Best lightweight vacuums
Bing: Oreck Magnesium RS
Oreck Magnesium RS ($500, amazon.com).
This slim superstar excelled at removing trapped dirt and pet hair from carpet and in just two passes picked up 92% of debris from bare floors. A breeze to use, it lies flat to scoot under furniture to snag dust bunnies. Its one drawback: no attachments.
Bing: Riccar SupraLite RSL5
Riccar SupraLite RSL5 ($699.95, riccar.com).
Even though this model had the highest price tag in our test, it was the only vacuum that achieved perfect cleaning carpeting scores, whether it was removing embedded dirt or pet hair.
Bing: Shark Rotator Lift-Away
Shark Rotator Lift-Away ($229, amazon.com).
This workhorse performs on carpet, bare floors, and other surfaces as an upright and morphs into a canister for greater portability; integrated tools tackle upholstery, drapes, and other challenges.
Bing: Bissell CleanView
Bissell CleanView ($80, amazon.com).
Highest-rated in the below-$100 range, it's a terrific carpet cleaner, is super-quiet, and has superior suction for attachments like its brush tool.
Dirt Devil Featherlite Bagless ($90, amazon.com).
This affordable machine is a steal for those with just carpeting in their homes. It performed very well at removing trapped dirt within carpet fibers and fairly well at getting rid of pet hair too.