Bagless vacuum cleaner purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • What You Need to Know
  • Bagless hoovers work without a bag using cyclone technology or a built-in water filter.
  • In addition to the classic hoovers, there are also handheld and upright hoovers that usually work with the help of a rechargeable battery.
  • Since HEPA filters capture not only the finest dirt but also pollen, they are particularly suitable for allergy sufferers.
  • When buying, pay less attention to the wattage and more to the interaction of the technology used.
  • Ideally, clean your bagless hoover at least every four weeks.

For the environment and the nerves

Anyone who values a clean home needs a good hoover. This is a long-term investment that should serve you well for years. The choice of the right hoover should be carefully considered. If you choose a bagless hoover, you pay once; there is no need to buy hoover bags with this type. The money saved can be used elsewhere.

Especially in times of environmental protection, bagless hoovers are becoming increasingly popular; after all, the user does not have to buy and dispose of new bags regularly, but only has to empty the container from time to time. A bagless vacuum cleaner produces less waste with the same performance.

The bagless hoover was invented by James Dyson, who was not satisfied with the hoovers on the market at the time. After two years and many failed attempts, he applied for a patent for the first device in 1980. Even today, bagless hoovers from the manufacturer Dyson enjoy great popularity. So bagless hoovers are not an invention of the 21st century. The various manufacturers have many years of experience in designing these models.

Advantages and disadvantages of bagless hoovers

A bagless hoover has several advantages and disadvantages compared to a bagged hoover. The differences start with the price: The pure purchase price is lower for bagged hoovers; however, in the long run you save a lot of money with a bagless hoover. This is because you can do without the cost of dust bags. You also save yourself the frustration of finding the one bag that fits your hoover model. Since the container of a bagless hoover is mostly transparent, you can easily see when it needs to be emptied. However, unlike bagged hoovers, the fullness of the container does not negatively affect the suction power. In addition, you do not have to constantly dispose of used hoover bags, which is good for the environment.

Bagless hoovers are only conditionally suitable for allergy sufferers. With the right filter, fine dust and pollen can be collected to a large extent, but allergy sufferers cannot completely avoid the allergens sucked up when emptying the chamber at the latest. A special type of bagless vacuum cleaner works with a water filter. Since the allergens are “trapped” in the water, they are not dispersed when emptied as with the other bagless variants. Cleaning the container is generally more time-consuming with bagless hoovers. In addition, bagless hoovers reach a noise level of up to 80 decibels. This is roughly equivalent to the noise level of a busy street.

Pro Points
  • More favourable in the long term
  • No bag necessary
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Constant suction power
  • Full container directly recognisable
  • High acquisition costs
  • Only conditionally suitable for allergy sufferers
  • Elaborate cleaning
  • Partly very loud

How bagless hoovers work

All bagless hoovers work according to the same principle: cyclone technology. This separates air and dust by means of centrifugal forces. The dirt is sucked into the cyclone chamber and whirled upwards. The resulting centrifugal force presses it to the edge of the centrifugal separator, i.e. the cyclone, and transports it into the collection container. Manufacturers implement this technology in two ways: single cyclone technology and multiple cyclone technology.

Bagless hoovers with single cyclone technology

Single cyclone hoovers are, as the name suggests, equipped with a single cyclone inside the cone-shaped container. The incoming air creates a vortex. The centrifugal forces created by this cyclone push the coarser dust particles to the edge and from there into the collection container. The air in the centre is then sucked upwards. On its way up, the exhaust air flows through the exhaust grille into the open air. In the process, a central filter made of paper catches the remaining fine dirt.

Bagless hoovers with multiple cyclone technology

The multiple cyclone technology works like the single cyclone variant – with the difference that a second cleaning process follows the first. In this additional process, several small cyclones work to clean the air a second time, replacing the paper filter. Due to their small size, the centrifugal separators are much faster, so that the dust is separated even more finely and pressed outwards. The more cyclones are installed, the lower the proportion of fine dust in the exhaust air.

cyclone technology
How bagless hoovers with one or more cyclones work.

