by Garrick Dee
Updated December 3rd, 2018
According to the National MultiFamily Housing Council there are over 18 million apartments in the United States alone.
So that comprises roughly around 10% of all the households.
And if you live in these types of structures, space can be an issue.
Choosing a vacuum for apartments is very different from a single-family because these have less space.
So versatility, compactness and having a light product are a higher priority over deep cleaning.
In this article I’ll show you how to choose a vacuum that will fit your needs.
The last thing I want you to do is waste money on a product that’s not suitable in your apartment or condo.
Can be used on
|Nooks & Crannies|
2 x 20-volt lithium ion
Approx. 5 hrs.
3 hours (each battery)
25 mins. (w/ the motorized tool attached)
7 mins. (max mode)
Approx. 30 mins
50 minutes (combined)
0.9 dry quarts
|Brush roll on/off|
9.9 pounds (with floor tool and wand)
3.5 pounds (hand vac only)
Unlike detached homes that have lots of space folks who live in apartments don’t have that luxury.
Unless you’re a billionaire who lives in a 7,000 square foot apartment in Manhattan then read on.
Like most of the guides I published here at my blog, one of the first things I want you to determine is the budget. How much are you willing to spend for a vacuum?
This helps take out all the options out there that are out of your price range.
It saves you time from looking into the feature. And reading reviews of a product that you can’t afford.
There are good products out there at every price range that perform well.
Obviously more expensive brands like Dyson offer more tools, features and have better finishes compared to cheaper brands like Hoover.
It doesn’t mean that cheaper products are trash because performance isn’t far off. And you don’t have to pay as much.
To give you an example the Hoover Cruise and Dyson V8 are similar products. But the latter costs a few hundred dollars more. Does that mean the Cruise is crap?
No, it isn’t it still has versatility but not as much as the $500 Dyson V8. And it won’t clean as well. But for the price, it does offer a similar coverage with fewer tools.
Apartments don’t have as much space as a single, detached home. So you don’t have the luxury of space. Having a hulking upright that deep cleans isn’t a great option because it’ll eat up space.
A better choice would be finding an upright that does more than cleaning floors. There are brands today that offer flexibility that you’d never thought possible.
One of the brands that offer that is Shark. I’d consider them the “Dyson in the upright industry” because of their Navigator and Rotator Lift Away series.
The Lift Away feature is an innovation because it extends the functionality.
If you aren’t familiar with this feature, it allows users to separate the canister (or the body of the vacuum) from the main cleaning head. So you can use this as a canister in addition to an upright. This extends the functionality of this upright, allowing it to clean areas other uprights can’t.
Look around your home. Look at the floors to be more specific. Is there a lot of carpet in there?
Or is it just hard floors? If it’s the former, how thick is it?
This will help determine how power a vacuum you should purchase.
Homes with lots of carpet need a more powerful vacuum but here’s the tricky part. How do you balance power and size?
A deep cleaner should have a motorized brush
Here are some things to look for in an upright or canister that deep cleans.
First and most important would be having a motorized brush. This feature is the single most important feature any deep cleaning machine should have.
The term “motorized brush” refers to a bristled brush that has its own motor. Having that motor is important because it helps the brush spin with force and agitate carpet fibers and deep clean.
Agitation is the most important aspect of deep cleaning and the best vacuums must have this feature.
Cordless is an option
Dyson is always a good option if you’re looking for an upright. Even their V8 and V6 line does a good job of agitating to a lesser degree.
Unfortunately Dyson canisters don’t have a motorized brush. Their beater bars are rely on the force of suction to spin and agitation isn’t as good.
If you’ve decided to go the canister route then have a look at the Hoover. It’s cheaper than a Dyson but it has a motorized brush.
For homes that only have hard floor then you don’t need something as powerful.
This product is one of the best uprights I’ve seen in a while in terms of real world usability and cleaning performance.
It is the newest Shark upright that has all latest features unveiled in the past few years. If you want versatile then this product has lots of it.
Great for carpet and hardwood
Powered Lift Away feature allows you to use the main head even in canister mode.
This allows it to reach deep under furniture than a traditional upright without that feature.
For homes with both hard floors and carpet, this is a very good option because of the DuoClean system that really pulls in large dirt.
This system consists of a soft roller and a bristled brush that work together to create better agitation.
If you have a large mess of chips scattered, it won’t snow plow because the soft roller will literally grab large bits of dirt.
It also transitions well from bare floor to carpet and you don’t have to swap tools like you’d need in a Dyson.
Here’s the best part, not only will this upright clean floors, it’ll also clean other parts of your home efficiently.
Unlike other uprights where you have to deal with a heavy body, Shark lightens up the load by making the floor tool removable.
Just look at these before and after photos…
The after photos are just after a single pass. And this isn’t the typical mess that you’ll encounter on a daily basis. But it is capable of cleaning such when needed.
