Vacuum cleaner prices vary widely, ranging from a hundred to more than a thousand dollars. Manufacturers will often attach unbelievably high price tags to some models claiming they are of higher quality. While there are products that become better with the price increase, it’s usually a different case with vacuuming machines. A costly model may perform poorly while a cheaper one can work superbly. So, is it advisable to buy an expensive vacuum? As you can see, not always!
Getting a quality vacuum doesn’t mean going for the higher priced models.
As I will show you here, there are units that cost around $200 and that perform at the level of pricey ones, sometimes even better. You will see how it’s possible to get a vacuum under 200 dollars that has a decent suction power and maneuverability. Not only that, but one that can even steam, or convert from one vacuum type to another. Besides, there’s always that reason to save on the money you spend on purchases, regardless of whether you can afford the price or not.
- 1 Why do mid price vacuums make the best bet?
- 2 Common features
- 3 Some features in costly vacuums may not be of much use
- 3.1 Mid price vacuums perform well
- 3.2 Budget vacuums are less costly to repair or replace
- 3.3 You can own more than one
- 3.4 They have the same level of filtration as the expensive ones
- 3.5 They are generally quieter
- 3.6 Budget vacuums are adequately durable
- 3.7 They usually have large enough dirt bins
- 3.8 $200 Vacuums come with the necessary attachments
- 4 What to look for when buying a vacuum under $200
- 5 Top 10 vacuum cleaners under $200
- 5.1 Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away NV501
- 5.2 Oreck Commercial U2000RB1
- 5.3 Shark Navigator Professional NV360
- 5.4 Bissell PowerGlide Pet Hair
- 5.5 Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction
- 5.6 Hoover BH50020PC Linx Signature
- 5.7 Hoover Air Cordless 2-in-1 Deluxe BH52120PC
- 5.8 Shark Flex DuoClean HV391
- 5.9 Dyson V7 Trigger Pro
- 5.10 Bissell Symphony Pet
- 6 Final Thoughts
Why do mid price vacuums make the best bet?
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:
From the research I conducted both online and offline, it appears that most buyers are going for mid-level vacuums. Why? It could be that people just realized that low-cost machines are also capable of efficient vacuuming. So they’re learning to be more prudent and basing choices on cleaning requirements rather than price tags. Or, they may have come across a friend or relative who bought an expensive vacuum but which ended up performing horribly. If you’re planning to get a vacuum cleaner, you may want to go for a low-cost machine that’s within your budget yet suitable for your needs. Whichever model you go for, here are some of the reasons why you can’t get it wrong with a vacuum under 200.
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 an extensive set of attachments which can handle various areas, not only flooring. 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.
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 can 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.
Some features in costly vacuums may not be of much use
You may have heard about overly priced vacuums that performed poorly, or about owners who could not find any use for some of the features on their machines. Before making a purchase, it’s good to understand that some functionalities are just cosmetic and don’t add to the performance of the device. All vacs will usually come with the basic features expected of floor cleaning machines. Depending on your needs, the only features you may want to consider are the ones that affect the vacuum’s efficiency such as suction power, design, head size, ease of use, and so on.
Most mid-level vacuums come with adequate power to lift dirt off a variety off floors, are not overly bulky, and only feature the necessary attachments. If your home isn’t a high traffic one, or if the floor is easy to clean, you may not need the extra power and features of higher priced models. Also if you don’t have pets in the house and stuck hair or pet mess isn’t a problem.
Here are the main reasons to choose a mid-level vacuum cleaner:
Mid price vacuums perform well
While they may not have the extra features expensive vacuums are hyped to come with, budget models clean just as well. Often, what matters is that a vacuum cleaner can suck up dirt efficiently; it’s only a clean floor you want, after all. If your vacuum can work on a variety of floors and excellent results, that could be all you need. The other fancy functionalities are not worth paying dearly for. Besides, they may cause the machine to be more challenging to operate.
Budget vacuums are less costly to repair or replace
Your vacuum will eventually break down regardless of the amount of money you paid to acquire it. A pricey model will cost more to fix compared to a vacuum under 200 whose parts would be easy to obtain. It would also pain more if you had to replace a damaged vacuum that cost you several hundreds of dollars than if you had to discard a budget one. Because you cannot tell how long your new vac will last, it’s always advisable to choose a model that will not be hard to replace or one that will not cost you a lot of money to just repair. Mid-level vacs make the best choice; they serve you better and for long, plus they will not cost you a lot to fix or replace.
You can own more than one
While most vacuums are marketed as do-it-alls, the fact is that they often don’t perform as well as dedicated vacuums for specific tasks. You may find them unsatisfactory if you have a more demanding need, which would require you to buy a dedicated vacuum for each type of flooring. Because of their low price, you can own several of the mid-level vacuums for your different cleaning needs. You can get one for your carpet, another for your hard floor and another for removing pet hair. And all at a cost that equals the price of an expensive do-it-all vacuum.
