The best affordable vacuum cleaners you can buy
Some inexpensive vacuum cleaners cost you more in disappointment than they do in dollars. But getting clean floors and carpets doesn't require spending a lot of money. Our favorite is the Shark Navigator Lift-Away. It performs like a champion, and the super-reasonable price is an additional bonus. See also: The best robot vacuums, the best vacuums for pet hair, and the best vacuum cleaner.
Vacuuming might not be the most enjoyable way to spend your free time, but there's no reason it needs to suck away your dollars along with your carpet's dirt. Sure, those ultra-expensive vacuums promise to extract every last speck of grime from your flooring, but do they really deliver results superior enough to justify their price?
In our research and tests, we found that a good vacuum doesn't have to cost a fortune. In fact, you can buy an excellent vacuum cleaner with nearly as many bells and whistles as the more expensive models for just three-hundred dollars – in some cases, a lot less.
Besides our own testing, we combed through top consumer product review websites and feedback from vacuum owners to find the best inexpensive vacuum cleaners you can buy.
Here are the best affordable vacuums you can buy: Bets overall: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Best canister vacuum: Eureka Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum Best cordless stick vacuum: Hoover Platinum Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum Best hand vacuum: Black & Decker Cordless Lithium Hand Vac Best robot vacuum: Eufy RoboVac 11S
Updated on 9/3/2019 by Les Shu: Updated pricing, links, and formatting
The best inexpensive vacuum overall
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away has a great price, excellent performance, and a useful set of tools that make it our number-one pick.
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away is an ingeniously designed vacuum cleaner that combines the best attributes of an upright vac with the handiness of a canister vacuum, providing you with the best of both worlds.
The "Lift-Away" portion of the name refers to the option of lifting the canister and hose right off the base for easy vacuuming of stairs, underneath furniture, tight corners, and those pesky cobwebs dangling from the high reaches of your ceiling. You won't need super-strength to lift the vacuum up to those high corners, either. The whole vacuum weighs just 12.5 pounds or around eight pounds if you're only using the canister and hose portion.
This is a bagless vacuum cleaner, with a HEPA filter and what the manufacturer calls "Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology," so you'll be protected from dust, pollen, animal dander, and other nose-provoking allergens. When it's time to empty the vacuum's dirt canister, simply unclip its fasteners, hold the canister over the trash bin, push the button, and watch the dirt and dust tumble into the trash.
Wirecutter chose this vacuum as its recommended pick, as well, praising it for reliability and durability. It found the Shark to be far superior to other inexpensive vacuum cleaners, and better than many pricier options. The Shark Navigator Lift-Away has quality belts and filters, rather than the cheap ones usually found in low-priced vacuums, so you'll get your money's worth and then some before this vacuum even begins to consider giving up the ghost.
Consumer Reports also liked this vacuum, giving it a "Very Good" rating and finding that it "excels at removing embedded dirt from carpets." On Amazon, buyers said they love the powerful suction, the ability to detach the canister for easier access to high or tight spaces, the beater that makes short work of removing dirt from carpeting but switches off for safe cleaning of hard floors, the low noise level, and the ease of washing filters rather than replacing them. And of course, many love the extremely reasonable price.
On the downside, some owners wish the electrical cord was longer, and some said the vacuum cleaner felt a bit top-heavy.
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away comes with a dusting brush, an 8-inch and a 24-inch crevice tool, and a wide pet upholstery tool.
Pros: Low price, superior performance, five-year warranty, lift-off canister and hose
Cons: Hose is a bit short at 5 feet, electric cord is short at only 25 feet
The best inexpensive canister vacuum
If you need a vacuum for hard floors, the Eureka Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum is a strong performer at a great price.
Typically, canister vacuums are best for hard flooring. While the Eureka Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum is no exception to that rule, it also does an acceptable job on carpet, making it a good choice for those with mostly hard flooring, but also some carpeting in a portion of the home.
This is a terrific vacuum cleaner if you have stairs, or frequently vacuum underneath furniture or high up on walls or ceiling corners. It's also useful for vacuuming curtains or blinds, the inside of your car, or upholstered furniture. And as an added bonus, you can convert it to a blower by switching the hose from the front of the canister to the blower port near the back. Now you can easily blow leaves, dust, or other grunge out of your garage or workshop.
