Bagged vs Bagless Vacuum Cleaners: Which is Better?

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Bagless Vacuum Canister Filled with Dirt

Looking for the perfect vacuum cleaner?

Whether you prefer a bagged vacuum or a bagless vacuum, I’m sharing why both are great (and why they sometimes aren’t). Plus, some of my Hip2Save sidekicks are sharing what type of vacuums they use in their homes along with our top picks for you to consider if you’re in the market for a new one.

Hip Buying Tip:

Did you know that according to The Spruce the best time to buy a vacuum is in the spring? That’s when everyone’s thinking about spring cleaning and retailers have big sales on appliances and cleaners.

We also just missed the second-best time to buy vacuums, which is in November-December. So if you don’t scoop one up yet, get ready for the spring sales!

Bagless vacuums

Shark Rotator Vacuum

Pros of bagless vacuums:

    • You don’t need to buy vacuum bags.
    • Eco-friendly since you aren’t constantly replacing bags.
    • Designed with new technology and more features.
    • You can see the dirt it’s picking up, so knowing when to empty is easier.
    • The vacuum won’t lose suction the fuller the chamber gets.
    • More modern and sleek which makes them more appealing to look at.
    • Easy to dispose of debris.

Cons of bagless vacuums:

    • Tend to spread a cloud of dust into the air when emptied.
    • Not the best option for allergies.
    • Holds less debris.
    • More difficult to keep clean.
    • The filters are not cheap to replace and normally cannot be washed.
    • Filters can clog easily and cause the vacuum to lose suction.

Some of our favorite top-rated, bagless vacuums:

I searched different types of popular vacuum features with strictly high ratings across the board.

For Best Overall, I found a mid-price, highly-rated option with some bells and whistles. Budget-friendly is still a high-rated vacuum at a very affordable cost. Best for Allergies is the highest rated vacuum that eliminates the most amount of allergins in the air. 

⭐Best Overall – Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away Vacuum Cleaner

⭐Budget-Friendly – Bissell 9595A CleanView Bagless Vacuum with OnePass

⭐Best for Allergies – Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Bagged vacuums

person holding arm of black vacuum next to cream beige couch and rug in living room

Pros of bagged vacuums:

    • Best for people with allergies.
    • Put less dust in the air when changing the bags.
    • Easier to keep clean.
    • Slightly better for sucking up pet hair based on their design.
    • Less likely to get clogged.
    • Don’t have expensive filters that need to be replaced.
    • Less maintenance since bags hold more and don’t need to be changed as often.

Cons of bagged vacuums:

    • Changing the bags can be a hassle.
    • Disposable bags add to the cost.
    • It looks older and less modern.
    • Loses suction as the disposable bag gets full.

Some of our favorite top-rated, bagged vacuums:

I searched different types of popular vacuum features with strictly high ratings across the board.

For Best Overall, I found a mid-price, highly-rated option with some bells and whistles. Budget-friendly is still a high-rated vacuum at a very affordable cost. Best for Allergies is the highest rated vacuum that eliminates the most amount of allergins in the air.  

⭐Best Overall – Oreck Commercial, Professional Upright Vacuum Cleaner, U2000RB1

⭐Budget-Friendly – BISSELL PowerForce Bagged Canister Vacuum, 2154W

⭐Best for Allergies – Kenmore Elite 31150 Pet-Friendly Bagged Upright Vacuum

So what’s the Hip2Save team verdict?

Vacuuming up cereal

Bagged Vacuum Fans Said…

“I’m old school. I’ve tried the more expensive vacuums and they’ve always crapped out on me. I’ve had 2 Bissels in the last 10 years. They aren’t pretty to look at, but they are total beasts! They just keep going and going and going!”Tracy

“I used to have a cleaning business, and sometimes the clients would want me to use their fancy vacuums. And while I would do what they wanted, I never thought they worked nearly as well.”Jessica

“I’ve had expensive Dysons, I but really like commercial grade bagged vacuums better. They are seriously the best and have never failed me!” – Michelle

