What are the best lightweight vacuum cleaners? Which light bagged vacuums are the best deal? Which ones handle pet hair without clogging? Are there any light weight vacuum cleaners that can handle pet messes like pee and poop? Which will do a good job cleaning your hardwood floors and which are powerful enough to clean your carpets? What are the best all around lightweight vacuum cleaners, and which are best for niches like occasionally vacuuming your hard floors or vacuuming the throw rugs?
We’ll look at the best 2017 lightweight vacuum cleaners, both bagged and bagless, and look at the pros and cons of each model. We’ll also address limitations that many lightweight vacuums run into and the demographic groups to which the vacuum cleaner is ideal to use, such as lightweight vacuums designed for those with limited upper body strength or arthritis.
Vacuum Cleaners that Won’t Break your Back!
1. Oreck Commercial Upright Vacuum, Model XL2100RHS
This Oreck vacuum cleaner costs around $300 at full price but you can find it for up to forty percent off on sale. Replacement bags cost less than a dollar apiece. This commercial vacuum cleaner weighs around eight pounds.
This is a lightweight bagged vacuum that weighs about as much as its cordless rivals but will never have the battery run out because it is corded. It maintains its suction up until the vacuum bag is almost full.
The unit’s overall width of twelve inches is decent, while the nearly four foot height makes it comfortable to use. It is powerful enough to take on low pile carpet, while some of its rivals can only handle hard floors like tile or hardwood floors. It adjusts somewhat as you walk so it can handle the transition from low rise carpet to tile or hard wood floors.
It is compatible with the Oreck scented tabs. Those cost between fifty cents and a dollar each depending on where you get them. It is not hard to find replacement belts on this light weight vacuum, though the unit needs them replaced every few months.
Its biggest weakness is that the brush roller and bearings cannot handle pet fur. They will clog up and overheat within minutes. And if you buy it used or through most online retailers, the warranty won’t cover this sort of thing.
Arranging warranty work requires having proof that you bought it from Oreck or an authorized dealer. The warranty is officially for a year.
2. Oreck Insight Vacuum
It costs around $300 at full price, and it is rarely marked down on sale. Replacement bags cost over a dollar apiece for the basic ones, more for the HEPA filter bags offered by the manufacturer. The Saniseal system on this Oreck vacuum makes it a great choice for those who are otherwise troubled by the dust clouds formed when replacing vacuum bags, HEPA grade filter bags or not. And you don’t have to go for the HEPA bags to contain most of the dust it picks up, since it traps over 99% of dust and dander it picks up. This model will never leave that fine trail of dust on the sides as it cleans up your floors.
It has two speeds, a slow one perfect for cleaning hardwood floors and another for carpet. This lightweight vacuum cleaner can actually clean your mid-thickness carpets. It cannot clean thick carpets or thick pile throw rugs.
Its low profile allows you to clean under most furniture with it. It has side brushes to let you clean along base boards. Unlike the commercial Oreck reviewed earlier, it never needs a belt replacement.
This model has a better warranty than the model XL2100RHS – the Insight has a limited five year warranty.
This unit is a little heavier, coming in at just under 10 pounds. Pet hair is a weakness with this model, and it will clog easily.
3. Hoover Platinum Collection Lightweight Bagged Vacuum, Model UH30010COM
It has two speeds, one perfect for hard floor surfaces and another for short carpets. Don’t use the unit on thick carpets or it will stop because it can’t handle it. The beater bar has little clearance with the other components, so it will either jam, or in the case of loop carpets, sometimes rip up carpet fibers trying to run.
It uses self-sealing HEPA grade bags to minimize the dust that could be released when changing the bags. It comes with an indicator to let you know when the bag is filling up.
One of the unique features of this vacuum is the array of tools that come with it. You get a crevice tool, dusting brush and telescoping wand. This is one of the few mid-priced lightweight vacuums that offers the suite of tools that often come with the heavier duty vacuum cleaners. This is the best lightweight vacuum cleaner on this list if you regularly use the attachments with your vacuum cleaner.
The design lets you turn it into a shoulder carried vacuum so you can use the attachments to clean stairs. This mechanically works, but it is bulky, so don’t plan on using that mode if you have poor balance. It is loud, though not much more than the average vacuum cleaner.
It has an industry standard five year limited warranty. One of the strikes against this unit is how small the dust bags are, requiring them to be frequently changed unless you only use this vacuum cleaner for spot cleaning. Its air exhaust can counter the intent of using the vacuum when it blows light debris like spilled flour everywhere – at which point you’re better off sweeping up the mess on hard wood floors than using this vacuum cleaner on it. Conversely, this is a great vacuum for somewhat heavier messes like spilled cereal or short carpets.
4. Shark Navigator Light Vacuum, Model NV105
This is one of the cheapest lightweight vacuum cleaners on this list. It costs around $150 at full price but comes in at a hundred dollars or less on sale. It you want a detailing kit, you have to pay more. However, it comes with a pet upholstery brush for cleaning up pet hair, as well as a crevice tool for getting in the deep grooves between your couch cushions.
It weighs just over ten pounds. It has better performance on low carpets than it does on hardwood floors, an unusual trait for light weight vacuum cleaners.
This bagless vacuum maintains its suction up to the very end. The downside is the relatively small size of the dust cup, requiring it to be emptied more often than some of its rivals. Conversely, the empty down dust cup means it is easy to empty directly into a trash can.
The upside of the low price is that it is cost effective to replace when it breaks, which is a good thing given the immense hassle it takes to send it to a warranty center at your own price, while waiting two to three weeks for them to send it back without even a guarantee they’ll use new parts to fix your new vacuum cleaner.
5. Hoover Commercial Hush Tone Lite Vacuum, Model CH50400
The Hush Tone Lite gets its name for the under twelve pound weight, while the other Hush Tone vacuum cleaners are more than fifteen pounds. It has a 14” head and baseboard cleaning bristles.
The Hush Tone Lite has a noise level of 68 to 69 decibels. Many of its rivals are several decibels higher, with few getting below 70 db. Anything in the high seventy DB level is annoying, while prolonged exposure to 80 decibels or higher for more than eight hours in one day can damage your hearing.
The unit is easy to repair yourself to replace the belts or clean the brush roll. The belts rarely jam. The unit has a sensor to turn off the brush roll to prevent it from overheating when jammed, a problem the Hoover Platinum Collection faces.
This is a bagged vacuum, and the basic vacuum bags are two dollars or more each. HEPA quality bags cost much more per bag. The unit comes with a basic washable HEPA filter; to get HEPA quality filtration, you have to buy the better bags. The vacuum has an indicator to let you know when the bag needs to be replaced.
Its design means it won’t vent exhaust in a way that scatters it, making it hard to pick up.
You get a basic one year limited warranty.
If you want the quietest light weight vacuum cleaner available, select the Hush Tone Lite. For a lightweight vacuum that works well on short carpets and those short on cash, the Shark Navigator is your best choice. The Hoover Platinum is a good choice for handling both short carpets and hard floors as long as it isn’t essentially dusting the wood floor. The Oreck Insight will handle short and mid-thickness carpets and messes on hard floors, as long as you don’t have pet hair in the home. Oreck’s commercial lightweight vacuum is the ideal choice for homes with a mix of short throw rugs and carpeted areas along with hard floors, so that it can clean each with minimal effort.