I've been using the same vacuum my parents bought me, for going on 15 years. It 'worked' in the sense that it picked up the obvious stuff, but finding bags for it was a constant scavenger hunt. A friend of mine bought a Dyson a few months earlier and was raving about how much stuff was being sucked into the canister that he didn't even realize was embedded deep in his carpet. I finally gave up on my vacuum and recently purchased the Dyson DC24 at Target. I was tempted to buy the larger capacity, DC25, but since I primarily have hardwood floors and just a few rugs and one carpeted room, I opted for the smaller DC24.
I was initially skeptical because of the lightweight and the size, but once I used it, I loved it. Vacuuming ONE large rug, garnered an almost full cannister! There was all kinds of stuff in there that I had no idea was embedded in the rug, and this isn't a plush rug! Incredible, deep down suction, quiet (even my cat can deal with me vacuuming while she's in the same room now) and in my opinion, brilliantly designed. I agree with the others who mentioned the cord length being too short, but that's why I have an extension cord. Problem solved. I'd buy another Dyson in a heartbeat and would definitely recommend it to friends. I say spend the extra money the FIRST time and it will be the LAST time you have to.