In this article, we’ll review the best vacuums under 200 dollars for each of the most popular vacuum categories. We’ll look at the upright, canister, handheld, stick, and robot vacuums and give you a few options under each so that you can choose from the category you are looking for.
Although gauging the quality with price usually proves its failure, some customers still willingly spend their hard-earned money on pricey equipment. In the world of vacuums, many manufacturers take advantage of this fact to oversell their new series.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but the costlier isn’t necessarily better. Unless you’re buying from a highly reputable brand, you might end up with an awful suction, flimsy build, and short lifespan.
Why Should You Get a Mid-Range Vacuum?
Going for a mid-range vacuum under $200 isn’t just about saving money. Based on the experience of friends and family, I can tell you that you won’t probably use all the features that a pricey model gives.
Large dust bin capacity? It’s actually advised to regularly empty and clean your dust bin. Leaving a large amount of dirt whirling inside might decrease the lifespan of your filters.
Crazily powerful motor? It may cut down on the cleaning time, but it’ll probably sound infernally annoying. On the other hand, a mid-level motor can clean all types of floorings while keeping it down. Plus, hefty motors will be a nightmare to move around the house, let alone upstairs!
Dozen attachments? I personally use nothing but a crevice tool, an upholstery tool, and a dusting brush. Those three can be versatile enough to tackle anything in your home.
The 15 Best Vacuums Under $200: Reviews
To keep this article nice and tidy, I’ll categorize my featured products according to their styles in the following order: upright, canister, handheld, stick, and robot.
|Commercial UPRIGHT Bagged Vacuum||#1. Oreck XL2100RHS - Best Maneuverability|| |
Read Our Review
|UPRIGHT Bagless Vacuum||#2. Shark Navigator Zero-M Pet Pro - Best for Pet Owners||Editor's Choice |
Read Our Review
|UPRIGHT Bagless Vacuum||#3. Shark Navigator Deluxe NV360 - Best Lift-Away|| |
Read Our Review
|Bagged CANISTER Vacuum||#1. Prolux Tritan with HEPA Filtration - Best for Allergies||Editor's Choice |
Read Our Review
|CANISTER Backpack Corded Vacuum||#2. Atrix VACBP1 - Best Design|| |
Read Our Review
|CANISTER Bagless Vacuum||#3. Bissell Zing Canister 2156A - Budget Pick|| |
Read Our Review
|HANDHELD Cordless Vacuum||#1. BLACK+DECKER Handheld 16V - The Most Powerful|| |
Read Our Review
|HANDHELD Cordless Vacuum||#2. Shark WANDVAC - The Lightest||Editor's Choice |
Read Our Review
|Cordless HANDHELD Vacuum||#3. Vaclife Handheld - Best Value|| |
Read Our Review
|Cordeless STICK/HANDHELD Vacuum||#1. MOOSOO 23Kpa 4-in1 - The Lightest|| |
Read Our Review
|Corded Bagless STICK Vacuum||#2. Shark Rocket - The Best Maneuverability||Editor's Choice |
Read Our Review
|STICK Bagless Corded Vacuum||#3. Bissell Featherweight - The Most Affordable|| |
Read Our Review
|ROBOT Vacuum Cleaner||#1. Kyvol Cybovac E20 - Best Value||Editor's Choice |
Read Our Review
|ROBOT Vacuum Cleaner||#2. ILIFE V3s Pro - Budget Pick|| |
Read Our Review
|ROBOT Vacuum Cleaner||#3. Coredy - The Most Versatile|| |
Read Our Review
The Best Upright Vacuums
Upright models are indispensable for people who have wall-to-wall carpeting. Thanks to their powerful motors, they’ll pick up dirt that might’ve hardened deep inside your high-pile carpets.
1. Oreck XL2100RHS Commercial Upright Bagged Vacuum – Best Maneuverability
With a build that weighs 9 pounds only, you can effortlessly carry this vacuum all around the house with little to no trouble. And after you finish, it won’t take a large storage footprint thanks to the 12-inch-wide head.
To ensure the small size doesn’t impact the cleaning process, Oreck placed 2 small edge-brushes on both sides. This way, the vacuum can cover a bigger area with better efficiency.
Unlike other uprights, the on/off switch is placed at the back of the handle. This place is so convenient because you can never press it by mistake, yet you can easily reach it.
The thing that makes this vacuum stand out is the furniture-friendly design. You can lower the handle to an almost flat position, which makes it possible to go underneath low chairs and sofas.