“I’ve had the same Kenmore bagged canister vacuum for nearly 30 years, and it outperforms any bagless vacuum I’ve tried! I really like the ease and concept of a bagless, but I prefer the performance of a bagged vacuum.” – Jamie

“I’m a Bagged Vacuum Owner ALL THE WAY. I really love that I don’t have to clean the nasty vacuum like you have to do with bagless and the bags seem to last a really long time. I also love the simplicity of bagged vacuums and the suction is always amazing. I LOVE my Oreck!  “ – Collin

“I love our Oreck vacuum with that comes with bags! We’ve owned it for about ten years or so, and I think the performance is high-quality. I also don’t mind changing the bags.”Lina

Bagless Vacuum Fans Said…

“I never really cared for bagged vacuums, and I love my Dyson, so I think it’s easy to say I’m a bagless girl!” – Amber R.

“I own a bagless vacuum, and it’s always done a great job for us! I never even gave a second thought to purchasing a bagged vacuum since they’re not marketed like bagless ones. I do feel good about the eco-friendly aspect though, and I love that I can wash my filter to save on costs.” – Sara 

“I prefer bagless vacuums. I have pets, and with all the hair, my canister seems to fill up so quickly, so I need the vacuum to be convenient for the constant emptying I need to do.”Angela

“I like my bagless as it seems to be one less thing to fool with or have to remember to do! However, I’ve never used a bagged vacuum.” – Amber S.

“We love our bagless to help cut down on the costs of purchasing bags. Plus, it’s eco-friendly.”Alyssa

“We are a bagless vacuum home over here! We have two vacuums, a Shark Navigator and an Arnica stick vacuum. Both have amazing power, and I love that I don’t have to change a bag.” – Stacy

The verdict? Bagged vacuums – 6 vs. Bagless vacuums – 6

Our team ended up being a tie! Half of us love our tried and true bagged vacuums, while the other half love our eco-friendly bagless ones. What I find most interesting? Many of our sidekicks who love their bagless vacuum cleaners have never actually tried a bagged vacuum.

Come join our front load vs. top-load laundry room debate, too!

About the writer:

Sara is a self-taught blogger & photographer and brings 9+ years of experience to her craft. Her work has been featured in numerous esteemed publications, spanning building, travel, and fashion. Beyond her creative pursuits, Sara’s primary mission is to empower others to embrace a toxic-free & sustainable lifestyle.

Join The Discussion

Comments 23

  1. Gscribble

    I love my shark rotator professional lift away!

    • Lori

      I have the same Shark and love it! I’ll never go back to bags.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us! I have loved my Shark too!

  2. sherry

    I have had both. They both are good and serve the purpose. I feel the advantages to a bagless far outweigh a bagged vacuum cleaner. As in anything though it is essential that the consumer maintain the vacuum cleaner. Such as clean or replace the filters, empty the waste canister, make sure the head and hoses are free of clogs, clean debris that is stuck by the nozzle and head, replace worn belts, and keep it relatively clean.

    I can highly recommend Shark Duoclean Lift away. It is by far the best vacuum I have ever had. (Including Dyson pet vacuum)

    I also have a Eureka bagged vacuum. The correct bags are difficult to find.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks a TON for your helpful review, Sherry! Good to know what has worked well for you!

  3. Rae

    I have both. I was tired of buying bags so I bought a bagless. We don’t have much carpet. Just a large decorative rug in the living room then I set the vacuum to bare floor. The bagless works great for us. Maybe it is different if there is more carpet? Not sure.

  4. Meg

    I agree I have a shark vacuum and will never go back to bags. I have severe allergies and asthma and I just get my husband to dump when it’s full. Even if you take a bag off you still deal with the debri. I’ll never go back to a bag. Shark is the way to go 😊

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for letting us know what you have liked best, Meg! We sure appreciate the feedback!

  5. Michele B.

    Definitely bagless. My shark does a great job of trapping dust and debris and it’s so convenient to just keep the canister emptied.

  6. patricialavenz-goff

    I agree that the Oreck vacuums are great. I used one at the Ronald McDonald House for years. I have a Bissell now but that is only because my brothers bought it for me 12 years ago and it still works. We don’t use it much as we don’t have many rugs in the house as most are smaller and we just hang them on the line and beat them. The kids love helping and the dust is amazing to see. I love using my Grandmothers rug beater too.

