If you don't want to deal with the hassle of having to replace a dirtbag in your vacuum, there's no shortage of bagless options on the market. Unlike bagged models, these vacuums have plastic dirt compartments and use filters to prevent dusty air from drifting back out into the environment as you clean. They usually have low or virtually no recurring costs, depending on whether or not they use disposable filters. That said, they can vary significantly in shape and size, all for the sake of being better-suited for different kinds of cleaning tasks.
We've tested over 90 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best bagless vacuum cleaners. We selected these picks on their performance and their design, ease of maintenance, and price. For more, see our lists of the best vacuums and the best cordless vacuums. If you're looking for a robot vacuum, which is usually bagless by design, you can see our picks of the best robot vacuums.
The Shark Rocket Pet Pro with MultiFlex IZ163H is the best bagless vacuum cleaner for bare floors that we've tested. This lightweight, cordless stick/handheld vacuum delivers a fantastic performance on bare floors, where it easily clears pet hair as well as debris like rice and cereal. It's very maneuverable, with a slim design and a rotating head that helps it move around obstacles.
You can use it in a handheld configuration, which helps with cleaning out-of-reach areas like stairs or your car's interior. Several tools and brushes are included to help with different cleaning jobs, like a crevice tool for getting into narrow areas and an upholstery tool for cleaning fabric-covered furniture. Thanks to its bagless design, it should incur few recurring costs as long as it's well-maintained.
Unfortunately, the dirt compartment is on the small side, and the battery only provides roughly 10 minutes of continuous cleaning time if you use the most powerful suction setting. Using the default power setting, it lasts for a little over 40 minutes of use. Overall, if you're looking for a bagless vacuum to keep your bare floors clean, this is a great option.
If you're looking for a bagless vacuum but don't want to worry about battery life, try the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light instead. This corded model isn't as well-built as the Shark Rocket Pet Pro with MultiFlex IZ163H and has a somewhat smaller dirt compartment, but it has an incredible performance on bare floors. While its range is more limited than a cordless vacuum, it's very maneuverable. You can use it in a handheld configuration if you want to clean out-of-reach areas, and it comes with some accessories, including an upholstery tool for cleaning furniture and a hard bristle brush for scrubbing away at stubborn debris. It also incurs fewer recurring costs than the Pet Pro. Unfortunately, it's harder to maintain and lacks an allergen-trapping HEPA filter.
If you prefer the unlimited range of a cordless vacuum, go for the Pet Pro, but if you don't want to worry about running out of battery while you're vacuuming, you may prefer the Ultra-Light.
The best bagless vacuum for carpets that we've tested is the Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright. This corded upright does a superb job of clearing everything from pet hair to large debris like sand from this surface type, not to mention finer material like baking soda. It also delivers impressive performance on high-pile carpets.
Its primary vacuum head features three levels of surface adjustment, allowing you to change its height depending on the kind of floor that you're vacuuming. Its 'Lift-Away' design allows you to uncouple its canister from the rest of the body, letting you carry it around separately and making it easier to clean hard-to-reach areas with its wand. This vacuum is also fitted with a washable HEPA filter to trap allergens as you clean, which is good if you have a heavily shedding pet.
However, it's worth noting that this vacuum isn't very maneuverable. While it does have a pivoting vacuum head that can help you navigate tight areas, its large dirt compartment can make it difficult to clean under tables and chairs, and its brushroll can get tangled on some rugs. In addition, its vacuum hose is quite short, so you may struggle to clean high-up shelves while using it in its semi-handheld configuration. Otherwise, its strong performance on carpets and near-total lack of recurring costs make it one of the best bagless upright vacuums that we've tested.
If you're looking for a more portable vacuum for cleaning carpets, you may want to consider the Dyson V15 Detect. This cordless stick vacuum's maximum battery life of over 70 minutes can't compare to the virtually indefinite runtime of the corded Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright, but the Dyson can be used far from any electrical outlets and is substantially lighter and easier to maneuver in tight areas. It also delivers exceptional performance on high and low-pile carpet, clearing debris like pet hair, sand, or baking soda with very little difficulty. It comes with a very wide array of tools and accessories too, including a turbo brush, a combination upholstery tool/hard-bristle brush, and a separate stiff-bristle brush that can be used to dislodge especially stubborn debris from surfaces. Its allergen-tapping HEPA filter is washable too, so recurring costs shouldn't be an issue. On the downside, the vacuum's strong suction force can cause it to drag around some lighter rugs. Also, its mainly plastic construction doesn't feel particularly sturdy, which is somewhat disappointing at this price.
Get the Shark if you value the virtually indefinite runtime of a corded vacuum, but consider the Dyson if you're looking for something substantially more maneuverable.
The best budget bagless vacuum that we've tested is the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister. This corded canister model offers impressive overall performance on a variety of surface types, with consistent suction performance as its dirt compartment fills up. It doesn't struggle with pet hair or bulky debris like cereal on bare floors and clears quite a bit of fine debris, like baking soda, on carpeted surfaces.
It's fairly lightweight for a canister model, which makes it fairly easy to carry around a room. Its main head has retractable bristles, allowing you to clean carpeted floors a little more easily. It has a decently large dirt compartment, so it shouldn't need to be emptied so often, and since it uses washable filters, recurring costs are kept to an absolute minimum. Few parts require regular maintenance, and the few components that do need to be serviced are easy to access.
Unfortunately, its power cord is quite short, so you may need to swap outlets if you're cleaning an especially large room. Its hose is also fairly short, which can make it difficult to use it in its semi-handheld configuration to deal with messes on high-placed shelves and furniture. Otherwise, its blend of performance and affordability helps make it one of the best cheap vacuum cleaners that we've tested.
If you're looking for a more portable bagless vacuum, you may want the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ instead. This budget-friendly, handheld model isn't well-suited for cleaning large areas like the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister, but it's much more portable and better-suited for spot-cleaning small messes. It delivers an exceptionally versatile performance, as it easily clears pet hair and debris from both bare floors and carpets. Some accessories are included, like a turbo brush for cleaning fabric-covered furniture, a crevice tool for getting into tight spaces, and a soft bristle brush for use on delicate objects. However, its small dirt compartment needs frequent emptying, and its battery life is quite short, as it only provides roughly 10 minutes of continuous use.
Go for the Eureka if you want a budget-friendly vacuum suitable for cleaning big rooms. Try the Shark instead if you want something portable to tackle small messes.
Aug 10, 2021: Replaced Dyson Ball Animal 2 with Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright as 'Best Bagless Vacuum For Carpets'. Added Dyson Ball Animal 2 and Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV to Notable Mentions.
Jun 11, 2021: Replaced Dyson V8 Animal with Dyson V15 Detect as 'More Portable Alternative'. Added Dyson V8 Animal to Notable Mentions.
Apr 13, 2021: Checked picks to ensure that the best products are being recommended and that they're in stock.
Feb 12, 2021: Added the Miele Triflex to Notable Mentions. Checked that picks are still the best recommendations and that they're in stock.
Dec 16, 2020: Added Shark Vertex Lightweight Cordless to Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best bagless vacuum cleaners we've tested. We don't just base our results on overall performance, but also factors like availability, price, and reader feedback.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our bagless 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.