Bagged vs Bagless Vacuum Cleaners
One of the first questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing a new vacuum cleaner is if you want a bagged vs bagless vacuum cleaner. While bagless vacuums have become extremely popular since the invention of cyclonic systems, the question still remains: which is better? Let’s look at the advantages of each for specific functions you will perform with your vacuum cleaner.
When determining which type of vacuum has better suction it’s better to look at which type of vacuum maintains its suction the best/longest. In the short term, bagged vacuums can loose suction power as the bags become full. Bagless systems are nice in that they almost never get full. Since the canister is clear you can see exactly when it needs to be emptied and do so long before it’s full without having to shop and pay for new bags (or search around your closet looking for the emtpy vacuum bags). However, in the long-term bagless vacuums can loose suction as filters get clogged, requiring you to either clean or replace the filters. Basically, with either type you will need to maintain and clean your vacuum or it will loose suction. As such, you should really look more at what maintenance is required to keep the machine performing well.
Maintenance Costs – $$$
There are two different maintenance costs you need to take into consideration: 1) Your time, and 2) Your money $$$. Most people are drawn to a bagless vs bagged vacuum cleaner because they don’t have to be purchasing and changing a bag every few months. With some vacuum bags costing $4-$5/bag, not having to replace one can save you quite a bit of money over 2-4 years……maybe.
One issue that many bagless vacuum owners do not take into consideration before they make their purchase is whether or not they will have to replace costly filters (HEPA, Foam, etc.). Many models do not come with lifetime, washable filters. Instead, you have to purchase a new one every 4-6 months – which effectively negates the advantage of not having to use bags. Make sure you take this into consideration when determining if it’s better to spend extra money on a vacuum that comes with washable AND lifetime filters. Also, keep in mind that even if they claim the filters are lifetime, in reality you will notice a degradation of the filter over time and may wish to replace the filter after 3-4 years.
Maintenance Costs – Time
When it comes to time, you may actually end up saving time by purchasing a bagged vacuum cleaner. Replacing a vacuum bag is fairly easy – the hardest part seems to be able to keep a few extra bags on hand so you don’t have to run to the store right before your friends come over for a party. However, with bagless cyclonic vacuums, you will have to empty the dust bin several times before you would have to empty a bag (some people empty their bins after each use). In addition, washing the filters takes about 24 hours to wash, rinse, and let dry. This is not that hard, but does need to be done about as often as you need to replace a vacuum bag.
This is one area where bagged vacuums have a definite advantage. Both bagged and bagless vacuum cleaners can come with HEPA filtration systems, and both can be very effective at keeping allergens and dust from being kicked up into the air as you clean. However, emptying a bagless vacuum is not a ‘dust/allergen-free’ activity. Most people actually recommend that you dump the dust bin outside each time to help prevent you from breathing in the particles. While emptying bags is not dust free either (unless you purchase a high end vacuum like the Miele) you don’t have to change the bag as often, making bagged cleaners the better choice for those who suffer tremendously from allergies and who have to empty the vacuums.
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