A good vacuum cleaner is the staple of any healthy home. We’re often asked what vacuums we recommend to people struggling with mold illness, allergies, or chemical sensitivities. So we decided to put together a small list of our favorite vacuum cleaners for allergies, covering a range of price options.
qualities to look for in a vacuum
- It should have a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestor) filter so that it can capture particles as small as .03 microns (like mold spores!) A HEPA filtered vacuum will leave your indoor air cleaner than before you started cleaning.
- Contains a dust bag to fully capture toxins. Vacuums with a container that you have to empty will reintroduce toxins back into the environment and should be avoided, unless you need something small and light weight. Many cordless stick vacuums have to be emptied into the trash. If this is the case, make sure you do this OUTSIDE of the home.
- Has a completely sealed system so you can prevent dust and allergens from escaping the vacuum, which improves the air quality in your home. This is especially important if you or anyone in your family suffers from allergies, asthma, or mold illness.
- Has a hose with a wand so that you can access hard to reach places. We also love ones that have special fabric tools for cleaning pet beds and furniture.
why does it need a hepa filter?
As mentioned above, having a HEPA filter in your vacuum allows for cleaner indoor air. Those with allergies or who suffer from biotoxin illness will want to make sure they’re cleaning using a HEPA filter. Otherwise, toxins that get pushed around during cleaning will just recirculate through the space making them easier for you to inhale into your lungs.
Non-HEPA-filtered vacuums can re-circulate up to 70% of the particulate back into the air... I mean, I love cleaning, but to know all my hard work is going to waste is upsetting! Not to mention, it can decrease your indoor air quality.
As stated on the EPA’s website, “This type of air filter can theoretically remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns (µm)” This means vacuums with a HEPA filter are able to capture super small particles that might get missed by non-HEPA filtered vacuum.
This is why opting for HEPA key component for choosing a vacuum cleaner for allergies.
Please note, these vacuums were found solely by our own personal research and customer reviews. We do not have professional staff testing the equipment, we simply want to give a list of vacuums that we feel meet certain criteria while also giving people an option that fits their price range. We do believe you get what you pay for and investing in a higher price item will likely result in having the item for longer with fewer issues.
See below for a range of vacuums in different price ranges that meet these criteria. We encourage you to use this list as a starting point, but it’s important to do your own research to make sure the vacuums will meet your own specific needs. As my colleague and mentor, John Banta, found, not all HEPA vacuums perform the same based on testing he has done.
With that in mind, here are our favorite vacuum cleaners for allergies.
here's our top vacuum cleaners for allergies + mold illness
Miele C3 Marin Canister Vacuum
(for homes with hard/soft surfaces)
This vacuum has the power of a shop vac and it performs insanely well for someone who has allergies and also lives with two large german shepherds. It’s perfect for a home with or without carpet, as it comes with two interchangeable heads depending on your needs.
This is our number one choice, but I won’t lie — when I originally saw the high ticket price on this I had to come up with some reasons to justify my purchase. The thing is, when you buy this vacuum, you’ll have it forever — Miele is built to last. I have personally used it for 6 years and absolutely love it! So think of the price as an investment that will pay itself off over time.
miele COMPLETE C2 HARD FLOOR
(for homes with hard surfaces only, no carpet, RUGS ONLY)
This is a less expensive Miele vacuum that doesn’t have the carpet attachment. This looks like it would be a good option if you have all hard floors and rugs.
kenmore Floor Care elite CANISTER VACUUM
This vacuum appears to have similar specs to the Miele vacuum above. Although it’s unsure if it will stand the test of time the way the Miele vacuum does, it looks to be a quality vacuum at a great price. It is a bit bulky and heavy, but it’s suction power makes it incredibly useful on both carpet and hardwood floors. It utilizes a 3D Inducer Motor combining the power of 3 motors that give you 20% more air power than a conventional vacuum while never losing suction. It also has an LED dirt sensor that alerts you to the dirt you can’t see and lets you know when an area is truly clean.
The Kenmore Floor Care Elite features a flexible hose and lightweight aluminum wand that lengthen to reach 10′. A dusting brush, crevice tool, and second bare floor tool are also included for convenient cleaning transitions.
Tineco A11 Tango Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
For a lightweight vacuum that still features a HEPA-filtered system, the Tineco A11 Tango Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner is a good fit. While it does not feature a bag, it is cordless and has a multi-task power brush with LED headlights that tackles deep-down dirt from the carpets.
Some users report that it is not as durable as other vacuum cleaners and develops problems soon after purchase.
Prolux Tritan Bagged Canister Vacuum
For a less expensive vacuum that still features a HEPA-filtered system with excellent all-around performance, the Prolux Tritan Bagged Canister Vacuum is a perfect fit. It is designed to clean carpet, rugs, hardwood floors, tile, and more! With its array of onboard tools, rubber wheels that will protect your floors, and a self-retracting cord it’s incredibly simple and easy to use. It also comes with a one-year bumper-to-bumper warranty.
There are many benefits to this vacuum cleaner, but some users report that it is difficult to maneuver, is loud, and some have quality concerns.
HOOVER WIND TUNNEL WHOLE HOUSE VACUUM
For the budget conscious, this Hoover vacuum is the best in budget on “Consumer Reviews”.
It doesn’t meet all of the criteria of a gold standard vacuum, however, sometimes we need something that does the job and doesn’t break the bank! If you’re not able to get something with all of the bells and whistles, your vacuum should at least have a HEPA Filter, and this vacuum has that.
The HEPA filter still leaves the air cleaner than before, however, you will want to take precautions as you dump the canister since this is a bagless model. If you’re super sensitive, I highly recommend investing in something with a bag to make sure you’re getting maximum containment – but if that doesn’t fit the bill at the moment this will do the trick.
BONUS HANDHELD OPTIONS
VacLife Handheld Vacuum for Pet Hair
This vacuum has a motorized brush, a crevice nozzle for hard-to-reach areas such as corners and cracks, and a dusting brush for carpets and other upholstery surfaces. It comes equipped with a dual-filtration system, composed of a washable high-quality HEPA filter and an innovative prefilter. The prefilter helps keep out the large debris while the HEPA filter can protect the dust from getting into the motor.
This tiny vacuum cleaner also is equipped with a large-capacity battery, allowing you to clean continuously for 18mins with a motorized brush assembled and 20mins with the motorized brush unassembled.
VacLife Handheld Vacuum
This handheld cordless vacuum is equipped with 2 different attachments. The brush tool can loosen hair and dust which is stuck in objects for better cleaning. The crevice nozzle tool can be used to clean sofas, crevices and corners. It also features a bright LED Light which is helpful for dark cleaning and corner cleaning.