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Bag Vs Bagless Vacuum Cleaners -Engineers views

Bag vs Bagless

Why choose a paper bag machine over a cyclone bag-less type?
Engineers experience and views!

During the many years of repairing every single make and model of vacuum cleaner made and present today, I have found there are many common problems with certain designs of machines!

I would firstly like to make a very important note. There is a huge difference in the vacuum cleaner market between the cheap domestic machines often made in china and eastern countries, then compared to the commerical machines often made in Germany and Italy.
A commercial manufacturer needs to build a machine which will prove to be extremely reliable when used every single day for many hours used by many different people who don't really have any respect for the equipment simply because they did not pay for it. The machine must also have top performance as they are used for such large areas and need to do the job in as little time as possible.

I ask the question why does nearly every single commercial & industrial vacuum cleaner have a paper bag system?

The paper bag is the filter

A bagged vacuum cleaner simply works buy sucking the dirt from the head up the suction tube into the bag where then the dirt molecules are stopped, but the much smaller air molecules fit through the tiny holes in the paper bag. They then go into the motor and out of the machine. Bagged machines have a very thin pre motor filter just to stop any dirt that would go into the motor if the bag was not put on properly. There is then a very thin exhaust filter to stop any carbon blowing into the room which the motor produces while in use. This is a relatively short journey for the air travelling through your machine which puts little stress on the motor when in use also making it run at a cooler temperature.

When compared to a cyclone bagless machine the air has a much longer journey in order to by-pass a paper bag, it must work its way round the cyclone and because there is no bag the machines must have 2, often 3 much thicker filters to protect the motor of any dust missed by the cyclone. This very long air journey and much thicker filters put a lot of stress on the motor increasing running temperature & reducing its life dramatically also making the machine a lot noisier when in use!

Bag-less machines can often cost more money to run even though you are not paying for paper bags!

There are a lot of bag-less machines out there where the cyclone design is so bad that the filters are doing most of the work stopping the dust going into the motor. This causes 2 problems, after a very short time using the machine your suction and performance drops significantly. The majority of people I speak to, say their bag-less machine worked great for the first 2 weeks then the performance deteriorated. Dirty Filters then causes the motor to run at a much higher temperature reducing its life dramatically. To solve the problem the filters must be replaced or washed. Washing filters only removes so much of the dirt and over time damages the construction of the filter material reducing its effectiveness. This means that they must be replaced eventually and can be very expensive, simply because they are a much more complex filter than the simple material which bagged machines use. Another problem found with certain cyclone designs is that the cyclone itself starts to block up with fine dust eventually restricting all airflow, this dust builds up deep inside the cyclone where no user can access.

You can see on the photos below some examples of blocked filters & also a blocked cyclone.

Blocked Filter 2 Blocked Cyclone Blocked Filter 1

When we compared the running cost of some bagged machines over 1 year and the running cost of some bag-less machines over the same time, while ensuring both machines work at optimum performance some of the bag-less machines cost more. This was simply because the filters were so expensive and needed changing so frequently. You might say well on the front of my bag-less machine it says I don't need filters or it has lifetime filters.

The term lifetime filter is not your lifetime or the machines lifetime but can be the filters lifetime which im afraid could be as little as 3 weeks.

To prove the point above, please have a look at your manufacturers website, you will find your filters for sale. if they didnt need changing then they wouldnt need to sell them.

The fact is manufacturers can be very clever with wording to trick people to thinking their machine will cost nothing to run, this is definitely not the case and causes a massive problem with people having burnt out motors and their machines not picking up at all. when people bring their machines into our workshops saying it is not picking up, then we tell them its simply their filters which have never been changed, 9 out of 10 people say they didn't even know they had them or that they needed to change them.

When you empty a bag-less machine in the bin I get a face full of dust!

Another problem is how hygienically we dispose of the dirt, when you come to emptying a bag-less machine it all rushes out into the bin hitting the bottom and making a huge dust cloud going everywhere and often in your own face which is not pleasant. With a bagged machine you simply remove the paper bag, seal it and throw it away, the dust is always sealed inside the paper bag.

So my overall views and opinions on this subject is would you prefer a bag-less machine which will most likely:

  • Have a reduced motor life

  • which will give you a shower of dust every time you empty it.

  • you will frequently have to dust off and clean filthy filters,

  • spend as much as if not more money on filters as you would bags

  • have poor eastern build quality and reliability.

I would personally recommend a bagged system vacuum cleaner from a commercial manufacturer such as Mercedes or Sebo.
We have domestic customers who have bought these bagged high quality machines which are still going after 24 years.

If you are able to spend a little more upfront and buy a good quality well made machine, in the long run this should save you money and give you top performance for many years to come!