Canister Vacuum Bags - Bagged Vacuums Better Than Bagless?

Are Bagged Vacuum Cleaners Better Than Bagless Vacuum Cleaners?

Thinking about buying a new vacuum cleaner seems like a simple task, but as soon as you start to explore the many features, options, brands and accessories, you can quickly get overwhelmed.

Vacuum cleaners come in a daunting multitude of models from dozens of brand manufacturers, each with their own set of accessories and features. And the prices can range from less than $100 to more than $2,000.

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So with so many factors and choices to consider it can be really difficult to decide which vacuum cleaner is right one for you.

If you don't consider all those variables you'll likely end up buying a model that won’t be best suited for your situation. But it does not need to be such a difficult process.

In fact it is pretty straightforward once you figure out what you want and how much you are ready to spend. But, first of all, just pause a moment and ask yourself this simple question:
Should I buy a vacuum cleaner using dust bags or one not using any dust bags?

So let us focus on this one very important consideration : the method which your vacuum cleaner uses to dispose of the dirt, dust and debris it collects.

There are a great many different types of vacuum cleaners, but getting down to basics, there are just two main types: bagged vacuum cleaners and bagless models. Both types of vacuum cleaner work in a similar way so far as their ability to suck dirt and debris from the floors in your home.

Furthermore both types are going to come with a range of accessories, attachments and extensions that are going to make cleaning hard to reach places much easier.

However the disposal method for each of these two disposal methods has several implications beyond just how you will be throwing your dirt, dust and debris away. Whether you decide on a bagless or a bagged vacuum cleaner, each has its own set of drawbacks and benefits.

To provide a better indication as to which option is best for you, we'll provide some further detail as to the pro's and con's of each type.

Bagged Vacuum Cleaners - Benefits:

Bagged vacuum cleaners have on the market for many years. In most cases the dust bag fits into a cloth section with a zip around the bag that can easily be removed and replaced whenever it gets full. Although the dust bag size and shape will vary from model to model, below is a break down of the most common benefits that come with bagged vacuums...

Hygiene Benefit
Bagged vacuum cleaners are known to be very hygienic. There are several reasons for this and it's not just because the debris and dirt are contained inside a closed bag. Technical developments over many years help keep the dirt, debris and possible allergens securely inside the bag and not simply during the vacuum cleaner's use but also when you remove the bag for disposal. Permitting you to remove and dispose of the dust bag without making a horrible mess helps to prevent potential allergens from getting back into the air and possibly affecting you and your family's health. Furthermore you won’t need to clean or replace the filter as often - a chore that needs to be done frequently with bagless models.

Allergy Sufferers Benefit
Vacuum cleaners with dust bags are definitely recommended for allergy sufferers. The dust bag works as a good filter and is effective at trapping debris, dust and other contaminants. Given that the bags are air tight, it is virtually impossible for dust and allergens to escape back into the air.

HEPA Filtration Benefit
HEPA, an acronym "High Efficiency Particulate Air", is an efficiency standard for air filtration and filters that meet the HEPA standard must satisfy certain efficiency levels. Bagged vacuum cleaners often use HEPA filters and thus help to trap most allergens that can be in your home.
Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters are highly recommended anyway but especially for folks who frequently suffer from allergies. In order to be allowed to use the “HEPA” name, the filters have to pass rigorous testing to ensure they capture a minimum of 99.97% of particulates 0.3 microns or larger.
In addition, HEPA filters are known to remove more dust and pollen from the air than any other type of available filters, especially within vacuum cleaners.

Maintenance Benefit
Most vacuum cleaners with dust bags usually need less maintenance than bagless models. This is mainly because dust bags can hold up to about one kilo or two pounds of debris. Consequently they do not need changing very often. Furthermore, because the filter is built right into the bag it never needs to be cleaned and you always know when is the best time for filter replacement.

Bagged Vacuum Cleaners - Disadvantages:

Ongoing Cost Disadvantage
Dust bags need to be replaced every time they get full. Once full, dust bags can't be reused so there will be a recurring and ongoing cost and depending on the model, the price of the bags will vary.

So you'll need to estimate how often you vacuum your home and then consider whether this recurring cost is worth it, given that other vacuum cleaner types don’t come with this downside. Also, in case you are in the middle of vacuuming when your bag gets full, you might have to run down to the store just to buy replacement bags.

