Best Vacuums for Dorm Rooms (2019-2020 College Year)

Last updated: June 2019

Moving into the dorms this August?

For me, the dorm year (freshman year of college) was one of my all-time favorites. It’s probably your first year of true freedom, which is awesome.

But with this freedom, you’ll find yourself having to rely on yourself (and maybe your roommate if you’re lucky) to do some chores. One of those is vacuuming.

But let’s not make life difficult. The last thing you want is to be stressing about:

  • (for the big, powerful vacuums) Where am I going to store this big vacuum cleaner in my tiny dorm room?
  • (or for the small vacuums) Why did I buy this small vacuum that isn’t powerful enough to suck up crumbs?
  • This vacuums suction is great, but it doesn’t swivel around my small room.
  • I wish I didn’t need separate cleaning tools for my desk, blinds, closet, and other parts of my dorm.
  • And so on…

So let’s cut to the chase, what’s the best vacuum for a dorm room?

My personal favorite is this Dyson V7 (click here to check it out on Amazon). It’s nearly perfect for everything you want in the dorms: easy and slim storage, easily adapts to clean everything, cordless but more than enough battery life, and powerful suction (more on this vacuum in the reviews section below).

But maybe this Dyson isn’t for you. Also listed below will be best budget vacuum for dorm rooms, best handheld dorm vacuum, and best robot dorm vacuum.

Each of these is covered below (plus a longer review of the Dyson V7) to round out our top 4 vacuums for your dorm:

Top 4 dorm vacuum cleaner reviews

First things I did was narrow down vacuums by using the criteria we talked about above.

Then, I looked at which of these perform the best. This left me with a clear winner. However, I think it’s more money than some people will want to spend before heading off to college. That’s why I threw in my favorite budget vacuum for the dorms.

Oh yeah, and if you want something different, the last one I added is my favorite robot vacuum for the dorms. Because who has time clean?

Captain’s notice! When I recommend a vacuum, there is a link to a product page (usually Amazon), and I may receive a small commission if you purchase after clicking it. This does not change what you pay or what I recommend. It does help fund the research I put into the site, and I’m grateful for any support!

Best Overall Stick: Dyson V7 Cordless Stick

This Dyson cordless vacuum is the hands-down winner for dorms. Many sticks and cordless vacuums don’t work on carpet, but this vacuum is an exception: its power is comparable to many upright corded vacuums.  It’s lightweight enough that any college student can clean the ceilings with it. It also has perfect attachments for cleaning things like desks (it can become a handheld vacuum), but it doesn’t have too many attachments that it takes up space. Speaking of space, the Dyson V7 hangs on a wall mount that easily fits in a closet. I’m not sure I could draw up a better vacuum for the dorms.

Note: there are newer versions of the Dyson V-series, and it’s getting a little more difficult to find the V6. I still think it’s the best bang for your buck. But you can choose for yourself by checking out our Dyson stick vacuum comparison guide.

  • powerful suction works great on hard floors, rugs, and even carpet
  • small profile and optional docking station make it easy to store in your closet (takes less space than a jacket)
  • easy attachment to clean your desk, blinds, bed, etc…basically this is the only cleaning tool you’ll need
  • cordless and lightweight so you can easily reach your bed or even ceiling (if, for some reason, you want to vacuum your ceiling)
  • very effective allergy filter
  • 30-minute battery life easily enough for a dorm room or small apartment
  • good enough vacuum to last after the dorms
  • Check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here

Best Budget Stick: VonHaus 2-in-1 Stick

Is the Dyson V7 more than you want to spend? Well, you can usually get this vacuum for under $50. And it works well. It’s a stick vacuum that can turn into a handheld. Like the Dyson, this makes it extremely versatile to clean nearly everything in your dorm. It doesn’t have the power of the Dyson, and it won’t work as well on carpet. It’s an excellent option for people who want to keep the budget down, especially if you have hardwood floors.

