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 125 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best budget vacuum cleaners. These recommendations are based not only on their price but also on 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 best cheap vacuum we've tested is the Eureka Mighty Mite. This compact canister vacuum delivers strong performance across a wide variety of surfaces, despite its affordable price point. It easily clears away messes on bare floors and performs well on low and high-pile carpet, even with a basic straight suction floorhead. You can retract the floorhead's bristles to generate a tighter seal against carpeted floors and improve debris pickup. Suction performance remains consistent as its dirtbag fills up, so you won't need to swap in a new one too often.
The vacuum itself feels reasonably sturdy, if a little cheap, and has a remarkably simple design that's easy to maintain. It's also small enough to easily store in a closet or a nook between furniture pieces. Its wand, made of two hollow plastic tubes, is quite long and gives you a good amount of added reach, though they can fall out of place if you don't wedge them together tightly enough. You have to wind its power cord back manually, too, which can be annoying.
The BISSELL Featherweight Stick is a great option if you're looking for a highly affordable vacuum that also doesn't weigh very much. While it doesn't offer the same level of deep-cleaning performance as the Eureka Mighty Mite, its plastic body is remarkably lightweight, making it a good option for elderly users. Its simple design also makes it easy to maintain, as the few parts that need regular cleaning are very easy to access. As long as you regularly clean its dust cup filter and pre-motor mesh filter, you won't need to worry about recurring costs. You can easily reconfigure it into a compact handheld vacuum to clean tight spots by merely removing its handle.
The vacuum does a fantastic job of dealing with pet hair on a wide variety of surface types. It performs impressively well on flat, even surfaces like hardwood or linoleum, easily clearing small debris. However, it can have quite a bit of trouble dealing with bulkier material as its dustbin fills up. Its floorhead also lacks a motorized brushroll or even an air-driven turbo brush, so it isn't the best choice if you have a lot of dense carpeting in your home.
The best budget vacuum with an upright design we've tested is the BISSELL PowerForce Helix. This corded upright isn't as compact as the Eureka Mighty Mite or as maneuverable as the BISSELL Featherweight Stick. However, it should be at the top of your list if you're looking for impressive carpet cleaning performance at a bargain price. It has a floorhead with five levels of surface type adjustment, allowing you to adapt to varying floor types on the fly. It also has a large dirt compartment that doesn't need emptying very frequently. If you're looking for an upright with an even larger dustbin, the Dirt Devil Endura Max is a solid alternative, though it does fall short in terms of debris-pickup performance.
Despite the BISSELL's relatively lightweight plastic construction, it can still be a bit of a hassle to maneuver in cluttered areas due to its bulky design and non-articulating floorhead. It also doesn't feel sturdy, with a plastic structure that creaks and flexes while in use. Thankfully, while the vacuum doesn't have a dedicated handheld configuration, you can still clean hard-to-reach areas with its hose, and it comes with an extension wand to give you a bit of added reach, not to mention a hard-bristle brush and a crevice tool.
The Wyze Handheld Vacuum is the best budget vacuum with a handheld design that we've tested. Due to its highly compact size, it isn't as well-suited to cleaning bigger areas as full-size vacuums like the BISSELL PowerForce Helix. However, it's a great fit for quick clean-ups. It can be easily stored in most cupboards or cabinets and weighs very little, making it easy to carry from room to room. It also feels well-built, with a fairly dense body made of hard plastic, and is relatively simple to maintain. It offers longer overall battery life for a vacuum of this size, with a runtime of over half an hour when used in its default power setting. The onboard HEPA filter is another rare feature for a vacuum of this type, and it's effective at sealing in fine particles.
This vacuum does a great job clearing away small debris and pet hair on bare surfaces, like countertops and shelves or hardwood floors, but it struggles with sucking up bulky debris, which can get jammed at its suction inlet. Its dirt compartment is also tiny and needs frequent emptying. If those are both serious obstacles for you, you could consider the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+, but note that it's notably pricier than the Wyze, has a shorter battery life, and lacks HEPA filtration.
Oct 20, 2022: Recategorized Wyze Handheld Vacuum as 'Best Cheap Handheld Vacuum'.
Jul 05, 2022: Substantial article restructuring to better align with user expectations. Added Eureka Mighty Mite as 'Best Cheap Vacuum' pick. Recategorized BISSELL PowerForce Helix as 'Best Cheap Upright Vacuum'. Recategorized BISSELL Featherweight Stick 2033 as 'Best Cheap Lightweight Vacuum'. Removed yeedi vac station, Wyze Cordless Vacuum, Black+Decker dustbuster CHV1410L, and Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister from main recommendations. Removed Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ from Notable Mentions due to current pricing. Added BISSELL Zing Bagged Canister to Notable Mentions.
May 06, 2022: Ensured all main picks are still available and represent the best fit for user needs and expectations. Added Eureka Mighty Mite to Notable Mentions.
Mar 09, 2022: Ensured all main picks are still available and are in line with user needs and expectations.
Jan 10, 2022: Ensured that all main picks are still available and represent the best choice for their given category.
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 $75. 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.