After a lot of vacuum research, we finally made the big purchase. Of course, we thought about the Dyson first but it's just not in our budget.
Benefiting from a sale at Sears, we narrowed it down to two nearly-identical Kenmore models. Jump down to see the major difference and our begrudging but ethically-sound choice...
Both Kenmore Progressive vacuums have the same features, power, and retail for $350. The major technical difference between the two is that one uses bags and the other doesn't. The greener choice is to opt for the bagless yet the traditional model was given a lot of irresistible PROS.
The standard upright was (and still is) on sale at Sears for $229 while the bagless was only offered at $279 (for a limited time). In terms of performance and price, the traditional model was also voted #1 by Consumer Magazine. Even the color of the bag version (slate blue) was better than the bagless vacuum (Barney purple).
Despite the fact that the standard model was cheaper and allegedly better, we opted for the bagless upright vacuum. The "dirt container" might have to be wiped out and we might have to replace the filter occasionally but we won't be adding extraneous bags to our landfills or guilt to our conscience. And after seeing the results on our intense woven wool rug, we're quite happy with our cleaning machine.
Unfortunately, our green decision might not be the most popular choice with the general public. Of course, it sounds crazy to not choose the better vacuum for less money. For many people, the fact that the superior clean and lower cost also requires consuming and dumping years worth of "synthetic cloth bags" is often just an abstract (and inconvenient) theory.
We do have the technology to build vacuums that waste less so now it's time we work on making them affordable and preferred. Once Sears, as well as other manufacturers, make the green choice the easy choice, we're one step closer to saving our big dusty planet.