Best cordless vacuum cleaner as per our comparison
Our cordless vacuum cleaner comparison for 14 cordless vacuum cleaners are based on a total of 68,688 user reviews, 31 expert reviews, and 9 product test results. Updated September 2021.
Dyson V11 Absolute is the best cordless vacuum cleaner in our test. The cordless vacuum cleaner achieved a score of 94/100 and is available at £679.
The maximum run time for Dyson V11 Absolute is 3600 mAhutes, and an NCA battery powers the cordless vacuum cleaner. Read more here.
- User reviews: 3773
- Expert reviews: 7
- Test results: 1
Tineco PURE ONE S12 is the second-best cordless vacuum cleaner in our vacuum cleaner test, with a score of 93/100. The vacuum cleaner is available at £469 and comes with a built-in Li-ion battery. The maximum operation time of the vacuum cleaner is 50 minutes. Read more here.
- User reviews: 1264
- Expert reviews: 2
- Test results: 0
Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute occupies third place with a score of 92/100. The cordless vacuum cleaner has a maximum operation time of 60 minutes and is available in online stores for a price of £513.9. Read more here.
- User reviews: 6957
- Expert reviews: 10
- Test results: 4
Data Collected for cordless vacuum cleaners from our test/comparison
Based on data from 14 cordless vacuum cleaners.
Top 5 best brands in our cordless vacuum cleaner comparison
Only brands with at least 2 products are included.
What is the operating time for the cordless vacuum cleaner?
The operation time of the cordless vacuum cleaner varies from 20 – 120 minutes. The distribution of the operation time is shown in the graph.
What type of batteries are used by the cordless vacuum cleaners?
69% of cordless vacuum cleaners in our comparison use Li-ion battery, and 0% are using NiMH battery. The distribution of specific battery types among all the types of batteries is shown in the graph.
What is the operation time of cordless vacuum cleaners in maximum power mode?
The distribution of operation time in maximum power mode is shown in the chart. The operation time in maximum mode varies from 7 minutes to 20 minutes, depending on the type of the vacuum cleaner.
How many cordless vacuum cleaners feature LED front light?
56% of cordless vacuum cleaners come with in-built LED light in the front on the nozzle. The distribution is shown in the graph.
What type of materials are used for building cordless vacuum cleaners?
The materials used for building cordless vacuum cleaners are shown in the diagram. The data shows 100% of the cordless vacuum cleaners are made in plastic.
What is the charging time for the cordless vacuum cleaners?
The charging time for the cordless vacuum cleaners is shown in the diagram. The charge time varies from 200 – 300 minutes, as shown in the data represented.
What is the battery voltage of the cordless vacuum cleaners?
The information about the battery voltage distribution can be seen in the chart below. The voltage varies from 14 – 32 volts, as shown in the chart.
Cordless vacuum cleaner guide
Cordless vacuum cleaners have become incredibly popular over recent years, with stick and handheld vacuums used instead of or in addition to barrel and upright designs. Cordless units offer a number of advantages over conventional corded vacuums, with these models lighter, more ergonomic, easier to move around, and easier to store.
There are compromises, however, with cordless vacuums operating on battery and suffering a limited operating time as a result. Before choosing a cordless vacuum for your home, it’s important to do your homework and compare features based on criteria that are important to you.
Types of cordless vacuums
Not all cordless vacuums are created equal, with a growing number of designs and specifications available to consumers. Stick or hand stick vacuum cleaners have become more common in recent years, with advances in small motors and battery technology making these vacuums more efficient and cheaper to produce.
In many ways, stick vacuums are a slimmer and lighter version of conventional upright vacuums, only this time you’re not tethered to a cord and wall socket while you clean. While stick vacuums are designed to complement larger and more powerful models, some people use them as their only cleaning solution.
Handheld vacuum cleaners are another popular option, with these models even smaller and easier to move around your home. While handhelds are not generally used for cleaning floors and large surfaces, they’re great for cleaning upholstery, bedding, and automobiles. Most advanced stick vacuums can also operate in handheld mode, with users able to remove the stick and operate the unit by the handle alone.
This has resulted in a drop in sales for dedicated handhelds, although there are still lots of models to choose from on the market. Robot vacuums are also a type of cordless vacuum cleaner, although they are normally included in their own category.
