Bagged vs Bagless Vacuum: Which Should You Buy?

By Jeneva Aaron Updated October 29, 2021

Which vacuum is best? Let’s find out!

Bagged vs Bagless Vacuum: Which Should You Buy?

Are you confused about the difference between a bagged or bagless vacuum cleaner? Are you unsure about using HEPA filters or replacement bags? We know how hard it can be to find the right option when you’re shopping for a new vacuum cleaner.

With so many models on the market with different shapes, sizes, and filtration systems, it can be hard to know what to choose! But, don’t stress. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about bagged and bagless vacuums.

We’ll explore the hygiene and performance differences between each vacuum. We’ll also cover the differences between the filtration, cost, and maintenance of both types of vacuum cleaners.

With this comparison, you can understand if a bagged or bagless vacuum is the best pick for you.

Bagged vs. Bagless Vacuum Cleaners Comparison Chart

ProductBagless VacuumBagged Vacuum
Price
Check Price
Check Price
Usage
Easy to use
More guesswork to replace the bag
Easy to use
Easy to know when to empty the dust bin
Hygiene
Potential exposition to dirt and dust, especially when emptying the dust bin
Very hygienic
Dirt, and dust stay securely inside the bag
Eco-Friendliness
No bags to dispose
Bags generate more waste
Performance
Suction remain constant even if the dust bin is full
When the bag starts to fill, the suction will decrease
Filtration
HEPA filters (optional)
HEPA filters (optional)
Bags act as filters
Maintenance
Requires more maintenance (emptying and cleaning the dust bin regularly)
Requires less maintenance (bags don't need to be changed often, filters don't need to be cleaned)
Costs
No bags to buy
Ongoing costs with bags' replacement

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Bag vs. Bagless Vacuums: In-Depth Comparison

Bagged vs Bagless Comparison

Which vacuum cleaner is best? Let’s compare the different features side by side.

Usage

When it comes to usage, many users argue that a bagless vacuum cleaner is easier to use. This is because it can be a lot easier to empty.

When emptying bagless vacuums, all you need to do is unlatch the dirt canister. Then, empty the collected dust into the trash and reattach it to the machine. So there’s less interruption during your cleaning, which means you can focus more on the task itself.

Plus, if you accidentally vacuum up a valuable item, you can easily detach the canister to retrieve it.

The dirt bin on bagless vacuums is also transparent. This makes it easy for you to see when it needs emptying and eliminates any guesswork.

However, bagged vacuums are also designed to be simple to use and empty. Although you need to change the bag when it’s full, it isn’t hard to do.

Plus, most new bagged models feature an indicator light that tells you when the bag needs to be replaced. For example, see this Miele C3 bagged vacuum.

Winner

Bagless vacuums win. There are fewer steps involved in assembly and emptying, which can save you a lot of time and effort when you’re cleaning.

Hygiene

A bagless vacuum can lead to exposure to dirt and dust when emptying. Dirt and debris are trapped in an air-tight chamber that needs to be opened to empty. So there is a risk that some airborne particles and dust can recirculate back into the air during disposal.

Whereas in a bagged vacuum, dirt is trapped in an air-tight bag. And, unlike a bagless dirt canister, this bag doesn’t need to be opened to empty. You simply remove the sealed bag from the vacuum and dispose of it in your trash.

This process results in less mess. And it also prevents any allergens and particles from re-entering the air.

Winner

Bagged vacuums are a more hygienic option. Because the bag remains closed during disposal, there’s less risk of exposure to dirt and dust.

Eco-Friendliness

Using a bagless vacuum is a very environmentally-friendly option compared to their bagged counterpart. They don’t require any disposable bags. You can empty the debris and dirt straight into the trash.

This is especially useful if you live in an environment that has a lot of debris and particulates. For example, if you have pets you are more likely to have a large amount of pet hair and other debris to dispose of.

Without having to worry about disposable bags, this can reduce a lot of unnecessary waste and environmental impact.

Unlike bagless vacuum cleaners, bagged vacuums produce a lot more waste. It requires an entire bag to be disposed of each time the vacuum is full. And these bags aren’t recyclable. Over time, this can lead to hundreds of disposable bags ending up in landfills.

Winner

Using bagless vacuums is a more eco-friendly option than using a bagged system because they don’t require disposable bags.

Performance

One of the main benefits of bagless systems is the powerful suction. They maintain better peak performance because they don’t lose their suction as they fill up. So they often provide a more efficient overall clean and collect more dirt.

Whereas bagged vacuum cleaners tend to lose suction as the bag is filled. So they often only maintain peak performance with a new and empty bag. As the bag starts to fill up, the vacuum’s overall performance can quickly decrease.

