2018 Vacuum Cleaner Reviews & Ratings
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Canstar Blue research finalised in May 2018, published in June 2018.
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Miele vacuums are blowing Aussies away
When it comes to vacuum cleaners, it’s often the case that you get what you pay for. So buying a cheap and cheerful vacuum might seem like a great idea at the time, but it could leave you with disappointing results. Then again, you don’t want to be paying more than you need for an appliance that – ultimately – simply sucks up dirt from the floors. The trick is finding the vacuum that ticks both the effectiveness and value for money boxes. So, which brands do Aussies rate highest in both regards? Our customer ratings have the answer.
Once again, we’ve surveyed more than 1,000 households and sought out their opinions on the vacuum cleaners they’ve purchased and used in the last three years. An emerging theme from our reviews and ratings over the years is that typically the more expensive brands are coming up trumps. Over the last few years, Dyson and Shark have both come out ahead, but right now it’s all about Miele, topping the ratings for the second year in a row. That’s a great achievement in a competitive market where we’re even seeing the likes of Kmart and ALDI offering solid alternatives to the big name brands. But Aussies who own a Miele vacuum are the happiest of the lot.
Miele scored five stars for cleaning effectiveness, ease of use, quietness, ease of storage and value for money, in addition to overall customer satisfaction. This year’s vacuum review saw seven major brands compared, rated in the following order overall:
- 1st Miele
- 2nd Shark
- 3rd Dyson
- 4th Hoover
- 5th Vax
- 6th Electrolux
- 7th Kmart Homemaker
This year, Shark and Dyson achieved four stars overall, with Hoover, Vax, Electrolux and Kmart Homemaker all receiving three stars. Other results of note included five stars for Dyson for ease of use and just two stars for Kmart on quietness.
These ratings are based on all types of vacuum cleaners – from small handheld vacuums for your car, to large barrel vacuums that specialise in pet hair and the latest and greatest handstick vacuum cleaners.
Our review provides a helpful guide as to which vacuum cleaner could be the best bet for your needs and budget. Read on for a little more detail about each brand and what you can get for your money. We’ll also name-drop some other brands that don’t feature in this year’s review but are still worth a mention.
Best-Rated Vacuum Cleaners
Miele makes cylinder vacuum cleaners (bagged & bag free models), upright vacuums and even an array of robot vacuum cleaners. Miele’s vacuums come in a variety of sizes and colours to suit most domestic duties and homes. Miele is not generally known for offering gimmicky features, instead just focusing on ‘tried and true’ ingenuity and German engineering, with predictably efficient results.
Miele’s upright vacuum range starts from around $500 and its cylinder models start at about $330, but some cost closer to $1,000, including Miele’s robot vacuums. Miele cleaned up the competition in this year’s vacuum review, scoring five stars for overall customer satisfaction and in all other categories.
Miele’s latest models include:
- Miele Complete C3 Comfort 2000W Electro Green Vacuum Cleaner
- Miele Complete C3 Comfort 2000W Total Care Marine Blue
- Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog 2000W Autumn Red Vacuum
Shark vacuum cleaners are now widely available in Australia and bring some innovative designs. Shark specialises in upright and stick (corded & cord free) vacuums that include handy features like LED lights and flexible swivel heads. However, one of Shark’s biggest selling points is the weight of is vacuums, as most weigh in at under 5kg. And Shark backs up the features with some serious power and innovation, especially in the form of the ‘IONFlex’ series with a vacuum that delivers 44 minutes of run time. Shark’s DuoClean technology is further boasted for cleaning small and large particles on both carpets and floors.
Shark’s vacuums generally cost between $350 and $750. The brand was rated a respectable four stars overall in this year’s review, plus four stars in the other categories – effectiveness, ease of use, storage, quietness and value for money.
