These Vacuums Work Just as Well as a Dyson but for a Fraction of the Price


Graphic by Giovanna Chung/KCM

A bigger price tag doesn’t always mean better quality.

Vacuuming isn’t a task we look forward to, but the clean, calm home we get afterward certainly does motivate us…sometimes. If you find yourself dreading picking up the vacuum to suck up tumbleweeds of pet hair, crumbs from long-forgotten midnight snacks, or dust bunnies scampering across the room, maybe a new, fancy vacuum could help make cleaning feel less like a chore and more like a fun game. How quickly can you get the whole house done, and how much can you pick up in that time? 

For some reason, vacuums have become luxury items of sorts, costing upward of $500 for high-tech, super-suction models. While those expensive models (*cough, cough* Dyson) do have a ton of bells and whistles (like lasers to help you detect every speck of dust and dust particle size sensors that adjust the suction power) that are certainly worth splurging for if you have the budget, you can find similar ones for much cheaper — and anything is an upgrade from the canister vacuum you inherited from your parents years ago. Hint: When you turn on a vacuum, it isn’t supposed to smell like burning rubber or squeal so loudly your eardrums hurt. 

Starting a search for a new vacuum is overwhelming, especially if you aren’t sure what you need. It’s not as easy as heading into a department store to watch an employee vacuum up sand from a carpet sample anymore, although we do miss those days (nothing like a test drive before you buy!). If you’re on the hunt for a new vacuum but aren’t willing to spend an entire paycheck, here are the best vacuum cleaners that won’t break the bank but will look and operate like a high-end Dyson.

Affordable Dyson Vacuum Cleaner Alternatives

BISSELL MultiClean Allergen Pet Bagless Upright Vacuum


Honestly, don’t consider this vacuum unless you’re OK with seeing how much dust, lint, and hair is hiding in your carpet and the corners of your home. Made to suck up anything in its path, this bagless vacuum will do just that, making it great for weekly deep cleanings or homes with pets. It has a HEPA filter, which helps reduce dust released back into the air while you’re cleaning, so you won’t be stuck sneezing and wheezing with each pass of the machine. If you really want to get into all the nooks and crannies in your home, it comes with a dusting brush, crevice tool, and special pet hair cleaning head to pick up fine hairs.

Buy Here: $190

Shark VM252 VACMOP Pro Cordless Hard Floor Vacuum Mop with LED Headlights


If you have hard floors, you know that mopping and vacuuming are often a two-step process. Thankfully, this machine does both at once. Unlike a normal vacuum that uses bags or a canister to collect debris, this one actually stores crumbs in a compartment in the mop pad, which you dispose of after you’re done cleaning. To use the device, you pull a trigger to spray cleaning solution on the floor, and swipe it back and forth like a regular vacuum or mop. With each stroke, you’ll pick up dust and debris while also cleaning stuck-on dirt off the floor. 

Buy Here: $98

Anker eufy HomeVac S11 Reach, Handstick Vacuum Cleaner


Stick vacuums have a bad reputation for lacking in the suction department, but the truth is, they keep getting better and better. As opposed to older models, many newer ones are outfitted with strong motors and large canisters that hold a ton of debris. This one is cordless, and although the max runtime is only 40 minutes, the vacuum is so powerful, that could be enough to last a  full-house cleaning spree, unless you live in a castle. Plus, you can also use this as a handheld vacuum for tricky areas like stairs and blinds, making it a versatile tool for all kinds of households.

Buy Here: $94

BISSELL 3-in-1 Turbo Lightweight Stick Vacuum, 2610


If you ever lived in a college dorm, you or your roommate may have had a similar vacuum to this one, only it didn’t have a brushroll — consider this the just as compact yet infinitely better version. It’s hard to believe such a small device could have some serious suction power, but this one has a turbo motor that works to pick up dust, crumbs, and hair without any issues. You can even pop off the motorized brush roll head to use it as a powerful handheld dustbuster. The best part? It costs less than $30. 

Buy Here: $30

HART 20-Volt Cordless Stick Vacuum with Brushless Motor Technology


Cordless vacuums are essentially the next best thing to hiring someone to clean your home, which is why adding one to your cleaning arsenal could seriously change your life. Not only are they lightweight (this one weighs about six pounds), but it has a runtime of up to 45 minutes, which the brand claims is enough time to vacuum about 16 rooms (what kind of house were they cleaning and can we move in?!). The battery is removable for easy charging, and it comes with a wall-mount storage kit, so you can charge and stow away the vacuum at the same time. 

Buy Here: $199

Tineco A10 Tango Cordless Stick/Handheld Vacuum Cleaner


It’s so frustrating to run a vacuum over the same place over and over to see that stuck-on dust isn’t budging. To fix this, Tineco created a cordless vacuum that has two swappable brush heads, one for carpet and one for hard floors, to really pick up dust without scratching wood or tile flooring. You can also use this model as a hand vacuum with the included mini power brush, dust brush, or crevice tool. The battery will last about 25 minutes with the suction maxxed out, which should be enough time to run over the whole house with the 3-pound device. 

Buy Here: $245

Shark Navigator Swivel Pro


Big messes are no problem for this large-capacity vacuum. While it does require an outlet to use, if you ever got tangled up while your parent was vacuuming and you were just trying to play on the rug, you’ll appreciate the 25-foot cord, which makes it easy to travel from room to room, especially if you live in an apartment or condo. You can use this both as a traditional vacuum with a motorized brush head or carry the canister and use it as a wand unit, as it has a flexible hose that offers up to 11 feet of reach for those hard-to-get spaces. It’s a little heavier than other vacuums at 15 pounds, but the powerful 650 watt motor makes up for the added weight. 

Buy Here: $200