When is a child old enough to learn about keeping the family home neat and clean? The right answer, according to moms surveyed worldwide, is the moment they begin to walk! The nice thing is that younger kids are eager to help, to be ‘grown-up.’
Kids are usually fascinated by vacuums. The sounds are like toddler white-noise. To be honest, the little ones I know always loved to ride the big vacuum instead of pushing one.
Below we take a good look at ten of the best toy vacuums available in today’s market. We’ll judge them according to the quality of manufacture, suitability for children, and that elusive fun factor.
Our top picks of the best toy vacuum for kids
Here O.B. Toys offers your child much more than a housecleaning set of toys. This Vacuum Set (check price on Amazon) is a real janitorial outfit that includes a trolley on wheels with a brush, broom, sponge, basin, dustpan, spray bottle, mop, and working vacuum cleaner.
Beware! This means some serious cleaning of your home by your youngster! Watch them wheel their cart through your home looking for dust, fingerprints, and dirty carpets.
Recommended for children three years and older. Product dimensions (L x W x H) are:12.5 x 12.5 x 20 inches. The weight is unreported. The vacuum requires three AA batteries (not included). The toy has a soft sound but no lights.
What we love
- There are lots of options for cleaning with this product. A determined child might take an hour or more cleaning one room.
- With all the tools available hanging on the cart, there's little chance a youngster will be quickly bored.
- This janitorial set might be great for some boys who would shy away from the pink Minnie Mouse vacuum above. The trolley looks just like the big guys in the supermarket use.
- For a working vacuum, two AA batteries seem to be way underpowered. There might be a need to lay in a good-sized supply.
- With children this age, it might be hard to keep all the pieces and parts on the trolley where they belong.
The Miele appliance lines have cache, so this kid-sized vacuum with the Miele logo (check price on Amazon) is bound to have the tasteful child enchanted. The lights flash, the sounds are realistic, though it doesn’t actually vacuum! It looks great, and if mom and dad have a real version, this is too cute to pass up for the kids.
Product dimensions are 7.9 x 18 x 7.1 inches and it weighs 3.75 lbs. The vacuum needs four C-cell batteries to operate the lights and sounds. Recommended ages for use are from 3 to 7 years.
What we love
- The aesthetics of the product design are great.
- Sleek design will enchant youngsters who want a more realistic toy than those with brightly colored kiddie vacuums.
- The four C-cell batteries represent a pretty big power requirement for a vacuum that doesn’t provide suction.
- Some parents reported that the noises were annoying. They recommended letting the batteries die when the kids then make the noise themselves.
- Buyers reported uneven experiences with construction quality.
Best budget buy
Say goodbye to brightly colored plastics! Here is a wooden, old-school, no battery toy that will have the toddler cleaning up right behind mom or dad. This Melissa & Doug toy (check price on Amazon) comes complete with objects that need to be vacuumed pronto! There is even a list of the eight wooden pieces that the child needs to capture in a compartment attached to the toy.
Dimensions: 6.8 x 5.8 x 20.1 inches
Weight: 2.5 lbs.
Recommended age range: 3 – 5 years.
What we love
- This toy requires no batteries.
- In most cases, parents reported good construction and up to heavy wear and tear.
- The eight wooden objects to pick up with the vacuum are just barely over the choking hazard limit and, in one case, below it at 1-1/8 inch. Either buy a Small Object Tester. Alternatively, use an empty toilet paper roll. If the toy fits through the tester or the cardboard roll, then it’s too small for children under 5 and needs to be thrown away
- The toy only works on carpeting.
- The vacuum is designed for kids more than 30 inches tall.
Best toy vacuum that really works!
This Dyson Replica (check price on Amazon) looks just like the real Dyson appliance. If you have one in your home, your kids will love vacuuming right behind you with theirs. The vacuum suction works to an extent. It can pick up small pieces of paper or polystyrene balls.
Your child won’t be able to clean his bedroom carpeting. The vacuum has the iconic Dyson yellow ball and swivels, turns, and twists just like the real thing. There are two buttons on the vacuum. One works the suction while the other activates the cyclone action that rotates small colored balls in the cylinder.
The Dyson Toy Vacuum is designed for children from 3 to 9 years old. Product dimensions are 7.1 x 5.6 x 19.8 inches, and it weighs 1.76 lbs. The vacuum requires four C-cell batteries (not included).
What we love
- The design of the Dyson vacuum is very realistic and a real match for the life-size one.
- The vacuum suction does work to a small extent. The paper bits collect in a removable bin for emptying.
- This is an easy vacuum to move through the play-acting without physical exhaustion. It’s light and easy to move.
