While you want to enjoy a fresh home with fluffed and dust-free rugs and sparkly floors, dipping into your savings account to purchase a quality vacuum might not be feasible, practical, or an "adulting" task you're particularly excited about. Luckily, there are plenty of affordable options out there—plus, they rival the cleaning power of more high-end models from brands like Dyson.
We've tested over 50 vacuums—including upright, stick, handheld, and wet-dry vacuums—in The Lab and at home, and rated them on effectiveness, portability, maneuverability, and more to find the best inexpensive options for you. Throughout our testing, we have found there are plenty of multi-surface cleaning options with attachment storage, a quiet yet impressive routine, and other features.
Our favorite is the MOOSOO K23 Pro Stick Cordless Vacuum because it's lightweight, has powerful suction across multiple floor types, and easily cleans stairs without the need for additional attachments.
Moosoo K23 Pro Cordless Stick Vacuum
Easy to assemble
Offers powerful suction across various floor types
Filter needs to be removed to empty dust bin
Hair and debris tangled in brush attachment
It's not often that our testers have barely any negative feedback to offer on a vacuum, but the MOOSOO K23 Pro Stick Cordless Vacuum was a surprising front runner in our latest round of testing. From its consistent suction power across all flooring types to its long-lasting battery and larger dust bin, it only made sense to choose this vacuum for our best overall pick among inexpensive vacuums. Right off the bat, our tester noted that the MOOSOO was easy to assemble, requiring only a few clicks into place for the three separate body components. There are also illustrated instructions for all of the included attachments.
This model did require a full charge before testing, but it was worth the wait because its power did not disappoint. Our tester said its lightweight design made it easy to maneuver and transition across the different floor types in our lab, plus it easily picked up any debris in its way. It even handled cleaning debris on stairs with ease. "When vacuuming the stairs, I thought for sure I would need an attachment or tool; but I was able to vacuum the stairs without having to use a special tool or attachment, and the suction was stronger than expected," our tester said. This vacuum also did not have any hair wrapped around its floor head post testing, but its motorized brush attachment did. However, we don't consider this a complete design flaw, as the compact attachment is not as essential as the floor head itself.
Our tester also found that it's best to remove the filter from this vacuum's dust bin prior to emptying because the filter will fall into your trash can with the debris. While this is an inconvenient design feature, we think it's the perfect opportunity to also rinse the vacuum's washable HEPA filter. Overall, our tester was incredibly pleased with her experience while using the MOOSOO K23 Pro and noted the lightweight, compact size, good suction, and easy maneuvering all made it a steal for under $120.
Price at time of publish: $129
Dimensions: 42.50 x 10.60 x 8.70 inches | Weight: 5.28 pounds | Cord Length: Not applicable | Battery Life: up to 35 minutes | Bin Volume: 1.06 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: Not listed | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, vinyl, tile, laminate, carpet
Dirt Devil Versa 3-in-1 Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
Easy to maneuver around furniture
Can pick up a variety of debris
Must be lifted when transitioning from hard flooring to carpet
No attachments provided
In our testing experience, 3-in-1 stick vacuums often disappoint with their lack of suction power and overall design misses, but the Dirt Devil Versa 3-in-1 Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner has completely altered our opinion on this type of vacuum's cleaning potential. If you're looking for a basic vacuum model that can still tackle everything from large debris like popcorn kernels to fine particles like coffee grounds, then the Dirt Devil Versa is our recommendation. Although it certainly doesn't without a few quirks, it's well worth the under $100 price tag and easy-to-use features.
