December 24, 2020

Best Bagged Vacuum Cleaner in 2021: Buyer’s Guide and Top Products

In order to keep your house looking clean and tidy, you need the best bagged vacuum cleaner. However, finding a model that comes with the right combination of features that can make a vacuum more effective and vacuuming less of a chore can be a real challenge. There are so many different types, models, and styles of bagged vacuums to choose from, that you’ll soon find yourself frustrated trying to learn more about a particular model’s quality and overall performance. That’s where I come in. I’ve tested many of the top-selling vacuums, narrowing it down to six models that have the power needed to efficiently suction up dirt, debris, and dust. I’ve also put together a buyer’s guide that’s designed to make it easier for you to find a model that will work for your home and one that won’t hit your wallet too hard.

Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that lists each of the models on my list, what their best features are and how they rated.

Bagged Vacuum Cleaner Comparison Chart

Top Pick

Oreck Commercial Upright Vacuum Cleaner
• 12 Inch Cleaning Path
• 9 lbs.
• 40 Ft. Cord Length
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Hoover Wind Tunnel T‑Series Bagged Vacuum Cleaner• 12 Inch Cleaning Path
• 20.3 lbs.
• 30 Ft. Cord Length
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Sanitaire Tradition Bagged Vacuum• 12 Inch Cleaning Path
• 12.2 lbs.
• 30 Ft. Cord Length
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BISSELL Big Green Power Force Bagged Vacuum• 13 Inch Cleaning Path
• 12 lbs.
• 30 Ft. Cord Length
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Kenmore Elite 31150 Bagged Vacuum• 12.75 Inch Cleaning Path
• 20 lbs.
• 35 Ft. Cord Length
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Sanitaire S635A Bagged Upright Vacuum Cleaner• 12 Inch Cleaning Path
• 10 lbs.
• 30 Ft. Cord Length
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Oreck Commercial Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Top Pick

Our Rating: (5/5)

This is one of the most powerful bagged vacuum cleaners currently on the market. It features an automatic floor adjustment feature that allows it to easily move between hard surfaces and carpet, without the need to manually adjust the settings. The high-powered, high-speed roller brush system complete with double helix brushes moves at an impressive 6,500 RPMs and is designed to move debris toward the vacuum inlet for easier cleaning. The vacuum features a massive cleaning path of one foot and comes with a cogged V-belt that will resist slippage. The vacuum’s circuit breaker is designed to help protect against jams and clogs. This is a permanent belt vacuum that’s categorized as commercial grade, so it’s perfect for both home and pro use. This versatile model makes it easy to get up close to the baseboards and cabinets and is designed to fit smoothly under furniture. It can be used on all types of surfaces including tile, laminate, wood, and carpet, requiring no manual height adjustment. The vacuum weighs in at nine pounds, which is very light for a bagged upright. This will make the vacuum easy to transport and haul up and down a flight of stairs.


  • Lightweight
  • Forty-foot cord
  • Permanent belt
  • Automatic floor adjustment


  • Does not come with any cleaning attachments


This pro quality upright will not let you down. While it’s rated as a top of the line commercial quality vacuum, it’s a great model for home use and provides the type of powerful, reliable performance that all buyers are looking for. If the vacuum’s top power rating isn’t enough, this model also earned an ease of use commendation from the Arthritis Foundation. The vacuum’s on and off switch is located in the handgrip, making it easy to use and control. This model comes loaded with all the right features including the permanent belt, large cleaning path, and forty-foot power cord. This vacuum is a great buy for home or pro use and is covered by a one-year limited product warranty.

