Bagged Vacuums vs. Bagless Vacuums. Which is the Best?

Vacuum History, and When Bagless Vacuums Made Their Way into the Market.

Dust removed by vacuums

Bags and Bagless Vacuums: Keeping dust like this out of your floors and lungs.

For around 100 years, the only commercially successful vacuum cleaners contained bags to hold rubbish that the avid home-cleaner could dispose of with ease. James Dyson, while probably not being the only person that envisioned bagless machines, made bag-free vacuums a reality. In 1978 he got the idea, and in 1983 he finally designed his first prototype.

So excited by his invention, he targeted some of the biggest vacuum manufacturers—Hoover included—to try and sell the design. They all turned him down. Either they didn’t think the bagless model was effective enough, or they didn’t want to give up vacuum bag sales is really for them to know, but it appears that they missed out on a huge market. (They later created their own Windtunnel Bagless line, which are great machines, but probably won’t ever compete with the Dyson image.)

It’s easy to see now that Hoover missed out on a huge opportunity, but did they have good intentions? Were they trying to keep under-performing vacuums out of customer’s homes? Or did they just want to keep selling those so-last-decade bags in an effort to maintain steady income? Let’s dive in a bit and see what’s what.

Bags and Bagless; the technology behind them.

Bagged vacuums have been around for a very long time. As with most technology, the old typically makes way for the new. But vacuum manufacturers had a pretty good understanding of how their machines worked, with many decades to improve the technology, they always left the bags in place. A good explanation for this can be the fact that vacuum bags provide another layer of dust-security while cleaning, and when emptying the vacuum.

Vacuum bags work.

vacuum bag

Vacuum bags create a barrier between you and the rubbish at all times.

Vacuum bags were designed to capture as much dirt, hair, dust, and earrings as possible. When your bagged machine is running, it is a completely sealed system (or at least it’s supposed to be) which means no dust particles are supposed to escape from any potential cracks or seals. With a vacuum bag, you have an extra layer of protection for your lungs that is supposed to prevent any excess dirt from escaping into the wild.

Be sure to buy the best quality type-s vacuum bags, which filter out most of the tiny particles you could be breathing in. Not all machines are created equal, so some bagged machines operate better than others. Fortunately, with the internet at our fingertips, you can be informed before you purchase.

Bagless Vacuums Have Multiple Filters.

Dyson Bagless Vacuum

The little dust tornado is neat to watch, this is what it keeps out of your home.

In an effort to prevent particles from escaping out of bagless machines Bagless vacuums have been outfitted with extra filters to filter out the exhaust air from the vacuums. Many machines have HEPA or HEPA-like filters (which aren’t the same) which filter out particles as small as smoke from the floor and air. This is a plus for Bagless vacuums, but many bagged vacuums have HEPA filters as well. Some competitor manufacturers state that bagless machines can never truly be HEPA regulated because the dust bins can leak micro-particles into the air, touting “they are not sealed systems.”

The Clean Up After the Clean Up

Sometimes we overlook cleaning up our vacuum, including the dust cup or the bags. This is a very important time to pay attention to, because exposing yourself to harmful substances is at its peak when we are emptying our machines. Bagged vacuums, for the most part, keep the dust contained, and a simple pouch containing all the indoor contaminants protects your lungs during the emptying process.

Many customer reviews and testimonials that we’ve encountered talk about how emptying bagless dust-cups can be cumbersome, and it can create a tiny explosion of dust and debris when you empty the machine, even though it’s one-button release is supposed to make it easier. Big particles and hair sometimes prevent the dust from falling away easily, and you’ll have to stick your hand in and dig out the dust manually. This is bad news as far as safety and health. Emptying your bagless dust-cup after every use is imperative to hopefully minimize your exposure.

Pros and Cons

Bagless Vacuum Pros: No costly purchasing of bags on a regular basis. New technology that works well, and it’s neat. Washable HEPA filters for another cost-reducing aspect. No loss of suction from dust-cup.

Bagless Vacuum Cons: Dirty when emptying the dust-bin. Can potentially lose suction if the filters are dirty. No added layer of protection that you get with a bag.

Bagged Vacuums Pros: Added protection with high-filtering bags and filters. Easy to empty, with just a quick bag replacement. Different types of bags for different needs.

Bagged Vaccum Cons: Have to continue to purchase bags and potentially filters for a more expensive long-term cost.

So Which is Best?

If you don’t have allergies, or if you want to save a little cash, then a bagless vacuum might be the right purchase for you. But if health and air-quality are you number one priority, then perhaps a bagged vacuum is the perfect fit.

What do you use at home, and why did you choose that machine? We’d like to hear your story. If you need any replacement bags for those bagged machines, don’t hesitate to visit our Vacuum Bags page for a comprehensive list of all types of bags for your machine. If you are using a bagless vacuum, don’t forget to replace those filters that are not washable, we’ve made a Vacuum Filters page to make it easy to find what you are looking for.

If you need help finding the right replacement parts for your machine, or if you just don’t know what to look for, contact us at or call us at 866-243-2721.

Thanks for reading the blog!

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One Comment

  1. thank you for a very informative page about the bagged or bagless vacuum cleaners… I’ve read some readings about the same topic but got unclear explanations. Now, between the two types of vacuum cleaners, I will choose the BAGLESS type. Thank you and God bless.

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