Unfortunately, some customers complained about issues in quality assurance. Despite being a trustworthy brand, Oreck has been shipping products with flimsy construction and lousy durability.
2. Shark Navigator Zero-M Pet Pro Upright Bagless Vacuum – Best for Pet Owners
Shark has amazed thousands of customers with their Navigator series. Not only are they powerful, but they also guarantee exceptional portability (hence the name!).
The Pet Pro is the edition dedicated to people who own dog breeds with a high shedding rate. Shark designed the motorized brush roll with special attention to the bristles’ angles and orientations. This way, the vacuum will pick up the hair without allowing it to entangle around the brush and prevent it from turning.
The handle of this vacuum is connected directly to the hose. This allows you to pull it out and start cleaning the stairs, walls, and curtains without having to assemble anything.
Although the hose seems average-sized, it can actually extend up to 7 feet, which is way longer than almost all of the other uprights. And with the 25-foot cord, the total cleaning radius adds up to 32 feet, which does live up to the name “Navigator.”
“Where’s the catch,” you might ask? To ensure acceptable performance, Shark had to use a hefty motor that raises the vacuum’s weight to 16 pounds. Then again, this isn’t a major flaw thanks to the wide cleaning radius.
3. Shark Navigator Deluxe NV360 Upright Bagless Vacuum – Best Lift-Away
Can’t make up your mind between canister and upright vacuums? This lift-away model from Shark has the best of both worlds!
By pressing the button placed on the top part of the canister, the cleaning head will be detached. After taking the wand off, you’ll be able to hold the 7-pound canister in one hand to wander freely around your home.
Such a design poses a challenge, though. If the vacuum isn’t properly sealed, it’ll expel the fine dust together with the exhausted air. This can be such bad news for folks suffering from seasonal allergies.
Luckily, Shark paid attention to this problem. Thanks to the HEPA filter and Anti-Allergen Complete Seal technology, 99.9% of the dust will be trapped inside the canister.
Unfortunately, you won’t get a dusting brush with this vacuum; Shark ships crevice and upholstery attachments only. I know that it seems like a minor issue, but a dusting brush would’ve been tremendously valuable with the lift-away design. Without it, you can’t clean delicate, scratchable items.
The thing that I dislike the most is the small cleaning path. At 9.5”, you’ll likely need to do more vacuuming rounds than you normally do.
The Best Canister Vacuums
Canisters excel in terms of maneuverability. Their long hoses and multiple attachments save you a lot of time and effort.
1. Prolux Tritan Bagged Canister Vacuum with HEPA Filtration – Best for Allergies
If someone in your house suffers from respiratory ailments, investing in an allergy-proof vacuum would save you a lot of trouble. For that matter, the Tritan canister vacuum from Prolux is the best thing $200 can buy.
With 3-stage filtration, you can rest assured that no dust will be spewed into the air you breathe. One of those stages features a HEPA filter; a technology that blocks around 99.97% of the 0.3-micron particles.
The Tritan comes with 2 cleaning heads: a turbo and a regular. The turbo head features a brush roll that moves with the power of the suction. Surely, it doesn’t provide the same digging force of a motorized head.
The second head features a fixed brush roll that you can retract before vacuuming bare floors. The rest of the attachments include an upholstery tool, a crevice tool, and a dusting brush.
Based on the previous details, the Tritan is best suited for hard flooring and low-pile carpets. If you have thicker wall-to-wall carpeting, you may find it too weak.
To guarantee the best versatility, you can adjust the suction power with a convenient 5-step dial. The lowest settings will be delicate enough to handle upholstery, drapes, thin fabrics, etc.
2. Atrix VACBP1 Backpack Corded Vacuum – Best Design
The best thing I like about canister vacuums is how creative their designs can be. Atrix took it further than any other company by making a backpack vacuum!
Yep, you read that right. You can mount this vacuum on your back with the attached shoulder and waist straps. And thankfully, it weighs no more than 10 pounds. And with measurements of 12″ x 9″ x 20″, it’s not too bulky either. In a clever design tweak, Atrix placed small mounting bands over the waist strap in which you can put your attachments.
Technically speaking, this vacuum can be used by anyone. People who own small homes can ditch the shoulder straps and use it as a normal canister vacuum. However, it’s primarily intended for commercial activities. People who offer cleaning services would find it super easy to roam through offices, hospitals, and hotels while wearing this vacuum.
The powerful 1400W motor of this vacuum can provide a suction rate of 106 CFM. This translates into seamless performance on bare and carpeted floors alike. Best of all, the motor can also work as a robust blower. That’s why you’ll find 3 blower nozzles shipped with the rest of the attachments.