In “lift away” mode this product is essentially a canister vacuum. It can do things that a canister can but with a longer cord and larger bin.
It’ll be able to clean upholstery, stairs, vents and even ceiling fans thanks to the long wand and interchangeable tools.
Bottom line: This product is the best compromise of power and versatility right now. It has enough power to clean carpets and versatile enough to clean other parts of your home with the dexterity of a canister. No it won’t deep clean carpet the way a Rainbow could. But it’ll keep your home from piling up dirt.
The first option in this list does have a cord. And if that is a limitation for you then this next product should be on your shortlist. That is if you’re willing to spend the $500+ price tag.
Dyson has long been the king when it comes to cordless vacuum and the V8 proves why.
Why this is a great option?
This product is an upgraded version of the Dyson V6.
It has a redesigned motor, battery, dirt bin, floor tools and max switch that have improved its usability.
The improved motor and battery has extended the run time to 40 minutes without the motorized tool. And up to 25 minutes without it.
It also has the soft roller and the direct drive cleaning head but now with 150% more agitation. This means it’ll clean even better than the V6 especially on carpet.
However, this machine will not deep clean though it does a very good job at preventing dirt from piling up especially on high traffic spots.
Like all Dyson cordless vacuums, this product is built to be flexible. It’s got interchangeable tools. These include brush tool, combination, crevice tool and mini-motorized tool.
All of these tools are interchangeable and are usable with or without the wand. Combine that with the powerful motor and agitation gives Dyson the unmatched combination of versatility and cleaning performance not found in other cordless vacuums.
The V8 Absolute is an ideal option for small to medium sized apartments with carpet and bare floor. But if your home only has bare floor then I suggest going for the Dyson V6 Fluffy a few hundred bucks. It only has the soft roller beater bar which is the only thing you’ll need of hard floors.
Bottom line: If you have an extra $500 to burn and want something cordless, the Dyson V8 is a great option for homes with carpet and hard floor. The new design solves common issues found in the V6 series – biggest of which is how messy it is to empty the bin. But if your home only has bare floors then the V6 Fluffy is an excellent fall back.
Here’s another Shark in the list and they’ve made it again thanks to this next product I’m about to show you. Shark calls this the Rocket DuoClean. And it looks similar to the Dyson, only with a cord.
This product has the same DuoClean head found in the NV803 but it’s more compact and lightweight.
Cheaper Dyson V8 alternative
It has the almost the same performance at a cheaper rate.
And since this is a stick vacuum, it’ll have a smaller bin.
If you cannot afford the Dyson V8 or even the V6 Fluffy, this is a good alternative. But remember it’s not a cordless.
The Shark Rocket series follows the Dyson principle of having interchangeable tools and a detachable wand. All tools are usable with or without the extension tube.
So this gives it the same versatility as Dyson but at a much affordable price – it’s less than $200.
Here’s a lowdown of the features…
Two main differences between this and the Dyson are the power switch and the main motorized tool. Dyson utilizes a trigger switch that you need to squeeze for the vacuum to function.
I understand that they did this to maximize the run time of the battery since it is a cordless.
Different switch than a Dyson
The Shark does not use a trigger switch. Instead it has a slide switch that’s not as straining on the wrist.
Next would be the floor tool. In the Dyson if you’re transitioning from carpet to bare floor, you will need to change the direct drive cleaner head to the soft roller head.
You don’t have to do that in the Shark because the DuoClean head cleans both carpet and bare floor pretty well as you’ve seen in the demo.
It also has more tools at your disposal. These include the pet multi-tool, under appliance wand, upholstery tool and duster crevice tool. So you’ll get more value for your buck with this product.
My favorite would be the under appliance wand that reaches low profile furniture to and clean dusty areas in those tough to reach areas.
Again, this product isn’t a cordless, just want to remind you that.
Bottom line: The Shark Rocket DuoClean is another versatile option that’s cheaper than a Dyson V8. It has great performance on both hard floor and carpet thanks to the DuoClean head. Also, it has more tools than the Dyson. The only thing that holds this back is the fact that it’s cordless but you’ll be saving close to $300 if you buy this instead of the V8.
Even the Shark is too expensive.
Fortunately for you budget conscious folks, there’s the Hoover Cruise.
It’s one of many Dyson copycats out there that uses the same blueprint that has made it so popular.
Competition isn’t a bad thing because the consumers win in the end. This product for instance costs less than $105 in Amazon which is hundreds less than a Dyson V8.
It won’t have the same type of performance but at least it gives you an option to have something that is almost as versatile.
Tools that come with this product include the crevice, upholstery, brush and the main power head.
One thing I like about this product is the trigger mechanism that actually locks so you don’t have to constantly squeeze it to work.
Before I continue, please watch this video to see how this product works…
It won’t have the same power as a Dyson V6 but it does a decent job.
However it will struggle picking up larger debris because of the low profile motorized tool. It lacks the soft roller head found in the V6 and V8 that pulls dirt in.
