Vacuum cleaners are a big purchase, and pricier higher-end models can cost a fortune. But what about cheaper vacuums for less than $100?
Are they effective enough at removing pet hair and cleaning stairs? Or are they a waste of money?
It turns out you don’t need to pay a huge price for a good vacuum cleaner. Whether you want one with bags or an easy-empty dust bin, there’s something for everyone.
In this handy guide, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know about the best inexpensive vacuums.
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What Should You Expect From a Budget Vacuum?
The overall look and feel of a cheaper vacuum won’t be as good as a more expensive model. But you can still expect decent performance from it.
What else is different?
- Corded: A lot of cheap vacuums are corded, as cordless ones can cost up to twice as much.
- Plastic: Many of the parts are made from plastic rather than metal, as it costs less to produce.
- Motors: Budget vacs typically use a universal motor with carbon brushes. Whereas newer and more expensive vacuums have brushless motors that cost 5-9 times more.
- Filters: You should also expect less-effective filters. While they still work, they tend to release more dust and germs back into the environment ().
- Louder: Cheap vacuums are often louder due to the cheaper parts. You need more expensive materials to muffle sounds.
- Accessories: You won’t get as many accessories. The pricier the vac, the better the range of tools, especially if you want motorized attachments.
- Design: The design isn’t as well thought out on a budget vacuum. That takes years of research and development, which costs money.
So overall, the look and feel won’t be as good with a cheaper vacuum cleaner. But performance isn’t necessarily going to suffer.
A report from Energystar shows that cleaning performance and power aren’t always linked. So you can still have an efficient vacuum without spending a fortune.
And that also means you can opt for the best cheap vacuum for your needs and still enjoy a clean house.
What to Look for in a Cheap Vacuum Cleaner
Here are the main things to consider when shopping for the best budget vacuum cleaner.
- Upright Vacuum Cleaner: Upright vacuums have a tall all-in-one design with everything in the same unit. They’re often more powerful and have a larger dirt capacity, but they also tend to weigh more. They’re a good option for a thorough cleaning, as they have a rotating brush roll or beater bar. It agitates fibers through vibrations and sweeping motions, leaving carpets clean. You can find uprights as corded or cordless models.
- Stick Vacuum Cleaner: Stick vacuums have a similar design to uprights with a tall body, handle, and powerhead. But they’re more streamlined and lighter to use. This makes them convenient for quick cleaning. But the dust capacity is smaller on a stick vacuum than an upright one. So they’re a good choice for small or average size homes. The suction power on a stick vacuum is still good enough to remove allergens and fine dust particles. Which is good for cleaner air in your home. You can find stick vacs as a corded or cordless vacuum model.
- Canister Vacuum Cleaner: A canister vacuum has a separate body attached to the wand and cleaner head by a hose. You wheel the body around and only carry the wand, so it feels lighter to use. The wheels also make it easy to maneuver around bare floors and low pile carpet. You might find it harder to drag over a high pile carpet, though. For example, this Eureka is a canister vacuum model.
- Robot Vacuum Cleaner: It is possible to find a budget robot vacuum if that’s what you’re after! They’re compact and take the effort out of cleaning, as you don’t need to push them around. So it saves you time as well as being able to get into the tight corners a larger vacuum can’t reach. But the suction power isn’t as strong as other types. And the best cheap robot vacuums are hard to find since they’re an expensive option.
- Handheld Vacuum: A handheld vacuum is one of the best cheap vacuum options seeing as it’s a smaller appliance. They’re small, lightweight, and convenient. You can just grab and go to tackle pet hair on furniture or quick spills and messes. They also come in useful for getting hard-to-reach places that a bigger vacuum can’t manage. But they have a small dirt capacity and are designed for quick jobs. So don’t expect to clean a whole floor with one. It would take ages and cause some serious backache! This Hotor is an example of a cheap handheld vacuum.
Corded or Cordless Vacuum
Plus, you don’t need to worry about the battery life and if it’s going to run out. So they’re often a better choice if you have a larger home that needs more cleaning.
The downside is the power cord. You’ll need to work around it when you’re using your vacuum as well as make sure there’s always a plug socket to hand.
If you prefer a cordless vacuum cleaner, you can still get a great model for under $100.
While you’re limited by battery life, they are more convenient. There’s no faffing with plugs and power cables.
They’re also lightweight and straightforward to use anywhere. Especially as a lot of stick vac models can turn into a handheld vacuum cleaner, too.
Bagged or Bagless
They’re also better for the environment, as you’re not using extra materials to dispose of the dirt.
This Bissell Zing Canister Vacuum shows an example of a bagless model.
But you can still find an affordable bagged vacuum.
And seeing as you have an extra layer of filtration, they’re a good choice for anyone with allergies or asthma. They remove and trap 99.97% of micro particles, like dust and pollen, when you’re cleaning.
But a HEPA filter is a more expensive option. The very best cheap vacuum may use one if you’re lucky, but don’t expect to find one as standard.
