Let’s face it, who actually looks forward to vacuum cleaning with such enthusiasm that involves getting all nerdy about the technical specifications.

At the end of the day, all you want to know is how well a vacuum works to get your home clean.

And to help you make sure that you avoid all the useless ones that suck (pun fully intended), we’ve tested out over 40 models to come up with a list of the best bagged vacuum cleaners.

Our Top 10 Bagged Vacuum Cleaners in 2020

1

Miele Compact C2

Not just a powerful 1200 Watt maximum power output, but it also has easy to change suction settings to allow you to use it for delicate surfaces like curtains as well.

We also found that the air filtration system might be particularly suitable if a family member has bad allergies.

The only minor downside we found is that loose threads might need the pet hair attachment to get removed.

PROS
  • Has 6 different power options for more suction control
  • Large bag volume to avoid constant changing
  • Comes with a special wood floor nozzle for easier glide
  • Easy to use pet hair head may save you a load of time
CONS
  • Some comments about it struggling to lift threads off a carpet
2

Bissell 2154A Canister Vacuum

Of all the bagged canister vacuums we tested, this one is our favorite compact one. If you have stairs that you need to acrobatically navigate with a vacuum, then this could be a good choice.

Despite the small size, it still provides good performance on different surfaces.

The one flaw we found is that the telescoping attachment only slides into place rather than lock tight.

PROS
  • The compact and light design might make it suitable for cleaning stairs
  • Gradual suction options for more control over the power
  • The 15-foot power cord is one of the longest for compact vacuums
CONS
  • The telescoping wand would be better if it locked tight
3

Soniclean Bagged Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Personally, I’m a bit on the fence about this style, but the Soniclean is the best bagged upright vacuum from our test results. The only thing we were missing is different attachment tools.

The cleaning head is claimed to be designed with a vibration function and rotating brush to help with tough to remove pet hair and dust mites [1].

 

PROS
  • Head unit has a built-in soft brush to pick up pet hair and small debris
  • Allows for air fragrance pods to provide a fresh smell
  • One of the longest power cords at 35 feet
CONS
  • Doesn’t include additional tools or attachments
4

Kenmore 31140

This is another bagged upright vacuum cleaner that did well in our tests, especially when it came to the air filtration.

It also includes a couple of add-ons that you might attach to the built-in suction hose.

The reason it’s not our top choice is that it’s not the lightest one available.

PROS
  • Easy height adjustment for tall people
  • Multi-stage HEPA filtration to help reduce airborne allergens
  • Includes wand attachments for difficult to reach areas
CONS
  • It’s heavier than most other upright vacuums
5

Oreck Commercial XL

The Oreck XL2100RHS is one of the lightest upright vacuums that we found.

It doesn’t have tons of features but seems to be popular with folks who have pets that shed a lot of hair, and it would be our budget pick.

Just keep in mind that it may not be the most suitable for anyone with allergies due to a lack of air filtering [2].

PROS
  • Simple, lightweight design with good cleaning power
  • Long 35-foot cord means less need for an extension cord
  • Seems to be popular with pet owners due to effective hair removal
CONS
  • Doesn’t include HEPA filter to help remove common allergens
6

Sanitaire Commercial

You could argue that this is one of the bagless vacuums, but the design feature is quite different. It still has a large dust collection bag, but it’s reusable.

We noted a good few customer reviews about the easy adjustment for different lengths of carpet fibers for better cleaning results.

Just keep in mind that there is no cleaning tool to get into small corners.

PROS
  • Comes with a large collection bag that is easy to remove and empty
  • Easily adjusted to different pile carpets
  • Has a 12-inch wide cleaning path to get through cleaning jobs faster
CONS
  • Doesn’t include a stretch hose on the side to get into small spaces
7

Eureka Mighty Mite

One of the smallest bagged vacuum cleaners is this Eureka one. The issue we found with most others in this size is a lack of powerful suction.

But that’s not a problem that seems to affect the Mighty Mite. The only thing we didn’t like is that the tube cannot be gradually extended, but requires an extension wand.

