As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread all over the world, public interest in cleaning and disinfecting technologies has exploded. Consumers everywhere are obsessed with ensuring that the surfaces, fabrics, and people near them are as clean as possible. While it's never a bad thing to clean the surfaces and items in your home, remember that the CDC maintains that social distancing and practical hygiene habits remain the only truly effective ways to guarantee that you minimize your exposure to COVID-19.
UV vacuum cleaners are one niche cleaning technology gaining traction amid global fears of the pressing pandemic. UV vacuums simultaneously disinfect and clean fabrics. Sales of UV vacuums have surged in recent months, owing much of their success to consumer concerns about the virus and what it might do to their own households.
But are UV vacuums the right choice for you? Should you buy an ultraviolet vacuum cleaner? Some people use UV vacuums to sanitize their homes, protecting their families during flu and cold seasons. Other people use UV vacuums to boost the sanitization and filtration power of an ordinary vacuum cleaner.
UV vacuums are also popular for allergies, bad odors, pet owners, and more. There has been a big spike in the interest and popularity for ultraviolet light sanitizers too. There are very interesting trends developing within the at-home goods and everyday items marketplace, from blue light blockers to face masks, EMF protection, from radiation poisoning exposure and so on – and now, ultraviolet vacuum cleaning technology is sweeping the nation during a heightened time of awareness for personal environment cleanliness. Taking protective actions towards eliminating harmful airborne particles, dust mites, germs, viruses and allergens through the use of UV light vacuum cleaners seems to be next up on the high in-demand list.
No matter why you want to buy a UV vacuum, you have plenty of options. Today, we’re highlighting some of the best ultraviolet vacuum cleaners available from Amazon and other major retailers. This guide will also synthesize our research on a number of main factors behind the UV vacuum technology, including answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the growing industry of cleaning technologies.
As always, our writers have made every attempt to ensure that the list below is comprehensive and helpful to consumers. Still, this list represents the opinion of our staff only. You might have different preferences, needs or priorities. For this reason, the list below is not ordered and should be used as a starting point for your own research on UV vacuum cleaners.
Dibea Vacuum Cleaner
The Dibea Vacuum Cleaner uses a 300W high-power motor and high frequency vibration to clean surfaces. The vacuum cleaner vibrates at up to 33,000 cycles per minute, literally beating dust out of pillows, carpets, bedsheets, mattresses, couches, and other surfaces. The dust then passes through three rows of S-type brushes for thorough cleaning.
We appreciate the 15-foot long cord and lightweight of this machine, which makes it easy to use anywhere in the house. We also appreciate the 20cm long 253.7nm UV lamp, which claims to sterilize dust at an efficiency “almost up to 99.9%”. Meanwhile, the 6-stage HEPA filtration systems removes particles as small as 0.3 microns.
Housmile Vacuum Cleaner 836
Housmile is one of the best-known brands in the UV vacuum space. The Housmile Vacuum Cleaner 836 is the latest version, offering more powerful suction (up to 12Kpa) and a longer power cord (16.4 feet) along with an advanced, concealed telescopic handle that allows you to clean without bending over.
For sterilization, the Housmile Vacuum Cleaner 836 contains a 253.7nm UV tube and 130 degree Fahrenheit temperature hot air to remove pollutants at a rate of 99.7%. The vacuum cleaner claims to eliminate mites – not just suck them up. The HEPA filtration system, meanwhile, captures particles as small as 0.3 microns and releases the particles as fresh air.
Housmile Mattress Vacuum Cleaner 810
Housmile has multiple UV vacuums on this list. Their Mattress Vacuum Cleaner 810 is an older version than the 836 model, but it still offers powerful cleaning at a reasonable price.
Although the vacuum cleaner is marketed as a mattress cleaner, it also cleans bed sheets, pillows, couches, and more. The system promises to provide advanced HEPA filtration while capturing 99.98% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, making it more effective than either of the two options listed above. As for the UV light, Housmile has increased power 20% over previous models, and the UV sanitization system claims to kill more than 99.7% of bed bugs, dustmites, microorganisms, and bacteria.
