There are several reasons why you might want to pick a bagged vacuum rather than a bagless one. Let’s look at the main ones.
Bagged vacuums are less messy and involving than bagless vacuums, which require you to empty the dirt container frequently. With the former, you won’t have to empty the bag when it’s full. You only have to detach it and dispose of it as is. Consequently, you run no risk of inhaling dust particles or having bits of dirt fall onto clean surfaces as you remove the bag.
By design, bagged vacuums ensure that all collected dirt makes its way into the bag, with presumably no chance of particulates escaping into the air, making it the vacuum of choice for folks with allergies.
In a bagged vacuum, the filter is built into the bag, meaning you won’t need to remove it for cleaning after a couple of uses. With bagless vacuums, you have to clean the filter every time it gets clogged. If you don’t do this, the vacuum slows down and may become ineffective in picking up dirt.
Bagged vacuum cleaner types
Bagged vacuums largely come in three types, upright, canister and backpack, and can be corded or cordless. Bagged upright vacuums are the heaviest duty in the group and tend to also have the most weight. They weigh between 18 and 25 pounds. As such, they may not be your first choice if you want a vacuum that you can haul up and down the stairs.
In bagged canister vacuums, the head and body are separate, but joined by hose, which adds to their ease of use. They’re usually lighter than upright models and easy to maneuver. Canister vacuums are ideal for use on both hard floors and carpets, with most of them designed to reach under furniture.
Bagged backpack vacuums are a variation of canister vacuum cleaners, designed to be strapped onto the cleaner’s back. Their most definitive feature is that the canisters are smaller for increased mobility during use.
The cheapest bagged vacuum cleaner can cost you $100 or less, while the most expensive one will see you cough up $1,000 or more. Does the price matter? Yes and no. On the one hand, if you pay the bare minimum for a vacuum cleaner, you can be almost sure that it doesn’t come with many accessories. It will be good to get the work done, but that’s about all you get.
On the other hand, the more you pay for a vacuum cleaner, the more likely you are to walk away with a premium, solidly-built product. Where you get plenty of plastic bits in the cheaper varieties, you get chrome and stainless steel in the high-end pieces. You already know the stark difference between the two classes of material.
Features to consider while buying the best bagged vacuum
Let’s now delve into the individual features that make one bagged vacuum better than the other.
How big is the vacuum’s cleaning path? A brush that covers 18 inches of floor space will help you clean faster than one with a cleaning path of 12 inches. The importance of considering how wide the surface cleaned with every stroke is becomes apparent when you have to clean a large room and do it every day.
Weight and type
Lighter vacuums are easy to maneuver. This is something to remember as you choose a vacuum. Go for a heavy one and the weight will bog you down, making it hard to lug the vacuum up stairs or clean above-floor surfaces.
On average, upright bagged vacuums weight 18-24 pounds, while bagged canister vacuums weigh 9-18 pounds. Bagged backpack vacuums are much lighter, typically weighing less than 10 pounds.
Remember that as the vacuum bag fills up, the vacuum becomes heavier, and you’ll only dispose of the bag once it’s full unless you don’t mind discarding it at half-full capacity and spending more money on replacement bags. So you must factor in the weight of the accumulating dirt when making a purchasing decision.
Aim for a vacuum with a large bag so you don’t have to replace it too often. The bag capacity may not be a big deal for people who vacuum occasionally because it will take weeks, maybe even months to accumulate a considerable amount of dirt in the bag. But if you vacuum more frequently and clean high traffic areas regularly, choose a bag with a high dirt capacity so that it doesn’t feel like you’re replacing the bag every couple of months.
You want to choose a vacuum with a powerful motor as this directly impacts the amount of suction power the vacuum gives. Motor power doesn’t necessarily equate to motor size, so consider the output and capacity instead.
Motors with high wattage tend to give great suction power. Good examples are Soniclean Soft Carpet, Prolux 7000, Panasonic MC-UG471, and Kenmore 81614.
