testing Group Shot

Verywell Health / Phoebe Cheong

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 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, so vacuums with this filter are the best for indoor allergy sufferers.

We researched and tested 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 NV151 Navigator Swivel Pro Complete Upright Vacuum

4.4
shark-navigator-swivel-pro-complete-upright-vacuum

Lowe's

Pros
  • Easy to maneuver

  • Powerful vacuum

  • Comes with HEPA filter

Cons
  • Bulky design

  • Corded

What do buyers say? 250+ Home Depot reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

We chose Shark’s NV151 vacuum as our top pick because it has powerful suction to pick up debris and pet hair. Using an anti-allergen seal and HEPA filter, the NV151 traps dust and debris and comes with a power brush that is specifically designed to grab pet hair.

Our tester liked that the vacuum came with multiple settings for hard floors and carpets. Across all attributes, the vacuum didn’t score below a 4.5 except for ease of setup, where it scored a 4. Overall, the NV151 is easy to maneuver and has powerful suction to keep allergens at bay.

Charge Type: Corded electric | Capacity: 455 milliliters | Additional Cleaning Tools: Crevice tool, upholstery tool, pet power brush | Extra Features: Anti-allergen complete seal technology, HEPA filter

Shark NV151 Navigator Swivel Pro Complete Upright Vacuum

Verywell Health / Phoebe Cheong

Best Budget: BLACK+DECKER HSVB420J POWERSERIES 2-in-1 Cordless Stick Vacuum

4.6
black-and-decker-powerseries-cordless-stick-vacuum

Amazon

Pros
  • Cordless

  • Easy assembly

  • Has two speeds to pick up from hard floor and carpet

Cons
  • Struggles on high pile rugs or carpets

For the price, BLACK+DECKER’s 2-in-1 Cordless Stick Vacuum packs a powerful punch. Using two-speed suction, the vacuum quickly picks up dust and debris. Our tester appreciated the vacuum’s lightweight design, making cleanup easy. Plus, it comes with a removable hand vacuum and LED light to see and clean up in hard-to-reach areas.

One caveat that our tester noted was that the vacuum had only two modes. Having only two modes made it difficult to vacuum over high-pile carpet. However, the dustbuster performed well over medium and low pile carpet, sucking up Cheerios and popcorn kernels with ease. Its powerful suction, additional features, and price point make this vacuum a worthy buy.

Charge Type: Cordless | Capacity: 500 milliliters | Additional Cleaning Tools: Crevice tool, dusting brush | Extra Features: LED light

BLACK+DECKER HSVB420J POWERSERIES 2-in-1 Cordless Stick Vacuum

Verywell Health / Phoebe Cheong

Best for Pet Allergies: Bissell 22889 ICONpet Cordless Stick Vacuum

4.3
Bissell ICONpet Cordless Vacuum

Bissell

Pros
  • Cordless and quiet

  • Easy to maneuver

  • Comes with a wall mount

Cons
  • Vacuum doesn’t stand upright

Pet dander is a culprit for triggering allergic reactions, and this vacuum from Bissell has powerful suction and a Smart Seal Allergen System to trap and remove pet hair and dander, dirt, and debris. A tangle-free brush is built into the vacuum, so you don’t have to remove hair from the brush post-cleanup, and the vacuum comes with a lighted crevice tool to clean hard-to-reach areas.

It doesn’t stand up on its own, says our tester. Regardless, you can lean it against a wall when you’re moving furniture around. Hang it on the wall mount (included with the vacuum) when you’re done cleaning.

Charge Type: Cordless | Capacity: 400 milliliters | Additional Cleaning Tools: Lighted crevice tool, turbo brush | Extra Features: Wall mount and charging station

Bissell 22889 ICONpet Cordless Stick Vacuum

Verywell Health / Phoebe Cheong

Best for Dust: Dyson Outsize Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

4.4
dyson-outsize-cordless-vacuum-cleaner

Target

Pros
  • Strong suction

  • Optimal for all floor types

  • Filtration system traps 99.9 percent of particles

Cons
  • Expensive

Using a filtration system, the Dyson Outsize Cordless traps 99.99 percent of particles, dust, and allergens as small as 0.3 microns. Our tester says that the Dyson has great suction power, picking up a myriad of test items (Cheerios, hair, and popcorn kernels) from low, medium, and high pile rugs and hardwood. What makes the Dyson unique is that it has technology to detect and adapt to the floor type you’re vacuuming over.  

A bonus? You can convert the vacuum into a handheld device to clean your car, furniture, or stairs. Use one of four additional cleaning tools: combination tool, crevice tool, motorized tool, or a mini soft dusting brush.

Charge Type: Cordless | Capacity: 2.27 liters | Additional Cleaning Tools: Combination tool, crevice tool, motorized tool, mini soft dusting brush | Extra Features: Docking station

Dyson Outsize Cordless Vacuum

Verywell Health / Phoebe Cheong

Best for Carpet: Samsung VS15T7032R4 Jet 70 Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum

4
samsung-jet-pet-70-cordless-stick-vacuum

Lowe's

Pros
  • Lightweight and operates quietly

  • Has dust filter

  • Works on low, medium, and high pile rugs

Cons
  • Canister doesn’t reattach easily

This high-power vacuum has a 5-layer filtration system and filter that captures 99.99 percent of dust and dirt on low, medium, and high pile rugs and carpets. It even captures hair on hardwood floors. Weighing only 6 pounds, this lightweight vacuum is super easy to maneuver to vacuum under sofas, around furniture, and on the stairs. It also comes with a combination tool and a long-reach crevice tool to pick up dirt on furniture and vacuum tight corners. 

