If you're looking for a cheap vacuum, you may be surprised by how good of a performance you can get from budget-friendly options. The current product landscape has yielded many choices that should have little trouble cleaning different kinds of debris, though you might have to make sacrifices in terms of premium features or build quality.
We've tested over 90 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best value vacuums. These recommendations are based not only on their price but also their design and performance. For more buying recommendations, take a look at our list of the best vacuums under $100, the best handheld vacuums, and the best lightweight vacuums.
The HoLife HM036E is the best cheap vacuum with a cordless design that we've tested. This handheld vacuum is easy to pick up and carry or store in a closet or cabinet. It also feels well-built, with a sturdy plastic construction that isn't too demanding in terms of regular maintenance. Its allergen-trapping HEPA filter is the only component that needs to be regularly replaced, so recurring costs aren't too high either.
This vacuum delivers incredible performance on bare floors, where it easily clears pet hair, small debris like rice, and bulky material like cereal. Its included liquid nozzle attachment lets you clean up wet messes; however, we don't currently test for that, and the vacuum needs to be thoroughly cleaned afterward. It also delivers good overall performance on both low and high-pile carpet. It offers over 20 minutes of runtime on a single charge too, which is lengthy by the standards of most other handheld cordless vacuums, though this can vary with real-world use.
Unfortunately, its dirt compartment is very small and consequently needs to be frequently emptied. It also struggles a little with fine materials like baking soda on both low and high-pile carpets. Otherwise, its mix of performance and portability makes it one of the best lightweight vacuums that we've tested.
If you're looking for a more portable vacuum, you may want the BISSELL AeroSlim instead. This handheld model lacks an allergen-trapping HEPA filter and has a much smaller dirt compartment than the HoLife HM036E, but it's lighter and small enough to fit in a spacious bag or drawer. It's well-built, decently easy to maintain, and incurs virtually no recurring costs, thanks to its bagless design and washable filters. It easily clears pet hair from most surface types and delivers a decent overall performance on low and high-pile carpets. Unfortunately, bulkier debris like cereal tends to get stuck at the entry of the vacuum. This vacuum also has a much shorter battery life than the HoLife.
Go for the HoLife if you prefer something with longer battery life or with a better overall performance. Consider the BISSELL instead if you want something smaller and easier to carry around.
The best cheap vacuum with a corded design that we've tested is the BISSELL Featherweight Stick 2033. This unusual upright model has relatively few parts, making it easy to disassemble for maintenance or reconfigure into a handheld to access tight spots. Its bagless design and use of washable, reusable filters result in virtually no recurring costs to worry about, either.
It offers great performance on bare floors, where it easily clears pet hair as well as debris like rice or cereal, as long as its dirt compartment remains mostly empty. It does a decent job on low-pile carpet, where it clears most pet hair and coarse material, like sand. Thanks to its lightweight design, it can be maneuvered even in tight or closed-off spaces.
Unfortunately, its suction performance drops significantly as its dirt compartment fills up, especially when trying to suck up bulky debris. It also struggles quite a bit with clearing fine debris like baking soda from low and high-pile carpet. Still, if you prefer the indefinite runtime of a corded connection to clean larger spaces, this is a good choice.
If you're looking for a corded vacuum that delivers better performance on carpeted floors, consider the BISSELL PowerForce Helix. This corded upright isn't as easy to carry around or store compared to the BISSELL Featherweight Stick 2033 and delivers inferior performance on bare floors, but it does a better job of clearing debris from both low and high-pile carpet and has a five-level surface type adjustment feature. It also has a much bigger dirt compartment that doesn't need to be emptied as often. Its pre-motor filter shouldn't need to be replaced too often, so recurring costs aren't especially high either. Unfortunately, like the Featherweight, its all-plastic construction doesn't feel especially sturdy, and many parts require regular cleaning. Its bulky design and lack of a rotating vacuum head make it difficult to maneuver in tight spaces.
Get the Featherweight if maneuverability and portability are bigger concerns, but take a look at the PowerForce if you prioritize cleaning performance on carpeted surfaces.
The best cheap robot vacuum that we've tested is the yeedi K650. This affordable, well-built model has a fantastic battery performance, as it provides between one and four hours of continuous cleaning time, depending on what power setting is selected. It has a spacious dirt compartment for a robot vacuum, so you can empty it a little less often.
It delivers an incredible performance on bare surfaces, where it easily clears pet hair as well as debris like sand and cereal. It's not as good on carpets overall but picks up a fair amount of pet hair and large debris like sand from high-pile carpets. You can use the companion app to change the suction power setting, create a cleaning schedule, and see when parts need to be replaced.
Unfortunately, like many robot vacuums, it has demanding maintenance needs and incurs high recurring costs. Also, it doesn't use smart pathing, so it cleans in a random pattern and sometimes bumps into obstacles. That said, its relatively low price and superb performance on bare floors make it a solid choice if you're looking for a cheap robot vacuum.
The best vacuum in the budget category that we've tested is the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister. This corded canister model is a bit pricier than most other options on this list, but it also delivers more versatile performance. It's fantastic at cleaning pet hair and debris from bare floors and also does a good job on low and high-pile carpets.
It feels light in your hand, and it has a handle so you can easily carry it between rooms. It can be used in a semi-handheld configuration by detaching the wand from the head, which is useful when you're cleaning shelves or stairs. The wand can also be extended to help you reach high-up spots or behind furniture, and it comes with a soft bristle brush for cleaning delicate objects like lampshades or curtains. It's easy to maintain and incurs virtually no recurring costs, thanks to its bagless design and washable filters.
Unfortunately, its power cord is on the short side, so if you're cleaning a big room or staircase, you may need to swap outlets once or twice. It also lacks an allergen-trapping HEPA filter. That said, if you're looking for an affordable vacuum that can help with a variety of cleaning jobs, this one's a great option.
Jun 01, 2021: Removed eufy RoboVac 11S from recommendations due to current pricing. Added BISSELL PowerForce Helix 'Alternative With Better Performance On Carpets' pick. Removed iRobot Roomba 692 and bObsweep Bob Pro from Notable Mentions due to current pricing.
Apr 02, 2021: Replaced the iRobot Roomba E5 with the eufy Robovac 11S as the 'Low-Pile Carpet Alternative' to the 'Best Cheap Robot Vacuum', because of its lower price point. Verified the other picks to make sure the best products are still recommended and that they're available.
Feb 01, 2021: Replaced the iRobot Roomba E5 with the Yeedi K650 as 'Best Cheap Robot Vacuum'. Made the iRobot the 'More Maneuverable Alternative' and moved the eufy RoboVac 11S to Notable Mentions.
Jan 15, 2021: Verified that we're still recommending the best products and that they're in stock. Added the iRobot Roomba 692 to Notable Mentions.
Dec 11, 2020: Added the bObsweep Bob Pro to Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best value vacuums to buy. We factor in a fairly wide range of other factors, including availability, performance, and reader feedback.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for vacuums priced under $100. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While there is no single best vacuum for cheap that's 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.