5 Best Vacuum Cleaners for Asthma and Allergies

Did you know that more than 17 million adults and 7 million children in America alone suffer from Asthma?

And over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.

If you look at the numbers along you can say that it is an epidemic but unfortunately we don’t take it too seriously.

I have allergic rhinitis. This type of allergy is triggered by allergens such as pollens, dust and pollution from vehicles or second hand smoke.

The best defense against any type of allergy is keeping your home environment clean and in this article I’ll share with you the best vacuums that you can purchase for asthma and allergies.

These machines not only suck in dirt, dust, pet hair, etc. It also should have a good enough filtration to keep these nasty things inside.

Comparison chart

HEPA Filtration
0.1 microns
0.3 microns
0.3 microns
0.3 microns
0.5 microns
Cord Length
22 feet
40 feet
Not Specified
30 feet
35 feet
Motorized brush
Brush on/off switch
Net weight
11.8 pounds
18.4 pounds
19 pounds
7.7 pounds
17.2 pounds
Cleaning Path
1,200 watts
103.8 CFM
1.542 HP (high speed)

.067 HP (low speed)
180 air watts
7 years casing and motor

1 year on the rest of the parts
5 years
7 years
5 years

First, let’s look at the different features to consider

The type of vacuum cleaner

Choosing the type of vacuum will depend on the type of floor your home has.

If it has wall-to-wall carpeting then you almost have to go with a canister or an upright vacuum with a motorized head because these cleaners are specifically designed to deep clean carpet.

Make sure to pick up something with a powerful motor and a motorized brush. The latter is a more important feature because agitation plays an important role in deep cleaning thicker carpet.

Check what type of surface you have at home

Now if your home only has bare floor with only a handful of area rugs and very minimal carpeting then you can possible get away with a less powerful stick vacuum or even a cordless vacuum.

Look around your home and see how  high is the ceiling is. If it’s really high then you will need something with a long hose and wand. A canister vacuum with a flexible hose and adjustable wand would be a huge plus because it can reach those areas.

Some uprights have a hose and wand feature but reach isn’t as good.


Filtration is probably the most important consideration when picking a vacuum for allergies. A vacuum that spews out allergens from the exhaust isn’t something an allergy sufferer wants to use because instead of removing allergens, these tools only make it airborne.

For people who have allergy, HEPA filtration is a must-have feature.

HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. This mechanical filter has a fine mesh structure that traps harmful particulates such as pollen, dander, pet hair and dust mites.

Make sure to check the product label for this feature.

Bagged or Bagless

Despite the popularity of bagless vacuums people who have allergies should buy a bagged vacuum because these bags provide another layer of protection dust exposure when you empty it.

Though bagged vacuums require a higher cost to maintain (bags aren’t reusable!), it will save you on medical bills in the long term because there is no allergen exposure when emptying.

Make sure to buy original bags and not fake knock-offs. You are at risk to allergen exposure when buying fake HEPA filters because filtration won’t be as good.

Most good brands feature an auto-seal feature that automatically seals the bag shut when removing it from the canister.

Odor elimination/filtration

Keeping dust away is one thing but another thing to consider is how the vacuum deals with odor particularly if there are a lot of pets inside.

Different brands use different methods in eliminating odor – some brands like the Miele use a filter that contains activated charcoal to absorb the bad odor.

Maneuverability / Usability

Modern vacuums these days have a swivel mechanism that allows you to turn on a dime. This is especially useful when cleaning areas around furniture.

Other brands can fold flat meaning the body will go flat to the ground, allowing you to push the whole vacuum under furniture as long as the base and body fit.

Another feature to look at is fingertip controls that allow you to turn on the motor or beater bar using a control located on the handle instead of bending down and pushing a button. Since a lot of allergy sufferers are adults who may have back issues, this is a very useful feature than can save you from additional back pain.

Tools / Attachments

To keep your home truly clean, you’ll need to clean more than the floor. Allergy-inducing dust gathers in a lot of nooks and crannies around the house – vents, underneath the fridge, over the closet and other areas that are hard to reach.

Some of the must have tools for furniture, vent and upholstery cleaning include a dusting brush, upholstery brush, a mini motorized tool and a crevice tool.

Noise level

Noisy vacuums can scare away not only the pet but also toddlers.

Noise does not necessarily equate to power, it’s a result of poor insulation, weak motor or using low quality fans.

Good brands that use good insulation, strong motor and good fans usually have lower noise output and will last longer.


Having more power does not necessarily equate to better cleaning performance.

For cleaning homes with carpet all around, the vacuum has to have the right combination of agitation and suction.

Agitation is important because this process helps dislodge dirt trapped on strands of carpet. Suction then pulls up dirt into the bin.

Watts or amp does not necessarily mean the vacuum has strong suction. This implies how much current the motor uses to function.

A more accurate measurement would be air watts. This basically measures the amount of suction where it matters most, at the inlet where all dirt goes in.

Height adjustment

Height adjustment implies having the ability to adjust the distance between inlet (where dirt goes in) and floor to ensure sealed airflow.