Despite all of these features, Atrix managed to keep this vacuum well into the affordable extreme.
3. Bissell Zing Canister 2156A Bagless Vacuum – Budget Pick
Super tight on budget? Well, in that case, you can’t find anything cheaper than the Bissell Zing vacuum without sacrificing crucial performance.
For optimal affordability, Bissell equipped the Zing with a 2-liter dust cup instead of the disposable bags. Although this capacity is somewhat limited, it’s still better than having to shoulder vacuum bags in your monthly budget.
Unlike most of the cheap products, Bissell paid special attention to the dust bin design. The cover unlocks with a light press of a button. This way, you can empty the dirt while the bin is placed inside a garbage bag. In other words, your allergies will no longer be triggered by disturbed dust.
With the compact design and lightweight build (8 pounds), you’ll be able to bounce around the whole house with less time and effort. I only wish if Bissell had provided a cord longer than 15 feet. Still, with a proper, heavy-duty extension cord, you can easily extend the cleaning range.
The cleaning head features a fixed brush roll that you can easily retract by stepping on the footswitch. Unfortunately, the roll doesn’t turn with a drive belt nor even the suction power. Then again, you can’t expect those two at this price point.
The Best Handheld Vacuums
Cleaning the Cheerios that your toddler strewed underneath the high chair would be impossible for an upright. A handheld vacuum, on the other hand, would easily maneuver around tight areas like these without breaking a sweat.
1. BLACK+DECKER Handheld 16V Cordless Vacuum – The Most Powerful
It’s true that hand vacs can never be as powerful as uprights or canisters. However, this vacuum from BLACK+DECKER does put up a good fight! With a suction power of 15.2 air watts, nothing will feel too challenging. And thanks to the 20.6-ounce dustbowl, you won’t need to empty it before you finish your daily chores.
Much to my disappointment, this vacuum doesn’t come with detachable attachments. However, BLACK+DECKER made up for this fact by adding two built-in tools.
The first is an extendable crevice tool that slides out of the nozzle. The second is a dusting brush that flips in front of the nozzle tip. Both perks aren’t the best in terms of performance, but they’re certainly better than nothing.
My least favorite thing about this vacuum is the battery. It supports “fast charging,” yet it takes about 5 hours to charge and provides no more than 30 minutes of runtime. What’s more, the batteries can’t be replaced by the user. You might have to throw the whole unit in the trash if the battery was ruined.
2. Shark WANDVAC Handheld Cordless Vacuum – The Lightest
Any handheld vacuum will be light enough for convenient maneuverability. However, not all of them are small enough for efficient storage. If that’s what you’re after, I think you’ll love the Wandvac vacuum from Shark.
As the name implies, the Wandvac comes as a slim cylinder that measures 2.5” in width. Yet the powerful brushless motor generates a strong suction that extends the cleaning path width to 3.6”. The good news is, even with that amazing motor, Shark manages to cap the weight at a wieldy 1.4 pounds.
Based on those specs, the Wandvac will be perfect for extremely tight areas in cars, underneath furniture, behind desks, etc.
To provide the ultimate versatility, Shark ships two attachments with this vacuum: a crevice tool and a multi-surface tool. The latter is primarily built to pick up pet hairs that might be scattered around your living room. Best of all, you can conveniently store those attachments on the premium charging dock.
After you finish cleaning, the 0.08-quart dust cup can be emptied with a single touch of a button. Yes, the capacity isn’t that amazing, but it’s pretty expectable with such a compact build.
3. Vaclife Handheld Cordless Handheld Vacuum – Best Value
If you want to get the best bang for your buck, this hand vac should be your best bet.
The first thing that sets it apart from the competitors is its LED light. Instead of having it placed over the nozzle’s tip, Vaclife positioned the LED unit in front of the handle. Although this weakens the light to some extent, it’s still better than nothing.
The true value of this vacuum is in the free perks that come alongside. You’ll get a dusting brush, crevice tool, carrying case, extra filter, and a soft extension pipe to reach distant areas.
Speaking about the filter, Vaclife makes its filters with a stainless steel casing. This way, they can be washed and reused up to 500 times! But it’s important to note that it’s not with true HEPA technology as Vaclife claims. This “HEPA-Like” filter has a much less filtration percentage with larger particle size.
The battery isn’t the best, but it’s not the worst either. The unit comes with a fast-charging adaptor that fills up the battery in about 3 hours. Afterward, the vacuum can clean with acceptable suction for 30 minutes.
