Are bagged vacuums better than bagless?

Upright vacuums can be divided into two subcategories, bagged and bagless. A bagless vacuum holds what enters from the head in a container-like enclosure.

A bagged vacuum is the opposite, having either an enclosed, partially covered, or completely exposed vacuum bag above the head.

Keep reading to find an in-depth comparison of bagged vs. bagless vacuums.

Learn how they're priced differently, and other important advantages you should know about before settling on one.

Main Differences Between Bagged and Bagless Vacuums

To understand how each type differs, you should know where both vacuum cleaners are beneficial and where possible issues may lie.

Here are the pros and cons of bagged and bagless vacuum cleaners.

Bagged vacuum cleaner benefits

Bagged vacuums aren't something new. They've been around for a long time, mass-produced from the mid 20th century until current times.

Bagged models, when the assembly is required of them, are very easy to put together.

You won't have any trouble at all getting such a machine running.

Some bagged vacs are sold as vintage products, models that were once common in many households but are now bought as semi-collectors items.

Their frame is pretty simple. A vacuum head lies at the bottom of the standard bagged unit, inside having a brush.

Brushes on most models are bristles, but some are now built that are entirely rubberized. The head connects directly to the hatch that opens to the bag.

The material that the bag is made from is usually dense fabric.

Sometimes, it's a mixture of synthetic material that's heat resistant and has no porous surface.

If substances could percolate out of the bag, then it would defeat the purpose of using a bagged vacuum in the first place.

The bag is usually outfitted with another layer of cloth, which is taken off when it's ready to be emptied. Remember, no bagged models are the same. But here's are some advantages you'll receive from using one:

1. Great for keeping the vacuum and surrounding area clean

A vacuum bag should be more than a floor cleaner, but something you can use to make the surrounding vacuum more hygienic.

Since the last decade, vacuums have immensely improved in this field.

What once was difficult to clean machines that spat out some of the same dirt they're supposed to keep inside the bag have now morphed into a sort of disinfecting machine.

Even clearing out the bag is easy to do, no longer risking you spilling debris over yourself and the floor.

This was often complained about in older bagged vacuums, something that brands didn't get right for a long time.

But with today's improved models, you can open the bag and dispense it without so much as coming into contact with any picked-up dirt at all.

2. Good for people that have allergies

Bagged vacuums can reduce the population of allergy-causing pollutants that you take in at home.

Allergies can spark at any time, not only in the springtime.

There's no shortage of contaminants floating in the air.

And sometimes, the rooms we live in can serve as breeding grounds for large populations of mildew-causing spores, pollen, dust, and the mites that live in it.

Pet hair can also lead to allergies, even in people that aren't allergic to pets.

Bagged vacuums incubate everything that enters into the bag and safely store in a way that's sanitary and easy to keep clean.

And since there are no porous surfaces on the bags themselves, what ends up will never come out until you dispense the contents in a trash bin.

3. Less worry over upkeep

The simplistic design of bagged vacuums makes them extremely durable.

People use vacuum cleaners in this category that have been with them for many years, sometimes decades.

They're dependable, even if you don't clean them out very often.

Make no mistake, you should clean any vacuums, but nothing would break with a bagged model if you were to let it go without maintenance for a while.

Many bags can hold one or two pounds of picked-up trash. Because of this, there's no reason for you to clean it out after every clean if you didn't want to.

However, there are exceptions, such as when vacuuming something important that you didn't intend to get sucked into the machine.

Or when you pick up food particles that you know would rot inside. But even if this occurs, there would be no unpleasant smells coming out of the bag.

Bagged vacuum cleaner downsides

No vacuum or vacuum type has perfected the art of floor cleaning, and none ever will. There's always space for brands to improve their models, and this certainly goes for bagless vacuums.

Predicated on the model that you buy or its age, what you don't like about it may change or be completely different from someone else's complaints.

For vacuum cleaners produced over ten years ago, finding compatible bags could be an issue, especially if the model was discontinued.

Unlike old bagged units, newer machines utilize bags that are much easier to replace and are more compatible with a wider range of aftermarket accessories.

Another issue with some bagless models is their maneuverability.

Unless purchasing one made within the last decade, many bagged units have limited turning ability.