Having sealed airflow is important because this ensures that dirt goes to bin. Some brands use a manual control through a foot lever. Others use a dial. Newer vacuums do it automatically for you.

Edge cleaning

This is the ability of a vacuum to clean the edges of the room. It includes hard-to-reach areas like base boards.

Some manufacturers add a side brush to help agitate this area. A lot of canister vacuums come with a crevice or brush tool that use can use for edge cleaning.

If you are shopping for an upright, make sure to look at the width of the brush. Try to get one that extends to the edge because it will have better edge cleaning.

Asthma and Allergy Friendly logoCertification

You’ll notice that some vacuums (mostly bagged) will have this certification from the Asthma and Allergy Association of America that proves that their products are allergy friendly.

This is a paid service so take it with a grain of salt. But manufacturers still have to pass their stringent tests to get the certification and they will not risk reputation for a favor.

So it still is a good indicator of how well it performs filtering out allergens.


Here are 5 of the best vacuums for allergies and asthma that will help you keep your home free from allergy causing dust or pet hair to pile up and trigger your allergic attacks.

Point one micron: Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog

The Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog will has one of the best filters out there. It will block out up to 0.1 microns of allergens and keep it inside its bags. If you own pets or have a severe case of allergic rhinitis, this canister is a good investment despite being very pricey.

Most vacuums can only trap allergens up to 0.3 micros in size which is pretty small. But only a few can boast of a filtration system similar to the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog.

How small a particle does it trap?

The AirClean filtration system can filter out allergens as small as 0.1 microns.

To be clear the Miele Complete C3 comes in 6 different variants in Amazon. These vary in attachments that come along with it and the level of filtration.

The C3 Cat and Dog is designed with the pet owner in mind because it comes with Active AirClean filter with active charcoal that absorbs and neutralizes odors.

Features that make this a great choice:

  • Fully sealed system with airclean system filters out 99.9% of allergy inducing particles
  • A specially designed filter with active charcoal that absorbs odor
  • Has six speed settings to give you just the right suction for the surface you are cleaning
  • The bags have a 1.19 gallon dirt capacity – these bags have a spring loaded system that automatically seals itself when you remove the bag
  • 36 foot cleaning radius
  • Comes with the SEB228 Electro brush with a powered brush roll
  • Produces only 77 decibels at the max setting
  • 7 year warranty on the motor and casing and 1 year on the other parts
  • Great price on Amazon (one of the best priced Miele Complete C3 variants)

2: Sebo X5

The Sebo X5 is your best option you’re looking an upright that filters well. It have same 0.1 filtration as the Miele C3 but this option have bigger bags so it’ll cover a larger area before needing to have change it. This option also doesn’t have the versatility or the reach of the Miele. So get this if you need to clean your home with wall to wall carpeting.

It may not look the part the Sebo X5 has some features that make it a high tech vacuum.

First it has an electronically controlled height adjustment feature that detects the floor type and automatically adjusts the height for you.

This is a big advantage the Sebo X5 has over the Miele Complete C3. The latter requires you to push a lever to adjust the height.

The feature has a good and bad side to it

Good because it’s one less part that could break and bad because you have no control on the height adjustment.

Another feature to like would be the sealing strip located behind the motorized brush. It has multiple functions.

First function would be as a funnel for dirt that gets past the motorized brush. The funnel acts as a plow that scoops up dirt not picked up by the brush.

Second function would be creating airflow because it removes space between floor and the inlet.

The feature that allergy suffers will like most would be the bags. Each will have 3 to 4 layers of filtration that ensures dirt (that includes fine allergens) stay inside. And speaking of bags, these are huge and capable of holding around 1.4 gallons worth of dirt.

Reasons why you should consider this:

  • Powerful motor and good agitation (with auto height adjustment) will deep clean your carpet
  • A fully sealed bagged system keeps allergens at bay (up to 0.3 microns).
  • Aside from floor cleaning this machine comes with a wand and attachments that allow it to clean upholstery and other hard to reach areas
  • Long 5 year warranty on the whole vacuum plus a lifetime warranty on the belt
  • Long 40 foot power cord gives you great reach without the need to unplug
  • See actual reviews in here

3: Rainbow Vacuum

The Rainbow vacuum is the most unique option of the 5 in that it uses a different type of filtration – water. It doesn’t have the traditional bags that the first two options here have or the pre-motor filters inside bagless vacuums. Water in itself is a great filter because it traps everything. The bad news is the price. This vacuum easily costs over $1500 if you buy it direct from Rainbow.

If you look at the history of vacuum cleaners, one of the first ones every made used water filtration. But for some strange reason manufacturers have moved away from this sort of filtration.

Why don’t manufacturers use water as a filter?

One reason would be weight. Water adds a substantial amount of weight to the vacuum. Second is profitability. It will eat into the manufacturers bottom line because there will be no filters and bags to sell.