Another issue you might encounter, particularly if yours is an older model vacuum cleaner is the possible diffulty finding replacement bags because the maker has discontinues making the bags for your cleaner, you might be stuck with a perfectly good vacuum cleaner that you can’t use.

Lower Performance As Bag Fills
Even when a dust bag isn't yet filled it may well cause issues with your vacuum cleaner's performance. This is because as the bag fills up, the vacuum’s overall performance can begin to decrease somewhat, so you will only get optimum performance with a new, empty dust bag.

In addition it may be difficult to ascertain when the bag is full, so consequently you risk wasting money replacing bags too soon or wasting time vacuuming with a bag that is too full to take in more debris and dust. On the plus side some newer models have an indicator that takes away much of this guesswork and tells you when the bag is full.

Bagless Vacuum Cleaners - Benefits

Bagless vacuums are a somewhat new development in the vacuum cleaner world. Many people find them easier to use, clean and maintain and appreciate not needing to stock up on replacement dust bags. Bagless vacuum cleaners have many enthusiastic customers and there are several reasons for this.

Lower Cost Benefit
Once purchased, a bagless vacuum cleaner is significantly less expensive to run and maintain than bagged cleaners. This is mainly due to not needing to buy replacement dust bags. The chamber on a bagless vacuum cleaner can be emptied again and again and it lasts for the full life of the machine.

Dust Emptying Benefit
Bagless vacuum cleaners have clear chambers that make it easy to visualize when the vacuum needs to be emptied. It is also easy to see whether your vacuum cleaner is working as effectively as it should because you can easily tell at a glance if it is gathering dirt or not.

In any case, it's satisfying to actually see visual evidence that your vacuum cleaner is picking up dirt. One similarity that bagless vacuums have compared to bagged units is that the fuller the unit gets, the less efficient it becomes when picking up dirt and debris. This can of course be easily avoided by simply emptying the contents frequently.

Eco-Friendly Benefit
Bagless vacuum cleaners is far and away more environmentally friendly compared to bagged vacuums which can use hundreds of bags over their lifetime. In contrast, with a bagless model you won’t be throwing away anything superfluous along with your dust and dirt.

If you are very eco-conscious - or just an enthusiastic gardener - you can even empty the chamber right into your compost bin. However, if you choose this option, be sure everything in the chamber is going to be beneficial to your compost.

Popular Benefit
Bagless vacuum cleaners are growing to be more and more popular among customers. This is mainly because you do not have to continually buy dust bags just to use the device. They are also easier for disposal of dirt and debris because you can do it as often as you like. Additionally, in case you accidentally vacuum up something valuable, opening the chamber to retrieve the item is very simple compared to a bagged vacuum cleaner where you would need to cut open the bag and sift around.

Bagless Vacuum Cleaners - Disadvantages:

Despite their popularity, bagless vacuums aren't right for everybody. Here are a couple of downsides it would be wise to consider if you are in the market for buying a new vacuum cleaner...

Exposure to Allergens - Disadvantage
When emptying the chamber full of dirt and debris, bagless vacuum cleaners may expose the user to more dust and allergens than a bagged model. This is mainly due to the fact that the dirt and debris don’t go into an airtight bag, but instead go into an airtight chamber. Because the disposal process is not simply removing the bag, it's possible for some of the dust and allergens to get back into the air during emptying of your bagless vacuum cleaner.

More Hands On - Disadvantage
Because of the way a bagless vacuum collects the dirt, some users feel that this type of vacuum is dirty and requires too much hands on maintenance. Although it's true that you have to be careful when emptying the chamber - something we recommend doing outdoors to prevent allergens from re-entering your indoor air - it is not as dirty as some would think.


It's clear that both bagged and bagless vacuums each have their own benefits and drawbacks. However, they are both effective and efficient when it comes to helping you keep your home clean. Neither type of vacuum can be the best choice because it really comes down to knowing what you need and what you want in a vacuum cleaner.

There are many excellent vacuum cleaner models of both types and the technology and filtration is continually improving, so hopefully by considering all the pro's and con's, you will have a better idea whether a bagged or bagless vacuum is best for you and your home.

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