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Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

Whether you're looking for a vacuum for your home, office, or car or for something that's best for stairs or households with pets, Sam's Club carries a variety of models to meet your needs.

Vacuum cleaners along with floor and carpet cleaning solutions make quick work of cleaning up small and large messes. There's no time like the present to figure out which type is right for you and your budget - and then get shopping.

So let's dive into our in-depth buying guide.

How To Shop For A Vacuum

When to buy a new vacuum

There can be some seasonality to shopping for vacuums. Here's when to be on the lookout for deals:

  • "Spring cleaning" season (April and May)
  • The holidays, starting with Black Friday, with discounts as great as 20-30 percent off

How long does a new vacuum last?

Consumer Reports has done the research, and the average lifespan is eight years, varying from brand to brand.

What to consider when buying a new vacuum

It's easy to gloss over a long list of vacuum features. So here are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • How often you'll be using the vacuum
  • If you have pets to clean up after, allergies, or other special considerations
  • The size of the home, office, or car you'll be vacuuming
  • Materials you plan on cleaning up
  • Vacuum weight
  • Cord vs. cordless vacuum: When opting for a cord, think about the length; with the latter, consider battery life
  • Bag vs. bagless: The former may be tidier, but the latter doesn't involve replacing bags
  • Need any special accessories?

What vacuum features can I get at certain price ranges?

Uprights are generally cheaper than canisters and robots. At Sam's Club, here are the starting price ranges for common cleaner types:

  • Under $50: Upright vacuums
  • $150+: Stick vacuums, robot vacuums, canister vacuums

What's the best vacuum for allergies?

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America tests products to see how they help those with both conditions. For vacuums specifically, using any "Asthma & Allergy Friendly" certified product once a week can help, according to the Foundation. Some brands with this certification include:

  • Dyson, in a range of canister, cordless and upright models
  • Kenmore, in selected upright models
  • Sanitaire, a commercial upright model

What's the best vacuum for pet hair?

Pet owners dealing with lots of hair, we feel for you. The Good Housekeeping Institute set out to find vacuums that could really keep up - and tidy up after - our fur-shedding four-legged friends. Here's what they recommend:

  • Miele Dynamic U1 Maverick Vacuum
  • Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Upright Vacuum
  • Eureka FloorRover Upright Vacuum
  • Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute Lightweight Vacuum

Who makes the best vacuum cleaners?

According to Consumer Reports, Shark and Kirby can be counted among the trustworthy brands for upright vacuums, while Miele and Panasonic are go-tos for canisters.

Why is suction power important? And how is it measured?

The most essential function of a vacuum is suctioning up unwanted spills and debris. And we all judge our cleaners by how well they can get the job done.

Sounds simple, but how vacuum suction power is measured is more complicated as there's not one uniform measurement. Here are some that are commonly used:

  • Cubic feet per minute (or CFM): This is used to determine the amount of air suctioned. The higher the CFM, the more powerful suction; for vacuums, most models fall in the 50-100 CFM range.
  • Watts or amps: These indicate the power of the machine's motor and tell you how much electricity it uses.
  • Airwatts: This is meant to show the relationship between the motor's power and the strength of the suction.

Which vacuums are quiet?

While there may be no perfectly silent model, Consumer Reports has done extensive testing to find the best of the bunch. Here are some of their recommendations:

  • Upright vacuums: Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Speed NV680
  • Canister vacuums: Miele Complete C3 Alize, Miele Complete C3 Marin
  • Stick vacuums: Shark Ion X40 Cord-Free Ultra-Light IR141, Bissell Air Ram 1984
  • Robot vacuums: Shark Ion 720, Ecovacs Deebot M88

What are the different types of vacuum cleaners?

Here are some of the most common categories of vacuums you're likely to come across.