The Best Stick Vacuums
I like to think of the stick vacuums as the on-the-go alternative for uprights. The lighter build will guarantee a satisfyingly quick cleaning. They’re typically placed in the kitchen where they can effortlessly sort out unfortunate spills and accidents.
1. MOOSOO 23Kpa Cordless 4-in-1 Vacuum – The Lightest
If a light build tops your list of priorities, you’ll love this vacuum from Moosoo. With only 2.8 pounds, maneuvering it around high surfaces won’t be troublesome.
Thankfully, Moosoo didn’t sacrifice performance in favor of that light build. For one, the 2200mAh battery provides around 30 minutes of runtime after a 4-hour charge.
The brushless motor is yet another great perk. Being longer than the average motor, it can operate in the “MAX” mode to provide a 23KPa suction, which is no mean feat for a stick vacuum.
Nevertheless, it’s important to note that enabling the “MAX” mode will bring the total runtime down to 15 minutes. That’s why I recommend keeping it for large, stubborn spills. You can also buy a spare battery and store it fully charged to instantly use it if need be.
Cleaning tight, dark areas? No worries! Moosoo positioned 4 LED lights at the edge of the cleaning head.
Just like similar models, the stick can be shrunken to reduce the unit into a handheld vacuum. I always like this feature since it can feel pretty weird to clean your countertop with a large stick poking at your ceiling.
2. Shark Rocket Corded Bagless Stick Vacuum – The Best Maneuverability
Between vacuum brands, Shark is well-known for its ingenious swivel steering. And although the Rocket vacuum weighs 8.5 pounds, the swivel steering allows for excellent maneuverability in tight corners and underneath furniture.
By flicking the handles on the stick, you can easily detach the main unit to use it as a hand vac. In that case, you can hook any of the 3 shipped attachments: the crevice tool, precision duster, and the pet multi-tool. Whichever you choose, the Rocket hand vac would be super convenient since it weighs 3 pounds only.
Unlike most stick vacuums, the Rocket has what it takes to clean heavy carpets. Shark equipped it with a sturdy, motorized brush roll that can mobilize dirt that might’ve hardened between the dense fibers.
To enhance user convenience, Shark positioned the brush roll controls over the handle, within your hand’s reach. You can choose between medium and high speed, but you can also retract the brush roll completely before going over scratchable floorings.
With a cord that measures 25 feet, the Rocket vacuum won’t disappoint in terms of the cleaning range. You can still hook it into an extension cord if you have to cover a huge area.
3. Bissell Featherweight Stick Bagless Corded Vacuum – The Most Affordable
Are you constantly traveling? If so, you may want a lightweight vacuum that lies well into the affordable extreme. This way, if the frequent relocation broke it, you can afford to buy a new one. If this is what you’re after, then Bissell should be your best bet.
The Featherweight vacuum is a 3-in-1 device. In the default setup, it operates as a regular stick vacuum with a net weight of 3 pounds.
In the second setup, you can detach the stick to have the floor nozzle attached directly to the main unit. This way, it’ll be easy to clean medium-height surfaces like stairs and countertops.
In the last setup, the floor nozzle disconnects completely, allowing the unit to be used as a hand vac. Best of all, you can use this hand vac to reach constricted areas after extending the built-in retractable crevice tool.
The downsides? Two things: the short cord and the small cleaning path. With only 15 feet, the cord may limit the cleaning range to a great extent. As for the cleaning path, it’s only 6 inches wide. That said, you might have to do multiple vacuuming rounds to cover average-sized areas.
The Best Robot Vacuums
Wanna set back and leave the cleaning for someone else? Well, spare your spouse for other missions and leave this task to a robot vacuum!
1. Kyvol Cybovac E20 Robot Vacuum Cleaner – Best Value
The Cybovac comes equipped with everything you can ever need from a robot vacuum. For one, you can control it through its smartphone app. It can also connect to Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing the users to activate it with voice commands.
Thanks to its smart sensors, the Cybovac will detect the surface it walks over and adjusts the cleaning mode automatically. On carpets, the motor will push to the maximum power to provide the deepest cleaning possible.
The 3200mAh battery is another great perk. It can provide up to 150 minutes of continuous vacuuming, which is quite phenomenal when compared with other robot vacuums.
2. ILIFE V3s Pro Robot Vacuum Cleaner – Budget Pick
If you want to save some bucks without sacrificing too many features, this vacuum cleaner from ILIFE should be your go-to option.
