Vacuum cleaners: How to buy the best vacuum cleaner Bagless vacuum cleaners
Choosing between a bagged or bagless vacuum cleaner model is mostly a matter of personal preference. But there are some differences that you should know about – especially if you suffer from allergies.
It’s been almost three decades since Sir James Dyson first introduced the first cyclonic bagless vacuum to the world. Today, competing major manufacturers have also produced their own bagless vacuums. Below you’ll find the pros and cons of choosing a bagless model over the traditional bagged version.
But regardless of what you end up buying, make sure it’s a vac that’ll suck up dust and not skip over it. Our independent testing reveals which are the best on the market, and with over 140 models on test - read our vacuum cleaner reviews to make sure you buy the best model for your money.
Bagged versus bagless vacuums
Bagless vacs trap all the dust and dirt from your floors inside a canister, that you then empty yourself into a bin. This saves you having replace bags, which can be a little fiddly.
But a big advantage is the cost. The ongoing cost of replacement bags for a vacuum cleaner can become formidable as the years go on.
On the down side, bagless vacs tend to have smaller dust capacities than bagged models. The average upright bagged vacuum will hold around 4.2 litres of dust – but bagless upright vacs hold an average of 2.6 litres, considerably smaller.
Emptying a bagless vacuum cleaner can be a messy job, potentially making them a bad choice for those with allergies. You need to be careful not to spill anything as you remove and tip out the dust canister.
2.6 litresThe average capacity of a bagless upright vacuum cleaner
But it’s not just how hygienic it is to empty that those with allergies need to consider.
We test every vac to see how well it retains the dust particles and allergens that you vacuum up – as the last thing you want is a vacuum cleaner that leaks.
Our tests show that on average, bagged vacuums tend to be slightly better at retaining allergens and dust than their bagless counterparts.
Hepa and S-class filters can help a vac retain dust and allergens, but it’s not always a guarantee of good retention. To make sure you get a vac that keeps everything in, use our vacuum comparison tool and search for vacs with four stars or more for allergen retention.