Shark’s latest models include:
- Shark ION P50 Cord-Free Powered Lift-Away DuoClean Vacuum
- Shark IF250 IONFlex DuoClean 2X Cord Free Ultra-Light Vacuum
- Shark IF200 IONFlex DuoClean Cord Free Ultra-Light Vacuum
A vacuum cleaner specialist, Dyson makes a wide range of barrel, upright, handstick and handheld models. Often, categories are further differentiated by what an individual vacuum is said to specialise in. For example, there are Dyson vacuums for allergies, and pet hair. Its barrel vacuums also boast a ‘no-tip’ feature, by using a clever rolling ball instead of wheels.
Dyson is generally seen as a premium brand, with most models costing in excess of $500, while some cost $1,000 or more! Its latest addition – the Dyson V10 – is boasted for powerful suction power and up to 60 minutes of run time. It comes with a retail price tag of $999. Dyson was rated four stars for overall satisfaction in this year’s ratings, but did rate five stars for ease of use, giving you a no fuss vacuum for those who just want to get the job done. It also rated four stars for quietness, effectiveness and ease of storage. However, given its premium prices, Dyson scored just three stars in terms of value for money.
Dyson’s latest models include:
- Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute+ Handstick
- Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal Handstick
- Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Barrel Vacuum
The brand that is now also a verb, Hoover makes a huge variety of bagged and bagless vacuums, plus handheld, handstick and robot vacuums. It even makes a range of cordless upright vacuums powered by lithium-ion batteries. For the really serious vacuum cleaner enthusiasts, there is also a backpack vacuum on offer to make it look like you’re operating a jetpack! The Hoover Ultra-Light stick vacuum is boasted for its motorised powered head, stated to provide an effective clean and offering up to 20 minutes of run time.
Hoover prices start from about $50 for the most basic handheld varieties, while the premium bagless models cost up to $1,000. In this year’s review, Hoover rated three stars for overall satisfaction and in every other category except value for money, where it was rated a creditable four stars.
Hoover’s latest models include:
- Hoover React Advantage Handstick
- Hoover Regal 1650W Bagged Vacuum Cleaner
- Hoover Regal 1600W Premium Bagless Vacuum
Vax is a specialist in vacuum cleaners and floor care. It makes a fairly concise range of upright, cordless, barrel and handheld vacuums. Many upright models are also cordless, affording you the ability to go wherever the mess and pet hair leads you. Many of Vax’s barrel vacuum cleaners feature big wheels, making them hard to tip over, and some also feature extra accessories to help eliminate pet hair. Vax’s range on the whole can be described as simple, yet powerful.
With a retail price tag of about $300, the Vax Dynamo barrel cleaner is designed with ‘Multi-cyclonic’ technology, stated to separate and trap debris in the dust chamber for reliable suction. For a cordless stick vacuum, the SlimVac Total Home (VX53P), features a number of accessories including a pet/stair tool and has a run time of up to 22 minutes. The 2000W barrel models are available for less than $100, while most other model types are available for less than $300. Vax rated three stars for overall vacuum satisfaction and in most other categories except for ease of use where it scored four stars.
Vax’s latest models include:
- Vax VX82 Blade 2 Max Cordless Handstick Vacuum Cleaner
- Vax VAU1200 Air Upright Vacuum Cleaner
- Vax VX59 Ultra Pro Powerhead Barrel Vacuum Cleaner
Electrolux makes a wide variety of rechargeable, canister and robotic vacuum cleaners. Most canister models feature powerful motors, as well as specialised areas of expertise, such as pet hair, tough dust, and so on. Also in the range is the ‘Silent Performer’ series, which claims to be the quietest series in the Electrolux range. In terms of its rechargeable range, the 2 in 1 stick models are designed with detachable handheld vacuums, ideal for quick and convenient cleaning of small messes.
Models start at about $150 for the handheld varieties and around $250 for the canister vacuums, while the Electrolux PUREi9 Robot vac sits with a retail price tag of about $1,700. Electrolux was rated three stars for overall vacuum satisfaction in 2018, but was scored four stars for ease of use, which seems to back up some of its claims.