There are a lot of reasons to like water filtration. Water is one of the best filters in the world. Once dust gets inside, it does not get out. This element essentially traps every particle of dirt that gets in.


Another thing that sets the Rainbow apart from other vacuums in this list is versatility.

Not only can this deep clean the floor but also the mattress. One of the triggering factors of allergic rhinitis is bed bugs that feed on dead skin cells.

Not many people know this but our beds may look clean but when you look at it at a microscopic level there are thousands of bed bugs that creep and crawl.

And one of the best tools to clean your mattress is the Rainbow Vacuum.

The biggest issue for me would be the price. If you buy this from a Rainbow salesman it could easily set you back $3,000.

What makes this a great option?

  • Water traps virtually 100% of all dust, pet hair and allergens that gets in
  • Powered by a hurricane motor that produces 1.5 horsepower
  • Aside from the water filtration it also comes with a HEPA filter that prevents nearly 100% of dirt from coming back out
  • This will double as an air purifier that sucks in airborne allergen in your room
  • You can buy this direct from a Rainbow salesman or get it cheaper from Amazon or Ebay

4: Oreck Magnesium RS

The Oreck Magnesium RS is a great option if you need something light. Put this beside behemoths like the Dyson Cinectic and Sebo X5. If the Sebo X5 is too expensive or too heavy, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger on this. It doesn’t have any hose so this is strictly a floor cleaner.

Most of the vacuums listed here weigh more than 10 pounds. And though they offer a lot of versatility in terms of the areas they can clean. Moving around something that weighs over 11 pounds can take a toll on the back especially if you’re getting up there in age.

So I’m adding a really lightweight bagged vacuum just to give you an option for a lightweight cleaner that’s easy to move around even on stairs.

Let me introduce the Oreck Magnesium RS. This full-sized upright weighs only 8 pounds.

How is this possible?

Instead of using metal or a clunky plastic – this vacuum uses magnesium that pound for pound is a lot stronger than steel.

This allowed Oreck engineers to really streamline the design and reduce as much weight as possible.

Take note that this vacuum is purely a floor cleaning machine and you will have to purchase a handheld vacuum to complement it.

I’ll recommend the Dyson Mattress because it has HEPA filtration that captures allergens up to 0.3 microns.

It also comes with a brush tool, crevice tool and a mini motorized attachment that can clean pretty much any nook and cranny inside the home.

What makes this a great option for allergy sufferers?

  • Weighs only 8 pounds – the lightest in this group
  • Fully sealed system that captures microscopic dust up to 0.3 microns
  • Backed up by a 7 year warranty
  • Fold flat feature and the streamlined design allows it to go under furniture like beds or sofas
  • Long 30 foot power cord (no cord rewind though)
  • Excellent agitation – brush spins at 7,000 rpm
  • Great price at Amazon

5: Dyson Ball Animal 2

The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is another great option for pet owners who want a great vacuum to clean pet hair off carpet, upholstery and different areas around your home. Your best option would be the upright because of the motorized brush that will deep clean carpet.

I believe this is the better option than the Dyson Cinetic because it has more power thus translating to better performance on carpet.

This is also the cheaper option versus the Cinetic at less than $500.

Another concern I had with the Cinetic is how long the oscillating tips would hold up over the long haul.

The whole machine HEPA filtration is certified by the asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Association of America.

The biggest downside though being a bagless is the exposure you have with allergens when emptying.

But the Animal 2 has the improved dirt bin that will push dirt down. You don’t have to stick your fingers there to get stubborn pieces of dust out.

What makes this a good option?

  • Strong suction – will deep clean carpet and upholstery
  • Traps allergens up to 0.5 microns
  • Powerful suction and great agitation from the motorized brush roll
  • Washable filters will last the lifetime of the battery
  • 5 year warranty
  • Comes with one of the best tools in cleaning pet hair – the tangle free turbine brush – none of the other brands listed here can touch it in terms of performance

To wrap up

Dealing with allergies is all about management – limiting your exposure to pollutants like microscopic dust particles and pet hair.

With the right tools you will be able to keep your home clean and as dust-free as possible to help you live a better quality life free from allergic attacks.

The Miele C3 Cat and Dog offered the best filtration among the bagged options at 0.1 micros but it isn’t cheap.

A cheaper option would be the Sebo X5 upright. It probably offers the best deep cleaning performance and the 1.4 gallon bags will hold a lot of dirt.

In terms of pure product performance, it is hard to beat the Rainbow Vacuum. Water is one of nature’s best filters. And it’s free!

The downside to a Rainbow would be price. Buying one from an authorized dealer would cost around $3,000! The one’s sold on Amazon are cheaper but warranty could be an issue.

Most of the options here have bags that aren’t reusable so it adds to the cost of ownership. A Dyson Cinetic would be a good alternative if you’re looking for something without bags.

The biggest issue would be the long term viability of the oscillating cyclones that replaces the traditional filter. But it is a good alternative if you don’t like buying bags over and over.

If you think I’ve missed a product, hit me up and let me know and I’ll have a look or comment below.

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