Our tester commented on how easily she could maneuver this vacuum around furniture and corners of our testing area thanks to its smaller floor head. This vacuum's suction, while not adjustable, easily picked up the various debris we spread across our testing lab, and did not dull throughout the total testing time. Two minor downfalls to this vacuum: It's surprisingly loud for such a compact unit—our tester noted it would be difficult to carry a conversation over it—and its floor head has too low of a clearance to easily transition from hard flooring to carpet, so it must be picked up when moving between surfaces. Both of these design notes are certainly not major drawbacks to the unit, but are worth pointing out in case you're looking for a vacuum with quiet operation and seamless transition abilities. "It was extremely easy to move this vacuum throughout all the testing areas because it was so lightweight and a very basic design," our tester said. "There were no attachments, hoses, [or] cords to mess with, which really made this a seamless and easy process."
However, we will point out the lack of attachments meant we could not complete half of our testing process for upholstery and stairs, which made the overall testing time very short (under 4 minutes of use). So while we cannot speak fully to this vacuum's battery life, we still think it's a great basic option that can transform to a handheld unit for small tasks around your home.
Price at time of publish: $90
Dimensions: 42.5 x 10 x 7 inches | Weight: Less than 5 pounds | Cord Length: Cordless | Battery Life: 12 minutes | Bin Volume: 0.42 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 10 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet, laminate, hardwood, tile, and vinyl
Sun Joe AJV1000 Cordless 8.4-Volt Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Cordless and lightweight design
Easy to empty bin and assemble
Handheld vacuums are ideal for picking up small messes around your house, whether they be tucked into your couch cushions or sitting under your kitchen table. The Sun Joe Cordless Handheld Vacuum makes the chore super easy. This handheld vacuum has a cordless design, so it's even easier to pick up messes that are tucked away in your home. It also comes with a 2-in-1 crevice and brush tool that'll help you clean couch cushions, car upholstery, and kitchen floors alike. On top of that, you can charge it in any USB port, making this a great option for your car or home office area.
During lab testing, we gave this vacuum a 5-star rating for portability, as it's super lightweight. Weighing only approximately 1.5 pounds, this pick is comfortable to carry from one spot to another. While it's a bit louder than expected, it's so easy to use and emptying the dust bin is a total breeze. "This handheld vacuum is easy to carry and intuitive to empty," noted our tester. "The suction is so strong that it even got stuck on the carpet a little bit. This is a solid dustbuster for a low price."
The only thing we'd change is the fan placement. At some angles, the fan blows out air and can scatter the debris. However, the vacuum also quickly sucks it right back up.
Price at time of publish: $35
Dimensions: 13 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches | Weight: 1.52 pounds | Cord Length: Not applicable | Battery Life: Not listed | Bin Volume: 3.5 ounces | Cleaning Path Width: Not listed | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet and upholstery
Shark VacMop Pro Cordless Hard Floor Vacuum Mop
Glides over surfaces
Not suitable for carpets
Need to purchase replacement pads
If your space mainly has hard floors made of hardwood, tile, laminate, or vinyl, you'll want to opt for the Shark VACMOP. This product tackles two cleaning tasks at once, thanks to its disposable cleaning pads and solution tank. Our tester took only two minutes to set up this vacuum, noting that they did not need to refer to the instructions because everything clicked into place. From there, they used it on hardwood flooring, noting that it was very lightweight and easy to use. When you want to release solution onto a floor, you simply have to press the "spray" button. Otherwise, the cordless design of this vacuum allows you to just hold down the power trigger whenever you'd like to clean up a mess.
While it's not ideal that you need to continuously hold down the trigger, our tester noted that the vacuum is comfortable and easily glides over the surface. They gave it 5 stars for every single attribute, including noise level and ease of emptying. To switch out the pad, you just need to press an easy-release button while holding the product over your trash can. Because the product only weighs 5 pounds, this process is fairly simple.
Price at time of publish: $100
Dimensions: 47.87 x 9.5 x 5.3 inches | Weight: 5 pounds | Cord Length: Not applicable | Battery Life: 20 minutes | Bin Volume: 0.03 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 10 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, tile, laminate, and vinyl
Hoover Complete Performance Bagged Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Easy to empty
Cordless stick and handheld vacuums are great, but sometimes you want a traditional, reliable upright vacuum to clean your dirty floors. If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, it can be especially satisfying to run an upright vacuum back and forth while it sucks up everything in its path, leaving behind clean, freshly vacuumed lines. If this sounds like your dream cleaning day, then the Hoover Complete Performance Bagged Upright Vacuum is for you.