PROS
  • Small and lightweight design makes it easy to carry up and down steps
  • Despite the small design it still has a decent size bag design
  • It has a blower port, which may be helpful for blowing dust from tight areas
CONS
  • Doesn’t have gradually adjustable height settings
8

Metropolitan Vac Compact

We’re generally not the biggest fans of handheld vacuums because they generally lack powerful suction. This Metropolitan one, though, has quite a strong motor.

While it’s designed to be used on cars with a load of crevice tool options, you would need an extension cable to use it in your home.

PROS
  • Designed with a heavy-duty steel construction
  • Many comments about being easy to use and move around in a tight space
  • May be ideal for working on cars due to many crevice tool add ons
CONS
  • The power cord is a bit short for use indoors
9

Miele Dynamic U1

One thing we found with this Miele upright vacuum cleaner is the number of good reviews about the brush roll. It seems to be quite effective when it comes to pet dander and hair.

You’ll also be quite unlikely to run out of cord in an average home as it comes with an almost 40 feet long cord.

We just thought that it could be improved with a bit more variability in the power settings.

PROS
  • 6-liter filter bag means you won’t need to change it out regularly
  • Positive reviews about the brush roll working well on tough dirt and hair
  • Has one of the longest cords available at 39 feet
CONS
  • A few more power settings would give more flexibility
10

Bissell 4122

Bissell 4122

The final product on our best bagged vacuum list is another Bissell model. The 4122 has a compact design that many find helpful when cleaning carpets on stairs.

And I like the easy access to one of the attachments that you could clip onto the tube.

While we think it is powerful enough for all types of carpets, we did notice that some of the attachments only slide on rather than lock on tight.

PROS
  • Light enough to easily clean steps
  • Extension wand built-in to reach higher places
  • Small hand tool can be stored on the tube for easy access
CONS
  • Reports that some of the attachments are a bit loose

What To Look For In A Bagged Vacuum Cleaner

While the bagless vacuum has been all the rage for a long time, there are still some very good reasons to stick with traditional style bagged vacuums. And when it comes to features you need to pay attention to, here’s the list we put together while researching the above products for this buying guide.

Suction Power

The number one thing to check for with any kind of vacuum cleaner is the actual suction power of the motor. You’ll see this indicated in Watts and I would generally suggest that you aim for 1,200 Watts.

If you get something significantly below that, you could struggle to get rid of dirt on all floor types. There’s nothing more frustrating than cleaning your floor only to see half the dirt is still there.

Weight

This is an area where you need to be careful. The smaller and lighter the vacuum is, the smaller and less effective the motor might be. At the same time, you don’t want to feel like you’re pulling a refrigerator up the stairs every time you need to do some cleaning on another floor of your house. If you find something right around 20 pounds in weight, you should be in good shape.

Bag Capacity

This should be another top priority, especially with the bagged vacuums where the integrated bag is not reusable. Replacement bags are not the most expensive thing in the world.

But if you have a large house or pets that seem to leave a trail of hair, then it might quickly add up. Plus, it might become quite annoying when you constantly lose suction even on hard floors.

Easy To Use

Some people find the bagged upright vacuums easier to handle, while others prefer the types you pull behind you. We’ve given up on settling that debate here at the office, so just pick a design you like. What’s much more important is to look at the height adjustment and power cord length.

As a tall person, you don’t want to be hunched over, and if you’ve ever tried to clean with a short cord, then you know how annoying it is. Oh, and don’t forget to check for a cord rewind system to save a tangled cable mess.

Brush Heads

Depending on whether you’re cleaning carpets, a couch, or laminate and wooden floors, you’ll need different brush heads. These come in different designs with some even including side brushes for pet hair.

An upholstery tool should have a much softer surface, and you’d combine it with a lower power setting to avoid doing any damage to the fabric. Believe me, you don’t want to try and explain a torn seat cushion on a couch.

Noise Levels

This is also one of the features to look out for. Most vacuums these days will have a noise measure listed on them like 70 dB. For short periods of time when you’re cleaning, this sound level shouldn’t cause issues. But if you use it a lot, then excessive noise could damage your hearing [3].

