We updated this guide in November 2021 to include new picks recommended by Carolyn Forte, Director of the Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, and to make sure items are up-to-date and in stock. Our new picks include the Eureka bagless vacuum.
It is possible to get a great vacuum cleaner at $100 or less. Compared with pricier models, cheaper vacuum cleaners often contain more plastic parts, may lack some of the upscale features (like adjustable suction, cord rewind, telescoping wands or extra attachments) and may not last as long as higher-end models. But, if you don’t need (or want!) your vacuum to last forever, cheaper vacuums can certainly get the job done sans bells and whistles.
The Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab regularly tests all kinds of vacuums — hundreds over the years — including vacuums for pet hair, vacuums for hardwood floors, canister vacuums, stick vacs, handheld vacs, robovacs and so many more. For each model, we test to see how well it picks up different types of debris, from sand to pet hair. We also consider the maneuverability across different types of flooring, around common household obstacles and up and down stairs. We look for ease of use in everything from the intuitiveness of the controls to the process for changing bags, emptying dust bins or cleaning filters.
We selected these best inexpensive vacuums from both in-house testing and based on categorical expertise; some are from brands that have consistently performed well for us in the past and have positive consumer feedback. Best of all, they all clock in at a price of $100 or less. The picks below stood out in our assessment as models offering great value. Here are the best budget vacuum cleaners for under $100 in 2021: