Vacuum Cleaner Ratings At Explained

Vacuum cleaner ratings on are presented in short descriptions and with star ratings. This article explains how and what we test with each vacuum cleaner and what you should look for when choosing the right vacuum for your needs.

Every vacuum that we test here at gets rated and reviewed extensively.

We test and rate each vacuum in 4 categories:

1. Performance

2. Ease Of Use

3. Maintenance

4. Value For Money

Each of these categories is then rated with stars (1-5) and we calcuate the overall vacuum cleaner rating by placing slightly more weight on the performance, ease of use and value for money and slightly less on maintenance.

Let's look at each category and how we rate each one accordingly.

1. Performance Ratings

There are several situations where we test each vacuum cleaner and this is how we rate them:

Suction Power

Vacuum Cleaner Ratings - Dirt Devil Breeze M082500 Canister SuctionWe measure suction according to inches of waterlift. This measures the “pull power” that a vacuum generates.

More pull equals more dust that can get sucked up out of deep within the carpet fibers. Suction is crucial to the performance of a vacuum.

For homes with thick, long pile carpeting, you need a powerful vacuum. If you only have short pile carpets and hard flooring, high suction power isn’t as crucial.

Poor – Under 75 inches of water lift.
Medium – Between 75 and 85 inches of water lift.
Powerful – Over 85 inches of water.

Performance on Carpets

Poor – It doesn’t clean a carpet effectively.
Good – The vacuum cleans carpets effectively, but it isn’t perfect for every situation.
Excellent – No matter what needs cleaning, this vacuum will do an excellent job on carpeting.

Performance on Hard Floors

Poor – The vacuum won’t suck up small or large particles effectively on a hard surface.
Good – It cleans effectively, but doesn’t get every piece of debris in one pass.
Excellent – Dirt, dust and debris stand no chance with this great vacuum cleaner.

Performance on Rugs

Poor – It doesn’t clean up the rug nicely, and it would still be dirty after you went over the entire rug.
Good – The rug will be clean, but not spotless.
Excellent – Rugs will be cleaned up completely by the vacuum cleaner without any extra effort.

Performance with Pet Hair

Poor – Even after a few passes, pet hair still clings to the floor or carpet.
Good – Most of the pet hair is removed with a few passes.
Excellent – All pet hair is cleaned off the floor with minimal effort.


Vacuum Cleaner Ratings - Miele Olympus S2120 FiltrationFiltration is a key component of our vacuum cleaner ratings. We use an Airborne Laser Particle Scanner to detect any dust 0.3 microns or larger coming out of a vacuums filtration system.

Poor – Way too much debris comes out of the vacuum, and the vacuum makes the air quality in the home worse instead of better.
Good – Our scanner detects more debris coming out of the filter, but it doesn’t smell or cause additional cleaning problems.
Excellent – No dust 0.3 microns in size or larger is detected coming out of the filtration system by our particle scanner.

If you have allergies to dust, pollen, or pet dander, you should have a vacuum cleaner that has an excellent filtration system.

2. Ease Of Use Ratings

There are four areas where we determine how easy is the vacuum cleaner to use:


How much does the machine weigh?

Heavy – 20 pounds or more.
Medium – Between 15-19 pounds.
Lightweight – Anything less than 15 pounds.


Black and Decker Pivot Vac-Noise DecibelsWe use a decibel reader to determine the noise level of each vacuum.

Quiet – 70 or under. You can have a conversation while you are vacuuming at this noise level.
Moderate – 70 to 85 decibel. You will have to talk quite loud to be heard at this level.
High – 85 decibels or higher. You have to shout to be heard at 85 decibels or above.


Poor – The vacuum cleaner is heavy, hard to move, and doesn’t get into tight spaces easily.
Good – The vacuum moves around on the floor nicely, but doesn’t get into every tight spot.
Excellent – It moves around the floor with the grace of a professional figure skater.

Stair Cleaning

Poor – It is difficult and awkward to clean stairs with this machine.
Good – The vacuum can clean stairs effectively, but it won’t be perfect at it.
Excellent – No matter if you have carpet on your stairs, or hard flooring on your stairs, they will be easy to clean with this vacuum.

3. Maintenance Ratings

We rate maintenance according to how easy or difficult it is to clean and maintain the vacuum effectively. If it is messy to empty out the dust bin, remove the vacuum bag, or clean the filters, we rate it poorly. If it is easy to operate these tasks, and you don’t have to do it often, we rate it high.

4. Value For Money Rating

No vacuum is perfect, but some vacuums can do more for less money. If you buy a vacuum for under $100, but it does a good job cleaning in a variety of situations, it will be rated highly.

If a vacuum is pricey, and it doesn’t do any better than a less expensive model, it receives a poor rating.

Price – Check for vacuum cleaners in the following price ranges:
– Under $100,
– $100-$200,
– $200-$300,
– $300-$400,
– $400-$500,
– Over $500.

After the vacuum has been tested, we put all of our scores into the vacuum cleaner comparison tool. Use it to help you choose the best vacuum for your own personal parameters.