Apartments can help you save on a lot of costs for those who choose to live in cities, but they also pose unique problems when it comes to cleaning floors and pulling hairs from crevices and upholstery. The larger canisters, big bins, and unwieldy design of many modern vacuums designed for bigger homes and multi-story layouts are almost completely ineffective in a small apartment or flat. With many inner-city apartments running well under 1,000 square feet, owning a vacuum that can pull double or triple duty without taking up much space at all becomes far more important than big batteries or longer cords and suction power.
For those who need to find the right model for their smaller space, we’ve assembled a list of our top four picks for the best vacuum cleaner for an apartment. These vacuums will pick up after pets, pull debris from both hardwood floors and carpet, and most importantly, come with a small enough footprint to keep in a place with limited space. Then we’ll offer a brief Buyer’s Guide that goes into some of the most important features and products you need to look out for if you need to keep your apartment looking good.
Shark upright vacuums are some of the most convenient options for any size home—and luckily, their compact upright/stick hybrid is a powerful tool to have in any size apartment.
The brush roll itself packs quite a punch, and with the easy-to-access on/off switch at the top of the device, you’ll be able to move between carpets, rugs, and hardwood without skipping a beat. The bin size and 25-foot cord make the line between stick and upright blurry, but with storage as simple as hanging onto the included wall mount, we don’t mind either way.
Despite the name, however, this vacuum is a good bit heavier than the other options on our list, and while it can easily convert into a handheld vacuum cleaner, the weight will continue to be an issue. The Home & Car Detail Kit is good for corners and convertibles, but when it comes to upholstery, you’ll repeat going over that pesky pet hair more often than you might have been hoping for.
Still, we think that the Shark Rocket Ultra-right is the go-to solution for most apartment cleaning needs, which makes this product our HowtoHome Pick for apartment vacuum cleaners.
14 min Battery | Bagless | Filtration | 3.9 lbs | 1ft Hose | X Brush Roll
Fans of a handheld option and hoses are going to love the Bissell Multi Cordless 1985 for its easy maneuverability and strong suction power in such a small package. Studio apartment owners and hardwood only spaces are going to get the most functionality out of this one, but if you have lots of carpets to clean, this might not be the best option.
- Convenient extension hose great for versatility
- Accessories perfect for most cleaning solutions
- Great for cars and studio apartments
- Little-to-no floor cleaning ability
- The smaller chambers and bin easily clog
- Below average quality control
- Lightweight, ergonomic design
- Built-in extension hose
- Attachments: Motorized brush roll, extension wand, crevice tool, dusting brush
- Warranty: 2-year Limited
Not every apartment is going to need a powerful brush roll or floor-focused vacuum to pick up most of the mess. For smaller apartments that require little cleaning capacity, this Bissell handheld will take care of pretty much everything.
The Bissell Lightweight Cordless 1985 is a cordless handheld vacuum cleaner that features an ergonomic design. Weighing in just under 4 pounds, it is also our lightest vacuum and shouldn't pose much of an issue in comfort during the 14-minutes the battery will run.
The built-in extension hose aids greatly in getting into tighter spaces, and with a powerful motorized brush roll attached, you won’t need to worry much about pet hair after you’ve taken the Bissell to it.
As with many handheld vacuum cleaners, the smaller size means more frequent emptying of the bin and clearing out of clogs. There are also many reports of quality control issues, but with a 2-year limited warranty, doing a once-over of the product before use should take care of the issue soundly. It’s not the cheapest handheld vacuum cleaner in the market, but with a host of features and more than enough battery life for most apartments, it might just be the most powerful.
15-20 min Battery | Bagless | Foam Filtration | 7.3 lbs | X Hose | ✓ Brush Roll
Hardwood-only apartment owners will rejoice at the simple and effective Hoover Linx Cordless Stick. This product comes with lots of maneuverability and even a fuel gauge to keep you on track while you tackle corners and get underneath furniture. You might need to employ a second handheld vacuum to pick up hairs and debris on upholstery, but otherwise this is a simple and effective solution to any hardwood cleaning problems.
- Perfect for hardwood floors
- Low profile helps in getting underneath furniture
- Small footprint
- Easy waste disposal
- No hoses, attachments, or brush rolls
- Ineffective for carpet or upholstery
- Can struggle on thick pet hair
- WindTunnel technology for powerful suction
- Low profile and extreme recline handle
- Attachments: N/A
- Warranty: 2-year limited
The Hoover Linx BH50010 vacuum is a hardwood vacuum cleaner and little else. WindTunnel technology and a small but powerful motor means that hardwood floor cleaning is a breeze. The lack of brush roll also makes it good for more sensitive floors, as the spinning bristles on motorized brush rolls can quickly degrade the quality of flooring.
