If you have hard flooring, carpet and/or flat surfaces in your home, which just about covers every possibility—there are three specific vacuum cleaners that deserve your attention: an upright, a cordless stick vac and cordless handheld. These are the three worker bees that I own, love and don’t want to live without.

Familiarize yourself with these vacuums and their specific uses and you’ll know why each one gets my designation of for Best Inexpensive™ in its specific category.

Shark Professional Navigator Lift-Away

Shark Navigator Professional

In the decade since I  met and fell in love with my first Shark upright vacuum, I’ve purchased, tested and  worked nearly to death (it’s really hard to wear out a Shark) many Shark vacuums because the company comes out with a new model or two about every week, or so it seems. I can say with confidence, there is no better basic corded, upright vacuum cleaner on earth.

Now throw in the lift-away feature on some models (allows user to pop off the lightweight canister to easily carry and vacuum stairs), an extended wand for high reaches, high-capacity dirt cup, anti-allergen HEPA filter and 30-foot electrical cord and you’ve got yourself a Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Vacuum—a fantastic piece of housecleaning equipment. But here’s the most important feature—the price. Wow! I’d put my Shark up against any brand, anytime, anywhere and I’m talking about even those pricey European brands that come in at $1,500 and more.

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Eufy Cordless Stick Vac

I’ll be honest. There are times I just don’t want to open the closet, pull out Sharkie, unwind the cord, plug it into an outlet to handle a small yet annoying situation like crumbs on my dark wood floors or dirt tracked in from the garden. I’m pretty sure those minor situations would just sit there until later—until some more convenient time. That’s how things used to be before I met Eufy.

Look, I’ve tested and tried cordless stick-type vacuums in the past and honestly, what a pain. No, really. They were heavy to start with, unbalanced with the motor in the end of the handle; had no capacity to stand on their own, and would lose battery power in what seemed like only a few seconds. Really? Who needs that? But then, Eufy. This is the dream cordless stick vac I would have invented had I thought about it in time. Ha! Seriously, I can whip out Eufy in a matter of seconds because she lives in a handy place.

Eufy HomeVac Lightweight Cordless Upright stick vac is powered by a mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery. That’s one of the secrets to its awesomeness. A full charge not only holds power until I need to use it (I can store it anywhere in the house, not necessarily attached to its charger), it has a seemingly endless runtime. I’m talking 30 minutes or longer of continuous use!

Eufy is super lightweight, perfectly balanced, has a swivel head and—ready?—headlights! I purposely turn off the lights in my powder room so I can see every speck of dust and dirt Eufy needs to gobble up from the dark wood floor. It’s almost fun.

Last, Eufy is easy to clean. I give her a bath (well, sort of) every couple of weeks. So easy, so efficient.

Think of Eufy HomeVac Lightweight Cordless Upright stick vac as a modern broom and dustpan in one pass. And as a bonus, Eufy will pick up dust an debris from the surface of low-pile carpet (but you need Sharkie if you intend to deep clean dirt out of carpet).

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Black+Decker Cordless Hand Vac

This little sweetheart of a handheld vacuum is the best I have ever owned. That says a lot once you understand that prior to this gem, I had a Dyson handheld, an early Dustbuster, a Bissell model and a couple of other off brand numbers. The problems were many, but the biggest one? Runtime. What’s the point of a cordless hand vac that only “vacs” for a few minutes? So annoying! And that Dyson Root weighed a ton. My arm would give out just about the time it would run out. Of power. Argh!

But then this new Black + Decker Cordless Hand Vac with 16-volt Lithium battery came into my life. It’s the battery! Lithium is just the best thing that ever happened to the world of batteries for so many reasons, but mostly that it holds a charge until used. That gives this cordless vac a fabulously long runtime.

It’s lightweight too, And cleaning? So easy. It comes apart easily, with the filter and dust cup being completely washable! I do it right in my utility sink, allow it to dry for a few hours, and we’re back in busines. It helps that I have three of these babies always at the ready in different parts of the house.

Here’s the thing: Housecleaning tools like vacuums need to be handy and ready to go. If I have to go up a flight of stairs to find a vac to clean up that little sprinkling of coffee grounds I just accidentally dumped into a drawer, will I? Or will I just close the drawer and tell myself that I’ll do it later when I’m up there anyway. I think you know the answer to that.

When I’m just feet from a vacuum because it’s in a handy place, all charged up and ready to go—that just makes me happy. It makes my drawers, floors and bare feet happy, too!

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