Bagged vs Bagless Vacuum Cleaner- Which Type is Best

The global vacuum cleaner market reached $10 billion in 2020, so it is not surprising that there are hundreds of models across dozens of brands. This vast selection of options can make choosing a model a little tricky. However, you can narrow down your choices by examining the bagged vs bagless vacuum argument. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of both types of vacuum cleaner to help you to choose whether a bag or bagless vacuum is the best option for you.

The Bagged Vacuum Basics:

are bagless vacuums betterBagged vacuums are the conventional style of cleaner, but this doesn’t mean that they are old fashioned. Modern bagged vacuums can be equipped with HEPA filtered bags to minimize dust and allergens in your home.

As the name suggests, a bagged vacuum has a bag in the cylinder that holds all the dust, dirt and debris securely. When the bag is full, you simply remove it and replace it with a new bag.

In order to explore the bagged vs bagless vacuum cleaner argument, it is important to be aware of both the positives and potential negatives. We’ll explore these in more detail.

The Pros of Bagged Vacuums:

Increased Hygiene:

Bagged vacuums are typically a more hygienic option. Modern vacuum cleaner bags use HEPA filters to trap the dust and potential allergens inside. There are even protective seals to ensure that nothing escapes when you change the bag.

Better for Allergy Sufferers:

Allergy inducing debris, including pollen, dust and fur will be kept inside the vacuum bag, which makes a bagged vacuum a better option if you have allergy sufferers in your household.

Longer Empty Intervals:

One of the most compelling positives of bagged vacuums is that you don’t need to empty it frequently. Vacuum bags are typically large and can be used for months before you need to change it.

The Cons of Bagged Vacuums:

Cost of Bags:

In order to operate, your bagged vacuum will need bags. Although they don’t need to be changed frequently, you will still need to factor the cost of the bags into your purchase decision.

Potential for Long Term Issues:

This follows on from the previous point, but if your vacuum model is discontinued, you may have long term issues sourcing appropriate bags.

Difficult to Retrieve Items:

It is not unusual to accidentally suck up a child’s toy, jewelry items or even a key during your cleaning session. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to retrieve any lost items, as you will need to cut open the bag, which is a messy task.

The Bagless Vacuum Basics:

Emptying Vacuum CanisterThe other side of the bagged vs bagless vacuum argument is obviously the bagless type of vacuum cleaner. As its name suggests, this type of vacuum does not require a bag. Instead, the debris you suck up is collected into a canister. When the canister is full, you need to remove it from the vacuum and empty it into the trash. This can be a simple or more complicated process depending on the specific model.

The Pros of Bagless Vacuums:


If you are concerned about your eco footprint, you’re bound to prefer a bagless vacuum. These vacuums don’t require non-recyclable bags to work. Instead, you simply empty the canister when it is full.

Money Saving:

Carrying on from the last point, even if you pay more initially, you won’t need to worry about shelling out for bags during the lifespan of the vacuum.

Cleanable Filters:

Bagless vacuums are typically very easy to use, with the simplest care instructions. Most models feature a built-in filter that can be removed and cleaned to ensure optimum cleaning performance.

Strong Suction:

Another strength of a bagless vacuum is that the suction performance tends to be stronger. However, you need to bear in mind that as the canister fills up, the suction performance will drop. Most models will provide little to no suction power if the canister is full. So, you must stop cleaning to empty the vac.

Empty Dyson Vacuum


The Cons of Bagless Vacuums:

You Need to Stop to Empty:

Bagless vacuums cannot really function when the canister is full. So, if your vac has a smaller canister, you may find that you need to stop part way through cleaning to empty it. Some models have such a small canister that you may need to empty it multiple times during a cleaning session.

Potential for Allergens When Emptying:

Another downside of bagless vacuums is that dust, pollen and other allergens can be reintroduced into the air when you empty the vac. You can mitigate this by emptying your vac outside, but this can be problematic for some.

Bagged vs Bagless Vacuum: Which is Best?

As you can see, there are both pros and cons associated with either type of vacuum. So, the choice between bagged or bagless vacuum cleaners will depend on your personal preferences.

If you or someone in your family suffers with allergies, you may appreciate the self-contained nature of a bagged vacuum. Once the dust, pollen, pet hair and other allergens are sucked up by the vacuum cleaner, they will remain locked inside the bag. Many bagged vacs have HEPA filters and seals on the bags to ensure that the allergens are not reintroduced into your indoor air.

However, this does come at a cost. You will need to budget for replacing the bags periodically. While the intervals between replacing bags will vary, some compatible bags can cost $20 or more. If you want to maintain the integrity of the allergen containment, you will also need to ensure that you use manufacturer or manufacturer recommended bags. Third party bags may be of inferior quality that compromise the performance of the vac.

So, if you are a more budget conscious consumer or one who is looking to minimize your Eco footprint, you are more likely to prefer a bagless vacuum. Although you may pay a little more initially for your vac, you don’t need to worry about the cost or environmental impact of buying replacement bags.

Hopefully, this bagged vs bagless vacuum exploration has provided you with the details you need to make an informed purchase decision.