Raycop RN UV Sanitizing HEPA Allergen Vacuum
The Raycop RN is an allergen vacuum that combines the best features from Raycop’s other two popular models, the RS2 and LITE. RN offers improved performance in a slim and sleek design. Key features include the RayClean technology that removes dust mites, pollen, and 99% of common bacteria and viruses from fabric surfaces.
The Raycop RN uses a UV lamp with a wavelength calibrated to effectively eliminate over 99% of bacteria and viruses. Raycop claims that laboratory tests have confirmed that their unit leaves behind “close to 0%” of E. coli and Staphylococcus bacteria. A HEPA filtration system traps particles as small as 0.3 microns.
Housmile 804 Anti Dust Mites UV Vacuum Cleaner
The 804 is the third Housmile UV vacuum cleaner on our list. It’s the oldest of the three, yet it still offers advanced HEPA filtration and UV filtration. The unit uses 253.7nm UV tube sterilization and 55 degree Celsius temperature hot air to kill mites, bed bugs, microorganisms, and bacteria.
Housmile claims their system has a 99.7% effectiveness rate against mites and bacteria. It also captures particles as small as 0.3 microns, capturing the particles and releasing fresh air. The Housmile 804 UV vacuum cleaner works best for mattresses, pillows, cloth sofas, and carpets.
Tineco A10 Hero Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
Tineco’s A10 is a cordless vacuum cleaner that uses a stick design – not the handheld design seen in the units further up this list. With 3,300+ ratings on Amazon, the Tineco A10 has an average score of 4.0 out of 5.
There are three versions of the Tineco A10, including the Hero, Hero+, and Master Models. All three units come with the same 350W motor for deep, powerful suction. However, other features – like battery life and wall mounting – are slightly different between units.
Price: $150 to $250
LivePure Ultramite UV HEPA Allergen Vacuum & Fabric Sanitizer
LivePure’s Ultramite is a UV vacuum cleaner that removes dust mites, bacteria, viruses, and more from bedding, mattresses, furniture, and upholstery. LivePure claims their vacuum is “doctor recommended”, trapping 99.7% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, including pet hair and dander, pollen, smoke, mold spores, and dust mite debris.
As with most other UV vacuum cleaners listed here, LivePure Ultramite is handheld, allowing you to easily reach hard-to-get areas of your home or room. At $230, LivePure’s Ultramite isn’t the cheapest UV vacuum on the list, but it claims to offer advanced cleaning and sterilization compared to competitors.
Raycop Lite UV Vacuum
The Raycop Lite UV Vacuum has a UV lamp that uses a wavelength “calibrated to effectively eliminate over 99% of bacteria from fabric surfaces” around the home. You run the UV vacuum over a targeted area – like a mattress or couch. Then, you enjoy a clean and sanitized area.
The Raycop Lite uses pulsating pads that vibrate between 4,600 and 5,000 times per minute, agitating and loosening household dust, dirt, and dust mite matter. The vibration function removes dust and allergens three times better than non-UV vacuum cleaners. Meanwhile, a HEPA filter eliminates over 99.9% of dust mites and other matter.
Make Lemonade UV Vacuum
Make Lemonade has launched a UV vacuum cleaner that may be the most futuristic-looking option on this list. The vacuum uses non-toxic UV bulbs to safely eliminate 99.9% of dust mites, bacteria, microorganisms, and allergens in less than five seconds.
The vacuum has an 18V lithium battery that goes from 0 to fully charged in less than 4 hours. Each full charge gives you 20 minutes of continuous use. Along with a UV sanitization system, the Make Lemonade UV Vacuum uses a HEPA filtration system that captures 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.
Euleven UV Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
The Euleven UV Handheld Vacuum Cleaner uses UV sanitization and HEPA filtration to clean beds, mattresses, cloth sofas, carpets, and more. There’s a UV light tube at 253.7nm wavelength inside. The vacuum also uses 55 degree Celsius hot air to target germs and bacteria.
