If you don't want to deal with the hassle of replacing 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 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 to be better suited for different kinds of cleaning tasks.
We've tested over 130 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuums that don't use a dirtbag. We selected these picks based 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 for the best robot vacuums.
The best bagless vacuum cleaner we've tested is the Dyson V15 Detect. This cordless stick vacuum delivers superb performance on various surfaces, easily cleaning pet hair and small and large debris on everything from linoleum to high-pile carpet. Its surface detection system also lets it change its suction power automatically depending on what you're vacuuming. However, its strong suction force can cause it to drag around some lighter rugs. It also has a built-in particle sensor that counts and measures the debris you're sucking up. It's a gimmick for most, but it can be helpful if you suffer from allergies and want a rough estimate of particulate counts in your home. This vacuum can run for up to 70 minutes, but you need to work fast when vacuuming stubborn messes, as it only lasts for about 10 minutes when using it in its high-power 'Boost' mode.
Unfortunately, build quality is only passable overall, which is disappointing for a vacuum at this high a price point. The Samsung Bespoke Jet is a good option if you want something more sturdily built. However, its twin-roller floorhead makes it less maneuverable, and this model doesn't have the Dyson vacuum's automatic power adjustment feature.
If you prefer using a corded vacuum with a greater debris capacity, the Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra/Complete is the best bagless upright vacuum we've tested. Its bulky form makes it less suitable for quick cleanups than a stick vacuum like the Dyson V15 Detect, but it's a better option for heavy-duty cleanups. Its powerful suction motor helps it clear away debris across various surfaces. Its floorhead also features three levels of surface adjustment and built-in plastic fins to capture long hair before it can get tangled in its brushroll.
You can clean hard-to-reach areas by decoupling its hose from its body and using any of its attachments, including a miniature turbo brush, a telescopic wand, and even a dedicated pet grooming tool. Its five-stage filtration system helps trap allergens, too. Unfortunately, it's a heavy, bulky vacuum that's a hassle to set up. It's loud by the standards of less powerful cordless vacuums, and while its power cord is long, you have to wind it back up manually.
If you're looking for an upright vacuum that's easier to deploy, look at the Shark Vertex Pro Powered Lift-Away. It uses a simpler floorhead than the Dyson, with no height adjustment, and has a maximum battery life of about 40 minutes when used as an upright. However, its lighter and more compact construction and cordless design make it a better option for short cleaning sessions on hard surfaces or in areas far from a power outlet.
The best bagless vacuum in the upper mid-range price bracket we've tested is the Shark Stratos Cordless. This cordless stick vacuum is noticeably heavier than the Dyson V15 Detect and doesn't exert quite as much suction force, but it's got its share of strengths. It feels noticeably more solid, mainly built from thicker plastic. At 0.65L in capacity, its dustbin is also roughly 30% more spacious than the Dyson's, so you won't have to empty it quite as often.
While its twin-brushroll head makes it a little trickier to maneuver in cramped quarters compared to the Dyson vacuum's slimmer single-roller head, some of that added bulk is offset by the inclusion of a hinged wand, which allows you to clean under most tables and chairs without having to bend too deeply. A replaceable cartridge in its floorhead emanates a detergent-like scent as you clean to mask any unpleasant odors.
The Shark's Clean Sense IQ system also allows it to ramp up its suction power depending on how much debris it sucks up. However, unlike the Dyson vacuum's system, it won't necessarily respond to changes in surface type. Performance on bare floors is superb, and it does a great job cleaning carpets. That said, while it does have two surface settings, they only change the speed of its brushroll, not its height, so it's still liable to get bogged down in thick carpeting. Its main brushroll isn't removable, making it a challenge to clean.
Look at the Samsung Jet 75 if you're looking for something a little cheaper. It's less sturdily built than the Shark Stratos Cordless and doesn't have an automatic power adjustment feature, but there are a few advantages aside from its lower price. Its 200AW suction motor is remarkably potent for a vacuum at this price point and helps it exert a greater suction force than the Shark at its floorhead, though debris pickup is pretty even between the two models. It delivers fantastic performance on bare floors and clears an impressive amount of debris on high-pile carpet.
At up to 60 minutes on a charge, battery performance is similar to that of the Shark. However, thankfully, the Samsung charges faster. If you want a similarly-priced alternative with automatic power adjustment, check out the Shark Cordless Pro, though it's heavier and has a shorter battery life. The mid-range Jet 75 Pet variant is a good option for pet owners, as it comes with a miniature turbo brush tool that's effective in collecting pet hair, though it's also unwieldy. Regardless of your variant, all Jet 75 models have a five-stage filtration system to trap allergens like pet dander.
If you're on a budget and searching for a bagless vacuum, it's hard to go wrong with the Shark Pet Cordless (IX141). This cordless stick vacuum is less potent than the Samsung Jet 75 and feels flimsier than the Shark Stratos Cordless. If neither of those factors are of significant concern, the Shark offers a lot of bang for the buck. It delivers good overall debris pickup on a variety of surfaces. While it doesn't come with a miniature turbo brush tool, its straight-suction upholstery nozzle does a great job of clearing away pet hair on fabric-lined surfaces. Its battery life maxes out at about 40 minutes, which is on the shorter end of the scale for a cordless vacuum, and unlike most of the pricier alternatives on this list, you can't easily swap out its battery pack. Air filtration performance is also terrible, as fine particles can easily escape from its exhaust vent.
If you still aren't convinced by cordless vacuums and prefer using canister vacuums, look at the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister. It delivers strong performance, especially given its low purchase price, and its corded design ensures you won't need to worry about running out of charge part way through a cleaning session. Its power cord is very short, so you'll need to swap outlets or use an extension cord when cleaning even moderately large spaces.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best bagless vacuums we've tested. We don't just base our results on overall performance, but also on 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.