- This product is labeled by the manufacturer as a choking hazard, so unsuitable for under-3s. Once again, either buy a Small Object Tester. Alternatively, use an empty toilet paper roll. If the toy fits through the tester or the cardboard roll, then it’s too small for children fewer than five years old.
- At a height of 25 inches, this will be a difficult toy to operate for those less than the recommended age of three years.
- Some parents say that the arrangement of the buttons is confusing for children to operate.
Best vacuum toy for toddlers
Kids won’t just be learning to keep their homes clean, but also be able to learn critical intellectual concepts at the same time. As the child pushes the cleaner, it talks to the child, introducing shapes, colors, and letters.
This Fisher-Price Vacuum (check price on Amazon) will also play songs and simple talking phrases if the tot constantly pushes the vacuum. The child can control the action by pressing three buttons that light up or the on/off switch. There are three levels; 6 months, 12 months, and over 18 months.
Product dimensions are 9.5 x 6.7 x 15 inches and it weighs 1.95 lbs. It’s designed for ages 1 to 3 years. The vacuum requires 2 AA batteries (included).
What we love
- Smart Stages Technology allows the toy to grow with the child.
- There are 30 songs, tunes, and phrases. The child will likely not be bored by repetition.
- A manual switch changes the stages.
- The vacuum does not stand up on its own.
- The handle is not adjustable. Some of the kids at the upper recommended age range had to bend over to reach the low handle.
- You are unable to switch between songs and phrases since they are pre-programmed.
Best for younger kids
Here’s a clean-up trio that’s truly old-school. There are no fancy full-sized vacuums here! There’s a talking broom, a dustpan, and a hand-held vacuum toy. The dust-buster imitator doesn’t vacuum but does make sounds!
The Kidz Delight Cleaning Set (check price on Amazon) would be fun when the family is cleaning the car. There are speech and sound effects when in operation.
This set is recommended for ages 3 and above. Product dimensions are 32″L x 5.5″W x 2.4″H.
Requires 4 AA batteries (included).
What we love
- The broom can be adjusted for height.
- A usual set of cleaning tools that can be used in addition to a full-size toy vacuum.
- The character voices are annoying to some parents.
- Four batteries are inconvenient and, perhaps, expensive.
Best mini vacuum
This Minnie Mouse Home Appliance (check price on Amazon) is the perfect gift for a toddler girl entranced by the world of Disney. It’s very pink, of course, and sports a twinkling bow that lights as she cleans.
Inside the canister are pearlized beads that swirl around while the toy is operating. There’s a vacuum-like sound while it operates. The toy arrives set on a ‘demo’ mode which must be turned off before the toy can operate correctly.
We have it on good authority that you must learn the Clean Up Song for that authentic vacuuming atmosphere!
The toy is appropriate for children from 3 to 6 years. The vacuum is 8.5 x 9 x 25 inches and weighs 3 lbs. Requires 3 AA batteries (included).
What we love
- Batteries come in the shipping box so the child can play with the vacuum immediately.
- The toy only runs while the child pushes it, saving battery life.
- The sound feature can be turned off.
- Some parents have had concerns about the durability of the product.
- Some girls have shown little interest in the vacuum after a relatively short time.
Our 8th choice
The latest design in home vacuums, a 2-in-1 with a stick vacuum for floor use and an attached handheld device. The PlayGo 2-in-1 Vacuum Cleaner (check price on Target) makes sounds and features a removable dust catcher. This toy comes in various colors. The removable hand vacuum makes sounds (but provides no suction) and has a dust catcher.
The 2-in-1 is designed for children from 2 to 10 years. The product’s dimensions are 21.3 x 9.5 x 5 inches, and it weighs 3 lbs. Battery requirements are 3 C cells (not included), and 3 AA batteries.
What we love
- The dual use 2-in-1 design is modern and realistic looking enough to convince young folks that they're using a real device.
- Twice the vacuums, twice the cleaning time is a formula bound to keep kids occupied for longer.
- This is an easy vacuum to move through play-acting without physical exhaustion. It’s light and easy to move.
- Although the manufacturer recommends use for kids up to 10 years, the 21” height might make that a problem. Bending double to use a toy doesn’t usually lead to heavy use. Besides, by that time, kids should be using the real vacuum to pick up real dirt.
- The battery requirements seem to be a problem. Supplying three C and three AA cell batteries can get expensive, not to mention inconvenient.
Best for girls
Another winner for little girls who love their characters. The Hello Kitty Vacuum Cleaner (check price on Amazon) is a very cute appliance that sports an attached dust-buster.
There’s no suction, but there is a vacuum-like sound. There’s a trick to the sound, however. The heart-shaped button that turns it on must be continuously pressed down, or it will stop.