Bagged vacuums can also clog easily. This can cause suction problems even if the bag is not full.

Plus, with some older models, it can be difficult to know when the bag is full. This often results in users replacing bags before they’re full. Or, on the other hand, using it when the vacuum bag is too full. This can reduce efficiency and suction power as you vacuum and can cause a lot of wasted effort and time.

However, as we mentioned before, most newer bagged models feature an indicator that tells you when the bag is full. So this can help to avoid wasting or overusing your vacuum bag.

Winner

Bagless wins. They won’t lose suction as they fill up so they provide a better overall clean.

Filtration

Like with any vacuum cleaner, some bagless models come with HEPA filtration. The HEPA filter can trap 99.97% of all dirt and allergens (1). But they also contain the smallest of dust particles so they don’t circulate in your air.

With bagged vacuums, the bag itself acts as a great filter. It traps the dirt in and filters the clean air out.

For example, according to a 2013 study, using high-quality vacuum bags is recommended to ensure cleaner air in the home. They can efficiently reduce the exposure of allergens and dust particles indoors (2). So they’re often the preferred vacuum type for households with asthma or allergy sufferers.

Plus, bagged cleaners can also come with HEPA filtration.

Winner

Bagged vacuums offer better filtration to reduce the most exposure of dust and allergens in the air. They can have a HEPA filter too.

Maintenance

Because you have to manually empty the dirt cup on bagless vacuum cleaners, the process requires more effort. Some users argue that it’s a messier process and requires a lot more maintenance.

You need to be careful emptying the chamber to ensure the dirt and debris don’t spill and re-enter the air. Plus, you have to rinse or wash the canister regularly to keep it clean.

It’s also important to clean the filters regularly on bagless models. And this can be time consuming.

Whereas bagged cleaners tend to require less maintenance. The bags have a bigger capacity, so they don’t need to be changed as often as a dust canister needs to be emptied.

Plus, because the bag has its own filter, there are no filters to clean. When you replace the bag your vacuum will already have a new, clean filter ready to go.

Winner

Once again, bagged vacuums win this round. They don’t need to be changed as often and don’t require the cleaning of any filters.

Costs

Once you’ve purchased a bagless model, there’s no extra cost for operating or maintaining your vacuum cleaner. You won’t need to worry about buying bags. You can just empty the chamber, which will last the entire lifetime of your vacuum cleaner.

With a bagged vacuum cleaner, you’ll have to replace the bags every time they fill up. So there’s a continued ongoing expense to use your vacuum.

Vacuum cleaner bags can also vary in price, and this can add up over time.

It can also be hard to find replacement bags for your vacuum, especially if you have an older model. So this may be another issue. If your vacuum cleaner brand no longer makes the replaceable bag for your cleaner, you won’t be able to use it. In this case, you may end up having to purchase a whole new machine.

Winner

Bagless vacuums come with lower costs. There is no added expense of having to purchase replacement vacuum bags.

Bagged vs. Bagless Vacuums: Which One Should You Choose?

What’s the bottom line when it comes to comparing bagless and bagged vacuums?

Bagless Vacuums Verdict

Bagless vacuums have the advantage of being easier to use. They require little effort for assembly and the bagless canister is easy to empty.

So a bagless option can save you a lot of time during your cleaning.

They are also a great vacuum if you want a more economic and eco-friendly clean. Bagless vacuums don’t involve the extra cost of vacuum bags which can save you a lot of money over time. Plus, they don’t result in hundreds of disposable bags ending up in the landfill.

Lastly, a bagless vacuum offers better power and performance. Bagless vacuums don’t lose suction as they collect dust. Therefore you’ll enjoy a better overall clean with bagless upright vacuums. So they are a perfect choice if you have a lot of ground-in dirt and debris on your floors.

Bagged Vacuums Verdict

Bagged vacuums are better if you have anyone with allergies or asthma in your home. They offer superior filtration for hygiene and cleaner air indoors. And there’s less exposure of dust and dirt recirculating the air when disposing of a vacuum bag.

So if you’re worried about dust and allergies in your home, a bagged vacuum is for you.

Plus, a bagged vacuum doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Unlike their bagless counterparts, with bagged models, you don’t have to worry about cleaning any filters. And because of the large bag capacity on a bagged model, you don’t need to empty it as often.

But, keep in mind that you can lose suction power as the vacuum bag fills. So it’s important to replace the bag before it gets too full.

Jeneva Aaron

About the Author

Jeneva Aaron

Jeneva has over years of passion for home decorating and cleaning. She is the founder and CEO of thehousewire.com where she provides honest and objective reviews on home and cleaning products.

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