It’s been quite a while since I wrote a vacuums guide for the readers of my blog who live in apartments, so I decided to bring you one today. Whether living in a full home or small studio, we all have cleaning needs to take care of. The challenge lies in finding the right cleaning device for your requirements and living place. A vacuum that’s suitable for a large home may not be the right one for a small living place. If you’re looking for the best vacuum for apartments, you’ve come to the right place because this guide will take you through the process of selecting the most suitable unit; the features to look for, the cleaning requirements to consider, and more. I will also provide you with a list of top brands and models to choose from and narrow down your search. By the end of it all, you will have adequate information to make the right choice based on your cleaning needs, budget, and taste. Most importantly, you will be well-informed to enable you to purchase a unit that will not require much space to store or make too much noise as to disturb your neighbors. It will save you the stress of a buying a vacuum that does not suit the small area of your apartment or the surfaces you intend to use it on.
If you live in an apartment, aim to buy a vacuum that’s efficient yet suited for the small place. Don’t go for an inferior device and instead look for a sophisticated vac that will offer you the best of features. Just because you don’t have large spaces to vacuum does not mean your cleaning needs are less demanding. The truth is, your small apartment will have a lot of debris to pick up with your vacuum cleaner and many tight spots to reach. Small living spaces tend to get dirty more easily especially if they happen to be high traffic. If you’ve pets, the situation can be even trickier and require you to find a vacuum that’s really good at removing hairs. Understanding what to look for in a vacuum is the first step toward buying the best device. Many people make the mistake of going for the model or brand that looks appealing to their eyes, or one that costs the least amount. Only when they’ve already made the purchase and used the vacuum do they realize the bad decision they made. It can at times mean going back to the store for a new unit while still not sure of the features to look for. That’s the poor shopping decision this guide will help you avoid. I bet you also don’t want to end up with the wrong vacuum for your small apartment and is the reason you’re here. So, let’s get started.
Here are my favorite vacuums for small condos:
|Vacuum||Weight (lbs.)||Dimensions (L x H X W in inches)||Filters||Value|
|Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction||7||18.2 x 8.7 x 11||HEPA||$449.00|
|Dyson V10 Absolute||6||49.2 x 9.5 x 10.1||HEPA||$698.88|
|Oreck Magnesium RS||8||47.75 x 12 x 10.5||HEPA||$399.99|
|Dyson Small Ball||12||32 x 14 x 11||Foam filter||$349.00|
|Shark Rocket Zero-M||9||47.2 x 12.4 x 10.2||HEPA||$179.99|
Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction
- check out my complete guide on Compact C1 models
- it’s a canister, thus it’s easy to maneuver
- it’s bagged, with sealed suction. The bags are large, accommodating 0.9 gallons of debris, and are charged electrostatically, so no dust particles, no matter how small, will escape them.
- it has very good filtration, it’s German product
- it’s designed for bare floors and low pile. Other C1s (Titan, Delphi) may be better suited for medium and high pile carpets
- 6 power settings, including the Silent mode
- it has a good warranty
- it is the cheapest Miele canister unit on the market
Dyson V10 Absolute
- it’s a stick and a cordless in the same time
- it the best model of the Dyson V10 on the market
- works good on both bare floors and carpeted areas, thanks to the double nozzle heads
- the batteries last 60 minutes and recharge completely in 3-4h
- it weights 5.9 lbs. and may be also used as a handheld
- it’s a bagless, accommodating 0.2 gallons in its dust bin
- it comes with a docking station, and you can leave the unit for charging without worrying about batteries
- HEPA filtration ensures you won’t get in contact with any allergens
- has 3 suction modes: Suction mode 1, Suction mode 2 and MAX Suction mode. The Max suction mode provides increased suction for 15 minutes or so
- 2 years of warranty
Oreck Magnesium RS
- although it’s not a stick, it weights only 8 lbs., thanks to its aluminum frame
- the bags are large, accommodating 2 gallons. They also provide the only filtration layer of the unit, as they are made out of a HEPA grade material. The SaniSeal system completes this feature.
