Best vacuum under $100 – we tested 42 cheap vacuums
This is the 14th bi-monthly update to the guide on best budget vacuums under $100.
In the 28 months since this guide first saw light of day we tested and reviewed 46 inexpensive vacuums of all types and sizes.
No matter what type of vacuum you’re looking for, you’ll find our top picks below sorted in the following categories: Upright, Canister, Cordless, Stick and Handheld.
Last updated: May 2018
This guide is divided into 5 section by the type of vacuum. Click one of the buttons in the table below and you’ll “skip” the section you’re interested in.
It’s there you’ll see the detailed analysis of the products.
Within each section you’ll also see green buttons – those are links to the original products on Amazon where you can see the current prices and, more importantly, the experiences owners shared about these vacuums.
These are the best vacuums under $100
The Overall Rating you see above is a median of 5 quality ratings of the models.
Every aspect of the quality is tested and all the testing results boiled to 5 quality categories:
- Performance rating (includes tests of soil removal, a general suction test and durability and longevity of the materials)
- Suction power (this rating includes not only the brute suction power but the balance between power and changes in surface appearance after prolonged use of the model)
- Filtration system (efficiency)
- Ease of use (practicality, versatility, cord, storage, accessories)
- Value for money (this one is pretty self-explanatory)
The table above concisely list the best vacuums under $100 in the 5 categories, along with their current ratings.
You can skip back to it by clicking the button that says “Skip back to Top 5 table.” You’ll see it “sprinkled” throughout the guide. You can also use the buttons below to skip to sections.
Best vacuum under $100 – Upright vacs
BISSELL CleanView OnePass
With the ratings of 9.4, this Bissell has been the top among uprights under $100, ever since a few of its main competitors saw an increase in price.
For the better part of last year, it was neck and neck between the OnePass and a few Hoover models.
Since the significant price increase of the competition, this unit stands alone. the runner up would also be a Bissell (the Cleanview), you can see the Bisell 9595a review here.
Here’s what makes it better…
As you saw in the comparison above, the quality aspects where this Bissell blows away the competition are Performance and suction power.
The gap in rating in other quality categories is not as wide as it in those two. It especially excelled in the soil removal test and suction power.
We mentioned that this is the only upright vac under 100 bucks with the Overall rating of over 9/10.
The test results (especially in the two categories we stressed) were not that different from similar uprights that cost 2 to 4 more. In fact, the performance rating of 96 is the third best overall.
That’s including high-end models. At this price, it doesn’t get any better.
- Suction power – cyclonic-based, this means that you’re not likely to see any changes in the power over time
- Upgraded brush design / OnePass technology – the brushes rotate into the carpet, releasing the dust and dirt particles to be sucked in on the first pass
- Filtration – multilevel system (the tank filter is washable)
- Available bundles: carpet deodorizer, stain remover, easy maintenance bundle, filter for odor removal bundle
- Easy to move and carry – weight: 15 lbs
- Dimensions: 12.5x13.5x44 “
- Cord length: 25 ft
- Add-ons: extension wand, dusting brush and crevice tool
- Warranty: 3 years limited
Current Rating of the Bissel CleanView
2nd and 3rd best vacuum under $100 among uprights
The list of top 3 models in this category hasn’t changed for 3 updates (6 months).
The runner ups are Hoover T-Series WindTunnel and the Hoover Tempo WidePath, both very good cheap vacuums, but not really close in ratings to the Bissell One Path.
Hoover T-Series WindTunnel UH30310
- Good on the first pass test – Hoover calls the technology used in this one “Wind Tunnel”. What it does is lift the particles & release them from the carpet surface.
- Height adjustment – flexible 5-position
- Easy to use and empty – empties at one touch using Hoovers Clean-drop bags
- Filtration: Activated Carbon Hepa filters minimize odors
- Cord length: 30 ft
- Hose length: 12 ft
- Add-ons: Crevice, Pet Upholstery and Pet-hand Tool (air powered)
- Includes a cord clip – makes it easier to keep the cord out of the way
When we list items as top picks of a category, we’re always very open about the flaws we’ve seen.
It might come of as too much criticism but models that find their ways to the top 3 in a price range are to be closely scrutinized. The fact that units listed here are cheap, budget-friendly and all cost under $100 doesn’t change that.