  7. Susan K.

    This may not be practical where you live but I’ve always taken my canister and emptied it outside in the garden.

  8. sue

    Dyson vacuums are dumb! Worst vacuum. The entry to the hose is larger then the part that goes into the canister so it can suck up stuff only to get it stuck in the hose. I will say I do like how easy it is to move it. But the bugger never wants to stand upright. It is so easy to knock over. I have so many negatives about dyson. I could go on all day….

    • rochellemcgee

      Ha! I hate my Dyson and people look at my like I have two heads when I say that. It’s a major PITA to empty – it’s so messy that I have to take it out into my front yard, I have to pick dirt and fibers out of the vents every time I empty the canister(super yuck!) and I need to empty it about every other time I vacuum or I don’t get enough suction through the hose to vacuum the stairs. I do all the suggested maintenance. I am a clean freak and don’t allow shoes in the house, eating in any carpeted areas, nor do I have shedding animals, so there’s no earthly reason I should have to clean the vacuum out this often before I can use it. But I feel stuck with it because I paid so much and I’d never hear the end of it from my husband 😬 but I’m really tempted to buy that Oreck…

  9. Loudflower

    We bought a Dyson nearly 15 years ago and it still works fantastic! It was more than we wanted to spend at the time but has been worth every penny. I highly recommend Dyson.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Wow! Thanks for the recommendation! Good to know how well your Dyson has held up through the years!

    • Lana

      Same here. This week we had to replace the hose for $20 but it is the first repair we have done in 15 years. Also, I love that it has a washable filter.

    • Heather V.

      We’ve had a Dyson Animal for about 12 years now and it’s still going strong. At one point, about 6 years in, something on it broke (I can’t remember what, exactly). I called the company, and they set up an appointment with a local vacuum repair shop to have it fixed immediately at no cost. We’ve replaced the hose and HEPA filter ourselves (inexpensive). Everything else has held up very well.

  10. SuzyHomemakerGoneBad

    Remember the Fantom Fury- the original bagless vacuum? I bought one on sale for my college apartment in 1997, and it’s still going strong. I did buy a case of belts and filters when it was discontinued, so that’s how we’ve kept it going. My mom had an brand new expensive Electrolux bagged vacuum at that time, and the Fury got a half canister of debris out of the carpet immediately after we used the Electrolux, so my mom insisted on using my vacuum after that. Anyway, we also have a Dyson Pet vacuum, and it’s worked well for us since 2005, with even stronger suction than the Fury. Bagless all the way!

  11. Laurie villotta

    I have had my Dyson for 20 yrs and I have never had a problem. It is amazing how dirty things get. Would buy another one. I empty my canister outside into my garbage can. No mess for me.

  12. lenin1991

    For bagless, “Eco-friendly since you aren’t constantly replacing bags” is a distraction: compared to the total environmental footprint of manufacturing & shipping a vacuum cleaner and the electricity to run it, the total impact of a few dozen paper bags is negligible.

  13. nettienoo

    I have two pre-owned Kirby Avalirs one i Pid $50 the other $100. One is in attachment mode one in regular upright. I’ve broken too many bissels, Hoover’s, sharks, you name it ive broken them. So I won’t buy new ever again that is for sure.

  14. Susan31652

    I have 2 Dysons, one Eureka bagged, and a central vacuum. I hands down love my Dysons. I have an old DC28 Animal (predecessor to the Ball), and a cordless Animal. I will never get rid of them. We have 4 pets (3 longhair cats) and almost 5k square feet. I have had one part break on my big Dyson, which was a part around $5 to replace. I have allergies (take meds daily), and overall don’t see it as more of an issue that the Dysons do not have bags.

  15. betsyrockwell

    I love, love, love both Riccar and Miele. They both “suck” more than any other vacuums I have used. Definitely more expensive but built to last. I have had my Riccar for 15+ years. My daughter is in love with her refurbished 15+ year old Miele.

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