The Best Bagless Vacuum Cleaner

BISSELL 9595A Vacuum with OnePass

Our Top Pick for 2016: BISSELL 9595A Vacuum with OnePass
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $76.94*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

For most modern societies, vacuuming is a fact of life. Carpet is often more comfortable than bare floors for bare feet, which is an important quality for many consumers in their homes. Moreover, depending on the color, carpet can be an effective way to hide or disguise the dirt and mess of the day. Of course, this means those messes have to be cleaned up. Even with bare floors, while you can sweep and mop bare floors, it is often more convenient and easier simply to have a vacuum do all that work for you in less than half the time. For most of the vacuum cleaner’s existence, a large bag to hold all of the collected mess was necessary. However, bagless vacuums have made the hassle and expense of bags unnecessary. Still, with all of the different options out there, it can be difficult to determine which bagless vacuum is the right choice for you. That is why we have assembled our top 3 picks for bagless vacuums as well as a budget pick for those of you looking to save a little extra money.

Table of contents

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Consistent Suction
Powerful Suction
Extra-large Capacity Portable Canister
Five Position Height Adjustment
Brush Design Rotates Down Into Carpet
Lightweight
No-scuff Bumper
Turbobrush Tool For Stairs & Furniture
Anti-allergen
27-foot Retractable Power Cord
Washable Foam Tank Filter
Swivel Steering
Includes Extension Wand, Crevice Tool, Upholstery/dusting Brush, And Powered Hand Tool
Fast And Easy Cleaning
Weighs 14 Lb.

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): BISSELL 9595A Vacuum with OnePass

BISSELL 9595A Vacuum with OnePass Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $76.94*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerOur first place goes to Bissell, a well-known maker of vacuums that have been leaders in their market for some time. Bissell vacuums are generally moderately priced and sold at most major mass merchants, including Target and Walmart. This model is an upright vacuum that provides an excellent value without taking a large bite out of your wallet.

Bissell really has something special with its OnePass though, because they have seemed to blend some of the better features of upright and canister vacuums together. To be clear, this is not a canister vacuum. If you require the versatility and maneuverability of a canister vacuum, then you are better looking for a different model, because this is not that. However, if you are tired of having to fight with some of the larger upright models on the market but still want a powerful vacuum cleaner that can suck up your most difficult of messes, then this vacuum may very well be for you. It has the distinct advantage of some other upright models—especially the pricier models—in that it is relatively compact. This means that even though it is an upright, you should still have little difficulty getting in tight spaces. And while you may not want to use the main vacuum to clean upholstery, curtains, or stairs, its smaller size makes maneuvering to do so much easier. However, it is 15 pounds, and some people find that a bit too heavy to carry up and down flights of stairs. Still, it is far from an onerous amount of weight, especially when compared with some other models of uprights on the market.

Bissell sets itself above the competition by providing a solid and powerful suction system. The motor is a solid 12 amps, but it is the way the suction system is designed that makes the OnePass so effective. Essentially, the Bissell uses a Cyclonic System to clean its messes. An imprecise metaphor would be like saying that the Bissell makes a miniature tornado for its suction mechanism. A more technical description would highlight how the motor and suction system pulls dirt from the fibers in a circular patter—we are not talking about the spinning brush here, just the air suction. This circular suction system allows the dust to be pulled more effectively through perturbation than a simple straight forward suction system. In fact, this suction system has some of the best air flow to power ratio out of all comparable models in its class.

Furthermore the cyclonic suction system is noted not only for the suction power it generates, but the prolonged suction it generates as well. This is part of what allows the Bissell to so effectively clean deep, embedded messes. Many other vacuums with straight forward suction system will have ebbs and flows in the suction power as you vacuum. Often times, you can actually hear when the vacuum’s suction loses a bit of power for a moment by a change in the sound of the vacuum’s frequency. The cyclonic suction system ensures that a steady rate of powerful suction is maintained consistently throughout the duration of use.

However, Bissell combines this cyclonic suction system with its patented OnePass Technology, which is an innovative brush design. This brush has multiple layers of bristles to allow for a deeper clean every pass the vacuum makes. You can think about out a little bit like those toothbrushes whose bristles are set at varying heights and at different angles. The numerous approaches the toothbrush bristles take allow the toothbrush to clean all of the nooks and crannies. The Bissell’s OnePass technology works in a similar fashion—though it is not quite as obvious to the eye. Another quality of the brush is that the rotation method is somewhat different than that of most other vacuums. Whereas most other vacuums’ brushes are stationary on an axle, the OnePass’ brush is designed to actually rotate down into the carpet. This ensures that the brush makes as much contact with the carpet surface and can pull up even the most ground in messes. Moreover, the bristle’s design allow the fibers of carpet to be lifted and separated making it easier for the Cyclonic Suction system to better clean the dirt.