Nerdwallet rated this as one of the best canister vacuum cleaners, commenting that it particularly excels at cleaning stairs. ConsumerSearch chose it as the best cheap canister vacuum, praising its weight and excellent performance on hard floors.
This is a bagged vacuum cleaner, with a triple filtration system, so you won't get dirty or dusty emptying a canister or worry about an allergy flare-up. The non-rotating brush won't damage your hard floors, and its motor is powerful enough to provide steady, strong suction.
On Amazon, shoppers really like this lightweight vacuum (it weighs less than 9 pounds) for stairs and hard floors, although most caution it isn't nearly as good at cleaning deep carpet. It did receive praise for its performance with pet hair. There were some complaints about the hose crimping too easily, however, and some buyers wished the electrical cord was longer.
The Eureka Mighty Mite comes with one bag, two extension wands, a crevice tool, and an upholstery brush.
Pros: Lightweight, great for hard floors and stairs, converts to a blower, good for cleaning upholstery and drapes
Cons: So-so performance on carpeting, cord is not very long
The best inexpensive stick vacuum cleaner
Think of the Hoover Platinum Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum as a turbo-charged broom — it's a quick, easy, and effective way to get your hard floors clean.
If you want more muscle than a regular broom provides, but don't need the power (and weight) of a regular vacuum cleaner, the Hoover Platinum Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum is a good compromise. This isn't for thick carpets or even for very large stretches of hard flooring, but for those quick cleanups when the kids spill their snacks, or for vacuuming up dust bunnies, kitty litter, and general dust and dirt, it's a great vacuum to have on hand.
We have been recommending this product since 2016, and like it just as much today. Good Housekeeping gave it 4.5 (stars out of 5) and praised its excellent performance on hard floors, effectiveness at picking up pet hair, and intuitive controls.
The Linx has good suction and a powered brush-roll, so it does get some of the dirt and grime out of your low-pile carpet, but you'll mostly want to use it on your hard floors. Its reasonably wide cleaning path and edge-cleaning bristles make it a snap to clean your kitchen or bathroom floors, and once you're done, it's just a push of the button to empty the dirt cup.
This is a cordless vacuum that runs on a lithium-ion battery system. Typically, you'll get 20 to 30 minutes of use before you need to recharge the batteries, which is enough for a small-to-average home.
Amazon buyers loved the convenience of a cordless vacuum and being able to do a quick clean without the fuss and bother of breaking out the full-size vacuum. Many said they use it daily and loved the way it picks up pet hair and dirt. There are some complaints, of course: Some owners claimed it clogs easily, and others had issues with the battery.
Pros: Extreme-incline handle makes it easy to vacuum under furniture, lightweight and easy to use, battery indicator shows you how much charge is left
Cons: Some owners feel it clogs too easily
Best inexpensive handheld vacuum
The powerful Black & Decker Cordless Lithium Hand Vac is ideal for quick cleanup jobs, but you might be tempted to use it to vacuum your entire home.
Life might be filled with joy, but it's also frequently filled with spills in need of a quick cleanup — especially life with kids and pets. For the latter, that's when the Black & Decker Cordless Lithium Hand Vac steps in. This powerful handheld vacuum makes quick work of messes.
But a good portable vac isn't just for pet owners or parents. Use your Black & Decker handheld vacuum to pick up dust bunnies and dirt from underneath your bed, clean away crumbs from kitchen floors, clear cobwebs out of your window sliders, or vacuum up dirt, leaves, and grit from your car's floor mats. Whatever the use, you'll find this hand vacuum is up to the challenge.
Realistically, of course, a hand vacuum is only for small jobs, not cleaning the entire living room floor, but the Black & Decker Cordless Lithium Hand Vac has plenty of power. When fully charged, it'll run for approximately 15 minutes without a fade in power, which is plenty of time for the sort of cleaning jobs that are ideal for such a vac.
Wirecutter also chose this handheld vac as its best budget pick, saying, "If you need something simple for quick cleanups, this is a small, affordable handheld that'll get the job done." ConsumerSearch liked it as well, calling the Black & Decker hand vac "surprisingly powerful."