  • costs less than a single textbook
  • slim profile can fit in a closet (but no docking station)
  • converts to a handheld for cleaning desks and furniture
  • crevice tools and small brush attachment helps clean the furniture in your dorm
  • power and carpet cleaning ability similar to vacuums double the price (but not close to our top pick)
  • HEPA filter for allergies
  • Check the latest pricing on Amazon by clicking here

Best Handheld: black+decker DustBuster

Maybe you just need something that will vacuum up the occasional mess: spills on the floor, clean up your desk and counters, etc. Handhelds can be surprisingly powerful, inexpensive, easy to store, and easy to use. This makes handhelds the perfect vacuums for dorm rooms except for one thing: you can’t vacuum your floor. But maybe you don’t need to because you have a broom and hard floors, or you just don’t care.  This Black and Decker is the best handheld I’ve found (at a reasonable price–there are some super powerful handhelds but they cost double this)

  • costs less than a textbook
  • very small can fit under a bed, desk, in a closet, or about anywhere else you want in your dorm
  • impressive suction versus other handhelds
  • doesn’t clog easily, long battery life, and 2-year warranty means you shouldn’t have to deal with any headaches of it not working
  • Check the latest pricing on Amazon by clicking here

Best Robot: ILIFE V3

Want to come back from class and have a clean dorm? Robot vacuums are fun to watch and save you time: win-win. Most robot vacuums that actually work cost $500 plus, a steep price to pay in your first year out on your own. You’ve probably heard of the mainstream robot vacuums like Roomba and Neato, but these are expensive and I wanted to keep the college budget intact. There is one robot vacuum I’ve found that is easy on the budget (under $200) but works like the high-end robots. It does a good job with suction (on carpet and hard flooring), doesn’t get stuck often, and has a HEPA filter.

  • excellent price for a highly-effective robot vacuum
  • quiet for a robot vacuum so won’t disturb neighbors studying
  • more time for studying and socializing
  • great for allergy sufferers: keeps room clean daily and has HEPA filter
  • Check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here

Features to look at if you buy a vacuum on your own:

If you go out shopping on your own, you’ll want to pay attention to certain vacuum features to make sure it’s best for your dorm room or college apartment. Here is more information on these features:

Size and weight

It’s probably going to be an adjustment getting used to the cramped space of a dorm room. You don’t want to make that any more stressful by lugging around a big heavy vacuum. I think stick vacuums are the only way to go for the dorms. They don’t take up much room, and they’re lightweight, so you can move it to hard to reach spots.


It is important to have a vacuum that can be used on all surfaces, including bare floor, carpeted floor, curtains, cushions, and every exposed surface. Using one device instead of multiple ones to clean the variety of surfaces in your room saves you money. Some vacuums have attachments that have a felt surface for dusting.


Another part of versatility is mobility. Your vacuum needs to maneuver around chair legs and books in a tight room. Look for vacuums with a swivel base. It’s also ideal if the stick handle can lean all the way back to get under desks and beds.


Attachments take versatility even a step further. In your apartment or dorm, you’re not going to want a bunch of tools to clean every appliance you have. But if your vacuum comes with attachments, then it makes life easy. At the very least, a crevice tool is needed to get along wall edges and in seat cushions.

Dirt Disposal

I’m not always pro bagless but an easy-to-empty canister is a life saver over bagged vacuums. I think this is a must-have feature in the dorms. If you have to deal with bags, you probably won’t vacuum.


A HEPA filter is better because it can trap the extremely small particles, but that can increase the price. In a dorm, you probably don’t need the extra filtration. If HEPA is not important to you, the next best thing is to search for a vacuum with WASHABLE filters. This eliminates additional costs for replacement filters, such as HEPA or otherwise.

Power options

Cordless would be optimal so you are not tripping over a cord; however, a corded vacuum will work just as well, especially in such a small space. Make sure you get a cord that is long enough to cover the whole area. You don’t need a high amperage vacuum, since bare floors and low-pile carpet are common in dorms.

Power and suction

Suctions what you buy a vacuum for, but in a small college apartment or dorm, it’s not quite as important. Any vacuum should be able to clean up a mess. You do need to be careful in the low-end vacuums though. The vacuums I selected have high reviews for their low cost. Some low-cost vacuums can be completely ineffective.

Captain’s parting words!

You’ve got lots to do before heading off to enjoy college, so hopefully, this gave you the vacuums that will work best in your dorm. One last thing to worry about.

Each vacuum stood out in its category: best overall, best budget, and best handheld and best robot. I’ll let you choose which will be best for you. I think if you plan on living in the dorms a few years or an apartment after, the Dyson is worth the investment.

Let me know what you think. Anything else you’d want to know about the best vacuum for your dorm room? Let me know in the comments below.

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2 years ago

I noticed the Dyson stick vacuum you listed as the best vacuum for after-college is a stick vacuum. Would it be powerful enough for carpet in a home or apartment?

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