They'll turn but require you to use the strength of your arms to make it happen.

A newer model will swivel with little effort from you, making its way around everything that would take more of your energy to do with an older bagless cleaner.

1. Some units have bags that must be replaced

If the bagless cleaner you acquire uses disposable bags, you're going to have to replace them every time that you've filled one up.

While many people buy compatible bags for their bagless vacuums in bulk, some could be harder for you to find.

When you need new disposable bags, you're going to buy them at the most convenient place.

Sometimes, this might be online if the seller can provide them for you on same-day or next-day delivery.

But a brick-and-mortar store would be better for this. Thing is, you'll never know when the bags you need will be low in stock. With a replaceable bag, those worries are nonexistent.

2. Less suction with a full bag

As a bagged unit gets full, its suction power may decrease. This problem is more common for vacuums that are cheaply made.

If the one that you buy has good quality parts, better than decent battery capacity, and a fast motor, there's no reason to worry.

Bagless vacuum cleaner benefits

Consumers find bagless vacuums appealing for their lack of a bag. This alone makes preferences important in choosing.

Some find them easier to clean when they get dirty, but like bagged cleaners, there is a potential issue that you should be aware of.

Most of a bagless vac's benefits are well-received, with improvement being subjective to what the user feels is a problem or annoyance.

Moving on to bagless vacuums, take a look at why you should consider purchasing one:

1. Affordable prices

Go into a place or search online where bagged and bagless vacuums are retailed. You're probably going to find bagged units that are cheaper.

However, don't be fooled by the good price on every bagged model that you see.

As shown in the other section, bagged cleaners sometimes require quicker parts and accessories replacement than bagless models do. The biggest one is disposable bags.

If you vacuum your house once or twice a day, you're going to fill up the disposable bags very fast.

Over a short duration, that's many purchases of new disposable bags, which can quickly offset the price and savings you had when purchasing the bagged model.

As a result, the bagless vacuums are cheaper when recurring purchases of its rival are considered.

2. Emptying the tank is easy

All required of you to empty a bagless vacuum is to unlatch a button or switch to the debris canister, then empty it in the trash.

There's no fidgeting around to get a bag to the correct shape you had it in before emptying.

The filters are usually within reach of the dispenser or placed inside of it.

You can dish the contents of both in one go. And as long as you're vacuuming dry debris, cleaning the inside of the container would only require a quick rise most of the time.

Once the container is latched on again, that's it. On another note, many bagless vacs are transparent, helping you to easily tell when it's ready to be cleared again.

3. Friendly for the environment

Bagless vacuums require fewer materials to continually use them. You'll need a power source with a battery or wired model, sure.

But there's no need to look for disposable bags.

Additionally, more and more bagless models are being made with recycled materials, which they're also easier to recycle.

If you like to purchase environmentally conscious products, then bagless models should be a good choice for you.

4. Easy to find and sold with numerous varieties

Bagless models have picked up a large and dedicated following, mostly from the benefits previously described.

There's no shortage of them in most good vacuum brands.

Even the cheaper bagless machines can carry the same perks as the higher-end models, including recyclability.

Consumers know this and have encouraged manufacturers to build more units of this type. This popularity isn't expected to wane anytime soon.

Bagless vacuum cleaner downside

More potential for debris to escape

If you're keeping a bagless vacuum cleaner, there's no reason to worry.

But failure to maintain one could spell trouble when attempting to take out the debris container.

Purchasing one without a HEPA filter might also increase the chances of allergens coming out of the machine as you vacuum.

When this does happen, vents are the usual culprit. Again, clean the vacuum when you notice dirt beginning to fill the container.

There's no cause for rushing, but don't let the debris lay dormant for too long.

Suction Power

The suction of bagless and bagged units is some of the best out of all types of cleaners.

This is why both designs have remained high sellers, even with automated and hybrid models competing with them.

Their motors must work harder as the bag fills, which may slow down suction unless the machines have accompanying features to prevent it.

If either remains in a new-like state for a long time, they're guaranteed to suck up top and layered dirt from carpets, rugs, and wooden floors at an almost equal rate in power.


Every model of bagless vacuums relies on a container to temporarily store what you scoop up.

Thanks to the design, they're easy to change out when the debris piles up.