- large rubberized wheels allow vacuuming frieze and shag carpets
- an efficient 3.5 amps motor provides a good suction under a low consumption regime
- furniture-friendly, able to lay completely flat, in order to reach deep under beds
- wireless handle controls
- intuitive swivel steering
- good edge-cleaning thanks to side-brushes
- Twin LED Headlight
- 7 years of warranty, with 5 yearly tune-ups
Dyson Small Ball
- good built, quality materials
- powerful motor. Good suction at 150 AW
- works great on all kind of floors, including hard floors and low-pile/high-pile carpets, thanks to its auto-adjustable head, which creates a sealed airflow
- 2-tier radial cyclones – for an uniform continuous suction
- Long cleaning radius of 42 ft.
- Good filtration system with rinsable/washable filters. Unfortunately, it is not HEPA certified
- Increased usability thanks to the ball technology
- Hygienic bin emptying
- Comes a crevice attachment and a stair tool
- The handle is ergonomic and can be adjusted in height
- 5 years of warranty
Shark Rocket Zero-M
- it’s a 2-in-1 unit which can quickly transform into a handheld
- it’s a bagless with a 0.185 gallons capacity. The bin can be emptied from both sides (top or bottom).
- works on all types of floors. You can change the vacuuming type using a floor switch
- thanks to the Zero-M technology, hairs won’t stick to the brushroll
- other accessories include an extension wand and a crevice tool.
- consumes only 500W, which is amazing, considering it’s suction power
- the rubberized handle feels perfect in your hand
- also comes with a wall mount for facile storage
- has 30 ft. of power cord
- powerful LED lights
- 5 years of warranty
What Features Should the Best Vacuum for small Apartments Have?
Different vacuum brands and models come with a variety of features and attachments, all geared towards making the devices more versatile and efficient. While not every feature or tool in a vacuum is useful, there are a few of them that are essential. Finding the most important ones for the cleaning requirements of your apartment can be challenging but you need not worry about it anymore. This detailed guide will help you sift through the many features to find out what the useful ones are. The right vac for your apartment should make your cleaning activities less tiring, effective and safe. It also needs to provide for easy storage given the scarcity of space. Because not every model you come across will have the attributes, look out for a vacuuming device that has the following qualities.
Decent Suction Power
A vacuum that struggles to pick up dirt can be a huge disappointment. You will pass its cleaning head over a surface but still end up with the vacuumed area not looking satisfactorily free of dirt. Look for a unit that sucks up dirt powerfully, including the dust and hairs stuck deep in carpets. Also, one that can handle your floor type. Most modern vacuum cleaners are made to pick up dirt superbly, with some manufacturers incorporating innovative technologies to provide a powerful airflow. They are not big-sized either which is an advantage for the small area of your apartment. Look for models that include a strong motor but are well insulated to reduce noise. If you’ve carpeted areas, you may need a vacuum that features a spinning brush roll to help the suction system remove dirt from high pile carpets. I would also advise that you prefer units that allow you control over the suction. The feature makes them more versatile to be used on different surfaces, from bare floors, carpets, to upholstery. You’re also able to increase or decrease suction based on the amount of dirt on the areas you intend to vacuum.
Because of the constrained spaces, your apartment’s vacuum cleaner needs to be small enough. You will want it to fit in small places during cleaning tasks as well as for storage. You also don’t want it to to be cumbersome to maneuver around obstacles or guide into tight spots. Many vacuums today are made to be small-sized without compromising on their ability to offer excellent cleaning. However, exercise caution when considering size. Not every small unit will have the capability to suck up dirt powerfully. Some are made for light jobs only and come equipped with equally light motors. Always look out for the value of suction power or the watt rating of the motor. The idea is to balance between the two: compactness and strength. Canister vacuums are a favorite compared to uprights since they’re more compact yet powerful. They also run quieter which is desirable for your small apartment.
You do not have to haul a ton of weight to clean a small area. The best vacuum for small apartments should be lightweight enough to allow you to guide them around the crowded places or tight spots. Because of the limited open spaces, you will often need to steer the vac around things most of the time which calls for a unit that’s not too heavy. Determine the weight that’s ideal for you and buy a cleaning machine that falls well within the range. You will have saved yourself from tiring vacuuming sessions and difficulty guiding the unit around.
How easy a vacuum is to maneuver matters a lot for the small space of an apartment. It means choosing a unit with a swivel head and easy-rolling wheels that can turn in all directions. Some brands come with powered wheels which helps to make moving the unit a lot easier. You will need all these features to clean the small spaces around your apartment or the areas under furniture and appliances. Many vacuums made today come with some of these capabilities. But then, you cannot assume that the model you choose has them. I would advise that you check first to confirm. Doing so would save you the headache of buying a vacuum that you will labor to move around objects.
