Like most money conscious people, I bet you want to save some dough on all your purchases. This means you’ll also willing to cut costs on home appliances such as vacuum cleaners. As I’ll show you here, it is entirely possible to get a high-quality vacuum cleaner with a budget of just $200. If fact, not only can you get a machine that “sucks”, but you can also find units that steam or that can transform from standard uprights to handhelds or lift away canisters. Combos such as 2-in-1 or 3-in-one are helpful to most homeowners, since canisters act as mini vacuums, which can be detached to clean stairs and hidden crevices without having to carry around the whole unit.
Many mid-level uprights are commonly heavy, so it is necessary to have a good steering system that will help you guide the product to those hard to reach places. One good feature you can find in most models listed bellow is the swivel steering capability. Another feature you may get within this budget is suction power adjustment. This ensures that you get all the dust and fine debris from your both your bare floors and carpeted areas.
One good idea is to buy a vacuum cleaner with a brushroll that can be turned on or off, depending on the surface you are working on. Some of my top picks also come with microfiber attachments (such as the Shark Rocket) which can handle sensitive areas such as hardwoods. Speaking of attachments, some mid-level vacuum cleaners even offer a pet hair brush to help you with all those stubborn pet hairs (such as the Pet TurboEraser tool from Bissell PowerGlide). Such features are not commonly found in vacuums under 100 dollars.
Many producers rely on selling units under a couple of hundreds. As you can see from the graph I’ve built myself, based on a survey I’ve conducted offline, most consumers are shopping for mid-level appliances. What I’ve got is not an average bell shaped Gaussian distribution, but it gets pretty close to that:
In an effort to increase the usability of their products, many brands offer particular features, such as comfortable grip handles or very long electrical cords. A 40 ft. power cord (which you get with the Oreck Commercial) ensures that you have a large cleaning radius, with plenty of distance between the power outlet and the vacuuming unit. LED headlights work well with dark places, and you can get these for 200 bucks or more (see Shark models).
Another excellent reason to purchase mid-level vacuum cleaners is their ability to conserve space. Although some machines are bulky, they have features that will help significantly in utilizing storage space. Such features include wall mounts and docking stations (see Shark Rocket).
If you play your cards right, you’ll end up with a durable middle range vacuum cleaner, with a decent lifetime and which provides an enjoyable cleaning experience. So my main recommendation is to check out the following list, which I update regularly:
1. Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away NV501
The NV501 is usually a bit more expensive, but with the introduction of the latest NV752, the Shark Lift-Away is sometimes reduced to the upper limit of our targeted budget. Before I mention some key points of this vacuum cleaner, I’d like to remind you that I’ve already covered this model a while ago, so if you want the full story, make sure to check it out. If you’re in a hurry, here’s what you need to know:
- It uses cyclonic technology to protect its filters. Suction is not fading in time as in the case of standard vacuum cleaners.
- It’s a 3-in-one system: an upright, a lift-away and a canister (if used with the caddy).
- It’s a bagless with a large bin (0.775 gallons).
- HEPA filtration and Complete Seal Technology ensure nothing but clean air gets out of this baby.
- Comes with lots of attachments: a premium pet power brush, a dusting brush, a crevice tool, a wide pet upholstery tool and a straight suction nozzle.
- The brushroll can be turned on or off.
- It’s quiet enough to enjoy it.
- Has a 5-year warranty.
2. Oreck Commercial U2000RB2L-1
When it comes to Orecks, I always appreciated their Commercial line of uprights. I was positively impressed by their XL2100RHS. But the U2000RB2L-1 is even better. For starters, the 6500 rpm high speed motor is powerful and reliable. The model I’m proposing today doses this power elegantly by using 2 speeds. You can quickly shift from a low noise gentle cleaning to a strong suction by engaging a simple QuickSwitch. And that’s just the beginning, lets see what else is there for us:
- It’s LEED Compliant
- The Endurolife permanent belt is guaranteed to last decades.