This vacuum operates in 4 modes: auto, edge, spot, and schedule. Unfortunately, you can’t control these modes with a smartphone app nor voice commands. Instead, this device comes with a remote that has a small display.
Although the operation is fairly simple, missing a smartphone app is still a major flaw. Then again, its price point makes up for this fact.
When it comes to performance, this vacuum doesn’t disappoint. The battery allows for 100 minutes of continuous runtime at full capacity. However, since it doesn’t have a brush roll, it won’t be powerful enough for high-pile carpets.
Unlike cheaper products, this vacuum has sensors that can detect cliffs and obstacles. After it finishes, it’ll automatically dock and recharge at its base.
3. Coredy Robot Vacuum Cleaner – The Most Versatile
How about a vacuum cleaner that can also sweep and mop? Sounds good? Well, in that case, you should consider this vacuum from Coredy.
In addition to the mopping and sweeping, this vacuum can also clean in 5 modes that serve multiple functions. And thanks to its 1400Pa suction power, nothing would feel too challenging.
Luckily, the amazing performance is paired by a robust battery. With a runtime of 110 minutes, this vacuum can fit large homes and wide commercial setups.
To keep the price affordable, Coredy had to ditch the concept of smartphone and voice controls for regular remote control. Nevertheless, you can still specify a cleaning zone that this vacuum can’t cross. This can be done with special boundary strips that Coredy sells separately.
There’s an important thing to note, though. By default, Coredy doesn’t ship the water tank or mopping brush with the vacuum. You’ll have to purchase them separately in order to enjoy the full benefits of this device.
Buyer’s Guide: Things You Should Consider Before Getting a Vacuum Under $200
If this is your first time buying a vacuum, you came to the right place. Choosing between the hundreds of products and dozens of brands out there can be quite intimidating.
To reach an educated decision, you must be familiar with the available styles, features, dust collection systems, etc. Let’s see!
Choosing the vacuum style is certainly the first thing that crosses one’s mind. Each style has a unique set of advantages and downsides that I’ll discuss in detail.
1. Upright Vacuums
Upright vacuums are probably the most common models in the US. They typically come as hefty units with large intake ports, powerful suction, and wide bagged/bagless capacities.
Uprights show their best potential over large carpeted areas. Most models have motorized brush rolls that loosen the dirt and debris that may be lurking inside the carpet pile. If possible, try to find a model with an adjustable roll height to match your pile thickness.
Since they can stand on their own in an upright orientation, their storage couldn’t be easier.
Uprights can weigh anywhere around a whopping 20 pounds. Their tilt-and-push design makes the actual vacuuming experience relatively easy. However, that unwieldy build will take its toll on your back if you wanted to lift the vacuum upstairs, for instance.
Do you have many tight areas around your home? That would be a real bummer for uprights. They generally have fewer attachments when compared to, say, canister vacuums. And the large designs would be tricky to maneuver around small corners.
Although uprights can function normally on bare flooring, they may not be that ideal. The heavy construction might scratch smooth floors such as hardwood.
Suggested Product: Shark Navigator Zero-M Pet Pro Upright Bagless Vacuum
2. Canister Vacuums
Canister vacuums have their motor and bagged/bagless storage separated in a convenient, small unit. The handle connects to the main unit through a long suction hose.
If maneuverability is a major concern in your home, you can’t find anything better than a canister vacuum. The main unit usually doesn’t exceed 10 pounds, which adds a lot to the portability.
In addition to the light build, canister vacuums are highly valued for their bevy of attachments. Be it furniture, curtains, walls, corners; nothing will seem too challenging.
Just like the uprights, canisters can have a brush roll to deeply clean thick carpets. And on bare, delicate floors, like hardwood, the light handle won’t exert a scratching pressure.
Storage is the largest pet peeve of canister vacuums. Most of the time, the handle can’t stand on its own. It’ll keep slipping unless you hang it on a special wall mount. Your best bet would be disassembling the whole vacuum, though. Then again, that might feel like too much work for some people.
In wide rooms that don’t have that much furniture, I think a canister vacuum would be unduly limiting. In that case, opting for an upright model should save you the hassle of dragging the canister unit throughout the house.
Suggested Product: Prolux Tritan Bagged Canister Vacuum with HEPA Filtration
3. Handheld Vacuums
As the name implies, hand vacs are intended for small, tight areas that other models can’t reach. These units don’t typically exceed 8 inches in length to avoid putting too much stress over your arm. Their ergonomic handles also enhance the overall process.
