Are bagless vacuum cleaners really better than bagged vacuum cleaners?

Bagless vacuum cleaners have been around for many years now but are they an improvement on vacuums with bags?  Since shortly after vacuum cleaners were first invented the designers decided that a self-contained bag was the best solution for removing the dirt from the vacuum cleaner and out of the home. But bagless vacuum cleaners are becoming more and more popular with almost all manufactures offering a bagless version.

Bagged Vacuum Cleaners

Advantages –

  • Less mess – The dirt stays almost entirely in the bag which can be quickly and easily disposed of in the bin.
  • Bags are relatively cheap and readily available.
  • Better for allergy and asthma sufferers – As long as you are using a high-quality vacuum with HEPA filtration they are much better for allergy and Asthma sufferers. Bags keep the dirt in a self-contained area that is quickly removed and disposed of.
  • Improved motor life – The motors in bagged vacuum cleaners tend to last much longer than their bagless counterparts. This is mainly due to the fact that the fan in the vacuum motor has two jobs, one is to create the suction required to remove the dirt and the other is to keep the motor cool. Every time the bag is emptied the majority of the filtration system has been disposed of and replace with a fresh filter, the bag itself. The bag also has a much higher dirt capacity than the bins on bagless machines so they need to be emptied less far frequently.

Disadvantages –

  • The bags must not be allowed to get over full and unless the vacuum has a bag full indicator then they need to be checked frequently although with cloth bagged machines this requires just a quick feel of the cloth bag itself. You need to keep a supply of disposable bags readily available and they may be expensive.

Bagless Vacuum Cleaners

Advantages –

  • No disposable bag – There is no need for a disposable bag which can be expensive and will be thrown away after one use. Almost all bagless vacuum cleaners have a clear bin which contains the dirt that has been collected so the user can easily see when it is full and needs to be emptied. Emptying the dirt collection bin can often be done as simply as pressing a button and then closing a lid.

Disadvantages –

  • Despite many manufacturers claim that the majority of the dirt is separated from the air by some form of ‘cyclonic action’. In our experience this is not as true as their advertising suggests. Almost all bagless vacuum cleaners require two filters that become increasingly blocked with dirt the more the vacuum is used. So, emptying the bin only removes the collected dirt. It is not refreshing the majority of the filtration system itself as would be the case with replacing the bag. Some manufacturers would have you believe that the filters just need to be washed but simply washing the filters is often not enough to really clean the dirt from them and they become increasingly clogged. Also your vacuum cannot be used for many hours afterwards while you are waiting for the filter to dry.
  • The dirt bin often needs to have the dirt gently banged out of it and in so doing creates a small dust cloud and sometimes even needs the bin to be brushed out.


Both bagged and bagless vacuums have their pro’s and con’s and although bagged vacuum cleaners can now be seen as a little old-fashioned. For many people with pets and or allergy sufferers they can still be the best solution. But for people who want an easier method of vacuuming bagless vacuums offer a very quick and easy solution to removing the dirt from the vacuum.

The views and opinions in this article are those of PHC Vacuum Service and are the result of experienced gained over 30 years of repairing and servicing vacuum cleaners and are independent of any other supplier or manufacturer.