Stick vacuum cleaners
Also known as hand stick vacuum cleaners, stick vacuums are the fastest moving segment of the vacuum cleaner market. These designs are slim, lightweight, and feature a number of easy-to-use ergonomic features. Stick vacuums come with a handle that allows you to stand up as you clean carpets, hard floors, stairs, and other surfaces. Because these units are cordless and generally very light and small, it’s easy to move them from room to room.
Stick vacuum cleaners originally became popular thanks to Dyson, who offer a number of models at the middle and high end of the market. Dyson’s innovative small motor technology helped them to dominate the market a few years ago, with other companies recently catching up by offering comparable or cheaper models. When comparing stick vacuums, it’s important to look at the running time, charging time, weight, noise level, filter, and accessories among other features.
Suction power and cleaning ability
Stick vacuums feature relatively small motors, which does limit their suction power to some degree. The most accurate way to measure suction power is with air watts, a specific measurement that is different from the watts produced by the motor. Rather than measuring how much power the motor produces, air watts is an attempt to measure the actual power available to the vacuum as the result of the overall design. There are lots of things to consider here, from the type of filter used through to the length of the hose and the attachments.
According to Hoover, one of the most respected names in the vacuum cleaner world, a typical upright vacuum cleaner should have at least 100 air watts, and a powerful cylinder upright should have around 220 air watts. While they don’t offer a recommended figure for stick vacuums and other cordless designs, it’s worth noting that the top Dyson model offers just 24 air watts, or 65 in boost mode. This is more than enough for most cleaning tasks, however, especially in standard domestic environments. The lack of suction power is one of the main reasons why stick vacuums are generally recommended as a companion to a larger and more powerful vacuum cleaner.
Battery and charging time
Stick vacuum cleaners are cordless by design, which means they rely on a battery to power the unit while it cleans. The ability to operate on battery power is the biggest drawcard of stick vacuums, with the lightweight, quiet, and easy manoeuvrability of these designs only made possible due to advances in battery technology. The batteries included in stick vacuums are also the source of a major compromise, however, with running time generally limited to 15-40 minutes.
While this is enough to clean single rooms and small areas, it may not be long enough to clean a large five-bedroom house. Higher voltage batteries will normally perform better, with 18 V and up likely to offer a longer battery life. The type of material used in the battery also has an important role to play, with lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries both longer lasting and faster to charge than nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries.
Nickel-cadmium (NiCd) and lead-acid batteries are also used in some models, although they represent a previous generation of battery technology. Along with the operating time, it’s also important to compare the charging time of different units, with 4-6 hours likely depending on the battery type and operating time specifications.
Filters and dust capacity
The filters used in stick vacuums are very similar to those used in larger vacuum cleaners, only most are smaller and more closely integrated with the vacuum design. People with asthma, allergies, or pets are likely to benefit from a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, with these designs able to trap a greater proportion of allergens and fine dust particles. In order to be classified as a HEPA filter, the design needs to trap at least 99.7 percent of all emissions, including all particles down to 0.3 microns in size.
Accessories and functionality
Stick vacuum cleaners come with a range of accessories and tools, including extension tubes and specific brushes to use on different parts of your home. In most cases, these vacuum cleaners are just as versatile as standard upright or barrel vacuums, only this time they are easier to use and come in a much smaller package.
When you’re deciding on a stick vacuum for your home, it’s important to compare accessory sets and see if additional tools are available to purchase in the future. Accessories are not the only factor to consider when it comes to overall functionality, however, with stick vacuums much easier to move around your home and use on different surfaces.
Handheld vacuum cleaners
Handheld vacuum cleaners are the smallest and lightest category of vacuums on the market, with these units fantastic for quick cleans in tight areas. Handhelds are easy to transport, easy to store, and small enough to clean furniture and other sensitive areas. Just like stick vacuums, handhelds operate on battery power and are completely cordless by design. While this makes them simple to use, there are compromises to make in terms of suction power and operating time.
