Bagless vs. Bag Vacuums

By Paul Laponte, Owner of Quality Sewing & Vacuum

Over the past several years, bagless vacuums have become more popular in the U.S. compared with traditional bagged vacuums. The next time you are shopping for a new vacuum, consider these pros and cons as described by industry professionals.

Bagless vacuum systems use a "cyclonic" technology that separates larger dirt and debris from the main air stream and drops these particles into a cup. This cup can then be removed and the dirt dumped into a waste can. The problem with "cyclonic" technology is that only the larger particles of dirt and debris are removed, and the fine dirt exhausts out of the vacuum — back into the room.

To overcome this problem, all bagless machines require lters to capture smaller particles. While it’s true you’ll save money not purchasing bags, you will have to pay yearly for replacement lters. Bagless vacuum manufacturers recommend changing filters 1-2 times per year. New filters cost $20 to $60 per filter.

In addition to this expense, bagless owners complain about having to dump the dirt cup (releasing dirt particles back into the air), unclog the cyclonic filter cup, wash the inside filters on some models, and wash the dirt cup itself from time to time.

Demonstrations on bagless machines show that they do an impressive visual job of picking up dirt, and the idea of not buying bags is appealing. That's why sales of bagless machines are rising. On the other hand, a year's supply of vacuum bags (12 bags) costs about $20. Bags are simple to remove and throw away. With traditional bagged vacuums, there's no need to wash filters or dirt cups. Many industry experts predict that owners will soon see the realities, difficulties and costs of bagless systems and revert to using bagged vacuums in the future.

Another disadvantage of bagless models is the rapid degradation of performance as the filter clogs with dirt. In a bagged vacuum, the bag itself is the primary dirt trap, and once the bag is filled it is tossed away and the suction of the vacuum is restored. Despite the advertising claims of some bagless brands to never lose suction, all bagless vacuums do in fact lose suction with use.

At Quality Sewing and Vacuum we recommend bagged vacuums for higher filtration and cleaning performance. Both Miele and Riccar models have been certified by independent testing laboratories to generate significantly lower dust and allergen emissions. They are designed to last 20 years and won’t make a mess every time you empty out the dirt.