Buying vacuums is a pain in the butt. There I said it. The problem (in a nutshell) is suction. ALL vacuums have terrific suction when you first get them. Which is why you read articles about how wonderful most vacuums are, when in fact, they kind of suck. (Pun Intended).
The issue at hand is will they suck 6 months from now? Or a year from now? The primary thing you need to look for is how the filter functions, how easy it is to remove, replace, and clean. Can the filter be cleaned? There are only a few decent vacuums on the market today. In our opinion companies that make filters that come out easily, clean easily, are on the top of the list.
See when the filter gets clogged your suction goes into the garbage. You have a LOT less suction then you had before the filter got clogged. Some companies have figured out how to make units without filters, those are pretty slick vacuums. The Hoover Wintunnel Bagless series are pretty decent vacuums.
The first thing we like about them is they are cheap. Rolling in at about $159 USD they aren’t a bad value at all. They use a patented Windtunnel technology and they last about a year if you vacuum a couple times a week and you have your kids doing it (think chores). After about a year they get kind of rickety, they don’t seem to work as well picking things up, and everytime you use it you think about how you need to get another vacuum.
This is MUCH better than most of the other vacuums on the market that are in this price category or lower. We’ve tested vacuums that are $80 from Walmart and they last 3-6 months in a fairly busy household.