The Best Canister Vacuums

While modern vacuum cleaners come in various colors and stylish designs, the most important factor to consider is how well they clean. You might also wonder which type of vacuum is best for cleaning your flooring? Should you purchase a model with or without bags? How loud does it run? And finally, how heavy is the vacuum cleaner?

Finding the best canister vacuum for your home means reading reviews, studying product features, and diving into the ins and outs of available attachments and tool configurations. We reviewed dozens of canister vacuums to identify the best of the best, based on Amazon reviews, how well they performed in cleaning tests, cost, and other considerations. We narrowed our search down to 5 of the top-rated canister vacuums home owners can purchase to ensure a clean and healthy home.

Top pick
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Kenmore 81614 Bagged Canister Vacuum

Great at cleaning both hard and carpeted floors, this is the best canister vacuum out there

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$279.99 USD

We’ve identified the Kenmore 81614 Bagged Canister Vacuum Cleaner as the best canister vacuum out there. With powerful suction control, micro-filtration, and a 28-foot, retractable cord, this canister vacuum is one that will keep your entire home in tip top shape. These benefits allow homeowners to put their best foot forward when company comes to call, or just for maintaining a mess-free space for themselves.

The 5 Top-Rated Canister Vacuums for 2018

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallKenmore 81614 Bagged Canister Vacuum Cleaner4.0
Runner UpMiele Complete C3 Marin Canister Vacuum Cleaner4.5
Best Budget BuyOvente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner4.3
Best Bagless Canister VacuumBissell Zing Canister Bagless Vacuum Cleaner4.2
Best Small Canister VacuumBissell Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum Cleaner4.1

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: Kenmore 81614 Bagged Canister Vacuum Cleaner

The Kenmore 81614 Bagged Canister Vacuum is an all around win when it comes to cleaning your floors. Consumer testing found it to be excellent at cleaning hard floors such as tile and hardwood, and very good at suctioning up dirt and debris from carpeting. This versatility, combined with a brush on/off switch makes it a solid choice for cleaning every room in your home. At 23 pounds, it’s not so heavy that you’ll tire using it, and there is integrated storage for the included accessories.

It comes complete with a 28-foot power cord, which customers liked for cleaning larger rooms, and the telescopic wand is more than capable of cleaning under a king-sized bed. Customers were amazed at the level of suction such a small vacuum could manage, but it’s not surprising given its 2-motor system and Power Flow technology.

With an MSRP of $360, it doesn’t come cheap, but the quality craftsmanship associated with the brand, as well as the ease of setup and use more than justifies that price. It has a rating of 4.0 on Amazon with nearly 300 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing homeowners to make the investment.

Kenmore 81614 Bagged Canister Vacuum Cleaner Key Features:

  • Automatic cord rewind for convenient storage when not in use
  • Includes a motorized attachment for lifting stubborn pet hair, dander and more from carpeting, baseboards and furniture. It also comes complete with an integrated bare floor nozzle, crevice tool, and dusting brush
  • Adjustable suction power “dirt sensor” swivel head makes for easy right/left cleaning around corners and furniture

Our Runner-Up Pick: Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Runner Up
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Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Premium features and best-in-class cleaning power for those with an unlimited budget

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$1,099.00 USD

The Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister Vacuum Cleaner earned top consumer testing ratings, and was found to be excellent for cleaning both bare floors and carpeting. If you have allergies or respiratory concerns, the HEPA AirClean filter will have you breathing easier, as it excels at containing any dust it sucks up. The manual carpet-height adjustment lets you adjust the brush to suit the pile height of your carpeting, while the suction control is ideal for cleaning drapes.

It features a six stage variable speed motor controlled via footswitch pedals, along with integrated LED lighting on the brush to help you see where you are cleaning — especially useful when vacuuming under furniture.

The staggering MSRP of $1100 is the main reason this canister vacuum was our runner-up and not the top pick. Even though it is quieter than other models, it will be difficult for many consumers to justify the hefty price tag. It has a rating of 4.5 on Amazon with over 100 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing homeowners that this vacuum cleaner is worth it if they can swallow the cost.

Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister Vacuum Cleaner Key Features:

  • Self-adjusting Automatic setting decreases suction as you transition from hardwoods to carpeting, then increases suction when you return to smooth, solid flooring
  • Quality tested to provide up to 20 years of reliable use
  • Includes an integrated dusting brush, upholstery, and crevice tool

Budget Pick: Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner

Best for Budget
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Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner

A vacuum with several premium attachments for added value

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$74.99 USD

The Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner is a good choice for those who need powerful suction at an affordable price. It is available in a choice of four fun colors, and boasts 1,400 watts of suctioning power. One thing users like is that the replacement HEPA filters for this vacuum cleaner are available for under $20. It also includes many premium attachments designed to make cleaning various surfaces easier, including a floor brush, combination crevice nozzle/bristle brush, upholstery tool, telescopic wand, pet/sofa brush, and a bendable multi-angle brush. With the ability to clean so many different surfaces, it provides even more value for those looking to stretch their cleaning budget.