A work around would be using the crevice tool for that task. But that would entail removing and attaching a tool which takes time.
It has a 24 volt lithium ion battery that’ll last for 30 minutes based on reviews. But that number will go down if you used the motorized brush.
The bin can hold around 0.4 liters which can be messy to empty if you’re cleaning a lot of dust and pet hair.
It lacks a mini motorized attachment that would have made this a better tool to clean up pet hair. But the upholstery tool should be a decent job if you have one dog.
Storing this also is easy thanks to the wall mount bracket that also has space for the attachments so you don’t misplace them.
Even with all the flaws, this product is one of the better alternatives. It is a lightweight and versatile machine that’ll keep dirt and dust from piling up inside your home.
Bottom line: Price wise, the Hoover Cruise is one of the better deals I can find. It won’t have the same performance as a Dyson but it does provide similar flexibility in that it can clean floors, stairs, upholstery and even ceiling fans. If you’re willing to live with the flaws then have a look at this.
I love innovative products and the Air Cordless Lift is one such product.
In terms of size, this product is close to an upright more than a stick vac. Hoover calls this a “cordless upright”.
It has the same “lift” feature found in the Shark NV803 that makes it so versatile.
The main difference between these two products is that the Hoover is cordless, Shark has a cord.
Versatile as a Dyson
This product is capable of areas like upholstery and stairs thanks to the “lift” feature. And it’ll cover a lot more area since you don’t have to worry about finding an outlet.
You can use this in areas like the attic, car and inside the bathroom to clean ceiling vents.
But it won’t have the same cleaning performance as the Shark or Dyson since it has less power.
It’ll also struggle with larger bits of debris on hard floor because the floor tool has a lower profile. Unlike the Shark that has the soft roller head that inhales large debris like it’s no one’s business.
Having upright size means this will be able to hold more dirt compared to a stick vacuum – around 1.05 liters to be exact.
Run time is also excellent thanks to the 2 Li-ion batteries that will run for 50 minutes combined.
This gives it a longer run time than a Dyson V8 and it’s a lot cheaper.
Here’s a video by Vacbin comparing the Hoover Air Cordless and the Dyson DC44…
The DC44 is an older product so it has less power than the newer generation Dysons. But still performance of the Hoover is impressive and this was on carpet.
Bottom line: The Air Cordless Lift is another versatile option from Hoover that combines the functionality of two products thanks to the Lift feature. In default mode, it is a cordless upright with a 1 liter bin that you’ll have to empty less often. With a push of a button it morphs into a canister capable of cleaning above floors – a must have for apartment vacuums.
There you have it, 5 different options that will suite your cleaning needs that you may have.
Why Shark is a great option
For larger apartments with carpet and bare floor, the Shark Duo Clean Powered Lift Away is a great option because it is fully capable of cleaning any surface.
And the powered lift away feature allows you to use the main motorized head to clean under furniture – the toughest area to clean.
It isn’t the lightest or the most compact. But if you have some room in your closet for this versatile upright then put this on your shortlist. I’d pick this over a Dyson Cinetic because it offers more versatility and you don’t have to spend as much. It also comes with a 5 year warranty.
If money wasn’t an issue
For folks who don’t mind investing in a product, the Dyson V8 provides the best of both worlds.
It is a very capable cleaner that does not have any cord.
The new motorized tools provide 150% more agitation compared to the V6. But if you only have hard floor at home then save yourself a few hundred bucks and go with V6 Fluffy.
Another Dyson alternative
Shark also offers a product similar to the Dyson called the Rocket DuoClean but this one’s got a cord.
It has the same architecture as the Dyson but with more tools. It’s also cheaper so if you don’t mind looking for an outlet to plug into have a look at this.
These tools allow it to clean areas like the sofa, table and such. It won’t perform as well as the Dyson but it’s a heck a lot cheaper.
If you don’t mind the limitations then go for this.
Versatile as a Dyson
Last but not least, the Hoover Air Cordless Lift is another cordless option that offers a bigger dirt bin compared to the Dyson V8 and Hoover Cruise.
That’s because it has a bigger frame but it still retains versatility thanks to the Lift feature that separates the canister from the frame.
The “Lift” feature will free up excess weight and allows folks to use this as a canister.
It’s a cordless so you don’t have to look for an outlet to plug into. And the two batteries will combine for 50 minutes of run time. The best part is this is also cheaper than a Dyson and Shark NV803 DuoClean Powered Lift Away.
Robot vacuum an option
You can also have a look at robotic vacuums to clean your apartments.
These machines are great because it does it autonomously without you having to babysit. Popular brands include Neato, Dyson and Roomba but there are also brands that are more affordable like the ILIFE and Xiaomi.
Make sure to read each of the links to see which one will fit your needs.
If you have any questions or suggestions or you think I missed any products please send it below or contact me.