In this Guide
Great vacuums don’t have to break the bank. If you’re shopping for vacuums on a budget, there are a few great options to choose from!
Of course, there’s a profound difference between a frugal purchase and cheap one, and it’s important to make sure that you buy the best quality vacuum you can afford. If you’re forced to replace it after only a few months, you won’t be saving any money in the long run.
We found a few great models that keep their prices low without sacrificing performance or quality. We picked one favorite model from three categories: handheld, canister, and upright.
In our reviews, we go over the strengths and weakness of each model. We looked at suction power, long-term performance, design, and (of course) cost. We also looked at the attachments included, as well as the ease-of-use of each pick.
|BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser||Shark Navigator Freestyle||BISSELL 9595A w/ OnePass|
|Our Rating: 4.4|
Popularity: Very High
|Our Rating: 3.8|
Popularity: Very High
|Our Rating: 4.1|
Popularity: Very High
Best Inexpensive Vacuum Cleaners on a Budget
1.BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser
Handheld vacuums are a good choice if you already have a full-sized machine that you like, but you’re looking for a tool to clean pet hair from above-floor spots.
Areas like furniture upholstery, car interiors, staircases, and curtains are all magnets for pet hair, and handhelds are perfect for these “spot cleaning” jobs.
The ultra-low cost BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser is our favorite handheld model. It’s a bagless handheld designed specifically for pet hair, with a flexible rubber nozzle that attracts hair and dust from carpet and upholstery.
The Pet Hair Eraser weighs a lightweight 4 pounds, with an easy-grip handle and a fingertip on/off button. It also includes a hard nozzle for dry messes.
The two different attachments can be snapped into place, and then detached again with the press of a button.
Additionally, the Pet Hair Eraser has a multi-level filtration system and a 16 foot power cords. It’s protected by a 1-year warranty.
Many reviewers found themselves surprised by the amount of suction power generated by this lightweight, inexpensive machine. Combined with the static attraction of the rubberized attachment, the powerful Pet Hair Eraser lives up to its name, making short work of pet hair on carpet, cat towers, and upholstery.
“This little sucker is unbelievable. The power is fantastic, the torque from the motor actually makes it jump in your hand when you flip the on switch. I have a couch in my basement that is the favorite place for my two cats to sleep. The couch had so much hair on it that the couch looked grey instead of purple. I spent 5 minutes with the pet hair eraser and the couch was literally hair free. The rubber attachment on the front works way better than motorized brushes that quickly clog with hair.”
The Pet Hair Eraser has the qualities essential to a good hand vac as well—lightweight build, compact size and a comfortable grip. It’s perfect for a quick cleaning session if you don’t want to lug your full-sized machine out of the closet, across your home, or up the stairs.
The small size and light weight also make it great for cleaning the interior of your car, the stairs, or other spots that full-sized models can’t reach. The power cord of the Pet Hair Eraser is also quite long for a handheld vac, which allows for more mobility to reach these tricky spots.
“I’m not sure what took me so long to get something like this. It works really well. I clean the sofas, the chair and detailed my car with it and saved myself quite a little sum.”
Some owners took issue with the exhaust vents, which are placed on the sides of the Pet Hair Eraser. The air from the vents may scatter debris particles in the vicinity if they’re not in the suction path of the machine.
Another potential downside for some customers: the Pet Hair Eraser is designed to pick up pet hair, dirt and dust—but not much else. Owners who regularly used it to pick up large particles like kitty litter or sand reported mechanical issues in the long term.
For the price, the Pet Hair Eraser is one of the best bargains among pet hair cleaners. It’s powerful and well-designed, able to clear pet hair from carpeted and upholstered surfaces in no time at all.
With a compact size, long cord and lightweight build, the Pet Hair Eraser hits all the right notes for a great handheld pet vacuum!
2.Shark Navigator Freestyle
This Shark is one of the best-selling cleaning machines on the market! It’s a lightweight, powerful little stick vacuum. We love it because it gives you the convenience of cordless operation at a very low cost. It’s one of the only cordless stick vac’s you can get that’s quite affordable, and Consumer Reports has recommended it as one of the best stick models!
