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 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 115 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuums that don't use a dirtbag. 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 best bagless vacuum cleaner we've tested is the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV. This corded upright delivers remarkable performance on bare floors and does a very good job clearing various kinds of debris on carpets, though you may need to make an extra pass to fully clean finer debris. The floorhead also features two levels of surface adjustment, so you can change its height to suit either high-pile carpet or bare floors and low-pile rugs. There are also two levels of suction power adjustment, giving you a lot of flexibility to adapt to different floor types on the go, though there's no brushroll off switch, the vacuum can sometimes get stuck on rug tassels or shag-pile rugs. Its 'Lift-Away' design lets you decouple its canister from the rest of the body, making it easier to clean hard-to-reach areas with its wand. This vacuum has a washable HEPA filter, which does a great job of sealing in fine particles.
If you're looking for something more maneuverable, the Shark APEX UpLight is a good choice. It has a lighter, more portable stick/handheld design and delivers similar performance on bare floors and low-pile carpet. However, it doesn't offer any suction power or surface type adjustment.
The best budget bagless vacuum we've tested is the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister. This budget-friendly canister vacuum is lightweight and fairly compact, making it easy to maneuver even in tight spaces, though it does feel flimsy in places. Performance on bare floors is fantastic, and the vacuum does an excellent job of cleaning pet hair and large debris from low pile carpet when you retract the bristles in its floorhead. Performance on high-pile carpet is also good overall, but you still may need to make another pass to fully clean very fine material. It's very easy to maintain and incurs virtually no recurring costs thanks to its washable filters. While it doesn't have a HEPA filter, it's reasonably effective at sealing in fine particles.
Unfortunately, its power cord and vacuum hose are very short, so you may need to swap outlets when cleaning larger rooms. If you don't want to deal with the hassle of a power cord and don't mind using a stick vacuum, the Wyze Cordless Vacuum is a great choice, even if it is more expensive and struggles more with bulky debris.
The best cordless bagless vacuum that we've tested is the Dyson V15 Detect. This cordless stick vacuum delivers superb performance on a wide variety of surfaces, easily cleaning pet hair as well as small and large debris on everything from linoleum to high-pile carpet, though its strong suction force can cause it to drag around some lighter rugs. Its surface detection system enables it to automatically change its suction power depending on what you're vacuuming. It also has a built-in particle sensor that counts and measures the size of debris that you're sucking up, which is handy if you're sensitive to allergens and want to know about the presence of fine allergens in your home. It can run for up to 70 minutes on a single charge, but you need to work fast when vacuuming stubborn messes or dense carpeting, as it only lasts for about 10 minutes when using it in its high-power 'Boost' mode.
If you're looking for a more affordable cordless option, the Samsung Jet 70 Pet is an impressively well-rounded alternative. Despite its less powerful suction motor, it delivers similarly strong performance on different surfaces. However, it lacks the V15 Detect's surface detection system and built-in dirt sensor.
The best bagless shop vacuum we've tested is the RYOBI 18V One+ 3 Gal. Project Wet/Dry. This semi-handheld shop vacuum is remarkably effective when dealing with debris on flat, even surfaces. It also does an excellent job dealing with low and high-pile carpets. You can also use this vacuum to clean liquid spills. There's also a dedicated blower mode for blowing away light material, though its airflow isn't especially strong. Unfortunately, the 4.0 Ah battery that comes in the box only supplies enough power for roughly 15 minutes of runtime, so you might want to opt for a larger-capacity RYOBI One+ battery for longer cleaning sessions.
This vacuum feels well-built, with a robust feeling body made of dense plastic. Its compact size makes it easy to store under a work table or a cupboard, especially when compared to full-size shop vacuums, though its handheld-only form factor also makes it a bit of a hassle to carry around as it fills up with debris.
The best handheld bagless vacuum we've tested is the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. This handheld vacuum delivers superb performance on bare floors and does a fantastic job of sucking up pet hair as well as fine and large debris on low and high-pile carpet. Its dirt compartment is relatively large for a handheld vacuum, so it shouldn't need emptying too frequently if you're using it for spot cleaning. However, its short battery life of a little over 10 minutes forces you to work fast when dealing with bigger messes. Its lack of a HEPA filter also contributes to its terrible air-filtration performance.
This vacuum's compact, lightweight design makes it easy to store or pick up and carry from room to room. It comes with a couple of attachments, including a crevice tool and a turbo brush with a self-cleaning brushroll, though that attachment has a hard time dealing with pet hair on furniture.
Jun 07, 2022: Article restructuring to better align with user needs and expectations. Recategorized Shark Rotator Lift-Away as 'Best Bagless Vacuum'. Removed Wyze Cordless Vacuum from main recommendations.
Apr 06, 2022: Slight article rework to better-align with test bench update. Re-categorized Wyze Cordless Vacuum as 'Budget-Friendly Alternative' pick. Added RYOBI 18V One+ 3 Gal. Project Wet/Dry as new 'Best Bagless Shop Vacuum' pick. Added Milwaukee M18 FUEL 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum Kit to Notable Mentions. Removed Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away from main recommendations.
Feb 04, 2022: Substantial article restructuring to better align with user expectations. Recategorized Dyson V15 Detect as 'Best Cordless Bagless Vacuum' pick. Recategorized Shark Rocket Pet Pro with MultiFlex IZ163H as 'Cheaper Alternative' pick. Added Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV as 'Best Bagless Upright Vacuum' pick. Recategorized Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright as 'Alternative With Better Performance On Carpet' pick.
Dec 06, 2021: Slight article reworking to better align with user expectations. Re-categorized Dyson V15 Detect to new 'Cordless Alternative' category pick. Added Wyze Cordless Vacuum as new 'Cordless Alternative' category pick. Re-categorized Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ to new 'Best Handheld Bagless Vacuum' category pick.
Oct 07, 2021: Verified the availability of all main picks and ensured that they still represent the best choice for their category. Added Dyson Micro 1.5kg, Shark Vertex Pro, and Eureka FloorRover Elite NEU630 to Notable Mentions. Removed HoLife HM036E and Shark ION F80 from Notable Mentions due to current availability.
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.