Preparing for college is an exciting and at times, overwhelming time!
Streamlining your cleaning routine and purchasing a vacuum that fits your needs will help reduce any headaches associated with cleaning.
Moreover, it will set you up for success in terms of preparing and encouraging you to clean. According to the American Cleaning Institute, 75% of college students don’t feel prepared to clean (source).
That said, it’s important to have a clean and organized space for well-being, physical health, and mental health (source).
Supplying yourself with a vacuum (along with eco-friendly cleaning supplies!) will help to make your living space a clean and relaxing retreat!
- Best Handheld: BLACK+DECKER dustbuster
- Best Cordless: BISSELL, 3061 Featherweight Cordless Stick Vacuum
- Best Upright: Shark NV356E Navigator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum
- Best Robot: eufy by Anker, BoostIQ RoboVac 11S
Best Vacuums for Dorm Rooms
Best Handheld: BLACK+DECKER dustbuster
- MULTI-SURFACE USE – Removes hair, dirt, and debris from carpets, car interiors, furniture, and high-traffic areas.
- LIGHTWEIGHT AND PORTABLE – Easy to carry and maneuver, even in tight spaces. Has a charging base which cannot be mounted on a wall.
- ERGONOMIC DESIGN – On-board extension means you won’t need to bend over as often.
Portable, lightweight, and bagless, this dustbuster will make cleaning your dorm room a breeze.
The design of this dustbuster pays special attention to cleaning tight spaces and hard-to-reach areas, which is well-suited for a small dorm room.
The rotating slim nozzle rotates 180 degrees, allowing you to swiftly clean tight spaces at different angles. You can access hard-to-reach areas like between couch cushions and on top of shelves by using the pull-out crevice tool.
A reviewer notes, “If you’re seeking a powerful and versatile handheld vacuum to streamline your cleaning routine, the Dustbuster AdvancedClean is an excellent choice. Its exceptional performance, ease of use, and cordless convenience make it an indispensable tool for maintaining a clean and inviting living space.”
- Multi-surface use: can be used on carpets, furniture, and in cars
- Lightweight and portable: easy to carry and maneuver
- Ergonomic design: features on-board extension, which means you won’t need to bend over as often
- Rotating slim nozzle: this feature helps get into tight spaces at different angles
- Pull-out crevice tool: helps you to access hard-to-reach areas
- Flip-up brush: adds an extra layer of versatility for dusting and vacuuming upholstery
- Cyclonic action: spins dust and debris away from the filter
- Easy-view dirt bowl
- Washable dirt bowl and filter
- Charging base cannot be mounted on a wall, and some reviewers note the unit sitting on the charging stand is unstable and easily knocked over, so ensure you have a good spot to charge it
- Not the best for weekly floor vacuuming or stairs
- Reviewers note it is loud (one reviewer noted it’s as loud as a 747!)
- Filters need to be replaced every 6 – 9 months, and they retail for roughly $9 each (at the time of publishing this article)
- Filter type: Cartridge
- Power Source: Battery powered
- Included Components: Flip-up brush, crevice tool, washable filter
- Weight: 2.6 pounds
- Runtime: 11 minutes
- Charging time: 240 minutes
- Noise Level: 78 dB
- Wattage: 23
Best Cordless: BISSELL, 3061 Featherweight Cordless Stick Vacuum
- Every Purchase Saves Pets. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet Foundation and its mission to help save homeless pets..Runtime: 20.0 minutes
- Cordless, Lightweight Vacuum. 10.8V lithium-ion battery provides up to 20 minutes of run time and charges in just 4.5 hours.
- Two-Way Folding Handle. Breaks down for compact storage and extended reach feature cleans under furniture.
True to its Featherweight name, at 5.8 pounds, this is the lightest upright vacuum on our list.
Its lightweight and slim form make it easy to maneuver and navigate, allowing you to get into nooks and crevices. Moreover, you’ll be able to easily clean upholstery or small spaces with the built-in removable hand vacuum.
One reviewer notes, “You will not go wrong with this vacuum, it’s easy to charge, easy to dump the waste, easy to clean the rotary brush, it’s light weight and perfectly priced!”
Fun bonus: every Bissell purchase supports the Bissell Pet Foundation and its mission to save homeless pets.
