Sand can be nice outdoors, but it’s tough to get rid of when it’s on your floors, car seats, and furniture. The best vacuums for sand should make removing it a bit easier by featuring a design that makes sense for the areas you’ll be vacuuming — along with the kinds of attachments that work to capture sand. They should also have the power you need to effectively suck up all that grit — but the ideal amount will vary depending on the type of vacuum.
The first thing you’ll want to decide is the type of vacuum that’s right for you. For spot-cleaning or small areas, cordless stick vacs or handheld vacuums can be a great choice, since they’ll give you greater mobility than an upright or canister vacuum. But since these vacuums need to be charged between uses and can’t always run for long, they might not make sense for a large space or heavy use. Upright or canister vacuums tend to be more powerful, too, and upright vacuums in particular are great for deep cleaning carpet. A corded upright vacuum might be more dependable than a stick if you need to cover a lot of ground, so long as you’re able to lug it around. And if you want the vacuum to perform light sand-removing maintenance without much effort from you, a robot vacuum could be a good choice.
It takes a powerful vacuum to do a good job sucking up sand, so no matter which type of vacuum you need, you’ll want to ensure that it’s up to the task. Depending on the information provided by the manufacturer, you may need to look at a vacuum’s airflow, suction power, and/or suction pressure in order to determine how powerful it is. The airflow, which is often described in cubic feet per minute (CFM) is a representation of how effectively your vacuum can move air — and the more airflow, the better. Most vacuum cleaners worth their salt have a CFM of between 50 to 100, while a good shop vac should have an airflow of around 125 CFM, potentially higher than upright, canister, or cordless vacuums. If the brand lists a vacuum’s air wattage instead, it’s describing the vacuum’s suction power. A good handheld vacuum should have a suction power of at least 15 air watts, and most full-size corded vacuum cleaners feature suction power of 100 to 200 air watts. Finally, there’s suction pressure, often measured in pascals or kilopascals; a good robot vacuum should have a suction pressure of at least 1,500 pascals. It’s worth noting that when it comes to power, corded vacuums will always be more powerful than cordless vacuums for the price.
Finally, depending on where you’ll be vacuuming, you might want to look for different types of brush options of the best results. For vacuuming carpet, a motorized brush may help clean more effectively and reach sand that’s embedded in the fibers. If you’re vacuuming hardwood floors, you’ll want a device without a brush, or one that allows you to turn it off, so the sand doesn’t scatter as you work. Crevice attachments can help with corners, cracks, and spots that can get missed.
No matter how much sand you have to remove, these are some of the best vacuums on Amazon to do it thoroughly, easily, and quickly.
1. The Overall Best Upright Vacuum For Sand
With an airflow of 61 CFM, the highly rated, reliable Shark Navigator has enough suction to remove sand quickly. And with a three-position switch, you can turn off its motorized brush roll, so it’s convenient to use on both carpet and hardwood floors. But this is just one of the several ways the Navigator is incredibly versatile. It’s a corded upright vacuum with a lift-away canister and hose, making it more portable than some other upright models. It has a 25-foot cord and swivel steering, so you stay reasonably mobile even when it’s plugged in. According to Shark, the sealed HEPA filter traps 99.9% of particles like dust and dander, so it should certainly be up to trapping sand. Plus, it has a 2.8-liter (0.75-gallon) bin to hold plenty of it. The vacuum comes with an upholstery tool and two crevice tools of different lengths to get into those hard-to-reach spaces where sand loves to hide.
Helpful Amazon review: “It's amazing! It's light, easily [maneuverable] and it sucks! It sucks great! My husband and I have a cat and we live on the beach and this little monster gets every cat hair and grain of sand we drag in. Worth every penny. I just cleaned the filters tonight and even that was easy.”
- Comes with: upholstery tool, two crevice tools
2. An Affordable Cordless Stick Vacuum
A good cordless stick vacuum can cost a pretty penny, and while the Tineco A11 Hero EX isn’t cheap, it’s well priced for what you get. It has a suction power of 120 air watts and a suction pressure of 22,000 pascals, and you can switch between three cleaning modes to adjust the suction as the task (and surface) demands. The stick vac can also convert to a lightweight portable handheld.
The vacuum has two motorized brushes — a power brush and mini power brush — so it can take on carpet, but they’re removable so you can clean hardwood floors without worrying about damage. While you will have to charge the vacuum in between uses, it runs for up to 80 minutes on a single charge — plus it has a 0.6-liter dust bin, so it’s easy to cover a lot of ground. Best of all, a fully-sealed four-stage HEPA filtration system captures hairs, dust, and other small particles like sand.