- 40 ft. of power cord allows you to cover more floors. And the usability features don’t stop here: you’ll get a low profile design backed by 2 side edge brushes, surrounded by a strip of non-marring bumper which is meant to protect furniture pieces.
- It’s lightweight, at only 9.1 lbs.
- The bags are humongous (2.75 gallons). At almost $4/piece (-/pack of 8), you can get hypo-allergenic bags with 4-layers of Celoc Charcoal.
- Comes with a 1-year warranty (5 years on belt).
- At the moment, it’s being sold with a nice discount.
3. Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV370
The Navigator is another Shark model praised by many. I am often asked to compare it with the Rotator. Although it is an older model, it is still a very good machine. It’s a bit cheaper than the Rotator, but that didn’t prevent Shark from deploying their best:
- It’s a 2-in-1 machine, featuring a lift-away pod.
- The cyclonic technology ensures you never lose suction.
- Filters 99.9% airborne particle bigger than 0.3 microns, thanks to the HEPA + Anti-Allergen Complete Seal.
- Comes with an unique Dust-Away attachment designed especially for hardwood floors, fairly similar with the Hard floor Genie accessory from the latest Shark Rocket.
- Swivel steering, 30 ft. of power cord and a cleaning path of 9.5 inch provide a decent usability.
- Approved by the Carpet and Rug Institute for all carpet types.
- With a 5-year warranty.
- Make sure you check out this Shark Navigator offer.
4. Bissell PowerGlide Pet 1305
I really like what Bissell made with this vacuum cleaner, that is why I’ve included it in my overall top 5. A while ago, I made a complete review of the Bissell PowerGlide. Now I’ll just cover the key points:
- Comes with one of the most advanced cyclonic technology, with 9 cyclones circularly disposed to accommodate the SuctionChannel technology which ensures edge to edge suction.
- The air filtration is ensured by a washable multi-level filter. Not the HEPA filtration we were expecting, but still pretty good.
- It’s a bagless with a medium-sized bin of 0.264 gallons, a little less than the average bagless upright.
- Has an on/off brushroll button, so you can clean both bare floors and carpeted areas.
- It weights 16.3 lbs. and come with 27 ft. of power cord.
- The electric TurboEraser tool helps you tackle pet hair. The unit also comes with a crevice tool and an expandable hose.
- Has a 5-year warranty.
- Well under our budget – this unit has a great price/quality ratio.
5. Panasonic OptiFlow MC-CG917
Although I’m fully aware many of you prefer bagless units, the OptiFlow MC-CG917 is a wonderful vacuum cleaner which definitely deserves a spot on my $200 list. Here’s why:
- Has a powerful 12 amp motor which provides a strong suction. The airflow travels through a aluminum telescopic wand to reach the bag. Thanks to the OptiFlow tech, even if the bag is almost full, the unit maintains a consistent airflow.
- Seamlessly switch between bare floor and carpet cleaning modes, using a simple switch located convinielty on the ergonomic handle.
- HEPA filtration, 24 ft. of retractable cord, the swivel nozzle and the 14″ cleaning path are other perks to talk about.
- See what others have to say about this canister.
6. Hoover Linx BH50010
One of the best cordless vacuum cleaners you can get within the focused budget comes from Hoover and it’s titled the Linx. This is already a classic, one of the most successful Hoover models on the market. Linx comes with the proprietary Windtunnel technology. Long story short, it can suck. This is thanks to a 18V battery which lasts around 20 minutes and recharges in around 3h. Just make sure you remove the battery once charged, otherwise it will wear out faster. Another advice I have for you is to buy an additional battery, which can be used during vacuuming, if the first one gets depleted. By the way, you can check the status of the battery at any time by looking at the power indication.
Although it doesn’t look like it, the dust bin is pretty generous at 0.23 gallons. The filters are not its strongest point, but are washable and pretty decent. But what is out of the ordinary is its low weight of only 7.3 lbs. Another plus is that the brushroll can be turned off. The generous 11″ cleaning path contribute to the usability of the product.