Hoover Wind Tunnel T-Series Bagged Vacuum Cleaner

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

Hoover’s latest big seller is the Wind Tunnel, which creates channels of suction that are designed to remove and lift dirt that’s deeply embedded. The included HEPA filter is designed to trap up to 99.7% of allergens, pollen, dust, and dirt, that’s down to 0.3 microns, leaving behind air that’s fresher and cleaner. If you have both hard floor and carpeted flooring, then you’ll appreciate the five height adjustment settings that allow you to choose the height of the brush system so you can easily move between deep carpet and hard floor surfaces. The cord measures in at thirty feet, which is slightly longer than average. The longer cord will prevent you from constantly having to search for an available outlet as you move throughout the home. This model comes equipped with an eight-foot hose, upholstery tool, crevice tool, extension wand, and an air-powered hand tool.


  • Long cord
  • Five floor height adjustment settings
  • HEPA filter
  • Upholstery tool


  • Can be difficult to push over thicker carpet


This model features a sleek design, a variety of cleaning tools that allow you to clean every surface in the home, and a built-in HEPA filter that will remove harmful allergens from the environment. The five height adjustments will allow you to adjust the height of the brush system based on flooring type, whether you’re moving over tile or shag carpet. Versatile, powerful, and a great choice for allergy sufferers, this model by Hoover has it all.

Sanitaire Tradition Bagged Vacuum

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This model features a commercial quality cleaning performance, a durable design, and all the power you need to tackle messes around the home or on the job. The included thirty-foot cord is longer than average and allows you to easily move around the home or workspace without having to switch from outlet to outlet. The vacuum itself is lightweight, weighing barely over twelve pounds, making it easy to transport and haul up a flight of stairs. The motor has a power rating of more than five hundred hours, which is nothing short of impressive. Additionally, the vacuum features a durable construction with a hood that’s made out of thick polycarbonate. The vacuum is also very low maintenance, thanks to the tool-free design that allows you to easily and quickly replace the belt and brush roll, without the need of any tools. The bag has a large capacity of up to eighteen quarts, so the bag will not need to be changed out often.


  • Lightweight
  • Durable construction
  • Large capacity bag
  • Low maintenance


  • Loud


This pro-quality vacuum is perfect for work or home use. The lightweight design and large capacity bag are both huge selling points that are designed to make vacuuming the home or workspace a breeze. Designed to handle a variety of floor surface types and built to last, this latest model by Sanitaire is durable, powerful, and able to tackle any type of floor surface, making this model a must-have for busy homes or pro-use.

BISSELL Big Green Bagged Vacuum

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The Big Green pro-quality bagged vacuum by Bissell weighs in at just twelve pounds and features a larger than average cleaning path of thirteen inches. This model comes with a crevice cleaning tool, an extension wand, and an upholstery tool, all designed to help you keep your home looking neat and well-maintained.

The three-stage filtration system will remove harmful allergens, dust, dirt, and debris. This model can also handle cleaning a variety of surfaces including thick carpet, tile, hardwood, vinyl, and more, thanks to its five-position height adjustment system. The lightweight design allows you to easily take the vacuum up and down a flight of stairs or transport and store it. The vacuum also comes with a thirty-foot-long cord, which will prevent the need to constantly switch outlets during use.


  • Ergonomic carry handle
  • Five-position height adjustment
  • Longer than average cord
  • Three-stage filtration system


  • Detachable suction hose is very short


This powerful, lightweight bagged vacuum is covered by a one-year warranty, comes loaded with all the right features you need to easily and quickly vacuum your home, clean upholstery, and reach those hard to access areas. This model is pro-quality all the way, but it’s a great model to choose for home use, especially if you have small children or pets in the home. Top-rated for its larger cleaning path, high bagged capacity, and powerful performance, this vacuum can easily handle heavy-duty daily use.

Kenmore Elite 31150 Bagged Vacuum

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The Kenmore Elite 31150 is designed to remove dust, debris, and pet hair, easily and efficiently. The included triple HEPA filter will trap up to 99.7% of allergens including pet dander, pollen, and dust. The vacuum’s 3D inducer motor features the power of three motors, providing twenty percent more air power compared to conventional vacuums. The model’s beltless agitator minimizes the need for repairs and maintenance. This model comes with a total of three cleaning attachments. The bare floor tool, crevice tool, and the dusting brush will allow you to tackle dirt, dust, and debris, all over the home, so you can finally clean those hard to reach spaces.


  • Three cleaning attachments
  • Beltless agitator
  • Thirty-five-foot cord
  • Dual motor design


  • Heavy


This model comes with five height adjustment options, allowing you to easily move the vacuum over any type of surface, a longer than average power cord that measures in at thirty-five feet, and a built-in filtration system that removes harmful allergens from the environment. This model specializes in removing fine pet hair, so it’s a must-have in homes with pets that shed excessively. Durable, powerful, and easy to use, this vacuum by Kenmore is a great buy for pet owners, or anyone in need of a tough vacuum that’s designed to handle a variety of surfaces and heavy use.

Sanitaire S635A Bagged Vacuum Cleaner

Our Rating: (4/5)

This model by Sanitaire comes with a powerful five-amp motor that’s designed to handle any mess in its path. The bag features an eleven-quart bag capacity, which is a little on the low side, and a twelve-inch cleaning path. The thirty-foot-long cord will allow you to cover more area without stopping to switch outlets, while the vacuum’s advanced airflow system allows for impressive suction power. The vacuum weighs in at just ten pounds, making it one of the lightest models in my top six lineup. The lightweight design makes the vacuum easier to transport and store, making this model a great choice for two story homes.


  • Lightweight
  • Long power cord
  • Advanced airflow system
  • Low price


  • Low bag capacity
  • Does not come with any cleaning attachments


This model is fairly basic and doesn’t come with any extras such as cleaning attachments, which may be a deal breaker for some shoppers. The vacuum does offer a solid performance and is designed to handle heavy-duty use. Affordably priced and easy to use, this model is a great buy if you’re looking for a basic model, that’s both reliable and powerful.

Bagged Vacuum Cleaner Buyer’s Guide

Vacuuming the home is one of those chores no one really likes. It can be made especially worse if you have a vacuum that doesn’t seem to pick up dirt and debris, regardless of how many passes you make. Yet, with the right vacuum, you’ll find that you spend significantly less time dealing with this tedious chore. The key will be to find a vacuum that’s versatile, powerful, and one that doesn’t tend to clog easily. While many people have turned to using canister vacuums, the bagged vacuum is actually the most powerful and efficient option, offering a wide range of benefits that will leave your home looking clean and smelling fresh.

With a bagged vacuum, you also get the added convenience of easier disposal. All you have to do is take out the vacuum bag and replace it with a fresh one. Unlike other types of vacuums, a bagged vacuum doesn’t leave much of an opportunity for debris or dust to escape. While using this type of vacuum will require keeping a supply of vacuum bags in the home, it definitely makes up for this small inconvenience by being highly effective and allergy friendly.

Pro tip: To get rid of unwanted odors in the home, soak a cotton ball in lavender oil or vanilla extract and add it to your vacuum cleaner bag. This way, your home will smell like lavender or vanilla, every time you vacuum.

Finding the right type of vacuum for your home can be a real challenge. Back in the day, this type of vacuum was very popular, but for some reason, canister vacuums have stolen the spotlight and remain a more popular choice, even despite the fact that they can create quite the mess when it comes to emptying them out. In order to help you find a solid, high performance bagged model, I’ve created this buyer’s guide, which includes all of the best features to look for and how you can benefit from making the switch from a canister vacuum to a bagged model.