The vacuum also has a few nice features that set it apart from other options; a trigger lock holds the on position (so you don’t have to squeeze it continually like other stick vacs), and LED headlights illuminate the dark areas underneath furniture. If the Hero EX isn’t a good fit for you, the brand also sells a few different versions of the Hero.
Helpful Amazon review: “I bought this cordless stick vacuum as a convenient ‘broom’ for my kitchen's floors (which have a texture that traps dirt). But now, because it's powerful and the batteries last, I use it all over the house —it's replaced my canister vac. It is lightweight, the head swivels into corners and around furniture, and there's a light to illuminate dark areas like closets. Perfect for picking up pet hair and beach sand!”
- Comes with: power brush, mini power brush, two-in-one dusting brush, hair cleaning tool, crevice tool, pre-filter cleaning tool, wall-mounted dock
3. A Handheld Vacuum For Sand That Costs Less Than $100
This highly rated handheld vacuum is not only surprisingly affordable, but it also has a suction power of 35 air watts, which is more than many other cordless handhelds. That’s probably why, according to reviewers, it picks up sand super easily. It has a pivoting nozzle so you can target the areas you need, and a three-stage filtration system with an easy-to-empty, 0.44-liter (15-ounce) dust bin. However, the lithium 20-volt battery has run time of just 10 minutes, so it’s best for powerful, quick cleans in a car, under cabinets, or between couch cushions. If you need to clean for a bit longer but still want plenty of portability, you might want to opt for a stick vacuum instead. If you do want this handheld vacuum, however, know that you can buy it on its own or bundled with an air purifier or replacement filter.
Helpful Amazon review: “I have owned this vacuum for almost a year and I LOVE it! I am a mom of a 6 year old and a 4.5 year old and I own a mini van. I use it sometimes 3 times a week to just maintain the epic chaos that happens in a mini van. I live near the beach and this little guy is powerful enough to even clean up sand. [...] It gets into all the spaces I need it to. I love it for the space between the baseboards and carpet and for everyday cleanup. I have even used this to clean up a potato that exploded in my oven after it cooled down. The battery life is great for me. I've never noticed I need it to last longer. [...] I personally feel like it's a super powerful vacuum. I have a family member who has an older version of this and it doesn't compare. This is MUCH more powerful. I really recommend this.”
- Comes with: washable filter, pre-filter, on-board brush, on-board crevice tool, charging base
4. A Convenient Robot Vacuum for Sand
If you don’t feel like vacuuming that sand yourself, let a robot to do it. This eufy robot vacuum has 2,000 pascals of suction pressure, which should be plenty for effective cleaning, and its super-slim design (it’s 2.85 inches tall) can fit under any piece of furniture. It automatically increases suction power when its 10 infrared sensors detect an extra-hard job and uses two sided brushes and roller brush action to loosen, extract, and vacuum sand from low-pile carpet, hardwood, and tile floors. Brushes aren’t always the best choice for effectively cleaning sand from hardwood floors, but since a robot vacuum is meant more for light maintenance, it’s not such a bad thing here.
The RoboVac 15C MAX also comes with a remote control for spot cleaning, while its smartphone app lets you customize a cleaning schedule. You can also sync the vacuum with Alexa and Google Assistant. The dustbin has a capacity of 0.6 liters, and even though it runs for up to 100 minutes on a single charge, it will return to its charging base when the battery runs low by itself. This means you can truly set it and forget it.
Helpful Amazon review: “I am SO HAPPY I bought this. It has made my life easier. Background - I have two pitbulls and 4 cats and all hardwood floors, aka I used to sweep every day and vacuum twice a week to keep up with the hair, litter, and sand (I live in Florida) brought in from the yard. I run this vacuum every day, and spot clean with it as needed. [...] I never have to clean anymore than that and I can walk around my house barefoot and not feel gross with all the hair/litter/sand. I recommend everyone and anyone get one, it is so worth it. Recommend 100%.”
- Comes with: remote control (2 AAA batteries included), charging base, AC power adapter, cleaning tool, extra set of unibody filter, 4 side brushes, 5 cable ties
5. A Canister Vacuum For Sand That’s Great For Hardwood Floors
If you’re picking up sand from hardwood floors or low-pile carpets, this Miele canister vacuum has an impressive maximum airflow of 140 CM, and you can adjust the amount of power between six different power settings depending on your needs. It also doesn’t have a motorized brush, so it shouldn’t damage your floors. And with its three-tiered, sealed filtration, no sand should escape once you’ve sucked it up. The vacuum’s cord extends to 29.5 feet, and it uses bags with a capacity of 4.5 liters each. You can buy the device in a few different styles and colors, depending on your preferences, too.