- Cordless and provides up to 20 minutes of run time
- Charges in 4.5 hours
- Two-Way Folding Handle: Breaks down for compact storage and extended reach feature cleans under furniture
- Includes Tools: upholstery brush and crevice tool
- Removable hand vacuum, easy-to-empty dirt bin
- Washable filter
- Power button is close to the top of the handle, and you might mistakenly turn it off early
- Filter type: Washable filter
- Power Source: Battery powered
- Included Components: Battery, crevice tool, brush
- Weight: 5.8 pounds
- Runtime: 20 minutes
- Charging time: 4.5 Hours, though reviewers note it’s often quicker
- Noise Level: 84 dB
- Wattage: 150
Best Upright: Shark NV356E Navigator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum
- LIFT-AWAY FUNCTIONALITY: lift away the detachable pod and easily clean above-floor areas like stairs, furniture, and more.
- ANTI-ALLERGEN COMPLETE SEAL: Works with a HEPA filter to trap 99.9%* of dust and allergens inside the vacuum cleaner. (*Based on ASTM F1977 of particles .3 microns or larger.)
- BRUSHROLL SHUTOFF: Instantly switch from more maneuverability on deep carpets to gentle bare floor cleaning.
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away is a fantastic option if you are serious about vacuuming and want the best suction power available. It boasts almost 35,000 4.5 stars on Amazon, many highlighting its strong suction and ease of use.
Its strong suction allows you to deep clean carpets and hard floors, and the detachable lift-away pod enables seamless stair cleaning and above-the-floor spaces.
At the time of publishing, this is the priciest vacuum on our list, and I would consider it an investment for college years and beyond.
- Lift-Away Functionality: easily lift away the detachable pod and clean areas like furniture and shelves
- HEPA filter: Anti-allergen complete seal traps 99.9% of dust and allergens
- Brushroll shutoff: Quickly switch from more maneuverability on deep carpets to bare floor cleaning
- Perfect for Pet Owners: picks up pet hair, loose debris, and dander out of upholstery and rugs
- Swivel-Steering: easily maneuver your vacuum in tight spaces
- Extra-Large Capacity Dust Cup: 2.2-Quart capacity for longer cleaning sessions
- Check: no soft brush attachment- dustbin door release at the bottom means possible contact with contents
- Might be bulky for dorm room storage
- Filter type: Foam filter
- Power Source: Corded electric
- Included Components: Pet power brush, dusting brush, and crevice tool
- Weight: 13.7 pounds
- Runtime: Indefinite
- Noise Level: 80 dB
- Wattage: 1200
Best Robot: eufy by Anker, BoostIQ RoboVac 11S
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Set it and forget it cleaning! The Eufy by Anker BoostIQ RoboVac 11S is perfect for a busy student who wants a hands-free and quiet vacuuming option.
This hands-free vacuuming option was voted the best Budget Robot Vacuum by Wirecutter as it is very quiet and fits under more furniture than most models.
It’s a great option if you have a busy schedule and roommates. Just make sure you’re prepared to empty the cartridge after every use!
- Ultra-Slim: 2.85”H enables this robot to fit under most furniture
- Automatically returns to charging base when power is lower
- Non-stop cleaning: large wheels roll over carpets and climb over door ledges
- Pre-set vacuuming time
- Triple filter system
- Not as durable as the mightiest of robot vacuums
- Filter type: Cartridge
- Power Source: Battery Adapter, controlled by a remote
- Included Components: Remote control (2 AAA batteries included), charging base, AC power adapter, cleaning tool, extra set of high-performance filters, 4 side brushes, 5 cable ties
- Weight: 5.73 pounds
- Runtime: 100 minutes
- Noise Level: 55 dB
- Suction Power: 1,300 Pa
What to Look for in a Dorm Room Vacuum
For many college students, budget is a top consideration when making any purchase. The vacuums on our list presently retail for $50 – $200.
Consider whether you are making a long-term investment (Shark vacuum might last for 10 years!) or a short-term purchase.
Cord vs. Cordless
Do you prefer the ease of vacuuming without a cord? Go with cordless!
Or will the charging station/time be an unnecessary burden for you? Consider your preferences to determine whether cord or cordless will be a better fit.
Consider what suits your cleaning style and space best when determining which vacuum type is right for you.
Handheld, upright, canister, and robot vacuums all offer different capabilities. Read on to learn which is best for your needs.