Of course, the Bissell did not obtain the Gold Pick Winner position by simply being an excellent basic vacuum cleaner. This Bissell also comes with an assortment of other features that places it in an echelon above the other entries on this list. One of the most important factors to consider when giving an edge to one vacuum over another are the attachments. While most people only use one or two attachments, regardless of how many are provided, that is largely due to many attachments simply being ineffective. Part of that can be attributed to the fact that the attachments are often not deigned to utilize the suction power of the main vacuum as effectively. However, Bissell ensure that was not an issue and the OnePass provides an assortment of attachments that are not only effective, but also properly utilize the full Cyclonic Suction system. Some of the attachments include the Dusting Brush, which is especially effective for curtains and upholstery, as well as the Crevice Tool for those hard to reach corners, but the gem of the Bissell attachments has to be the Turbo Brush tool. What makes this attachment so special is that it effectively acts as a miniature vacuum in its own right. The Turbo Brush uses the same OnePass technology as the Bissell’s main vacuum while providing the reach a maneuverability of an attachment.

The Bissell also goes the extra mile with its collection receptacle. While this suffers from some of the potential issues that most bagless collection suffers from—namely tendency to allow the smallest particles out—it also utilizes a HEPA filter. This will help prevent much of those small particles from escaping the not air tight tank. Still, Bissell takes even that one step further and employs a multi-level filtration system to ensure that the least amount of dust escapes as possible. Moreover, the filter itself is easily washable, so not only do you not have to worry about buying bags, you do not have to worry about buying filters either. On top of that, the filter is 2.2L which is actually quite large for a vacuum of this size and weight. This means that you are unlikely to have to stop in the middle of vacuuming, empty the collection tank, and then reassemble the tank just to continue vacuuming. In case you happen to forget to empty the tank after you are done, the tank itself also comes with an indication system which will tell you when the vacuum is too full to be as effective as it should.

Of course, the Bissell is not perfect. First, it should be noted that the clearance of the vacuum is actually quite low. This means that some of the larger pieces of debris are likely to get pushed around. This is not dirt or anything of that nature, but instead refers to large solid items. However, this can also be a blessing in disguise if you have children that have a tendency to leave their toys all over the floor. The lower clearance will prevent the Bissell from accidentally sucking them up. Another potential issue with the Bissell is the type of floor on which it works best. The OnePass brush technology was specifically designed to clean deep into carpets. As such, the Bissell is not the best option for cleaning bare floors. In this case, the OnePass has a tendency to simply push the mess around or worse, fling it across the floor.

Still, this vacuum provides some of the best suction in its class and offers an array of effective attachments. If that was not enough, the Bissell also comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty to guard against accidental damage. Also, this vacuum is actually only moderately noisy, which is a bit of a surprise, especially considering how effective it is. All in all, this is easily the Gold Pick First Place Winner on our list.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Plus Bagless Upright

Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Plus Bagless Upright

View it on Amazon for $117.54*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerHoover has been around for a long time and has earned a trusted reputation as one of the more popular and reliable vacuum cleaner manufacturers in the market. That is why it should come as no surprise that the WindTunnel T-Series claims our Silver Pick Second Place spot on this list. There are a lot of things to like about this vacuum, and in many ways it is actually very similar to the Bissell. However, there are a few notches where it does not quite measure up to its competitor which is why it is in second place.

One area where the Hoover falls short is suction power. Now, this by no means is meant it indicate that the suction is sub-par or ineffective. However, when comparing the WindTunnel to the Bissell, the Hoover is simply not as powerful as its competitor. Still, the Hoover uses specially designed technology that has a single air channel. This is the “tunnel” of the WindTunnel. This design allows the Hoover to run without loss of suction. In this way, the Hoover seems to have made a bit of a tradeoff. In order to eliminate the potential loss of suction power, the suction system was designed in way that does not truly allow for cyclonic power. Here the absence of the cyclonic suction system prevent the suction from being as powerful as perhaps some would like, but the 1 air channel ensure that the suction you do get will remain consistent throughout use.

Another area where the Hoover does quite match up is with its filter and bin system. While the Hoover does use a HEPA filter like the Bissell, it is not washable. Instead, you are supposed to simply dump out the dust contents in the bin and continue use. The issue with this is that it means there will always be some dust particles in the collection receptacle. As mentioned previously, one of the knocks on bagless vacuums is that the finest particles of dust may slip out of the bin. This is all the more likely if you are not able to wash the filter that collects the dust in the first place. To point, there is simply no way to shake free all of the dust particles captured by the Hoover’s filter. As such, it is inevitable that more dust will end up slipping out of the bin than the Bissell.