It has a fully-powered brush head. That’s pretty rare on cheap stick vacuums! This Shark is totally equipped for vacuuming carpets, whether they’re flat or deep-pile. Reviewers found that the brushes did a great job at pulling pet fur out of carpet fibers.
There are two settings, for hard floors and carpets. Having multiple settings on the brush head allows you to turn down the speed for hard floors, where fast brushes simply throw dirt around. Then, you can turn up the speed to really scrub your carpets! It’s a simple touch which a lot of inexpensive models don’t have.
It’s very compact. Like many stick vac’s, the Freestyle has a narrow body and a relatively low-profile power head which fits easily under furniture and in tight spots. Since the whole thing is so small, we think it’s perfect for apartment-dwellers, or any pet owners squeezed for space.
It swivels very well, too. The floor head is one of the most agile we’ve seen on a stick vac, especially around corners. It does a good job along edges, and it’s not hard to maneuver at sharp angles.
It’s cordless. Cordless models are much more convenient than their corded siblings, because you can simply grab and go. You don’t have to waste time plugging and unplugging, or worrying about whether you’ll have enough cord to get where you need to clean. The Freestyle gives you around 15 minutes of cleaning time, wherever you want!
It has a larger dust cup than other stick vacuums. That’s a handy feature for folks with pets, since all that fur can fill up stick models fast. The Shark gives you enough room to get through your cleaning without having to empty the compartment multiple times.
The dust cup lifts off the shaft of the machine and deposits easily over the trash using a trapdoor.
The whole thing is super lightweight at just 7.5 pounds. It’s ideal for people with back issues, or just for folks who have to carry their vac up and down stairs!
It charges quickly, in about 4 hours. The charging dock doubles as a storage stand when you’re not using the Freestyle.
There’s just one operating mode, and no attachments. This isn’t a good choice if you want to use your vacuum to clean furniture or other spots above the ground. If you have very tight spaces between furniture and appliances where the floor head doesn’t fit, you’ll be out of luck.
It doesn’t have spectacular battery life. At a maximum run time of 15 minutes, you might not be able to clean your whole house. This is better for apartment-dwellers, or homeowners who clean sections of their home daily.
It also uses older nickel cadmium batteries, which fade as they lose power. Newer lithium ion batteries offer fade-free suction until the end of the charge, but they aren’t available at this price.
It’s very light, which here also means cheap. This is made of thin plastic, and parts do occasionally break. It’s not as sturdy as a more expensive Dyson cordless model.
It doesn’t have a great record for durability, overall. Some buyers ran into issues with the batteries, while others had parts break on them. There’s a 1-year warranty in case anything happens, though.
There isn’t quite as much suction as you’d get from a full-size vacuum.
While the Freestyle isn’t the most powerful option on the market, or the most versatile, it’s still one of the most convenient, user-friendly, and easy on the pocket vac models! We think it’s a worthy option for people who like the convenience of a cordless vacuum, but can’t afford a $400 Dyson. It’s easy to use, it maneuvers well, and it works on any kind of flooring. On the other hand, it might not give you enough power to get through your whole house. If you’re in a place with all carpets, you would be better off with the Bissell below!
3. BISSELL 9595A with OnePass
Currently the best selling upright on Amazon, the BISSELL 9595A also manages to hold a 4.5 rating among users—unusually high for a budget vacuum.The 9595A was not specifically designed to be a pet vacuum, but pet owner reviewers say this model does a great job on pet hair.
The 9595 is a bagless, inexpensive, and lightweight vacuum that features BISSELL “OnePass” technology—a unique deep cleaning brush designed to clean the carpet underneath with a single pass. It also features cyclonic vacuum technology for improved, long lasting suction.
Additionally, the vacuum has a bottom-emptying dust canister design that allows owners to quickly dispose of the debris inside with the press of a button. Air that enters the vacuum is filtered through a multi-level filtration system with a washable foam tank filter.
Attached the body of the 9595A is a turbo brush tool—a powered handheld attachment for cleaning above-floor surfaces like the stairs, furniture, and upholstery. BISSELL also includes a crevice tool, extension wand, and dusting brush alongside this vacuum.