To guarantee acceptable portability, hand vacs usually feature a cordless operation. The battery size varies considerably, but they generally cover 1-2 hours of continuous cleaning. Most customers buy these models to clean their cars, RVs, etc.
Some brands release corded hand vacs for indoor use. Their convenient size would be ideal for cleaning small food crumbs on upholstery, tables, corners, and beds. Some of these models can be operated in cars after hooking a suitable adaptor.
If possible, try to get a model with a brush roll. That will detach any hardened bits of food and debris.
Since hand vacs were developed to replace a brush and dustpan, you can’t expect them to be that powerful. The lack of attachments and limited capacity are likely to disappoint, especially if you purchased from a no-name brand.
Suggested Product: Shark WANDVAC Handheld Cordless Vacuum
4. Stick Vacuums
Unlike the previous types, stick vacuums can come in not one, but two shapes. The first looks pretty much like an upright, but with a much thinner build alongside a low-profile, compact head. Instead of the large canisters and bags, these models feature small bins that fit within the handle outline.
The second design can be described as a hand vac mounted on a long stick. It’s super common for these models to have cylindrical dust cups situated right in front of the handle. I absolutely love seeing the dirt vortex dancing right in front of my eyes!
Both iterations are extremely common in kitchens. Mothers love them because they can hang around in any tight corner, ready for accidental spills and messy preparations. And thanks to their light components, they’ll bounce around to cover large areas much faster than full-size models.
The power of stick vacuums is comparable to that of hand vacs. You can’t expect them to do well on dense carpets with too much dirt, pet hair, and food bits. And even if they did manage to suck those, the small capacity will be infernally annoying in elaborate cleanups.
Cordless models will be even weaker. They’re generally unpractical since these models aren’t commonly used outdoors.
Suggested Product: Shark Rocket Corded Bagless Stick Vacuum
5. Robot Vacuums
Robot vacuums are the most recent innovation in the industry. They typically come as double-unit devices. The first unit is a low-profile circle that goes around your house and does the actual cleaning. The second unit serves as a “dock” for the main unit to rest and recharge.
Almost all robot vacs come with sensors and smartphone apps. After scanning your home, you can precisely control the vacuum operation from your phone. You can restrict areas, specify a schedule, and adjust the overall operation of the device.
Frankly, I think robot vacs are indispensable tools for any home. Even if you own a full-sized upright, a robot vac will venture around your home to clean areas you normally overlook. Your furniture underside will be so grateful!
Purchasing these ingenious pieces of equipment will probably break the bank. Average-powered models may come with a price tag that doesn’t sit too far from full-sized uprights!
I hate to break it to you, but a robot vac will probably be the arch-nemesis of your pets. Not only will they intimated cats and dogs with that growling noise, but they’ll also declare the war by invading their territories. If you have aggressive pets, do yourself a favor and save your money; a robot vac might not live to fight another day!
Suggested Product: Kyvol Cybovac E20 Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Bagged vs. Bagless
Have you made up your mind on the style? Well, congrats! But now you’re left with another big decision: bagged or bagless. Just like the style, choosing one depends merely on your needs and personal preference. Here’s a brief comparison to get you started.
Bagged Vacuums: Easier, but Costlier
As the name implies, bagged vacuums store the sucked dirt and debris inside disposable bags. After they fill up, you’ll have to take them off and throw them away.
Better for Allergies?
The fact that you don’t have to touch the dust yourself makes bagged models the favorite to people suffering from allergies and respiratory ailments. However, if you picked a poorly designed model, it might aggravate your allergies even more!
As you might already know, any vacuum must expel air through an exhaust port in order to maintain sufficient suction. If you opt for a bagged model, the bags should have a built-in HEPA filter to successfully trap the tiniest dirt particles while allowing clean air to escape. Otherwise, the vacuum will blast the dust straight back into your nose!
You’ll have to change the bags on a frequent basis in order to guarantee efficient suction and dust filtration. The actual rate differs between brands, but a single HEPA bag generally costs around $5.
I can’t really tell you how many vacuum cycles a bag can serve; this depends on the nature of your flooring, carpeting, whether you have pets, etc. The more you’ll vacuum, the quicker they’ll fill up. That concept of ongoing costs is a huge deal-breaker for people who’re tight on budget.
Bagless Vacuums: Cleaner, but Tiresome
Bagless vacuums depend on built-in canisters. If you picked a model with a transparent canister, you’ll be able to see pollutants piling up inside, which is kind of satisfying.
Better for Allergies?
Technically speaking, most bagless models provide a healthier home environment. Some brands place more than one filter over the exhaust port to make sure no dust particles can find their way back into your home.
However, things can start going south when it’s time to empty the canister. If not properly built, the canister will spill dirt into the air and around the trash can.
Then again, this problem can be manageable. You can simply empty the canister in the open air while wearing a mask and gloves. A healthy family member can take care of this weekly, or even monthly, chore on your behalf.
Negligible Maintenance Costs
The only thing you’ll need to replace in bagless models is the exhaust filter. The frequency varies between models, but you may need to change it every 6 months or so. And even if you had to do it earlier, the cost still won’t compare to bagged vacuums.
Bagged vacuums suit users who don’t like to hassle with maintenance. Once the bag fills up, throw it in the trash and you’d be done.
Bagless models will need you to manually empty them every once in a while. However, their elaborate filters ensure a cleaner operation with little to no exhausted dirt.
How About Going Cordless?
Cordless vacuums have been getting significant attention lately. And although any vacuum style can be designed with a cordless circuit, stick and handheld models are the most common.
Obviously, cordless vacuums are always geared toward user convenience. That’s why brands trim the components in order to get the weight down to 2–3 pounds. To put things into perspective, regular devices rarely weigh less than 15 pounds!
To complement the excellent portability, cordless vacuums are usually bagless. And because their canisters are typically smaller than average, they’ll need more frequent emptying.
Like it or not, the lighter build often comes at the expense of power. Don’t expect them to clean your thick carpets as deeply as their corded counterparts. What’s more, most batteries won’t last for a full-home clean.
Because going cordless is the latest hype, lots of new manufacturers are trying to steal the spotlight. But instead of introducing new features and better performance, they aimlessly cut down on the price.
That’s why cordless vacuums are mistakingly known for being flimsy. If you decided to opt for one of these models, try to find a reputable brand, even if it’ll cost you higher than average.
Search for Attachments
With the right attachments, your vacuum will make cleaning the house a simple — and even enjoyable — task. However, if you can’t tell which does what, you’ll be paying a bunch of extra bucks for no reason.
Here are the most useful attachments, how to use them, and how to identify them.
Nearly all vacuums come with a crevice tool. As the name implies, a crevice attachment tapers into a thin build with an angled tip. This design allows it to clean tight corners, baseboards, around radiators, inside vents, and even between your sofa’s cushions.
The dusting brush and vacuum are like the beauty and the beast! This round tool comes with soft, tender bristles that can whisk the dust off of your delicate, scratchable belongings. I use it to clean my lampshades, paintings, bookcases, window sills, etc.
The upholstery tool comes as a wide, flat head. Instead of having bristles, it may have a special fabric strip that can catch lint and pet hair with relative ease. This makes it perfect for cleaning chairs, recliners, sofas, mattresses, and cushions.
Ceiling Fan Tool
With an angled head and dense bristles, a ceiling fan tool will allow you to reach the upper side of your fan’s blades without having to stand on a chair. Some people also use them to reach the tops of tall cupboards.
Bonus: Tips to Maintain Your Vacuum Cleaner
Since you’re reading this article, you’re someone who likes to keep his budget closely monitored. For that reason, I thought I should give you some general maintenance tips that should lengthen the vacuum’s lifespan to the maximum value.
1. Empty the Dust Canister Daily
Alright, bear with me on this one. I know that emptying the dust canister after each use doesn’t sound appealing. But trust me, your wallet will be grateful!
Think about it. Is it smart to leave the dust, pet hair, and food bits hanging inside the dust canister for weeks, or even months? With the slightest moisture, these will harden up into solid clumps that would need twice the time and effort to clean.
And even if that didn’t happen, leaving the dust to bounce around the canister will inadvertently block the exhaust filters quicker. In turn, the vacuum might start dwindling in suction power.
This tip gets even more crucial for handheld and stick vacuums. Their smaller capacity will fill up much sooner than the others.
2. Replace the Bag Before It Fills Up
Unlike bagless vacuums, bagged models can be quite tricky when it comes to the emptying schedule. Clearly, they’re made with a large capacity that would make daily replacements completely absurd.
Instead, regularly inspect the bag before each use. If you felt that it’s 3/4 full, change it. I don’t like waiting for them to “bloat” since this will hugely impair the suction power. In fact, if your vacuum operates with a full dust bag for too long, you’ll be more likely to burn the motor.
