If it's been awhile since you've shopped around for a new vacuum, you may have no idea where to start. You've probably heard about the "never losing suction" power of Dyson and Miele, but that power also comes with a pretty steep price tag. What you may not know is that there are a ton of affordable and extremely effective options on the market. Both newcomers, like Shark, and trusted brands, from Hoover to Bissell, have dethroned more expensive, luxury counterparts, proving that effectiveness is not a function of cost. In fact, you can score a powerful vacuum for less than $200 right at Target and Walmart. Scroll down to see some of our favorites.
Best Overall: Shark Navigator Lift Away Deluxe
Consumer Reports, Wirecutter, Engadget and Business Insider — to name a few — have all praised the virtuous Shark Navigator series line for its powerful performance, rugged durability, capable swivel steering, HEPA filtration system, and five-year warranty (that Shark actually honors). Target and Walmart customers are quick to agree, claiming "best vacuum I've owned" and "this Shark is the BOMB." Whether you live in a sprawling suburban mini mansion or a 600-square-foot urban hang suite, Shark's Navigator Lift Away Deluxe is the best vacuum you can buy for under $200 at both Target and Walmart.
Runner-Up: Hoover WindTunnel Air Steerable Upright
Despite its name, the WindTunnel is one of the quieter vacuums on the market. This was confirmed by testers at Mashable who also awarded the WindTunnel top marks for "best suction with deep carpets." Indeed, this award winner from Hoover boasts a long list of features for well under $200. The WindTunnel cleans multiple surfaces including hardwood and tile flooring, and it's also adept at picking up pet hair. Many reviewers lauded the WindTunnel for being lightweight and easy to carry up and down staircases.
Budget Pick: Eureka PowerSpeed Pro Turbo Spotlight With Swivel
This economy model from Eureka offers essential features like swivel steering, durability, and performance — and a few nice-to-haves, such as LED headlights and a multi-surface brush roll with five height adjustments. Reviewers on both Target and Walmart praised the Pro Turbo for being lightweight and easy to use on staircases. While it won't do a deep clean on shaggy carpets, it's a great option for light messes and minimal carpeting, and it clocks in right at $100.
Best for Pets: Bissell PowerGlide Lift-Off Pet Plus
Pet parents love their furry friends, but cleaning up the hair, dander, and allergens they leave behind is challenging even for the most dedicated dog or cat owner. Bissell's PowerGlide Lift-Off Pet Plus outperforms vacuums priced three times higher than its modest $179 price tag, according to testers at CNET. It picked up 100% of the pet hair on low-pile and mid-pile carpet lengths and about 80 percent of the pet hair from hardwood flooring. While there may be better vacuums for pet hair than this, be prepared to pay over $600.
Best Cordless Stick: Shark Navigator Freestyle Cordless Stick Vacuum
The Shark brand is synonymous with quality and affordability and this model in particular is no stranger to accolades. It's a champion priced right around $100, and the testing team at NerdWallet gave it a 10 out of 10 for its swivel navigation, rugged performance on both hard and carpeted surfaces, and its ability to pick up stubborn pet hair. In short, Shark's cordless stick Navigator model delivers the expensive performance of a Dyson, but for a fraction of the cost.
Runner-Up Cordless Stick: Bissell Lightweight Bolt Ion Cordless
This 2-in-1 vacuum offers the convenience of a cordless, the movement of an upright, and a detachable hand-held vacuum that quickly disconnects so you can get closer to the action. This lightweight version of Bissell's Ion Cordless — there are several models — earned Good Housekeeping's prestigious Seal, which is only given to devices that pass the rigorous standards of their product-testing labs. Plus, it gives you plenty of time to clean carpets, upholstery, and hard surfaces with its 14.4 ion battery that holds a 25-minute charge.
Best for Hard Floor: Bissell Hard Floor Multi-Cyclonic Bagless Canister Vacuum
Not all vacuuming happens on lush, mid-pile carpet. Pet hair, dirt, and food end up on nearly every surface in most homes, and some vacuums are built with this in mind. Bissell's Hard Floor Multi-Cyclonic Bagless Canister Vacuum is a rockstar and features a hard-floor turbine foot that is designed to provide extra suction along hard surfaces. Plus, it's among the best sellers at both Target and Walmart, despite being a more traditional canister-style vacuum.