Helpful Amazon review: “I bought this little gem for my cottage and I am so impressed. I have 2 hairy dogs and 4 kids = daily vacuuming. This Miele vacuum doesn't even hesitate to tackle the sand and hair that my lovelies deposit daily for me. I have a low pile rug and many scatter rugs throughout the cottage and this vacuum cleans like my larger Miele at home. Very impressed. Thank you Miele for making such a great product.”
- Comes with: dusting brush, crevice tool, upholstery tool
6. A Large-Capacity Wet/Dry Vacuum For Heavy-Duty Sand Cleanup
When you have a large mix of wet, dry, and/or coarse sand, you’ll need a large capacity wet/dry vacuum to handle it all. And with a 75.7-liter (20-gallon) tank capacity and an airflow of 125 CFM, not to mention a 6.5 HP motor, the Craftsman wet/dry vac is the perfect solution for dealing with bigger sand removal jobs in the garage or other heavy-duty sites. It can suck up all kinds of messes, including sand, with its five attachments and 7-foot-long hose. This shop vacuum is a heavy machine at 30 pounds, but moves easily on four swivel casters on hard and soft surfaces. The 20-foot power cord gives it some mobility and an oversize drainage spout is easy to empty. When you’re not trying to suck up sand, it can also act as a blower for quick cleaning on decks, driveways, or sidewalks. If you don’t need a 20-gallon vacuum, this also comes in 12- and 16-gallon sizes.
Helpful Amazon review: “I bought this vacuum after reading many reviews and I’m glad I did. I was remodeling my house and needed a vacuum that could handle fine dust, so I purchased this vacuum and the fine dust filter separately. I also used the dust bag that came with it. I was very impressed with how well it worked! No output of dust at all. Strong suction. On wheels, so it is easy to maneuver. The different attachments are also very helpful especially for pet hair. Definitely recommend this vacuum!”
- Comes with: Hose, Two Extension Wands, Car Nozzle, Wet Nozzle, Utility Nozzle
7. A Cordless Vacuum That’s Worth The Splurge
It may be pricy, but if you buy the Dyson 11 Outsize, you won’t be sorry. The cordless stick vacuum is engineered to deeply clean your whole home, with an unusually powerful 220 air watts of suction and a motorized brush roll that’s great for capturing sand particles. And Dyson’s dynamic load sensor technology will automatically sense and adapt to changes in floor type to extend run time without requiring you to change vacuum heads. There are multiple power levels — eco, medium, auto, and boost — so you can adjust the suction up or down. The vacuum can run for up to 120 minutes, so you should have no trouble with running out of charge while you’re cleaning large spaces, and it has a 1.9-liter (0.5 gallon) dust bin capacity. It uses a HEPA filter for the best filtration of particles. A slick LCD screen on the vacuum’s handle will keep you up to date on those power levels, battery run time, and general performance. It has a bunch of different heads and attachments (including motorized ones) so you can be sure it’s going to pick up sand well. What more could you even ask for?
Dyson also sells a few other versions of this vacuum if you aren’t so sure the Outsize is a fit.
Helpful Amazon review: “I love this vacuum! I used a Dyson cordless vacuum at my friend's house and was impressed with how easy it was to use. I kept thinking how great it would be at my house, close to the beach, where there's dirt, sand, crumbs, etc. on the wood and carpeted floors everyday. I got the Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum Cleaner and it's changed the way I think about cleaning my floors. It used to be such a chore and so time consuming... plugging in the cord for each area and constantly pulling it out of the way. Now I can quickly and easily go from room to room, hard surface to carpet seamlessly. The motorized cleaning head swivels into any direction you want it to go for easy maneuverability. I also love that this Dyson cordless converts into a handheld to get small clean ups or stairs done quickly. This vacuum has made my life SO much easier! It has great suction power and is easy to empty. The LCD screen tells me which of the three cleaning modes I'm in and how many minutes I have left until the next charge. I would definitely recommend this product to my friends.”
- Comes with: High Torque XL cleaner head, combination tool, crevice tool, mini motorized tool, stubborn dirt brush, wand storage clip, docking station, charger, mini soft dusting brush, additional charger