Dyson may be the first brand that comes to mind for cordless vacuums, but with price tags up to nearly $1,000, they may not be feasible if you’re on a budget. There are several cheap alternatives to Dyson that come close enough to the brand’s suction power and durability for a clean home at more affordable price points.
Air watts are a reliable indicator of a vacuum’s suction power, and you’ll want to see 80 to 100 Air Watts (AW) for a cordless vacuum and 180 to 200AW for an upright vacuum. Some Dyson models have up to 300AW, while their cordless vacuums have around 115AW. Keep in mind canister vacuums with a hose and bag or those with a HEPA filter require more power simply to suck debris all the way through the machine. Though air watts are a helpful measure of a vacuum’s power, it’s also a good idea to read reviews from other shoppers what certain models are capable of cleaning.
The vacuum cleaner’s bin capacity is also worth considering, since it will dictate how long you can use the vacuum before emptying the bin (with variation depending on how often you clean your house and if you have pets). A vacuum with a 0.3-liter dustbin should allow a routine cleaning of most spaces before needing to empty the container, but most alternatives to Dyson have a dustbin at least 0.6 liters in size.
Your home’s floor type should be a top consideration when choosing a vacuum cleaner. An upright vacuum is an affordable choice that cleans carpeting particularly well. A canister vacuum can be bulkier, but is easier to maneuver on stairs and performs well on hard floors. Cordless stick vacuums let you move more freely around the home and reach any corner, but you’ll want to keep your machine charge and its run time in mind; corded stick vacuums are budget-friendly and more suited to cleaning up everyday messes than a deep clean.
You may appreciate bonus features, too, like a second battery to double a cordless vacuum’s run time, extra filters, or hair cleaning tools, all of which you'll find on many Dyson models. With all this in mind, below are the best cheap alternatives to Dyson.
1. This Cordless Stick Vacuum For Under $160
If you're in the market for an affordable cordless stick vacuum, this is an excellent model that's also the most lightweight on my list, coming in under 3 pounds. Its brushless motor works well on hard floors, tile, carpet, and even upholstery with a run time of up to 30 minutes.
The vacuum comes with four kinds of filters, including a detachable HEPA filter and a washable honeycomb one. With 100AW and a 0.5-liter dustbin, you'll also love that this powerful cleaner has LED lights on the floor head (like a Dyson!) so you can see every last speck of dirt or dust. This model can pick up debris as small as rice and even glitter.
The battery has a four-hour charge time, and you can easily double the vacuum cleaner's run time with a second rechargeable battery. This pick is highly rated with over 4,000 reviews, including from shoppers who commented they love how quietly and smoothly this one cleans.
A helpful review: “I wanted a cordless vacuum and I was looking at expensive vacuums. I was considering a Dyson. I saw the Moosoo, read the reviews and decided to try it. It is great. Light weight, the battery last[s] a long time (has not run out on me yet), easy to empty, the beater has a rotating brush (a great feature on a vac in this price range). I’ve had it two months and use it almost everyday. I recommend the MooSoo. Great value for the price.”
2. The Splurge Cordless Stick Vacuum That’s Still Cheaper Than A Dyson
For budgets that allow some more wiggle room, this more expensive pick that's still cheaper than a Dyson deep cleans any floor type, including carpet, with 120AW suction and up to 40 minutes of run time.
This cordless stick vacuum features fully-sealed HEPA filtration that captures dust and tiny particles (as small as a grain of sand) while releasing fresh air. It also has a power brush with nifty LED headlights, as well as several accessories to clean your space: a mini power brush, two pre-filters, a filter cleaning tool, a dusting brush, a crevice tool, a hair cleaning tool. You'll also appreciate that this cleaner comes with a wall-mounted charging dock for the stick vacuum and its accessories, and it converts to a handheld vacuum for cleaning furniture, stairs, or car interiors.
The 0.6-liter dustbin is conveniently emptied with one touch of a button, and this vacuum is highly rated with over 3,800 reviews. You might also be interested in the master plus version, which features a longer run time and also includes a second lithium battery to double that initial run time, plus a full-size LED soft roller power brush and extra attachments.
A helpful review: “My house is mostly hardwood and tile, with a few area rugs. Three active boys and all their neighborhood friends turn my home into a dustbowl. The ease of grabbing this baby without having the hassle of cord tangles or the noise of a 747 are awesome...but the LED lighting on the rotating floor brush. OH MY! Just turn off all the lights in the house, grab a glass of wine or a beer, and go on a dust "safari". In the time it takes to sip my drink, I can fill that whole canister up (on regular power) and STILL have enough battery left to keep going. But it's even better because I just push a button to empty the whole thing in two seconds, then slide the attachments into the caddy and drop the motor unit into the slot to charge. NO WORK... ALL PLAY! [...]”
3. An Upright Alternative To Dyson (With A Lift-Away Option For Stairs)
An upright vacuum cleaner works especially well on carpeting and rugs, and reviewers report this one works well on hard flooring, too. This Shark vacuum is highly rated with more than 8,000 reviews, and it features a powerful 240 AW, a HEPA filter with anti-allergen complete seal technology, and a generous 1.2-liter dustbin.
The long 25-foot cord and smooth swivel steering allow for comfortable maneuvering around a room as you clean, and it features LED lights on the floor nozzle to see where you need to vacuum. A lift-away attachment and longer wand tool allow cleaning of stairs, furniture, and overhead spots.
A helpful review: "I adore this vacuum. I gush about my Shark when given the opportunity. [...] some of my old vacuums (some bagged, some canister) I could swear spewed dust into the air. My Shark doesn't seem to do this, since it has a nice, thick filter (which is a round, tube-shaped sponge) that can be washed. This is really important. Who wants to clean the house, only to have dust spit out into the air?! [...] And it swivels like a Dyson! But cheaper. The suction is fabulous. [...] And the body of the Shark can be lifted off of the base if you need to do stairs or high-reaching areas! It's the real deal people. And you too can find this kind of love."
4. A Budget-Friendly Canister Vacuum That's Great For Hardwood Floors
This canister vacuum cleaner is well suited to larger homes, especially if you have hardwood or tile floors. This vacuum cleaner has the biggest dustbin on this list at 2.5 liters and it features a triple filtration bag system, though no HEPA filter. It comes backed by over 9,000 reviews, and hundreds of reviewers love this pick’s high suction power, though the AW rating is not listed for this pick.
While it does well on carpets or rugs thanks to a powerful brush, the manufacturer recommends this vacuum for cleaning bare floors, like wood or tile. A 20-foot cord lets you move around the room as you clean, and two extension wands reach overhead or other hard-to-reach spots. Accessories include a crevice tool, a dusting brush, and bare floor nozzle to focus on certain areas. It comes with five filter bags.
With an outlet nearby or an extension cord, you can also use this pick to clean up the interior of your car.
A helpful review: “I love, love, love this vacuum! I was specifically looking for a canister that didn't have a beater bar because of pet hair. My dog sheds sooo much and I was tired of having the beater bar tangled with hair. We only have tile, no carpet so I was basically looking for a mini shop vac [...] I've had a Dyson Pet, several Sharks and this inexpensive little guy outshines all of them. I can do several rooms without changing outlets. I'm short, 5'3", so the extra long hose is an added blessing. My concern before purchasing was if it would go under the furniture. This slides right under with ease. [...]”