1213 Gilmore Avenue Suite E2B
Winona, MN 55987
(507) 452-2203

Which is better, Bagged or Bagless?


Virtually every day I am asked about bagless vacuums. Why?  Because the single biggest-selling vacuum type is bagless. More bagless vacuums are sold than any other style. Again, Why?  Because that’s the current “hot-button” manufacturers found to market.  In my opinion, it’s because manufacturers are always trying to snatch a bigger slice of the same pie, so they need to constantly find some “new” feature, technology, or yes, gimmick, that separates them from the others. In today’s market, take a stroll down the vacuum aisles of the major “big-box” stores. You’ll discover that they all look the same, or nearly so. The bagless bandwagon is in full tilt, but I’m beginning to think they’re running out of truly new ideas. If they didn’t have names on them you couldn’t tell them apart!

So, what about bagless vacuums?  The facts as I know them are pretty clear. First, according to a leading manufacturer, the best bagless vacuum has an emissions rating 21 times higher than the leading bagged system.  In simple terms, that means a LOT more dust escapes the machine. Another fact is that there’s nothing really new about bagless vacuums. Anyone as old as MrFixit will remember that years ago ALL vacuums were ‘bagless”, meaning you had to dump them out. Why do you suppose they stopped making them that way?  Machines with disposable bags are cleaner, and when they are emptied, start from a fresh bag. When you empty a bagless machine, they are still coated in dust inside.  When you empty a bagless, you stir up a cloud of airborne particles that you can then filter yourself, using your lungs!  Cyclonic technology??  Vacuum cleaners have been built using cyclonic technology for over 50 years!!  Nothing new there.

It has been my experience in the repair room that many of the claims made by manufacturers of bagless machines are misleading, at best, or outright wrong, at worst.  With all due respect to the manufacturers, bagless machines do clog up, they do lose suction, and they do not necessarily cost less to run!  Bagless machines require filters to be replaced that cost much more than most bags – even if they say you can wash them! Wash them 2 or 3 times, and plan on replacing it.

Do they clean better?  Not really.  The best of the bagless clean pretty well – for a while. Compared to the best of the bagged machines, I don’t believe they clean as well. All new machines will clean pretty well while they’re new. See how they work a year down the road.

So, what is a consumer to do?  1. Don’t believe everything you see on TV. 2. Don’t believe most of what you see on the Internet. 3. Do some legwork and try out some of the many brands & styles on the market – don’t rely on hype – get it in your hands. Can’t do that in the “big box” stores?  Can’t do that on the Internet ? Certainly can’t do that watching TV.  So?  Visit an actual vacuum cleaner STORE that has a variety of brands and styles, as well as price ranges, and ask questions!  Where can you do that? Well, here, of course! Bring your present vacuum along and we'll see how it does.

A final point – buy where you can get service. No vacuum is perfect or indestructible – what happens when you have a problem?  A gentleman from out of town found out this morning when he called because the ****** steamer he bought from a catalog merchant quit after 1 month. In order to get it repaired or replaced, he has to drive to a warranty center – about 100 miles, round trip, and leave it. The warranty center files the paperwork, gets the parts, fixes it or perhaps gets a replacement sent out and….. yup, another 100 miles to pick it up, or pay freight. What did the catalog store say? “We just sell them, you have to call ******”  then he calls ******, and what do they say? “You have to take it to our warranty center”.  He wasn’t happy.

When you buy from us, we’ll teach you how to use it, fix it if it breaks, and we’ll be here when you have questions!   ‘Nuff said