Special case: bagless hoovers with water filter

Hoovers with water filter are a special form of bagless hoovers. These models have neither a dust bag nor do they work with cyclone technology. Instead, they are equipped with a water tank into which the dirt is directed and remains. Only when even the finest dust particles need to be removed is an additional filter or a so-called separator necessary. The filter is used after the water bath; the separator rotates at high speed in the water tank and swirls the dirt particles, binding them as well. In this way, the separator’s mode of operation is similar to a cyclone. A hoover with a water filter and separator achieves a cleaning level of up to 99 percent and thus works most effectively.

function water filter vacuum cleaner
How bagless hoovers with water filters work.
For whom is a bagless hoover with water filter worthwhile?

Bagless hoovers with water filters are best for allergy sufferers. The dirt and pollen are in the water so that they cannot escape into the air when emptied. If a separator is installed, it separates the dirt even more finely from the air. oThis largely frees the environment from dust and pollen; allergy sufferers are spared from escaping allergens when they empty the water bath.

These types of hoovers are available

For household use, you will find hoovers in three types: floor hoovers, hand hoovers and upright and stick hoovers. All three types can work both with and without a bag. The last two types are mainly cordless vacuum cleaners, which means that they work with a rechargeable battery.

floor handle vacuum cleaner
The types: floor, hand and stick hoovers.


The hoover is the most commonly used appliance; it is suitable for every household. It has the best suction power of all types. It is also distinguished by the variety of sizes and filter systems as well as the available accessories. The latter includes various nozzles and brushes, such as a crevice nozzle or a special brush for removing pet hair. You can therefore adapt your desired device exactly to your living situation, be it a one-room flat, a multi-room flat or a multi-storey house.

Most hoovers are connected to the power supply by means of a cable; you manually move the suction attachment over the surface to clean the floor. With different suction attachments you can reach every corner for a comprehensive cleaning. Especially in larger flats or houses, you are limited by the length of the cable and the distance to the next socket; running back and forth while vacuuming is usually unavoidable. Of all the designs, the upright hoover requires the most storage space.

Pro Points

  • Strongest suction power
  • Various attachments, such as a crevice nozzle
  • High capacity
  • Suitable for any living space


  • Limited radius of action
  • Large and heavy
  • Much storage space needed

Hand hoover

Hand-held hoovers are particularly space-saving: the suction tube, motor, dust container and fan unit are in a small housing that you can hold in your hand without much effort. Most of the devices run on a rechargeable battery, so that handheld hoovers can be used without spatial restrictions. In contrast to floor hoovers, however, their suction power is only mediocre.

Here, too, suction attachments allow vacuuming a wide variety of corners and surfaces; the interior of a car, for example, can be cleaned very well with a handheld hoover. It is also an advantage in households with small children or even pets: pet hair on the sofa or small accidents like a fallen sugar bowl can be removed quickly and easily. For this reason, this model is also known as a table and car hoover. For coarse dirt on small surfaces or for hard-to-reach areas, the hand hoover is the most efficient option; however, it is less suitable for allergy sufferers due to its low filter performance and the fine dust that escapes. Thus, it is not a replacement but rather a supplement to the bagless floor hoover.

Pro Points

  • Every corner accessible
  • Unrestricted radius of action
  • Small and compact
  • Space-saving


  • Not suitable for large areas
  • Mediocre suction power
  • Weak filter performance
Stick hoover

You may know this type as a stick hoover, upright hoover or upright hoover. Sometimes it is also marketed as a handheld hoover, as some versions can be converted as needed by means of attachable telescopic handles and floor nozzle. Consequently, you gain flexibility with the purchase of a 2-in-1 device.

Stick hoovers are an appliance unit: suction tube and handle are combined, the body is located near the handle part or the nozzle, depending on the design. The design resembles a broom or a mop; vacuuming is thus done comfortably and, above all, back-friendly while standing. Most of these devices are battery-operated, but a small number are corded. The dust box is smaller than that of the floor hoovers; the suction power and deep cleaning are also weaker. Because of their compact design, upright hoovers are well suited for cleaning the floors of small flats with little storage space and for quick cleaning in between. They are therefore the middle ground between floor and handheld hoovers.