Meanwhile, the bottom of the vacuum hits the fabric with 3,800 cycles per minute of high frequency vibrates, while the HEPA filtration system captures 99.97% of all particles as small as 0.3 microns. The vacuum weighs just 3.2 pounds – making it one of the lightest options on our list. It’s also available at a very reasonable $70. It may not have the power of other units here, but it does a good enough job.
Moonxiao Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
The Moonxiao Handheld Vacuum Cleaner is a budget, made-in-China UV vacuum cleaner that claims to sterilize bed sheets, mattresses, pillows, cloth sofas, carpets, and more of allergens, dust mites, and other particles. The vacuum has a power rating of 300W, a dust box capacity of 500mL, and a UV light that sterilizes anything the vacuum comes into contact with.
It’s not as powerful as other UV vacuums on this list, and there doesn’t appear to be a HEPA filtration system. However, if you’re looking for a budget UV vacuum that does the job without breaking the bank, then the Moonxiao Handheld Vacuum Cleaner is an option.
Yuebaobei Handheld Dust Mite Cleaner
Yuebaobei is another made-in-China UV vacuum cleaner catered to the budget market. The small vacuum features a UV sterilizer, a dust mite collector bed, and other features found on better vacuums above.
Unlike other budget options, the Yuebaobei Handheld Dust Mite Cleaner claims to use HEPA filtration. In fact, the company claims their HEPA filtration system is more effective than other top-ranked options on this list, capturing 99.98% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, then releasing the fresh air. It’s also available in a flashy pink color – which may or may not be a good thing based on your preferences.
How We Ranked
All UV vacuums make similar claims. They all claim so sanitize your home with UV light and advanced filters. Our editorial team used the following factors to separate good and bad UV vacuums.
Power: Some UV vacuums are weak, while others are powerful. Some have 2,500 rotations per minute (RPM), for example, while others have over 5,000.
Particle Size: The best UV vacuums clean particle sizes as small as 0.3 microns. We were wary of UV vacuums that only cleaned larger particle sizes – or did not disclose their particle size limits.
HEPA Filtration: HEPA filtration is the gold standard for vacuum cleaners. The best UV vacuums use HEPA filtration, while cheaper units do not.
UV Sanitization System: All UV vacuums above used UV sanitization systems for added cleansing power. However, the effectiveness of UV sanitization systems varied between units. We preferred UV vacuums that disclosed the wavelength and type of UV light used.
Particle Box Size: UV vacuums have particle boxes that collect dust mites and other allergens. Box size varies widely between units from 250mL to 1,000mL.
Ease of Use: Some UV vacuums have extender bars or other features that make them easier to use. Some have awkward, uncomfortable grips.
Hot Air Sterilization: Some of the top-ranked UV vacuums on our list sterilized germs with UV light and hot air. Housmile has two patents for its hot air drying system, which is why you don’t see it on all vacuums.
Manufacturer Reputation: There are some trusted names in the UV vacuum space, and then there are manufacturers that have entered the space to make quick money.
Transparency: Ideally, the UV vacuum manufacturer discloses all technical specifications of the unit. Some of the cheaper UV vacuums, however, did not even disclose the wavelength of UV light used.
Price & Value: The UV vacuums above range in price from $60 to $300. We wanted to feature a range of vacuums for all budgets. Some people want a cheap and basic unit, while others want to splurge on a more advanced UV vacuum.
Who Should Use a UV Vacuum?
UV vacuums are popular among anyone who appreciates a clean home. Ordinary vacuums may not target dust mites and other allergens. A UV vacuum kills these germs at the source, giving you a cleaner, fresher-smelling house.
UV vacuums are generally advertised as a way to clean mattresses, sheets, pillows, and sofas. Most are not designed for cleaning large carpet areas. They can still effectively clean any carpet – but they’re smaller units, so it may take more time to clean a larger carpet area.