In our tests, this vacuum excelled in picking up debris and hair from carpet. In fact, it only took two passes to completely clean the floor. This stellar performance earned it a 5-star rating for effectiveness. The vac performed just as well on upholstery, too. Our tester was in awe of this vacuum's power, and while she noted that it was a bit noisy and heavy, she said she could look past those flaws due to its powerful suction and affordable price.
Our tester also reported that the vacuum's upholstery and crevice attachments were very helpful, and because this is a bagged vacuum, you don't have to come in contact with any of the debris when you're done vacuuming. Simply dispose of the bag, and go about your day.
Price at time of publish: $155
Dimensions: 47 x 15 x 15 inches | Weight: 9.28 pounds | Cord Length: 25 feet | Battery Life: Not applicable | Bin Volume: Not applicable | Cleaning Path Width: 15 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet, hardwood, and upholstery
Kenmore DS4095 Elite Cordless Stick Vacuum with EasyReach Wand
Difficult to empty
Not great for vacuuming hair
Vacuuming for extended periods of time can result in arm fatigue—especially if the weight of the vacuum isn't distributed evenly. If you're searching for a well-balanced, lightweight vacuum, consider the Kenmore DS4095 Brushless Cordless Stick Vacuum. This easy-to-use vacuum weighs only 3 pounds, and our tester claimed that it "outperformed the more expensive cordless (and some of the corded) vacuums in every category."
The swivel head made it easy to maneuver the vacuum around our testing lab obstacles, and our tester also appreciated the clear instruction manual that was included in the box. Besides being a lightweight powerhouse, this vacuum was also one of the quietest ones we tested. While it sucked up most of the debris in our lab, this vacuum ended up dragging the hair behind it instead of vacuuming it up. It was also a little difficult to empty because our tester had to dig out the hair from the bin.
Price at time of publish: $180
Dimensions: 21.46 x 5.71 x 15.75 inches | Weight: 3 pounds | Cord Length: Not applicable | Battery Life: 40 minutes | Bin Volume: Not listed | Cleaning Path Width: Not listed | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet and hardwood
Best for Pet Hair
Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet Cordless Small Upright Vacuum
Picked up pet hair in one pass
Easy to empty
We love our pets, but if you have a dog or cat that's prone to shedding, selecting the right vacuum cleaner is key to maintaining a sanitary and sparkling home. So, when our tester used the Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet Cordless Vacuum to suck up all of the pet hair we laid in its path in one single pass during testing, we knew we had found the perfect affordable vacuum for pet owners.
On top of easily cleaning pet hair from our lab flooring, this vacuum was incredibly easy to use and empty. All parts of the vacuum are clearly labeled, and there is even a button labeled "trash" that you push for simple emptying. When the vacuum is not in use, it stands on its own, so you can walk away and give Fido some love before coming back to your task.
Our tester additionally noted that the vacuum didn't feel that noisy in person, and she was still able to have a conversation while vacuuming. The only true downside to this powerful pet hair cleaner is that it doesn't come with any attachments, so you'll likely need another cleaning device (like a handheld vacuum) to get into the crevices and hard-to-reach places in your home.
Price at time of publish: $201
Dimensions: 44 x 11 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 8.6 pounds | Cord Length: Not applicable | Battery Life: 35 minutes | Bin Volume: 1.05 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 11 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet and hardwood
It can be tricky to find an inexpensive vacuum that still delivers impressive suction power across all surfaces in a home. Our best overall pick, the MOOSOO K23 Pro Stick Cordless Vacuum, is not only an incredibly affordable stick vacuum but also has a compact design, is lightweight, and can manage both large and small debris across various floor types. If you're looking for an even more affordable and basic design, we recommend the Dirt Devil VERSA 3-in-1 Stick Vacuum Cleaner because it is easy to use and to pull out for any quick cleaning task around your home.
