Meet the Best Cheap Vacuum Club team!

Ian Nelson ,founder and webmaster

Erin Jacobs, tester

Niall Pearce, writer

Welcome to Best Cheap Vacuum Club! Join the Club and discover the best bargain-priced vacs!

If you’re on a tight budget, you can usually barely afford to buy one vacuum, let alone have to buy a bunch of them because you end up with a dud. That’s why you should be reading our reviews before you buy anything.

What we do is get ahold of dozens of affordable vacuums and test them. We inspect the build quality, judge the design features, and see how they do in our real world environment.

We generally spend about a week with each vacuum we review. We use it on a mix of flooring types, and prepare a few sorts of messes for it to deal with:

  • pet hair
  • dirt
  • household items (cereal, kitty litter, etc)
  • dust

We’ll take notes about how each vacuum does, and gather our thoughts on the overall experience of using each one. Did it steer well? Did we have to do a lot of work to get it to do a good job? Was emptying the vacuum messy? How easy was it to store?

And, most of all: was it worth the asking price?

Then, we give you some recommendations for the best models to buy, based on our test results and our sense of long-term performance.

We’re not vacuum scientists or suction engineers by any means. But we like to think that being fairly average consumers makes us ideally-equipped to review cleaning machines in an impartial and realistic way. We test in a way that mimics how we actually use our home vacs.

We don’t have any brand affiliations, and we don’t receive any products for free. So, you can rely on us to provide an objective, unbiased report on every model we get our hands on.

Here are the key factors we use to evaluate vacuums:

Suction power

There are a couple departments we look at for suction.

First is hard floor performance. Sure, basically any vacuum on the market will take up things like hair and dust bunnies from hard floors. What so many don’t do is get all the fine dust that’s stuck to the actual floorboards or tile. We’ve found that it’s actually that dust which makes you feel dirty when you’re walking around barefoot. So, when we judge suction, we judge it based on both large bits of fur and fine dust.

We also expect a good vacuum to create a bit of suction pull around the floor head. You shouldn’t have to chase dust bunnies down or line them up just right to get them to go into the vac. A good cleaner will yank anything within a couple inches into the suction head. That’s how you know you’ve got proper suction!

And, of course, we test on carpets. We’ve got a range of them that we take the vacuums along, from a deep shag carpet to a few nap and flat-woven rugs. We look to see how much the suction went below the surface to lift out the ground-in dirt. We judge how well the brushes did at helping out, and then we check to make sure they didn’t tear threads or damage the fibers in any other way.


Basically, we score each vacuum on how pleasant/easy it is to use. We look at cord length, the connection types, adjustability, all that stuff that makes a vac more or less pleasant to use. We’re not expecting luxury from anything this inexpensive. But we’ll help you steer clear of vacuums that are so unpleasant that they’re not worth the money you’d save buying them.

Reliability and durability

We’re not able to keep dozens of vacuums around to test over the course of years. That would bankrupt us and require several storage units. So to give you the best long-term forecast we can, we spend hours parsing through

The problem with a lot of other testers and reviewers is that they’ll plug vacuums based on one week’s performance, without having any perspective on how that performance will or won’t decline over time.

We factor reliability and durability into our ratings. We’ll let you know how long we anticipate a given model to last, whether we think one of our picks has a minor flaw that you should watch out for, and whether to get yourself some extra warranty coverage as an insurance policy.

We’re listing only a few key areas here, but as you can see in our reviews, we take pride in paying attention to detail when we review vacuums.

We generally get a new vacuum or two to test each month, so we’re always updating the site. You can check back regularly if you don’t see something ideal for you right now.

If you’ve had experience with any of the vacuums we’ve reviewed and want to let us know your thoughts, drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you.