They have the same level of filtration as the expensive ones
A vacuum under $200 usually comse with a HEPA filter. The high filtration is essential if there’s a family member who suffers from seasonal allergies. HEPA filters ensure allergens don’t pass through the vacuum to return to the air in your home after being sucked up. When buying your budget vacuum, ensure the filtration is truly high. Look out for indicative terms like “Certified HEPA”, or “True HEPA”, while avoiding terms like “HEPA quality” or ambiguous words like “HEPA-like”. Remember, vacuums under 100 are not likely to come with these types of filters.
They are generally quieter
A vacuum mid price vacuum won’t run many parts or have a big motor. The result is that it won’t produce much noise. Levels will range from 60 to 70 dB, which is tolerable. It means you will hear the ringing of your phone or doorbell while going about your cleaning work. This makes these vacuums a good choice if you want a machine that’s quiet enough but still cleans efficiently.
Budget vacuums are adequately durable
Despite their low price, mid-level vacs will last for long. They’re usually constructed from sturdy materials that feature a level of stability comparable to that of expensive ones. Often, manufacturers increase the price of new models for added features or functionalities, and rarely for increased lifespan. When buying your vacuum under 200 dollars, ensure it’s made to be durable by looking out for the following:
- Smooth and flawless finish and edges
- Parts that fit well with a solid feel
- Components that open and close with a solid click and with ease
- Properly sealed edges
- A decent length for the warranty
They usually have large enough dirt bins
The capacity of a vacuum’s bin is important. It determines the number of times you’ve to stop the vacuum to empty it. If you have a large home or if there’s high traffic, a small bin can be frustrating. Mid-level vacuums usually have a bin that can store an amount of dirt and debris that’s no different from that of an expensive model. You will, therefore, get an adequate capacity for vacuumed dirt without breaking the bank for it.
$200 Vacuums come with the necessary attachments
While you may not need all the extra tools or attachments pricey vacuums come with, the less expensive ones usually feature cleaning tools that are most necessary. They include pet hair removing brushes or crevice tools. It means guaranteed efficiency but at a lower cost.
What to look for when buying a vacuum under $200
The best vacuum under 200 dollars will come with almost every feature needed for the cleaning needs of any home. However, not all models will have the functionalities, plus different manufacturers will have different ideas for the various vacuuming requirements. Knowing what to look for would provide you with a clearer picture and result in a better decision. Here are the things to consider.
Ease of use
Vacuuming your home should not be hard work. You need a machine with easy controls as well as one you can move around without difficulty. A swivel steering mechanism provides one of the best ways to guide a vacuum, and you may want the model you buy to have one. A swivel head makes moving around obstacles effortless as well as guiding the machine to vacuum underneath furniture. How far the head can turn matters, so you will want to choose a model that offers a larger angle of turn. Also, go for the model with easy-to-reach control buttons. Operating will be easy and less tiring.
Grip and height comfort
The level of comfort you achieve with your vacuum is important. It will determine the length of time you can operate it without feeling a numbness in the hands or pain in the wrists. Not all vacuums come with a grip that’s easy on your hands. You need to look closely to determine how ergonomic the handle is. Look, too, for a vacuum that will not require you to bend, especially if you have a problem with your back.
You will likely need to use your vacuum cleaner on different surfaces. You will, therefore, need a model that transitions from a hard floor to carpet easily. Also one that allows you to adjust the power at which it sucks up dirt to suit the different situations. The ability to change suction power also means effective cleaning of the hard-to-remove messes.
Ability to remove pet hair
This is essential if you have a pet in your home. You can not assume that every model will be efficient at sucking up all the pet hair it encounters. Some vacuums will come with attachments or a pet hair brush, which helps to remove hair that’s stuck or is in hard-to-reach areas.
Some budget vacuums come with attachments for specific cleaning needs. Requirements vary, so you will need to identify yours to decide what attachment you need. If you have a sensitive floor type such as hardwood, you would need to protect it by opting for a vacuum that offers a microfiber attachment.
Choose a vacuum that features a power cord of decent length. You don’t want to unplug and replug the machine every time you move to another room. It’s tedious and time-consuming. Some models will come with a cord that’s as long as 40 feet, allowing for uninterrupted cleaning. I would advise that you choose a long enough cable so you don’t regret later when you cannot get your vacuum to reach various places without unplugging it.
