Are Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaners Better?

Bag or bagless? If you are a potential buyer, be ready to answer this question from your salesman. While it sounds easy enough, the bad news is that there is no universal answer.

One woman’s bag is another woman’s nightmare.

In short, its a matter of personal choice. To help you decide what’s best for you, here’s a comparative discussion of the merits of bag and bagless canister vacuum cleaners:


When choosing a vacuum cleaner, your first consideration should always be your budget. How much can you afford? There’s a vacuum cleaner for every price range.

Vacuum BagFor both types of vacuums, there is a wide range of choices. However, most vacuums over $500 do not have a bagless model because excellent filtration becomes a primary consideration for the pricier ones, which is difficult to achieve without a bag.

In terms of maintenance costs, you need to change the filters for both types. Assuming the price is the same for both, you would spend a bit more for bagless as they are changed more often.

On the other hand, aside from the filters, you also need to purchase bags for the bagged vacuums although the cost is pretty minimal ($1-2 per piece). A piece of advice though, buy generic filters and bags as they are cheaper and they perform as well as the branded ones.


One of the most common arguments in favor of bagless is convenience as you don’t need to change bags. All you have to do is open the dirt cup and throw away the contents. True – however, the problem is that it’s not as easy as it sounds.

I have emptied a bagless vacuum countless times and more often than not, I get this puff of dust that triggers my allergies. So you would think, bag for the allergic then? Sure, but there are models that will challenge your dexterity and patience.

The lesson here is that if convenience is your main consideration, make sure that cleaning the dirt cup or changing the bag is something you can handle.

Filtration Capabilities

If health is a primary consideration, then make sure that you buy a vacuum with a HEPA filtration. As discussed above, filtration is more challenging in bagless vacuums. Why? The bag does not just act as a dirt catcher, it’s also the first level of defense when it comes to filtration. They usually have layers that can catch large and minute dirt.

For the bagless, it’s the filter that does this function, which if not cleaned properly and often will not perform as well. But if you are meticulous in cleaning the filter, then this should not be a major issue.

Suction Power

Different vacuums have different suction power. Most of the time it’s a function of design and cost. All things being equal, which is usually not the case, bagged vacuums have superior suction power as dirt travels a shorter distance from floor to the blower. In the bagless, there is more space for dirt to circulate which greatly affects suction. As you know, the fastest route from point to another is through a straight line.

There are other considerations when deciding between the two. The foregoing are the most important ones. Consider them in relation to your personal circumstances so that whatever you buy, it is the best one suited to you.

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