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A good vacuum cleaner will help keep your home clean, but the best vacuum cleaner for you depends on a variety of factors, including your floor coverings, whether you have pets, and your budget. Versatility should also be a consideration because you’ll inevitably have to clean some hard-to-reach spots in the kitchen.

When I started testing vacuum cleaners for this review, I assumed a traditional corded upright vacuum cleaner would end up on top; they’re generally more powerful and often highly recommended. But after extensively testing 12 popular corded and cordless vacuum cleaners, I was surprised to find not only a canister vacuum, but slimmer stick models that worked as well as bulkier uprights. The most important thing I learned from testing vacuum cleaners? There is no one perfect vacuum for every area of every home, and if you’re willing to sacrifice just one feature (a large canister or motorized floorhead, for example), you can still get a really nice vacuum cleaner for a reasonable price.

German brand Miele is known for its high-end canister vacuums with prices ranging from $350 to $1,700. For this review, I tested two lower-priced (for Miele) models, including a classic bagged style and the new Boost CX1 Bagless Canister Vacuum. While bagged vacuums can be advantageous for people with severe allergies, I can’t recommend something that requires repeatedly purchasing pricey disposable bags—especially when the bagless Boost CX1 has a washable HEPA filter and more than enough suction power to clean the whole house.

If you’re used to an upright or stick vacuum, canister vacuum cleaners—which suck debris into a wheeled canister that trails behind you as you go—can take a little getting used to, but they offer incredible versatility compared to other styles. With very little reconfiguring, I used the Boost CX1 to clean my floors, my curtains, my car, and even my range hood. Miele’s TrackDrive wheels make it easy to move the main body of the vacuum on a variety of floor types and a telescoping wand means anyone can choose a comfortable height for floor cleaning. The crevice attachment can be used with the hose and wand or just the hose to get behind appliances and reach the deepest corners of the kitchen, while a soft-bristled dust brush is perfect for cleaning vents and other surfaces.

At this price point, it’s kind of shocking that the Boost CX1 swivel floorhead doesn’t have a rolling brush. While it has enough suction to not need the roll brush for cleaning purposes, I did have to put the floorhead in “rug” mode to get cornstarch and glitter off of my textured kitchen floor. The lack of any kind of rolling apparatus, combined with the powerful suction, also makes it more difficult to push the floorhead around rugs and carpeting. Even on the lowest setting, it sometimes lifted my rugs off of the floor, though there is an option to open the air inlet valve on the handle to help prevent lifting

The Shark Vertex Ultralight (HZ2002) is a powerful, versatile corded stick vacuum that has the power and functionality of a full-size upright vacuum in a compact body. While not as strong as the Miele, I was impressed with this machine right out of the box, and I liked it more and more with each use. It does have a small canister, but it otherwise does everything a traditional upright vacuum cleaner can do and after repeated testing, I much prefer it to the bulkier Shark Navigator Lift Away. The swivel floorhead beautifully cleaned a variety of flooring types—including my textured kitchen floor and my ultra-shaggy rug—and of all the vacuums I tested.

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