“The higher the noise level, the louder the noise. You can listen to sounds at 70 dBA or lower for as long as you want.”

- ASHA.org

The Canister’s Hepa Filter Capacity

For allergy sufferers in your home, this is going to be important. Now, just keep in mind that the idea of HEPA filters isn’t to clean the air in your home.

HEPA filters are designed to stop allergens and pet hair from your floors being sucked up and thrown out in the air again. It’s about not worsening the air quality; if you need to improve the air, then you’d need a purifier.

“HEPA vacuums are recommended for minimizing dust, dander, and other common allergens in homes where people suffer from allergies and respiratory conditions.”

- Sarah Aguirre, Housekeeping Writer

Tools And Extensions

No matter where you live, there will be plenty of tough to reach places. Whether it’s a corner behind a bookshelf or that ceiling fan that has an unbelievable ability to attract dust.

Usually, you’ll find that most canister models will come with a selection of add ons like a crevice tool, furniture guard, or small brush.

With the upright bagged vacuum cleaner options, this is not always the case. A good indicator is whether there is a hose on the side to take care of such jobs.

bagged vacuum

Power Usage

Whether you’re an eco-warrior or just like to save on your electricity bills, power consumption is important. You may want to look out for EnergyStar [4] badges on the products, but it’s also a good idea to not constantly vacuum at full power. On a wood or tile floor types, you should be able to get away with a lower setting.

Price

The more powerful, better designed, and longer the warranty, the more you’ll pay. What I would say, though, is don’t waste your money on fancy gadgets like LED lights or some elaborate dual bag system. Spend on power and quality design, and you might also reduce your maintenance costs.

Warranty Conditions

You’ll see everything from 1 to 5 years of warranty terms, but two years is about normal. There are also some restrictions on it where normal wear and tear is excluded, but the motor and major components are the important ones. Also, check if there is a warranty extension available by registering your product. It could be worth taking advantage of.

Reliability And Quality

This is tough to judge, and you’ll need to read through a lot of reviews. The important thing is to look at the medium to low reviews and see what the issue is.

If there are a lot of comments about motors failing after a few months, then that could spell trouble. But you’ll often find statements where folks had unrealistic expectations for performance.

How Does A Bagged Vacuum Work?

A bagged vacuum works by sucking in the air along with small particles and debris through a hose and collecting it in a bag. Yup, that’s a very simple explanation, and there is a bit more to it that goes beyond witchcraft or sorcery. Let’s break it down into the main components.

Electric Motor

This is what powers the whole cleaning magic, and you might find different bagged vacuums that have either one or two motors. The functionality of them is quite simple, and they are effectively the same as you’d find in an electric car. Electricity is used to spin a magnetic wheel-like device, and that torque is used to power the fan, which we will get to next.

Fan

This is actually the part that creates all the suction power. It’s kind of the same concept as a hairdryer where the air is blown out one end and has to be sucked in the other.

Now, it’s a combination of the design of the fan and power of the motor that gives an indication as to how powerful the vacuum might be. Keep in mind that the larger the two are, the noisier and power-hungry the device might be.

Air Intake

OK, so we now have some suction, and we need to see where all that air comes in. Just like when you inhale, a vacuum must get the air from somewhere.

This is basically where a system of tubes or hoses concentrates the intake at the vacuum head or nozzle. The closer you get to large or tiny objects, the more they will be pulled into the intake. This is what allows small particles to be sucked in.

cleaning vacuum

Porous Bag

Now comes the clever part. All that air is pulled in with a porous bag sitting between the fan and intake. All that debris then has to go through the bag, which keeps anything larger than dust contained. Air can still escape to not cause too much pressure.

Exhaust Port

The air that comes out of the bag then needs to escape somewhere, and this is where you have an exhaust port. You can feel the outcoming air, and usually, there are filtration systems to remove common particles like dust mites, dander, and pollen. This may help to reduce allergy-causing stuff to be blown out all over again. Now, let’s check out some benefits.

“But not all vacuums are the same. Some vacuums actually fill your air with the particles and allergens you are trying to remove.”