Stick vacuum cleaners are designed to clean floors, with handhelds designed more for tables, walls, windows, and furniture. The small form factor of these units also makes them ideal for cleaning cars and outdoor areas where corded units simply can’t reach. While the popularity of stick vacuums and 2-in-1 units has led to the demise of handhelds in certain markets, these vacuum cleaners are still the most efficient and easy way to clean small inaccessible spaces.
Suction power and cleaning ability
Just like stick vacuums, handhelds are compromised when it comes to suction power. The small motors used in these units are not enough to rival large vacuum cleaners, although they are enough to clean quickly and efficiently when spills and accidents occur. The cleaning ability of these models is closely related to their small size and ease-of-use, with users able to clean immediately before stains develop and damage occurs.
Battery and charging time
Modern handheld vacuum cleaners use similar battery technology to stick vacuums, with Li-ion and NiMH batteries in common use. The smaller size of these units gives them a reduced operating time, however, with 5-30 minutes common depending on the model and battery used. It’s important to note that the operating time of all rechargeable batteries diminishes the longer that they’re in use. If you’re buying a high-end handheld vacuum cleaner, it’s important that you can change the battery when it inevitably starts to fail in a few years time. Handhelds also take longer to charge than stick vacuums, with anywhere from 12-24 hours possible.
Filters and dust capacity
The filters used on handheld vacuum cleaners are fairly standard, only they’re relatively small compared to other vacuums and may require more frequent cleaning and replacement. Anyone with allergy problems or pets is likely to benefit from a HEPA filter, with some European manufacturers using a similar standard called S-class to define their best performing filter models. While handheld vacuums with HEPA filters will cost more, they trap more fine dust particles and often work for longer without needing replacement.
Accessories and functionality
Handheld vacuums are designed to be versatile and easy-to-use, with multiple attachments included with almost every model. First and foremost, it’s important to see if the vacuum has a hose option, with simple stretch hoses a great way to reach difficult areas such as sofa crevices. Flexible long reach hoses are also included with some vacuums, with these hoses used to expand the operating radius of the vacuum. Depending on the unit in question, you may also get access to a specialised pet attachment, dusting brush, crevice tool, and wall-mount attachment.
What about robot vacuums?
While robot vacuums are often included in their own category, strictly speaking, they are also a type of cordless vacuum cleaner. Also known as robotic vacuums or automated vacuums, these products have become increasingly popular over recent years. Robot vacuums are very small, battery powered, and often come with advanced technology features.
In many ways, robot vacuums are the easiest way to clean your home, with no human involvement needed whatsoever. Rather than standing over a vacuum cleaner and moving from room to room, you can set up a schedule, select a cleaning mode, and let the robot do the hard work for you. If this all sounds too good to be true, it’s important to be aware of the compromises you’ll have to make.
Robot vacuum cleaner batteries
Just like other cordless vacuums, robot models run on efficient Li-ion or NiMH batteries. While battery technology is getting better all the time, the operating time of these units is often severely restricted. Most robot vacuums can work for up to an hour at a time, with some more expensive models lasting for up to two hours. While this is enough to clean apartments and smaller houses, it may not be enough to clean your mansion. These units also take a long time to recharge, with 4-6 hours common. Many advanced robot vacuums have the ability to return home to their docking station when the battery gets low.
Robot vacuum cleaner compromises
The other major compromises you have to make are for dust bin capacity and suction power. With a capacity of only 0.3-0.6 L available for most models, robot vacuums won’t make it far if your home is very dirty. They also lack the suction power of corded vacuums and advanced stick models, with most units also struggling to clean rugs, high-pile carpets, and very dark hardwood or tile floors. While a robot vacuum can make a great addition to your home, these models are not designed to be your sole cleaning solution.
Robot vacuum technology
Robot vacuum cleaners offer a number of fantastic technology features, including smart navigation, multiple sensors, and connectivity. Most models come with more than one cleaning mode, with random cleaning available alongside things like zig-zag cleaning and intricate surface mapping. Navigation features are often combined with multiple sensors, inducing cliff-detection technology for stairs and collision sensors to protect your furniture.
Many manufacturers also offer advanced connectivity features such as remote controls and dedicated WiFi controls. While not everyone will want to schedule and control their vacuum cleaner from their smartphone, these features give you the freedom to clean your home while you’re at work or even on holiday. Higher-end models even allow you to create maps of your home and set invisible virtual barriers that define specific areas.