With an MSRP of $100, this canister vacuum is a solid choice for those looking for a powerful and effective option on a budget. It has a rating of 4.3 on Amazon with nearly 500 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing homeowners that this budget-friendly pick is just as good at cleaning up as its more expensive counterparts.

Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner Key Features:

  • Translucent dust compartment to easily see when the dust container and/or filters are full. Dust compartment is easy to clean with just water
  • Hose swivels 360-degrees for increased maneuverability
  • Includes a 1-year warranty for added peace of mind

Best Bagless Canister Vacuum: Bissell Zing Canister Bagless Vacuum Cleaner

Best Bagless Canister Vacuum
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Bissell Zing Canister Bagless Vacuum Cleaner

Say goodbye to the hassle and expense of replacement bags and filters

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$49.99 USD

The Bissell Zing Canister Bagless Vacuum Cleaner features a mess-free, bottom-tank emptying system that helps to keep dirt off of your hands. Weighing less than 8-pound, it includes an integrated carrying handle for ease of portability around the home. The telescopic wand and swivel steering make maneuvering around furniture a breeze, and the 15-foot power cord retracts with the push of a button. It also boasts a two-stage filtration system to help capture more fine dust and particles.

Users report that this canister vacuum is excellent for cleaning bare floors, while providing adequate carpet cleaning. It includes a bare floor nozzle and crevice tool, as well as a 1-year limited warranty.

With an MSRP of $50, this little vacuum cleaner is totally worth the price for those looking to go bagless. It has a rating of 4.2 on Amazon with over 200 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing homeowners that a bagless model is a reliable choice.

Bissell Zing Canister Bagless Vacuum Key Features:

  • Washable and reusable air filters to cut down on costs
  • Brush on/off switch for easily moving between carpet and bare floors
  • Air flow regulator for cleaning drapes and upholstery

Best Small Canister Vacuum: Bissell Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Best Small Canister Vacuum
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Bissell Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Powerful suction in a lightweight and compact design, that won’t break the bank

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$49.99 USD

The Bissell Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum Cleaner is a good choice for those who need powerful suction in a lightweight and compact package. It is suitable for use on all flooring types, and comes with a switch-activated carpet brush on the floor nozzle for ease of use. Many users did note that while it more than excelled at cleaning hard flooring, it wasn’t as great for cleaning carpeting, especially high-pile.

The telescoping wand lets you clean under furniture, and was great for tall users according to reviews. At just 12.5 pounds, it’s easy to lift this vacuum cleaner up and down stairs; ideal for multi-level homes. It boasts a 360-degree swivelling nozzle for those hard-to-reach corners, and adjustable suction power for multi-surface cleaning.

With an MSRP of just $50, this canister vacuum is a solid choice for those looking for a powerful and effective option that’s both lightweight and compact. It has a rating of 4.1 on Amazon with over 2700 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing homeowners that this compact and lightweight pick is just as good as its larger counterparts.

Bissell Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum Cleaner Key Features:

  • Available in a choice of two colors
  • Includes a two-stage filtration system
  • Automatic cord rewind for convenient storage when not in use

Who Should Buy a Canister Vacuum

A canister vacuum is an ideal choice for those needing to clean bare floors, stairs, and under furniture. Although they excel at cleaning bare floors, a good-quality canister vacuum still cleans carpet just as well as an upright vacuum cleaner. Their unique design is great for those with a lot of stairs in their home, as the canister unit is easy to maneuver.

Most models include various attachments that are handy for cleaning other areas in the home, such as drapes and upholstery. When it comes to vacuuming up pet hair, canister vacuums are the best at the task.

Their separate power head as well as quiet operation make them a favorite among consumers. Because of the separate power head design, an upright vacuum can feel lighter that a handheld or upright counterpart, making them an ideal choice for those with strength or mobility issues. One thing to keep in mind is that a canister vacuum is a bit bulkier and more difficult to store that other vacuum cleaner styles.

