Cordless vacuum cleaners are getting more powerful and becoming more affordable every day. Is it time for you to ditch the annoying cable for good?
With many people still married to their corded model, or perhaps wary of the pitfalls that the next generation of home cleaning holds, the Pocket-lint team has been hard at work. To help you choose the right path, we’ve been testing all the greatest and latest devices – and, here, offer up some key things to consider before you make a final decision.
We’ve put these models through their paces testing everything from battery life, to ease of charging, and ergonomics. We’ve run them through the gauntlet of tasks, everything from spills on hard surfaces to crumbs embedded in deep carpets to separate the wheat from the chaff.
This way, you’re able to figure out if it’s the right device before popping it in your basket. And given that we’ve been rating vacuums since they first dropped the cord – overseeing everything from the battery-weak initial designs right through to the attachment-laden cleaning monsters on the market today – we’re expertly placed to inform your buying decision.
With all that said, it’s now time to detail our top recommendations. Below, you’ll discover a mix of designs, power and budgets that should hopefully suit what you’re looking for. What is the best cordless vacuum you can buy?
Our Top Pick: Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
1. Best overall
Powerful, long-lasting and versatile – the best cordless vacuum we’ve tested.
- Improved cleaning performance over the Dyson V10
- LCD screen is very handy
- Plenty of power modes
- Can’t charge and use concurrently
- Bin can be awkward to empty
Dyson’s V11 is a popular cordless vacuum, and it’s fair to say that in use it feels like a bit of a Rolls-Royce.
This is a cordless vacuum that feels as powerful as you could want, and we didn’t once experience it running out of juice during a whole-home sweep.
It’s got better battery life and superior performance to the already-tremendous V10, which was also considered for this list.
If you’re after a solution that can replace your corded vacuum, or simply act as the ultimate upgrade on your current cordless vacuum, the V11 is as well-crafted and reliable as we’ve ever tested.
The only true downside is the price, but it’s still easily our top pick for the best cordless vacuum.
Bissell MultiReach Active 21V
2. Runner Up
The Bissell MultiReach Active comes in at an accessible price point and punches well above its weight when it comes to performance.
- Incredibly low price
- Reassuring build quality
- LED headlights help identify targets
- Pretty heavy
- Battery life could be improved
- The battery is not removable
The Bissell MultiReach Active offers astonishing value for money and, despite its price tag, feels reassuringly well-built and sturdy. The suction is good and handled everything we threw at it with relative ease.
The head is highly manoeuvrable and easy to guide into tight spaces, while the LED headlights do a great job of highlighting dust that needs sucking up. It charges up in just a couple of hours, too, which is great because you’ll likely need to top it up after every use.
This one is on the heavier side, so it can feel like a bit of a workout when you’re in the middle of a big clean up; but when it offers such superb value for money, it’s hard to complain. We think it’s one of the best budget options on the market.
Dyson V15 Absolute Detect
3. A Top Pick
On par with the most comprehensive vacuums out there, in terms of pure cleaning performance, but the price will put off many people.
- Anti-tangle hair screw is brilliant
- Laser Detect works well in darker spaces
- Excellent accessories
- Extremely costly
- Laser Detect is semi-gimmicky
- Better value in other Dyson models
If you’re looking for the best out-and-out cleaner on this list, you’ve found it.
But there’s a big downside – the price – that holds it back from being our top pick. It does boast a really cool feature in its head, with Laser Detect allowing you to see dirt on hard floors, but, for most people, the V8 or V11 is the better cleaner
In particular, the V11 offers most of what the V15 does at a much more palatable price point. For those for whom money is no object, though, we can’t recommend the cleaning capabilities of the Dyson V15 enough.
Shark Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
4. Strong Contender
Great for households with pets
An outstanding vacuum that can efficiently corral hair and dander, Shark’s device is an excellent alternative to rival picks.
- Ingenius brush design
- Flexible stick works a treat
- Good array of power modes
- Still relatively expensive
- Lights can’t be turned off
- More svelte models out there
Shark’s vacuum is a really impressive number and is more affordable than Dyson’s premium offerings by a margin. That said, this is still a pretty premium offering.
