Best Bagged Vacuum: Great for People with Allergies

In my previous review, I talked in detail about the best bagless vacuums, its advantages and disadvantages.

The latest generation bagged vacuums are really great in terms of deep cleaning and convenience but these are sorely lacking when it comes to filtration.

A bagless isn’t a good option for people who suffer from allergic conditions like asthma because there is exposure to allergens when emptying.

This is where a bagged vacuum comes in.

The first vacuum cleaners invented had a bag inside that have two functions – collect dirt and filtration.

Emptying  a bagged is less messy. Just open the bin, pick up the bag and throw it in the bin.

The top brands featured hear all have good bag design that seals in microscopic dust even if the bin is open.

To help guide you through this guide I’ve prepared a table of contents section…

Rank
1
2
3
4
5
Model
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HEPA
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Brush on/off switch
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
Headlight
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
Above floor
cleaning
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Weight
21 pounds
18.4 pounds
11.8 pounds
7.7 pounds
8 pounds
Motor
12 amps
N/A
1,200 watts
N/A
10 amps
Cleaning Path
14"
15"
11.5"
12"
11.5"
Cord Length
35 feet
40 feet
22 feet
30 feet
17 feet
Warranty
1 yr
5 yrs
7 yrs casing & motor

1 yr for parts
7 yrs
1 yr

What are the pros and cons of bagged vacuums?

Pros

  • Easier to maintain
  • No exposure to allergens
  • Much less messy to empty

Cons

  • No cordless option
  • Cost of bags will add up
  • Will struggle a little bit cleaning stairs

How to choose a bagged vacuum?

Before going testing out any vacuum you will need to figure out how much you are willing to spend.

This will help a great deal weeding out options that aren’t in your price range.

For me, I like setting a range of what I’m willing to spend.

For example, you could set a price range between $300 and $400 just to give you a bit of flexibility in case there are two options within that range.

After setting a budget that’s the time you look at the features.

Allergen Filter

Allergen filters help keep really fine particles of dust inside the bag. These filters make sure that the air coming out is clean. Some brands even offer odor eliminators that remove the musky smell.

Price of Bags

All bagged vacuums in the market use disposable bags and depending on how much dirt you clean on a daily basis, this is a recurring expense that adds up over time.

So it makes sense to check the cost of bags.

The rule of thumb is the better the filtration the bag provides, the more expensive it is.

Brands like Miele sell the most expensive bags because of the high level of filtration it provides thanks to multi-layered design and self-locking auto-seal feature. Oreck on the other hand sells one of the cheapest but it won’t filter as well.

But take note that cost isn’t the only factor you should look at.

HEPA Filtration

I mentioned at the intro that part of the function of a bag is filtration. But some brands add an extra layer of filtration located after the motor.

Miele’s vacuums have a post motor HEPA. It adds an extra layer of filtration that prevents really fine dust from seeping out.

But these filters aren’t washable. Typically the life cycle of HEPA filters is between 6 to 12 months.

So this will another added cost.

Cord Length

A shorter cord means more you have to relocate the plug more often.

This is a hassle especially if you’re cleaning a large home. Most uprights now have long cords over 30 feet.

Canister vacuums have shorter power cords – usually below 30 feet. But the latter comes with cord rewind so there’s less hassle when tidying up the cord.

Powerful motor and motorized brush

A powerful motor is a must to deep clean carpet.

The most powerful variants have between 10 and 12 amps while smaller vacuums only have 5 amps.

For homes with old hardwood with deep cracks or carpet obviously will need the extra power. While homes with only bare floor surfaces can get away with less suction.

Another feature to look at would be a motorized brush.

This is a must have in homes that have carpet because these brushes will agitate and shake off embedded dirt trapped under carpet strands.

Weight

If you’ve experienced back spasms it can be a debilitating condition that stops you on your tracks.

Dragging a heavy 30 pound upright can trigger this. Fortunately, metal isn’t used as much.

Instead manufacturers use plastic to bring down the weight to a more manageable 15 to 20 pounds.

But you’ll have to consider other factors like size of the bag, power and cleaning path.

These all play a factor in the weight of the vacuum.

Extension Wand and Hose

This is something to look at if you’re buying an upright.

A lot of the available options have a detachable wand hooked up to a hose.

The wand and hose combo extends the reach of uprights above the floor. But how far it will go will depend on the length of the hose and wand.