Some vacuums like the Sanitaire Tradition SC899F and Severin BC7055 have a much lower wattage, but still pack up formidable suction power.
A better way to look at it is to weigh whether the suction power released corresponds to the vacuum’s motor power.
We believe it’s safe to say that no vacuum cleaner runs silently, whereby there’s no sound coming from the vacuum even though the machine is switched on. But noise levels between any two vacuum cleaners can differ greatly. In this regard, some bagged vacuums are definitely noisy. If your aim is to end up with a vacuum that’s relatively quiet, opt for a model with a dB level of 76 or less.
Bagless vacuums come with a built-in filter inside the bag, which doesn’t require cleaning or replacing as it will last as long as the bag. Because of the confined design of the bag, collected dirt is fully trapped inside the bag in such a way that it cannot escape back into the environment. The best vacuums have multi-level filtration to ensure the highest air quality possible. Remember this when choosing a bagged vacuum cleaner.
Majority of the bagged vacuums currently on sale have HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) Filter) filtration, the most superior air purification technology in existence today. HEPA filters remove more particulates than any other type of filter, and are designed to trap at least 99.97% of pollutants. For people susceptible to allergic reactions, HEPA filters are the recommended filtration type to get rid of allergens.
How long the cord should be?
20-25 feet of cord is a fair length; it gives you great reach and allows you to maneuver the vacuum around rooms with ease. Most bagged vacuums have much longer cords, with some like the Sanitaire Tradition SC899F giving you 50 feet of cord. With such a vacuum, you can comfortably clean in spaces without power outlets. Other great vacuums with long cords and perfect for home use are the Soniclean Soft Carpet and Prolux 7000.
To avoid a situation where you’re stuck with a vacuum that’s of little help to you, consider the areas that need cleaning in relation to the closest power outlet. Then choose a vacuum with a cord that’s long enough to reach the furthest corner in this space.
The types of brushes on the vacuum determine what type of surface you can vacuum. Most vacuum brush rolls are designed to move smoothly on low-pile carpets. If, however, you have a medium-pile carpet, high-pile carpet, or soft carpet, confirm whether the brush can be adjusted. A lot of vacuums allow you to adjust the brush roll and floorhead to accommodate high pile fibers, which then makes cleaning such carpets smooth.
In bagged vacuums that clean both carpets and hard floors, the brush roll is turned off, either manually or automatically, to allow the bare-floor setting to kick in.
The more attachments you can add to your vacuum cleaner, the more cleaning options you can enjoy. Some bagged vacuums come with assorted add-ons that may include crevice tools, upholstery brushes, extension wands, and a range of nozzle attachments for different types of combs and special brushes for removing pet hair.
You may only get one or two accessories with your vacuum, but they are all available for purchase. So you can buy more as your vacuuming needs change.
It’s important to get a warranty for your bagged vacuum, especially if you’re spending more than a couple of hundred dollars on it. The warranty typically covers workmanship and parts. Note that components predisposed to wear and tear like the filter and brushes are usually not included in the warranty. Make plans to replace these in due time as advised by the manufacturer, depending on how frequently you use the vacuum.
Warranty periods range from 1 year to 7 years or more, depending on the brand. If you’re a heavy vacuum cleaner user, go for a model with a longer warranty period so you can enjoy the manufacturer’s support for longer.
Tips for bagged vacuum maintenance
There are steps you can take to increase the lifespan of your bagged vacuum. Think of these as bagged vacuum maintenance best practices. Here are some of them:
- Clean and/or replace the filters regularly as advised by the manufacturer.
- Inspect the belt before each use and return it to position if it had slipped off the brush roll. If broken, replace immediately. Otherwise, it will slow down your vacuum cleaner or make it inoperational.
- Empty and/or replace the bags as needed.
- Inspect the brushes regularly and unclog as needed.
- Clean the vacuum hose regularly.