Instead, you should look for one with a washable filter. You can rinse it with water and keep using it, which reduces any ongoing costs.
You can find things like extension wands, an upholstery tool, or a dusting brush with basic models. But motorized accessories tend to only be included with more expensive packages.
For example, this Worx vacuum includes a crevice tool and a brush attachment.
The Best Budget Vacuums for Under $100 in 2021
We’ve spent hours looking into the best budget vacuums, so you don’t have to. We’ve researched expert advice and real user reviews, as well as using our own experience from years of cleaning.
So let’s get into the list of the best vacuums you can get for under $100 in 2021.
1. Shark UltraCyclone Pro Cordless Handheld Vacuum
It’s inexpensive, lightweight and compact with a powerful lithium-ion battery, so you can use it anywhere. Simply grab and go to clean cobwebs or dust bust down the back of the sofa.
And it comes with a crevice tool and brush attachment to make it more versatile. They’re handy tools that help with all kinds of mess and spills around your home.
Plus, the XL dust cup means you can clean for longer without needing to empty it. So it can save you time and also handle bigger jobs than other handheld vacs.
There’s even a CleanTouch dirt ejector for hygienic and easy emptying when you’ve finished. Say goodbye to worrying about the hassle of cleanups!
- It has strong suction power that lasts well in a busy home
- It uses a push button on/off switch, so you don’t need to hold a trigger down
- It’s quiet to use
- There isn’t a wall mount and it’s quite long, making it awkward to store
|Bin Capacity||0.5 liters|
|Ideal For||Spot cleaning, tight spaces, high level cleaning|
2. BISSELL CleanView Upright Bagless Vacuum
It has a triple action brush roll that digs deeper into your carpets to remove all the embedded dirt. It’s ideal if you want a vacuum for deep cleaning, or if you need to keep on top of pet hair.
Pet owners will also love the mini turbo pet tool. You can use it to clean pet hair from your sofa and other hard-to-reach areas they like to nest in.
And the one-touch emptying system means you don’t need to come into contact with the messes you’ve picked up. It’s hygienic and makes it easier to keep on top of dirt and dust.
It’s not just good for carpets, though. The anti-scatter floorhead is super convenient for hard floors, too.
- You can wash most of the pieces of the vacuum to keep on top of bad odors.
- You save money not needing to buy dust bags, and the bagless bin holds a lot.
- It’s quick to clean lots of rooms in one go thanks to the long power cord
- Pet hair can catch in the floorhead belt, so you need to keep on top of maintenance
|Bin Capacity||1 liter|
|Ideal For||Carpets and pets|
3. Eureka WhirlWind Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaner
First, the 2.5 liter dust capacity is a great size. You can cover an entire house without needing to stop and empty it.
Plus, there’s a telescopic metal extension wand and 2-in-1 crevice tool/dusting brush. So you can get into hard-to-reach places and clean your ceiling without needing to stretch and strain yourself.
You even get a switch for airflow control and three power settings. It’s super simple to glide across different surfaces without making complicated adjustments.
When you’re finished, there’s an automatic cord rewind that stores inside the vacuum body. It’s convenient to store and means the cord isn’t a trip hazard.
- There’s plenty of suction power.
- It’s easy to maneuver around the home and under furniture thanks to the swivel steering on the floor nozzle.
- It’s lightweight to carry between rooms
- The filters need regular cleaning
|Bin Capacity||2.5 liters|
|Ideal For||Carpets, hard floors|
4. VARSK 4-in-1 Car Vacuum Cleaner
Simply plug it into the cigarette lighter adapter to power it, and you’ve got a handheld vacuum and air compressor in one. You can keep your car interior tidy while also having a tire inflator at the ready.
The touch buttons make it straightforward to inflate tires. Just set the pressure you want, and the Varsk does the rest for you.
When it’s time to vacuum, there’s a handy LED light to help you see dirt under seats and in other small spaces. And the powerful suction will clear out any debris lingering in there.
There’s even a HEPA filter, which is the best filter to trap allergens and fine dust. So it’s a great choice for allergy sufferers.
Check our list about Car Vacuum Cleaners.
- Comes with a storage bag to keep everything together
- You don’t need mains power or extension leads to use it
- There’s a good range of tools for thorough cleaning
- It struggles with picking up larger debris
|Bin Capacity||0.6 liters|
5. BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum
And it doesn’t necessarily cost the earth. This Black + Decker Dustbuster is a handheld cordless vacuum cleaner that you can use anywhere around the home. Or even in the car!
There’s a motorized pet tool that uses hygienic rubber bristles. They agitate fibers and pull out embedded pet hair while being easy to clean afterward.
You also get different nozzles for multi-surface cleaning. So you can tackle pet hair on beds or cat litter on the kitchen floor.
And there’s a useful Powerboost button for stubborn pet messes. Simply press it down when you need an extra burst of power.
At last, an easy way to clean up after your furry friends.
