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 60 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best bagless vacuum cleaners. These picks were selected not only based on their performance but also their design, ease of maintenance, and price. For more recommendations, 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 best bagless vacuum for bare floors that we've tested is the Shark Rocket Pet Pro. This cordless stick/handheld does an exceptional job of clearing everything from pet hair to cereal on bare floors, with very little impact on performance as its dirt compartment fills up. It also shouldn't struggle too much when it comes to dealing with messes on the occasional low or high-pile rug.
It has a lightweight design that makes it very easy to maneuver, and its folding wand should allow you to clean under tables and couches without having to bend over too much. It can be converted into a handheld configuration to clean areas like shelves or the inside of your car. It's allergen trapping HEPA filter and pre-motor filters are washable and reusable, so as long as they're taken care of, recurring costs shouldn't be a concern. It supplies about 40 minutes of runtime in its default suction mode, which should be enough for most cleaning tasks.
Unfortunately, if you run it continuously in its most powerful suction mode, you can drain its battery in a little over 10 minutes, forcing you to work quickly for more stubborn messes. It also lacks on-board storage or a rack to place its accessories and tools when not in use. Overall, however, its versatile performance and amazing maneuverability help make it one of the best multi-surface vacuums that we've tested.
If you don't want to deal with the hassle of running out of battery part way through a cleaning task, consider the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light. It doesn't have the practically unlimited range of the Shark Rocket Pet Pro and lacks an allergen-trapping HEPA filter, but it does have a virtually indefinite runtime thanks to its corded design. Like the other Shark, it can be reconfigured into a handheld to tackle messes on shelves, furniture, and countertops and delivers outstanding performance on bare floors. Its bagless design and washable filters keep recurring costs to a minimum, and it's fairly simple to maintain. While it comes with a relatively broad mix of tools and accessories, it lacks any sort of onboard storage or rack station to put them when not in use. It also feels somewhat cheaply-made and a little flimsy.
Get the Pet Pro if you value maneuverability and an unlimited range, but consider the Ultra-Light if you don't want to wait for your vacuum to charge.
The best bagless vacuum for carpets that we've tested is the Dyson Ball Animal 2. This upright model does a fantastic job on low and high-pile carpet as it's able to pick up pet hair as well as a significant amount of small and large debris. The dirt compartment is a good size too, and it's made of clear plastic, so it's easy to see when to empty it.
If you have different kinds of carpet in your home, its head can automatically adjust itself to the floor type. It also comes with a lot of accessories such as a pet grooming tool so that you can clean different messes or surfaces. It has good maneuverability as well, and you can even detach its wand and hose to clean furniture or get into crevices. Thanks to its bagless design and washable filters, you don't have to worry about constantly replacing parts over time unless they're damaged.
Unfortunately, its large size makes it a bit heavy, so it can be tricky to carry it up or down stairs. It also has a plasticky build quality and doesn't feel especially sturdy. It requires a lot of assembly right out-of-the-box too, which can be frustrating. That said, this bagless model offers outstanding performance on carpet, and its versatility also makes it one of the best upright vacuums we've tested.
If you're looking for a vacuum that's easier to move around, take a look at the Dyson V8 Animal. This stick/handheld comes with a narrower range of accessories than the Dyson Ball Animal 2 and doesn't perform quite as well on carpeted floors, but it is substantially lighter and has a more intuitive design. Its design allows you to carry it almost anywhere in your house, and it can be quickly reconfigured into a handheld to help you clean tight spots behind furniture or even the inside of your car. As long as you take care of its various parts when the manufacturer specifies, you shouldn't have any recurring costs to worry about. Unfortunately, you can run out of charge in under 10 minutes if you run it continuously in its high-power suction mode, though you can expect roughly 40 minutes of runtime if it's used more conservatively. It also takes about four hours to completely recharge its battery, which can be quite annoying.
Get the Ball Animal 2 if you want better performance on carpeted floors and want an indefinite runtime, but consider the V8 if you have a smaller area to clean and want something a lot more portable.
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, such as 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 smaller, more portable bagless vacuum, consider the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. Unlike the larger-sized Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister, the Shark isn't really suitable for cleaning large areas, but this lightweight handheld is better-designed for tackling small messes around the home. It comes with a couple of accessories such as a turbo brush to clean fabric-wrapped furniture as well as a crevice tool to get into hard-to-reach areas. It also has an outstanding performance on all surface types and is easy to maintain. However, its dirt compartment is smaller than the Eureka. While its cordless design significantly increases its range, its battery life only lasts around 11 minutes.
Try the Eureka if you need something that can clean large areas but check out the Shark if you're looking for a lightweight vacuum to clear small messes here or there.
12/16/2020: Added Shark Vertex Lightweight Cordless to Notable Mentions.
11/30/2020: Added Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ as 'Handheld Alternative'.
11/06/2020: Added Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ to Notable Mentions. Renamed 'Best Bagless Vacuum For Bare Floors' alternate category as 'Corded Alternative'.
10/16/2020: Added HoLife HM036E and Shark ION W1 WANDVAC 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.