This is actually such an issue that the Hoover’s indicator light will not only tell you if the bin is full, it may tell you of impending vacuum failure. Essentially, the vacuum has been known to overheat and simply stop working. Of course, if you keep the bin clean and empty at the first indication, you should not have issues. At the least, the Hoover has a larger bin than the Bissell at 2.5 liters and will require being emptied less in general. Moreover, the Hoover has a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty, so should something fail, you have the protection and coverage to put you mind at ease.

This vacuum comes with the attachments you would expect to see in a high quality vacuum. It comes with an extension wand which allows you to reach those difficult locations where you hand or arm may be too large, like behind or under furniture. It also comes with a crevice tool so that those corners will not give you any difficulty. The upholstery brush is included which allows an easy cleaning of curtains, though furniture has had mixed results. However, this seems to be more an issue of the furniture’s material—like with thick or woven materials—than with the attachment itself. In this regard, the upholstery brush is nothing special. Finally, the WindTunnel includes a powered hand tool. Of course, as mentioned earlier, the suction of the Hoover is not quite on par as with the Bissell, so you should expect this powered hand tool to not be as powerful and the Bissell TurboBrush.

The WindTunnel also carries one of the limitations as the Bissell. Much like the OnePass, the Hoover uses a fixed position brush—though the brush may be raised or lowered to 5 different heights. Regardless, this means that the Hoover will not perform well on bare surfaces. Rather than sucking the dirt up, on a bare floor, the WindTunnel will simply push the dirt or around or worse, it may fling the dirt and make a bigger mess. Though, some features it does have on the Bissell is a retractable cord, and it seems to be far less resistant to tipping over when using the hose. Regardless, this is still a decent vacuum and a comparable competitor to the Bissell, if it does fall a bit short.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional

View it on Amazon for $199.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardThe Shark firmly belongs in the Third Place position as the Bronze Pick. There are no glaring problems with it, per se, but it definitely does not shine as brightly as neither the Bissell nor the Hoover. Its technology may even be considered slightly dated compared to some of the advancements that vacuum technology has made—especially when compared with the first and second place winners on this list.

First, this vacuum has good but not great suction. It uses a specially designed Never Loses Suction system. This may be true, but the motor is substantially weaker than most of its competitors in general—not just on this list. While it is more important for a vacuum to have good air flow, there is simply no getting around a weaker motor not being able to generate the same level or airflow as a more powerful one—especially if both models ensure that adequate airflow is appropriately considered.

It states that it uses a HEPA filter, but it is not a special version of the HEPA like the Bissell and the Hoover use. Whereas the HEPA filters of the other two either utilize a multi-step filter or engage with the suction system to make the filter more effective, the Shark simply uses a standard HEPA filter without any other additions. This is not terrible as it still provides the benefits of a HEPA filter, but it could be better. Also, the Shark claims to have an extra-large collection receptacle, but it is actually smaller than both the Bissell and the Hoover.

The Shark is not all bad though. In fact, this vacuum has some distinct advantages over both the first and the second place winner. First, and most distinctly, the Shark is a swivel vacuum. This means that it is easily the most maneuverable vacuum on the list. It is much easier to turn the vacuum and switch angles while using it. When you combine this with its 14 lb. weight, the lightest on the list, this is an even more attractive option for those who have difficulty maneuvering larger vacuum cleaners.

Another advantage that the shark has over the other entries on this list is its versatility for use on different surfaces of floor. While the main vacuum, like the others on this list, is not truly designed for bare floors, the Shark comes with an attachment so that it can be effective for such a purpose. None of the other vacuums on this list have a suitable attachment that is actually effective on bare floors and would generally be better served with another vacuum for that purpose specifically. If you live somewhere that has both a lot of carpet and a lot of bare floors, this may be the best option for you simply to save the headache or extra expense of a second vacuum. Moreover, the powered brush on this vacuum can be turned off—another advantage it has over the Bissell or Hoover.

While this is not necessarily the vacuum for everyone—especially if you need more power with your suction—it is still a solid vacuum in most situations. Moreover, if you live in a place with multiple floor surfaces, the versatility of this vacuum may make it an attractive option—though, keep in mind, this is not real substitute if a vacuum better suited for bare floors is actually what you need. This vacuum actually has the longest cord on the list at 30 feet and also comes with the best manufacturer’s warranty at 5 years. In fairness, if this vacuum was better at the most basic job of a vacuum, namely suction, then it may very well have been the gold pick. As it stands, it is a versatile bronze pick and a solid option all around.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Hoover Sprint QuickVac Bagless Upright

Hoover Sprint QuickVac Bagless Upright

View it on Amazon for $47.49*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickFor a budget option, this is actually a fairly impressive product. Some budget options require a bit more a pitch and goosing the specs, but not this one. Hoover makes it onto the list again and demonstrates why they are one of the more popular and trusted vacuum brands on the market.

