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Best Cheap Upright Vacuums
Shopping for the best cheap upright vacuum cleaner can be daunting. There are so many to consider, and at all price levels. Upright vacuums are the most popular by sales volume and range in price from $50 to $600 and beyond. The good news for budget-minded consumers is that a simple yet efficient model capable of picking up pet dander, pollen, dust mites, embedded dirt in carpets, debris on hard-surface floors, and all of the preceding from furniture, moldings, and window frames, can be had for less than $150.
Hoover U5140900 Tempo WidePath Bagged Upright
Less glamorous and feature-rich than other uprights in its price class, the Hoover Tempo WidePath U5140900 locks horns with...
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Dirt Devil Dynamite Plus Bagless Upright
Cheap and compact, the Dirt Devil Dynamite Plus impresses users with its cleaning ability even when faced with pet hair. The...
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Cheap Vacuum Cleaners Buying Guide
The cheap vacuum cleaner segment is populated by well-known brand names such as Bissell, Hoover, Dirt Devil, and Eureka. We awarded two cheap uprights the best-in-class title.
Even among cheaper uprights, the assortment of product features and accessories is far from shabby. They do, of course, vary by model and make, and the best package for the price depends in large part on individual consumer's needs. Homes may have a large or small footprint with rooms of more or less square footage. Some people like sparsely furnished spaces and others prefer jam-packed interiors. Households may be filled with children and/or pets and others with just an adult or two. The inhabitants may have allergies or may not be obsessively concerned about microscopic particulates in the air. Given such diversity, we set relatively flexible criteria in terms of specifications when searching for the best cheap uprights. What we did insist on, though, was exemplary cleaning performance.
What We Looked For in the Specifications
Light Weight.Twenty years ago, lightweight vacuum cleaners didn't exist; most were bulky beasts that weighed 30 to 40 pounds. These days consumers can find high-performing uprights weighing less than 20 pounds, which makes them easy to push around. Among our picks, the Dirt Devil Dynamite Plus Bagless Upright is the bantamweight champ at 10.75 pounds, which earns rave comments from users who appreciate the ease of carting it up and down stairs. The Eureka 4870MZ Boss SmartVac, at 21.5 pounds, smashes through the weight barrier to snatch the heavyweight crown but still claims advocates who say it's basically self-propelled and pulls back with little effort even as some bemoan its heft.
HEPA Filtration.Modern vacuums are multi-tasking machines, with powerful suction that pulls up dirt from rugs and carpets, "sweeps" hardwood and ceramic tile floors, "dusts" around moldings and furniture, and inhales pet hair and dander wherever they fall. That's a lot of dirt flowing through the filter, prompting us to look for uprights with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration. The gold standard in this category, HEPA filters trap more than 99.97 percent of dust, bacteria, pollen, and other nasty particles and are especially welcome by pet owners and folks with asthma or sensitive to allergens, according to postings at sites such as Viewpoints. That said, a well-respected consumer products testing site has reported that other filter arrangements are equally effective.
All of models we researched feature HEPA systems except for the Hoover U5140900 Tempo WidePath, which uses a filter that the specs assert captures 99 percent of dust and allergens. Its sibling, the Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Pet Rewind Bagless UH70210 (starting at $129) comes with a HEPA and a carbon filter, the latter helpful in absorbing pet odors.
Note: It's important to keep the filter clean. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning frequency.
Cleaning Path.Why does this matter? Because the wider the cleaning path, the fewer "sweeps" across the floor. Anyone who needs to vacuum large expanses of carpeted or bare floors might prefer the Hoover U5140-900 Tempo or Eureka 4870 Boss SmartVac, each with a floor nozzle that clears a 15-inch path. Narrower nozzles (i.e., cleaning paths) are better-suited for smaller or crowded rooms, being easier to maneuver around table legs, chairs, and sofas. The Dirt Devil Dynamite Plus is the slimmest on our list with an 11-inch width.
Long Cord.The length of the power cord is often an afterthought that users come to regret. Depending on the area to be vacuumed, five feet of cord can mean the difference between efficiency and frustration; the longer the cord, the greater the reach and the fewer outlet changes. All of our picks feature a cord at least 25 feet long. The longest cord in the bunch, at 30 feet, is found on the Eureka 4870MZ Boss SmartVac. Back to top »
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Depending on the product category, cheaper generics may be just as good as the name brands. Examples include batteries and sunscreen.
A futon may be the answer for folks living on a tight budget in a small space. Choose a wood or metal frame and a mattress that provides comfort.