Ability to convert
Combo vacuums can transform from one type to another, allowing you to accomplish different cleaning tasks. It’s their versatility that makes them a favorite with many buyers. These vacuums are also easier to maintain. The different vacuums the unit can transform into share the same filtration system, which means you will not service different components. It means fewer maintenance costs for the extra vacuuming capabilities. You may want to purchase to a combo vac and benefit from the additional utilities the units offer. You can choose a 2-in-1 or even a 3-in-1 depending on your cleaning requirements.
On and off brush roll
I would advise that you choose a model that comes with an on and off feature for the brush roll. This is because some floors such as hardwood may require that you stop the spin of the brush roll. Having this capability in the vacuum you buy ensures you don’t need it later only to find it not available.
There are times when you may need to use your vacuum in poor lighting. LED headlights would come in handy during such situations to help you carry out the cleaning with ease. Choose a model that features these lights. There are plenty of them for not more than $200, and you only need to pick the right one based on the other cleaning features.
Top 10 vacuum cleaners under $200
Here are my favorite uprights, canisters, cordless vacuums, handhelds and hybrids which match the $200 price tag:
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.
Oreck Commercial U2000RB1
When it comes to Orecks, I always appreciated their Commercial line of uprights. I was positively impressed by their XL2100RHS. But the U2000RB1 is even better. For starters, the 6500 rpm high speed motor is powerful and reliable. TAnd that’s just the beginning, lets see what else is there for us:
- Classic design
- 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).
- Built in USA
- At the moment, it’s being sold with a nice discount.
The Navigator is another Shark model praised by many. I am often asked to compare it with the Rotator. Although it is a less expensive model, it is still a very good machine. Being cheaper 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.
- Accessories included: Pet Power Brush, Dusting Brush and 5.5 inch Crevice Too.
- Has a very large bin.
- Swivel steering.
- 25 ft. of power cord.
- Cleaning path of 9.5 inch.
- 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.
Bissell PowerGlide Pet Hair
I really like what Bissell made with this vacuum cleaner. A while ago, I made a complete review of an older version of the Bissell PowerGlide. Now I’ll just cover the key points of this new one:
- 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.
- Has a redesigned brushroll which works well on both carpets and hard floors.
- It’s a bagless with a medium-sized bin of 0.26 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 17 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.
Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction
Although I’m fully aware many of you prefer bagless units, the Miele C1 is slightly over our budget, yet a wonderful vacuum cleaner which is worth every penny and which definitely deserves a spot on my $200 list. Here’s why:
- Wonderfully compact, weighting only 14 lbs and measuring 16.88″ in length and 9.05″ in height.
- Has a powerful 1200 W motor which provides a strong suction. The airflow travels through a aluminum telescopic wand to reach the bag. Thanks to the state-of-the-art tech, the unit maintains a consistent airflow.
- The bag can store almost 1 gallon.
- Has Miele’s awesome AirClean Sealed Systemfor a true HEPA filtration
- 6 suction levels.
- A cleaning radius of 29.5 ft.
- See what others have to say about this canister.
Hoover BH50020PC Linx Signature
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 20-25 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.
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.
Shark Flex DuoClean HV391
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 Flex DuoClean. Here’s what you’ll get with this unit:
- a great looking 10 lbs. gold unit with a powerful 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 great design which allows you use and store this unit like a boss.
- Active-Glide technology allows you to maneuver it with ease.
- a 10 oz dust bin, which is a small capacity, but we’re talking here about a stick vacuum.
- a great filtration system, based on the Anti- Allergen Complete Seal technology.
- 30 ft. of power cord, a swivel nozzle and LED lights which add up to your cleaning experience.
- some useful accessories.
- 7 years of limited warranty.
- A very good financial deal
Dyson V7 Trigger Pro
The V7 line of cordless vacuum cleaners from Dyson launched an year ago reputed, as expected, a great success. Although their full option unit, the Dyson V10 Absolute, is way over our budget, there are cheaper models such as the V7 Trigger which fit the bill. Here are some of its highlights:
- powerful digital motor, reaching up to 110,000 rpm, used on other V models. This motor is powered by a nickel manganese cobalt battery which lasts 30 minutes in Standard mode (21 AW) or 6 minutes in Boost mode (100 AW).
- 15 cyclones arranged on 2 levels filter microscopic dirt and dust. 3 attachments fit the head of the vacuum cleaner: the combination tool, the crevice tool and the QR Mini Motor Head Tool.
- Comes with a 2-year warranty and a price that matches our budget.
Bissell Symphony Pet
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
Contrary to what you may have thought all along, you do not need to spend a fortune to get a quality vacuum. There are many mid-level machines that come with features meant to make your cleaning easy and efficient. With a few considerations, you can find a vacuum under 200 that fully meets your cleaning requirements. Use the ones in my list of $200 vacuums to start you off. I selected them based on the features you will find necessary for the cleaning of a wide range of floors, and will save you from spending a huge amount of money on a vacuum unnecessarily.
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