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 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 Dyson Ball Animal 2. This corded upright does a fantastic job of clearing various debris, ranging from pet hair to sand or baking soda, from both low and high-pile carpets. Its main vacuum head automatically adjusts its height to suit different floor types, and it doesn't lose a noticeable amount of suction power as its dirt compartment fills up.
It comes with a wide assortment of tools and accessories, including a turbo brush for dealing with messes on upholstered surfaces, an extension wand for reaching far-away spots, and a dedicated pet grooming tool. It doesn't use dirtbags and has washable pre-motor and allergen-trapping HEPA filters, so recurring costs shouldn't be a concern. Its ball-shaped wheels and pivoting head make it relatively maneuverable for such a bulky vacuum too.
That said, its strong suction force can make it a hassle to push around on some carpets, while its large dirt compartment can get in the way when cleaning underneath tables and couches. Its all-plastic construction also feels somewhat flimsy in places. Still, its strong performance on carpets, allergen-trapping HEPA filter, and wide assortment of tools and accessories help make it one of the best vacuums for pet hair that we've tested.
If you're looking for a significantly less bulky vacuum but don't want to sacrifice performance, consider the Dyson V15 Detect. This cordless vacuum doesn't have the indefinite runtime of the corded Dyson Ball Animal 2 and uses a smaller dirt compartment, but it's a lot smaller and can be used to clean areas far from any electrical outlets. It does a fantastic job of sucking up debris on both low and high-pile carpet, and there's little impact on suction performance as its dirt compartment fills up. It comes with a wide assortment of tools, including a vacuum head with a laser light to illuminate hard-to-see debris, a crevice tool for tackling messes in tight spots, and a conical turbo brush for collecting material on fabric-lined surfaces. Its battery life of roughly 10 to over 70 minutes, depending on your usage habits and choice of suction power setting, is alright overall. Unfortunately, like the Ball Animal 2, its strong suction force can cause it to drag around some rugs or make it difficult to push around on some carpet types.
Get the Ball Animal 2 if you want a vacuum with a virtually indefinite runtime, but consider the V15 Detect if portability and maneuverability are bigger concerns.
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 help 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.
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.
Nov 30, 2020: Added Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ as 'Handheld Alternative'.
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.