The 7 Best Energy-Efficient Vacuum Cleaners of 2021

These vacuums are light on energy but heavy on cleaning

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown
This upright vacuum wins for its reasonable price point and versatility.
Choose the right setting, speed, and brush for what you’re cleaning with this model.
Dyson's flexible ball design can reach anywhere your pet gets.
No outlet? Minimal storage space? That’s no problem for this cordless Dyson.
Powered by innovative battery technology, this leaf vacuum system is free of toxic fumes.
A 4-foot-long hose lets you reach dirt and dust in high and low places.
Hate vacuuming? The Roomba 980 is sure to be a hands-free delight.

Your handy household vacuum cleaner may not seem like an energy sucker, but the California Energy Commission indicates that running a standard vacuum for an hour each week consumes more energy than running a washing machine for two hours on a cold-water cycle.

Using a broom and dust mop regularly keeps toxic dust bunnies at bay while burning no electricity, it’s quiet, and can help reduce the number of times per week you need to bust out that vac. Repairing a broken vacuum or shopping for a second-hand one are also eco-friendly options. However, if you’re looking to buy a new eco-friendly model, consider the amount of electricity it uses, its suction power, and its filtration system.

Here are the best energy-efficient vacuum cleaners to consider:

Best Overall: Shark Rotator Professional Vacuum- NV501

Shark Rotator Professional Vacuum- NV501

This upright wins for its reasonable price point and versatility. Its 8-foot-long cord and multiple ergonomic attachment tools can sweep upholstery and all of those hard-to-get-reach nooks and crannies. It’s effective on carpets or bare floors.

Use it as a standard upright or sling the detachable canister over your shoulders for the added maneuverability required for cleaning stairs or under chairs. It’s lightweight and ultra-quiet. Its HEPA filter and anti-allergen technology trap dust particles and pet hair. It uses 1200 watts.

Do vacuum cleaners have Energy Star ratings?

At this time, Energy Start does not offer ratings for plug-in vacuum cleaners. Some cordless and handheld vacuums qualify for the Energy Star label thanks to their battery systems, however we didn’t find many. 


Household vacuum cleaners can use anywhere from 500 to 3,000 watts of energy. To find one that hits the sweet spot between efficiency and plenty suction, we recommend corded vacuums that use between 1200 and 1500 watts. Battery-powered vacuums tend to use very little energy while charging, although batteries may wear out faster that their plug-in counterparts. 

Best Canister: Miele Complete C3 Calima Canister Vacuum

Miele Complete C3 Calima Canister Vacuum

The Miele family is known for delivering quality no matter what price point you choose. Their products are also some of the quietest options on the market. This particular model is an excellent mid-range option. It uses bags and has a retractable power cord, so you don't have to worry about the cord getting tangled.

It comes with multiple accessories and six suction options, so you can choose the right setting, speed, and brush for what you’re cleaning — from upholstery to pile rugs to hardwood floors. That means you get the job done quickly and correctly cutting down on your electricity usage.

It also comes with the company’s AirClean Sealed System combined with a HEPA filter that captures over 99.9 percent of dust and dirt. That’s nothing to sneeze at if you’re an allergy sufferer. It runs on 1200 watts. 

Best for Pets: Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum

Dyson-ball

The flexible ball design can reach anywhere your pet gets. When it can’t, grab one of the attachments. Pet owners are sure to like the handy tangle-free turbine tool that eliminates hair from carpets and upholstery.

Its whole-machine filtration ensures that pesky allergens that you just cleaned up are trapped inside the machine. The design earned certification from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. It earns extra green points for featuring a washable lifetime filter and diverting them from landfills. You’ll save some green from having to buy replacements, too. It runs on 1400 watts. 

Best Stick/Cordless: Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Dyson V8 Absolute Cord-Free Vacuum

No outlet? Minimal storage space? Need to clean out your car? That’s no problem for this cordless Dyson. It’s lightweight and ergonomically designed. Use the expandable handle to clean cobwebs from your ceiling one minute and suck up the dust bunnies under your furniture the next.

The handheld cleaner’s battery runs about 40 minutes before needing to be juiced up again. That’s plenty of time to clean a small house or apartment, although this is one of the pricier models. Its HEPA filtration earned certification by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. While charging the 21.6 volt battery, it uses 350 watts.

TIP:

To reduce your vacuum’s energy footprint there are some simple things you can do. Keep your environment cleaner from the get-go by leaving your shoes — along with the dirt and bacteria like e.coli. that attach to them — at the door. Make sure that the canister or bag is regularly emptied and keep any washable filters clean, to that the suction power doesn't suffer and you can clean in fewer passes.

Best Outdoor: Greenworks 40V 185 MPH Variable Speed Cordless Blower Vacuum

Greenworks 40V 185 MPH Variable Speed Cordless Leaf Blower/Vacuum

Need to get rid of those leaves before snow falls? Or are you looking to tidy up your outdoor patio for an outdoor meet-up? Greenworks is ready to lend you a handheld. The company’s 40-volt model is a superb, inexpensive leaf vacuum system for yards up to a half-acre.