If you have a bed bug or dust mite problem, then you might use a UV vacuum to clean it up. Yes, wiping down a surface might kill some bacteria, but eggs and other bacteria may be lodged deep within the fabric. A UV vacuum cleans the targeted area with UV sterilization – it doesn’t just suck up part of the problem.
Many allergy sufferers will also buy UV vacuums. If you notice bad allergies around your home, or if you are susceptible to allergens like pollen, then a UV vacuum may fight the problem.
Some pet owners buy UV vacuums for the same reason. UV vacuums can clean mattresses, pillows, pet beds, and other targeted areas, removing germs, bacteria, and odors.
Ultimately, ordinary vacuums work great for certain surfaces – but not others. UV vacuums are ideal for sanitizing fabric surfaces around your home – especially if you have recently noticed germs, odors, bacteria, bed bugs, or similar issues.
Benefits of UV Vacuums
UV vacuum manufacturers advertise filtration ratings of 99.9% or higher, claiming to destroy many bacteria, germs, viruses, pathogens, and more. Using a combination of vacuum technology, hot air, and UV light, these vacuums can cleanse virtually any fabric.
At least – that’s what UV vacuums claim. Is there any science behind a UV vacuum? Or is it just an overpriced vacuum?
UV vacuums surged in popularity in the mid-2000s, fueled by products like the upright Halo UVX vacuum, which was priced at $600. Researchers wanted to see if these vacuums worked – so they launched some tests.
Researchers from Ohio State University measured the effectiveness of the Halo UVX vacuum, testing its ability to sanitize a carpet surface compared to the same vacuum without UV light. They published their study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Researchers found that colony forming units (CFUs) of bacteria decreased 78% with just the vacuum (no UV light), 60% with the UV alone, and 87% with both the UV light and vacuum.
Researchers also found that the use of UV alone or UV with the vacuum reduced CFUs as low as zero. In other words, the vacuum completely eliminated bacteria during testing.
The study was later announced with a press release stating, “UV light nearly doubles vacuum’s effectiveness in reducing carpet microbes”, with researchers praising UV-equipped vacuums for their “germicidal” properties.
The study faced some controversy for using unequal levels of germs between tests. The Federal Trade Commission would later investigate the Halo UVX vacuum’s claims of eliminating microbes. However, the 2010 study remains a landmark moment in the UV vacuum space.
In 2010, Consumer Reports tested a series of vacuums, including ordinary vacuums and UV devices. While they admitted that some UV vacuums were effective at killing bacteria, there were many better non-UV vacuums available at half the price.
Of course, this was back in the day when a UV vacuum cost $600. Today’s UV vacuums are $60 to $250, which makes them much more competitive with ordinary vacuums.
One 2012 study sought to replicate the effects of the breakthrough 2010 study. That study, published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, examined whether UV-C light attached to a vacuum had germicidal properties. Researchers applied the UV-C vacuum to organisms and their eggs, then observed the results. Here’s what they concluded:
“Ultraviolet C irradiation is lethal to an array of organisms by damaging their nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). This study demonstrates the increasing mite mortalities with increasing exposure times and decreasing distances.”
In other words, UV-C radiation effectively killed dust mites and their eggs by literally disrupting their DNA, killing the bacteria at the source.
So how do modern UV vacuum cleaners compare? Are today’s UV vacuum cleaners the best sanitization systems available?
Unfortunately, there have been few studies analyzing the effectiveness of UV vacuum systems, so it’s difficult to say whether or not UV vacuums work as advertised.
However, there have been plenty of studies showing that UV sanitization systems work as advertised, killing bacteria and germs. A study led by researchers from Duke University in 2018, for example, found that adding short-wavelength ultraviolet-C light (UVC) to standing room cleaning strategies modestly decreased hospital-wide incidence of two common healthcare-associated infections.
Today, many hospitals use UV light to sanitize surfaces and items. Handheld UV sanitization systems – including the ones in the vacuum cleaners listed above – can also be effective for killing germs, bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants.
