Feb. 24, 2011 -- A vacuum cleaner is a major purchase, and like other budget-conscious consumers, you'll want to find the best one for your money.
Mandy Walker, the magazine's special projects editor, appeared on "Good Morning America" today to share the magazine's findings.
Click HERE to see more Consumer Reports vacuum cleaner reviews.
She explained how Consumer Reports conducted its testing: They ran the vacuums and measured the decibels. They used them to determine how easy they were to push around, and tested how well they cleaned carpets by running them repeatedly over carpet into which dirt had been pressed.
They evaluated how the vacuums worked on pet hair and sand on a floor, and also tested how much dust and dirt was left in the air so people with allergies could be aware, she added.
Top Pick: Kenmore Intuition 31100, $260.
Walker said this was the best buy because it was very good on floors and carpets. An upright cleaner with a bag, the Intuition has excellent tool airflow so you'll get good performance when you use a tool to clean your drapes or upholstery.
Best Bagless Upright
Hoover WindTunnel T Series Rewind, $130
Because you will need to replace bags, this will mean an added expense, but although some bagless vacuums can be messy to clean up, this one was good, Walker said. It worked well on floor and carpets. Walker said the magazine had stopped recommending Hoover vacuums because many of its replacement parts can be expensive if a repair ever needed to be done. But the magazine recommends this model, she noted.
Dyson DC28 Animal, $600
Consumer Reports also recommends the Dyson Animal. Walker acknowledged the device was expensive but said it had an excellent repair rate and did a great job on carpets and pet hair. It also has new technology that automatically adjusts to carpet's height, she added.
Best Inexpensive Model: Dirt Devil Featherlite Bagless, $50
The Dirt Devil is only $50. It used to be $60 and the manufacturer dropped the price, Walker said. Weighing in at 13 pounds, the machine is easy to maneuver and ideal for apartment-dwellers. It's also good for people who have lots of stairs because you can carry it easily up and down the staircase. It's also good on carpets, she said. The only drawback was that the Dirt Devil was a little noisy, Walker added.
Best Canister Vacuum: Kenmore Progressive, $300
Many people find this type of vacuum easier to maneuver and easier for stairs thant an upright vacuum, Walker said. Canisters typically did well on bare floors but poorly on carpets, but this model was great on both, Walker said.
Bagless Canister: Hoover Platinum Bagless Canister, $365
The Hoover was number one in this category, Walker said. She noted that this vacuum worked well on carpets and floors and the height was adjustable.