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Best Bagged Vacuum Cleaners

By: Kelly Burgess on March 16, 2018

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Bagless Vacuums Bagged Vacuums Our Sources
Best Reviewed

Best bagged vacuum cleaner

Kenmore Elite 31150

Bagging vacuum cleaners offer exceptional filtration 

While bagless vacuum cleaners, which we cover elsewhere in this report, are great for their convenience, many people feel that they simply can't match the cleaning and air-filtering performance of bagged vacuum cleaners. A vacuum with a bag offers one extra layer of filtration that allergy sufferers, or anyone who wants cleaner air, can appreciate. You also don't have to empty a bag as often as you have to dump a canister -- something that, in itself, many worry could reintroduce microscopic dust particles and allergens to the air

Kenmore is a well-respected name in all types of appliances, and vacuums are no exception, which is why it comes as no surprise that the Kenmore Elite 31150 (Est. $250) is such a popular bagged upright vacuum. The 31150 is at or near the top of every expert and professional test we reviewed, earning a lot of praise for its super suction. At Consumer Reports, the Kenmore is the top-rated bagged vacuum, earning an Excellent for bare floors, and Very Good for carpet and pet hair. Jonathan Chan at Reviewed praises its performance on both surfaces. Ultimately, he gives it a score of 8.7 and both Editors' Choice and Best of Year honors. Owners agree, saying this is by far the most powerful vacuum they've ever owned and that it's no match for any mess, fine or chunky.

The Kenmore 31150 is a terrific choice for asthma or allergy sufferers because of its integrated HEPA filter system, which keeps small particles like pollen and other irritants in the bag (or filter) and out of the air and Consumer Reports gives it an Excellent for emissions. The replacement bags are highly affordable too, just look for the Kenmore 53293 HEPA Vacuum Bags (Est. $10 for a 2-pack).

One thing almost everyone loves about the Kenmore Elite 31150 is the dirt sensor. It's an LED light that glows when it's still sensing, and picking up, dirt and debris, and goes off when it's done. This is a great way to be sure you've gotten your carpet as deeply clean as possible. Other than that, the accessory list is fairly standard -- a telescoping wand, pet hair attachment and crevice tool. The 35-foot cord manually wraps around the cord hooks. The hose reach is an impressive 12 feet, so, coupled with the cord, gives this a total reach of 47 feet.

We did see a few quibbles about the Kenmore 31150, but an examination of two of those issues sort of makes them non-issues. First, experts say it's pretty noisy. However, as we've seen over and over with anything that makes noise, that's in the ear of the beholder. While some owners say it's loud as heck, we saw plenty of reviewers describe it as quiet. Second, at 21 pounds, it's considered heavy, but, when you compare it to other top-rated bagged vacuums, it's no heavier than most comparable vacuums. Yes, you can get a lighter vacuum, and you should if you need to haul it up and down the stairs or have strength issues, but a heavy-duty vacuum like the Kenmore 31150 is what you'll want for the deepest clean.

Hoover is another well-known name in vacuum cleaners, and we saw excellent reviews for the Hoover Platinum UH30010COM (Est. $250). Owners rave about its performance on both hardwood and carpeted floors, and say it's an amazing value for all of the features it includes. One of the favorite accessories is a small, lightweight canister vacuum that reviewers say is perfect for baseboards, upholstery and dusting ceiling fans.

The Hoover has standard HEPA filtration. This requires HEPA dust bags, the Hoover Type I HEPA Bag AH10005 (Est. $8 for a pack of 2) The Hoover also has a full bag indicator that users like. This vacuum is significantly lighter than the Kenmore, at just 11.4 pounds, and it earns accolades from owners for its maneuverability. It includes a crevice tool, dusting brush and upholstery tool, although they're stored on the canister vacuum, not the upright vacuum itself. Some owners say this is an inconvenience when you need an attachment while using the upright.

The Hoover has a 35-foot cord and an automatic height adjustment. However, it lacks an on/off switch for the brushroll; rather, you're supposed to use the bare floor attachment with the canister, it's included, but some users say that's less convenient than just being able to vacuum directly from carpet to bare floor with a simple flip of a switch or knob. Others say that attachment works better than most vacuums because it sucks, rather than sweeps up the debris.