It’s got superb suction and a really smart set of brushes that cleverly avoid that all-too-familiar tangle of hair. The vacuum also folds down brilliantly and those folding joints mean it’s easy to run it under furniture, too.
Depending on what you need, you can opt for versions with a motorised pet-hair attachment and extra batteries to get you more runtime.
It’s a brilliant vacuum that we’ve used around the home frequently since our initial review, and it rarely fails us.
5. Also Great
Excellent all-round operation
Roborock’s cleaner more than holds its own against rivals thanks to excellent power and cleaning capability.
- Powerful cleaning
- Magnetic attachments
- Large dirt bin
- No soft roller brush
- Dirt bin hard to empty properly
- Can’t override carpet detection feature
Roborock’s H7 didn’t especially blow us away in any particular area, but it did handily fight off some stiff mid-tier competition to make it into our top selections.
As with the company’s robot vacuums, the H7 provides a very complete package and represents solid value for money. That doesn’t mean it’s cheap, either, but it always felt like it was able to justify the price tag.
We’d really like to have seen a soft roller included, and it should be slightly easier to empty – currently, you have to put your hand or another implement in to get the dirt out – but the cleaning experience more than makes up for these shortcomings.
For us, the standout elements are the magnetic attachments and the option to use a dirt bag. It’s not something that features in much more expensive alternatives, and they both really enhance the overall clean.
How to choose a cordless vacuum cleaner
In the last few years, vacuum cleaners have embraced the battery. The days of dragging a vacuum along the floor tethered to the mains may not quite be over, but cordless is the future. There’s a greater sense of freedom as you clean, as well as the ability to get into places you couldn’t if the power cable was holding you back.
Cordless designs do bring with them their own set of issues, however, including battery life, weight and size. How do you choose the best one for you? Well, below are some key considerations.
What kind of floors do you have?
Most of us have a mixture of hard floors and carpets, but, if you only have one or the other, you may want to look for a vacuum that says it’s best for that kind of flooring. In most cases, the vacuum will come with multiple nozzles and brush heads so that when you go from wooden floor to carpet, you simply swap the head.
Others take this further and have brush heads that recognise the flooring, turning the rotating brush head on or off as the terrain demands.
How big is your home?
The bigger your floors, the more battery capacity – and waste bin – you need on your vacuum cleaner. Smaller cleaners are lighter, which is a good thing but won’t cover as much ground as a bigger one, which isn’t.
It’s worth checking how many square metres the manufacturer says it can deal with before it needs a recharge. One of the lightest is the Dyson Omni-glide, but, great though it is, it really won’t suit a larger home (unless you do it in multiple bursts with a long pause in between) as it’s only designed to run for a few minutes at a time.
Often, you’ll have to consider battery hours rather than floor reach.
What should you look for in battery life?
Even the best vacuums have limited life because they’re battery-powered, and once it’s flat, it’ll take a while before you can use it again.
Only a few years ago, battery life was 20 minutes or less. Things have improved dramatically since then, but you still need to be sparing with your usage. Vacuum cleaners that boast a full hour’s use are almost certainly referring to the least powerful suction setting and this will drop significantly when you’re on full power to lift the toughest bits of dirt.
So, anything longer than around 40 minutes is solid, but that also means you still have to be sparing with your power.
How about filtration?
HEPA filters pick up remarkably tiny particles and leave the air cleaner. This is especially important if you have anyone with allergies or asthma in your household. Some filters need to be maintained, usually by rinsing under the tap at infrequent intervals and left to dry.
How many attachments do you need?
Some models come with hoses, curved pipes, full-length wands close-up accessories, crevice tools and more. This means you can stretch up to clean the top of the curtains as effectively as reaching into tight corners or under sideboards or beds.
Not everybody needs all of these, so you may want to save money by choosing something simpler.
How easy is it to empty?
Some cleaners use a quick in-and-out movement to empty the bin, while others are a little more fiddly. Sure, you’ll get used to it, but as it’s guaranteed you’ll empty it pretty much every time you use it, it’s worth checking out just how straightforward it is.
You’ll also want to consider the capacity of the bin.