- AAFA.org

Benefits Of A Bagged Vacuum Cleaner

In this section, we’ll look at the main benefits of both pull behind and upright vacuum cleaner types. Aside from the fact that they look and work slightly differently, there are a few shared advantages.

Hygienic

Most people just think of a vacuum's ability to clean up dirt as well as hair with a pet upholstery tool as covering hygienic. But the reason we believe bagged vacuums are more hygienic is that the dirt is collected in a removable bag [5].

Once it’s full, you take it out and dump it in a trash can. With a bagless one, you have a container where all sorts of dirt and grime might build up.

Less Maintenance

Bagless vacuums also require a bit more maintenance when it comes to regularly cleaning out the dirt collection container. As mentioned above, all the stuff collects and sits there for a while, and if you don’t regularly disinfectant it, there could be a build-up of mold that may be unhealthy and smelly.

Better For Allergies

What we like about the bagged vacuum design is that not only are there filters on the intake and exhaust to remove common allergens. But you’re also able to install HEPA bags that also take care of some filtering. This should significantly reduce allergic reactions after vacuuming [6] as more mites and pollen should remain in the bag.

Cheaper

Yup, they are, on average, quite a bit cheaper as the technology is a bit simpler. There is no need to create a complicated dirt collection system that you remove and then dump in the trash with dust flying all over the place.

While there are some cheap bagless models available, you would want to compare each appliance based on similar specs. And when you do that, then bagged designs always work out cheaper.

Disadvantages Of A Bagged Vacuum Cleaner

Now, before you think that they are the perfect cleaning weapon, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Cost Of Bags

Most bagged vacuums require a replacement bag. They are easy to insert and remove, but depending on how big your home is, they will require regular changing. We have found that for an average household without pets, you’re probably going to change the bag out once a month.

Performance Drop

As the bag fills with dirt, there is more obstruction in the suction, and you’ll notice that it might become more difficult to get rid of stuff even on hard floors.

This drop in performance is gradual, so always make sure you have a spare bag. It doesn’t get more annoying than having to double up on cleaning chores.

More Difficult To Tell If Full

A lot of the bagless devices have a clear window where you could gauge how full it is. However, even the bagless options with a bag indicator are a bit difficult to assess properly. We haven't found the indicators to be particularly reliable, and you may need to pull out the bag to feel how full it is.

Bagged Vacuum FAQs

How do I maintain a bagged vacuum cleaner?

You maintain a bagged vacuum cleaner by making sure that you replace the bag regularly and not allow it to become too full. This could cause additional strain on the motor and will likely result in less cleaning.

What kind of carpets does a bagged vacuum clean?

A bagged vacuum should clean pretty much all kinds of carpets. From shag carpets to industrial short-pile types, they should be able to deal with dirt in an effective way.

Bagged vacuum vs bagless vacuum, which one is better?

Bagged vacuums are generally better than bagless options, mainly for hygiene reasons. By being able to dump out all the dirt without causing a dust cloud, you’ll reduce the amount of mess.

Do bagged vacuums clean hardwood floors?

Yes, bagged vacuums clean hardwood floors. When it comes to different types of floors, it’s mainly down to the attachments and brushes where you could notice the difference, than the overall design.

How does HEPA filtration on bagged vacuums work?

HEPA filtration on bagged vacuums works by filtering the outgoing air-flow before it is released. With activated carbon, this could result in 99.97% fewer allergens being released.

Conclusion

We’ve given you a list of the best vacuum cleaners, but of all of them, we’d recommend the Miele Compact C2 the most. It ticks all the right boxes for the average home.

It’s easy to move around, cleaning steps is pretty straightforward, and it deals with your pet’s hair also. Order yours today and see how much easier your cleaning tasks become.

Miele Compact C2

Our #1 Recommendation

  • Has 6 different power options for more suction control
  • Large bag volume to avoid constant changing
  • Comes with a special wood floor nozzle for easier glide
  • Easy to use pet hair head may save you a load of time

Violet Salzer

Violet is a research specialist with over 20 years of experience. She scrutinizes what is dubbed as the “best of the best.” Every product that passes through her hands is rigorously tested for quality and reliability.