Thread Number: 44955  /  Tag: Recent Vacuum Cleaners from past 20 years
HEPA Bag Opinions, Please
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Post# 466557   10/3/2023 at 05:43 (285 days old) by MichaelT (Phoenix AZ)        

Hi everyone. May I get some opinions from you regarding HEPA bags? I've read that some folks like and recommend them, but others don't. Are they worth the $$ and do they really do a good job keeping not only the air cleaner, but also the vacuum and the exhaust? Are there any issues to watch out for? Any brands that are preferred and any to be avoided? I have several Electrolux machines and a couple of Aerus models, but have been using Aerus/Electrolux Sure Thing bags. My vacuum repair guy recommended paper 4 ply bags and is not a fan of HEPA bags. I bought some VAC bags, but haven't used any. Thanks.

Michael T

Post# 466560 , Reply# 1   10/3/2023 at 08:23 (285 days old) by Blackheart (North Dakota)        
Hepa bags

blackheart's profile picture
I use them anywhere I can. Your machine stays cleaner, and they maintain airflow for longer. I can't say I've had an issue with any brand I've tried so far.

Post# 466561 , Reply# 2   10/3/2023 at 08:28 (285 days old) by MichaelT (Phoenix AZ)        
HEPA Bag Opinion

Hi Blackheart. Thank you for your reply and your opinion. Have you used the VAC brand bags? Do you have a favorite brand? I saw a thread that said that Aerus is producing HEPA bags, but the Aerus online store doesn't carry them.

Michael T

Post# 466562 , Reply# 3   10/3/2023 at 09:19 (285 days old) by Blackheart (North Dakota)        

blackheart's profile picture
I've used V.A.C, clean obssessed seems to be a relabel of those bags. I've got them for my Lux upright, lux canister, proteam backpack vacuum, tristar, bissell 1 and 7, Hoover A, and potentially some others I'm forgetting. I haven't had issues with them that I can think of.

As for a favorite brand, no i just buy whatever is the best deal. I know there might be some differences between the brands but it's like...whatever brand it is it's most likely an upgrade over paper.

Post# 466572 , Reply# 4   10/3/2023 at 15:59 (284 days old) by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        

mark40511's profile picture
I would never use paper...but it's also important that the bag has a gasket...No leaks.. Example: I used to have a Kenmore progressive canister...and the bags weren't designed with a gasket because I think there was one on the bag collar itself... but it was a crappy design and dust leaked around that gasket..making the HEPA bags pointless... My current upright's bags are HEPA and they have a gasket... and the bag chamber looks like it just came from the factory.

Post# 466573 , Reply# 5   10/3/2023 at 16:33 (284 days old) by ilovehoovers (England)        

ilovehoovers's profile picture
There's absolutely no reason to use paper bags when fleece ones are available. It just makes no sense

Post# 466576 , Reply# 6   10/3/2023 at 18:47 (284 days old) by armandjc (Boston )        

I firmly believe they are the greatest advancement in vacuum cleaners in a LONG time....

Post# 466578 , Reply# 7   10/3/2023 at 19:59 (284 days old) by MichaelT (Phoenix AZ)        
HEPA Bag Opinions

Thank you all for your input. One thing I read online was that the material for the HEPA bags was heavier and could cause your vacuum to overheat. Has anyone run into this or heard anything about it?

I found a thread online from 2014 or so and it seems that the opinions of folks run at 80% for HEPA bags, for keeping the vacuums clean inside. As far as using them, it seems to be about 50% for yes and 50% for no. Cost is an issue and some folks just don't think they're necessary. Those that use them, however, sing their praises and won't use paper ever again.

Michael T

Post# 466597 , Reply# 8   10/4/2023 at 06:51 (284 days old) by vackid (Pennsylvania)        

So it's actually the exact opposite. The best demonstration I have to prove the point that the HEPA bags are better for airflow is to take a new HEPA bag and hold it up to your mouth. Inhale and you can actually suck air through the fleece material. If you do the same with a paper bag, you can feel significantly less airflow going through it. If you cannot pull air through the paper material yourself, you can imagine how much harder it is for your vacuum motor to do the same.

This demo was always done by the president of MD to show off their HyperFlow disposable bags. These were HEPA bags suspended by a cloth bag to support the weight of 8-12 gallons of dirt. The performance increase between their HyperFlow bags compared to the old style 2-ply paper bags was groundbreaking.

For those of us in the vacuum sales/service industry, like myself get to see machines come in that have only used HEPA bags and they have almost no dust on the inside of the bag compartments. These means less dust in the motor fans, bearings and field, which ultimately makes the motors run longer and smoother. Meanwhile machines that use the thinner paper bags will almost always be coating of dust on the inside of the vacuum including inside the motor and fan.

