The main benefit of bagless vacuum cleaners, which, by the way, are just as good on suction and power as their bagged contemporaries, is that you save on running costs as there’s no need for more bags. Many are easier and quicker to empty too than their bagged contemporaries. And as some come with anti-bacterial protection, which can reduce house dust mite and cat allergen content significantly, they can also be better for allergy sufferers. 

On the downside, bagless machines usually have smaller dust capacities – the average holds 2.6 litres, compared to 4.2 litres in bagged machines. So if you’re buying one, do your homework about how quickly it tends to fill up. Also check if the canister is easy to empty. It can get messy, producing billowing clouds of dust, although that’s certainly not always the case.

Do you mind how heavy the machine is? Is it easily manoeuvrable? Will it reach into tight crevices and other hard-to-reach spots in your home? Is the machine quiet? And finally, make sure you don’t get so carried away with the benefits of the bagless technology that you forget to check whether the machine you’re buying will suck up dust efficiently, leaving your home with that freshly vacuumed look.

We’ve tested upright, cylinder, cordless and robot machines across all floor types to bring you the best of them.

Dyson Big Ball Animal 2: £299.99, Dyson

If you’re a pet owner and have the dosh, you need one of these machines in your life. It makes light work of carpets, hard floors and upholstery, with everything from large debris to fine dust eradicated in its wake. Plus, there’s no crevice too small or ceiling too high for its serious suction to reach. It is surprisingly quiet and has a good filter, making it suitable for allergy sufferers, and the 9.7m cable means you won’t have to keep unplugging it as you get round your home.

It’s on the heavy side, but the "big ball" bit refers to patented technology that means it pushes and pulls any way you need it to and this works a treat. Thicker carpets pose more of a challenge, but provided you’re willing to work a bit harder, even this shouldn’t put you off.

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Miele Blizzard CX1 Comfort Powerline Lotus Cylinder: £400, John Lewis & Partners

Miele is a relatively new kid on the block when it comes to bagless vacs and we are seriously impressed with this robust machine, particularly on carpets where a single, light-hearted swipe leaves it absolutely spotless. Even entrenched pet hairs are removed with ease and it traps allergens in its wake too.

It’s been designed to reach tricky areas like tight corners and ceilings and it comes with easy-to-store accessories, in addition to being lovely and quiet – so no need for cries of, ‘Do you have to do this now? We’re trying to watch the telly.’ It’s easy to empty the canister and works well on upholstery. But it’s can’t seem to catch really fine particles on hard floors and it’s bigger and heavier than other cylinder vacuum cleaners.

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Morphy Richards Supervac Deluxe: £154.99, Amazon

Don’t expect the oomph you get with the some of the more expensive machines in this roundup, but this is nonetheless a nifty machine that works well on carpets and hard floors and won’t leave you with fine dust even on a laminate floor (a common problem). We found it reached right under furniture and tight corners and also did a good job on ceilings and walls.

It’s cordless, which will appeal to those who don’t want to spend their time switching plug sockets (although that does mean you’ll need to do your cleaning in under half an hour, or 15 minutes on full whack) and it comes with an affordable price tag too. In handheld mode, it can start to feel heavy after a while and pet owners may need to clean out the brush reasonably often, but it’s a quick enough job.

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GTech Air Ram Mk 2 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner: £196.18, Amazon


Another lightweight cordless stick machine to save you plugging and unplugging your way through your home, this one offers exceptional performance on hard floors – which is interestingly where cordless machines often fall short. It’s reasonable on carpets too (although not quite as fabulous), with no need to switch modes between the two. The stand-out filter will be music to the ears of allergy sufferers and with a running time of 40 minutes, there’s plenty of time to get into every corner.

We found it ergonomically friendly, although it is quite a heavy machine, and be warned that it doesn’t have a detachable handheld cleaner – a common feature of many other cordless machines. You can empty the canister and store it away in a jiffy, but this wouldn’t be our top recommendation for pet owners.

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Vax Blade 2 Max: £249.99, Currys

This top-notch cordless machine has lots of bells and whistles – it even has LED headlights, for goodness sake (although this is actually surprisingly useful in darker homes and for hidden corners). It’s a breeze to push, including under furniture, and it lasts a whopping 45 minutes on a single run – longer than most. Above all, it’s got decent oomph on all floor types and the handheld mode is useful too, albeit on the heavy side.

It’s easy to store, ideally on the wall mount which can be put up in any cupboard, and it comes with a crevice tool and dusting brush (plus, you can buy extras separately). It prefers being on the lower power mode, but that’s no problem as that offers enough suction for most vacuuming jobs.

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Hoover Velocity Evo Reach: £13.98, Amazon

This energy efficient machine is a steal for under £150. It works consistently well on all floor types and even ticks the boxes for pet hair and allergens, as well as being easy to store away (including its own tools). At 12m long, the power cable stretches far and wide and the hose itself is longer than most too, at 4.5m. In some flats, that will mean being able to vacuum the whole house without the need to unplug, and even if you have stairs, it will make life easier than with many machines. If we’d designed it, we’d have put the controls on the handle not the machine, but you can’t have it all. It’s also quite heavy.

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Philips PowerPro Ultimate FC9920: £246.16, Dunelm 

We can’t rate this hi-tech, futuristic-looking machine highly enough on carpets, where it effortlessly sucks up the finest of dust in its wake. Stairs are a doddle, thanks to the long, flexible hose, and it’s not bad on hardwood floors either, although it didn’t score quite so highly on laminate floors. It’s compact, making it easy to store, and the 10m power cord gives good reach. We had a few niggles – it’s not that easy to move around and bin emptying is tricky until you get the knack. Plus the instruction manual could be clearer. But for incredible suction and a machine that’s built to last, it’s impressive.

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Bosch Power Silence 2: £279, Very

Vacuuming can be a noisy affair, although not so with this machine that’s one of the quietest we’ve tested – ideal for when your kids are asleep or the rest of the family is trying to watch the telly. It excels on hard floors and does a decent job on carpets, while the 3.6L capacity for dust is way bigger than you get with most bagless cylinder vacs, which will save you time on emptying.  The long reach means you don’t have to keep switching plus sockets and it’s good for allergy sufferers, but on the downside it’s quite large and probably not the best for pet owners.

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Karcher VC5: £77.28, Amazon

If versatility tops your list of priorities, then check this out. Impressively compact and lightweight – which makes it easy to store and use – it has lots of suction on all four power settings and enough accessories to make short work of cleaning tight corners, stairs, walls and more. We found the accessories among the easiest and quickest to remove and replace of any vacuum cleaner we’ve tried and the cable is nice and long too. On the downside, it’s not the most stable of machines, which we found tipped over quite regularly.

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iRobot Roomba 980: £849, John Lewis & Partners

Loathe vacuuming? This is the top of the range robot vacuum from iRobot, which does the job for you. Wifi enabled and controlled via an app, remote or on the robot itself, it runs for two hou rs non-stop until it needs charging again and it can even be pre-set to work every day. It’s slim enough to reach under furniture like beds and automatically adjusts according to floor types. It didn’t do quite such a deep clean as some other machine we tested, but if you get it working regularly, your home will always look fresh and immaculate. It’s quite noisy, though. 

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The Verdict: Bagless vacuum cleaners

The Dyson Big Ball Animal 2 is one of Dyson’s best vacuum cleaners yet and a godsend for pet owners. For those that want to use minimum elbow grease, the Miele Blizzard CX1 Comfort Powerline Lotus Cylinder is also a worthy contender. At the budget end, we’d say the Hoover Velocity Evo Reach gives you the most bang for your buck.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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