Other Options We Tested
TINECO PWRHERO11 Snap Cordless Lightweight Stick Vacuum: Although our tester said she would consider buying this vacuum, she wasn't as impressed by it as other models she tested. Its suction power was average at best, and it struggled to pick up debris if it was not centered in front of the head. The dust bin also felt clumsy to empty because the release button and empty button are located in two different places. Although it's certainly more affordable than other vacuums out there, we think you could find a higher-performing model at just as reasonable of a price.
BISSELL CleanView Compact Upright Vacuum: This vacuum may be one of the least expensive upright vacuums on the market, but that price also reflects its overall poor suction power, especially with larger debris on carpet. Our tester noted that it took about 50 passes to pick up the Cheerios and popcorn kernels we laid in its path on carpet, and this vacuum also had a tendency to spit out the debris. While it performed fairly well at picking up debris off of upholstery, the attachment hose is pretty short, so it's difficult to work the body of the vacuum around large pieces of furniture. Overall, our tester said she'd maybe recommend this vacuum to a college student who wasn't looking for a heavy-duty product.
Dirt Devil Vibe 3-in-1 Corded Stick Vacuum with Removable Hand Held Vacuum: While we had no issue setting up this vacuum, it otherwise did not perform well during testing. Our tester said it best: "The vacuum head would be easy to use on stairs and under furniture, if only it picked anything up." It did not function well on carpet and struggled to suck up hair, which eventually became so tangled on the brush bar that it stopped rotating. Larger debris also fell out of the nozzle after being sucked up. We were excited by this vacuum's lightweight and convertible design but overall were very disappointed in its suction power.
Fabuletta FSV001 6-in-1 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner: This vacuum is one of the lightest and quietest vacuums we tested; however, its suction power left our tester wishing for better performance. Although it performed well on both tile and carpet, our tester found that it picked up debris better when pushed forward, and dragged the debris when pulled. This vacuum also could not handle long strands of hair, which quickly clogged its dust bin and required our tester to empty it several times throughout the 16 minute testing phase. We had high hopes for this vacuum, especially at its affordable price point, but it didn't compare to the other models that truly stood out during testing.
How We Tested the Cheap Vacuum Cleaners
We've tested over 50 vacuums side-by-side in The Lab and at home during our multiple vacuum tests. During lab testing, we start with the unboxing and setup of each pick, noting how clear the instructions are. Next, we evaluate each vacuum's effectiveness on hardwood and three types of carpeted surfaces. To do so, we spill measured amounts of hair, popcorn kernels, and Cheerios. We note how well each vacuum moves, how many passes are needed to clean up the materials, and if hair is tangled in the beater bar. We then challenge the vacuums’ maneuverability by running them through a living room-inspired obstacle course to see how they perform in tight areas and around corners. Additionally, we evaluate how well each pick transitions from smooth floors to carpeting.
Our testers change the bags and empty the bins, noting the ease of emptying, and take note of how long cordless models stay charged. Throughout all of the tests, we rate the noise level of each product. Aside from this test, product testers rate other models on the same attributes while testing them at home. To wrap up, we consider our entire experience with the product to rate the overall value of it. Our editors take all of this consistently applied testing data and boil it down to the inexpensive vacuums we believe are the very best.
What to Look for in a Cheap Vacuum Cleaner
What type of vacuum you buy depends on what type of cleaning you're trying to complete, and where. Upright vacuums are most suitable for whole-home cleaning, and typically offer a lot of suction power for picking up larger items, as well as dust. Stick vacuums are typically made for lighter cleans or smaller living spaces, since they often run on battery power or aren't quite as compatible with a range of surfaces. Handheld models help you get into the tight areas of your home, garage, or car, and pick up tiny spills, while wet-dry picks are only for hard floors but will complete two jobs at one time. (This makes them a particularly great option for someone with a smaller living space who doesn't want to store multiple cleaning tools.)