It’s important to note that ultraviolet radiation is most effective at the UV-C wavelength range. If your UV vacuum does not disclose its wavelength range, or if it does not use UV-C light, then it may be less effective.
Many of the UV vacuums above also use HEPA filters. HEPA is a proven filtration technology. In one landmark 1990 study, researchers analyzed the effectiveness of HEPA filters over a 4 to 8 week period, using a double-blind, randomized group. Researchers concluded that HEPA significantly reduced allergic respiratory symptoms because of its strong filtration technology.
Overall, research shows UV vacuums work as advertised to filter and clean targeted surfaces. Studies have specifically shown that UV vacuums sanitize areas more effectively than ordinary vacuums. Although UV vacuums were originally criticized for their high price tag (they used to cost $600 in 2008), they’re now an affordable and effective way to clean a home.
Frequently Asked Questions About UV Vacuums
UV vacuums are a relatively established technology, but the recent explosion in popularity has created a wealth of information that can be difficult for the average consumer to navigate. This section will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about both UV vacuums and our picks for the top ones of 2020.
Q: What is a UV vacuum?
A: A UV vacuum is an ordinary vacuum with a UV-C light attached. The ultraviolet light sanitize germs, using the same technology that many hospitals employ to disinfect surfaces and fabrics of germs.
Q: How does a UV vacuum work?
A: A UV vacuum uses a beater bar (like an ordinary vacuum), as well as an ultraviolet light to sanitize a targeted surface. The light shines down on the affected area, while the beater bar agitates the region. Any dust mites or particles get sanitized, agitated, and sucked up into the vacuum. When both of these cleaning methods are combined, supporters of UV vacuums argue that cleaning efficiency can be greatly improved.
Q: Why are UV vacuums handheld?
A: Most UV vacuums are handheld because they’re smaller units designed for smaller areas, such as your pillows and mattresses. Most UV vacuums are not designed for larger areas like carpeted rooms. Some UV vacuums have long handle attachments, however, to aid in the cleaning of larger surfaces.
Q: Do UV vacuums actually work?
A: Yes. Studies suggest that UV vacuums are genuinely more effective than ordinary vacuums for sanitizing targeted areas. However, researchers have only performed a handful of studies to date, so the amount of research on this topic is severely limited.
Q: How do you use a UV vacuum?
A: You use a UV vacuum just like you would use an ordinary vacuum, running the vacuum over the surface you want to clean. Most UV vacuums should primarily be used on smaller surfaces, so be sure to consult your vacuum instructions before usage.
Q: What is the best UV vacuum?
A: See the top of this guide for our picks of the best UV vacuums. Housmile and Raycop are two of the most popular UV vacuum brands, although a number of companies are making headway in the growing industry.
Q: What is HEPA?
A: HEPA is a filtration technology that stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. A HEPA filter is proven to remove certain particles from the air. Many of the UV vacuums above use HEPA filters.
Q: Where do you buy UV vacuums?
A: You can find dozens of UV vacuums online at Amazon and other retailers. Walmart and other brick-and-mortar stores also sell UV vacuums. Additionally, some products are sold exclusively on their official website. We included links above in our guide to the top UV vacuum picks for 2020.
Q: Are UV vacuums safe?
A: Yes. Ultraviolet light is not linked with health problems at the wavelengths used in UV vacuums.
Q: Can you use UV vacuums around pets and kids?
A: Yes. UV vacuums have not been shown to be dangerous around pets or kids. Research on the safety of UV vacuums is relatively extensive, given that the tech has been used in hospitals for decades.
Ultraviolet (UV) vacuums may clean fabrics more effectively than ordinary vacuums. Ultraviolet light sanitizes the area, while the vacuum sucks the particles up. The end result is a cleaner mattress, carpet, or other surface.
If you want to reduce dust mites, bacteria, and other germs in your house, then consider buying a UV vacuum today. Our guide should provide you with all the information necessary to begin your research on this important product category.