The longer the reach, the areas it’ll be able to clean.

Do you have stairs?

This will affect the type of vacuum you will pick up. Full sized uprights wouldn’t be able to clean stairs because their hoses are too short or frames too cumbersome to move up and down.

One solution would be picking up a canister vacuum that’s lightweight and has a longer hose / wand to be able to clean stairs.

Another option would be to use a handheld vacuum or an upright that converts into a canister.

Our Pick: Kenmore Elite 31150

Kenmore is a respected brand when it comes to bagged vacuums and their Elite 31150 offers great value for money when compared to other brands that cost 2 or 3 times more.

This upright is the top pick in a recent ConsumerSearch.com review that compared different vacuums both bagged and bagless.

Great on carpet

Jason Chan from Reviewed.com say this is the most powerful vacuum they’ve tested. This naturally translates to great performance on carpet and bare floor.

It has got certification from the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America to be asthma and allergy friendly.

You can take this certification with a grain of salt because they have to pay for it. But this organisation is trusted and won’t just give their seal of approval if the product does not pass their tests.

Pros

  • Very strong suction
  • Stiff bristles provide very good agitation on carpet
  • HEPA filtration is great for people with asthma
  • Long power cord
  • Wide cleaning path that goes close to the edge

Cons

  • Very short hose
  • No swivel
  • Heavy

In terms of power it’s got a lot thanks to the 12 amp motor that has a 3D inducer that houses the motor inside the motorized brush.

This feature eliminates the need for a drive belt – one less part to worry about breaking.

The combination of suction and agitation is what makes this a great option for homes with carpet.

Unfortunately it’s also one of the heaviest options here at over 21 pounds!

The sheer bulk and weight make this hard to maneuver inside small homes but it will do okay in larger homes, especially those with lots of carpet and shag rugs.

Aside from being a deep cleaning tool, it also comes with these tools to clean other areas…

  • Combo dust/upholstery
  • Pet handi-mate (mini-motorized brush)
  • Crevice tool
  • Telescopic wand

Here’s a demonstration of how this Kenmore cleans on carpet. The mess includes pet hair, dust, rolled oats, etc.

A head’s up. You’d have to fast forward to the 11:30 min mark to see the actual test.

It did a pretty good job picking up almost everything scattered on carpet. Even if it had a hard time initially cleaning pet hair, it was able to pick all of it.

He did mention that the hose won’t extend full length when the vacuum is on. This limits the reach and usability of this above the floor.

Good agitation and power

Power and agitation are excellent and make this a great option if you need a deep cleaning tool on carpet.

But the short hose and bulky frame limit reach and maneuverability. If you have trouble carrying or moving around heavy stuff, opt for the cheaper vacuums in this list because this tips the scales at 21 pounds.

But if you’re home has mostly bare floor I would not recommend something as expensive as this machine. You’ll be better off with something cheaper and more purpose built for that task.

Bottom line: Kenmore is the number one choice of lots of review sites for good reason. It is powerful and will deep clean your carpets. This is a great option for medium to large homes with lots of carpet inside because of its power and agitation plus it won’t cost as much as a Miele or Sebo.

High Tech: Sebo X5 9587AM

What the first brand that comes to your mind when you say “high tech vacuum”?

I bet you would say Dyson. But there’s another brand that you may have not heard of.

German-made

This brand is called Sebo – a German made vacuum that is one of the best performing bagged cleaners right now.

But all these goodies don’t come cheap. Is the Sebo X5 worth the ridiculously high asking price?

That would depend on your need and if you can afford it.

First let’s look at some of the features that make this a popular choice in Europe.

Pros

  • Excellent filtration
  • Stiff bristles provide great agitation
  • Large bag
  • Long power cord (40 feet)
  • Folds flat so it would be able to clean under furniture

Cons

  • Heavy
  • No swivel
  • Short hose
  • Not great for cleaning upholstery

If you suffer from an allergic condition like asthma or allergic rhinitis, the slightest hint of dust can trigger a nasty reaction.

Using something without a bag isn’t a wise choice if you have any of these conditions because of the potential exposure.

Great filtration

Sebo X5 has two filters and a multi-layered bag that filters up to 0.3 microns of microscopic dust.

To give you some perspective, a micron is equivalent to the diameter of human hair.

The first filter is a pre-motor filter that filters out fine dust that may otherwise seep into the motor.

There’s a second filter after the motor that blocks allergens from coming out.

The pre-motor filter actually helps extend the life of this vacuum because only clean air passes through.

Sebo says that if you follow instructions and replace the filters at the recommended intervals that it will last for around 15 years!

Long warranty

And they back this up with a 5 year warranty.

Check out this video from Ibaisaic to see how this product works, its features and a short cleaning test…

What I like most about this product is the design where Sebo rerouted air flow around the bag towards the top it.

This means that even as the bag fills up, suction does not degrade because there’s nothing in the way.

It also has one of the stiffest bristles among the uprights in the market right now.

This stiffness helps dig in carpet strands and pick up pet hair, dander, dust and all sorts of muck.

Biggest downside would be the bulk and weight. Like the first product in this list, the X5 weighs over 20 pounds.

It does not have any swivel steering so moving this around can be an issue and you’ll not be able to use this on stairs. Even with the hose you’ll have a hard time using this on carpeted stairs.

The next product on this list would be nimble enough and has strong enough suction to clean stairs.

Bottom line: The two filters plus the multi-layered bag make the Sebo X5 one of the best bagged options. It will be able to filter out up to 0.3 microns of dirt and have enough power to deep clean. But all this goodies come at a cost – close to $900! Sebo says that this will last for up to 15 years with proper T.L.C. If that’s the case it’s worth it.

More Versatile: Miele Complete C3

Here’s another European brand in the list – Miele.

To be more specific we’ll be looking at their C3 canister vacuums.

When it comes to bagged vacuums you’d have to look at these manufacturers because EU has stringent regulations with regards to air quality and noise.

The Complete C3 series has around 6 different variants. Each of these comes with a different set of tools that would suite a specific type of home.

In a way this is similar to the Dyson V6 because of the wide range of options.

Variants with HEPA will filter better than a Sebo – around 0.1 microns.

Some these tools include…

  • SEB 228 Electro Plus Electro Brush
  • SBB300-3 Parquet Twister
  • STB 101 Mini Turbobrush
  • STB205-3 Turbo Comfort
  • SBD 285-3 AllTeQ Combination tool
  • SEB 236 Electro Premium Powerbrush

C3 Brilliant

The C3 Brilliant is the top of the line variant that has the most number of tools that make it great on both carpet and bare floor.

Its main cleaning tool is the SEB236 power brush that has a motorized beater bar with LED headlights.

Like Kenmore and Sebo, Miele also provides excellent filtration through its bags and HEPA filters.

And the C3 is no exception providing excellent filtration – up to 0.3 microns.

C3 Marin

The Marin is a cheaper option compared to the Brilliant. It comes with the same SB236 power brush that has a motorized brush and LED light.

Along with the mini-motorized brush is a parquet tool suitable on bare floor.

But the Marin does not have the mini-motorized tool that would be idea for cleaning pet hair on upholstery.

Comparing the two, this is a better value since it is $400 cheaper.

Kona / Cat & Dog

The Kona and Cat & Dog come with similar floor tools – ElectroPlus Electro Brush and the parquet tool. These tools work great on carpet and bare floor respectively.

However the Kona does not come with the mini-motorized brush but is cheaper by around $20.

Calima

The yellow C3 Calima is most suitable inside homes with low pile carpet. It comes with the air powered turbo comfort brush.

Another tool included is the SBB300-3 parquet twister that has softer bristles that suite easily scratched hardwood.

Limited Edition

This is the cheapest variant but in my opinion it provides more value compared to the Alize. It comes with the air powered STB 205-3 floor tool and AllTeQ Combination floor tool

The biggest feature missing would be HEPA filtration. But HEPA filters are available.

Alize

The Alize will cost a bit more compared to the Limited Edition.

It does come with the least amount of tools but why is it more expensive?

If you look at the feature list, it has the airclean sealed system and the LED on the handle for added visibility.

The only floor tool included is the SBD650-3 AirTeQ that does not have a motorized brush.

Between the two, I’d opt for the Limited Edition even without the sealed system because it comes with better floor tools.

Lightweight: Oreck Magnesium RS

So far all the vacuums I’ve covered here are behemoths weighing more than 18 pounds (two of them over 20!).

Now let’s shift our focus to something lightweight but yet retains the same performance of a full sized upright.

