New vacuum cleaner - With or without bag?

It’s time for the big spring clean…is your vacuum cleaner up to the challenge? Like most other electrical products vacuum cleaners are going through rapid technological development. In recent years bagless vacuum cleaners have gained ground. But are they any better than the conventional bagged vacuum cleaner? That’s what BettaNow! set out to explore…

The difference

A bagged vacuum cleaner uses a replaceable bag as a filter to trap dirt while allowing air to flow through the bag. When the bag is full it needs to be replaced. A bagless vacuum cleaner uses filters to trap dirt and debris in a dirt cup or chamber. This too needs to be emptied.

Bagged benefits

With a bagged vacuum cleaner you change the bag when it is full. It is quite easy and most vacuum cleaner bags are inexpensive. Some models have an indicator that will let you know when the bag needs to be changed. On models without an indicator you have to remember to check if the bag is full. If you forget, the vacuum cleaner will remind you by losing suction. There is not a lot of contact with the dust and debris in the bag. Just throw the old bag away when its full.

Bagless benefits

The bagless vacuum cleaner deposits dirt and debris into a container rather than a vacuum bag. But the main benefit is that bagless vacuum cleaners normally include HEPA filters that more efficiently remove dust, dirt particles, pollen, and dander from the air passing through the vacuum cleaner. This makes them a good choice for allergy sufferers (although some bagged vacuum cleaners have HEPA filters as well). Bagless vacuum cleaners have filters that must either be cleaned or replaced according to the manufacturer's instructions.

How do I choose?

Bagged and bagless vacuum cleaners both have their strengths – there is no clear winner. For most people other aspects are just as important when choosing a new vacuum cleaner. Some of the points you should also consider are:

Size: make sure you have enough room for convenient storage

Manoeuvrability: is it easy to carry or move around? Do its wheels respond fluidly?

Wet/dry: some vacuum cleaners will suck up dry particles as well as liquid, with a separate setting for each

Barrel or stand-up: Which do you find easier to operate? Make sure to choose a design that suits you

Suction power: how effectively does the vacuum cleaner convert electricity into airflow? Will it be powerful enough to penetrate deep into the carpet?

Adjustable settings: with adjustable power settings the vacuum cleaner can work on delicate materials (e.g. curtains)

Reverse airflow: this is handy for directing dirt particles into one area and clearing a clogged nozzle.

Vacuum bags: if the bags are disposable, how much are replacements? If reusable, are they easy to remove and reattach?

Turbo heads: a turbo head will prove more effective at removing dust and dirt than a regular vacuum head

Retractable cord: is the cord contained within the unit? Is it long enough to get from room to room or do you need to plug it into different outlets? A long, retractable cord will make cleaning quicker and easier

Sound: few vacuum cleaners are quiet but some are a lot noisier than others

Warranty: how long does it last for?

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