It's pricier -- much pricier -- and some durability issues we spotted around Miele vacuums concern us -- but there's no doubt that the Miele Dynamic U1 Cat & Dog (Est. $600) is a top performer in professional testing. It earns the second-highest rating at Consumer Reports, with Excellent scores for carpet, bare floors and pet hair. It's the highest-rated upright vacuum at Reviewed, with a score of 9.6 and both Editors' Choice and Best of Year nods. Chan calls it "The BMW of vacuums," but, of course, you're paying BMW prices for it, too. Still, he says the Miele is worth it for its solid build and excellent cleaning performance

The Cat & Dog is merely one vacuum in the Miele Dynamic U1 series, and includes the type of accessories you'll want for wrangling pet hair, including a small, powered brush. Miele vacuums are highly maneuverable and are generally very durable. They're also highly maneuverable, with a swivel feature that makes it easy to get around obstacles. A 33-foot long power cord as well as a flexible hose and telescoping accessories can extend this Miele's reach to 54 feet. The Cat & Dog might be a great choice if you have really thick pile carpets and/or lots of pet hair to deal with.

However, we did see some complaints of vacuums that failed and owners that had trouble with getting service -- mostly involving parts availability. If you do buy a Miele, be sure to get it from an authorized dealer. Amazon (except for some third-party sellers), is an authorized dealer, as is Bed Bath and Beyond. Or you can search for an authorized Miele dealer near you. And buying locally might not be a bad idea to be sure you can wrangle it -- at 22 pounds it's not exactly light.

Because it's expensive and is often sold in brick-and-mortar stores, there are fewer owner reviews for the Miele Cat & Dog than for other vacuum cleaners in this report, and it tends to get poorer ratings from owners overall. Many say it's simply not worth the premium price, and, as noted, we read complaints of premature failure of various parts. Still, many say they absolutely love their Miele and, keep in mind, people tend to take to the internet more readily with a complaint than a compliment. The Miele U1 Series vacuums are covered by a multi-year warranty; one-year on the entire vacuum, then the body casing and motors are covered in years two through seven.

Great bagged vacuums for the budget-minded

If you're really on a tight budget, we have a couple of other Hoovers to recommend, both at the lower end of the price range in this category. The Hoover T-Series UH30310 (Est. $150) is Recommended after testing at Consumer Reports, even beating out vacuums that cost much more. It earns an Excellent score for bare floors and pet hair, a Very Good for carpet. It's HEPA-certified and, in that same test, earns an Excellent for emissions.

Users love the Hoover T-Series, saying it's extremely easy to use, thanks to its one touch bag system that doesn't require the fiddling of some other uprights, it also has a bag full indicator, so you know when to make that change. The brushroll features an on/off switch so you can move seamlessly from carpet to bare floor and there are five height adjustments for various floor/carpet types. There aren't a lot of included accessories -- just a crevice tool and pet hair/upholstery tool -- but the latter gets a lot of love, and most say you don't need any more than those basics. The hose is 12-feet long, the cord is 30-feet long, and the cleaning path is a generous 13.5 inches.

If you want to make even fewer passes with your vacuum, check out the Hoover Tempo WidePath U5140900 (Est. $85). It lives up to its name with a wide 15-inch cleaning path to get the job done more quickly. It comes with two extension wands, an upholstery tool, crevice tool and dusting brush for various cleaning tasks. The dust bags are made of allergen filtration media, but are not HEPA-certified.

With easy-to-use controls, including a manual pile-height adjustment, the Hoover Tempo WidePath can be used on both carpets and hard flooring surfaces. Thousands of owners posting feedback to Amazon say it's an excellent value for the low price, although many feel it's not as effective on carpets as higher-end vacuums (although, for the price, that's to be expected). It has a shorter power cord than the Hoover Platinum, at just 25 feet, although most users don't seem to mind. It's very loud, users say, and some say it feels cheap and flimsy.

The Hoover Tempo WidePath is backed by a limited, one-year warranty. A few owners say its belts break frequently, it tends to eat throw rugs, and it starts to break down after a few months of use. Others, however, have owned this model for a few years with no problems, and say it's just a matter of learning its "quirks."

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