Gone are the days when you had to spend thousands of dollars to buy a decent vacuum cleaner. Today, the best vacuum cleaner under €500 can vacuum and clean thoroughly, and comes with all the cleaning equipment you need to vacuum different surfaces, so you will have no reason to replace it with a more expensive one.
These vacuums are well made and will easily make it through 5 years of regular use without developing technical problems, and you can use them to clean bare floors (hardwood, vinyl, tile, etc.), upholstered surfaces, and rugs/carpets. For this article, we tested dozens of sub-$500 vacuums on different surfaces, comparing things like type, design, power, weight and warranty – we focused on the most important features. We focused on the most important features. Later in this article, we’ll explain why these features are important and tell you what to consider when evaluating each feature.
It took us months to complete this research, during which time we spoke with homeowners to find out how their experiences compare to our findings. We present our findings below, and to help you understand this analysis, we’ve included a comparison chart, detailed reviews of each product, and a comprehensive buying guide. By the end of this review, you’ll be better able to choose the right vacuum for your cleaning needs, but also know why you should choose a vacuum with certain features, while avoiding buying the others.
- Dyson V11 Animal
- Soniclean soft mat
- Miele Complete C2
- Shark APEX AZ1002
- iRobot Roomba E5
- Cheap vacuum cleaner – what to expect?
- Types of vacuums to consider
- Bag or no bag?
- Each option has advantages and disadvantages.
- Noise levels
- Added Tools
- Safety options
- Vacuuming tips for all floor types
- Our verdict
Dyson V11 Animal
The Dyson V11 Animal is a desirable choice for people who want a cordless vacuum that can convert to a handheld vacuum for spot cleaning and on-the-go cleaning. To improve efficiency, Dyson includes a combination tool, crevice tool, stubborn dirt brush, torque drive head, and a mini-motorized tool optimized for removing dirt and pet hair from carpets and upholstery. Low profile cleaning heads allow for vacuuming under low furniture.
A powerful V11 motor, spinning at 125,000 RPM, provides enough suction to dislodge stubborn dirt. Because this vacuum is battery operated, you may be concerned that such a powerful motor will drain the battery. That’s a valid concern, but you’ll be relieved to know that a built-in Dynamic Load Sensor (DLS) system automatically adjusts the motor speed for each type of floor so the vacuum doesn’t expend excessive power unnecessarily. Deploy the Auto mode and the vacuum will change the speed and power to suit each floor.
Other cleaning modes include Eco mode, ideal for light daily cleaning, and Boost mode, designed for intensive cleaning. The vacuum has an average run time of 60 minutes, but this depends on the power mode and accessories you use. The battery takes 4.5 hours to recharge and, unfortunately, it’s not removable. So you’ll have to take a break and recharge it if you run out of power before you’re done vacuuming, which wastes time.
- 0.2 gal
- vertical cordless
- 90-day warranty, 2-year warranty
- 6.8 lbs.
- nylon bristles, anti-static fiber filaments, LED screen, dynamic charge sensor system, wall dock, eco mode, floor sensors, 4.5 hours to full charge.
Soniclean soft mat
The Soniclean Soft Carpet’s digitally controlled motor allows you to choose the suction power every time you use the vacuum. It supports two modes: Quiet Mode for regular cleaning of carpets and hard floors and Deep Clean Mode, an intense cleaning setting that is best suited for heavily soiled carpets. One of the most remarkable features of this vacuum is the sonic cleaning technology, a patented innovation that is activated by the sonic bar, located at the bottom of the vacuum. With 200 vibrations per second, it dislodges deep-rooted dirt from the carpet, increasing cleaning performance.
This vacuum is specifically designed for carpet cleaning, with a soft bristle brush roll that is designed to protect carpet fibers from damage. An adjustable EZ-Push venting system allows it to move smoothly over soft carpets. Open the vents to clean high pile carpets and close them to vacuum low pile carpets. Use the closed vent setting to vacuum hard floors, although you’ll quickly realize that this vacuum shines best in carpet cleaning. It also doesn’t come with attachments, such as a crevice nozzle, that could help you vacuum hard-to-reach areas and upholstery.