Current Rating of the Hoover WindTunnel
This is the cheapest version from the WindTunnel Series and, if we’re honest, it shows, primarily in the durability and longevity of the model.
The durability issues with the plastic body and the flexible hose were always there and will be there with most models in the price range of under $100.
Having said that, the durability issues we’ve seen seem to have gotten worse.
The stats used to be that 1 in 88 owners has seen a cracked hose within the first year. The number has climbed over the last year to a worrisome 1 in 64.
If you compare that to the 1 in 141, which are the stats of the Bissell OnePass, it paints a pretty good picture about how the quality of the materials of the two models compare.
Other flaws where this particular model of the WindTunnel Doesn’t come close to the Bissel Upright OnePass are cracks in the plastic body within a year of use (1 in 179 vs. 1 in 308) and other malfunctions that required return or replacement (1 in 155 vs. 1 in 92).
Hoover Tempo WidePath Upright
This Hoover is one of the industry classics and has been in the top 10 best upright vacuums under $100 since we first compiled the list. It was even the top pick for 2 updates last year.
But things changed for the Tempo…more on that in a minute.
- Wider cleaning area – 15 inches cleaner
- Filtration – rinsable filters
- Anti-allergen bag – Allergen Media Filters traps up to 99% of pollen and dust the size of 5 microns
- Cord length: 25 ft
- Comes with 2 extension wands, a crevice and an upholstery tool
- Hose: 6 ft long
- Weight: 14.8 lbs
- Dimensions: 15 x 13 x 43.5 “
- 5-position multi-floor height adjustment
- Warranty: 1 Year
Before we move on to the fact sheet and the features of the Tempo, let us just say that we’ve noticed a quality change with this model.
The one we tested two years ago is still alive and well, but since we’ve seen some red lights towards the end of the last year, we got one more to see what might be the issue.
The differences between the two Tempos we have are noticeable even to the naked eye. They are not deal-breakers at that price point (it is among our Top 3 after all) but the quality of the materials changed, from the hose down to the body.
It’s not uncommon in this price range ($50-100) that companies try to save money on manufacturing by changing their outsourcing practices, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a change in quality.
In the case of the Tempo WidePath, the change is significant and it’s what caused the drop in ratings, from 9.2 to 8.3.
Current Rating of the Hoover Tempo
- No headlight, bag indicator or hose coupling dust cover
- Softer brush doesn’t get into the carpet as efficiently as the one on the OnePass
- Louder than competing models
- Reported issues with the circular holder of the hose (plastic not as durable and can break in certain positions)
- Higher flaw stats compared to the OnePass
Best vacuum under $100 –
BISSELL Zing Rewind Bagless
This Bissell is not only the best canister model under $100, but it is currently one of the Top 5 canister vacuums overall. This means that this budget-friendly Bissel stands tall among models that cost 200-300% more.
- Suction – powerful cyclonic system
- Bagless – the dust and dirt is gathered into the removable and washable plastic compartment
- Filtration – 3-stage system, filters on the dirt cup and post-motor, all washable and re-usable
- Comes with an automatic air flow regulator, cord rewind, 2-in1 crevice and dusting brush tool
- Weight: 11.2 pounds, light and easy to use
- Small and easy to move around – dimensions: 10.9 x 16.25 x 11.75 “
- Cord – automatic rewind
- Best used for hardwood floors, didn’t perform as well on thick plush carpets (compared to upright models)
- Plastic not as sturdy as the one in more expensive Bissell models
- Relatively small canister means it has to be cleaned regularly
How long is the warranty?
Is it any good for hard to reach surfaces (like under a couch)?
How good is it with pet hair?
Depends on the surface. If we’re talking hardwood floors and tiles, there’s no issue, this is one of the best cheap vacuums for pet hair out there.
When it comes to getting pet hair out of carpets, you’d probably need something stronger.
Are the filters washable?
Yes, both of the filters are washable and reusable.
This part is especially important for people with allergy problems.
What’s the cord length?
Although not listed in the fact sheet, the cord of the Bissell Zing bagless is 15 ft long (full length to the red marker) and 13.5 ft to the yellow marker.
Can it be used on a car?