As the name indicates, handheld vacuums are held in your hand. They are smaller than most other vacuums and can typically go where bigger ones can’t. They are great for picking up crumbs, car seats, fur on couches, or other isolated vacuuming jobs.
Perfect for large rooms and lots of carpet, upright vacuums stand upright and have a dirt container and motor attached to the powerhead.
It is a single vacuum that typically reaches hip height on the user. Easier to use than a handheld or canister because less bending is required, but keep in mind the weight might be heft to move back and forth.
Upright vacuums are easy to store due to their long, narrow, compact shape.
Perfect for lots of stairs and hard-to-reach spaces thanks to the strong head that extends away from the vacuum.
A canister vacuum has a separate motor and dirt container from the handle and power head. The canister houses the dust bag and is wheeled behind the powerhead.
They tend to have more powerful suction. These can be difficult to store as there is a canister and a long tube.
A Robot vacuum is an autonomous vacuum cleaner. The robot has sensors, and you can program your cleaning routine to effectively “set it and forget it.”
A robot vacuum might be a good option if your house has little to no elevation changes so the robot does not get stuck. Especially if you have low pile carpet and flat, hard surface flooring and minimal clutter.
How much space do you have to store a vacuum and its accessories? Cordless and robot vacuums take up less space than upright vacuums with cords, but they require charging stations.
How hefty of a vacuum are you comfortable using? Think of your own body frame and size as you’ll be pushing the vacuum back and forth (unless you opt for a robot vacuum).
One of the most important vacuum features is its suction power. However, manufacturers don’t always make suction power and airflow information available. Referencing the wattage is a good indication of how powerful the vacuum will be.
Knowing how your vacuum filters and how to keep the filter clean is key to maintaining your vacuum. Most filters need to be cleaned every 3-6 months.
Vacuums with bags have bag filters. Bag filters need to be replaced when full.
Typically cyclone filters only require being wiped down with a damp cloth.
Foam filters collect smaller particles of dust. Foam filters are in place to catch any missed debris from the primary filter. They can be easily washed in the sink by running under water and squeezing out debris multiple times until the water runs clear and then air dry.
Cartridge filters are very common and typically have a circular design made of foam, folded paper, or synthetic materials. Check your specific vacuum model to see if it is washable or if it will need to be replaced.
HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filter) is a filter that’s designed to capture very small particles. Most true HEPA filters cannot be cleaned.
Some vacuums sound as loud as a hair dryer and can be disruptive! If you have roommates, maybe opt for a quieter version to avoid disturbing them.
The Eufy by Anker is the quietest vacuum on our list, measuring 55 dB, while other vacuums on our list measure between 78dB to 84dB.
Offering a 20-minute battery life, the Bissell Featherweight likely has enough battery life for you to vacuum your whole dorm room. One reviewer notes, “The battery life is good, too. We have 1,700 square feet and I’m able to do the entire house in one charge.”
The Black + Decker Dustbuster offers an 11-minute battery life, which is likely enough time for tackling messes, but it might not be enough time for a standard weekly clean.
Dorm Vacuum Comparison Chart
Ideally, you will vacuum your dorm room 1-2 times per week.
That said, if you think, “There is no way I’m vacuuming my dorm room,” consider a set-it-and-forget-it option like the robot vacuum. Another low-commitment option is to ask a neighbor to borrow their vacuum.
If you want to ensure you have a clean and comfortable room to retreat in, we recommend committing to a cleaning schedule and having a vacuum on hand.
It depends on how heavily trafficked it is! The more traffic a room gets, the more vacuuming it needs. A good rule of thumb is 1-2 times per week.
Fun fact: if you have a no-shoes policy, you’ll reduce the amount of dirt, dust, and bacteria that gets tracked, so you won’t have to vacuum as often. Need a place to store shoes? Check out our Under Bed Shoe Storage Solutions!
Clean it regularly! Commit to weekly dusting and vacuuming in your room. Use your vacuum’s brush attachment to remove dust from fabric drapery and upholstery.
Clean your ceiling fan, tower fan, or box fan blades quarterly. Eliminate as much clutter that could collect dust as possible.
Final Thoughts on Dorm Room Vacuums
I hope this list helps you decide which vacuum is best for your dorm room.
Preparing for college can be an exciting and chaotic time. Ensuring you are set up to tackle your weekly cleaning schedule ahead of time will help to streamline the transition.
Best of luck!