Bagged vacuum cleaners are a good option if you prioritize air quality and ease of maintenance. Unlike a bagless vacuum, debris is stored in a disposable container, virtually eliminating the risk of a plume of dust being released when you empty your vacuum. Even though dirtbags tend to need frequent replacement, driving up recurring costs, they effectively act as air filters, keeping fine debris from being released as you clean. Since the onboard filters don't have to work quite as hard as those in a bagless vacuum, user maintenance tends to be a little less demanding, too.
We've tested over 65 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best bagged vacuums to buy. These picks were selected not only based on their design but also their feature set and price. For more buying recommendations, take a look at our list of the best vacuums, our best canister vacuums, and the best laminate floor vacuums.
The best bagged upright vacuum that we've tested is the Miele Dynamic U1 PowerLine. This corded upright is amazingly well-built, with high-grade plastic construction and rubber-finish wheels that allow it to roll smoothly, even on densely-carpeted surfaces. It's easy to take apart, and user maintenance is exceptionally simple.
It delivers excellent overall performance on a variety of surface types, from hardwood floors to high-pile carpeting. Its suction performance remains very consistent as its very spacious dirtbag fills up, so it shouldn't need to be replaced very often. It comes with a couple of tools and accessories, including an upholstery tool to tackle messes on fabric-lined furniture as well as a turbo brush to dislodge stubborn debris. It also has a very long power cord, so you can clean large or cluttered rooms without needing to switch outlets.
Unfortunately, while it's fairly maneuverable, it still weighs quite a bit, which can make it something of a hassle to carry around when not in use. Its dirtbag, along with its pre and post-motor filters, needs to be replaced regularly, so recurring costs are also quite high. Still, its versatility, build quality, and ease of maintenance make it one of the best bagged vacuums that we've tested.
If you're looking to spend a little less on an upright vacuum, take a look at the Kenmore Intuition Bagged. This reconfigurable corded model isn't as well-built as the Miele Dynamic U1 PowerLine or as easy to maintain, but it's much cheaper. Better still, it actually clears slightly more bulky debris on bare floors, though it struggles more with pet hair. It's smaller and much lighter, and you can use its Lift-Away feature to detach its main body from its upright portion to clean hard-to-reach areas. However, its lack of a surface height adjustment function means that it can struggle to climb onto dense rugs or over obstructions like electrical cords. It also delivers marginally worse performance on carpeted floors.
Get the Miele if you want a more sturdily-built vacuum that's easier to maintain, but consider the Kenmore if you want to save some money without sacrificing much in the way of performance.
The Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine is the best bagged vacuum with a canister design that we've tested. This well-built model is fantastic on bare surfaces like hardwood or linoleum, where it easily clears pet hair, sand, and bulky debris like cereal. It also delivers impressive performance on low and high-pile carpets and doesn't lose suction as its good-sized dirtbag fills up.
It's easy to maneuver, with smoothly-rolling wheels and LED lights on its head so you can see more easily when you're vacuuming under furniture or in shadowy areas. You can use it in a semi-handheld configuration, which is helpful if you're cleaning shelves or stairs. It's equipped with an allergen-trapping HEPA filter and has seven different suction power settings, so you can adapt to different surface types. It also comes with a few accessories, including soft bristle brush for use on delicate objects, like curtains or lampshades, and an upholstery tool for cleaning fabric-covered furniture.
Unfortunately, it has a fairly short hose, which limits your reach if you're using it in its semi-handheld configuration. It also incurs fairly high recurring costs since it uses disposable dirtbags, and you also need to replace the filters periodically. Still, its high-quality build and excellent performance across surface types make it one of the best vacuum cleaners with good suction that we've tested.
If you want a canister vacuum with a very big dirt compartment, consider the NaceCare HVR 200 Henry. This more affordable canister model doesn't perform as well as the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine on any surface type, but it uses a dirtbag with a much larger capacity, so you can get more cleaning done without needing to replace it as often. It also incurs fewer recurring costs. There are some tools and brushes included, like a hard bristle brush for scrubbing away stubborn messes. The hose and power cord are longer, so you can cover more area without switching outlets. Unfortunately, it's not very good at cleaning high-pile carpets, where it picks up a good amount of pet hair but struggles with debris like sand and baking soda.
If you want the vacuum with the best performance overall, go for the Miele. Consider the NaceCare instead if you prefer something with a bigger dirtbag and fewer parts that need to be regularly replaced.
The best bagged vacuum at a budget-friendly price that we've tested is the Eureka Mighty Mite. This compact canister model is exceptionally easy to maintain since virtually all of its essential components are readily accessible to the user for routine servicing. It's also small and light enough to be carried over to far-off areas, like a car parked in a driveway.
It delivers superb performance on bare floors since it easily clears pet hair as well as small and bulky debris like rice and cereal, with little impact on performance as its spacious dirtbag fills. It also does a great job of clearing messes on low-pile carpet and picks up a good amount of debris on high-pile carpets. You can also clean areas like furniture or shelves more easily by removing part of its wand and using it in a semi-handheld configuration.
Unfortunately, it doesn't feel especially sturdy. It also lacks a HEPA filter to trap allergens, which could be a bit of an issue if you're the owner of a heavily-shedding pet. Otherwise, if you need an affordable vacuum that can tackle messes on a wide variety of surface types, this is a good choice.
11/01/2021: Verified that picks are still the best recommendations and that they're in stock.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best bagged vacuums. We don't just base our results on overall performance, but also factors like availability, price, and reader feedback.
If you'd like to do the work of choosing yourself, here's the list of all our bagged vacuum reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no vacuum is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.