Before buying a vacuum, consider your living space, the types of surfaces you have, and all the types of messes you'd be cleaning up with your purchase. This will help you decide what type of vacuum is best for you.
Bagged vs. Bagless Design
You can keep recurring costs low by looking for a vacuum with a dust bin instead of bags, which will need to be replaced over time. While a majority of models are bagless, opting for a bin will also make the process of emptying your vacuum in between cleans a lot easier. If you do opt for a dust bin, be sure to clean and maintain it well so you can also help extend your vacuum's lifespan. Dump all the debris before the cup reaches maximum capacity to prevent a loss of power and performance. If you do opt for a bagged model, like the Hoover Complete Performance Bagged Upright Vacuum Cleaner—our best upright pick—know that the major perk is that debris is trapped away after it's captured. You don't have to see or handle what you picked up, which can be a perk for those with allergies.
Along the same lines, look for a model with washable filters. This will not only reduce ongoing costs, since they can be rinsed clean and used over and over again, but could be considered a more eco-friendly approach to your cleaning routine, too.
Corded vs. Cordless Design
There are benefits of both a corded and cordless model. A corded vacuum, for example, allows you to clean nonstop, without any fear that you'll run out of power halfway through your task. However, you're more limited in terms of maneuverability and where you can use your vacuum. Cordless vacs are more expensive than corded ones, and limit how much you can clean at once, but typically offer better maneuverability. If you're looking to cut the cord, but also keep the price tag of your purchase in check, check the battery life of the vacuum and make sure it's adequate for your cleaning needs, or find one with interchangeable batteries.
How often should I replace a vacuum?
Generally, you can expect a vacuum to last for about eight years. Several factors can affect its lifespan, including how much you use it, what you do to maintain it, and what style of vacuum it is. (A sturdy upright vacuum may last longer than a robotic model.) If your vacuum is on the less expensive side, that may also come at the cost of a few additional years of functionality.
Katie Berry, The Spruce's Cleaning Review Board member, also notes that your vacuum's lifespan can be affected by the battery if you opt for a cordless pick. "With cordless vacuums, batteries often give out long before the vacuum does," she notes. "To get the longest life out of a cordless vacuum, look for models with replaceable batteries."
How do I clean a vacuum?
Your first step should always be to empty your vacuum, either by throwing away its dust bag or releasing the dust bin contents into the trash. Next, use a microfiber cloth to wipe any remaining fine debris from the vacuum's interior. Depending on your model, you may be able to wash out the inside with soap and water, and even rinse out the filter. However, some vacuums have replaceable filters or can't get wet at all, so make sure to refer to your vacuum's manual before starting to clean it. Your last step should be checking the wheels and cleaner head for tangled hair. If you do use water to clean your vacuum, be sure to let everything air-dry before reassembling.
What should I expect from a budget vacuum?
Vacuums that have a lower price tag may lack some of the bells and whistles you'd find on high-end models, like a wide array of attachments, powerful suction, and a spacious dust bin. There are plenty of vacuums that'll cover your cleaning needs at an affordable price, but if you're looking for a more specialized machine that'll recognize the layout of your home or do deeper cleaning, you may need to adjust your desired price point.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Emma Phelps, updates writer for The Spruce, updated this roundup to note the latest inexpensive vacuums we tested and other models that didn't quite make our final list.
Marisa Casciano also worked on this story. She is the Senior Commerce Editor for Appliances, Cleaning, and Organization for The Spruce and has been in The Lab for our vacuum test. She has firsthand knowledge of how tests were developed and performed, and personally loves her Shark VACMOP that's lightweight and a breeze to store and use.
What Is Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend, and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.