Bagged vs. Bagless Vacuums: Which is Best? 1

Tri-Valley Vacuum & Cleaning Supply

Vacuums as we know them have come a long way since they were first invented. Early vacuums were heavy, bulky and very inefficient. One model was installed in a horse-drawn wagon and used a gasoline engine to operate. Hoses were brought into the house to clean it. Another machine that didn’t last long weighed almost 100 pounds and proved too heavy to move. Still other models operated by pumping a bellows to create suction.

The first vacuums came out in 1900 and were bagless. That is, they had no disposable bag. The basic machines in those days used an internal fan to create suction or airflow, forcing the dirt into a cloth bag that allowed air to escape but retained the dirt. When the bag was full, you had to remove it from the machine and empty it into the trash—not a pleasant job! This method of collecting dirt was still in use in 1980 with the Kirby vacuum and is still used with several commercial Sanitaire models.

For the most part, cloth bags were replaced with paper disposable bags inserted into an outer bag and this method proved to be much healthier in the way that dirt was disposed. Added to that, there are now many choices of disposable bags. Filtration paper has been improved greatly over the years, with bags having multiple layers and HEPA ratings. The disposable bags you buy today lock in virtually all the dust and dirt you pick up. Many come with self-closing slides to seal the contents in the bag when you toss it in the trash. Bagged vacuums also have an exhaust filter to catch any fine dust that may get through the bag.

So, returning to our original question: bagged vs. bagless vacuums, although today’s bagless machines do not use cloth bags to catch dirt, they do use a plastic container with an opening of some kind to empty the contents. This procedure should be done outside because of the dust generated when emptying it—hopefully not on a windy day!

The second item that must be cleaned in a bagless machine is the main filter and there could be two. The main filter stops dust from coming out of the vacuum and must be 
regularly serviced. When the machine is turned on, the dirt and dust seem to swirl around the inside of the chamber, but most of the dirt is up against the main filter, which causes the airflow to decrease.

It’s not the actual “vacuum” that picks up dirt and dust, but the airflow. Dirt and dust are picked up by a vacuum’s ability to create airflow rather than by suction. So, in bagless machines, as the main filter continues to clog with dirt and dust, the airflow through that filter is reduced and the machine picks up less and less dirt. You may not realize this because you see the dirt and dust swirling around and it appears to be working just fine. All bagless vacuums, regardless of cost, operate this way.

Now let’s touch on bagged vacuums. As described above, these types of vacuums use a disposable bag with a built-in seal that is removed and disposed of when full. There is no dust blow back like with the bagless vacuum. A bagged vacuum does not lose airflow, because the bag is designed so that the intake air is exhausted at the top of the bag and not through the dirt and dust.

A bagged vacuum is far superior to the bagless type and certainly more efficient and cleaner to use. Also, most bagged vacuums last much longer than bagless varieties.

If you’re interested in the best type of bagged vacuum, stop by Tri-Valley Vacuum & Cleaning Supply in Thousand Oaks to check out the most affordable, best engineered, highest quality bagged vacuums made right here in the USA. Known as “the vacuum you will flip over,” it’s called Simplicity.

Tri-Valley Vacuum & Cleaning Supply is located at 2974 Thousand Oaks Blvd in Thousand Oaks. Reach them at 800.794.7937 or at