The BISSELL 9595A earns lots of praise from both expert and consumer reviews, and it’s one of the best models to be found right now in terms of price vs. quality.
Despite its sub-100 dollar price tag, reviewers say the 9595A packs better performance than vacuums sold at many times the cost. Owners particularly loved the powerful suction of this upright, and assert that the OnePass floor head indeed deep cleans carpets in a single pass over.
“On several different websites, I have found that this BISSELL ranks just as high as a Shark in customer ratings/feedback. The suction is every bit as good (some people say it’s better). I would rank the suction as equal to my Dyson before it got old and cranky. One pass really does sweep up the mess, which is great!”
Pet owners make up a significant portion of this vacuum’s fan base. The floor head does a great job of removing pet hair from carpet, rugs, and hardwood, with many reviewers reporting that the 9595A picked up significantly more hair than their previous pet vacuums. The turbo brush tool has a strong airflow, and performs equally well on above-floor surfaces, including furniture, stairs, and curtains.
“This has been the best vacuum I have ever owned. It is great for pet hair on the floor or with the pet hair attachment for use on furniture. My old vacuum would take 10 minutes just to clean the rug in my living room, this thing does the job in 20 seconds.”
Customers also liked the lightweight body of the vacuum (roughly 15 pounds), which makes the 9595A easy to push around the home and carry up and down stairs. It’s also a breeze to maneuver while vacuuming, requiring little force to push and navigate it around furniture.
The brushroll on this vacuum cannot be switched off. Though owners report that it does a great job on both carpet and hardwood, the stiff bristles of the brush roll may damage the delicate surface of hardwood floors over time.
Secondly, pet owners report that the filter must be washed on a frequent basis if the 9595A is used as a pet vacuum, as the hair and dander accumulate quickly on the filter. Compared to previous vacuums reviewers owned, the 9595A’s filter required more regular cleaning.
In the short time since its release, the BISSELL 9595A has earned a reputation for delivering some of the best performance of any vacuum under $100. It’s a great choice for pet owners who live in a combination carpet and hardwood home, or anyone looking for an inexpensive yet good quality vacuum.
FAQ: Why haven’t you guys recommended any canister vacuums under $100?
Good question! We love canister vacuums as much as the next pet owner, but we’ve found that the ones under $100 just aren’t worth your money. They’re cheap, lightweight, and extremely clumsy to use. They either don’t work well at all, or break almost immediately. We think it’s better to steer clear, and plan to spend at least $250 for a decent canister vac.
Which is the Best Cheap Vacuum for you?
You won’t be able to find a top-of-the-line vacuum for under a hundred dollars, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a bad vacuum. These models are our favorite pet vacuums that keep the price low, but still deliver great performance.
If you’re looking for a handheld vacuum for quick jobs and above-floor cleaning, we highly recommend the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser. It’s a dirt-cheap model that lives up to its name, making quick work of pet hair messes on upholstery, car interiors, cat towers and more.
Among stick vacuums, our favorite is the compact yet powerful Shark Freestyle. Packing a surprising amount of suction power, as well as a jumbo dust compartment and powered brush head, the Freestyle has been a popular favorite for years. It’s our recommendation for people with a mixture of flooring types, who want something light and convenient.
If upright models are more your speed, check out the best selling BISSELL 9595A with OnePass. This high-powered model isn’t advertised as a pet vacuum, but pet owners say both the floor head and the turbo hand tool do a better job on fur and dander than models two or three times the cost.
Keep it simple:
When you’re looking to save money, the best thing to do is to avoid overly complex vac’s. The best value is to be found in models with fewer features but better functionality. When you’re looking in the budget range, you’ll find that the models with the most features tend to be the flimisiest and the least well-designed. Avoid machines that are trying to be premium. Focus on lots of suction power, decent filtration, and the basic attachments you need.
Don’t forget to think long-term:
While it’s tempting to look for a quick bargain to get you through, don’t cheap out too much. Remember that a bargain isn’t so much of a bargain if you have to buy the same cheap vac again in just a few months! So, be sure to spend enough to ensure that you have a working vac as long as you need one.
If you’re interested to see how our picks stack up against the competition,visit our homepage and also check out Amazon’s best-selling pet vacuums!