Pro Points

  • Back-friendly
  • Mostly unrestricted radius of action
  • Space-saving
  • Sometimes convertible into handheld hoover


  • Small dust box
  • Medium suction power
  • Weak deep cleaning

Is a cordless vacuum cleaner worth it?

Cordless hoovers are either handheld hoovers, style hoovers or a combination of both types. So if you are considering buying one of these, a cordless vacuum cleaner is a good choice. However, pay attention to the battery life. At full suction power, the battery is used up quickly; most models don’t last a quarter of an hour. However, for small areas and lightly soiled surfaces that do not require the highest power, a cordless vacuum cleaner is sufficient. Also consider the recharging time. While a hoover with a cord is immediately functional, the battery of a cordless vacuum cleaner sometimes needs to be charged first. If you value complete freedom of movement and only need to vacuum small areas, a cordless vacuum cleaner is still the right choice.

The best-known manufacturers:

AEG, Bosch, Cleanmaxx, Dirt Devil, Dyson, Holife, Homeline, Hoover, Miele, Philips, Rowenta

What to look for when buying

There are several aspects to consider when buying a bagless hoover. Factors such as the living space, the number of people in the household and any allergies influence the choice. A large, bulky hoover will not be able to reach all the corners in a small and winding flat, while a small hoover is neither time- nor energy-efficient in a large flat or house.

The filter system

A good filter system is crucial for efficient cleaning. This affects how much fine dust you can rid your home of. The system with the highest filtration capacity for hoovers is the HEPA filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter). A bagless hoover with a HEPA filter is especially important for allergy sufferers. As this HEPA filter specialises in particles with a diameter of less than one micrometre, it filters bacteria, viruses, mite eggs and droppings, aerosols, smoke particles as well as pollen from the exhaust air. The two filter classes of HEPA filters are H13 with 99.95 percent filtration efficiency and H14 with 99.995 filtration efficiency. Microfilters made of fleece are coarser-grained than HEPA filters and therefore let more dust through. However, if you are not allergic or live with someone who is, a microfilter is usually sufficient.

The performance

In order to reduce electricity consumption in private households, the so-called EU Ecodesign Directive was introduced. Since autumn 2017, hoovers may consume a maximum of 900 watts. Thus, the number of watts, for years one of the most important purchase criteria, has lost its significance due to this regulation. Instead of the specified wattage, look for the technology used in the model of your choice, because this determines how good the performance of the bagless hoover ultimately is. If the ratio between the filter system, the design of the nozzles and the suction tube is right, devices with less than 900 watts are in no way inferior to older models with more than 2,000 watts in terms of suction power.

What does the EU energy label say?

In September 2014, the so-called energy label for hoovers was also introduced. The colourful bar chart showed how energy-efficient the respective hoover was. The energy efficiency, power consumption, dust emission class, carpet and hard floor cleaning class as well as the noise level were measured. However, this label was abolished at the beginning of 2019. The reason is a ruling by the EU court in Luxembourg on the so-called Dyson trial. The manufacturer criticised that the efficiency was only measured with empty dust containers and thus did not reflect everyday life. After all, power consumption increases with a full bag. Because of this decision, customers should not look at the energy label when buying, although the information can be found on models released before 2019.

The weight

Depending on the model, hoovers can weigh up to ten kilograms. Such a weight greatly restricts handling, especially for users with a less good constitution. If you have to vacuum several floors or need a high degree of flexibility, you should look for a lighter device. There are also hoovers without a bag that weigh less than five kilograms, such as the Philips FC9332/09 with 4.5 kilograms. However, the weight does not affect the suction power. So you can look for a device that meets your requirements regardless of the weight.

The size of the dust container

Pay attention to the dust container’s capacity and handling. The capacity of the dust container is between 1.5 and 4 litres for most floor hoovers without a bag; handheld and upright hoovers, on the other hand, have a smaller container in comparison. The larger your household, the more sensible a high volume is. However, these models are heavier than bagless hoovers with a smaller dust container. If you need a lightweight model, for example because of your constitution or because you have several floors to vacuum, you should go for a hoover with a small capacity. It is no use buying a hoover with a large dust container if you cannot use it.

bagless vacuum cleaner woman empties container out

The living space and radius of action

The living space to be cleaned and the associated requirements significantly influence your choice of hoover: depending on whether you live in a small or large flat or in a multi-storey building.

