Keeping allergens and debris out of the home can be an ongoing ordeal. Between the traffic of various family members, friends, and guests coming in and out and the shedding season for your furry pet, dandruff and irritants can seem like permanent fixtures in your home.
Those who want to keep up the fight against these allergy triggers need a vacuum cleaner that can confidently trap debris. Vacuum cleaners specially tailored for those with allergies have a special focus on full-machine micron filtration, powerful agitation, suction, and hygienic waste disposal. It can be a tall order to find a vacuum like this, however, in the hundreds of products available today; luckily, this article offers a few needles in this haystack that are worth your time and attention.
We’ll highlight the best hypoallergenic vacuum cleaners for those with allergies or sensitivities to the dust and dandruff around the home. We’ll also go over specific terminology and what you need to know before you commit to buying one of these vacuums, as well as tips for picking the right vacuum for your home.
Canister | 18 ft cord | Bagged | HEPA Filtration | 18.7 lbs | 7 ft Hose | ✓ Brush Roll (on/off)
Miele offers a total home cleaning solution with the Compact C2, which boasts full HEPA filtration along with Miele’s own AirClean Sealed System. This bagged canister is perhaps the best way to clean your carpets, upholstery, and staircases, but the high cost and bulky design can be off-putting to some.
- Bagged design and excellent filtration keeps out most (if not all) allergens
- Powerful suction and lots of attachments help you pick up debris wherever it may be
- Variable suction settings allow you to be gentle on upholstery and curtains
- High quality and very varied attachments
- High cost can be off-putting to some
- Canister is quite large and heavy, and takes quite a bit of effort to carry up stairs
- Bagged design means recurring operation costs
- 6-stage variable speed motor
- Electrobrush for intensive deep cleaning
- Attachments: Soft parquet brush, hard floor nozzle, Electro plus floorhead, dusting brush, upholstery tool, crevice nozzle
- Warranty: 1-year Limited, 7-year Body & Motor Warranty
Miele vacuum cleaners are some of the very best in the market and boast powerful filtration, excellent build quality, and variable speed motors to clean homes precisely and fully. Their flagship model, the Compact C2 Electro+ SDCE0, is one of the very best options available for sensitive noses.
The Miele Compact C2 Electro+ SDCE0 includes the important HEPA filtration tag, which comes from their full-machine filtration. When you consider their bagged design, it’s no wonder that this vacuum performs leaps and bounds ahead of the competition for microbe removal. Aside from filtration, Miele vacuum cleaners also offer variable suction and lots of attachments that can keep cleaning simple and easy. The powerful and adjustable bush roll makes quick work of carpet, while the hardwood flooring can be easily managed with the included soft parquet brush.
Overall, the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ SDCE0 is a formidable vacuum cleaner that offers not only the best overall filtration but the most comprehensive features and control. It doesn’t come cheap, but provided it fits your budget, we think you’ll be more than happy with the investment.
Upright | 35 ft cord | Bagged | HEPA Filtration | 20 lbs | 4 ft Hose | ✓ Brush Roll (on/off)
Equipped with a HEPA filter and using a bagged design to completely seal off allergies, the Kenmore Elite Pet & Allergy lives up to its name and provides comprehensive options for pet owners. It’s larger and bulkier than most bagged uprights, but provided you don’t mind the extra arm workout, this product comes with enough features to convince anyone to step away from bagless products.
- Great filtration combined with a powerful brush roll makes this product perfect for pet hair
- Powerful suction traps debris on most surfaces
- Long cord and hose mean less time spent trying to find a nearby outlet
- Bagged design can be unappealing for some who dislike the recurring costs
- Shorter hose will limit above-ground cleaning to stairs and average furniture
- Bulky and heavy design is cumbersome to maneuver around corners and lift up stairwells
- LED lights for debris detection
- Fully hypoallergenic and full HEPA filtration
- Attachments: Telescoping wand, dusting brush, crevice tool, Pet HandiMate tool
- Warranty: 1-year Limited
The Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly 31150 lives up to its name and offers full-grade HEPA filtration alongside a variable brush roll that can be raised, lowered, and controlled in a variety of ways. The included hose also provides for above-ground cleaning and debris removal from where pets may have left dandruff behind.
This Kenmore appliance will certainly draw attention to itself, as it is one of the larger and bulkier vacuums on our list. This is deliberate, though, as Kenmore has pulled out all of the stops to make sure this vacuum can outperform other products in its class. This is partially why it also scored high on our Best Kenmore Vacuum Cleaners article.
Overall, we recommend the Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly 31150 vacuum for those who know they prefer an upright with a heavy focus of bagged operation and a powerful brush roll.
Upright | 35 ft Cord | Bagless | HEPA Filtration | 17.35 lbs | 15 ft Hose | ✓ Brush Roll (on/off)
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 surpasses the expectations set by its predecessor and might be the most effective Dyson product to date. This bagless upright isn’t going to win awards for hardwood performance, but if shaggy carpets irritate your sinuses, the included brush roll and turbine tool have you covered.
- Included motorized attachment is great for pet hair
- Easily maneuverable due to the ball design
- Excellent build quality and airtight HEPA filtration
- Can be quite expensive when compared to other bagless uprights
- Can be heavy and difficult to carry upstairs
- No dedicated hardwood tool means some debris will be left on bare flooring
- Self-adjusting cleaner head eliminates need to stop and change height
- Hygienic bin empty design makes it sanitary to get rid of picked up debris
- Attachments: Stair tool, combination tool, tangle-free turbine tool
- Warranty: 5-year Limited
Dyson has garnered a bit of a fractured reputation over the years for a focus on aesthetic design over quality products. However, their Animal 2 variant of the ever-popular Dyson Ball shows that the company can still create compelling products with their trademark long-lasting suction. Advanced filtration and sturdier accessories make for a product that can pick up debris and ensure that it doesn’t get back into the air. The self-adjusting cleaner head also means that you won’t need to fiddle with height settings to clean your floors.
