Choosing the Best HEPA Vacuum

For those that have been adversely affected by mold illness, it is important that your living environment be maintained as a safe place where you will not be exposed to potentially harmful organisms. One tool to help you in this goal is a HEPA vacuum. In an ideal world, we would all have built-in central vacuums that exhausted directly to the outside. Since this is not an option for many people, the next best thing is to find the best HEPA vacuum for their situation.

What is HEPA?

A HEPA or high efficiency particulate air filter is a filter that removes 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger. This high degree of filtration is important since there are many more very small mold spore fragments found than whole mold spores. The use of HEPA filtration helps ensure that these small particulates or fragments as well as the larger intact spores can be safely removed from the indoor environment. Although many vacuums may claim to have HEPA-like filtration, very few vacuums actually meet the rigid criteria to be called a HEPA vacuum. True HEPA vacuums not only have a HEPA filter but are also specially sealed so that no air is able to escape before passing through the filter. This means that the particles you vacuum up actually remain in the vacuum rather than being dispersed into the air that you breathe. HEPA filtration is also important for people that suffer with allergies to dust mites, pets, pollen, or other environmental allergens.

PictureNameType of VacuumFilter TypeFlooring TypePriceRating
Miele S8390 Kona Canister VacuumCanisterHEPALow- to high-pile carpeting, rugs, and smooth flooring.$$$4.5
Miele S8990 UniQ Canister Vacuum CleanerCanisterHEPALow- to high-pile carpeting, rugs, and smooth flooring.$$$$4.1
SEBO 90640AM Airbelt D4 Premium Canister Vacuum with ET-1 Powerhead, BlackCanisterS-class exhaust microfilterCarpet or smooth flooring.$$$4.8
Miele Swing w/Microset & SFD20 Flexible Crevice Tool Upright Vacuum, S7580UprightHEPAAll pile carpeting, area rugs, and all smooth flooring. $$$4.2
Miele S6270 Topaz Canister Vacuum Cleaner, Tayberry RedCanisterOptional HEPALow- to medium-pile carpeting, rugs, and smooth flooring.$$4.8
Miele S8590 Marin Canister Vacuum + SEB 217CanisterHEPALow-pile carpeting, rugs, and smooth flooring.$$$4.6
Miele S7580 AutoEco Upright Vacuum CleanerUprightHEPAAll pile carpeting, area rugs, and all smooth flooring. $$$4.1
Miele S8380 Cat & Dog Canister VacuumCanisterOptional HEPALow- to high-pile carpeting, rugs, and smooth flooring.$$$4.1
Miele S7260 Cat & Dog Upright Vacuum CleanerUprightOptional HEPAAll pile carpeting, area rugs, and all smooth flooring. $$4.4
Miele S8390 Calima Canister VacuumCanisterHEPALow-pile carpeting, rugs, and smooth flooring.$$4.8
SEBO 9807AM Felix 1 Premium Onyx Upright Vacuum with Parquet, Black/SilverUprightS-class exhaust microfilterCarpet or smooth flooring.$$4.6
Miele S8590 Alize Canister Vacuum CleanerCanisterHEPALow-pile carpeting, rugs, and smooth flooring.$$4.5
Miele S7280 Jazz Upright Vacuum CleanerUprightHEPAAll pile carpeting, area rugs, and all smooth flooring. $4.4
Miele S6270 Quartz Canister Vacuum CleanerCanisterOptional HEPALow-pile carpeting, rugs, and smooth flooring.$4.5

Both Miele and Sebo vacuums are German made and engineered to last for many years. It is important to note that not all models from either company are optimal when choosing the best HEPA vacuum. Many Sebo models place the filter before the motor rather than after the motor which means that the air coming out of the motor itself is not filtered effectively before being released into the room. Certain models of Miele vacuums, in particular the S2 series, do not have a sealed system which can in turn allow air to escape before it passes through the HEPA filter. However, the Miele models with a sealed system and HEPA filter are 99.99% effective at removing all particles 0.3 microns and larger as demonstrated by independent laboratory testing. It is also important to note that not all models come with a HEPA filter. As listed above, it is an option for some models and must be purchased separately, so if choosing a model that is listed as having an optional HEPA filter, don’t forget to buy one along with your new vacuum. It is easy to replace the provided filter with a HEPA filter and should be done when assembling the vacuum in order to get true HEPA filtration. Also don’t forget to stock up on extra vacuum bags for your new vacuum.

Top Picks for Homes with Carpet

Miele Kona Canister Vacuum

The Miele Kona is an exceptional canister vacuum with many great features. It is lightweight yet powerful and also has a low noise level. Its 33-foot operating radius means that you can clean more before having to find a new place to plug it in. It comes complete with a fully sealed system and HEPA filter to provide superior cleaning. The electrically-driven carpet tool with brush roll is ideal for homes with a lot of carpet. Given the fact that Mieles are engineered to last for 20 years or more, this machine will provide you with many years of exceptional service.

Miele Swing Upright Vacuum

If you prefer an upright vacuum, then the Miele Swing is the one for you. With its 54-foot cleaning radius, swivel neck design and automatic height adjustment, it will make cleaning your home a breeze and can easily go from carpet to smooth flooring surfaces and back again with ease. It comes with a large-capacity vacuum bag that has a spring-loaded self-sealing collar to keep the dirt from escaping. It has 6 variable suction power settings to clean everything in your home.


Top Picks for Homes with Smooth Flooring

Miele Alize Canister Vacuum

If the majority of your home has smooth flooring with just a few scatter rugs, then you don’t require the same powerful cleaning head that you would need for carpeting. The Miele Alize is a lightweight, powerful canister vacuum that has a fully sealed system and HEPA filter. The cleaning head has no brush roller which makes it better suited for smooth flooring surfaces, and its 33-foot operating radius makes it easy to clean all the areas of your home. It is a quiet vacuum cleaner that has 6 suction control settings plus an automatic setting.

Top Economy Picks

Miele Quartz Canister Vacuum

For homes with smooth flooring surfaces, the Miele Quartz is a small, lightweight, inexpensive canister vacuum with no brush roller. The HEPA filter is optional on this model, so be sure to buy one when purchasing your new vacuum. It has a 33-foot cleaning radius to make it easy to reach all areas of your home and 6 variable power settings for suction control. It is also a very quiet vacuum that has an indicator to tell you when the vacuum bag needs to be changed.

Miele Jazz Upright Vacuum

If you are looking for an economy upright model, then the Miele Jazz is the one for you. It comes complete with a sealed system and HEPA filter as well as 54-foot cleaning radius, swivel neck design, and automatic height adjustment which makes it suitable for both carpeting as well as smooth flooring surfaces. It also has 4 variable suction control power settings and a large vacuum bag with a spring-loaded self-sealing collar.