Top pick
Buy Now
Kenmore 81614 Bagged Canister Vacuum

Great at cleaning both hard and carpeted floors, this is the best canister vacuum out there

buy now
$279.99 USD

Features to Consider

Not all canister vacuums are created equal. Here’s what to consider when evaluating the options in search of the best canister vacuum for cleaning your home:

  • Bagged vs bagless. When shopping for a vacuum cleaner, you’ll want to decide if you’d prefer a bagged or bagless model. Canister vacuums that use bags tend to hold more dirt and debris than their bagless counterparts, and are easy to empty and replace. If asthma or allergies are a concern, a bagged canister vacuum is the better choice. A bagless canister vacuum cuts down on the expense of having to purchase collection bags, but use more filters which need cleaned or replaced — often at a much higher price point than bags. Emptying and cleaning the dustbin and filter can be messy and release dust and allergens into the air.
  • Suction control. You don’t always want to be vacuuming at full suction, and so having an adjustable control will allow you to lower the suction power in order to clean more delicate items such as drapery.
  • Weight. One of the biggest pros of a canister vacuum is their ease of maneuverability, which is why weight is an important consideration. You’ll want to be able to easily pull the canister along as you clean, as well as lift and place it while cleaning stairs.
  • Cord control. This feature allows you to rewind the cord with a slight tug or push of a button. Most canister vacuums include a power cord of at least 20 feet; with some cords longer than 30 feet. This helps you easily pack up when the job is done, and prevent trip hazards while in use.
  • Noise level. Even though canister vacuums tend to be quieter than upright models, they will still seem louder in a room with a lot of echo, such as a tiled bathroom. You’re unlikely to require hearing protection when using a vacuum cleaner, but there are some models that are quieter than others.
  • Attachments. Most canister vacuums come with a few common attachments, including a crevice tool and small upholstery brush for cleaning drapes and furniture. An optional edge cleaner is helpful for picking up debris under the entire area of the cleaning head, such as when cleaning wall-to-wall carpeting.
  • Filter. More and more vacuum cleaners now include filters to help remove dust and fine particles while in use. If allergies or respiratory conditions are a concern for your family, a canister vacuum with a micron or high-efficiency particulate-air (HEPA) filter is a good choice, although they tend to cost more than models without filters.
  • Brush agitator. Found on the underside of the power head, a brush agitator is also sometimes called a roller brush. It helps to dislodge dirt, dust, and grit from carpet for more thorough and easier pick up. Some models will include a switch to turn the brush on and off for switching between cleaning carpet and bare floors.
  • Price point. Finally, consider how much you are willing to spend on a canister vacuum. Canister vacuums vary in price from $40-$1000 or more. You can frequently find discounts around the holidays that can make buying a canister vacuum more affordable.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a canister vacuum and how does it work?

A canister vacuum is a type of vacuum cleaner where the part that houses the motor and turbines is a separate standalone unit. This allows the vacuum to provide higher airflow and suction rates than upright vacuum cleaner models, in a more maneuverable package. The power head suctions up dirt and debris which then travels through a long flexible tube to the canister where the waste bin or bag is housed.

Why should I use a canister vacuum vs. an upright?

A canister vacuum is more maneuverable than an upright vacuum cleaner, making is a better choice for those with lots of stairs or hard-to-clean places. They’re also better-suited to cleaning bare floors, and excel at picking up pet hair. Canister vacuums tend to be quieter than their upright counterparts, and often include more cleaning attachments.

How do you empty a canister vacuum?

To empty a canister vacuum, simply pop open the canister lid according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and slide the bag or waste bin out. If you have a bagless model, empty the waste bin contents into a garbage bag, taking care not spill or breathe in the dust and debris. If your model has a bag, remove it and simply toss it into the trash. Finally, replace the bin or bag before vacuuming again.

Is it safe to use a canister vacuum on hardwood floors?

It is safe to use a canister vacuum on hardwood floors, although there are some precautions that should be taken in order to protect the flooring. Look for models which you can switch off the roller brush, in order to prevent scratches to the hardwood. The wheels of the canister can also cause damage to hardwood floors, so look for models with rubber wheels rather than plastic or metal in order to prevent damage.

Other Canister Vacuums We Reviewed

Top pick
Buy Now
Kenmore 81614 Bagged Canister Vacuum

Great at cleaning both hard and carpeted floors, this is the best canister vacuum out there

buy now
$279.99 USD

We looked at 20 other canister vacuums. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best canister vacuums list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for cleaning your home. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Bagless Canister Vacuums

Kenmore 10701 Bagless Compact Canister Vacuum

Kenmore 10701 Bagless Compact Canister Vacuum

This vacuum cleaner includes a second brush that won’t scratch bare floors, and the easy-to-clean dust canister makes emptying a cinch. The hose swivels 360-degrees so it won’t kink or tangle while in use.