Yes, it handles any surface found in a car without any issues.
The hose is long enough to reach the hard-to-reach areas and the suction is strong enough you only need a moment of contact with the surface to do the job.
The crevice tool it comes with is good enough for 90% of jobs, but there is separate attachment pack you can get (not included).
Is a baseboard bush included?
It is. It’s somewhat small but it does the job.
What’s the material of the handle?
There’s no metal parts on the body (as one can expect at this low price range) all parts are plastic.
How wide is the hose?
The diameter of the hose on the Bissell Zing Bagless is 2 “.
Can I get a replacement hose if it breaks?
Yes, there are replacement parts available online.
What about blower function?
No blower function.
How often should I wash the filters?
Hard question to answer because it depends on the surface you’re cleaning and the dirt and dust involved. As an example and rule of thumb – for an average home of 2000 square feet, washing the filter after 3 uses should do the trick. Just make sure they are completely dry before used again.
Best affordable vacuum
among cordless sticks
Shark Navigator Freestyle SV1106
- Light, easy to use and versatile – cordless, rechargeable and weighs only 7.5 lbs
- Long-life battery (included) – 10.8 V
- The brushroll is 2-speed, performed very well both on carpet, floors and tiles
- Extra Large dustcap means you won’t have to empty it as often
- Designed for easy maneuvering around furniture (swivel steering head)
- Great for pet hair – the motorized brush lifts the hair that’s stuck between the fibers of a carpet
- Easy to empty the bin when full – designed for top and bottom emptyWeight: 7.5 lbs
- Dimensions: 10.5 x 9.4 x 46
Is it noisy?
Not at all. In fact, it’s much quieter than larger models, which is not a given with cordless sticks in this low price range.
It works in two modes (floors and carpet) and the floor mode is peg quieter.
Is it powerful enough to handle kitty litter?
Yes. We got this question a lot and actually tested it on kitty litter – handled it with ease.
How do you charge the battery?
The battery is charged separately using the included charger station.
You plug the charger into a power outlet and then just place the battery into the slot.
How long does the battery last?
Average life of one battery charge is about 2-2.5 hours, depending on the type of surface you’re using it on.
Carpets take a greater toll on the battery life.
It takes about 3 hours to fully charge it. Once it’s fully charged, the light indicator will fill.
How does it compare to other budget models?
This moderatly-priced Shark Navigator is the only cordless stick under $100 with a battery powerful enough to compete with corded models in the price range.
Best budget vacuum – corded stick
Hoover Linx Cyclonic Bagless SH20030
It’s not the cheapest among the sticks, but it offers Value for money that’s unparalleled and can’t be compared to cheaper sticks.
In our tests, it’s the only stick that performed like it didn’t belong in the price range.
The soil removal and the general suction test returned results that are very close to the top stick model that costs almost three times as much (The Shark Rocket Ultra).
- Price to quality ratio – as we mentioned there are cheaper stick models, but none of them comes close in ratings and pretty much all quality aspects, from the quality of the materials to the power.
- Common issue with cheap sticks is the rough plastic that’s “unkind” to the floor and leave scratch marks – the Marring wheels of the Hoover Linx eliminate any potential damage to the floors
- Low power consumption – 2 amps motor delivers surprisingly powerful suction for the power it “consumes”
- Powered by the same technology as Hoover’s premium models
- Ergonomic handle – the only stick in the price range that features an Extreme Recline Handle which makes it much easier to use than regular sticks
- Cord – length 20 ft, cord release feature
- Sturdy bristles for effective cleaning of edges – another common issue with sticks, they don’t fair great against edges. Not this Hoover, the bristles remove edge dirt efficiently.
- Weight: 9.7 lbs, dimensions – 10.6 8 x 25 “
Does it come with a warranty?
Yes. It comes with 2-year limited warranty.
How good is it with pet hair?
It’s the single best low-priced stick and that goes double for pet hair.
No cheaper stick is powerful enough to efficiently handle hair on floors and rugs.
For thicker carpets, you’ll want to go with something like the above mentioned Shark Navigator Freestyle.
How does it compare to Hoover Linx Cordless?
The cordless version is not as good with thick carpets and nowhere near as powerful.
Unless you’re only using it for tiles and naked floors, we’d recommend the corded version any day of the week.