What are 2-in-1 vacuums?
A 2-in-1 vacuum cleaner can be used as either a hand stick or handheld vacuum, with these models able to transform between configurations with the simple push of a button or trigger. The popularity of 2-in-1 vacuum cleaners has made the decision between stick and handheld models a little more difficult, with these hybrid models often more expensive but also a lot more versatile. While not all stick vacuums offer this functionality, a growing number of manufacturers are including hybrid models in their range. 2-in-1 vacuums are more likely to include multiple attachments, including pet tools, brushes, and crevice attachments.
Bagged vs bagless
Cordless vacuum cleaners come in bagged and bagless variations, with both options offering pros and cons to the end user. A bagged vacuum has a paper bag inside that can be emptied directly into your bin. While modern stick vacuum cleaners are often associated with bagless designs, traditional bagged technology still offers a number of benefits. Bags are easy to dispose of, more hygienic, and more resistant to particle clogging.
On the other hand, bagless vacuums also offer benefits to the end user, including being able to see how full the unit is and being able to clean the filters instead of buying new bags all the time. There are two types of bagless technologies currently on the market: filtered vacuums, and cyclonic vacuums. Filtered models use a paper or cloth element to trap dirt particles, with cyclonic models using motion to attract the dirt away from the centre.
Is a cordless model right for me?
Before buying a cordless vacuum cleaner, it’s important to take some time and decide if it’s the right decision for you. While these vacuums offer numerous ergonomic benefits over the conventional barrel and upright designs, there are also a number of compromises you’ll have to make along the way. First, you need to decide if you’re buying a cordless vacuum as your sole vacuum or as a way to complement an existing cleaning unit.
Next, you need to think about how often it’s likely to be used and what kind of cleaning jobs you can envisage. It’s normally a good idea to go over a few possible jobs in your head to see what kind of vacuum is right for you. For example, while handhelds are great for cleaning up spills quickly, they are not a realistic option for cleaning floors. Alternatively, while stick vacuums are light and easy-to-use, they are still too large to clean the back seat of the car.
Generally speaking, a cordless vacuum cleaner is a great way to complement a more powerful unit rather than replace it. This is especially true for handheld models, which are not designed for large cleaning jobs or stand-up work. While some people have replaced conventional vacuums with advanced stick models from Dyson and other manufacturers, the loss of suction power and reduced operating time could be annoying and might cause problems down the road.
How will you use it?
Whether you’re thinking about a stick vacuum or a handheld, where and how often you use it will have a huge impact on your experience. Cordless vacuums excel at cleaning smaller spaces, with handhelds particularly good at quick cleans when you don’t have long to spare. Rather than getting out a large and cumbersome vacuum cleaner, and finding a nearby socket, you can remove it from its docking station and get down to business immediately.
The small size and form factor of cordless vacuums influences how they’re used, which means your home is much more likely to be spotless in between bigger cleans. Whether you want to perform a quick clean before a guest comes over for tea, or clean up a spill immediately to prevent a stain from developing, cordless vacuum cleaners have an important role to play in our busy modern lives.
Do you have pets?
If you’ve ever lived with cats or dogs, then you’ll appreciate just how difficult it can be removing pet hair from carpets, rugs, and other surfaces. Cordless vacuums can be great at cleaning pet hair, with some models designed specifically for this job. There are both stick and handheld models on the market dedicated to cleaning pet hair and other allergens.
Vacuums marketed towards pet owners generally have a number of additional or refined features, including powerful motors with additional and variable suction power, HEPA filters, and dedicated pet hair attachments. While some regular vacuums are also quite capable of cleaning pet hair, it’s best to buy a model that’s been specifically designed for the job at hand. Attachments with de-tangle features are especially important if you want to avoid clogging and constant cleaning.
HEPA filers play an important role in many cordless vacuums, with these advanced filters able to trap pet hair and smaller dust particles such as pollen, dust mites, and allergens. If you suffer from asthma, allergies, or you have a pet cat or dog, it’s normally a good idea to purchase a HEPA equipped vacuum cleaner. While these vacuums are often more expensive and may feature less suction power, they are capable of removing more pet hair and fine dust particles from your home.