There are no attachments, hoses, rolls, tools, or wands to be seen on the Linx, but it is incredible at its singular purpose of cleaning hardwood floors. Aside from a few clogging issues on pet hair and mediocre performance on carpets (from the lack of brush roll), there’s not much to complain with this stick vacuum. What it does, it accomplishes exceedingly well, and for buyers who want clean hardwood floors and nothing else, look no further.
16ft cord | Bagless | Filtration | 3.8 lbs | X Hose | X Brush Roll
Coming in at about the cost of a nice dinner, the Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik isn’t going to clean thoroughly so much as it’s going to save you money. Still, the performance of this handheld/stick hybrid might cause people to be somewhat impressed by the price tag, as it remains adequately versatile to handle hardwood floors, crevices, and even low-pile carpet.
- Easy transition from stick to hybrid vacuum
- Effective on pet hair
- No brush roll or real attachments
- Small bin capacity
- Filter needs fairly consistent attention
- Easy-off detachable hand vacuum
- Multi-surface cleaning
- Attachments: On-board crevice tool
- Warranty: 2-year limited
Much like how the Hoover Linx makes no apologies for its niche design and functionality, the Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik was designed with one clear goal in mind: rock-bottom cost.
This Dirt Devil upright/stick hybrid isn’t much to look at, but for the price, you might be surprised at just how much this vacuum can pick up. It is great at hardwood floors, can manage itself on low-pile carpeting, and doesn’t skip a beat when picking up pet hair on either surface.
The lack of attachments can actually work in the favor of the Simpli-Stik. You’re offered an on-board crevice tool for use in handheld mode, which works nicely for windowsills, behind appliances, and in corners. The detachable hand vacuum ability itself is also one of the major selling points for the Simpli-Stik. Instead of sticking with one or the other, the Simpli-Stik offers the best of both worlds with a long, handy 16-foot cord. You might be replugging every two rooms or so, but studio apartments and dormitories need not worry.
There’s no way we couldn’t name the Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik our Budget Choice, but it’s far more powerful than the name implies. If you need to save on money and need a powerful vacuum for the apartment or dorm, this product just might surprise you.
Before you head out to buy a vacuum, consider the following to make sure you’re getting the best vacuum for your place:
Footprint & Square Footage
Size is crucial for the apartment vacuum. Bear in mind the size of your place and implement some constructive minimalism to make sure you’ve got the vacuum that’s the right size for you.
While you might own a condo or have enough roommates to warrant a bigger space, most apartment owners are going to prefer a vacuum that doesn’t fill up most of their singular utility closets. This is why each vacuum on our list is either a smaller upright, stick, or handheld vacuum cleaner. While canister vacuums and bigger uprights could provide more power, they’re far less cost-effective and space considerate to be called the best product for any size apartment.
Corded versus Cordless
Cordless vacuums can have a somewhat ambivalent public perception, as low battery times and long waits between uses can be a real drag during long cleaning sessions.
Since most apartments are only a few rooms at most, however, going cordless might be a viable solution. While the vacuums on our list that use cords are long enough for decent-sized spaces, making the jump to a cordless product might be right for you.
Take some time to think about your specific apartment. How many of the rooms are carpeted? How many use hard flooring? Are their lots of window sills and crevices to clean? Will pets be in the apartment? As our list will show, different vacuum models will be better for each particular cleaning scenario. The smallest one bedroom and studio apartments, for example, might not make full use of a motorized brush roll, so that feature could easily be skipped for something like handheld functionality or a cordless product. In any case, the feature set of any of these vacuums is something that needs to be considered.
While we’re major proponents of the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light for the best all-around solution to apartment cleaning, we also know that not everyone is going to need an all-around product.
If your apartment is all hardwood and you don’t have any pets, we would put the Hoover Linx at the top of your list. Pet owners will appreciate the Bissell Lightweight for their couches and the Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik for their floors, while anyone who’s looking for a budget vacuum that can get the job done should stick with the Dirt Devil.
In any case, each of these four vacuums will keep your apartment looking great for visitors, roommates, and unexpected repairs and inspections. Provided you’ve taken the time to look through our Buyer’s Guide and top recommendations, you should be enjoying your freshly-cleaned apartment in no time.