The Best Cheap Vacuums to Help You Stay Ahead of the Mess

Sucking up dirt, dust, pet hair, and more, these inexpensive vacuum models allow for clean floors at a reasonable price.

Best Overall

The Shark NV352 Navigator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum on a white background.

Shark NV352 Navigator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum

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Best Bang For The Buck

The Bissell Featherweight Bagless Stick Vacuum on white background.

Bissell Featherweight Bagless Stick Vacuum

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Best Cordless

The Kenmore Lightweight Cordless Brushless Stick Vacuum and its accessories on a white background.

Kenmore Lightweight Cordless Brushless Stick Vacuum

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Editor’s Note: Testing for this article took place in late 2023 and these products remain our current top recommendations for 2024 until we revisit this category. Stay tuned for our 2024 updates.

There’s no need to spend an arm and a leg for clean floors—plenty of cheap vacuums nowadays do an excellent job. With so many models available, you don’t need to settle for a subpar vacuum, even if you’re on a budget.

But how do you choose the right one? We sought out expert advice! “Opt for a model with robust suction capabilities to tackle various surfaces, from carpets to hardwood floors, ensuring a thorough clean,” says Karina Toner, operations manager at Spekless Cleaning based in Washington, D.C. “Also look for versatile attachments and accessories, catering to different surfaces and challenging spots to reach, maximizing its utility. And lastly, consider units with easily accessible dust cups or bags, along with washable or replaceable filters for hassle-free maintenance.”

In short, while they might not have all the extra frills of their pricier counterparts, the best cheap vacuums clean floors, banish dust and dirt from other areas, and are a snap to maintain. We researched over 30 products from top brands to narrow down our lineup of Top Picks, and we made sure to include different model styles, including upright, canister, handheld, and robot. Read on for the best cheap vacuums to keep your home tidy while on a budget.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Shark NV352 Navigator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bissell Featherweight Bagless Stick Vacuum
  3. BEST CORDLESS: Kenmore Lightweight Cordless Brushless Stick Vacuum
  4. BEST HANDHELD: Black+Decker Dustbuster AdvancedClean Handheld Vacuum
  5. BEST CANISTER: Eureka Lightweight Canister Vacuum Cleaner
  6. BEST ROBOT: ILife A4s Self-Charging Robot Vacuum Cleaner
  7. BEST FOR PET HAIR: Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet Plus Vacuum Cleaner
  8. BEST VACUUM MOP: Shark VM252 Cordless VacMop Pro Vacuum Mop
  9. ALSO CONSIDER: Shark SV1106 Navigator Freestyle Cordless Vacuum
A person using the best cheap vacuum to clean a rug under a bed that has another person on it.
Photo: istock.com

How We Chose the Best Cheap Vacuum

We considered over 30 vacuums while narrowing down our list, all of them highly rated models from reputable brands. To find the best, we consulted each vacuum’s specifications as well as reputable third-party and shopper reviews to make sure these models live up to their promises. We’ve also tried some of these models ourselves for some of our other guides to the best vacuum and found they performed well in our hands-on testing.

First and foremost, the vacuums on our list are effective at cleaning floors, from hardwood to carpet. We prioritized versatile models that can help clean other surfaces around the home as well. Ease of use and ease of maintenance were also important criteria points; we have cordless, bagless, handheld, and robot models on our list, since convenience varies from person to person. Also, to qualify as a cheap vacuum, we mainly chose models under $200—that’s about the price point where shoppers can find options that balance performance and affordability.

Our Top Picks

Ready to find the best cheap vacuum cleaner? Powerful suction, great utility, and excellent performance set these cheap vacuums apart from the rest.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Upright
  • Corded or cordless: Corded
  • Weight: 12.5 pounds

Pros

  • Lift-Away feature makes it easy to detach the canister from the vacuum head to tackle cleaning jobs other than vacuuming floors
  • HEPA filtration does an excellent job of keeping dust and allergens contained
  • Extended crevice tool improves the upward reach of this vacuum for up-high cleaning tasks

Cons

  • Doesn’t perform very well on high-pile carpets and rugs

The Shark NV352 Navigator offers an impressive array of features for its sub-$200 price tag, the most distinctive being Lift-Away functionality. Users can detach the canister from the vacuum head and employ the hose to clean stairs, furniture, and hard-to-reach areas. Along with the powerful suction and optional brush roll, this vacuum can clean the entire house from top to bottom—from ceiling fans to carpets. It comes with accessories too, including an extended crevice tool and upholstery tool.

Swivel steering makes it easy to maneuver the vacuum along the floor. One big perk of this vacuum (quite uncommon in cheap models) is its high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration. Combined with anti-allergen complete seal technology, this bagless vacuum captures 99.9 percent of dust and allergens, which is welcome news for allergy sufferers.

Get the Shark Lift-Away cheap vacuum cleaner at Amazon, The Home Depot, Wayfair, or Walmart.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Stick
  • Corded or cordless: Corded
  • Weight: 2.6 pounds

Pros

  • Incredibly affordable—the cheapest in our lineup by far—but still performs well
  • At only 2.6 pounds, it’s very lightweight and a breeze to carry around
  • Easily converts into a handheld vacuum yet can stay attached to the vacuum head; use the crevice tool for versatile cleaning

Cons

  • Not powerful enough to clean thick rugs and carpets
  • The small dirt cup is likely to require frequent emptying
  • It’s corded, so cleaning will be restricted by the cord length and nearby outlets

Shoppers on a tight budget need not look further than the Bissell Featherweight Stick. This vacuum is so affordable that the price rivals some

broom and dustpan sets

. Price tag aside, we tested this vacuum for our best stick vacuums guide and were generally impressed by its performance. This vacuum is a corded stick model (so no running out of battery life in the middle of cleaning).

It’s lightweight and excellent for cleaning up daily messes. It doesn’t have enough suction power for thick carpets, but that didn’t surprise us at its price.

The vacuum stick handle detaches from the canister for use as a handheld vacuum (while still being attached to the original vacuum head, which allows for more coverage with each pass). Or swap to the included crevice tool for detailed duty in tight places. And this vacuum weighs in at only 2.6 pounds, so it’s a breeze to carry around.

What our testers say: Glenda Taylor and Debbie Wolfe, writers who both put the Bissell Featherweight Stick through its paces in our best stick vacuum guide, report: “This lightweight vacuum performed remarkably well in testing. Its 9.5-inch cleaning-path width made it easy to maneuver in tight corners and under furniture. It easily picked up dirt and debris, and we liked how easy it was to remove the stick and use it as a hand vac.” Get the Bissell Featherweight cheap vacuum at Amazon, Ace Hardware, Wayfair, Walmart, or Bissell.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Stick
  • Corded or cordless: Cordless
  • Weight: Under 6 pounds

Pros

  • EasyReach wand allows the stick portion to flex to clean under furniture and in tricky spaces
  • Has HEPA filtration, which traps over 99.9 percent of dust and allergens
  • Comes with a wall mount for easier and neater storage

Cons

  • Some reviewers note the runtime was short, especially when using it in the maximum power mode

Cleaning tight spaces just became easier with this Kenmore cordless stick model, thanks to its distinctive EasyReach Wand. At the push of a button, the wand (essentially, the stick part of this model) can flex to a deeper angle to glide the vacuum underneath furniture. To straighten the stick and proceed with cleaning, simply lift up the vacuum and it will click back into place.

This model is cordless for even more convenience, and it provides up to an ample 40 minutes of runtime (on the lower economy mode and hand vac setting; runtime is shorter during regular vacuuming). Users can choose between a battery-saving Eco mode or a more powerful Max mode. Weighing under 6 pounds, this vacuum is no hardship to carry from room to room.

Designed for all floor types, this model is a thorough cleaner due to its powerful suction and HEPA filter, which will trap over 99.9 percent of dust and particles inside the canister. It only includes one cleaning accessory, but it’s a useful one: a two-in-one crevice tool and dusting brush. A wall mount is also included for storage.

Get the Kenmore cheap vacuum at Amazon, Walmart, or Kenmore.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Handheld
  • Corded or cordless: Cordless
  • Weight: 3.9 pounds

Pros

  • Flip-up brush and extendable crevice tool are convenient for cleaning—and won’t get lost since they’re built in
  • 180-degree rotating nozzle helps reach hard-to-clean areas, like the front of baseboards
  • Very lightweight and portable, weighing only 3.9 pounds

Cons

  • Our testers noted the relatively low air watts, which means less suction power

Little messes are no problem for the Black+Decker Dustbuster AdvancedClean handheld vacuum. This powerful handheld vacuum proved to be one of our favorites when tested for our best handheld vacuum guide. Though small, it’s powerful enough to use on all surfaces, including carpets, hard floors, car interiors, and furniture. It has a built-in flip-up brush and an extendable crevice tool to reach into nooks and crannies. The nozzle can rotate 180 degrees to tackle a host of tricky vacuuming jobs.

