The most significant part of my job is repairing vacuums.  I repair all makes and models of commercial and domestic vacuums, and I get to see all different kinds of machines, purchased at a full range of different price points.  Most importantly, I get to see them from the inside.  Probably the most common question I get asked is whether it's better to buy a vacuum cleaner which uses dust bags, or a bagless machine? I am not going to recommend one particular brand in this post over another but the simple answer is:

Buy a vacuum that uses bags.


My logic is pretty simple really (even if this rhetoric makes me sound like the insane man who talks to himself and actually hears an answer!)

Every time you fill up the dust bag in your vacuum you are going to need to throw it out and put a new one in. Well this new bag acts as a brand new filter for your vacuum's motor.  If you think for a moment, you can actually compare this type of usage with the way a bagless machine is looked after: Unlike the machine that uses bags, the bagless vacuum is generally used until the dust bin is full, then this bin is conveniently emptied and simply put it back in to be used tomorrow -

What's the difference here?

The bagless machine has no new filter.

(...where is that voice coming from?)

Most filters in bagless vacuums can be either brushed or washed out, but from what I see in my repair shop, this simply doesn't happen.

If the salesman said to you "This vacuum here is great.  It has excellent suction, good capacity etc BUT you will need to clean the filter thoroughly each time you use it" I am pretty sure it would look pretty ordinary to you... like a bunch of hard work.

Am I right? 

(Who is that...?)

Let's be honest... The job of vacuuming is not a great one.  So why would any one want to make it harder by needing to clean the vacuum after you are done cleaning the floors?  In this scenario, the job of vacuuming just got worse, and in my experience, the chances are that that bagless vacuum never gets cleaned and maintained the way that it needs to be.  It is just too much trouble to take care of that machine... it is the very definition of needy!  The vacuum cleaner that uses dust bags is user-friendly, becasue maintaining it is as simple as replacing the bags and filters when they are used up, and tossing the filthy old ones in the bin where they belong.

Bags might cost a little more from month to month but in reality, this investment makes the vacuum itself last longer.  This definitely reduces the cost of the machine over time.

I know where I am casting my vote.

(I'm with him!)

Now I'm sure I have ruffled some feathers and stirred the passions of some very dedicated vacuum owners.  If you have a comment that is simply burning, do tell.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this modern debate.  Contribute your experience in the blog space below, or talk to me personally.