Often times when I've heard of vac shops trying to talk customers out of HEPA bags, they're either selling out of their own pockets (They can't afford/don't see value in the HEPA bags so they don't think customers will either) or the simply do not have dealerships with the big brands that have always been behind HEPA bags like Miele, Riccar and SEBO. When you can't get something, it's a lot easier to talk down on a product than it is to just admit to the customer "Sorry, we don't have a dealership to get those. If you want the genuine HEPA bags try ______"

As many people on this thread have mentioned, VAC or Now Also Labeled "Clean Obsessed" by Desco, is making a lot of really great HEPA bag options for machines that were once limited to only having paper bags. My favorites are the Oreck CC HEPA bags since they cost about 1/2 as much as the genuine, as well as the Eureka MM and Riccar SupraQuick HEPA bags. Although the MM's and Supraquicks are usually used for detail cleaning, the difference in performance and sustained suction is night and day between the paper and HEPA bags for these machines. I've switched my store completely over to the HEPA bags since it's better for the customers machines, customers are happier, and the retail cost is within a dollar of the inferior paper.

Post# 466601 , Reply# 9   10/4/2023 at 08:56 (284 days old) by sitop (Bradenton, FL)        
Hi Michael!

sitop's profile picture
In the past I have only used genuine Electrolux/Aerus bags. I have switched to Clean Obsessed Hepa. My only "issue" is the auto stop when the bag is full never happens because the airflow is so good. No matter what setting I put it on. When the suction goes down slightly I check the bag and it's "full" to my standards. This is regarding my Marquis.
Best to you Michael!

Post# 466609 , Reply# 10   10/4/2023 at 16:33 (283 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        
For me

panasonicvac's profile picture
I would prefer using HEPA. But there are some exceptions with using paper bags and this is one of the downfalls with HEPA bags. The cost. One example would be when my grandparents were around, I used to vacuum their house with the Kirby G4. I switched over to using HEPA bags because they held up more, the airflow would last longer, and they'd help keep the inside of the outer bag clean. That worked fine for a bit until I noticed a problem that really annoyed me. The smell. Just like all other portable bagged vacuums, they'd have odor buildup and start to smell bad regardless if you're using HEPA bags or paper. I tried to deodorize the G4 by putting in scents, vacuuming up baking soda or powered laundry detergent, or using the charcoal bags that Kirby used to sell. Nothing worked for long term. I then realized that I was wasting more on buying HEPA bags than I was with paper because I was always changing the stinky bags out so I went back. And I was glad that I did. Sure I ended giving up on performance, filtration, and longevity on the motor but I was just tired of replacing the HEPA bags alot even before they reach to the fill line. Whenever I'd change the bags out regardless if they were HEPA or paper, I'd wash the outer bag on the G4 anyways once it starts to stink up because that basically resets the machine. Another example would be not using my machines that I have in my collection. What's the point of paying more for HEPA bags if you're never going to use it? And the last example would be picking up some stuff that aren't fine like paper shredding or brand new carpet fiber. I don't find that too alarming on paper bags

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Post# 466614 , Reply# 11   10/4/2023 at 20:42 (283 days old) by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        

mark40511's profile picture
My only exception for using paper backs is back a LONG time ago, on Ebay, I bought a pack of 100 4 play paper bags for my Epic 6500 for like $36.. that vacuum now gets used strictly in my laundry room for suction only... so the only thing that goes in the bag is laundry lint and the occasional dirt that might get on my small laundry room floor and just dusting things around the laundry room..If I ever get through these bags I'm never buying paper bags again...even though these aren't bad at all keeping the bag compartment really clean..which I think may be because of the type of dust I'm picking up. I never would have dreamed a pack of 100 bags would end up lasting me probably 10 years at this point. It takes me forever to get one even marginally full the way I use it.

Post# 466632 , Reply# 12   10/5/2023 at 21:51 (282 days old) by kirbylux77 (London, Ontario, Canada)        

kirbylux77's profile picture
I do use HEPA Cloth bags in my vacuums. But, on vacuums that have a sealed HEPA Filter on the exhaust, if there is a paper micro-filtration bag available, I will use that instead. Yes, they do keep the dust inside the bag & improve filtration, BUT on vacuums that already have a sealed HEPA Filter, it's pointless - the HEPA Filter would capture those same particles, and you have to change them once every 1 to 2 years, so who cares if you use a HEPA Cloth bag in that case? I also recommend for pet owners with shedding pets to use paper micro-filtration bags if the vacuum has a HEPA Filter on the exhaust. There's no point in spending extra money on the HEPA Cloth bags if they are filling them up quickly because of pet hair.