The manufacturer recommends this toy for children from 3 to 6 years. The product measures 9.5 x 8 x 16 inches with a weight of 2.75 lbs. The vacuum requires 3 AA batteries (included).
What we love
- The Hello Kitty design is front and center which should please fans.
- The hand-held attachment provides a bit of extra cleaning fun to get out those stubborn imaginary dirt particles.
- The vacuum has a unique on/off feature. In the “Try Me” mode, if the child turns on the noise and walks away, the noise stops after a few seconds rather than droning on and wasting batteries.
- Parents reported that the sound of the plastic wheels on the flooring or carpeting make a loud, screeching noise that is nearly intolerable to some.
- Some purchasers had to ask for replacements due to poor construction of the toy.
Best for boys
If your children like shop-vacs just like dad and grandpa used on Saturday, then Little Henry Vacuum (check price on Walmart) is just right for them. You may not be aware that Henry is a canister vacuum for adults and real-world dirt destroying.
The adult version has the same cartoon face as this child’s version. Little Henry is red and marketed for boys. There’s a pink version, Little Hettie, for girls who care about that sort of thing.
The vacuum works to an extent, picking up small bits of paper and poly-beads. There are some accessories like dustpans and sweepers which fit neatly inside the container. This toy would be great fun in the big yard sheds they have down South, or in a more normal garage.
This product is for children between 3 and 8 years. Little Henry is 21 x 21 x 22 inches and weighs 2.96 lbs. Included cord for toting is about two feet long. Requires four C-cell batteries.
What we love
- Great design, particularly for boys and dads.
- Parents report that the noise is not irritating.
- This is a good vacuum for older kids, rather than the more babyish choices.
- A few parents had to have their original purchase replaced due to construction defects.
- As always, unbox before giving. There could be some construction issues.
What to look for in a child’s vacuum
As you can see from the list above, there are several different styles of vacuums for kids. It’s best to choose one that looks as much like the real home vacuum as possible.
Kids love identifying with their parents and grandparents. They’ll love to follow right behind picking up the dirt you’ve ‘missed.’
First, keep firmly in mind your child’s height and physical ability. If you’re buying for a two-year-old, don’t buy a 24-inch vacuum that is taller than he is. Buy for today, not tomorrow.
Are there lots of accessories? Are there too many? Are they the kind of extra tools the child will want to use, or will they just get thrown aside? Each child is different, so keep the knowledge of your child’s play habits firmly in mind.
If you have a delicate little flower, anything will stand up to her play. If you have a toddler/bruiser bound for the NFL, you’ll need a different product!
Test before you gift
When your chosen vacuum arrives, hide it immediately on a high closet shelf. After your child is sound asleep, unpack the box, and assemble the toy.
One poor child opened his Christmas box and found not a vacuum, but only a set of extra accessories jammed into the box. Let this happen to you, not the child…
Make sure everything fits correctly, works as advertised, the batteries are live, and you discover no problems. If you order the toy in plenty of time, you’ll be able to replace it on time, if necessary.
Replace the vacuum back into the box if possible, and you’re done till Christmas or their birthday without big disappointments or heartbreaking tears.
Activities with kids and their vacuums
For the most part, kids really want to be helpful to mom and dad at the ages these toys cover. Don’t let them listlessly follow behind you but, rather, let them think they’re really helping you.
- The ‘I Can’t Reach It’ game:
Give your child a purpose. If you’re vacuuming a room, ask your little one to help you get to places only her little vacuum can reach. Big vacuums have a hard time reaching along the edges of the carpeting along the wall, under furniture, and behind drapes. Ask your kiddo to go behind you and make sure they go over those places with their handy-dandy little vacuum that’s just right for these places. It’s a sure bet that they’ll take their newfound responsibilities seriously!
- The ‘I Spy’ game:
This is along the lines of I Spy With My Little Eye. If you buy a working or semi-working vacuum, have your child look around the room before you vacuum. They’ll soon get pretty good at spotting small bits of tissue, bits of paper or bobs of thread. Write down all he finds. After he sweeps them all up, check his progress to see if he missed anything. If he checks at the same time and finds something before you, he wins.
Our top pick
The O.B Toys & Gift Kids Cleaning Vacuum Set (check price on Amazon) is our favorite. There are loads of opportunities to clean with a nice set of easily accessible tools which ensure a full and creative playtime.
This might appeal to boys, though girls will love it, too. Younger children aren’t yet so exposed to the strictures of gender rules.
Your child can dust all the furniture, sweep up a bit of dust from the corner, and put it in the dustpan. Finally, when everything sparkles, they can vacuum the floor or rug.
This product is highly regarded by parents and children alike!