The 7 best vacuum cleaners for people with indoor allergies, according to allergists
Find a vacuum cleaner that is easy for you to use, suitable for your space and comes with a HEPA filter.
Unlike seasonal allergies, indoor allergies don’t have an off-season. It can be a constant battle between your immune system and dust, mold, and pet hair hanging around your home.
If you suspect you have an indoor allergy, an allergist can help you identify and treat your symptoms. Allergies can often be treated with natural remedies or medications if necessary. And a simple household chore, such as a thorough cleaning using the best allergy vacuum cleaner, can be a start to reducing symptoms.
“It helps remove allergens like dust mites, mold, animal dander from carpets, rugs, and upholstery,” says Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist at Allergy & Asthma Network. “If your allergies and asthma are better controlled, there is also less need for medication.”
The best vacuum cleaners for indoor allergies
We spoke to allergists who explained what can cause indoor allergies and how vacuuming can improve symptoms and indoor air quality. They shared what to look for when buying a vacuum cleaner. Based on their expertise, our selection criteria include:
Easy to clean
Use on different surfaces
1. Best Overall: Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Powerful suction suitable for all floors
Includes stair tools and special room combination tools
Washable lifelong filter
No matter how tough the cleaning task, the Dyson Ball Animal 2 is up to the challenge. The vacuum cleaner is equipped to thoroughly clean carpets and catch dust, hair, dirt and other allergens that are hard to reach.
Navigating between furniture is no problem with the Ball technology that allows the vacuum cleaner to rotate easily. The Dyson Ball Animal 2 has a self-adjusting suction head that automatically changes the suction power depending on the surface. And cleaning this device is easy: with just one click you remove the dirt and continue with a thorough cleaning.
Aim to clean the vacuum brushes after every use and empty the vacuum canister after every few uses to keep dirt and bacteria from building up, says Dr. Parikh.
2. Best Price: Shark NV105 Navigator Light Upright Vacuum
Large capacity dust container
A high-quality vacuum cleaner without a high cost is a win-win situation for your cleaning efforts. The Shark NV105 Navigator is a lightweight bagless vacuum cleaner that can clean multiple surfaces. With a detachable tube and hose to reach windows and ceilings, you can get rid of the dust that builds up and triggers your allergies.
An advantage of this vacuum cleaner is its compact size, which makes storage a piece of cake without taking up too much space in your home.
3. Best for Pet Hair: BISSELL 2998 MultiClean Allergen Lift-Off
Specially designed for pets
Easy to empty
We love our furry friends but don’t have their hair all over the house so much. It is especially necessary to clean up their molt if you are allergic to animal hair or dander. The BISSELL 2998 is specially designed to vacuum pet hair on various surfaces in the home.
The detachable Lift-Off pod allows for portable cleaning and a tangle-free brush roll to prevent hair from wrapping around the brush. Equipped with a HEPA Sealed Allergen System, you can rest assured that this vacuum cleaner captures 99.7 percent of dust and allergens.
4. Best for Dust Mites: Hoover WindTunnel 3 Max
Good for pets
Versatile on surfaces
Can be heavy (18 lbs.)
The Hoover WindTunnel 3 Max is a powerful vacuum cleaner with three suction channels to pick up all the dust and dirt that could hide in carpets and floors. Although this vacuum cleaner is not wireless, you still have enough room to move with a cord length of 9 meters. And if that’s not enough for you, reach further with a longer reach of 4.5 meters. Also included are special tools to clean furniture and stairs, plus a reusable filter for long-term use.
Dust mites are a common cause of allergic reactions, according to Andrew Dang, MD, an allergist for Premier Allergy and Asthma based in Ohio. Cleaning and vacuuming a living space can improve allergies and other respiratory conditions such as asthma.
“This helps with better breathing through the sinuses and lungs, better control of asthma, and therefore fewer asthma attacks,” says Dr. Dang.
5. Best HEPA Filter: Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away Upright Vacuum
Advanced swing control
The filter in a vacuum can make or break its effectiveness. A HEPA filter is the most effective and stands for “high efficiency particulate air,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This type of air filter can remove up to 99.97 percent of airborne particles such as dust, pollen, mold and bacteria, similar to air purifiers.
The Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away upright vacuum cleaner features an anti-allergenic HEPA filter that traps dust and other allergens in the vacuum cleaner.
Pay attention to the type of filter (whether bagged or bagless) if you have indoor allergens, Dr. Parikh says. “If you’re bagless, you’ll need to change the HEPA filter more often than bagless,” says Dr. Parikh. “This can expose you to allergens and trigger an allergy or asthma attack, so you may want to ask a family member to help or wear a mask or gloves when changing them.”
6. Best for Carpet: Shark IZ462H Vertex Ultra Lightweight Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
Cleaning your carpets can be extra tricky if the dirt and debris are trapped in carpet fibers. The Shark IZ462H Vertex gives even the toughest allergens some competition with its deep-cleaning nozzle that digs deep into carpets.
What’s even better is its ultra-light and cordless design, giving you a fully powered vacuum cleaner without the heavy equipment. For an even more portable experience, try the detachable handheld vacuum cleaner to clean all the crevices of your home. If you notice a musty smell or mold in your carpet, you may need a dehumidifier to remove moisture.
Buy it: Amazon ($249.99)
7. Best for Hardwoods: Shark NV352 Navigator Lift Away Upright Vacuum
Brush roller shut-off function
Parquet floors must be cleaned and cared for with precision and care to prevent damage. That’s where the Shark NV352 Navigator Lift Away comes in handy. Made for gentle cleaning and powerful suction on floors, the vacuum cleaner can handle the transition between surfaces and tackle the allergens in your home.
Once you’re ready to go from carpet to bare floor cleaning, switch off the brush roll with one click for a quick and easy switch.
What to watch out for in a vacuum
The right vacuum cleaner for you will depend somewhat on where you will be using it, along with personal preferences. But experts agree that you can expect positive changes once you’ve cleaned up your space, especially if you live with respiratory conditions like asthma.
“People don’t realize that allergies and asthma are as much an external medical problem as they are internal,” says Dr. Dang.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing a vacuum cleaner:
Generally, people with allergens will look for a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, as this helps to remove more particles of airborne allergens from your space.
While a bagless vacuum cleaner means you don’t have to buy bags very often, it also means you have to empty the canister more often. That, in turn, can trigger your allergies.
“If you don’t have a model that alerts you, some allergens can come out if it’s too crowded,” says Dr. Parikh.
Dr. Parikh suggests emptying the vacuum consistently before it has a chance to fill up, and give the vacuum a thorough cleaning at least once a year to ensure all allergens have been removed.
Think about where you will be cleaning. If you have a lot of stairs, a cordless option can make the task easier. Different options may also be better on carpet than others. If you plan to use the vacuum cleaner in several rooms, keep in mind how much it weighs. A lightweight vacuum option may be better than a heavy model that is difficult to move from room to room.
Your preferences also play a role here. Some cordless vacuum cleaners may not hold their charge long enough to clean the entire room. Conversely, you may feel that the snaking of the cord discourages you from getting the job done.
In the end, the best vacuum cleaner for you will be the one that helps you get the job done and achieve a healthier home.
The 7 best vacuum cleaners for people with indoor allergies, according to allergists