Bagged vs. Bagless Vacuum Cleaners
In this article, I will talk about vacuum cleaners with bags and bagless dirt collection systems. I will be very objective at giving you the pros and cons of both types of vacuum cleaners.
Bagged Vacuum Cleaners
In my opinion, bagged vacuum cleaners are the way to go. Disposable bags are a much cleaner, and easier method to dispose of the dirt collected by your vacuum cleaner. In the past, most bags were made of 2 or 3 ply paper with a cardboard collar to connect the bag to the machine. These bags were thinner, and more porous which meant that they could leak a lot of the smaller dust and dirt particles that they were trying to catch. If the vacuum had a porous cloth or vinyl zippered bag, the micro-fine dust particles were exhausted back into the air. If the vacuum had a hard plastic or metal housing and door, the dust escaping the bag would settle on the inside of this type of bag housing.
Disposable vacuum bags have come a long way in the last decade. A lot of manufacturers make bags that are 3-ply or more with a cotton type liner inside that filters far better that standard paper alone. Some manufacturers make vacuum bags that are not made of paper at all. They use a spun cotton material that is far superior to paper, and can capture very small dust particles. Each brand has a different name for their bags. They use wording such as, Filteraire, Micron Magic, Micro-Fresh, Micro-Lined, and Intensive Clean. These words mean that the vacuum bags you are buying have been manufactured to a higher standard of filtering microscopic dust particles from the air circulating through the vacuum cleaner. Most vacuum bags also have a cardboard, sticky paper, or plastic closure that allow you to cover the hole in the bag before throwing it in your trashcan. This helps prevent dust from leaking through the bag's opening back into the air after you have disposed of it. A year's supply of disposable vacuum bags usually costs between twenty and thirty dollars depending on how often you vacuum, and how often you change the bag.
Bagless Vacuum Cleaners
Bagless vacuum cleaners have a clear, hard plastic container that captures the dirt and dust. When the container is full, simply remove the top or bottom cover to dump the dirt out. DO NOT empty this container inside your house, or you will have a large dust cloud floating in your face. These containers should be dumped in an outdoor trashcan.
To keep dirt from being sucked into the motor, these machines have a large filter located inside the dirt container, or elsewhere inside the machine covering the suction fans in front of the motor. These filters have to be periodically cleaned, or replaced. Bagless vacuums generally have two or more filters. The main one is the pre-motor filter, and the other is the exhaust filter. The cost of replacing the filters on a bagless vacuum can be more than the cost of a year's supply of disposable bags. I am telling you this because most people are under the misconception that a bagless vacuum will have no maintenance costs involved. This is not true. All mechanical devices have maintenance costs. There is also no such thing as 'Lifetime Filters'. After you clean or wash your filters several times they will deteriorate, and need to be replaced. Some customers have told me that after washing their filters the vacuum cleaner developed a mold and mildew odor. The best way to avoid that is to let your filters dry in the sun for a day or so, or replace them. You can also dry them in front of a fan where there is a lot of air movement.
Bagless vacuums also rely on rubber gaskets and seals around the container to keep it from leaking. These seals need to be clean and free of dust to maintain a proper leak-proof seal against the container. If these rubber gaskets and seals ever wear out, or become flattened over time, they will need to be replaced.