Bagged versus Bagless Vacuum Cleaners

Here’s a quick summary of Bagged versus Bagless Vacuum Cleaners. If you’ve been searching for a new vacuum cleaner and wondering whether to go bagged or bagless then you are not alone.

When it comes down to it, personal preference prevails. I’ve used both and find that the convenience of not having to constantly replace vacuum bags always wins but before we get into all of that let’s look at the pros and cons of both versions.



bagged-vacuum-cleaner-oldThese have come a long way. Some of you might not know this but many years ago the old bags were made from cloth and attached to the vacuum handle. The bottom of the bag was attached to the vacuum cleaner and when it was switched on it would fill up with air and suck up dirt and dust.

When finished vacuuming, you would detach the cloth bag from the machine, unzip it and empty it out in the rubbish bin but at the same time get dust and fluff all over you. I’m lucky to be young enough to have missed out on a very messy disposal process.

Another issue with the cloth bags was that when the vacuum cleaner was switched on you could literally see the dust filtering through the cloth bag and escaping back into the air. Back then there weren’t the benefits of a sealed system or HEPA filters to clean the surrounding air.

Nonetheless, at the time the bagged vacuum cleaner was quite an innovative product and people were queuing up to purchase one.

Later on, a smart person improved the bagged model by placing a replaceable paper bag within the cloth bag. This new addition vastly improved the hygiene standard of the original cloth bag by trapping the dirt and dust within the paper bag and when full it was easy and convenient to dispose the bag and replace it with a new one without creating mess whilst emptying.

As the years passed, the cloth bag became obsolete and a plastic container, to house the paper bag, was integrated into the vacuum cleaner. Variations of this model take us right up to the current day.

Now that you’ve had a short history lesson on the life of the bagged vacuum cleaner lets move on to bagless.

Check out our review of The Best Upright Vacuum Cleaners


Taking everything we’ve learnt during the journey of the vacuum cleaner, another clever person decided to modify the plastic container by removing the paper bag altogether and trapping the collected dirt into the container instead. This would have meant making modifications to the internal system to ensure that the dust would stay within the container. The bagless vacuum cleaner was invented!

Pros of Bagless

  • The biggest advantage of using a bagless vacuum cleaner is that you don’t need to buy replacement paper bags which saves on costs in the long run.
  • The plastic container, housing the dirt, is transparent to show how much dirt has been collected and when it needs emptying out.

Cons of Bagless

  • Depending on the model you buy, emptying the container can be messy; but some recent models have addressed this issue by redesigning the position of the lid to minimise dirt and dust spilling everywhere.
  • The filters on bagless vacuum cleaners tend to get clogged up quicker than bagged vacuums. My advice would be to buy a cleaner with washable filters to avoid the added cost of replacing them. Other recent models even feature filters that never need changing!

Pros of Bagged

  • The advantage of using a bagged vacuum is that the dirt disposal process is tidier than that of a bagless cleaner. You just need to remove the bag from the container, chuck it into the dustbin and exchange it with a new bag.
  •  You also get the added value of additional filtration from the paper bags.


Cons of Bagged

  • Sorry for stating the obvious but the biggest drawback of using a bagged vacuum is the cost of constantly replacing the bags.
  • Certain models have been known to lose suction as the bag starts to fill up with dirt. Not good.

Check out our review of The Best Upright Vacuum Cleaners


So should you get a bagged or bagless vacuum cleaner? Both models have their strong points and drawbacks but when it comes down to it, the advances in vacuum cleaner technology means that the differences are minimal. Don’t discount either model until you have considered some of the other features such as:

  1. Suction power.
  2. Capacity of the dirt containers.
  3. Whats accessories are provided?
  4. Does it come with aftercare service?
  5. Cost of replacement tools, filters or bags.
  6. Versatility i.e. is it easy to vacuum your stairs but powerful enough for deep pile carpets?
  7. How light and compact is the machine?
  8. What is your budget and how do the vacuum cleaners compare at your price level?


If you find a vacuum cleaner that ticks all the boxes but puts you off because its bagged or bagless I’d suggest not to be quick to dismiss it until you have researched it and looked at reviews to see what other users have to say about it. My point is that choosing a bagged or bagless cleaner is a smaller deciding factor compared to the quality of the vacuum cleaner, its robustness and overall features.

Hopefully my article has answered some of your questions and shown that bagged and bagless cleaners both have their strong points and minor drawbacks which are not as significant as the other considerations listed above.

If you have any burning questions please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Happy vac hunting!

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1 Comment

  1. Glogadget

    Recognize the fact that dirt & dust are trapped in a bag vs spinning & growing in size as the dirt and dust float around in chamber of the bagless models vacuum. It’s interesting, but I’m all about the “bag”.


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