We may earn a commission if you click a deal and buy an item. This is how we make money.

Best cordless vacuum cleaner 2021: Powerful portable cleaning

Cut the cable not your cleaning quality: Trusted Reviews uses its in-depth testing to bring you the definitive list to the best battery-powered vacuums

The best cordless vacuum cleaners right now

Cordless vacuum cleaners have massively changed over the last couple of years, with far more choice of style and type available. Whether you want a more convenient cleaner for occasional use, to ditch your plug-in vacuum cleaner entirely, or to go for a spot cleaner for quick spill pick-up, we’ve covered everything you need to know here.

We’ve tested hundreds of cordless vacuum cleaners. For each one, we test its ability to pick up dirt on hard floors and carpets, how well they cope with pet hair, and their actual suction power. From there we test each one for ergonomics and ease-of-use. After all, what’s the point in a powerful vacuum cleaner if it’s uncomfortable or difficult to hold?

In this guide, we’ve chosen a wide range of vacuum cleaners that we think that you might like. We’ve looked at different needs and different budgets. From the most powerful to the most convenient, we’ve got it all covered.

What to look out for when buying a cordless vacuum cleaner

If you already know what you’re looking for, skip down to our list.

When choosing a cordless vacuum cleaner, it’s important to choose the one that is right for you, so you get the cleaning power that you need for your home without having to spend too much money. Some of the questions you should be asking yourself are.

  1. What type of cordless vacuum cleaner do you want? Stick cleaners are the most common. These have a main vacuum unit, controlled via trigger, that you connect the wand and floor head to for regular cleaning, and accessories for detail work. These are quick and easy to use, but put all of the weight in your hand. An upright replacement has to be carried where you want it, but these are easier to push around and most of the weight is on the floor. You can connect accessories via a hose, although you don’t quite get the reach that a stick model gives you. Finally, handheld or spot cleaners are much smaller, and are designed to be grab-and-go for dealing with quick spills, such as mess in the kitchen after cooking.
  2. What floor head do you need? Motorised floor brushes help agitate dirt for easier pick up, but make sure you get one built for your type of flooring: carpet or hard floors.
  3. What other accessories do you need? You should get a crevice tool for working around the edges of a room and a dusting brush, as a minimum. Upholstery tools make it easy to clean curtains and sofas. If you have pets, a motorised pet tool helps remove pet hair from a variety of surfaces.
  4. How much battery life do you need? Battery life is measured in minutes, usually topping out at around 45-minutes. This should be enough to clean a small house or flat in one go, as you only use power when the vacuum is on. If you need more run-time, look for a vacuum with removable batteries, so you can swap out and keep cleaning.
  5. How much power do you need? Our reviews tell you if a cordless cleaner can replace a plug-in model entirely, or if the vacuum acts as a convenient back-up to a bigger one.

Now, onto the full list of the best cordless vacuum cleaners.

The best cordless vacuum cleaner is the Dyson V11

The best cordless vacuum cleaner is the Dyson V11

Specifications:

Vacuum cleaner type: Cordless stick | Size: 1286 x 250 x 261, 3kg | Provided heads: Motorised floor head, soft roller, mini roller, crevice tool, dusting brush, combination tool | Bin capacity: 0.76-litres | Bagless: Yes | Run time: 60 minutes Eco, 12 minutes Max

You can read our more detailed review of this excellent cordless vacuum cleaner. We liked it so much that we gave it a rating of 5 out of 5, and this is a cordless cleaner that can replace a plug-in model.

The pros:

  • Incredible suction power
  • Adjusts suction power automatically
  • Screen shows remaining run-time
  • Good-sized bin with easy emptying

The cons: 

  • Still only one battery
  • Not cheap

The Dyson V11 is the company’s top-of-the-range cordless vacuum cleaner, designed to replace your regular cleaner. Two factors are key to this: power and battery life. First, this is the most powerful cordless vacuum cleaner that we’ve tested, which it is easily able to pick up dirt from carpets, and hard floors.

Second, with the Dyson High Torque brush head, the vacuum cleaner automatically scans the floor and dirt, adjusting the power on the fly to maximise pick-up while saving battery life. You should be able to clean most houses on a single charge, although it’s a little disappointing that this vacuum doesn’t have a removable battery.

Cleverly, the display on the back shows battery life in minutes, so you know how much time you’ve actually got left to clean with, letting you decide to carry on or dock and recharge before tackling another room.

Sure, this is just about the most expensive cordless vacuum cleaner that we’ve tested, but if you’re looking for a powerful replacement to a plug-in cleaner, then this one will do everything.

The best upright replacement cordless vacuum cleaner is the Shark ICZ160UKT

Shark ICZ160UKT hero

Specifications:

Vacuum cleaner type: Cordless upright | Size: 1080 x 250 x 260mm, 5.5kg | Provided heads: DuoClean floor head, upholstery tool, crevice tool, brush, mini motorised tool | Bin capacity: 0.6-litres | Bagless: Yes | Run time: 50-minutes

You can read our more detailed review of the Shark ICZ160UKT. We liked it so much that we gave it a rating of 5 out of 5.