Bagged vacs are more simple, which boosts the agility and speed of your cleaning on some models.

As for height and handling, it's pretty much the same.

Because bagless vacuums are a bit bolder in dimensions than bagged machines, spring could be a bigger issue than you might anticipate.

Bagged cleaners are thinner and may provide you more wiggle room to fit them in a tight spot that's impossible to do with the alternative.


There's no denying that bagged vacuums tend to be priced at better rates than many bagless ones.

Sometimes, the prices are differing by the hundreds of dollars for units that have the same specifications but different methods of debris storage.

When a bagless model is more expensive than no bag type, look to see whether the bag that you have is reusable or not.

Most are disposable but some are built for long-term use.

For bagged, consider reusable over disposable when the budget is high, and expendable bags when there's a good deal.

Bagless units are sometimes pricier, but there's nothing you would need to persistently purchase multiple times in the year to keep cleaning with it.

Dust Bin

The dust bin for a bagged vacuum is the loose-forming bag that's attached to the machine.

The outer covering is made of a thicker fabric than the interior layers.

The part that holds the trash is taken out and emptied, or the entire thing is thrown away for disposable bags.

Since bagless machines have actual bins for keeping trash, they're most often made of thick plastic.

You can see them on most bagless models where the outer part is transparent.


Vacuum companies have made HEPA filters for bagged vacuums, just as what's been done with bagless cleaners.

HEPA filters help in preventing the seepage of micro-contaminants back into the air when they've been sucked into the vacuum cleaner. But a bagged cleaner benefits from this in two ways.

The first is the fact that they're bagged. The kind of bags made for bagged vacuums completely seal off debris from getting out of the pouch.

The material is capable of blocking it. Resulting from this are bagged units with filters having twice the filter protection of a bagless model.


Every vacuum that's purchased at a good store by a company with a recommended brand has a warranty plan. Warranty changes from brand to brand.

Within those brands, the warranty period isn't always the same for every product.

However, warranties are usually longer for corded bagged and bagless vacs.

With cordless vacuums, the period might be less. One or two years is the time that you should expect for a product's warranty to end.

Some companies may offer their customers a warranty extension that covers more parts of the machine than the original warranty does, such as surface damages to a bagged vacuum's exterior pouch.

When looking at bagless and bagged vacs made by the same company, be sure to check if their warranty periods are any different, or if what's covered under damage changes between them.


The following features are what you can expect to have with each vacuum type:

Bagged vacuums

  • Good storage capacity - Buy a good bagged vacuum, and you could have loads more room for debris collection than what's possible for a bagless container.
  • Easy to store away - As vacuums have become more sophisticated over the years, so too have the problems you can run into when you're ready to find a storage place. Vacuums with many features can sometimes be big and bulky. But bagged machines keep the dimensions low and ease of storage high.
  • More sanitary - Bagless model vacs are designed to reduce or completely block your contact with the debris that you pick up. In some models, you might have to change out the filter, but at an infrequent pace.

Bagless vacuums

  • Cheaper over time - Although sometimes pricy at the time of checkout, you'll almost certainly save money with a bagless vacuum in the long run. There's no going out to buy disposable parts for the unit. The only thing you might have to replace at some point are the batteries, but that wouldn't be necessary until years down the line.
  • More variety in features - Vacuum brands like informing customers that their products have that others don't. And one of the most likely vacuums to see updates and new concepts put into what they sell are bagless models. Their purchase rate by customers owes to this. Other than some companies building hybrids with pouches, bagged vacuums are less likely to see innovations.
  • More accessories - Parts and other accessories can be found on either vacuum subcategory, but vacuums with containers are sometimes easier to find OEM parts for. But if the bagged vacuum's fit is standardized for aftermarket parts, then it too will have no issues fitting them.

Final Verdict

Traditional vacuums like bagged cleaners are everywhere, and so are their closely-related container models.

Try one with a bag if you're okay with changing them out when they get full, or if you have allergy problems that forbid you from being exposed to the harmful dust inside the bags.

Bagless vacuum cleaners are best if you're fine with washing out the bin when it gets dirty, or if you need a floor cleaner that'll lower your carbon footprint.

Frankly, there are more similarities than differences, so your floor will be clean with any type of vacuum that you pick.

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