“where cheap is chic” — wisebread
In this review:
  1. Best Cheap Canister Vacuums
  2. Canister Vacuum Reviews
  3. Discount Canister Vacuums Features Comparison Table

Cheap Canister Vacuums Buying Guide

Cheap canister vacuums are versatile machines with arsenals of attachments. Although many users prefer upright vacuums with beater brushes that pound out the dirt for deep carpet cleaning, a cheap canister vacuum with a carpet attachment can get the job done adequately, though perhaps not to white-glove standards.

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Most budget models are best suited for lighter-duty housekeeping chores, from tile and hardwood floors to window treatments and upholstered furniture. Their various tools and brushes and long hoses allow them to reach places upright vacuums can't.

Dirt Devil, Hoover, Bissell, Electrolux, and Eureka are the major manufacturers of cheap canister vacuums. Prices at the entry-level end of the market run between $50 and $100 while high-end canister vacuums can cost upwards of $600. Such upscale models may have power nozzles for deep cleaning and impressive suction power and operate with less noise than their budget counterparts, but they aren't necessarily superior to cheaper canister vacs for daily upkeep.

We identified the Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G (starting at $57) and Dirt Devil Featherlite Cyclonic Canister Vacuum SD40100 (starting at $59) as the best cheap canister vacuums due to their user-friendly weight, features, and performance. We also like the Eureka ReadyForce Bagged Canister Vacuum 900A (starting at $57) and Panasonic MC-CL310 Bagless Canister Vacuum (starting at $85) because they deliver value for the money. One low-cost model we could leave in the dust is the Dirt Devil Lite Bagless Canister SD40010 EZ (starting at $79), which garners its share of dings for build quality and a tendency to clog.

Review continues below

We compiled a list of critical features and read online user reviews to help you winnow down your options. The first decision you'll have to make is whether to go for a bagged or a bagless canister vacuum. Many users like the simplicity of dumping the cup on a bagless model into the garbage, but others say doing so can unleash a swirl of dust. In general, sealed bags do a better job containing the dirt and are easy to dispose of, although a bagged design requires more effort and a stream of replacement purchases. Among the models on our list, the Dirt Devil Featherlite Cyclonic and Dirt Devil EZ Lite SD40010 and the Panasonic MC-CL310 are bagless while the Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G and Eureka ReadyForce 900A take bags. Another Eureka model worth noting, the Pet Lover Mighty Mite 3684F (starting at $75), collects dirt, hair, and dust in an odor-eliminating bag.

The next decision point concerns filtration. Some consumers consider it vital to have a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. A HEPA filter is supposed to capture more than 99.9% of the tiniest dust, dander, mites, and other particles embedded in floors and furniture and is especially helpful for people with allergies. Of the models we researched, the Dirt Devil Featherlite Cyclonic and EZ Lite SD40010, the Panasonic MC-CL310, and the Eureka Pet Lover Mighty Mite all feature HEPA filters. The Eureka ReadyForce uses a microfiltration system and the Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G relies on a standard filter. Regardless of type, filters should be cleaned or replaced regularly; those on the Mighty Mite 3670G and Dirt Devil Featherlite can be washed. Just a note of caution: Make sure replacement filters are readily available. One post at Target reports that finding replacement filters for the Dirt Devil EZ Lite is a challenge.

Canister vacuums are meant to be more portable and versatile than upright models, so look for lightweight vacuums with long hoses and cords for easy maneuverability. The svelte Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G and its Pet Lover sibling weigh just 8.6 pounds while the heaviest model on our list, the Panasonic MC-CL310, tips the scale at 13 pounds but is still lighter than an upright, which typically weighs more than 14 pounds. Power cords on the models we researched run 16 or 20 feet in length, and hoses are either 5 or 6 feet long; several have wands for a longer reach.

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Also check out the accessories to be sure they're meant for the surfaces you'll be vacuuming. A subset of bare-floor brush, dusting brush, crevice tool, soft-brush (upholstery) tool, and telescopic wands come with the cheap canister vacuums we researched. The Eureka Pet Lover Mighty Mite 3684F features a "pet power paw" attachment that's designed specifically to tackle pet hair on carpet and upholstery.

Most budget vacs come with a one-year warranty, although the Dirt Devil EZ Lite SD40010 warranty extends for two years.

by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

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Best Cheap Canister Vacuum

Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G
Gold Medal

Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G

Users like the powerful suction that works well on hard floors and low carpet. The light weight and long cord and hose make it very easy to tote around the house and even out to the car.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Dirt Devil Featherlite Cyclonic Canister Vacuum SD40100
Gold Medal

Dirt Devil Featherlite Cyclonic Canister Vacuum SD40100

A washable HEPA filter, 7.5-foot cleaning reach, and five attachments make this lightweight model a hit with users. The automatic retractable 16-foot cord sweetens the deal.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »

Good Cheap Canister Vacuums

Panasonic Bagless Canister Vacuum MC-CL310
Gold Medal

Panasonic Bagless Canister Vacuum MC-CL310

The MC-CL310 stands out from the crowd with its multi-angle nozzle and swivel 6-foot attachment hose. Users like the cleaning convenience but some carp about insufficient suction.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Eureka ReadyForce Bagged Canister Vacuum 900A
Gold Medal

Eureka ReadyForce Bagged Canister Vacuum 900A

Users like the powerful suction, especially on bare floors, but some find it hard to pull given the top-mounted hose.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
 

Don't Bother

Dirt Devil EZ Lite Bagless Canister SD40010

The Dirt Devil SD40010 EZ Lite has its fans, but many reviewers say it clogs easily and seems poorly built. It sports a 20-foot power cord and a HEPA filter.

Read more »

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