Easy to Store
Some vacuums are made to be easy to store and would make a good choice for your apartment. An upright that stands on its own only needs a small space for storage, while a unit that comes with a wall mount won’t eat up valuable space in your apartment. However, the convenience for storage will depend on how congested your place is. I would advise that you go for a canister vacuum if you have some space to store it. Otherwise, an upright would be more desirable.
Large Dirt Holding Capacity
This depends on how much dust accumulates in your apartment every day. If its a high traffic area, a good choice would be to buy a vacuum that comes with adequate space to keep the dirt before emptying. Half a liter dustbin or more would be sufficient for most situations. You don’t want your vacuuming sessions interrupted now and then to slow you down. A large bin is especially desirable if you don’t clean your apartment daily and there’s a lot of dirt and debris to be picked up by the time you do it.
HEPA filters are the standard quality for vacuums. However, some vacuum manufactures will have their units come with filters that are not indicated as HEPA but which perform equally well or even better than HEPA. Aim for a filtration that assures you of efficient trapping of the tiniest particles. That should be more than 99.9% filtration that won’t let allergens escape the vacuum and pollute the air of your apartment. Some vacuums feature extra caution to ensure allergens remain in the unit’s dustbin such as adequate sealing to block all openings. The result is guaranteed trapping of allergens. Alternatively, you can opt for vacs that store vacuumed dirt in a bag. Even without the extra sealing to prevent the escape of dust and other allergens, these bagged vacuums assure you of a pollution free apartment. The sucked up dust remains in the bag until you discard it.
Other Factors to Consider
After looking at the major features that the best vacuum for small apartments ought to come with, let’s now see what other factors come into play during the selection. The factors mostly involve the situation of your place: the types of surfaces to be cleaned and the available space. Apart from these, you also have your cleaning habits and needs to take into consideration. The number of people living there, too, and how much dirt and debris is deposited on the surfaces over time. If you spend most of the time indoors, you need a vacuum that’s more reliable and efficient. You also need a unit that can be stored within reach since you will be needing its help more often. Before heading to a store or clicking to purchase a vacuum for your apartment ask yourself the following questions.
How Frequently Do I Clean?
Finding out the right number of times you clean your place can greatly help you select the most suitable unit. It can help you avoid purchasing a vacuum that does not suit your lifestyle or vacuuming habits. Start by determining how often you do your cleaning. Are you the once-in-a-week person or do you do it on a daily basis? Don’t feel embarrassed if you let dirt to accumulate for a few days before removing it. We have different commitments and priorities, and your situation may not be allowing you to carry out daily vacuuming chores. Besides, your apartment may not be getting dirty quickly as to warrant a daily cleanup. Aside from that, I would advise that you get a large upright with a strong suction power if you clean your apartment once a week. That’s because messes left uncleaned for long tend to stick to surfaces and require a powerful vacuum to remove. You also need a device that comes with a powered brush to agitate dirt and attachments that allow you to reach tight spots. If you do the cleaning every day, you do not need a powerful unit since not much dirt will have accumulated in between the vacuuming sessions. Make sure the one you buy is compact enough so you can store it where it’s easily retrievable.
Do I Have a Problem With Allergies?
This is a health consideration, and a crucial one. Small apartments tend to have the indoor air easily polluted when dust blows about. If you or any other person you live with is affected by allergens, the vacuum you buy should assure you of an allergen-free environment. HEPA offers excellent filtration. However, a vacuum with a HEPA filter is not entirely safe if it isn’t properly sealed. That’s because dust and other allergens will find their way out through tiny openings on the unit’s body. So a brand may boast of HEPA filtration, but their vacuums happen to be unsafe. Choose a manufacturer whose vacuums are adequately sealed in addition to having a quality filter. It prevents the escape of allergens for safer indoor air.
Better still, go for the bagged type of vacuums. These are the safest bet when it comes to protecting yourself from allergies. The bag holds in even the tiniest of particles preventing them from finding a way out until when you dispose of it. Emptying bagged vacuums is also safer compared to those that feature dustbins. You do not need to open anything, and the bag clicks shut during the time you remove it from the vacuuming unit. The only disadvantage with these vacuums is the expenses of replacing the bags. But given that it’s your health that’s at stake here, you must be prepared to bear any cost for the sake of an allergen-free home.
How Much Space Do I Have?