Oreck has created a deep cleaning upright that weighs less than 8 pounds!

Think about that for a moment, a full sized upright that weighs less than a cordless.

Pros

  • Very light at just under 8 pounds
  • Magnesium frame is compact yet rigid
  • Good agitation and power
  • Long power cord
  • Fold flat feature allows it to reach deep under furniture
  • HEPA filtration

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No above the floor cleaning

How was Oreck able to pull this off?

The first clue is in the name. What do I mean? Instead of using plastic like most brands today use, Oreck went in a different direction and used metal.

Not just ordinary metal but something really high tech – Magnesium.

Pound for pound, magnesium is one of the strongest metals in the world.

This property allowed engineers to design a frame that’s smaller and thinner than a traditional metal framed vacuum.

The result is an extremely light vacuum that still retails its rigidity.

More efficient

Another innovation is the “direct suction” technology shortens the distance between the inlet and bin.

In a conventionally designed upright, air passes through a maze of hoses that can degrade performance.

By shortening the distance, it improves efficiency and increased power. And when you combine this with the stiff bristles that spin over 7,000 rpm, you’ve got a vacuum capable of deep cleaning.

The downside is there’s no above the floor cleaning capabilities with the Magnesium RS. You cannot use this machine to clean stairs and upholstery.

Bottom line: If you have trouble lugging around a 20 pound upright then the Oreck Magnesium RS is a great option. But all this technology comes at a premium – close to $500! It has a powerful motor and stiff bristles that will deep clean minus the back ache.

Budget Option: Bissell Zing

Before I talk about the next product let’s recap on what we have featured so far. All the vacuums featured in this review range between $290 and $1500. Each has enough suction and agitation to clean carpet and bare floor.

But no everyone can afford that much cash for a bagged vacuum.

This next option is a good substitute to the expensive brands above.

Bissell is known for their bagless vacuum line but they also manufacture bagged cleaners. And the Zing canister is one of their best products to date.

This compact canister has some “zing” to it and is very affordable.

Pros

  • Very cheap
  • Good power
  • Versatile
  • Affordable bags

Cons

  • No tools with a motorized brush roll
  • Short power cord
  • No HEPA filtration
  • You can’t maximize the bag

Despite its lightweight frame it does pack a punch with a 10 amp motor.

Some downsides

The problem is that it doesn’t any tools with a motorized brush so this canister won’t be as effective on carpet and fabric upholstery.

If you have pets avoid this product unless your home has only bare floor. But it needs to be paired with a vacuum like a Bissell Pet Hair Eraser to offset the lack of tools.

The biggest downside aside from the lack of a motorized brush is the need to empty the bag even when it’s not full. Bissell recommends that you throw away the bag when it’s only 2/3rds full.

This means you will have to change the bags sooner and have to spend more in terms of buying bags.

These bags will cost around $21 for a pack of 3.

Bottom line: This is the most affordable option of all the brands and will work best inside homes that only has bare floor. Consumers who’ve used this product say that it performed decently even on carpet. Even with that capability, it won’t as efficient as a cleaner equipped with such.

To Wrap It Up

When you talk about the best bagged vacuums, I feel that these 5 are the best factoring in performance, filtration, weight and price.

Value for money

Obviously the Kenmore Elite offers the best value for money that’s why it’s on the top of the list. It’s got a good HEPA filtration system and enough agitation to deep clean carpet.

Plus it is capable of cleaning above floors thanks to the hose and wand tools on board. But the hose is short for it to be effective at such.

Deep cleaner

The Sebo X5 and Miele Complete C3 are perhaps the best performing cleaners of the bunch. Both are European brands that offer a lot of quality but at a premium cost.

Oreck is the lightest option at 7.8 pounds and the only one that doesn’t have above the floor cleaning capabilities. But it’s hard to pass up something this light with full sized power especially if you have back issues.

Budget option

Bissell offers the cheapest option at just below $90. It provides versatility in that it cleans not just floors but also above it. But the tools that come along with it lacks features that can make it even more versatile.

None of the attachments that come with it has a motorized brush which means this won’t be the best option in homes that have carpet.

Garrick Dee
 

Garrick is the founder of the Cordless Vacuum Guide that originally focused on cordless vacuums but he has now expanded to reviewing corded vacuums and carpet cleaners to be able to provide a more complete guide in terms of choosing the right cleaner.

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