Dyson DC59 Animal
The $499.99 Dyson DC59 Animal stick vacuum probably doesn't look like most vacuums you've seen before (what Dyson does, really). But the DC59 is a particularly intriguing Dyson model. It performed at the top of the stick vacuums with the Hoover Linx and its interesting layout allows for a bunch of different cleaning attachments and configurations.
Remote-controlled floor cleaning
iRobot Roomba 880
Yep, $699.99 is a lot to pay for a robot vacuum, but iRobot's Roomba 880 is an excellent machine. While its navigation pattern may seem random, there's some advanced functionality happening behind the scenes (debris sensors search for heavy spills and spend extra time in those areas). It even comes with a remote and Virtual Wall Barriers that act as "invisible fences" for your Roomba.
Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean
Not only did the $299.99 Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean ace its performance tests, it's also one sturdy upright vacuum. While it doesn't have the maneuverability of some uprights, it offers a solid, traditional upright vacuum feel -- no need to worry about flimsiness here.
Impressive performance for less
Neato Robotics XV Signature Pro
Neato's $449.99 XV Signature Pro may cost $250 less than the Roomba 880, but it performed about the same. No, the Signature Pro's navigation isn't as sophisticated and it doesn't have extras like a remote control, but that isn't necessarily a deal-breaker. For a simple, straight-forward bot with excellent performance, this Neato is worth a look.
Hoover Platinum Collection LiNX Cordless Stick Vacuum
The understated $179.99 Hoover Linx stick vacuum may not look exceptional, but it performed even better than the Dyson DC59 during our testing. Pet hair, fruity Cheerios, and sand and sawdust were no match for this surprising debris-collecting machine. Combine that with its affordable price and it's hard not to appreciate this simple, yet powerful stick vacuum.
Shark Rotator Pro Lift-Away
The $199.80 Shark Rotator Pro Lift-Away isn't your typical upright. It can transition seamlessly from upright to canister vac. It also comes with a wand and multiple brush attachments so you won't ever lack the appropriate accessory for the job at hand. Like to customize your cleaning? This highly versatile vacuum could be for you.
Eureka AirSpeed SuctionSeal PET AS1104A - vacuum cleaner - upright
The Eureka AS1104A SuctionSeal Pet upright vacuum costs $199.99. While that isn't the least expensive upright model we've tested (that honor goes to the $119.99 Dirt Devil Dash), Eureka's AS1104A offers impressive performance and special features at a reasonable price. It has a retractable cord, a dial for adjusting the vacuum's nozzle height, and foot-activated controls (so you don't have to hunch over).
Electrolux Ergorapido Power
While the $229.99 Electrolux Ergorapido Power didn't lead in performance, it offers something special: amazing maneuverability. Accordion-style tubing helps this vacuum get around obstacles with ease.