The combination of hospital-grade HEPA filtration, H13 filter bags and Seal-Tech system completely seals the filter on the vacuum, ensuring that dirt particles don’t escape and recontaminate the room. A full bag indicator light alerts you when the filter bag is full.
Miele Complete C2
The Miele C2 Hard Floor Canister Vacuum, which our tests show is the best compact canister vacuum for its price, features a 1200W Vortex motor, which provides enough suction to remove tough stains quickly. Miele lets you control the intensity of suction via the electronic suction control dial, which comes with 6 suction settings: wall-to-wall carpet/bare floors, area rugs, disposable rugs, curtains, furniture, and quiet setting. A 33″ cleaning radius means you make fewer passes when vacuuming, so it takes less time to clean.
To protect your sensitive hard floors from damage, Miele uses a soft floor brush. To clean shaggy carpets and rugs, use the Carpet & Floor Tool. The vacuum head does not automatically change when you switch to a different type of floor, so you must change manually. If you’re used to using a vacuum that adjusts automatically, it may seem like a lot of work, but the vacuum cleans so well that you won’t mind.
To ensure that only clean air comes out of the unit while vacuuming and that dirt does not return to the environment after vacuuming, Miele uses a combination of Super Air Clean filter, Airclean GN dust bag and sealed construction system.
The vacuum comes with a stainless steel telescope, which you can adjust to the height that suits you by simply pressing the control button. It also comes with a ton of built-in cleaning tools, including a dusting brush, a crevice tool and an upholstery nozzle.
Shark APEX AZ1002
The Shark APEX AZ1002 vacuum cleaner allows you to clean in three different ways: upright mode, ideal for heavy duty cleaning of floors and carpets; power mode, ideal for deep cleaning and under furniture; and overhead mode, which allows you to detach the canister for greater portability. This last option is ideal for cleaning stairs and high surfaces. One particular challenge you’ll face when using the vacuum in the upright position (with the canister attached) is the weight issue. You’ll be pushing 17 lbs of metal and rubber, which can quickly wear you out when cleaning a large room.
A 1,350-watt motor provides sustained suction, dislodging embedded dirt and making heavily soiled surfaces look pristine again. For added efficiency, this Shark vacuum uses a dual brush roll system to deep clean carpets and restore a polished look to hard floors. Zero-M self-cleaning technology continuously removes bristles from the brush roll, eliminating the need to remove them yourself and ensuring that brush performance is not impaired at any time.
By installing LED lights on the handle and floor nozzle, Shark ensures that dark areas are well lit. With this increased visibility, it’s unlikely you’ll miss spots on a pass.
A HEPA filter safely removes pollutants and allergens, and the Advanced Anti-allergen Complete Seal keeps them trapped inside the vacuum. The foam filter is washable and therefore reusable, saving you money in the long run.
iRobot Roomba E5
If you’re too busy to vacuum or just don’t like doing it, the iRobot Roomba E5 is your friend. Fully automated and capable of operating autonomously, the Roomba E5 is smart enough to clean your home/office and find its way back to the docking station. It doesn’t follow a specific route and often looks like it’s moving around in confusion, but you can be sure it knows exactly what it’s doing. Avoid the temptation to pick it up and carry it to the room or area you want to clean, as it then loses its orientation and doesn’t find its way back to the docking station.
It uses sensors to move around the house and does not bump into walls or fixed objects like furniture. However, you should keep low objects, such as cords and cables, out of its way because it will pull them and cause accidents or fail to get around cords.
The E5 uses a HEPA filter to trap pollutants and is a good choice if you have allergy sufferers in your household. The dust bag is reasonably large, and the vacuum system doesn’t miss spots or leave debris, but there’s no indicator to let you know when the bag is full. So you have to keep checking to know when to empty the bag.