- There’s a built-in crevice tool that’s always to hand.
- Pet hair doesn’t get tangled in the mini pet tool.
- It’s easy to store on the base without being bulky.
- The battery doesn’t last very long when using the Powerboost setting.
|Type||Cordless handheld vacuum|
|Bin Capacity||0.67 liters|
|Ideal For||Pet hair, upholstery, spot cleaning|
6. TOPPIN Bendable Stick Lightweight Vacuum Cleaner
It’s lightweight and easy to move around, with plenty of features to make your life easier. Especially if you suffer from mobility issues.
The Toppin has a bendable wand that folds the whole tube to a 90 degree angle. Basically, it bends so that you don’t have to.
It’s ideal for getting under beds, sofas, and any other furniture. You can also convert it into a handheld vacuum to make it more versatile.
And although it’s a corded vacuum, the generous 23-foot cord gives you plenty of freedom to move around. It can cover a whole studio apartment without you needing to swap plugs.
- You can lay this stick vac flat on the floor.
- It has good suction as a handheld or a stick vacuum.
- It doesn’t scatter debris across bare floors.
- It’s not suitable for high pile carpet as there isn’t a rotating brush bar
|Type||Corded stick vacuum|
|Bin Capacity||0.8 liters|
|Ideal For||All bare floors|
7. Pyle Pure Clean Robot Vacuum Cleanerhardwood floors. Simply set them up and leave them to get on with it.
They’re mostly expensive. But not this one.
Plus, this Pure Clean robot vacuum goes one further. You can mop your hard surfaces as well as vacuum them thanks to the different cleaning modes.
The low profile design means it can fit into small gaps, so it’s great for getting the dust from under furniture. And it has various sensors to stop it from bumping into objects, or falling off stair edges.
The upgraded Lithium-Ion battery provides a long 90 minute run time. So it can handle a whole cleaning session without you worrying about battery life.
When you’re finished, simply empty the dirt and plug it in to charge. It will fully charge in four hours, ready and raring to go again.
- The powerful suction is great for cleaning pet hair and small debris.
- It can free itself from minor tangles and beeps to let you know if it needs help.
- It manages short carpets and hard floors with ease.
- It doesn’t come with a docking station for automatic charging.
|Type||Robot cordless vacuum|
|Bin Capacity||0.2 liters|
|Ideal For||Bare floors and low pile carpet|
8. Dirt Devil Scorpion Corded Hand Vacuum
It’s a great solution for a bit of spot cleaning when those inevitable spills happen. Or if you want something to clean the pet hair off your sofa at the end of the day.
It comes with a detachable 2.5 foot hose, which extends the reach and versatility of this nifty hand vac. You can use it to clean curtains or even the staircase.
It’s not bulky like a big vacuum, but it still offers impressive suction power. And the bagless dust cup holds a surprising amount for such a compact cleaner.
The washable filters are easy to maintain, too. With some basic upkeep, you can keep your hand vacuum running for years to come.
- It’s a great size for keeping a dorm room or RV clean.
- Even though it’s a smaller vacuum, it still has strong suction.
- It handles pet hair and dirt in animal cages, so it’s ideal for pet owners.
- It’s quite noisy and feels heavy to use after a while.
|Bin Capacity||0.45 liters|
|Ideal For||Car seats, pet hair|
Cheap Vacuums Comparison Chart
|Product||Type||Weight||Bin Capacity||Ideal For|
|Shark UltraCyclone Pro Cordless Handheld Vacuum||Handheld||2.2 pounds||0.5 liters||Spot cleaning, tight spaces, high level cleaning|
|BISSELL CleanView Upright Bagless Vacuum||Upright||15 pounds||1 liter||Carpets and pets|
|Eureka WhirlWind Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaner||Canister||8 pounds||2.5 liters||Carpets, hard floors|
|VARSK 4-in-1 Car Vacuum Cleaner||Handheld||4 pounds||0.6 liters||Cars|
|BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum||Handheld||4.2 pounds||0.67 liters||Pet hair, upholstery, spot cleaning|
|TOPPIN Bendable Stick Vacuum Cleaner||Corded Stick||3.2 pounds||0.8 liters||All bare floors|
|Pyle Pure Clean Robot Vacuum Cleaner||Handheld||4.2 pounds||0.67 liters||Pet hair, upholstery, spot cleaning|
|Dirt Devil Scorpion Corded Hand Vacuum||Handheld||3 pounds||0.45 liters||Car seats, pet hair|
When is the Best Time to Get a Cheap Vacuum?
For the best chance of a bargain, wait for a special sale.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great times to find yourself the best cheap vacuum cleaner. Or, keep an eye out on Amazon and Walmart’s special sales.
Household appliances are often marked down at both of these places. And you can use different vouchers and promotions to make it even cheaper!
But it’s still worth looking at the manufacturer’s website, as they also have regular promotions. And if you subscribe to their newsletter, they often give you a further discount.
So keep your eyes peeled to find the best cheap vacuum!