While we would have appreciated a soft roller head for bare floors like on the Dyson V8, we still appreciate the easily maneuverable design and motorized attachment for staircases and couches. The cost of this Dyson is high, and the weight can make climbing stairs a chore, but when you consider the build quality and excellent warranty included with a Dyson vacuum, the pros definitely outweigh these cons.
If you’re a Dyson fan or need a bagless vacuum cleaner that’s got the best suction possible, then this Dyson product needs to be at the top of your list.
Upright | 30 ft Cord | Bagless | HEPA Filtration | 13.7 lbs | 5 ft Hose | ✓ Brush Roll (on/off)
This bagless upright from Shark might be the most affordable allergy-friendly vacuum on our list, but it certainly holds its own with patented Lift-Away technology and lightweight design. Easy on the arms as well as the wallet, this Shark vacuum may not have the dedicated motorized attachments, but it certainly has your floors covered.
- Lift-Away technology makes it easy to pick up debris in hard-to-reach places like staircases and corners
- HEPA filtration is powerful and more than counteracts the bagless design
- Hardwood attachment makes bare floor cleaning hygienic and easy
- Using the Lift-Away technology will require some work and possibly expose you to allergens
- Smaller design means more trips to the trash can
- Top heavy design can tip over easily
- Lift-Away technology allows for easy cleaning of above-ground surfaces
- Hard Floor Hero tool picks up surface debris for superior hardwood cleaning
- Attachments: Pet power brush, dusting brush, crevice tool
- Warranty: 1-year Limited
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional is perhaps more unassuming than some of the other products on our list. Without large bagged filtration, this budget-friendly Shark model might be easy to overlook, but the quality technology makes it a contender in this category.
Aside from the full-machine HEPA filtration, the included hardwood attachment makes it easy to deep clean bare floors of any design. The Lift-Away technology is also unique to Shark and allows consumers to clean anything from attics to crawlspaces and any other place in between. While the short and stout design is top-heavy and won’t hold much debris, you can still expect powerful agitation from the brush roll when you need it and raw suction when you don’t. The included pet power brush is also handy for deep cleaning upholstery and couches. In short, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away is a low-cost but formidable alternative to some of the other products on our list.
Allergy-focused vacuum cleaners, as you could probably tell, encompass a wide variety of different products. While many of these vacuums have similar attributes, they each approach a hypoallergenic design differently. To better express what these qualities are, we’ve broken down what you need to know about the key characteristics for best vacuums for allergy sufferers.
We’ve made a lot of fuss about HEPA filtration in this article, but what does it mean for sensitive noses? HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air and covers a wide swath of filters, vacuums, and other home appliances. HEPA certification is awarded by the HEPA company, which runs preliminary tests that manufacturers must pass to carry the HEPA name.
This designation is important because HEPA filters must pull 99.97% of microns greater than a certain size out of the air in order to qualify for the label. This deep filtration is very effective on the allergens that hang in the air and cause you to sneeze, sniffle, and drip.
HEPA filtration is powerful, but it isn’t the apex of what can be accomplished. Each of our four vacuum picks carries the HEPA name, but many of them also have their proprietary filtration that may or may not surpass HEPA standards. We’ve noted them when appropriate, but be sure to do your research on any vacuum to see just how thorough their filtering system is.
Going for a Bag?
While two of our vacuum cleaner picks are bagless by design, the other two still use the classic bagged system of debris disposal. So what’s the difference?
As outlined by our Bagged vs. Bagless article, bagged vacuums generally do a better job of removing allergens from the air supply and making their disposal as sanitary as possible. This is due to the closed system that never requires you to make contact with the debris in question.
With bagless vacuums, there is always a need to empty the bin and expose the particles to open air, which means there is added risk that the particles you just captured could escape. Many bagless vacuum cleaners are aware of the perceived detriment, however, and include various ways to get around this problem. Dyson, for example, employs hygienic dust ejection that allows users to push out debris and replace the bin without ever contacting the waste.
Pets, Allergies, and You
You may have already noticed that many of our allergy-friendly vacuum picks are also highly recommended for pet owners. This is because pet-focused vacuum cleaners and allergy-friendly vacuum cleaners share the same common interest.
As pet-centric vacuum cleaners, many manufacturers aim to make vacuums that can remove pet hair and dandruff from a home. This results in a vacuum that’s generally quite powerful at hair removal and dandruff cleaning, a power that allergy sufferers also seek in their vacuums.
While filtration is the primary focus of an allergy-focused vacuum cleaner, it’s also not the only aspect on which to focus. Everything from brush rolls to upholstery tools to everything in between need to be considered for you to be able to pull debris and dirt from just about anywhere it may hide.
If you’re looking for an all-around, premium solution to allergens that remains focused on bagged debris removal, you can’t get much better than the Miele Compact C2 Electro+. Bagged filtration won’t be for everyone, though, so if you need the power of an allergen-focused vacuum cleaner without the bags, then either the Animal Ball 2 or the Kenmore Elite Pet & Allergy may be more up to snuff. For a more budget-friendly way to ward off hay fever, we strongly recommend the Shark Navigator Professional.
Regardless of which vacuum you choose, make sure to consider whether or not bagged filtration is right for you as well as whether the types of surfaces you need to clean can be tackled by your selected model. Taking the time to do your research and consider your home’s needs will help you enjoy your home and breathe easy.