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 80 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 portable model delivers outstanding performance on bare floors and easily clears pet hair from any surface type. It even comes with a liquid nozzle for sucking up spills, although we haven't tested it, and the vacuum needs to be thoroughly dried afterward.
Its battery will provide roughly 20 minutes of continuous use, which is longer than many handheld vacuums. The allergen-trapping HEPA filter is the only part that needs to be replaced regularly, so recurring costs are low. It's also well-built, with a simple design that's easy to assemble and maintain. There are some tools and brushes included that can help with different cleaning jobs, like a crevice tool to get into narrow spots and an upholstery tool for dislodging dirt from fabric-covered furniture.
Unfortunately, the small dirt compartment needs to be emptied frequently. It also struggles a bit with clearing fine debris like baking soda from carpets, so you may need to go over those surfaces more than once. That said, its versatile performance and affordable price make it a great option if you're looking for a cheap vacuum. It's also one of the best car vacuums 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.
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.
If you're looking for a cheap robot vacuum that does a better job on low-pile carpets, consider the eufy RoboVac 11S. This cheap robot model doesn't clean bare floors as well as the Yeedi K650, but it delivers better performance on low-pile carpets and also sucks up more pet hair from high-pile carpets. It has an automatic surface type adjustment feature that allows it to change its suction power setting depending on what surface type it's cleaning. There's no companion app, but it comes with a remote that allows you to control the robot without an internet connection. Unfortunately, it incurs higher recurring costs and is more difficult to maintain than the Yeedi. Its dirt compartment is smaller as well.
Go for the Yeedi if you want the vacuum with the best performance on bare floors, or if you'd rather use an app than a remote control to control your vacuum. Try the eufy instead if you have low-pile carpets in your home and want something with better performance on that surface type.
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.
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.
Nov 20, 2020: Replaced the eufy RoboVac 11S with the iRobot Roomba E5 for 'Best Cheap Robot Vacuum' and added the eufy RoboVac 11S as the 'Bare Floor Alternative'. Added the Shark UltraCyclone Pet 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.