Best Vacuums for Small Apartments with Carpet

So, you’re cramped up in your small studio… or for the lucky ones, one-bedroom… apartment.

Space is a priority but so is cleanliness.

What vacuum do you choose?

That’s what I’ll cover in this article, and I have a lot of experience. Not only do I review vacuums, but I also have spent a lot of time living in apartments.

Here are my winners for every budget:

Best Overall

Best Budget

most powerful 

Below, I’ll cover each of these vacuums in detail. After that, I’ll explain some of what I was looking for in finding the best vacuum for small apartments.

Top 3 Vacuums for Small Apartments

You got a sample of my favorite vacuums above, but let’s cover what I like (and don’t) for each:

#1 (Best Overall) Dyson V10

I like cordless stick vacuums for apartments for obvious reasons: they’re extremely compact and lightweight. I don’t like cordless stick vacuums because most don’t work well with carpet. This vacuums an exception which made it get the top spot on the list. Here are some of the pros and cons:

  • weighs about 7lbs and is cordless
  • lasts up to 60 minutes without needing a recharge
  • best cordless stick for carpet cleaning and about equivalent to an average upright vacuum
  • HEPA filter so allergens don’t get blown through your small apartment
  • does a good job with pet hair
  • extremely versatile from hard floors to carpet and also comes with accessories for counters, furniture, etc. a do-it-all vacuum
  • only negative: won’t get carpet as clean as a top-rated upright vacuum
  • Check the latest price of the Dyson V10 on Amazon by clicking here

Note on Dyson V-series vacuums: There are 5 versions of the Dyson cordless stick vacuums: V6, V7, V8, V10, and V11. Within those, there are sub-classes. I picked the V10 because it provides nearly as much power as the V11 but is lower in cost because its not the newest version. You can read the complete breakdown of the Dyson cordless stick models here. 

#2 (Best Budget) Hoover Linx

If the top pick was more than you want to spend, I don’t blame you–many people don’t want to drop hundreds on a vacuum to clean up their apartment. So I decided to throw in a vacuum you can get for under $100. The good news is this inexpensive vacuum is still small and powerful. The bad news is there are some sacrifices with a vacuum in this price range. Here are some highlights:

  • under $100
  • does a good job on carpet for a vacuum in this price range (about equivalent to a low-mid level upright)
  • can clean hard floors but does not have attachments for upholstery, countertops, etc (is light enough you could pick it up to clean a couch)
  • a little heavier than our top pick, but still under 10lbs
  • a few drawbacks: has a cord, doesn’t have the cleaning power of a good upright vacuum, a little bit bulkier than our top pick
  • Check the latest price of the Hoover Linx on Amazon by clicking here

#3 (most powerful, not-as-compact winner) Shark Navigator lift-away

My top 2 choices for small apartments are stick vacuums because that’s what many apartment owners need due to space. However, if you have a little closet space, you might be able to go with a little more powerful but still compact upright vacuum. This is our top choice if you can store it, especially for those with a shedding dog (dogs use up a lot of vacuums power!) Here are the highlights:

  • great suction competes with the highest-end uprights
  • cleans well on both carpet and hard floors
  • HEPA filter for allergy sufferers
  • detaches to become a handheld vacuum gives excellent versatility to clean nearly anything in your apartment
  • small enough and good maneuverability to get around apartment
  • also my top pick for best vacuum for the money
  • Check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

What to consider in a vacuum for a small apartment

Let’s go over what I looked for in a vacuum for an apartment. Everyone is a little different, so I broke these down by categories: best overall, best splurge, and best on a budget.

Each of our winners has these things in common:

Lightweight, easy to push, and easy to turn. This was one of the highest priorities. Small apartments don’t have the luxury of running a vacuum in a long straight line. Usually, you’re turning it around tables and chairs, and picking it up to reverse it. It’s not practical to have a big heavy upright vacuum (I made one slight exception on best splurge, but only because it is still very easy to maneuver, just a little heavy.

Note: Cord-free was also a consideration, but a cord wasn’t a deal breaker. A cord is annoying to deal with in a small space, but I also didn’t want to eliminate every vacuum that wasn’t cordless. If a corded vacuum could make a good enough case, it was considered.

Compact and easy to store: Your closet space is probably limited. Or maybe you don’t even have a closet to store the vacuum. This is a priority number one.

“Swiss army knife”/Does it all accessories: It’s hard enough keeping one vacuum in your apartment, so the more “jobs” your vacuum can complete, the more space it saves you from having to store other cleaning equipment. Almost all vacuums have attachments, but many I’ve tested seem thrown in just to say they have attachments. Other vacuums clearly do a good job transferring from carpet to hard floors to countertops to couches to blinds.

Oh yeah, and performance. The problem with a lot of little vacuums is they all say they’ll get your whole place clean but many don’t. This was actually the easiest way to eliminate vacuums from the list, and ultimately, it’s what separated the best vacuums above.

Captain’s parting words!

One of the vacuums above should make your apartment living a little less stressful. And a lot cleaner.

Anything else you want to know on the best vacuum for your small apartment?

Let me know in the comments below.

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