Hoover offers a 2-year limited warranty for both the vacuum and its battery & recharger. The price of this machine dropped a lot since the newer Air Cordless models were introduced.
7. Hoover Air Cordless 2-in-1 Deluxe BH52120PC
Speaking of the Air Cordless, a while ago I’ve reviewed the 3.0 version which proved to be a positive experience. That model has however some known reliability problems, so I’ll include in my list its newer brother, the 2-in-1 Deluxe BH52120PC. Here are some features:
- The 20V batteries last 15 minutes and need 9h to completely charge. Not the best performance here, but if you get a set of 2 you should have no problem.
- The good suction power is ensured by the Windtunnel 2 technology.
- Like its name says, it’s a 2-in-1. At any moment you can detach the hand vac and continue cleaning hard-to-reach places. The motorized turbo brush assists you with hair, be it short or long.
- You can switch from hard floors to carpets with a touch of a button, thanks to its multi-floor nozzle. Also comes with a handy crevice tool.
- The filters are washable.
- The LED lights and the swivel head add up to the level of usability.
- Comes with 2 years of warranty for the product and the batteries.
- I’ve found a good deal for this product, you should check it out.
8. Shark Rocket DeluxePro HV321
If you made it this far, that means you’re into a powerful lightweight corded vacuum cleaner. That’s the exact feature sheet of the latest Shark Rocket, the DeluxePro HV321. Here’s what you’ll get with this unit:
- a great looking 8 lbs. purple unit with a fairy decent 500W motor which produces enough suction to please even the most picky people. You can detach the nozzle and the connecting tube, thus transforming this lightweight stick in a handheld.
- a 0.22 gallons dust bin, which is a good capacity for a stick vacuum. You can empty this bin either from the top or from the bottom.
- an average filtration system, based on washable foam filters.
- 30 ft. of power cord, a swivel nozzle and LED lights which add up to your cleaning experience.
- some useful accessories, including my favorite Hard Floor Genie tool which works nicely on sensitive hardwood floors. Another part included in the package is the wall mount, a nice little feature that allows you to store this machine conveniently.
- 5 years of limited warranty
- A very good financial deal
9. Dyson V6 Trigger
The V6 line of cordless vacuum cleaners from Dyson launched earlier this year reputed, as expected, a great success. Although their full option unit, the Dyson V6 Absolute, is way over our budget, there are cheaper models such as the V6 Trigger which fit the bill. This model is actually the same with the DC58. Here are some of its highlights:
- powerful digital motor, same V6 350W 110,000rpm unit used on the V6 Absolute. This motor is powered by a nickel manganese cobalt battery which lasts 20 minutes in Standard mode or 6 minutes in Boost mode.
- 15 cyclones arranged on 2 levels filter microscopic dirt and dust. 2 attachments fit the head of the vacuum cleaner: the combination tool and the crevice tool.
- Comes with a 2-year warranty and a price that matches our budget.
10. Bissell Symphony
When it comes to hybrid cleaning systems, the Symphony has no rival. This product can vacuum and steam at the same time. From an engineer’s point of view, combining 2 separate circuits (for air and water) is quite an accomplishment. Bissell however wanted to make their product outstanding, so they struggled to also make both systems efficient and durable. The results is a light 10 lbs. unit with the following features:
- ready to steam in 30 seconds. The water comes from a 13.5 oz. tank which will last you enough to steam all your house. You can also mix this water with the BISSELL Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner and related cleaning solutions, as you’ll get a bottle with the package.
- 2 different types of pads: soft for hardwoods or though for scrubbing tiles or marble.
- digital controls located on the ergonomic handle which can be adjusted in height.
- 25 ft. of power cord.
- 2 years of warranty
- On sale at the moment.
I hope you like my list. If you have another model you think it’s more suitable for this top, don’t be afraid to share it with us. I would also appreciate if you share any better deals you’ve encountered.