Best Cheap Vacuum’s Buying Guide

Best Cheap Vacuum’s Buying Guide – Prior to the invention of the vacuum cleaner, if you wanted your floors cleaned, you had to do it by hand. If you had wooden flooring, this meant a broom or a scrub brush. For rugs, you removed them and beat them until the dirt was gone. If you had carpeted floors like today, where the carpet does not come up, you were out of luck.

The Invention of the Vacuum Cleaner


The earliest forms of vacuum cleaners were not true vacuum cleaners at all. They used canvas bellows and hand power to generate air that, with the aid of a rotating brush, removed dirt from flooring. These were first patented in the 1860s, though there is no indication that they were ever mass-produced or sold.

In 1868, the Whirlwind was invented, pioneering the first vacuum system. These machines were not electrical like our modern vacuums. Instead, they operated on a hand crank system. This made them difficult to operate, as the user had to maneuver the machine as well as crank it.

1876 saw the invention of the push-powered vacuum cleaner. These machines used rotating brushes powered by the push of the unit, much like mechanical lawnmowers. The man who invented it, Melville Bissell, has since become a household name in cleaning appliances.

In 1898, a man named John Thurman invented a machine that is considered one of the first powered vacuum cleaners, though it is not technically a vacuum cleaner at all. The system was drawn by horse from one location to the next and used gasoline as a power source. It used air pressure to blow dust into a receptacle — the opposite of what modern vacuums do.

H. Cecil booth, in 1901, saw Thurman’s machine and decided to invert the process. He invented a device that used a gasoline engine to generate suction. Using hoses and a simple cloth filter, this suction device would draw dust and dirt from a home and remove it entirely. This is where the modern vacuum cleaner was born.

In 1908, the Hoover Company made many innovations on the design, including the rotating brushes that kick dust up out of carpeting for a deeper clean. Today, numerous innovations have been made to the vacuum formula. They come in models ranging from small handhelds to industrial backpacks, shop vacs and uprights.

Vacuum Cleaner Innovations:

Two major innovations have been made to the vacuum formula since its inception. These are the Dyson and the Roomba.

James Dyson grew frustrated with his home vacuum cleaner. The bag was constantly full and dirty, and the machine suffered from low suction due to a constantly clogged filter. Having spent significant time studying physics and engineering, Dyson eventually developed the dual-cyclone suction system for his vacuum cleaners. This eliminated the lack of suction and removed the bag entirely.

Roombas are an altogether different type of machine. They are not hand-held or upright vacuums. Rather, they are robots with built-in vacuum cleaners. They have sophisticated pathfinding abilities and mapping tools that allow them to navigate a room evenly throughout the day, cleaning up dirt in a constant cycle.

Categories of Cheap Vacuum Cleaners:


There is a wide variety of different  budget vacuum cleaners available today. Below, each major category is listed along with several important statistics about that type. Before you decide what sort of vacuum cleaner is right for you or before you look for discounts, you should know what types are available.


Handheld vacuum cleaners are the smallest type available. They are typically powered by batteries or a wall cord, depending on the power available. They are not suitable for full housework, and are more useful for small spills and cleaning furniture or small, hard to reach areas.

Handhelds are small and lightweight. This means they are easy to maneuver, carry and move
Small size means a handheld vacuum can reach otherwise difficult areas to clean, such as behind appliances, on shelves and in corners
A small vacuum has a limited amount of power and capacity. The dust container will need to be emptied frequently
While some vacuums can handle both wet and dry materials, most handhelds will only handle dry dirt. Those that handle wet will need to be cleaned after use to avoid mold and mildew
Handhelds will range in price from a cheap semi-disposable $20 machine to more durable and powerful models up to $200


Upright vacuum cleaners are the most standard household vacuums you can find. These machines run from small, lightweight models to heavy, powerful suction machines. Most depictions of vacuums in American media are upright vacuums — British media adopted canister vacuums — and they are the most popular and varied category.

Upright vacuums run from little more than handhelds on poles with wheels to bulky machines with powerful suction engines, suiting any household need
Most modern uprights have a rotating brush to scrape dirt from the floor, particularly carpet, and an adjustable height for different types of flooring
Most uprights have a detachable hose with an extender that gives the machine the reach of a handheld with the power of an upright
Some uprights will have attractive convenience features, like retractable power cords, to keep them as compact as possible
When cared for properly, a high quality upright vacuum can last decades
Uprights require a certain amount of storage space depending on their footprint
Uprights occasionally require bag and filter replacement, or else they lose suction power
Prices for uprights vary from inexpensive, lightweight $40 vacuum cleaners to expensive, durable and powerful machines that can run you $400 or more


Canister vacuums are the model of choice for Britain and other countries. Rather than an entire unit on wheels that you must push around to vacuum, a canister vacuum contains the suction apparatus and dust container in a single cylinder that is relatively stationary. The canister has a hose leading to a long handle and the typical vacuum head, which is moved around to collect dust and dirt.