Benefits of Bagged Vacuum Cleaners

vacuuming the living room rug

Bagged vacuum cleaners have been around for decades. Usually, the vacuum bag fits into a cloth compartment that will zip around the bag. The vacuum bag can easily be removed once it becomes full and replaced with a new bag. These bags offer plenty of benefits that you won’t get from other types of vacuums, such as:

  • This type of vacuum is very hygienic since the vacuum bags work to securely contain dirt, debris, and allergens. The bag will keep them contained, not just during use but when the bag is removed and changed out. This will allow you to dispose of the bag without making a big mess and prevents allergens from escaping back into the air.
  • Unlike canister vacuums, you don’t have to replace or clean the filter often.
  • This type of vacuums is highly recommended for allergy sufferers. The bag itself will work as a powerful and effective filter that will trap debris and dirt and other types of contaminants inside the bag. Since these bags are airtight, it’s impossible for the contents of the bag to escape back into the air.
  • Many vacuum cleaners use HEPA filters to better trap allergens around the home. Models with this type of filter are recommended for everyone, not just the allergy sufferer. These filters go through extensive testing, to ensure that they capture a minimum of ninety-nine percent of allergens. Additionally, these filters are able to remove more pollen and dust from the air than any other type of filter.
  • Models that use vacuum bags often require less maintenance compared to canister vacuums. There are a few important reasons behind this. However, it mainly boils down to: the bags do not need to be changed often, the bags are able to contain up to two pounds of debris, and the filter is built directly into the bag so you also don’t have to worry about cleaning out the filter.
  • Emptying out a canister vacuum can lead to a big mess by both releasing allergens and dust and dirt into the air, but it can also spill all over the floor when you’re dumping it into the garbage. With a bagged vacuum, all you have to do is remove the bag and toss it into the trash. It’s that fast and simple.
Using a bagged vacuum cleaner equals less mess when it’s time to change out the bag, compared to canister vacuums, which can release dirt and allergens back into the air when the canister is removed and emptied.

Are There any Drawbacks to a Bagged Vacuum?

  • While these bags come with many benefits, there are some disadvantages to owning this type of vacuum. One drawback is the ongoing cost of purchasing vacuum bags. If you choose an older model, it can be difficult to find a store that carries these bags. Fortunately, you can easily order almost any type of bag online.
  • The bagged vacuum’s performance will be impacted based on how full the vacuum bag is. Some manufacturers have solved this problem, but low-priced models often struggle to maintain suction.

Must-Have Features

Bagged vacuums feature a paper bag or fabric bag in their main compartment. This bag is designed to hold dirt and debris which you’ll dispose of later. The bag not only contains the dirt and debris you vacuum up, but it will also work as a filter of sorts, allowing air to pass through as it traps and holds onto allergens. While you have to buy vacuum bags, unlike with a canister vacuum, these bags do offer many advantages that a canister vacuum doesn’t.

Capacity and Design

The bags in this type of vacuum are important. Not only will these bags hold onto dirt and debris, but they also double as a filter. When you’re shopping for a vacuum, make sure you take note of the type of bags they use and what their capacity is. Some models will use very small bags, while others will have a larger capacity of up to two pounds. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, a full bag can have a major impact on the vacuum’s ability to suction up debris, so a low capacity bag may need to be swapped out at least once a month, before it’s even full.

Bagged vacuums can hold up to two pounds of dirt before the bag needs to be changed. This is a significantly higher volume compared to their bagless counterparts

Adjustable Suction

If you want a vacuum that will work on tile, vinyl, hardwood, and carpeted surfaces in the home, then look for a model that comes with adjustable suction. This feature allows you to increase or lower the level of suction used, based on the type of floor you’re cleaning.


The length of the cord will have a big impact on how convenient it is to use your vacuum. A longer cord will mean fewer outlet changes. Most models will come with a cord that measures in at twenty to twenty-five feet, while higher priced vacuums will come with an average cord length that ranges from thirty up to fifty feet.