Bottom line – this is a good cheap vacuum both for pet hair and carpets.
Best inexpensive vacuum under 100 dollars – top robot unit in the prince range
Pure Clean PUCRC25 White
The best robot vacuum cleaner under 100 dollars (and the only one worth mentioning in the price range) is the PUCRC25 model by Pure Clean.
- Weighs 3.25 lbs
- Size: 12.5 x 12 x 4.5
- Capacity of the dustbin: 0.2 L
- Battery: 3.7 V Lithium, 850 mAh
- Performed great on tiles and hardwood floors, even short carpets
- Easy to use – one touch activation
- The low profile allows it to get to the hard to reach spaces under furniture (profile height only 2.5”, low enough to get under most couches)
- Cliff sensor that actually works – one of the main reasons it’s the best robot vacuum under $100 is that the anti-fall cliff sensor actually works. Not all cheap robot vacuums come with the feature and in the ones that do, it doesn’t works as well as in more expensive models.
- Filtration – HEPA filter is efficient and keeps dust particle inside the dustbin, which is crucial for people with allergy issues.
- Works well both in open spaces and around edges – the main reason behind are the dual rotating brushes (two side sweepers) that broaden it’s reach beyond it’s profile
- Power efficient battery keeps a long charge – much better than other robot models priced under $100, it can run for about 90 minutes on one charge (takes 4 hours to fully charge)
Bottom line – this affordable Pure Clean robot vac is a good alternative if the money is tight, since there’s no offer of cheap Roomba vacuums on the market, nothing remotely close to the price range of under 100 dollars.
It currently has over 800 user reviews on Amazon – you can see them by following the link below.
Best affordable vacuum among cordless handhelds
Black + Decker CHV 16V Hand Vac
The competition for the title of best inexpensive vacuums among handhelds is fierce. Still, one product has been dominating the category for the last 7 updates – the Black + Decker CHV 16V.
It’s currently rated at 95/100, making it not only the best budget vacuum among the handhelds, but one of the top-rated overall.
Let’s see what makes it tick.
- Power efficient – the company calls the battery “smart” because it uses about 50% less energy than similar budget handheld models
- Powerful suction – the suction of this CHV is unparalleled among hand vacs in this price range. The “side effect” of the power is that cyclonic system is useful for keeping the filter clean.
- Design of the nozzle makes it versatile – unlike most models in the category, the nozzle of this B&D is thin, which makes it possible to reach tight spots.
- Easy to clean and maintain – as mentioned, the suction itself does a pretty good job of preventing debris from accumulating on the filters. On the other hand, the nozzle is removable and washable.
- Holds a charge very well – 15-20 minutes from one charge
- 2 Year Limited Warranty
- Size and weight: 17 x 5.5 x 7.8 “, 2.8 lbs
Does it have to be kept on the charging dock?
For people in small apartments with small kitchens and counter spaces, it’s important that you can keep it as a standalone and only occasionally plug it in to the dock.
How big is the opening on the nozzle?
We measured it to be around 1.5 x 1 “, small than most hand vacs which doesn’t make it the best choice if your plan included vacuuming bigger objects like leaves.
This cheap dustbuster is meant to be used for dust, small debris and crumbles around the house or in your car.
How often will I have to replace the filter?
The filter of this low-cost dustbuster is fabric, which means that even with the washing; it will last long without the need to replace it.
Depending on how frequently you use it, the filter can last for years.
How does it compare to regular models?
The power of this inexpensive model is not that different to regular units. It is, however, limited by the volume of the dustbin and the size of the nozzle.
So, it’s more about volume and size of the objects than the weight.
Can it be used for liquids? It is a wet vac?
No, this handheld is a dry-only model.
How big is the charger dock?
The design of the charger is seamless. It’s small and thin with the profile height of the dock is about 3.8 “ diameter.
Other Top Affordable Vacuums
This section of the guide is in response to the requests we’ve been receiving about including certain types and brands into the guide. The few sub-types we’ll look into are:
- Top cheap Dyson and Shark vacuums
- Top cheap car vacuums (handheld)
Cheap Dyson vacuums
Dyson is not a brand to look at if you are looking for a really low-cost vacs.
