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Bagged vs. Bagless Vacuums

When you're shopping for a vacuum, one of the primary choices you'll have to make is whether to use a bagged or bagless vacuum. Each option is fairly popular and each has pros and cons. The difference between the two essentially rests in how debris is filtered and stored before removal. Bagged vacuums filter particles into a vacuum bag, and bagless vacuums store particulate in a cup or canister, using a separate filter to catch the small, sometimes unseen particles.

  Bagged Vacuum Bagless Vacuum
Filtration Reusable or disposable vacuum bags Canister or cup to hold debris with separate filter for small particles
Ease of Cleanup Minimal contact with dust because bags are thrown away once they're full Can be messy when emptying canister
Maintenance Vacuum bags are inexpensive but you will have to purchase refills depending on how routinely you vacuum Canister is washable and reusable, but you'll still need to occasionally replace the filter
Cost $100-$500 + vacuum bags $100-$500 + replacement filters

Advantages of bagged vacuums

  • Allergen Removal – Vacuum bags are breathable and usually filtered with HEPA technology to catch allergen-causing particles and in turn improve air quality.
  • Easy Cleanup – Minimal contact with dust and debris because bags are removed and thrown straight into the trash without additional cleanup.

Limitations of bagged vacuums

  • Power Efficiency – As the vacuum bag fills up with dirt and debris, suction is lost.
  • Extra Hassle – It's hard to monitor when the bags are full, so you have to check regularly.

Advantages of bagless vacuums

  • Reusable – Cups and canisters are reusable. They can be washed, dried and used again repeatedly without needing to be replaced.
  • Ease of Use – Clear container makes it easy to tell when debris needs to be emptied, and it's also really simple to remove items you accidentally suck up.
  • Lower Price – There's no need to go out and purchase vacuum bags, so maintenance is less expensive.

Limitations of bagless vacuums

  • Messy Cleanup – Particles you vacuumed can recirculate through the air as you're emptying the canister.
  • Frequent Emptying – While it's easy to tell when the canister needs to be emptied, you still need to physically dump all of the dirt and debris vacuumed.

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