What quality do you care about most in a vacuum cleaner? That it's quiet? Easy to use? A certain brand name or model? Most likely, the thing that matters the most is that it actually does a good job vacuuming. Everything else is pretty secondary to that.
But how can you know that a vacuum performs well until you actually pull it out of the box and get it going? There aren't any test drives for vacuums, especially if you're buying online.
The best way to figure this out is to ask your friends or family, but that will only give you answers on a handful of products and experiences. You could also start reading product reviews online. But if you want the most conclusive answer, you won't find it there. Buzzrake collected thousands of opinions from users all over the web, and found out which vacuums do a great job and which ones don't.
A conclusive report shows that Miele and Hoover get the highest ratings from users for performance. Products with longer vacuuming sticks (at least 43") tend have better performance ratings overall, as do products with wider vacuuming interfaces (14" and up). Users also find that high performance vacuums have bigger dust containers (0.6 gallons at least) which need to be emptied less frequently.
Upright vacuums don't outperform canister models or vice versa, nor do expensive models outperform cheap ones. Check out our list below of the top performing vacuums on the market, and you'll see a variety of prices and styles. You're sure to find one that fits your needs and preferences.