Reusable or Disposable Bags

Some vacuums will come with reusable bags, while others will use disposable bags. Reusable bags will save you the ongoing cost of purchasing new bags each month. However, some people feel that a reusable bag defeats the purpose of using a bagged vacuum cleaner. The biggest advantage of a bagged model is that you don’t have to deal with dust and debris when you take the bag out. This is a big deal for people with asthma and allergies. A reusable bag will require you to dump out the bag, which can allow allergens, dirt, and debris to escape into the air or spill onto the floor. With a disposable bag, all you have to do is remove the bag, toss it into the trash and install a new bag and you’re ready to go.

The type of bags a model uses will vary from model to model. Before you buy, consider how often a bag needs to be changed and how much they cost. Additionally, not all bags possess anti-allergen properties, so make sure you choose a model that works with HEPA bags if this is important to you.


The motor’s power is partially responsible for the vacuum’s suction power. Additionally, it’s an important feature to consider in terms of energy consumption. However, keep in mind that a bagged vacuum’s suction power isn’t entirely up to the type of motor the vacuum has. This means that you can purchase a low powered motor that offers strong suction and enjoy the benefits of low energy use. If you’re tempted to purchase a vacuum with the highest watts, HPs, or amps, then you may want to reconsider. These numbers are basically measurements of the electrical current that’s used by the motor. In terms of performance, for vacuums, this will depend on the amount of suction it’s able to produce, and airflow. Other factors can also impact performance such as the quality of the included attachments and the vacuum’s overall design.

Allergen Filters

An allergen filter will prevent fine dust particles and allergens from escaping back into a room when you’re vacuuming. Most models with a HEPA filter are able to capture and retain over ninety-nine percent of particulates that measure in at 0.3 microns or larger.


Bagged vacuums can be as light as five pounds or they can weigh over twenty pounds. The weight of a vacuum will be important since it will determine how portable the vacuum is and how easy it is to use, especially if you have stairs in the home. If you have stairs in the home, then a lighter model will be a better choice.

Easy to Empty

The biggest advantage of using this type of vacuum’s biggest advantage is the disposable bags. However, some vacuums can be difficult to deal with when it comes time to change out the bag. Look for a model that has a reputation for bags that are easy to remove and replace.

Bag Availability

As I mentioned earlier, it can be difficult to find bags for certain models. If you’re concerned about bag availability and don’t want to have to order bags online, then check your local retail stores to ensure they carry the bags for the vacuum you intend to purchase. Additionally, some bags are more expensive than others, such as bags that come with a built-in HEPA filter. This means the price of the bags should also be something you’ll need to consider before you buy a new vacuum.


If cleaning attachments are a must in your home, such as a brush specifically designed for stairs, upholstery, or pet hair, then search for a model that comes loaded with some great brush attachments. Consider all the different types of cleaning jobs you do around the home and find a model that comes with the attachments needed to get those jobs done.


Many of the leading bagged models on the market will come with a one to two-year warranty. Other models may come with a longer warranty and a lifetime guarantee for the vacuum belt. If you’re going to invest a good chunk of change in a new bagged vacuum for the home, then make sure you purchase a model that comes with a decent warranty and one that also offers lifetime support.


Bagged models are available in a wide variety of price points. Models that are $40 to $60 can offer a reliable performance, however, these budget friendly models often have issues with power and suction. They also need to be replaced more often compared to tougher models that are priced at $100 and over. It’s possible to find an affordable model that’s versatile, powerful, and reliable, for a price that’s affordable. However, if you’re looking for a model that you can use daily, or one that offers more features and attachments, then you can expect to pay a steeper price.