The Sprint also uses a cyclonic suction system and actually labels this one as a multi-cyclonic, though whether that is merely advertising or an indication of a genuinely different cyclonic suction system is unknown. Regardless, the Sprint’s suction system is still quite good and get decent air flow to suction power. However, this vacuum will not blow you out of the water with its power. For one, the vacuum generally does not pick up the edges or corners of throw rugs. While this may seem like a convenience—or conversely vacuums that pull up the corners and edges of throw rugs an inconvenience—it definitely gives you and insight into the vacuum’s power. It is certainly not quite as powerful as the first place Bissell.

One area that is a bit of a mixed bag is the hose and attachments. In one sense this can be seen as a strength due to its sheer reach. The hose with its removable wand attachment provides a maximum 7 foot reach. That is rather impressive and is considerable longer than the Bissell. However, there have been complaints that the hose attachment does not provide the same degree of suction as the vacuum cleaner itself. This is in stark contrast to the Bissell whose Turbo Brush is lauded specifically for its ability to maintain an exceptional level of suction.

Another area where this vacuum excels is its filtration system. Again we see the HEPA filtration system, likely in an attempt to account for the bagless system’s tendency to allow the finer dust particles to escape the confines of its bin. The filter is also washable which again prevents the need for buying either bags or filter. Of note is the fact the multi-cyclonic system supposedly separates the dust as its being sucked up to make it easier for the filter to grab, however this also means that the dust is inherently more fine and may escape the confines of the bin easier as well if it is not captured by the filter. One issue with the bin is its size, which is somewhat small and will require being emptied more frequently

However, if you are on a budget and still looking for a solid bagless vacuum, you cannot go wrong with the Hoover Sprint. Just keep in mind that its lack of exceptional power and its smaller than preferred bin makes it more ideal for a smaller apartment than a large home. A limited 1-year manufacturer’s warranty will also give you a bit of peace of mind that if something does go wrong, your budget purchase will not have been for naught.


Pre-purchase considerations

Style

No this does not refer to whether the vacuum has nifty art airbrushed on it. This specifically refers to the general type of vacuum. For consumers, there are three general types of vacuum.

The first is the upright. This is the standard vacuum your parents always used. They are especially good for spaces that have a lot of carpeted area like many offices or homes. Moreover, these vacuums are easy to steer. Many of these vacuums are a bit larger, but that gives them room for added features and accessories. Many of these vacuums have closed bag systems which help prevent the dust from simply being disturbed and thrown into the air.

The second type of vacuum is a canister. This is similar to uprights, but they are a bit more versatile in their use. Often times, a canister will have its collection receptacle either detachable from the base where the motor is housed, or it will simply have the motor and the collection receptacle integrated into a single unit. Whereas uprights are better for large carpeted areas, canisters can often work just as effectively on bare floors as they can on carpets. Moreover, canisters are generally much easier for hard to reach spaces or spaces that are a bit awkward, like stairs or corners. However, this type of vacuum will generally not work as well on heavily carpeted spaces or carpets with thick fibers as uprights will. Still, canisters generally provide better hose suction for upholstery or curtains, and their versatility often makes them the best choice for homes.

The last type of vacuum is the stick vacuum. These vacuums are easily the most maneuverable, but they are also the least effective on heavily carpeted areas or carpets with thick fibers. Moreover, stick vacuums also usually have the weakest suction power whether through the actual floor vacuum or any hose attachments. Of course, this makes sense since they are also the smallest vacuum style available. However, these vacuums are especially good for bare floors. Also, stick vacuums are an excellent option for spot cleaning, and often this style of vacuum provides a detachable base for a quick conversion into a handheld.

Collection Receptacle

That is simply a fancy way to say does your vacuum have a bag or is it a bagless model? Even though this is a review for bagless vacuums, you should understand the weaknesses of this type of vacuum before purchase. Despite the idea that bags simply add an additional hassle, there are good reasons to choose bagged vacuums depending on your need. For instance, bagged vacuums have a tendency to keep everything they collect. Just because you saw the vacuum suck up the dirt does not mean that all of the dirt made it into the collection receptacle. Bagless vacuums have the unpleasant tendency to allow some of the smallest particle to escape the collection receptacle. Generally, these particles are too small to see, but they can collect into dust that will later need to be cleaned separately. Of course, with bagged vacuums, you will generally have to not only regularly change the bag, but often you must replace the bag altogether which creates an additional, operational cost.