I do recommend using HEPA Cloth bags though on vacuums that have no exhaust filter, very minimal exhaust filtration, or where the HEPA Filter isn's sealed well - such as older Riccar/Simplicity/Panasonic uprights, older Kenmore canisters, and the Dirt Devil Jaguar canisters come to mind here. There is definitely a need for good vacuum filtration - most people don't realize that the vacuum's filtration system not only keeps dust, but also all the volatile chemicals & pollutants in the air the vacuums sucks in along with the dirt. Plus, carpets have formaldehyde residues from the manufacturing process - do you want your vacuum spewing that in the air?!

Regarding Mark's point about the bag collar having a gasket and not causing leaks....Yes, true, and good point. But, it's also equally important how tight & snug the bag collar fits onto the vacuum's bag fill tube as well. Case in point - Panasonic uprights. If you use the HEPA Cloth bags that don't have a seal on the collar, they will filter just as well. Why? Because the bag collar fits tight onto the bag fill tube, so dusty air can't escape around it instead of being trapped by the bag material. Same if you use the Kenmore Q HEPA Cloth canister bags in the Sharp uprights, a machine where no HEPA Cloth bag is available - the Kenmore bag collar fits tightly, and the bag compartment doesn't get dirty, yet the bag collar has no seal. With the Kenmore canisters, the reason the bag leaks around the collar is there is no bag fill tube that goes into the bag collar - it merely friction fits into the bag holder against a foam seal, and it can move slightly during use, causing dust to leak into the bag chamber. However, if you tape the collar in place on the holder, or you save a old bag collar, put it on top of the new bag's collar and jam both into place in the bag holder so it can't move, that solves the bag leakage issue.

As for the effect HEPA Cloth bags have on the vacuum's airflow & suction, & whether they help maintain it better, I have found they DO NOT work any better than paper micro-filtration bags at all. Particularly when a vacuum is being used to pick up lots of pet hair, or on carpeting & area rugs which shed lots of fibres, there is no point in using a HEPA Cloth bag - the fibrous material will attract a lot of the fine dust that would otherwise go to the bag walls, clog the material & make the vacuum lose it's airflow. The ONLY HEPA Cloth I have ever found to make a vacuum have the same consistent high airflow & suction as when the bag is new is the genuine OEM Miele AirClean HEPA Cloth bags. They allow for this to happen because the bag is constructed with 9 layers of material - not just 3 or 5 layers like most HEPA Cloth bags on the market. The additional layers hold & trap the dust in the bag walls & keep it from clogging, whereas with any other HEPA Cloth bag the dust will clog the bag wall & slowly make the vacuum lose it's suction & airflow. Paper micro-filtration bags act the same way.

One method I have found to maintain performance, while filling the bags completely, is to take the bag out, give it a good vigorous shake outside, and reinstall in the vacuum. Doing this shakes the dust off the walls of the bag & restores performance.

Post# 466633 , Reply# 13   10/6/2023 at 01:50 (282 days old) by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        

mark40511's profile picture
So you don't mind if the bag chamber gets dirty using paper (even though the vacuum is sealed?) That would bug me. Those nooks and crannies are a pain to clean.

You are absolutely right. Those bags should fit tightly on and have a gasket. Luckily, with mine I have to lay the vacuum down on its back and push it on hard..

I still don't understand what the point is even having a HEPA filter if you're using a HEPA bag that fits tightly with a gasket... I don't know the science behind it but if anything is escaping the bag at all... even a minute amount.. I would think it would eventually over time show up in the bag chamber. My bag chamber still looks like it came from the factory. LOL

Post# 466649 , Reply# 14   10/6/2023 at 23:26 (281 days old) by MichaelT (Phoenix AZ)        

Hi Eric. Thanks for your reply. Like you, my Electrolux Automatics never shut off and pop open the bag compartment door. I would enjoy seeing that, but check the bags too often and change them when they get about half full or a little more. I don't like to vacuum with a bag that is 3/4 or more full, regardless of suction.

Michael T

Post# 466650 , Reply# 15   10/7/2023 at 00:46 (281 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

HEPA spun "Filtrete" bags for me all the way in ALL of my vacuums.Paper bag pores clog more easily than the spun material HEPA bags.I had to change paper bags when they were less than half filled.HEPA ones ALL the way!Bag would be STUFFED!So that can make the HEPA bags actually cheaper to use.You use LESS of them.

Post# 466680 , Reply# 16   10/8/2023 at 21:19 (279 days old) by Durango159 (State College, PA)        
Huge difference with a HEPA bag!

durango159's profile picture
I started using HEPA bags a few years ago and I have gradually tried to convert everything I can to it. HEPA bags are multilayer and thicker but the "fabric" feel of them makes them breathe easier. Paper bags are very thin and once a layer of dirt gets on it, the pores start to clog up and lose airflow a lot quicker.