What counts as a cheap Dyson vacuum is any model that’s under $150 or $200 for a handheld, and under 250 for all other types.
We’ll take a look at three budget-friendly Dyson models, one handheld, one cordless stick and one Upright.
Traditionally, the ratings of these Dyson models have a different structure. What we mean by that is that, being the industry leader they are, Dyson puts out only high-quality vacuums that dominate the rating in quality categories. What brings the ratings down is the category of value for money.
Top cheap Dyson vacuum in handheld category – V6 Cordless
- Powerful motor – V6 digital
- More fine particles “caught” – Radial 2 Tier cyclone system
- Solid battery hold – about 20 minutes of continuous use from one charge
- For more serious jobs this model features what the company calls a “Max Power Mode”, which allows for about 5-6 minutes of high output suction
- Ergonomic design of the handle
- Weight and size: 3.4 lbs, 10 x 16.3 x 6 “
Top cheap Dyson vacuum among sticks – V6 Cord Free Motor Head
- Dyson V6 Cord Free Stick
- Charge/battery hold – about 20 minutes
- Versatile – performs very well on all floor types
- Sturdy bristles for the more stubborn carpet dirt
- Sucks out finer dust from hard floors – fiber filaments technology (carbon-based)
- Size and weight: 9.7 x 8.2 x 46.5 “ / 4.5 lbs
What you might say is “good news” is that we have often seen this Dyson to be discounted from its original price – sometimes even below $250. With the quality in mind, getting it at that price point would be, in our opinion, a steal.
Top cheap Dyson vacuum among uprights – Ball Multi Floor 2
- Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 Upright
- One of the most powerful suctions on the market
- Light (15.6) and easy to use and maneuver
- Can clean across different surfaces – self-adjusting technology used for the head of the unit
- Captures the tiniest micro particles, smaller than any other brand on the market (technology that allows it to catch the finer dust is called “Radial Root Cycle”)
- One-touch button bin empty
- Dimensions: 42 x 16 x 13 “
Again, it’s hard to choose a cheap Dyson vacuums or even qualify them as affordable or inexpensive since they live on a level of their own. The list above is the best we could do.
If you want to see the equivalent models from other brands click the button below to go back to the top menu.
Cheap Shark vacuums
Shark models are nowhere near as expensive as Dyson and can be bundled with the rest of the budget-friendly brands.
In the guide above we already mention one Shark model as the top choice among budget cordless vacs – the Shark Navigator Freestyle.
Here, we’ll look at two cheap Shark vacuums.
Top cheap Shark vacuum among hand vacs – Cordless Pet Perfect
- Run by a 18 V rechargeable battery
- Known for continuous powerful suction with no intensity changes (otherwise not uncommon among handheld models in this low price range). Suction powered by the Cyclonic Twister technology
- Probably the top cheap Shark vacuum when it comes to pet hair – True Pet brushes release the hair from the fiber
- Included tools: crevice tool and dusting brush
- Dimensions and weight: 4.6 x 15.7 x 6.1 “ / 4.2 lbs
Top cheap Shark vacuum among uprights – Shark Navigator Lift-Away
Strictly speaking, this is not a cheap Shark vacuum. We’re including it here because it’s one of the best rated low-priced vacs in terms of value for money (rating of 9.7/10).
- Versatile and portable – 2-in-1, can be used as both an upright and a lift-away, weighs only 13.7 lbs
- Supreme anti-allergen features – one of the top systems on the market, a HEPA filter combined with what Shark calls “Complete Seal technology” is advertised to capture 99.9 % of any allergens
- Add-ons included: 2 floor microfiber cloths and a dedicated extension for hardwood floors (Dust-Away)
- Size: 15 x 11.3 x 45.5 “
Summary and conclusions about the best cheap vacuums
This update of the guide didn’t bring any significant changes in the ranking of our top picks among best affordable vacuums. We’ve seen the usual suspects maintain their positions in most categories.
To keep this guide relevant, we update it with new data we pool every two months and we re-test once a year.
Bottom line is that you can be confident that the information you’re seeing above is fresh and reliable.
If you have any dillemas or questions, simply shoot us an email or shar ethem in the comments section below. We’re a small team but we take special care to respond within 24 hours.
The VacuumsTest Team