Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Bagless HEPA Vacuum

Modern cleaners make it easier to suck up more dirt in tough to reach areas.

Vacuuming wooden floors.
One big advantage of bagless vacuums is the ability to disconnect components and clean areas you couldn’t otherwise reach with a bag vacuum.Michal Jarmoluk

Bagless vacuum cleaners eliminate two of the biggest criticisms of bag vacuums—the extra cost of bags, and the fuss of removing a full bag and replacing it with a new one. You need to empty bagless vacuums from time to time, but the process is fast and simple. Plus, you can empty it any time. Unlike a bag vacuum, there’s no need to lug around all the dust and dirt until it’s full. That makes for more efficient vacuuming, and for some people, it’s rewarding to see just how much dirt, dust, and hair their efforts removed.

Many bagless vacuums come equipped with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, which remove at least 99.97 percent of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns. That means a clean floor, and no recirculation of the stuff your vacuum is sucking up. There are several differences among bagless vacuums—some obvious, some subtle—and knowing them will help you determine which is the best bagless vacuum for you.

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional NV356E, White and Silver
This model has a detachable, lightweight pod for whenever you need to vacuum areas above the floor.Shark

Most all vacuums have a hand attachment so you can vacuum stairs, furniture tops, windowsills, and the like. But the hose on many models is attached to a big, bulky main unit, meaning you have to drag or lug the entire vacuum with you. Bagless vacuums that feature a detachable, easy-to-carry pod makes such cleaning much easier. You can walk around with the pod and vacuum whatever is within reach.

Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet Swivel HEPA Media Vacuum Cleaner, Bagless Upright for Pets Hair and Home, Black, UH74220PC
The detachable wand on this model makes it easy to reach all those high, difficult-to-access ledges and sills, plus spiderwebs in ceiling corners.Hoover

We all know how much dust and dirt accumulate on the top edges of window and door frames, light fixtures, and picture frames. You see it every time you step on a chair or a ladder, and you may vow to clean those places the next time you vacuum, but they’re hard to reach unless you step up on a chair or stepladder, and then you have to drag that around along with the vacuum to get to everything. A long wand eliminates that need, along with the procrastination you had about cleaning tough to reach places—not to mention things like spider webs and dust in ceiling corners.

Shark Rotator Professional Upright Corded Bagless Vacuum for Carpet and Hard Floor with Lift-Away Hand Vacuum and Anti-Allergy Seal (NV501), White with Red Chrome
The 12-inch-wide head on this model is efficient for cleaning large floors.Shark

The wider the head, the fewer passes you’ll have to make when vacuuming. While that may seem obvious, it’s a specification that’s not normally made prominent by manufacturers. If your vacuum has a small head, you lose some of the efficiency of using a bagless vacuum.

Also Consider

BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus Lightweight Upright Vacuum Cleaner
This model has a hands-free emptying system.Bissell
Bissell Zing Canister, 2156A Vacuum, Green Bagless
This model can hold up to two liters of dust and dirt.Bissell
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