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Hoover Uprights. These tend to cost the least and account for the most sales. They still tend to do better than canisters on carpets, and their one-piece design makes them easier to store. But many weigh more than 20 pounds, and some are less stable than canisters on stairs. Price: $100 to $500 for most.

Hoover Canisters. The best can clean carpets about as well as uprights. Most are quieter and can be easier to maneuver, since you're moving only the hose and powerhead. And most are better at getting under furniture. But the added clutter of the hose and wand makes canisters bulkier overall and harder to store. Price: $150 to $700 for most.

Hoover Central vacuums. These work like a canister vac, letting you move only the hose and powerhead. They're also relatively quiet and require less-frequent emptying. But they're pricey and typically require professional installation. Their roughly 35-foot hose can be cumbersome, and there's no place to carry tools while you work. Price: $500 to $1,250 for most, plus $300 to $750 for professional installation.

Hoover Stick vacs and hand vacs. These miniature electric vacs come with and without a cord and can be handy for small, quick jobs. But both types typically lack the power of full-sized models. Price: $20 to $100.  Provided by