Key features:

  • Includes two additional cleaning accessories
  • Hepa filter helps eliminate odors and allergens
  • Foot-activated power switch

Cost: $300

Electrolux EL4335B Corded Ultra Flex Canister Vacuum

Electrolux EL4335B Corded Ultra Flex Canister Vacuum

This vacuum cleaner offers a choice of three brush levels, making it suitable for use on all types of carpeting. Its compact and lightweight design means it’s easy to store, and it boasts a 33-foot reach fo clean even large spaces with ease.

Key features:

  • Fingertip controls for added convenience
  • Patented self-cleaning brushroll
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty

Cost: $225

Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum

Ovente Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum

This vacuum cleaner comes complete with a sofa/pet brush, floor brush, and combination crevice nozzle/bristle brush to provide added value and flexibility when cleaning your whole home. The 360-degree hose swivel and telescopic wand helps get into those hard-to-reach areas.

Key features:

  • HEPA filtration system
  • Translucent dust compartment with LED alert light
  • Automatic cord rewind for convenient storage when not in use

Cost: $62

BISSELL Hard Floor Expert Deluxe Canister Vacuum

BISSELL Hard Floor Expert Deluxe Canister Vacuum

Thanks to the fingertip controls and lightweight design, this vacuum cleaner is easy to use and maneuver. The easy-to-empty dirt tank opens from the bottom to help cut down on mess when emptying.

Key features:

  • Non-marking rubber wheels
  • Telescopic extension wand
  • Includes a specialized hard floor tool

Cost: $120

Bissell Hard Floor Expert Multi-Cyclonic Bagless Canister Vacuum

Bissell Hard Floor Expert Multi-Cyclonic Bagless Canister Vacuum

This vacuum cleaner features a mess-free, bottom-tank emptying system that helps to keep dirt off of your hands, and is suitable for use on both bare and carpeted floors.

Key features:

  • 18-foot power cord
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Weighs just 13 pounds

Cost: $170

Budget-Friendly Canister Vacuums

Kenmore 81214 200 Series Bagged Canister Vacuum

Kenmore 81214 200 Series Bagged Canister Vacuum

Suitable for use on both bare floors and carpet, this vacuum comes complete with two additional tools to help get your whole home cleaner. There is onboard storage for them, and the wand detaches for convenient above floor cleaning.

Key features:

  • Automatic cord rewind for convenient storage when not in use
  • Includes a HEPA filtration system
  • Two motor system for consistent suction

Cost: $170

Bissell Zing Rewind Bagless Canister Vacuum

Bissell Zing Rewind Bagless Canister Vacuum

With the flip of a switch, users can move from vacuuming bare floor to carpeting — no need to bend down. The three-stage filtration system helps remove harmful dust and allergens.

Key features:

  • Easy empty dirt cup for convenient cleanups
  • Washable and reusable filters
  • Integrated carrying handle

Cost: $60

Eureka Mighty Mite Pet Lover Vacuum Cleaner

Eureka Mighty Mite Pet Lover Vacuum Cleaner

Available in a choice of three different colors, this canister vacuum cleaner comes complete with pet cleaning attachments and a HEPA filter to help get your home cleaner in less time.

Key features:

  • Odor-eliminating dust bag
  • 20-foot long power cord
  • Includes a 1-year limited warranty

Cost: $83

Dirt Devil Bagged Canister Vacuum

Dirt Devil Bagged Canister Vacuum

This affordable vacuum cleaner boasts a fun and stylish design that’s sure to make it a real conversation piece. The 20-foot power cord includes an automatic rewind feature for convenient storage when not in use.

Key features:

  • Includes a dusting brush and crevice tool
  • Full bag indicator
  • Includes a 1-year limited warranty

Cost: $82

Dirt Devil EZ Lite Corded Bagless Canister Vacuum

Dirt Devil EZ Lite Corded Bagless Canister Vacuum

Coming in at under $100, this vacuum cleaner boasts a 12-amp motor and premium stretch hose with a 32.5-inch telescopic handle to help clean all those hard-to-reach places in your home. It comes complete with a HEPA filter and clog indicator system.

Key features:

  • Includes a dusting brush, crevice tool, and floor nozzle
  • 20-foot long power cord
  • Includes a 2-year limited warranty

Cost: $91

Lightweight Canister Vacuums

Eureka Mighty Mite Corded Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Eureka Mighty Mite Corded Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Lightweight yet efficient, this canister vacuum comes in at just 9 pounds, but still boasts enough power for complete home cleaning. The high filtration dust bag helps to eliminate pet odors while capturing allergy-causing pet dander.