Apartments don’t have a lot of space compared to detached homes. However, that depends on the amount of furniture, appliances, and other items you have in there. Sometimes, the apartment can be so crammed as to leave little room for extra appliances such as a vacuum. The size of the cleaning device you buy will, therefore, depend on the space you have left in your apartment. Some vacuums can be too large and will sit there looking big and out of place, while others are small enough to be barely noticeable. The big units are most suitable for large homes due to their immense suction power and cleaning abilities. You do not need all that for your small living place, so go for the most compact yet versatile vacuum. Bigger units are also too heavy to move around and more expensive. Choose a small-sized vacuum that’s not too costly, and that can be conveniently tucked away in a corner for use at any time.
What Kind of Surfaces Do I Have?
Different surfaces require different cleaning abilities for a vacuum. A carpeted floor needs a powered brush roll to agitate the dirt that’s stuck deep in the fibers, while a hard but sensitive floor doesn’t need it. If the flooring of your apartment is both bare and carpet, go for a vacuum that allows you to switch the brush roll on and off. You can then have it on when cleaning the carpeted areas and off when vacuuming the delicate hard floor. Also, choose a unit that provides for the adjustment of the cleaning head’s height. Some vacuums come with various suction power settings or adjustments so you can set the cleaning head to vacuum based on the surface you’re using it on. A vacuum that comes with multi-floor tool allows you to clean multiple surfaces conveniently. You will only need a single cleaning head to vacuum the whole place. Small apartments also have more of hard-to-reach areas, so choose a device that attaches to a variety of tools to vacuum those spots.
What’s the Vacuum’s Noise Level?
This is one of the most crucial considerations when looking for the best vacuum for small apartments. Because you have neighbors close by, a noisy unit wouldn’t be suitable. Go for a machine that emits not more than 65dB. That would be low enough to allow you to clean your place at any time without disturbing the neighbors. Generally, the design, size, and suction power of a vacuum determine how much noise it produces. Bigger units with powerful motors are mostly noisier compared to the smaller and less powerful ones. In this regard, robotic vacs emit the lowest noise but are much less powerful. If you’re torn between an upright and a canister, I would definitely prefer that you choose a canister over an upright. With the motor being close to the ground, canisters are comparably quieter. Bagged vacuums should also top your list as far as noise is concerned. The technologies used to enhance their air filtration results in better acoustics and lower dB levels. Bagless types, in addition to being unsafe health-wise, are noisier and not the best choice for apartments.
Some companies today have discovered technologies that help to make vacuum cleaners that are less noisy despite them having a decent cleaning power. They combine excellent insulation and innovative airflow technologies to muffle the sound produced by the unit. It results in a quieter operation without sacrificing on suction power. You may want to go for those, and avoid getting into trouble with the people who live next to you. Some vacuums even allow you to use them at night, emitting as low as 50dB. As a precaution, you may want to turn on the machine at the store before deciding if the noise coming out of it is tolerable enough for your situation. Many vacuum stores will allow you this, but it’s always good to ask first. By listening to the dB levels of the unit, you would be sure that what you buy is the best to use in your apartment.
What are the Maintenance Requirements?
A vacuum’s filters, dustbin, and brush roll need to be maintained, either by replacing or washing them. Bagged vacs require you to buy a new bag after every month or two, while a bagless unit needs frequent washing of the bin. Bagged types offer better filtration, plus they relieve you of the hard work of having to clean the dustbin every time you empty it. Some brands offer vacuums that feature a way to remove hair tangles or wraps from the brush. If you’re the kind of person who is always pressed for time, these low-maintenance cleaning heads are the best for you. You won’t need to get down with a pair of scissors to cut the hairs yourself. There are also other parts that need to be taken care of and replaced if damaged such as belts and others. Go for brands that are known for durability unless you want a unit that will take up much of your time and cost a lot to maintain.
How Many attachments Will the Vacuum Need?
Attachments are supposed to make a vacuum more versatile and to improve its efficiency. Despite this, not all attachments are worth the hassle. Most of them are not of any help and only add to the costs. If you opt for canister vacuum, choose one that comes with a powered cleaning head rather than one that depends only on suction. It will be more powerful and able to clean a variety of floors including carpets. Units that feature combination cleaning heads are better than those that require you to put an array of nozzles for different surfaces. Multi-surface heads save you the need to buy many add-ons.
What Length is the Warranty?
