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Are cheap vacuum cleaners any good?

By Matthew Knight

We analysed the scores and prices of more than 150 vacuums tested in 2014, to work out whether cheap vacuum cleaners are worth the cash.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Our research shows that you can get yourself a top-class cheap vacuum cleaner for less than £100. And whether your budget is £100, £200, £300 or even higher, we can show you the vacuum that will get you the most for your money.

Read on for more tips on how much to spend, or skip straight to our Best Buy vacuums page for a list of our top-rated models.

Buying a cheap vacuum cleaner

To see whether it's possible to get a cheap vacuum cleaner that will work well when you need it, in 2014 we plotted all of the test scores of more than 150 vacuum cleaner reviews on the Which? website against how much they cost to buy. You can see the results in the graph below and read our 'Seven things to know before you buy', so that you can find out what the graph means if you are on the lookout for a great-value vacuum cleaner.


The best way to guarantee that the vacuum cleaner you pick excels is to choose one of our Best Buys. The cheapest Best Buy vacuum cleaner available in August 2015 cost less than £100. To find out which model it is, take a look at our full vacuum cleaner reviews.


Even if your budget is small, you can pick up many great vacuum cleaners for less than £100. Whether you want a bagged or bagless vacuum, a cylinder or an upright, scouring our vacuum cleaner reviews will reveal brilliant models in this price range, and occasionally even a Best Buy.


While you can pay up to £450 for a vacuum cleaner, our testing shows that it is possible to get a vacuum cleaner that is just as good for less than a third of that price.


The price range of similar-quality vacuums can be astonishing. In August 2015, the difference between the most and least expensive Best Buy was £303. The main difference between these is that the cheaper model has a slightly smaller capacity than the more expensive one. This really highlights how important it is to take a look at vacuum cleaner reviews before buying.


As you would expect, the data in the graph shows that, in general, the more money you spend the better chance you have of getting a good vacuum cleaner. But Which? reviews take any chance out of it, and by careful research you can make sure you get a cheap vacuum cleaner that will outperform models that cost hundreds of pounds more.


The best vacuum cleaner we have ever tested is currently available for £200. To find out which model it is, take a look at our vacuum cleaner reviews.


With the odd rare exception, vacuum cleaners below the £100 mark tend to score poorly in our lab tests, and our research shows that vacuum cleaners that cost less than £50 can be very poor indeed. But if your budget can stretch to £100-£150 then there are some great options out there for you.

How we test vacuum cleaners

We test all of the latest models and biggest sellers available on the high street and online to get a full picture of the market. We can tell you, with confidence, which vacs are a great deal and which ones to avoid.

Our lab testing involves not only examining a vacuum's ability to pick up plenty of dust and pet hair from carpets, laminate and floorboards, but also incorporates ease-of-use scores so we can tell you if the model is suitable for stairs and how easy it is to use around your home.

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