Our tester noted that emptying the vacuum took three steps and was slightly difficult to reattach the canister, so figuring out this step requires a bit of patience. All in all, the Samsung Jet 70 Pet Cordless is a great buy if you have carpet in your home.

Charge Type: Cordless | Capacity: 27 ounces | Additional Cleaning Tools: Combination tool, long-reach crevice tool | Extra Features: 2-in-1 charging

Samsung VS15T7032R4 Jet 70 Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum

Verywell Health / Phoebe Cheong

Best for Hardwood: Dyson V7 Motorhead Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

4.6
dyson-v7-motorhead-cordless-stick-vacuum-cleaner

Walmart

Pros
  • Easy to maneuver

  • Optimal for all floor types

  • Easy setup

Cons
  • Expensive

If you’re looking to upgrade your broom, we’d recommend Dyson’s V7 vacuum. Using the brand’s signature motor and suction power, the V7 picks up dirt, pet hair, and debris effortlessly off of hardwood. It’s easy to maneuver over all rug and carpet types: low pile, medium pile, and high pile. Beyond being an effective vacuum, the V7 also transforms into a handheld vacuum for quick cleanups and comes with additional cleaning tools, such as the crevice tool, to reach tight corners.

Because the vacuum is top-heavy, the handheld vacuum may be too heavy to use with one hand, according to our tester. They recommend using two hands.

Charge Type: Cordless | Capacity: 0.14 gallons | Additional Cleaning Tools: Mini motorhead tool, crevice tool, combination tool | Extra Features: Docking station

Dyson V7 Motorhead Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Verywell Health / Phoebe Cheong

Final Verdict

We recommend Shark NV151 Navigator Swivel Pro Complete Upright Vacuum as our best overall pick because it’s a powerful vacuum built with an anti-allergen seal and HEPA filter to trap dirt, dust, and debris. BLACK+DECKER 2-in-1 Cordless Stick Vacuum is a great option if you’re looking for an affordable and effective vacuum.

How We Rated the Vacuums for Allergies

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best vacuums for allergies we tested. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These vacuums for allergies are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great vacuums for allergies, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These vacuums for allergies are just average.

3.4 and below: We don't recommend vacuums for allergies with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

How We Tested the Vacuums for Allergies

Best Vacuum Testing

Verywell Health / Phoebe Cheong

We tested 28 vacuums at The Lab in Industry City, Brooklyn. Our testers unboxed, set up, and put the vacuums to work for eight hours. We evaluated each vacuum for the following attributes: ease of setup, weight, portability, maneuverability, the transition from smooth floors to carpeting, how cordless models stay charged, and cleanup. Each vacuum was tested on hardwood and carpeted surfaces. Using this data, we boiled it down to the best vacuums for allergies.

What to Look for in a Vacuum for Allergies

Filters

If the priority is to reduce allergens in your environment, experts recommend a vacuum with a HEPA filter. “These [HEPA filters] would at least filter some of the allergens that come out the exhaust of a vacuum cleaner,” says Kevin McGrath, MD, a spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) and allergist in Connecticut. 

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

Suction

Dyson Humdinger Cordless Vacuum

Verywell Health / Phoebe Cheong

Another important consideration is high-powered suction. The more suction power the vacuum has, the more dirt, debris, and allergens the device is capable of removing. To prevent diminished efficiency of your vacuum’s suction, Dr. McGrath recommends cleaning out the vacuum between uses. “Filter bags in vacuums lose their efficiency and 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.

Dyson Big Ball Canister Vacuum

Verywell Health / Phoebe Cheong

You can also clean out the canister or bag while outdoors instead of indoors in case any particles are released, recommends Dr. McGrath. 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 allergens 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

Some vacuums on the market have 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. Others have 2-in-1 charging and self-charge when mounted to the wall or closet. Smart capabilities are not required but 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, and one key distinction between machines is if it’s a bagged vacuum or a bagless vacuum. Both are capable of removing debris, dirt, and allergens. For bagged vacuums, one benefit is that “you can get high-efficiency filter bags that would prevent many of the allergens from coming back out of the exhaust,” says Dr. McGrath. 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 just for convenience, most patients use the canister vacuums that are bagless.”

  • How often should you vacuum?

    Carver recommends people vacuum “once or twice a week” to “reduce allergens” in the environment most effectively. Beyond vacuuming, Carver recommends people find a vacuum certified by AAFA that shows it’s 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.

  • How do you clean a vacuum?

    For optimal use, experts recommend cleaning out a vacuum after each use, which includes emptying the bag or canister as well as wiping the machine down. 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, “you can clean the inside of the vacuum canisters with a damp cloth, which can also help keep particles from floating into the air,” she says. Changing or cleaning filters is 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.

Why Trust Verywell Health

Receiving her master’s degree in public health in 2020, Kayla Hui is a seasoned public health practitioner and health journalist. She has interviewed dozens of experts, reviewed numerous research studies, and tested a plethora of products to deliver well-researched product reviews and roundups. Her goal is to help readers make more informed decisions about their health and well-being.

Additional reporting to this story by Steven Rowe and Danielle Zoellner

As an experienced health writer, Steven Rowe knows how to truly evaluate a project and tell the difference between marketing claims and real facts so that you can find the best products that work and make your day better. He has experience covering health tech and researching the best treatment options and resources available for the people who need them.

As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like you find the best products for your daily life.

1 Source
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.
  1. Veillette M, Knibbs LD, Pelletier A, et al. Microbial contents of vacuum cleaner bag dust and emitted bioaerosols and their implications for human exposure indoors. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2013;79(20):6331-6336. doi:10.1128/AEM.01583-13