This Dustbuster (which is what these Black & Decker portable vacs are known as) has more than 17,000 reviews and an average of 4.1 stars. Buyers loved the way the thin nozzle of the vacuum fits into small spaces, and also praised its powerful suction that won't fade or falter during the vacuum's run time. The negative comments are mostly from owners who wished the vacuum ran longer on a full charge.
The Black & Decker Cordless Lithium Hand Vac comes with a crevice tool and brush, along with its charging base and washable filter.
Pros: Terrific suction, lightweight, fits into small spaces, cordless
Cons: Noisy, short run time, only for small vacuuming jobs
The best affordable robot vacuum
The Eufy RoboVac 11S is significantly cheaper than nearly every other robot vacuum we've tested, but it's just as good at cleaning.
Eufy is known for its budget-friendly RoboVac line. We tested several and found them to be very capable robot vacuums, but the Eufy 11S, is our pick because it has a slim profile that fits in tighter spaces, a long runtime, and good feature-set. Oh, and it's also very affordable.
Despite the small form-factor, the 11S has a large dustbin to collect more dirt. Eufy also claims it has a 30% stronger suction to clean floors even more efficiently than earlier models. At 2.85-inches tall, it can vacuum under bed frames, cabinets, and other tight spaces without getting stuck. When we tested it, it navigated across hardwood, tile, and carpet effortlessly.
The 11S gets 100 minutes of battery life while cleaning. The RoboVac 11S' has several operating modes. Spot mode, for instance, will focus on cleaning a small, specific area for two minutes, while Single Room mode will start a 30-minute cleaning session in a certain space.
The RoboVac's remote also lets you set up a schedule, so you can start your vacuum before you go to work, and return home to spotless floors. Overall, the vacuum maneuvers gracefully around furniture and molding, and picks up a good amount of the dust, hair, and everything else that accumulate.
It may not have all the smart features like app or voice control, like higher-end models, but it cleans just as well. If you don't care about smart features, it's an excellent deal. — Lulu Chang and Malarie Gokey
Pros: Affordable without sacrificing key functionality, low profile allows the vacuum to get into small spaces
Cons: No voice control or connectivity
Read our review of the Eufy RoboVac 11S Check out our guide on the best robot vacuum cleaners
What kind of vacuum do you need?
Which type of vacuum do you need?
To a certain extent, the choice between a vacuum cleaner that uses a bag to contain dirt and grime and bagless models that collect the grunge in a plastic canister is a matter of personal preference, and some people feel quite strongly one way or another. But each has its own pros and cons.
Bagged vacuum cleaners are the best choice if you or a family member suffers from allergies or asthma. Dust and allergens are well contained in the bag, and many have HEPA filters for additional protection. Plus, you don't need to maintain the vacuum as often. On the downside, you have to buy bags, which is an additional expense. Bagless vacuum cleaners save you money because you don't need to buy bags, and they are a more eco-friendly choice as well. You'll need to empty the canister frequently, however – possibly every time you vacuum if you have a pet – and that can be a dusty, messy chore that stirs up allergies for some people. The four types of vacuums
There are four basic types of vacuum cleaners, excluding robotic vacuums, which we cover separately.
Upright vacuums: Have mostly carpet? Then an upright vacuum is your best choice. You'll also find the widest selection of these basic vacuum cleaners.
Pros: Good for carpet, less expensive than canister vacuums, easy to store, wide cleaning path Cons: Heavy to push, difficult to use on stairs, noisy
Canister vacuums: If your home has mostly hard flooring, or there are a lot of stairs, a canister vac is your best bet.
Pros: Good for hard floors, can be used on drapes and furniture, lighter and easier to maneuver than upright vacuums Cons: Bulky to store, not as many models to choose from
Stick vacuums: These mini-versions of upright vacuums are not going to replace a regular vacuum unless you live in a tiny home, but they are great for quick cleanup of small areas or messes.
Pros: Inexpensive, lightweight, many are cordless Cons: Not great on carpet, best for small areas only
Handheld vacuums: Like stick vacs, these small vacuums are not going to replace a full-size vacuum cleaner, but they are very useful when you just want to pick up pet hair or clean a small area of carpet or hard flooring.
Pros: Lightweight, fairly quiet, useful for cleaning your car's interior or small spots around your home Cons: Most are not very powerful, and are best for quick cleanup jobs