By logging into the iRobot HOME app, you can program Roomba to follow a predefined cleaning schedule. You can also connect to Google Assistant or Alexa; setting up the Wi-Fi connection is simple.
Cheap vacuum cleaner – what to expect?
Most people are not willing to spend thousands of euros on a vacuum cleaner, but they do not hesitate to spend a few hundred euros on a cheap vacuum cleaner. After all, they believe that a cheaper version will do what a more expensive model does. What can you expect from a cheap vacuum cleaner?
Well, fewer features, for starters. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if it has all the features you need to vacuum. It probably won’t have the technologically advanced features found in high-end models, but it will have enough basic features and accessories to do a decent cleaning job. For example, it may not have many automatic systems, but you should be able to manually make the necessary adjustments.
Types of vacuums to consider
Below we explain the different types of vacuum cleaners:
Upright vacuums – In this type of vacuum, all the parts of the vacuum are merged into one body. As a result, they are heavy, difficult to maneuver and cannot be manipulated to vacuum under low furniture. They are, however, excellent for cleaning carpets and clean high-traffic areas thoroughly enough. They also have a large cleaning head, which makes them ideal for vacuuming large rooms. They are easy to store.
Canister vacuums – These vacuums are designed so that the motor is separate from the canister. Most of them run quietly, the only drawback being that you have to pull the canister as you move around the room. They are ideal for cleaning hard floors, under furniture and stairs. They take up more storage space than upright vacuums.
Stick vacuums – This type of vacuum has a large body, motorized head and handle, and is usually battery powered. They are lightweight, very maneuverable and great for light vacuuming. They have a smaller dust bag than larger vacuums.
Handheld vacuums – Like the stick vacuums, these are lightweight and very portable. The difference is that they are much smaller than stick vacuums and you can use them with one hand. They are best suited for light vacuuming of upholstery, short pile carpeting and bare floors.
Robotic vacuums – These are programmed to operate autonomously without human intervention. They know how to work their way around your home and return to the charging station to recharge when they run out of power. They are best used in uncluttered spaces with bare floors.
Features to consider when buying the best vacuum cleaner under €500
Now let’s look at the different features to consider when choosing a vacuum cleaner.
The most efficient vacuums have a precise balance between motor power and suction. To find out how powerful the vacuum cleaner is, look at the watt-air rating, which shows how much power is converted to suction based on the amount of air flowing through the vacuum. The vacuum cleaner needs strong suction to pick up dirt effectively. The type of vacuum cleaner also determines the power of the motor. For example, canister vacuums like the Miele C2 need more power to push the collected dirt through the hose.
The best vacuum cleaner is versatile enough to be used on different surfaces. You should be able to use it to vacuum both hard floors and carpets.
Some vacuums are designed primarily for hard floors, but they have attachments for cleaning carpets. Similarly, some are designed to clean carpets, but with a hard floor tool, they can be used to vacuum bare floors. Make sure you can use the vacuum for your specific type of floor, whether it’s parquet, laminate, vinyl or tile.
If you need to clean overhead surfaces, choose a vacuum with the necessary tools. Also, consider the ease of use of the tools. For example, is the hose long enough to reach the top of your curtains from floor to ceiling?
Bag or no bag?
Each option has advantages and disadvantages.
One of the main advantages of bagless vacuums over bagged vacuums is that there is little or no loss of suction. Another advantage is that you won’t need to buy dust bags. However, you will need to clean the filters once a month and replace them after a certain period of time, as recommended by the manufacturer. The main disadvantage of bagless vacuums is that it is easy for dirt to escape into the room while you are emptying the tank.
With bagged vacuums, the dirt is completely enclosed in the bag, such as in the Miele C2 Hard Floor and Soniclean Soft Carpet canister vacuums, making them the best option for people with allergies. They also have a larger capacity than bagless vacuums, but for convenience, choose a vacuum with a large dirt bag so it doesn’t fill up quickly.