Electrolux’s latest models include:
- Electrolux PF91-6PR Pure F9 Animal Handstick Vacuum
- Electrolux ZUF4303PET UltraFlex Animal Care
- Electrolux ZB3320P Ergorapido Animal Stick Vacuum
The cheap and cheerful department store specialising in homewares and cheap electronics has a range of vacuum cleaners for Aussie consumers to choose from. It has a fairly large range of budget-oriented vacuums, with upright, handheld, bagless barrel and bagged cylinder models currently on offer. It has also branched out into the cordless stick vacuum range, boasting a maximum run time of 25 minutes with its latest addition.
Prices start at just $12 for the car wet & dry handheld vac, with most models costing less than $50. Its most expensive vacuums – the cordless stick vac and the 2400W bagless vacuum – both sit with a price tag of $99. You won’t necessarily sacrifice power with these cheap prices, as many models boast 2000W motors. However, you can’t expect the world, as Kmart vacuums are fairly basic in functionality and light on techy features. Kmart vacuums were rated three stars for overall satisfaction in 2018, with just two stars when it comes to quietness. Nevertheless, it did score four stars in regards to value for money.
Kmart Homemaker’s latest models include:
- Kmart Homemaker Cordless Stick Vacuum
- Kmart Homemaker 2400W Bagless Vacuum
- Kmart Homemaker 1200W Upright Vacuum
Aside from the major brands rated in this year’s review, there are several other brands worthy of your consideration, including:
Our 2018 survey of consumers who have recently bought a vacuum cleaner also revealed the following insights:
What to consider when buying a vacuum
Top ratings were in fairly short supply in this year’s review, suggesting that consumers are quite hard to please when it comes to vacuum cleaners. One in five survey respondents (20%) told us they are often disappointed with their vacuum cleaner’s performance, and almost the same number (19%) regret not spending more on a better model. So, you’ll want to make sure you pick the right type of vacuum for your needs and preferences.
There are pros and cons to different types of vacuum cleaners. Whether it’s not enough battery power from a stick vacuum or constant tripping over corded barrel models, owning more than one type might be the way to go. If space is at a premium, a stick vacuum is generally easy to store as well as a handheld vacuum that’s ideal for small messes. Canister/barrel models are still the most common and are typically quite versatile with a variety of cleaning heads. Here are some specific factors to consider before buying a new vacuum.
A big factor in how easy a vacuum cleaner is to use and to store, size can vary greatly between different models, but it often comes down to a situation of ‘less is more’. From convenient handheld cleaners to uprights and full-sized wheeled models, a compact vacuum cleaner is easier to move around, can clean in tighter spaces and can be stored away with little fuss.
Vacuuming is meant to be fast and efficient, so an appliance that’s easy to operate is pretty essential. This can include features such as intuitive controls, multiple nozzle heads for cleaning different areas, a portable design, and several other factors. Some models also come as a two in one pack, giving you the ability to vacuum with a full sized vacuum and detach a handheld vacuum for the smaller messes.
You’d think a cyclonic vacuum cleaner would be inherently noisy, especially with the sucking power available on newer models. In spite of this, many vacuum brands have committed to reducing the noise produced by their appliances, with some impressive results. When doing your research, make sure to check out the vacuum’s noise emission, so that you don’t end up waking up all your neighbours on a Saturday morning.
Nearly half of our respondents told us that their most important considerations when buying a vacuum was the price, and value for money is certainly a big factor when buying a product which most people keep for over six years.
When asked about the biggest deciding factor in the purchase of a new vacuum cleaner, consumers said:
- Price: 52%
- Special features: 17%
- Design/appearance: 11%
- Energy efficiency: 8%
When deciding which type of vacuum is the best for your home and family, give some thought to your vacuuming requirements (i.e. how much space do you need to cover) and any specific circumstances or requirements, such as family members with allergies, or pets with a tendency to shed lots of hair. You’ll likely need to spend several hundred dollars on a top-of-the-line model, which should last you several years, or you can pay less than $50 for a vacuum that – in all probability – will have a fairly modest life expectancy. You generally get what you pay for with vacuum cleaners, so choose wisely.
Frequently Asked Questions
Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 3,500 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and used a vacuum cleaner in the last 3 years – in this case, 1,052 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.