If you're looking for a vacuum under $100, it may seem like you need to make a lot of sacrifices regarding performance. However, vacuums have become more affordable over time and can offer versatility that comes close to their higher-priced counterparts. While you still may have to make some choices between extra tools or better build quality, it's possible to find a vacuum under $100 that suits your needs.
We've tested over 45 vacuums, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuums under $100 that you can buy. If you're looking for more, check out our recommendations for the best handheld vacuums, the best upright vacuums, and the best lightweight vacuums.
The Eureka Mighty Mite is the best vacuum under $100 for bare floors that we've tested. This canister model has an incredible performance on bare floors like tile or linoleum, as it can pick up pet hair and debris without issue. It also has good maneuverability since its head is quite light, which makes it easy to get around chair legs or other obstacles.
It has a slip ring on its hose that allows you to control its suction level, as well as a manual adjustment feature on the main head so that you can retract and extend its bristles depending on the surface type. You can also remove one part of the wand, which shortens its length, and use it in a semi-handheld configuration to access hard-to-reach areas. There are only two parts that need regular upkeep, which makes maintenance very easy.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have a HEPA filter to help keep allergens from getting released into the air. Its dirtbag also needs to be replaced when full, and the manufacturer recommends changing the bag more often if you clean a lot of fine debris like powder. That said, it offers a fantastic performance on bare floors at an affordable price.
If you're looking for a handheld vacuum that can tackle countertops as well as bare floors, check out the HoLife HM036E. While it isn't suitable for cleaning your whole kitchen floor in one go like the Eureka Mighty Mite, it's well-suited for spot-cleaning the occasional spill thanks to its compact size. This lightweight handheld is easy to store and is very portable. Its battery lasts over 20 minutes when used continuously, and it comes with a few extra tools to help you better clean around your home. On bare floors, it offers a fantastic performance since it can easily clear pet hair as well as cereal and rice. It also comes with a liquid nozzle to handle wet messes, although we don't currently test this feature. Note that it needs to be emptied, cleaned, and dried before you charge it.
Get the Eureka if you're cleaning large amounts of bare floors. However, if you've looking for something a little more portable for clearing the occasional mess, try the HoLife.
The Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister is the best vacuum under $100 for low-pile carpet that we've tested. This corded canister model has excellent performance on low-pile carpet since it can easily clean pet hair and sand. However, it struggles a little more with finer debris like baking soda, but it shouldn't be too much of an issue if you don't mind doing multiple passes.
It's easy to maintain since its parts are easy to clip together and disassemble. There are no recurring costs as long as you properly maintain its filters. Although it has a plasticky build quality, it feels lightweight in-hand and has good maneuverability. It also doesn't come with a lot of tools or brushes, but it does come with a combination extension wand and soft bristle brush, which you can use to get into crevices inside your car.
Unfortunately, it has a very short cord length, which can be a problem if you're trying to clean large areas. It also takes up quite a bit of room, and it can be hard to store if you don't have a lot of vertical space. Even though its build quality is a weak point, its intuitive design, excellent performance on low-pile carpet, and affordable price make it a suitable choice for most users.
The best vacuum under $100 for high-pile carpet that we've tested is the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. This cordless handheld has an excellent performance on high-pile carpet as it's able to pick up pet hair as well as most small and large debris without an issue. It also comes with a turbo brush with a self-cleaning brushroll so that you can dislodge debris stuck on fabric-based furniture.
This lightweight model has a good build quality that feels durable. It's also easy to maintain and only has one recurring cost. It's especially well-suited to tackling small spills, whether it's on your kitchen counter or furniture since it comes with an upholstery tool as well as a crevice tool that allows you to get into hard-to-reach places. It does an outstanding job on low-pile carpet, and its performance on bare floors is fantastic.
Unfortunately, it has a sub-par battery performance that lasts just around 11 minutes, so if you have a large or particularly stubborn mess to clean, you need to work fairly quickly. That said, if you're using it to spot clean around the home, it can be a handy tool to have around. It's even one of the best multi-surface vacuums we've tested.
If you need to clean a lot of high-pile carpet, try the BISSELL PowerForce Helix. While its performance on high-pile carpet falls a bit short when compared to the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+, this vacuum is better-suited for tackling large spaces. It has a larger dirt compartment to hold more debris as well as a removable brushroll to help dislodge debris from carpet. Although it has a plasticky build quality, it's still quite lightweight and easy to carry too. It comes with a few tools such as an extension wand and a soft-bristle brush for cleaning more delicate items like lampshades. You can even use it in a semi-handheld configuration to clean narrow or more difficult-to-reach areas. However, if you're using the hose, it has a short range, and the vacuum could tip over if you're not careful. It also has a few parts that need regular maintenance.
Consider the Shark if you're looking for the best performance on high-pile carpet, and you plan to mostly tackle small messes here and there. However, go for the BISSELL if you want a more efficient clean on larger carpeted areas.
11/13/2020: Replaced the BISSELL PowerForce Helix with the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ in the Best Vacuum Under $100 For High-Pile Carpet category. Replaced the BISSELL Zing Bagless Canister with the BISSELL PowerForce Helix as 'Upright Alternative'.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best vacuums under $100 to buy. We factor in a fairly wide range of factors, including availability, price, and reader feedback.
If you'd like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our vacuum reviews under $100. 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.