Monday, September 14, 2015

Best Cheap Budget Vacuum for Carpets is Under $50

IF you are looking for an inexpensive vacuum for carpets that is:
    - Powerful
    - Easy to Maintain
    - Bagged
THEN the $43.84 Bissell Powerforce vacuum (exclusive to Walmart) is for you.  This vacuum has proven to me that you don't have to spend a ton of money to get a great vacuum.

I used a snippet from Bissell website to create this collage.
This was the vacuum that my husband and I bought when we were newlyweds.  We used it until we had to leave the country (ha ha, that sounds so dangerous).  Upon our return to the states,
we decided to buy this again because it had worked just fine for us before and it was only $40 at Walmart (we were dirt poor....pun intended).  At the time (2010), I figured I would be happy if it lasted a year or two. That was FIVE years ago.  Every now and then I get all excited about those fancy vacuums that are hundreds of dollars.  Then I read reviews of those who have owned it for a significant period of time and change my mind.  Apparently, a lot of vacuums have all these expensive gadgets and complicated internal systems that rack up the price (and also rack up the chances that something will go wrong).  So for now, I am happy with this cheap vacuum that has powerful suction and a simple design.

Although the model # has changed throughout the years (mine is a #3525 and the currently sold one is #1398), the interior and exterior of in are basically the same.

Here are some tips for owning this vacuum.  No matter what vacuum you buy, your going to have to do some tune-ups.  You know the saying, "If you take care of your ____, it will take care of you."

  • Get to know the internal workings of this vacuum. I have taken this apart two to three times and have loved the feeling to be able to understand its mechanics. About once a year, I give myself an hour to do a complete tune-up of this vacuum, which includes taking off the bottom that covers the roller and clearing any hair/string that is twisted around the roller.
  • If ever suction performance drops, check for clogs at the base, hose, and also the entry to the vacuum bag.  When I do this, I always discovered a simple clog (usually paperclip or Christmas tree needles or toddler sock). I unscrew the bottom of a standard broom and use that to clear any hose blocks.
  • Hand-wash all filters (I think there are two) and let air-dry and re-use. I am not sure if Bissell recommends this but we do this and it has not affected its performance.
  • Do not buy the vacuum bags from your local super store. They are much cheaper on Amazon.  Just search "Bissell Style 1 and 7 Upright Vacuum Bags" and get 9 bags for less than $10 (this supply lasts us over a year).

Typical cost of upkeep: Less than $10 year. We have only had to buy bags so far and it has been five years now!  I am sure that eventually we will have to replace the filters and belt. ;)

Comparison to other products: I have used other people's vacuums before (Eureka, Hoover, Simplicity, Dyson) when visiting their homes, and still prefer our own.


  • I really wish that this vacuum could vacuum bare floors better.  Anyone have a bare floor vacuum recommendation?
  • The foot release on ours broke in the first year after some rough use. We have just stored it in a place where we can lean it on a wall.
  • Some of the negative reviews on this product say this vacuum gets multiple clogs when used on brand new carpet.  I've never had brand new carpet so I can't agree/disagree.
In summary, this vacuum cost us $40 and has lasted us five years (and is still going strong).  It is a true workhorse, and I think that it is because of its simple design and construction.  If Bissell is still using the same durable parts to construct this, I would say that you can buy with confidence!

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