The size of your vacuum’s motor can, in part, determine the noise level of the unit. Because they typically have more powerful motors than other types of vacuums, upright vacuums tend to be the loudest of the group. But that’s not all: high-powered motors are also louder than low-powered motors, regardless of size. A vacuum cleaner with a small, powerful motor can be louder than one with a larger, low-powered motor. Bagless vacuums also tend to be louder than bagged vacuums because of the proximity of the motor to the canister.
If the noise of the machines bothers you, look for a vacuum cleaner with a noise level of 72 dB or less, which is considered quiet in vacuum cleaners. With a vacuum like this, babies can sleep uninterrupted and you and others can carry on a conversation while the vacuum is running.
Consider adding accessories such as dusting brushes, a padding tool, a crevice tool and a hard floor tool, as they make the vacuum more versatile. Many vacuums come with a full range of cleaning accessories. The Dyson V11 Animal and Miele C2 vacuums are good examples. A vacuum cleaner that doesn’t come with extra tools, like the Soniclean Soft Carpet, will only allow you to do the bare minimum, in this case cleaning carpets.
Filters trap pollutants in the air the vacuum draws in so that the air is clean when it is released into the room. Currently, the best filters on the market are HEPA filters. They are designed to remove up to 99.97% of pollutants and allergens, making them the filter of choice for people with allergies. Many modern vacuums are equipped with HEPA filters, including Soniclean Soft Carpet, Miele C2, Shark APEX AZ1002 and iRobot Roomba E5. When evaluating a vacuum’s filters, check to see if, like the Shark APEX AZ1002 foam filter, they are washable. Also, replace the filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
A good vacuum cleaner is easy to use. Here are some easy-to-use attributes:
The vacuum moves smoothly over carpets.
It doesn’t get stuck on bare floors.
It is not too heavy to pull or push.
The hose is reasonably long to increase reach.
The dust bag is not too small.
Choose a vacuum cleaner with safety features, especially if you have children. It’s best to choose a vacuum with a retractable cord to minimize the risk of tripping over the cord.
Consider a vacuum cleaner with a wheel lock and brush roll lock to avoid accidents.
A safety lock that cuts off the power supply will ensure your children’s safety even if they plug in the vacuum.
The design of your vacuum cleaner can make it enjoyable or unbearable to use. Starting with the size, choose a vacuum cleaner that is the right size for your cleaning needs. The same goes for the weight. If you plan to carry the vacuum upstairs and downstairs, it should be light enough.
If you need to clean a large area, choose a vacuum with a large cleaning head and a large cleaning capacity. The design of the brush rollers can also have an impact on the usefulness of the vacuum cleaner.
The longer the warranty period, the more coverage you’ll have if the vacuum cleaner malfunctions or a component is damaged. Some vacuums with short warranties, such as the iRobot Roomba E5 and the Miele C2, are only covered for one year. But many other brands offer a longer warranty period. For example, Soniclean Soft Carpet and Shark APEX AZ1002 both come with a 5-year warranty, while the Dyson V11 Animal has a 2-year warranty.
Vacuuming tips for all floor types
Establish a regular vacuuming schedule to reduce the number of times you need to vacuum thoroughly or intensively.
Choose the right setting for the floor you’re vacuuming and adjust it accordingly when you move to another floor.
Vacuum your carpets and rugs from the center outward to prevent carpet fraying.
Change or replace your filters and dust bag as recommended by the manufacturer.
Pick up small objects on the floor before you start vacuuming as they can damage your vacuum.
Our first choice is the Dyson V11 Animal. We like the way it converts to a handheld vacuum for hard-to-reach places and overhead suction. We also like its nylon bristles, which are soft but clean all surfaces perfectly. Another winning point for us is the fact that it uses a battery and is therefore not limited by the lack of power outlets.
Our second choice is the Soniclean Soft Carpet, which boasts state-of-the-art sonic cleaning technology. Other notable features include an adjustable fan system, HEPA and Seal-Tech systems, a full-bag indicator light and a long cord.