  • Canister vacuums: These feature long hoses with a brush head at the end, providing a simple way to sweep stairs and other hard-to-reach areas. They work well on stairs, getting underneath furniture, flooring without carpets, and, thanks to their attachments, giving curtains and furniture a good once-over.
  • Wet/Dry vacuums: These types of vacuums can be used to suck up wet or dry materials making them an ideal vacuum for use in a garage or shop. 
  • Upright vacuums: As a general rule, upright vacuum cleaners are usually cheaper than canister models and more reliable for getting carpets looking good.
  • Handheld vacuums: Because these models are generally small and lightweight, they're best for cleaning up minor messes.
  • Stick vacuums: These are a happy medium between handheld and upright vacuums. They weave in and out well and have strong cleaning capabilities.
  • Robot vacuums: Think self-driving cars for tidying up your kitchen, rug, living room - wherever. Robot vacuums are programmable. Simply set up the robotic vacuum cleaner to automatically sweep your carpets and other floors. These are ideal for lightly soiled carpets and keeping the floors looking good between more thorough vacuuming sessions with a full-sized model.
  • Compact vacuum cleaners: Though smaller than their full-size counterparts, these lightweight options can help with hardwood floors, bare floors, linoleum and carpets.
  • Cordless vacuums: Handheld and robot vacuums are both types of vacuums that can come without cords.
  • Steam cleaners: A cut above mopping, steam cleaners are all about deep cleaning a variety of surfaces - like tiles, windows, and carpets - and wiping out bacteria without using any products other than natural H2O.
  • Vacuums with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters: A common feature of vacuums, often marketed to those with allergies, HEPA filters are meant to help eliminate allergens like mold, smoke and dust from the air.
  • Vacuum attachments: Accessories can help you get the most out of your cleaners to accomplish tasks outside of run-of-the-mill carpet cleaning and floor cleaning, like finally dusting off your ceiling fans, vacuuming your dog (yes, that's a thing), suctioning up furniture, and more.

What Vacuum Brands Does Sam's Club Sell?

You can find a variety of household favorites at Sam's Club, including the following popular and trusted brands of vacuums:

  • Shark
  • Hoover
  • Bissell
  • iRobot Roomba
  • Dyson
  • Roomba

Why Should I Buy a Vacuum at Sam's Club?

At Sam's Club, you can expect to find the best value, a large selection to choose from, and members-only prices for all your vacuum needs.

Does Sam's Club sell commercial cleaners?

Yes, Sam's Club sells commercial vacuums and wet/dry vacuums, including models from the following brands:

  • Bissell
  • Hoover
  • Powr-Flite
  • Carpet Pro

Does Sam's Club sell compact vacuum cleaners?

Yes, you can find light-weight, easy-to-store vacuum cleaners in stores and online. Some that fit the bill include:

  • Robot vacuums
  • Stick vacuums
  • Cordless vacuums

FAQ - Vacuum Cleaners

How much is a new vacuum?

What it will cost to buy a new vacuum cleaner depends on the type of machine and the features it offers. That said, here are some ballpark figures from the low to high end to help you think about what will work for your budget:

  • Upright vacuums: Typically cost between $50 to $1,000+
  • Canister vacuums: Typically cost between $150 to $1,500

How much do vacuums weigh?

The average weight depends on the type of vacuum. Here are the averages by product category, from the heaviest to the lightest:

  • Upright: 14-17 pounds
  • Canister: 8-13 pounds
  • Robot and Stick: Less than 10 pounds
  • Handheld: Around 5 pounds

What's the best type of vacuum for stairs?

There's no greater satisfaction than finishing vacuuming the whole house - looking around, admiring your handiwork, and how spotless it all looks. It's a wonderful feeling. Until you remember the stairs. If vacuuming stairs is in your future, here are some things to consider:

  • Will the cord reach all the way? If not, think about cordless models.
  • Will the vacuum really get all the corners looking tidy? If not, you may want to keep an eye out for vacuum attachments or accessories designed with stairs in mind.
  • Will you get tired lugging a heavy machine up and down? If so, look for a lightweight model.

Do I need a HEPA filter?

According to Consumer Reports, HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters can't hurt - and they can help. What they're supposed to do is help eliminate common airborne allergens, such as mold, smoke and dust. But if a vacuum you like doesn't come with one, it doesn't have to be a dealbreaker, models without the label may be just as good.

What is the best vacuum for a car?

When you're logging lots of miles, it can be hard to keep your car looking in good shape, which is where reliable car vacuums come in handy. The four-wheel loving writers over at put together their rankings. Here are some standouts (all hand-held):

  • Black+Decker Dustbuster Hand Vacuum (CHV1410L)
  • Eureka EasyClean 71B
  • Shark Cordless Pet Perfect II
  • Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip Corded Handheld Vacuum (SD20005RED)
  • Dyson V6 Cordless Trigger

Where is the best place to buy a new vacuum?

At Sam's Club, we carry best-selling cleaners from brands you know and love. Plus, we offer members-only pricing on a variety of models.

Can I get members-only pricing on vacuums at Sam's Club?

Members-only prices are available for many types of vacuums at Sam's Club. Members can sign in online to see the prices.

Are vacuum cleaners with dust bags better for allergy sufferers?

For those with allergies, here are two features to be on the lookout for with vacuums that have bags:

  • Bagged models with sealed filtration systems
  • Sealing dust bags

Both of these are intended to keep the irritants your machine has sucked up from breaking free and flying around the air.

Bagless vacuums can potentially create problems for allergy sufferers when it comes time to empty the machine. The process can lead to some potentially sneeze-inducing dust clouds.