It's really neat to put a HEPA bag in a cloth outer bag machine and see how it does. As an example put a Hoover A HEPA bag in a Hoover Decade 800 upright or other Convertible. With the brand new bag, the outer bag doesn't inflate much. That's because it's breathing better so the larger surface area is able to expel the incoming air easily. Paper bags blow up a lot more because they don't breathe well so the bags blow up more like a balloon while the air fights through the pores to get out.

Additionally, yes HEPA bags really do work at higher filtration. Canister vacs and hard bag compartment uprights are notorious for having tons of nooks and crannies and require a full cleaning after every bag change. Well those times are over with HEPA bags!! I rarely have to wipe out a bag compartment now and I don't miss that task at all!!

In terms of quality, all of the ones I've tried are on similar par. Miele ones are by the far the most thick and Pillow like inside but they're also made specifically for Miele. Hoover ones are great, Tacony ones are great. V.A.C. (Vac America Clean) are great and I believe made in the same factory as the CleanObsessed branded ones but I'm not definite on that. 3M Ultra Filtration bags are the same medium and are harder to find but also great.

Envirocare has the Anti-Allergan bags which come in green packaging. That line doesn't actually say HEPA on the bag but they are the synthetic cloth. Except for under extreme filthy dust conditions such as warehouse cleaning or such, they also do excellent. They do great for those conditions too, but you may notice a little dust in the bag compartment opposite the intake from those bags. I still really like them though and have clean bag compartments with them under normal vacuuming conditions.

Post# 466683 , Reply# 17   10/8/2023 at 22:38 (279 days old) by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        

mark40511's profile picture
I've never been able to fill one to be honest. They last so freaking long without losing much suction. By that I mean, when I used paper, you could see noticeable suction loss as you filled the bag... with the HEPA bags, at least the ones I use, I see none. You know like back in the day when you would put a fresh paper bag in and you were like WOW!.... you could feel the power but you knew it wouldn't last... when I change my HEPA bag to a new one... I literally can't tell at all. (LOL) Like I'm looking for that "I just put a fresh new bag in" feeling but it's not there.

The reason it takes me SOOO long to fill a bag is because I keep my home so clean..I never give anything a chance to accumulate. Sometimes I feel like I'm cleaning over clean.

Now I'm sure there's airflow loss as the big fills but I just think it's so minimal that it's unnoticeable.

Thank goodness for activated charcoal... a five or six month old vacuum bag (regardless if you have pets) wouldn't definitely develop that stale smell..but I just suck up a little activated charcoal every few weeks and it keeps everything smelling neutral.

Post# 466690 , Reply# 18   10/9/2023 at 12:57 (279 days old) by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

suckolux's profile picture
Well said! My Silverado always OEM bags, but I could feel and hear airflow drop off after 4_5 uses, sounded congested. Years later the HEPA bags, never happens, also never pops open either! Side effect,odor due to the long life.

Post# 466700 , Reply# 19   10/9/2023 at 16:59 (278 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

justjunque's profile picture
Would using vacuum fragrance products help with that?
I always use the Clean Sweep chips in my Electrolux/Aerus vacuums.
And, so far, I've only used the Home Solutions paper bags in them. But, I'm willing to try a HEPA bag. I think I just got intimidated by the warning of voiding of the warranty. Granted, all of my vacuums are way past their warranty period. But, I thought, they must say that for a reason.
But, I've put HEPA bags in other machines.
I'm just wondering, if I use the Clean Sweep in the HEPA bags, would that eliminate the stink issues?

Post# 466708 , Reply# 20   10/9/2023 at 21:57 (278 days old) by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        

mark40511's profile picture
Unless they have some sort of odor eliminator and not just covering up the smell with perfume.. For example, I've tried putting Eucalyptus on a cotton ball and sucking it up into the bag in the past....and it ends up being mixed with the bag smell..

The best thing I've found is this..say you put a new bag in.. this is HEPA or PAPER.. After, say, two to three weeks, just suck a little of the charcoal pellets into the bag. Next time you vacuum you should notice no smell. After about 2 to 3 weeks new dirt will cover that up.. Just repeat through the life of the bag... I've had a canister of this stuff for 5 years and it's not even half gone yet. I'm guestimating how often I do this. a couple of tablespoons

By doing this, my bag is over 5 mos old now and when I turn the vacuum on... I can't smell anything..

There's one thing I can't test this because I don't have pets... but I think it would still help a lot of you have dogs..just more may be needed..

I remember having this discussion a while back and some user on here who had a dog was going to try it... but I don't remember coming across any post of theirs but I likely could miss it.

some HEPA bags are even infused with charcoal

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