Why? Well, normally, the motor has to suck the air and expel it from the tiny holes of the bag. Up until 3/4 the capacity, the pressure can be maintained normally through the empty quarter.
When the whole surface is blocked, the motor will have to overwork in order to maintain enough suction. With time, the overheating will ruin the rest of the components before the whole vacuum stops working.
3. Wash the Air Foam Filter Once a Month
Almost all vacuum cleaners have small foam filters placed somewhere before the air exhaust. It collects the small dust particles that found their way out of the canister or bag. This way, the expelled air will be clean and healthy.
To make sure the airflow is optimal, wash this filter once per month. Avoid hot water since it might widen the small gaps. Just run it under cold tap water instead. Afterward, let the filter dry in the open air for 24 hours. Never shove it back in the vacuum before that to avoid ruining the electric circuit.
4. Replace the HEPA Filter 2 Times a Year
Most high-end upright vacuums have a HEPA filter installed just before the air vent. Unlike foam, HEPA filters can catch 99.97% of particles that measure 0.3 microns. Not only do they block fine dust, but they also trap bacteria!
But just like any other filter, it gets blocked with time. Unfortunately, it can’t be washed and reused. You’ll have to buy a new one about twice a year. Nevertheless, it’s always recommended to check the manufacturers’ guidelines in these matters.
5. Inspect the Brush Roll and Drive Belt
I always recommend getting a vacuum that features a motorized brush roll. This will literally dig into your carpets to mobilize any fixed clumps. With time, this part will inevitably collect hair and pilling, which can impede its action.
Since this process is a bit complicated, I’ve prepared a quick step-by-step guide to keep things clear.
Step 1: Open the Vacuum’s Head
Upend your vacuum and hold it securely. Then, use a screwdriver to loosen the screws holding the cover in place. Once you lift the cover, you should be able to visualize the brush roll and drive belt.
If you can’t see any screws on the cover, check the user’s manual for the proper disassembling method. If you’re still unsure, do not attempt random tries. Just contact a professional and ask for instructions.
Step 2: Feel the Belt for Signs of Wear
The drive belt should be tightly wrapped around the brush roll. It should have a consistently smooth surface. If you noticed looseness or major cracks, you’ll need to replace it. And although it’s not a priority, having an intact drive belt should guarantee the best performance.
Step 3: Cut the Entanglements
Pop the brush roll out of place so that you can comfortably clean it. And surely, you’ll need to remove the drive belt off its track before that.
Then, by using a seam ripper cut and remove any hairs, threads, or pilling that might be entangled in between the brush bristles. If you don’t have a seam ripper, a scissor will do. Just make sure you don’t scratch the body of the roll as you’re trying to engage the entanglements.
With the vacuum’s head devoid of its components, grab some paper towels and gently wipe any dust. Pay special attention to the air passage to make sure nothing is clogging it.
Before putting the drive belt back in place, try to flick the brush roll to make sure it can spin around its axis without any obstruction. If it can’t, you might need to replace it.
Step 4: Put Everything Back in place
Fix the drive belt over its track and make sure it’s tight enough. Then place the cover and tighten all the screws.
6. Flush Water Down the Suction Hose
If your vacuum isn’t working with full potential, dirt clumps and hair strands will probably accumulate inside the dips of the suction hose.
Some people suggest using a coat hanger to dislodge any blockage, but I advise against that. Not only will you overlook some dirt, but you may also scratch the hose by mistake.
Alternatively, I like to clean it with water. Hold the hose under the tap, and let the water flush down anything lurking inside. If you want a deeper clean, trap the water inside by placing your hand over the end. Then, wait until the water brims, and shake the hose left and right to dislodge the smallest bits.
Afterward, let the hose dry in the air completely before connecting it back to the vacuum.
What is the beater bar on a vacuum cleaner?
The beater bar is just another term for the brush roll. If you buy a vacuum with a motorized beater bar, it’ll dive deep into the carpet pile to dislodge any hardened dirt.
How do you deodorize a vacuum cleaner?
Vacuums can become smelly if you don’t clean them often. The main culprit you should check is the canister or the bag. If you used the vacuum to clean organic leftovers, you’ll find them decomposed inside. Replacing the bag and washing the canister should get the problem solved.
If the vacuum still smells, inspect the filter, hose, or the rest of the attachments. Look for signs of mold, bacteria, or food decomposition. Then, clean or replace as you see fit.
Does wattage matter in vacuum cleaners?
No. Wattage reflects the electricity that your vacuum will use per hour. If you want to get a powerful vacuum, look for a high airflow, which is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM).