If you need to clean up big messes on a small budget, one of the best vacuums under $200 can make it easier. The vacuum is often the saving grace of cleaning day, since cleaning hard floors and carpets would be a much bigger job without this helper. Popular vacuums can be pricey, but affordable options are available for shoppers on a budget, including plenty of excellent vacuums for under $200.
However, not every inexpensive vacuum is made equally, and spending a couple hundred dollars is still a pretty tidy sum. Therefore, it’s important to find a vacuum that lives up to expectations. Though affordable, the best cheap vacuums need to be effective, reliable, easy to maintain, pleasant to use, and long lasting. We’ve chosen some of the best vacuums under $200 that meet these criteria and more for getting homes spick and span on a budget.
How We Chose the Best Vacuums Under $200
Essentially, the best vacuums under $200 can do the same tasks as their pricier counterparts. They can tackle a range of cleaning jobs, including vacuuming dirt, dust, and pet hair on hard and soft flooring, along with other jobs like cleaning stairs and upholstery with the help of a few accessories. While the top affordable vacuums on our list met this basic criteria, we looked for a few more features as well, analyzing trusted review sources and shopper reviews to ensure the vacuums perform well in real-life conditions.
A good vacuum is also relatively low maintenance, so we looked for vacuums that were easy to empty and simple to maintain. We preferred bagless designs and washable filters to cut down on long-term costs and lessen environmental impact. Lastly, the vacuums on our list are pleasant to use, moving around with relative ease to thoroughly clean a home’s nooks and crannies.
The Shark NV360 vacuum fits a bevy of useful features into a very reasonably priced vacuum. Strong suction and a whole-machine sealed system (with a HEPA filter) help keep dust, dirt, and pet hair truly contained. Swivel steering makes this vacuum easy to maneuver, and it has a brush-roll shutoff to help clean hard and carpeted floors. This vacuum is simple to maintain with a bagless 0.9-quart dust cup and washable filters.
Although this vacuum looks like a typical upright model, where it stands out is with Shark’s Lift-Away design. The canister is detachable so users can separate it from the vacuum head to tackle other cleaning jobs, like dusting stairs and furniture, using the included upholstery and crevice tools.
- Type: Upright
- Corded or cordless: Corded
- Weight: 15.96 pounds
- Lift-Away pod design makes it easier to clean stairs and other surfaces
- Easy to maneuver with a swivel-steering vacuum head
- Completely sealed system with HEPA filtration contains dust and allergens
- Relatively short cord length (25 feet)
Get the Shark NV360 vacuum at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, or Target.
More Vacuums Under $200 Worth Your Money
There are plenty of stellar affordable vacuums on the market, including the Shark NV356E Navigator and Hoover Elite Swivel XL, which we include in our guides for Best Upright Vacuums and Best Vacuums, respectively.
Here are a few other vacuums that are well worth their price tag.
- Shark NV356E Navigator Lift-Away Pro Upright Vacuum, available at Amazon.
- Hoover Elite Swivel XL Pet Upright Vacuum, available at Amazon.
- Black+Decker Dustbuster Cordless Handheld Vacuum, available at Lowe’s or Target.
- Bissell CleanView Swivel Pet Vacuum Cleaner, available at Wayfair, Target, Best Buy, or Bissell.
- Bissell Featherweight Cordless 2-in-1 Vacuum, available at Amazon.
- Eureka 3670M Canister Vacuum Cleaner, available at Amazon.
- Bissell PowerGlide Pet Slim Corded Vacuum, available at Amazon.
What to Consider When Choosing a Vacuum Under $200
A good vacuum can make general cleaning a much easier task, so it’s worthwhile to find the right one, even for those on a tighter budget. The best vacuums under $200 are effective, reliable, and versatile. Shoppers can often find the perfect fit for their home by considering the following features.
When narrowing the field to find the best cheap vacuum, the first step is to choose a preferred vacuum type and features. There are a few standard types: upright, canister, handheld, stick, robot, and more.
- Upright: Upright vacuums have an upright design, with their handle, canister, and suction head all in one vertical unit. They balance great suction power and convenience; good upright vacuums are powerful, and often more so than stick, handheld, and robot vacuums.
Some models are less powerful than canister vacuums, but they bring something else to the table: they’re usually more compact, lighter weight, and easier to maneuver. Because of these perks, an upright vacuum cleaner tends to offer the best bang for the buck when it comes to affordable vacuums.
- Canister: Canister vacuums are the powerhouses in the home-vacuum world. They’re usually the most powerful, durable, and long-lasting option relative to other vacuum types. They can clean all flooring types, including plush, which is a high-pile carpet that other vacuums may struggle to clean. However, they can be a bit heavy and unwieldy to move around the house since they have a canister, hose, and wand with vacuum head.
- Handheld: Handheld vacuums are compact models that are useful for cleaning small messes, such as a pile of crumbs or a couple of dust bunnies. They’re not large enough to clean an entire floor, but they are the most portable.
- Stick: Stick vacuums are thinner and more compact than upright vacuums, closely resembling a “stick” shape. This means they have less space for a powerful motor, so they tend to have less powerful suction. Their smaller size also means they have a smaller dust cup.
Unlike upright vacuums, many stick vacuums also can’t stand on their own—especially some top-heavy cordless stick vacuum models—which can be a bit of a hassle for storage. This inconvenience aside, the main benefit of a stick vacuum is its maneuverability. Since it’s often cordless, this lightweight vacuum type can usually clean almost anywhere with ease.
- Robot: Robot vacuums are the ultimate convenient option—they do most of the work themselves. However, since they come in a small package, they tend to have less suction power and may not perform as well on carpets as other vacuum types. It’s hard to beat their ease of use, however, and many now have smart features that range from remote controls to full-home mapping and self-emptying.
- Corded vs. cordless: Canister vacuums are always corded—they need the corded power in order to provide their strong suction—and upright vacuums are often corded as well. Robot vacuums have a corded charging base and a cordless vacuuming unit. The other vacuum types on this list can come in corded or cordless versions. A cordless vacuum is easier to maneuver but will be limited by its battery life, whereas corded vacuums won’t run out of power but always need to have a power outlet nearby.
- Bagged vs. bagless: Bagged vacuums collect dirt and dust in a bag, whereas bagless vacuums collect dust and dirt in a dust cup. A bagless vacuum eliminates the ongoing cost of buying new vacuum bags.
Floor Type and Purpose
The best affordable vacuum cleaners perform well on both hard and soft flooring, but there are some features to consider depending on floor type. Any good vacuum will be able to clean hard floors, but for cleaning carpet and rugs, it’s a good idea to look for a vacuum with a brush roll.
The brush roll agitates the carpet fibers and improves vacuuming performance on carpets. This is especially useful for homes with pets to capture pesky pet hairs. Purpose-built for pet owners, some vacuums also include upholstery attachments with brush rolls to tackle pet hair on couches and other surfaces.
For homes that have both hard and soft flooring, some vacuums come with the option to switch the brush roll off. Since a brush roll can scatter dirt when rolling over bare floors, it’s nice to be able to vacuum without it. In homes with flooring that’s susceptible to scratching, it’s especially important to look for an optional brush roll to prevent damage.
For homes without carpets and rugs, a brush roll isn’t necessary. However, adjustable suction strength can help vacuums better tackle a range of surfaces, preventing the vacuum from getting stuck in place if the suction is too strong. For high-pile carpets, it’s a good idea to consider a vacuum with an adjustable cleaning head, which makes it easier to clean carpets of different heights.
All good vacuums have an effective filtration system that keeps dirt and dust within the machine. The gold standard for filtration is HEPA filters, which block more than 99 percent of small particles. Although HEPA filtration is a good feature to have, it’s just as important that the entire vacuum is well sealed to ensure all the dust, pet hair, dander, pollen, and other particles stay trapped inside.
Vacuum cleaners almost always come with additional accessories or attachments. Common accessories include upholstery attachments, brush attachments, and crevice attachments. Another handy feature to look for is an automatic cord winder, which will retract the cord at the press of a button.
Many of us use this household cleaning powerhouse weekly, and some of us even daily, but how much do you really know about your humble vacuum? From central vacuums to robot vacuums, there are so many options to choose from nowadays. We’ve answered some frequently asked questions ahead so you can get to know a little more about choosing, using, and maintaining your vacuum cleaner.
Q. How long should a vacuum last?
On average, vacuums often last around 8 years. Of course, this figure varies from vacuum to vacuum depending on the brand, model, and your maintenance habits. You can take care of your vacuum by emptying it regularly, cleaning or replacing the filter as recommended, and regularly checking and cleaning other vacuum parts (like the brush roll and hose) to prevent clogs or tangles. This type of maintenance can give your vacuum the best chance at a long service life.
Q. What is the difference between a regular vacuum and a pet vacuum?
All good vacuums should pick up pet hair reliably, but pet vacuums can have some features and accessories that make them more effective or convenient for cleaning up after furry family members. These can include specialized brush rolls, effective filters for fur and dander, and extra accessories that are useful for grabbing pet hair from other surfaces, like couches or car seats.
Q. What type of vacuum is best for dust?
Any good vacuum will pick up dust; that’s its job, after all. For optimal effectiveness, look for a vacuum with a HEPA filter. HEPA filters trap more than 99 percent of small particles, including dust, so they can truly minimize dust and allergens in the home.
Q. Can a regular vacuum dry carpet?
No, never use a regular vacuum cleaner to dry a wet carpet. Regular vacuum cleaners have internal electronic parts that are sensitive to water. Vacuuming up water can cause damage to the vacuum at best, and can be dangerous at worst (electronics and water don’t mix!). Instead, use a wet-dry vacuum, which is a type of vacuum that is designed to safely handle wet messes.
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