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 70 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 an even smaller handheld vacuum, you may want the BISSELL AeroSlim instead. This cordless handheld model has a shorter battery life than the HoLife HM036E and an even smaller dirt compartment, but its slim, lightweight design makes it much more portable. It's great at clearing pet hair from any surface type and delivers a satisfactory overall performance on low and high-pile carpets. It lacks an allergen-trapping HEPA filter, but since its lint screen and filter are washable, it incurs virtually no recurring costs. Unfortunately, while it has no issue cleaning pet hair and small debris like sand from bare floors, it can't suck up bulkier debris like cereal, which gets stuck at the entry of the vacuum.
If you want the option with the best overall performance and longer battery life, go for the HoLife. If you're looking for something small enough to fit in a spacious drawer or bag, the BISSELL is a good alternative.
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 well-built, budget-friendly model delivers outstanding performance on bare surfaces like hardwood or linoleum flooring. It also does an alright job of clearing pet hair and debris from high-pile carpets.
It has a bigger dirt compartment than most robot models we've tested, and its performance mostly stays consistent as it fills up. The battery life is fantastic, as it will provide between roughly one and four hours of continuous use, depending on what power setting you use. There's a companion app that allows you to choose between four different suction settings, create a cleaning schedule, and remote-pilot the vacuum.
Unfortunately, it has a sub-par performance on low-pile carpets and generally struggles to clear pet hair from carpets. Also, it cleans in a random pattern and sometimes misses a spot or bumps into obstacles. Otherwise, it's worth considering if you're looking for an affordable option. It's also one of the best robot vacuums we've tested.
If you want a cheap robot vacuum but have a lot of carpets in your home, you may prefer the iRobot Roomba E5. Its performance on bare floors isn't as nearly good as the Yeedi K650's, but it's much better at cleaning low-pile carpets, where it easily clears pet hair and bulky debris like cereal. It also picks up pet hair from high-pile carpets more effectively than the Yeedi K650. It automatically adjusts its suction power and head height depending on what surface it's cleaning, and its battery provides roughly an hour and a half of continuous use. Unfortunately, it has a smaller dirt compartment and fewer automation features available in its companion app.
Go for the Yeedi if you have mostly bare floors in your home or want a robot vacuum with a bigger dustbin. Consider the iRobot instead if you have a lot of low-pile carpets to keep clean.
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.
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.