Mess Type

For a long time, vacuums were only for cleaning up dry messes. Eventually, a stain cleaning vacuum was developed that allowed wet messes that were dried to be cleaned as well. However, these days, there are numerous vacuums out there that can clean a wet mess before it dries—potentially preventing a stain. These vacuums are generally both wet and dry mess cleaning vacuums, though there are a few vacuums that specialize in wet mess. However, vacuums that specialize in wet messes only are rarely sold for consumer use.

Still, the versatility of a wet and dry vacuum is an attractive feature, but the wet mess does not always play nice with the vacuum. In this, the vacuum does not have to fear of breakdown or anything like that. Instead, the collection receptacle may require more frequent emptying, and you will almost certainly have to clean the receptacle after every use that has cleaned a wet mess if you want to avoid an ungodly mess that is difficult to clean later.

Allergens

Some of the other consideration have already touched on this previous, but depending on your allergic reaction, different vacuums will be better suited for you. For instance, if you have allergies and live in a carpeted home, then it is likely in your best interest to get an upright. Allergens will stick to the fibers of your carpet, and you want the most powerful suction to remove as many of them as possible. Also, if you have allergies, you should likely consider a bagged vacuum over a bagless.

Even though the bagged vacuum incurs an extra upkeep expense, most consumers would find that preferable to have an allergic reaction to the finest dust particles that escape a bagless vacuum’s collection receptacle. Finally, some of the newer and nicer models of vacuum—regardless the other specifications—will utilize a HEPA filter. If you have allergies, and especially if have allergies and would also like a bagless vacuum, then you almost certainly should get a vacuum with a good filter to prevent as many particles from remaining in your home as possible. Of course, a HEPA filter will either need to be cleaned or replaced, so you will either have an additional step of maintenance or an additional operational expense.

Space Size and Shape

Quite simply, if you have a small space, you likely do not need the largest, most powerful vacuum on the market. By all means, if that is what you want, then you are free to do so. However, be forewarned, that a small space or one with numerous nooks and crannies will simply create headaches and frustration if you get a hulking, powerful upright. Uprights will also become a pain is you have a lot of bare floors or stairs to clean. Conversely, if you have a large space, then you should avoid the stick vacuums. While you may be drawn to their easy use and elegant style, they are simply not powerful enough for the largest jobs, more often than not. This may make the canister vacuum seem like a goldilocks choice, but most of those are bagless, which is a consideration you must keep in mind. It is not uncommon for a consumer to have more than one type of vacuum—especially a stick vacuum and an upright—for different cleaning purposes.

Floor Type

Finally, we come to another consideration that has been referenced but, similarly to the previous entry, deserves its own examination. As mentioned, the upright is the best option if your home has a lot of carpet or the carpet has heavy fibers. The importance of this cannot be understated though, because both canisters and stick vacuums will generally not simply “make do” as a substitute. Likewise, many uprights advertise their ability to be used on bare floors, but their effectiveness in that duty is generally determined by the height of the vacuum’s suction from the floor. Some uprights have an adjustable front-end that makes cleaning bare floors easier. However, those are usually pricier models that come with a full array of options—which is nice, but bulky and heavy as well.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

There are numerous vacuums to choose from, and finding the one that is best for you comes down to a little bit of homework and personal assessment. While you are more than capable of going out and simply purchasing the biggest, most powerful, most expensive vacuum on the market, unless you have very specific needs, that is likely unnecessary. The amount of expected mess, the size of the space to be vacuumed, the types of floor surfaces, and the occupant’s sensitivity to dust or allergens are all important factors to consider before purchasing. However, with the help of this guide, you should not only feel comfortable finding the vacuum that best suits you, but you should be able to do so while eschewing the added expense and hassle of a vacuum cleaning bag.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. Consumer Reports. “Cleaner Living—Shopping for Vacuums.
  2. Carolyn Forte. “Buying a Vacuum Cleaner.”, The Good Housekeeping Institute.
  3. Sylvane. “5 Things to Consider When Buying a Vacuum Cleaner.
  4. Consumer Reports. “Bissell CleanView Plus with OnePass 9595 vacuum cleaner.
  5. The Good Housekeeping Institute. “Bissell CleanView Vacuum with OnePass Technology.
  6. Jason Roberts. “BISSELL CleanView Upright with OnePass review.”, VacuumsGuide.com

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