cleaning the rug

Usage Tips

  • When you’re vacuuming rugs and pile carpets, you should use the vacuum’s motorized power nozzle. When you’re cleaning walls and bare floors, then it’s better to use the floor and wall brush. In order to get dust out from under large appliances, air and heating vents, and out of drawers, then you’ll need to use a crevice tool.
  • In a perfect world, you would have the time to dedicate to vacuuming your home daily. However, in many cases, twice a week is a more realistic goal.
  • In order to get a carpet clean, you may need to use as many as seven passes for any high traffic areas, with 3-4 passes for lighter traffic areas. If you’re a fanatic when it comes to dirt, then you may need to use a model that comes with dirt sensors, which will tell you when an area is clean.
  • If your vacuum’s bag has been filled all the way up to the fill indicator line, then it’s time to change out the bag. Some models of vacuums will come with indicator lights that will light up once the bag is around ¾ of the way full. If you have a pet then you may need to change out the bag more often since the pet hair can quickly fill a bag. Make sure you check the bag’s dirt level prior to vacuuming each time.
  • In terms of filter replacement, you won’t have to change it as often as the bag. If the vacuum’s filter begins to show signs of wear and tear and is excessively dirty, then it will need to be replaced. In most cases, the filter will only need to be replaced twice a year.
  • For the brush system, the level it’s set at will depend on the height of the carpet. As an example, you’ll need to use the lowest setting if you’re vacuuming a low-pile carpet. For a thicker carpet, you’ll use a higher level.
  • If your vacuum isn’t cleaning as efficiently as it used to and you’ve checked the bag and the brushes to ensure there’s no clog, then you may need to replace the cleaning belt. To do, you’ll simply switch the vacuum off, unplug it, then swap out the belt based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Vacuum belts are affordable, simple, and easy to replace.
  • If your vacuum isn’t picking up dirt and you’ve replaced the belt and the bag, or if the roller brush doesn’t seem to be moving, then you’ll need to thoroughly inspect the vacuum for blockages. This is especially common if you have new carpet since many newer carpets tend to shed more fiber, which can quickly fill up a bag or clog the vacuum’s air stream.
  • Many people wonder whether or not a powder carpet freshener is safe to use in the home, concerned that it may negatively impact a vacuum’s performance. If you have a good vacuum, one with strong suction, then using carpet freshening powders should be perfectly fine. However, if you’re going to use this type of product for the first time, I recommend changing out the bag. These powders have a tendency to clog bags so you may run into issues later down the line.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Bagged Vacuums Better?

A bagged vacuum cleaner is often the best option for homes that need a guaranteed way to improve air quality. This is because bagged vacuums tend to produce less dust overall, working to remove a higher percentage of contaminants from upholstery, carpets, and the floors.

Do Bagless Vacuums Have More Suction?

A bagless vacuum offers the same level of suction that a bagged vacuum does, however, there will be a noticeable dip in a bagged vacuum’s suction power when the bag becomes too full, just like when the canister on a bagless vacuum becomes too full.

Why Does my Bagless Vacuum Smell?

Bagless vacuums tend to start smelling if their filters become clogged. Additionally, they can start to smell if they have not been emptied in a long time or if the beater brush is clogged with debris. In order to reduce odor, change or clean out the filter and rinse out the canister regularly. This type of issue doesn’t occur with bagged vacuums since the bags are totally sealed.

Why are Bagless Vacuums Bad?

Bagless vacuums are not as hygienic as bagged vacuums. Without bags in place to hold and store all the captured dirt, debris, dust, and other allergens, these vacuums can quickly become clogged and will experience a loss of suction.

How do I Stop my Vacuum Cleaner from Smelling?

In order to get rid of odors out of a canister vacuum you can use a mixture of water and baking soda to clean it out. If you don’t want to deal with this type of high maintenance vacuum you can make the switch to a bagged model, which doesn’t require much maintenance and doesn’t have issues with odors.

Final Thoughts

Even the best bagged vacuum cleaners have been phased out over the years in favor of bagless models, but the bagged vacuum cleaner offers many advantages that canister models simply don’t. They offer a mess-free disposal, superior filtration, and in some cases, a more powerful motor. This buyer’s guide and the products I’ve included here can help you find a powerful, reliable bagged model that you can use to clean a variety of floor types, offering the high-powered suction you need to keep you home looking clean and free from dust, debris, dirt, and harmful allergens.

About the author 

James Wong