If you live alone or as a couple in a small flat, a simple and compact monocyclone vacuum cleaner with a 1.5 litre dust box is usually sufficient. In small flats, usually only one type of floor covering is laid. Therefore, you do not need a device that provides identically powerful suction on different surfaces, such as hard floors and carpet. A combination device that you can use as a stick or hand hoover is perfectly adequate. The price of these bagless hoovers starts at 50 euros.

For families or multi-person households in general, bagless hoovers are more suitable than upright or handheld hoovers. With the high, usually adjustable suction power and the diverse accessories of nozzles and brushes, you can clean both upholstery joints and textiles and free them from pet hair, for example. If the dust container has a capacity of at least two litres, you save yourself the trouble of emptying it frequently. The cable should be at least ten metres long for the longest possible operating radius. You can get a monocyclone hoover for easy-care surfaces for as little as 60 euros; but if your home has different, sometimes demanding surfaces, a multicyclone hoover starting at 100 euros is the better choice. The latter offers the strongest suction power, so that it can remove coarse and fine dirt from all types of floors, whether carpets or different hard floors.

If you have a house or flat with several floors, the hoover should be as light as possible; floor or stick vacuums are good for this. Weigh up which of the two models is more suited to your needs.

How loud can the bagless hoover be?

The EU regulation of September 2017 limited the maximum volume of a hoover to 80 decibels. For comparison, a normal conversation has a volume of 65 decibels, a washing machine reaches 75 decibels when spinning and 80 decibels is equivalent to playing a piano or arguing. Most bagless hoovers measure between 60 and 80 decibels. However, there are also particularly quiet models with a volume of less than 60 decibels. These are especially recommended if you live with children or animals.

How to care for bagless hoovers

To enjoy your bagless hoover for a long time, you need to care for it properly. With a bagged hoover, the user has to remove the full one and replace it with an empty one. With a bagless hoover, the procedure is a little more elaborate.

The correct emptying

Empty the container at the latest when the filling reaches the separating disc of the filter housing. Next, release the lock and open the lid. If the dirt is already over the edge, you must empty the dust box immediately, otherwise the suction power will decrease. Next, lift the dust box including the filter housing out of the hoover and hold it as straight as possible. Dirt particles should not fall out. Ideally, you have already opened the dustbin so that you can carefully remove the filter housing and easily empty the dirt particles into the bin liner.

Remove remaining dust fluff easily with a brush, tap out fine particles at the edge of the bin. While you can easily tap out the contents of the dirt collection bin, if there is a large amount of fine dust it is worth putting the bin bag over the bin to avoid clouds of dirt. If you need to remove a layer of dirt from the bottom of the collection container, take a tool and gently loosen this layer; then it can also be removed.

dusty hepa filter

The right cleaning

Regular cleaning ensures that the bagless hoover does not lose performance. While you can easily tell when to empty the dust container, you need to check the filter carefully. Dust in the filter severely limits the suction power. Therefore, rinse the emptied container completely with water and let it dry at room temperature for 24 hours. Ideally, check the filter every time you empty it. However, you should carry out the next cleaning no later than four weeks after the last one.

bagless vacuum cleaner with accessory

For a thorough cleaning of the appliance and pipes, it is recommended to disassemble the hoover with the exception of the motor. This is particularly necessary if the hoover does not perform at full capacity without a bag, even though the filter has been cleaned; this could be due to larger particles in the suction pipe. If you hold the tube against the light, you may be able to see larger impurities. Simply shake them out of the tube. You can use a broomstick to loosen the dirt in the pipe and inside the suction hose. However, you should not clean the hose wet, as it is difficult to dry from the inside. The floor nozzles are best cleaned with a brush or comb. A pet hair brush also works very well. If you have a single-cyclone hoover with a central paper filter, clean it regularly as well.