It’s powered by the company’s innovative battery technology, so there’s no need to keep polluting gas or oil on hand. That also means you’ll minimize your exposure to toxic fumes all while having the power and performance of a comparable gas-powered unit.

Best Handheld: BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Flex Cordless Stick Vacuum

BLACK+DECKER BDH2020FLFH MAX Lithium Flex Vacuum with Stick Vacuum Floor Head and Pet Hair Brush, 20-volt - Cordless

When your home or car need a little spot cleaning, reach for this compact, lightweight, cord-free vacuum. It’s powered by a 20-volt rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

Its three-stage filtration system prevents that dust you sucked up from escaping. The handy rubber pet-hair attachment forces more fur into the tube because it can’t stick to the rubber. Other handy features include a washable filter, an easy to empty bowl, a 4 foot-long hose lets you reach dirt and dust in high and low places.

Best Robotic: iRobot Roomba 980 Robot Vacuum

iRobot Roomba 980 Robot Vacuum

Whether you want a clean home without pushing a vacuum around, simply enjoy the latest gadget, or both, the Roomba 980 is sure to be a hands-free delight. This little robot delivers 10 times the air power suction punch thanks to having the strongest battery on the market. It delivers 120 minutes of continuous cleaning per charge.

The Roomba is ideal for homes with pets. Its three-stage cleaning system traps the pet hair you see and the allergens that you don’t. Its filter traps 99 percent of cat and dog-related allergens. Its patented navigation technology allows the robot to chart a course for cleaning an entire level of your home — including around objects and under bulky furniture.

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Shark Rotator Professional Vacuum (view at Walmart). However, if you’re looking for a cordless handheld model, consider the Black + Decker MAX Flex Cordless Stick Vacuum (view on Walmart). 

What to look for when shopping for vacuums:

When choosing an option, consider the following personal and environmental factors. 

What's your style?

Upright vacs are self-contained units that cover a lot of ground easily, making them great for cleaning large areas, carpets, and rugs.

Canister style vacs have the suction power and filtration capability of an upright with increased mobility for cleaning bare floors like tile and hardwood as well as reaching awkward spaces like staircases.

Stick vacs are upright styles that are compact, lightweight, and great for cleaning and storing in tiny homes and apartments, but they tend to be less powerful.  

Longevity

Choosing a model that’s high quality and durable benefits the environment because it will last longer. In addition, high-end manufacturers—like Dyson or Kirby—also offer repair and maintenance services that don’t come with cheaper models purchased from superstores.

Amps

Just because a vacuum’s motor has more juice doesn’t mean it’s better at cleaning. Many high-end models have smaller motors (with outputs of 7 amps, for example, instead of 12) but bigger fans and tubing. That means they’re potentially more efficient because you don’t have to run them as long and minimizing carbon emissions.

Bag vs bagless

Vacuum bags can be expensive, need replacing several times a year, and the used ones end up in landfills. It also takes natural resources to produce bags at factories.

Bagless options, however, require more frequent emptying and can be a little messy. Since cleaning them can send contaminants into the air, they may not be a good option for people with breathing conditions like asthma or COPD. For eco-friendlier results, consider one with a washable filter.

The right tools for your floor

Models without brushes are good for tile or hardwoods. Some models might have the option to adjust the height of the brush roll, so it can be used on carpet, rugs, or bare flooring.

Cut the cord?

Not so fast. Cordless vacs are wonderful because they only draw energy during charging. But batteries have to be replaced and discarded eventually, so they’re not always the greenest option. They also can be less powerful so if you have thick rugs or large spaces to clean then they may suck at being the most energy-efficient option.

Filtration matters

One purpose of vacuuming is eliminating dirt from your environment — especially if you have allergies. To improve your indoor air quality, choose a vacuum with a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. These filters can capture more than 99.97 percent of particles that are at least 0.3 microns in size and won’t allow the debris to return to the air.

Reduce noise pollution

Let’s face it; vacuums are machines, so they’re kind of loud. But if you’re sensitive to sound, look for an option that runs at 77 decibels or lower.

Got pets?

Consider buying a model with attachments or that are specifically designed “fur” cleaning up after your favorite four-legged family member.

Why Trust Treehugger?

To create this list, we looked for effective vacuums that use fewer watts to operate. We think that bagless options are more eco-friendly than vacuums that require bags that need to be replaced and thrown into landfill. 

We also like the UltraSilencer Green Vacuum Cleaner made with recycled materials by Electrolux, however, it appears that this model is no longer available in the United States. 

Author Heidi Wachter is a freelance writer, who is passionate about dogs, travel and adventure, solving the climate crisis, and projects that serve the greater good.