Stationary canister and long reaching hose means the vacuum is easier on the body to use
The single canister can hold more dirt than an upright usually can before it needs emptying, whether bag or bagless
The typical head of a canister vacuum does not have a rotating brush, but it can be swapped out for a variety of attachments to reach smaller areas
Most canister vacuums are durable and powerful, but they have an increased price range as a result. You’ll rarely find one for under $100, and can pay up to $500 for a high end model

Shop Vacs

Shop vacs are similar to canister vacuums, only they serve a different purpose. As the name implies, shop vacs are mainly used in workshops where small particles need to be removed frequently. Sawdust and plaster dust are frequent targets of the shop vac. Most shop vacs are also wet/dry vacs, meaning they can handle liquids just as well as dry solids.

  • Shop vacs range in size from small and portable to large stationary machines in a workshop. Small models have reasonable power for their size, and large models will suck up chunks of wood or brick without issue
  • With the wet/dry capability, shop vacs are ideal for household utility, but they are not designed to suck dust out of carpets
  • High end shop vacs operate on pneumatic properties, allowing them to reverse the flow of air to act as blowers instead of just vacuums
  • Shop vacs are made to be in workshops and construction sites, so they are very durable and usually bagless. This means they can last for years of heavy use without losing suction or failing
  • Small shop vacs will run you $50-$100, while larger models can range as high as $400

Cyclonic Cleaners

Dyson vacuums are a brand, but they also refer to the double-cyclone style of suction generation. Other brands have since designed their own versions of the cyclonic vacuum, and the competition has proven beneficial for consumers. Cyclonic vacuums do not need a filter or bag, instead using the circular motion of the air to separate dirt.

  • Cyclonic vacuums do not need filter or bag replacements, making them easy to empty and maintain
  • These types of vacuums are also powerful with no loss of suction as they fill up
  • Most cyclonic vacuums are upright models, though cylinder models also exist
  • In the past, Dyson vacuums were expensive, but today they are no more than $50 to $100 more than a standard upright

Robotic Vacuums

Robot vacuums such as the Roomba are small machines with built-in vacuums. They wander through your home, bumping into walls and furniture, sucking up dust constantly. The big benefit of the Roomba is that it is hands-free. You set it and you don’t need to monitor its progress.

  • Roombas do a great job on short, dense carpet but suffer in deep shag carpeting
  • Their small size means they are easily stored, but they also lack the capacity for a room full of dust
  • You will still need to pick large items up off the floor, lest they clog the Roomba
  • Roombas are hands-free, so once you set them you don’t need to do all the work yourself
  • Unfortunately, robot vacuums cannot yet climb stares or vacuum shelves
  • Roombas will run from $300 to $700, making them some of the most expensive vacuums you can find

Additional Features for the Best Cheap Vacuum

There are some features that virtually any vacuum can have, though they often cost more or need to be purchased separately. Here is an idea of what you might consider.

  • A retractable power cord. These usually are most beneficial for handhelds and uprights, where the cord can actively get in the way
  • Easily replaceable filters and bags. Many vacuums today do not need bags, and filter replacement is typically easy, but on older models, it might require some work to replace these items
  • Hepa filters. Some expensive models come with advanced Hepa filtration, to remove dust and allergens from the air more thoroughly
  • Attachments. Various nozzles, suction heads and hose extenders come with most models of vacuum, but some advanced models come with more than others. Some vacuums also can come with carpet cleaning attachments that shampoo and suck clean your carpet

Buying the Best Cheap Vacuum Cleaners

Which of the good vacuum cleaners you get for your home depends on what you want to use it to accomplish. If you want to vacuum small areas or furniture, but have no need of a larger floor vacuum, a handheld would be perfect. If you need to vacuum your floors, and you don’t have very many tight corners or low couches to get under, a standard upright or canister will work just fine. Which type you choose depends on personal preference, as both are equally functional.

If you work in a workshop, cut wood frequently or are in the construction business, a shop vac is ideal. In fact, other than the inability to vacuum carpet, most households can benefit from having a shop vac. If nothing else, in the event of a flood, it can double as a water pump.

Roombas are ideal if you are busy and need something to vacuum while you are gone. They may need constant emptying, but once they have run for some time the amount of dust they pick up is lower. They are a significant investment, however. In the end, the style of vacuum you choose depends entirely on your needs.

Now, armed with this information, take a look at five of the best-selling and top-rated vacuums in Amazon, and choose which is the best for your needs.

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