Most vacuum manufacturers offer a 1-year warranty. A few of them back their products with five-year warranties that cover certain vacuum parts. Logically, an extended warrant hints at the confidence the company offering it has regarding the durability of the product. However, that doesn’t mean that vacuuming units backed by one-year warranties are all inferior. The length is the preference of the manufacturer and is not always a direct measure of a product’s lifespan. That means you shouldn’t shun cleaning devices based on warranty length. On the other hand, I would advise that you take advantage of the lengthy ones without hesitation. Besides, you will feel more protected if you are guaranteed of compensation of repair for your vac for more that a year.
Uprights Vs. Canister
Deciding between the two can be difficult if you live in an apartment. You may feel overwhelmed by the differences in features, dimensions, and cleaning abilities. However, a closer look at each type can help you choose the one suitable for your situation. Canisters don’t need much storage space, are easier to use, and can reach tight places with ease. Uprights also perform well, with accessories to extend cleaning abilities and a swivel head for excellent maneuverability. They’re also larger and hold more dirt. Considering the need for a compact unit to clean your small apartment, a canister vacuum would be more suitable than an upright. It’s small enough to store when space is limited, cleans superbly, and has a good reach. Concerning the large dirt storage space of uprights, I would find it unnecessary for a small apartment.
Corded Vs. Cordless
Cordless vacuums have the advantage of portability and allow you to clean hard-to-reach places and surfaces. However, they’re not as powerful as the corded types and cannot be relied on for heavy-duty vacuuming. The better option for your small apartment would be a corded vacuum. This one allows for the cleaning of stubborn stains as well as the dirt in high-pile carpet fibers. Unless your apartment is all bare floor and you don’t have a lot of upholsteries to clean ( and which is unlikely), I would advise that you choose a corded unit that has adjustable power options as well and a powered brush roll. Depending on how big your place is, choose a unit with a power cable of adequate length. I would find it odd if my corded vacuum required me to change power outlets during vacuuming activities. There are many models to choose from that come equipped with cable lengths of more than 20 feet.
There are various other factors to consider when looking for the best vacuum for small apartments. They’re minor, but still worth taking into account. Despite their apparent small importance, they can help to make your cleaning activities less gloomy and even easier. They include features such as a full bin indicator. This feature signals a dirt chamber that needs to be emptied and ensures your vac operates optimally without a reduction in suction power or filtration efficiency. Some bagless units come with clear dustbins that allow you to check the accumulation of dirt and empty it on time. While still on the issue if dustbins, choose a model that provides for easy removal of the dust compartment as well as a safe emptying mechanism. You can always ask to be allowed to open the bin at the store to see if it’s hard work before deciding to purchase the vacuum.
Another minor feature but one that would come across as helpful is the presence of headlights. These allow you to see underneath furniture and appliances so you can direct the cleaning head to where it’s needed the most. Considering that we are talking about a small living place, this feature would be essential in the unit you buy. That’s because it’s likely that the place is cluttered with furniture, books, and other items to create many dimly lit areas. Headlights would allow you to vacuum these dark places with ease.
Look for a vacuum that features a retractable power cable, too. While many models come equipped with this feature, you cannot assume that the one you are considering to buy has it. Check first to be sure before committing to make the purchase. A retractable cord allows you to easily rewind it for easier storage of the vacuum. It also provides for convenient cleaning since you can unwind and rewind the cable whenever you need to and at the touch of a foot button.
To Sum It Up
I believe that you’re now adequately equipped with information to choose the best vacuum for small apartments. That you can now avoid shopping blindly and opting for just any model that features a sleek design and fancy colors. The beauty of buying an appliance is in knowing what to look for and what your needs are. Informed, you’re more likely to end up with the right product in your possession. That’s what I believe this detailed guide will help you achieve. By taking into account all the consideration we’ve discussed here, you’re bound to make the wisest of decisions for the cleaning needs of your apartment. You can even choose your vacuum cleaner from the list I have provided here. I carefully selected the vacs based on the situation presented by a small apartment. That’s space, the proximity of neighbors and a variety of other factors. Your vacuum cleaner is a valuable investment, and you cannot afford to buy the wrong unit. However, if you feel I’ve missed something, please let me know using the comments form.
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I’m Jason Moe Roberts, an appliances expert and blogger. I’ve worked at Walmart for more than 15 years, in the house appliance department. I love to use home equipment and I spend a lot of time testing the best products and reviewing them. My family and friends also recommend me as a caring person, a great dad and a loving husband.