Vacuum cleaners -- not the most exciting topic. Until you take a look at the possible savings as manufacturers clear their existing stocks in anticipation of new offerings. Then it's a pretty big deal. See for yourself.
I own a Hoover vacuum at the moment; it's the second in a row. Their performance and reliability lead me to recommend this one, the Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Upright Vacuum ($130 and free shipping; was $170). Embedded dirt and pet hair stand little chance of escaping the proprietary WindTunnel technology when that stuff is sucked up and transported through the activated carbon filter that grabs dust and pollen down to less than micron size. When the capture bag is topped off, the OneTouch bag door opens to allow you to dump the bag without having to wrestle it from the machine.
If you prefer the convenience of a bagless vacuum, this powerful, 12 amp Bissell Cleanview Helix Deluxe Vacuum ($97 and free shipping; was $120) is ideal for all kinds of floors, with your choice of five height settings. Catching the dust in the corners is no problem -- this Bissell features a 15" wide, Dual Edge cleaning path; add to that the very helpful TurboBrush tool for stairs and furniture, and the Easy Empty Dirt Container, and you've got yourself a very effective cleaning tool.
The Dyson company's impressive design and engineering features are on display in the DC24 All Floors Ultra Lightweight Bagless Vacuum ($399 and free shipping; was $429). Lightweight at about 11 1/2 pounds, the Ball technology allows for effortless operation on all types of floors. Include One-Button dust emptying, a washable .1 micron HEPA filter to catch the tiniest of allergens and pollens, a 20 foot power cord, and a 5 year warranty, and you have yourself an easy-to-handle, top-notch vacuum.