Key features:

  • Available in a choice of three colors
  • Easy-to-use fingertip controls
  • Includes a deluxe floor brush and bare-floor nozzle

Cost: $61

Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction Canister Vacuum

Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction Canister Vacuum

Thanks to its turbo brush, this vacuum cleaner reliably removes hair and lint from all surfaces in your home. Over 99.9% of all lung damaging particles are captured and retained in the dust bag thanks to its AirClean filtration system.

Key features:

  • Suitable for low-pile carpet and smooth flooring
  • Boasts a 33-foot cleaning radius
  • Weighs less than 15 pounds

Cost: $294

Miele Compact C1 Turbo Team Canister Vacuum

Miele Compact C1 Turbo Team Canister Vacuum

This vacuum cleaner features a six-stage variable speed motor that makes it suitable for vacuuming your entire home from top to bottom. Thanks to the telescopic stainless steel wand, it offers a total cleaning radius of 29.5 feet.

Key features:

  • Turbo comfort floorhead suitable for low to medium-pile carpet
  • Includes a dusting brush, upholstery tool, and crevice tool
  • Weighs less than 15 pounds

Cost: $400

Kenmore (22614) Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Kenmore (22614) Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Designed specifically with pet-owning homes in mind, this vacuum cleaner includes a specialized attachment that lifts hair, dander, and more from furniture, rugs, and carpeting in seconds. The HEPA filter helps you breathe easier, and the translucent dust cup is easy to empty.

Key features:

  • Upper and lower quick release
  • Includes a 1-year limited warranty
  • Automatic cord rewind for convenient storage when not in use

Cost: $200

Ovente Canister Vacuum with Tri-Level Filtration

Ovente Canister Vacuum with Tri-Level Filtration

Weighing in at an unbelievable 7 pounds, this vacuum cleaner is small but mighty. Available in a choice of three different colors, it comes complete with a HEPA filter, variable suction control, crush-proof hose, and automatic cord rewind.

Key features:

  • Hose swivels 360-degrees for increased maneuverability
  • Upright storage saves on space
  • Includes a floor/carpet brush, a 2-in-1 crevice nozzle/brush, and an upholstery nozzle

Cost: $50

Luxury Canister Vacuums

Miele Complete C2 Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Miele Complete C2 Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Boasting a 20-year lifespan, this canister vacuum has been built using quality craftsmanship to last. Choose from six speeds to clean many surfaces in your home, as well as an optional HEPA filter.

Key features:

  • Crush-proof ergonomically-designed hose
  • Floor brush swivels for increased maneuverability
  • Metal glide sole suitable for delicate flooring

Cost: $350

Miele Compact C2 Electro+ Canister Vacuum

Miele Compact C2 Electro+ Canister Vacuum

Recommended for all types of flooring, including high pile carpet, this vacuum cleaner boasts  quiet operation thanks to its special silence motor. It includes a choice of six suction settings, and has been tested to last 20 years or more.

Key features:

  • Telescopic stainless steel wand
  • Includes a dusting brush, upholstery tool, and crevice nozzle
  • Includes a parquet floorhead and Electro Plus floorhead

Cost: $600

Kenmore Elite 21814 Pet & Allergy Friendly CrossOver Canister Vacuum

Kenmore Elite 21814 Pet & Allergy Friendly CrossOver Canister Vacuum

Easily switch between different floor surfaces with this canister vacuum that has been certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Electronic performance indicators tell you when dirt is being picked up or the bag has reached its capacity.

Key features:

  • Includes four versatile cleaning tools
  • Two-motor system provides more suctioning power
  • Headlight lights and swivel steering

Cost: $430

Miele Complete C3 Calima Canister Vacuum

Miele Complete C3 Calima Canister Vacuum

Suitable for use on all types of flooring, this vacuum cleaner has been tested to last 20 years or more! It is available in a choice of color options, and is suitable for use in homes with pets. It includes a parquet twister floor tool as well as a Turbo Comfort turbo brush.

Key features:

  • Telescopic stainless steel wand
  • Includes a dusting brush, upholstery tool, and crevice nozzle
  • Low-noise, vortex motor

Cost: $650

Severin Germany Special Vacuum Cleaner

Severin Germany Special Vacuum Cleaner

Boasting German engineering, this vacuum cleaner features a powerful airflow system and HEPA filtration system to help get your home looking spic and span. Its unique design is quieter than other vacuum cleaners on the market, and is suitable for use on all flooring types.

Key features:

  • Upholstery nozzle with Claw-Collect system to remove hair
  • Includes 2 microfiber dust bags with hygiene lock
  • Parquet nozzle is suitable for use on sensitive hard floors

Cost: $180

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