We love how portable this model is, weighing only 3.9 pounds, and it’s cordless, so users aren’t tethered to an outlet (a countertop charging base is included). A translucent dirt cup shows at a glance when the vacuum needs to be emptied.

What our testers say: Bob Vila writers and product testers Tony Carrick, Anne Holub, and Manasa Reddigari tried this handheld vacuum. They praised the lightweight design and noted the following in our best handheld vacuum guide: “Thanks to a 180-degree rotating nozzle with an extendable crevice tool and flip-up brush, the vacuum grasps grit even in hard-to-reach areas. During testing, we enjoyed the portability and grab-and-go access of its upright charger.” Get the Black+Decker cheap vacuum at Amazon, The Home Depot, Wayfair, Target, or Black+Decker.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Canister
  • Corded or cordless: Corded
  • Weight: 8.6 pounds

Pros

  • Very affordable for a canister vacuum, which usually has a higher price tag
  • Powerful suction and large 2.5-capacity dust bag is well suited for deep cleaning
  • Relatively light weight (8.6 pounds) and top carrying handle aids in toting this vacuum around

Cons

  • Many reviewers note that build quality isn’t the best, with some plastic parts breaking

Canister vacuums tend to have lots of features and plenty of capacity, but they can be bulky and challenging to maneuver. This Eureka model is sleeker than most while also offering the advantages fans of canister vacuums appreciate. It boasts excellent suction to clean all types of flooring surfaces, and the ample 2.5-liter dust bag capacity means there’s no need to empty the vacuum while cleaning. Plus, the fact that the canister uses bags means dust is well trapped and won’t escape during emptying (users will want to buy additional bags in the future).

This vacuum is fairly light for a canister model, weighing 8.6 pounds. A top carrying handle makes it easier to cart the vacuum around. It also comes with two extension wands, a dust brush, and a crevice tool for more cleaning utility.

Get the Eureka cheap vacuum at Amazon, Walmart, or Eureka.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Robot
  • Corded or cordless: Cordless
  • Weight: 4.85 pounds

Pros

  • Solid battery life, running up to 100 minutes on a full charge
  • Has multiple cleaning modes (Auto, Max, Spot, and Edge) to ensure floors are tidy
  • Smart features give users the option to turn on and set schedule from an app

Cons

  • Random navigation system means it can miss some spots, especially in larger rooms

The ILife A4s robot vacuum cleaner offers a hands-free way to take care of regular floor cleaning with just the press of a button—or a smartphone app. And while some robot models carry a hefty price tag for this convenience, the ILife won’t break the bank; it’s one of few high-performing robot models that falls under our $200 limit. It runs for up to 100 minutes on a full charge and has multiple cleaning modes (Auto, Max, Spot, and Edge).

This robot vac’s low profile (a mere 2.95 inches tall) lets it reach under furniture for stealth cleaning. It can transition from hard floor to carpet and rugs with ease, so it won’t get stuck when puttering from room to room. Drop sensors prevent the vacuum from falling down stairs, and when the battery needs a charge, the vacuum will automatically find its way back to the charging dock.

Get the ILife cheap vacuum at Amazon or ILife.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Upright
  • Corded or cordless: Corded
  • Weight: 15 pounds

Pros

  • Specialized brush roll helps to loosen and lift pet fur from flooring
  • Scatter-free feature helps to contain pet messes (like kibble and kitty litter) on hard floors
  • Includes a Pet TurboEraser tool, an upholstery tool to help remove fur from furniture

Cons

  • Our testers noted it runs loudly, which may be disruptive
  • This vacuum is on the heavier side at 15 pounds

It can be challenging to clean up after pets, but this powerful Bissell upright vacuum does a great job of tidying up what furry friends leave behind. Its Triple-Action brush roll loosens embedded pet hair while scatter-free technology helps to suck messes up rather than toss errant bits of kibble or kitty litter around. It features swivel steering to maneuver around the room, and the vacuum head cleans from edge to edge, which means fur against baseboards and in corners won’t be missed.

As if these features weren’t enough to make this bagless model a must in pet-friendly homes, it also includes the specialized Pet TurboEraser tool, an upholstery brush with fur-removing features. A crevice tool is also included.

What our testers say: Erica Reagle and Amanda Lauren, Bob Vila writers and testers, tried this model for our best upright vacuum guide, reporting the following: “Perfect for hard flooring, this vacuum picks up both small and large debris easily. It is also great at removing pet hair and other very small debris from corners, moldings, and crevices. Just keep in mind that it didn’t rate highly on carpeting; therefore, if you have a lot of carpets in your home, another model would be a better choice.” Get the Bissell Cleanview cheap vacuum at Amazon, Walmart, or Bed Bath & Beyond.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Vacuum mop
  • Corded or cordless: Cordless
  • Weight: 3.3 pounds

Pros

  • Debris chamber locks away dirt and dust while vacuuming, keeping it out of the mopping path
  • Hands-free disposal feature means no touching the dirty mop pad
  • LED headlights help to reveal debris in its path, especially useful on dark floors

Cons

  • For use on hard floors only; won’t work on carpets or rugs

Tackle two chores at once with the Shark VacMop Pro Vacuum Mop. This lightweight stick vacuum and mop features powerful suction to draw dust towards the disposable vac mop pad. Then, with the spray mop feature, spray flooring and use the scrubber to clean away dirt and grime.

The front part of the pad locks debris in a small chamber, so it can’t scratch or scuff floors. When finished cleaning, just toss the disposable pad—there’s no canister or dirt bag to empty. A no-touch disposal feature makes it simple to drop the pad in the trash, hands-free.

This cordless vacuum mop also has a handy LED headlight to help users see the dirt and debris on the floor. Maintenance is a breeze, since there are no filters to clean, although the downside is users must keep a supply of fresh pads on hand.

What our testers say: Alexa Erickson and Amanda Lauren, Bob Vila writers and testers, who tried this vacuum mop for our best vacuum mop combo guide, reveal: “Our tests showed this smartly and efficiently designed Shark model is a good choice for both large and small spaces that get moderately messy. And it comes at a reasonable price. We appreciated that this had a disposable pad that could go right into the trash and not into the washing machine, for hands-free disposal.” Get the Shark VM252 cheap vacuum at Amazon, The Home Depot, Walmart, Target, or Shark.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Upright
  • Corded or cordless: Cordless
  • Weight: 7.5 pounds

Pros

  • Smaller than most upright vacuums but still has excellent cleaning power
  • 2-speed brush roll to better clean hard floors and carpeting
  • Includes a charger that doubles as a convenient storage block; this model can stand on its own, unlike many stick vacs

Cons

  • Does not come with any additional accessories; only useful for vacuuming floors

WIth a cordless design but a few more features than a cheap stick vacuum, the Shark SV1106 Navigator Freestyle cordless vacuum is a quality, affordable choice. This model looks like a small upright vacuum, but it’s lighter than most at 7.5 pounds. It works with a brush roll, and users can choose from two speeds to clean carpet or hard floors.

Due to its larger size, this model has a relatively ample dust cup (compared to many stick vacuums), holding 0.64 quarts of dirt and dust. One great aspect of this vacuum is that it can stand upright on its own, unlike many stick models. It’s also cordless and comes with a charger station that doubles as a storage block.

Get the Shark SV1106 cheap vacuum at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Bed Bath & Beyond.

Jump to Our Top Picks

A person using the best cheap handheld vacuum to clean a blue couch.
Photo: istock.com

What to Consider When Choosing a Cheap Vacuum 

Having so many great cheap vacuum options available is both a blessing and a curse. Shopping highly rated models from reputable brands helps consumers find the right model, but it’s also important to understand various features and factors of these machines, including the vacuum type, if it’s bagged/bagless or corded/cordless, and its included attachments.

Type

There are several vacuum types to choose from, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. We review the common types ahead, including upright, canister, stick, handheld, vacuum/mop, and robot vacuums.

  • Upright: Upright vacuums have all their pieces on one upright unit, with the head, motor, canister, and handle stacked atop each other. They offer great suction power combined with a relatively small footprint for storage. Upright vacuums come in corded, cordless, bagged, or bagless configurations, and many have a hose and attachments for more versatile cleaning. They’re suitable for deep-cleaning but tend to be on the heavy side, so they can be a hassle to move around.
  • Canister: This type of vacuum features a wheeled canister attached to a hose and vacuum head. The large canister provides enough room for a powerful motor, so they tend to have great section power. The hose configuration also means they’re versatile, and they pretty much always come with extra cleaning attachments. They’re often a pricier choice, and some users may find them difficult to move around and store because of the size and shape of the canister.
  • Stick: Skinny and lightweight, stick vacuums are essentially a wand with a vacuum head and a dirt cup canister. They are a convenient choice for daily cleaning since they are lightweight and easy to maneuver; many are cordless as well, so they can be carried just about anywhere in the home. They don’t take up much space in storage either. The downside? They tend to be less powerful than larger models.
  • Handheld: Small handheld vacuums are designed to pick up minor messes, not clean entire floors. They’re great for daily crumb pickups and for cleaning tight areas, like car interiors.
  • Vacuum/mop: Vacuum/mop hybrids combine the functions of both cleaning tools for hard floors: a vacuum for sucking up crumbs and a spray mop for wetting and cleaning. They’re a great choice for light daily duty, but they may not perform as well as a separate vacuum and mop for a deep clean.
  • Robot: Robot vacuums clean up the floor on their own; these round saucerlike devices putter around the house and suction up dirt and dust. Their small size means their suction power is limited, but it’s hard to beat their convenience.

Bagged vs. Bagless

Vacuums can be bagged or bagless. Bagged vacuums collect and contain dirt and debris in a disposable bag that, when full, is removed and replaced with a new one. Bagless vacuums collect dirt in a canister or dust cup that is emptied into the trash and then snapped back into place.

Most vacuums are bagless nowadays—it’s just a convenient and lower-waste option. That means no vacuum bags to buy and nothing to throw out except the collected dirt and dust in the cup. Allergy sufferers may be at a disadvantage though; it’s hard to empty a bagless vacuum without having some exposure to the debris inside.

A bag option contains dust and dirt, which means there’s less chance that particles will escape during use and when emptying out the machine. They do create extra waste, however, and vacuum bags might be an extra unwelcome cost, especially for those looking for the best budget vacuum.

Corded vs. Cordless

Vacuums are available as corded and cordless options. Corded vacuums plug into an outlet to run. The length of the cord will restrict how far the machine can go, but there is no battery life to contend with, which means users can vacuum for as long as necessary to complete housework.

Cordless vacuums are battery-powered and rechargeable. They’re often quite lightweight and their main draw is convenience: They can be easily toted around the house wherever needed.  Their downside is their battery life. Cordless vacuums have a limited runtime, often somewhere between 15 and 40 minutes, which might not be long enough to clean larger areas. They must also be charged between uses, which takes time, too.

Attachments

Vacuums, even the cheap ones, can come with all sorts of attachments to simplify a cleaning routine. Crevice tools, upholstery tools, and dusting brushes are amongst the most common. A crevice tool has a skinny end with an angled tip to help pick up dust from tight spots. Upholstery tools often have a red microfiber strip and are designed to clean couches, carpeted stars, and mattresses. Dusting brushes have bristles to dislodge dust before the vacuum suctions it away.

Shoppers might keep an eye out for further extras, depending on specific needs. Extension wands give a vacuum hose more reach, which is helpful for homes with high-up areas to clean. In homes with furry family members, a pet hair vacuum with a motorized upholstery tool may be ideal. This type of device has a rotating brush roll that can help pick up shed pet hair.

FAQs

Vacuuming might not be a favorite chore, but it’s a necessary one—and the right vacuum makes the task a little more pleasant. Above, we’ve supplied lots of info about vacuum features and described inexpensive models we consider to be quality options. Here, we answer some frequently asked questions about cheap vacuums and how to generally perform this cleaning task.

Q. Is it good to vacuum every day?

Many experts say that you should vacuum at least once a week. Daily vacuum isn’t often necessary, but there are some situations where it makes sense, such as in high-traffic areas and in homes with messy kids and/or pets. If there are allergy sufferers in the home, more frequent vacuuming helps to keep allergens at bay.

Q. What is the best type of vacuum?

It really depends on individual needs. For those who want powerful suction, especially for thick-pile carpeted floors, canister and upright vacuums are an excellent choice. Stick vacuums are great for convenient cleaning, especially in small spaces. For the most hands-off experience, consider a robot vacuum.

Q. How do I clean a vacuum?

Follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning a vacuum. The process will usually involve emptying the vacuum, cleaning dust and dirt from the interior, and washing or replacing filters.

Q. What should I expect from a budget vacuum?

A good budget vacuum should offer great cleaning performance. Cheap vacuums might not have the extra perks of expensive vacuums, and they might take a tad longer to get floors clean. But don’t settle for a budget vacuum that doesn’t clean your floors well. There are plenty of models on the market (and we’ve rounded up some of the best) that will do an excellent job.

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Jasmine Harding

Contributing Writer

Jasmine Harding is a freelance writer specializing in home products. She started writing for BobVila.com in 2020 and covers a range of product-related topics, from the best household appliances and tools to the latest gadgets and tech for the home.

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