So we were pleasantly surprised when one of the six upright and canister vacuums we just tested aced our rigorous noise tests. Claiming "whisper-quiet cleaning that a baby can sleep through," the Electrolux UltraSilencer EL6986 canister, $300 (shown), wasn't quite as quiet as a whisper. But this Electrolux is the quietest of the canisters in our continuously updated ratings of canister and upright vacuums (available to subscribers).
Most consumers also want a vacuum that does a strong job cleaning carpets, but those that do the best at our carpet-cleaning test tend to have a larger, noisier motor and, on canisters, a powered head that adds to the noise. The UltraSilencer lacks a motorized powered head and is geared more toward hard surfaces. The combination of a nonmotorized powered head and quiet operation seem to impact carpet cleaning, for which it earned a good. That's typical for many canisters but below the best for this key test. The UltraSilencer EL6986 scored impressively on bare floors—ideal if you don't have rugs or carpeting at home. Its airflow with tools, used when cleaning drapes and upholstery, was mediocre.
Manufacturers are obviously aware of the noise issue: The newly tested Miele S 7580 is one of only two uprights judged very good in our noise tests. (The other is the Dyson DC24 Ball All Floors). Unlike the Electrolux, the Miele was among the best at cleaning carpets, with fine bare-floor performance, excellent pet-hair pickup, and low emissions. A swivel-steer handle is supposed to make handling and turning easier. But at 22 pounds, the Miele S 7580 is among the heavier uprights in our ratings, and it costs a pricey $800.
If you want an affordable vacuum that cleans well and isn't too noisy, consider that the better a vacuum cleans, the fewer passes you'll need to make with it and the sooner you'll be done. Among the canisters and uprights we've tested, you'll find several reasonably quiet models that do a fine job with carpets and bare floors.—Ed Perratore | e-mail | Twitter | Forums | Facebook
Essential information: If you're in the market for a new vacuum cleaner, check out our free buyer's guide and our latest Inside Consumer Reports Test Labs posts.
In all honesty I have only ever found Dysons to be the quietist vacuums on the market, of course I have never done any proper testing but out of hoover, miele, elextrolux and Dyson have always performed for me. Another point is that I am on my 4th vacuum in around 12 years and the only one so far which is lasting longer than the others is the Dyson.
We've got a Sharp vacuum cleaner upright, it is so noisy it creates hearing damage!!! Also, when it is on, you feel the air bloaing out of it 12 feet away! Heavy, too.
So, for my next vacuum, I am getting one that ranked VERY GOOD or at elast GOOD for noise. After all, this will be used in my home, not on an industrial site.