The pros:

  • Super flexible
  • Replaceable batteries
  • Excellent performance on all surfaces

The cons:

  • No onboard tool storage

If you want the power of a cordless stick vacuum cleaner, combined with the ease of use of an upright cleaner, the Shark ICZ160UKT is for you. In its default mode, you just turn it on, tilt the handle back and you can push it around like a regular upright. As this model is freestanding, it puts little weight in your hand.

The bulky vacuum unit and bin can get in the way when trying to get under furniture, but there’s a clever workaround using Shark’s lift-away mode. This lets you take out the main cylinder and release the hose and stick. You can then use the floor head free from the bulky bin. You can also use the provided accessories to give you extra reach. As you can place the cylinder on the floor out of the way, you get detail cleaning without the fatigue of having to carry the entire vacuum.

Shark’s clever DuoClean head is built to work on hard floors and carpet alike, and it uses anti hairwrap tech, so you never have to unclog the rollers. With a replaceable battery to extend runtime, the ICZ160UKT can either work as an add-on to a plug-in cleaner or, with the addition of a second battery, give you the time to clean an entire house.

The best stick cleaner is the Shark IZ251UKT

The best stick cleaner is the Shark IZ251UKT

Specifications:

Vacuum cleaner type: Cordless stick | Size: 1180 x 260 x 245mm, 4.1kg | Provided heads: DuoClean motorised floor head, upholstery tool, crevice tool, dusting brush, anti-allergen dusting brush, motorised pet brush | Bin capacity: 0.4-litres | Bagless: Yes | Run time: 80-minutes (two batteries)

You can read our more detailed review of the Shark ICZ251UKT.  We liked how flexible this cleaner was and gave it a score of 4.5 out of 5.

The pros:

  • Powerful cleaning on all surfaces
  • Flexible cleaning and storage
  • Lots of accessories

The cons:

  • Protruding bin can make contact with some tools tricky
  • Doesn’t stand up when extended

If there’s one thing you can rely on Shark for, it’s power and clever design. The Shark ICZ251UKT fits into both categories, with this stick cleaner featuring the company’s flexology technology. This lets you fold the top half over completely, letting you store the vacuum cleaner standing up; sadly, it won’t stand up when extended, so be careful if you pause cleaning.

Flexology also lets you use the bend in the wand to clean under furniture without having to bend over, which can make some cleaning jobs much easier. We also love the DuoClean floor head, which gives you two brushes to cover hard floors and carpets without having to change heads. And, this vacuum has Shark’s excellent anti hairwrap technology, which stops the brushes from getting tangled with hair.

Cleaning performance is excellent on all surfaces, and will last for up to 80 minutes thanks to the dual batteries included, both of which can be charged at the same time. Cleverly, the vacuum turns on in low power mode, which is good for most jobs, but there’s a trigger to quickly engage the Max mode, which gives you a boost of power for tough jobs. Having this on a trigger means you can use Max mode when you need it without running out of power.

Our only minor complaint is that the large bin can make it a bit tricky to get the right type of contact when using some of the accessories. That all said, this is a powerful and flexible stick cleaner. For a limited time only, you can buy the single-battery version, the Shark IZ201UKTDB for just £199.

The best budget stick cordless vacuum cleaner is the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4

The best budget stick cordless vacuum cleaner is the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4

Specifications:

Vacuum cleaner type: Cordless stick | Size: 1140 x 240 x 185mm, 3kg | Provided heads: Motorised floor head, crevice tool, brush (optional toolkit include upholstery tool with a clip-on stiff brush, extendible crevice tool and a flexible extension hose) | Bin capacity: 0.6-litres | Bagless: Yes | Run time: 45-minutes standard, 12-minutes turbo

You can read our more detailed review of the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4. This flexible, well-priced cleaner impressed us and we scored it 4.5 out of 5.

The pros:

  • Powerful
  • Excellent price
  • Swappable batteries

The cons:

  • Base model has few accessories
  • Doesn’t stand up by itself

An update on last year’s model, the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 takes everything we loved about that vacuum and adds in a replaceable battery. Not only does this expand runtime, but the batteries are compatible with other ONEPWR products, so you can swap out between the range, which includes a hard-floor cleaner and carpet spot cleaner.

The main stick comes with a motorised brush head that’s great for multiple surfaces and has a handy light to highlight any dirt. You also get a crevice tool and brush in the box, but that’s it: you have to pay more for the additional tools accessory, although Vax offers a free accessory kit if you buy direct.

Operation of the vacuum is easy, with a button to turn the cleaner on – there’s no pistol grip that requires continuous pressure here. Although the wall mount doesn’t charge, that’s not an issue here, as you can remove the battery and drop it onto the charging dock.

Well-priced and with powerful cleaning, you have to spend a chunk more to get more powerful suction and a greater range of tools. Look out for the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Pet if you have pets, as this model has an antimicrobial coating on its main floor brush and comes with a smaller, powered pet brush.

The best cordless vacuum cleaner for power is the Lupe Pure Cordless

Specifications:

Vacuum cleaner type: Cordless upright vacuum | Size: 1145 x 175 x 260mm, 4.6kg | Provided heads: Motorised floor head, 2in1 crevice tool, 2in1 upholstery tool | Bin capacity: 1-litre | Bagless: Yes | Run time: 15/30/60-minutes

You can read our more detailed review of the Lupe Pure Cordless. This exceptionally powerful vacuum cleaner scored four out of five.

The Pros:

  • Lots of suction power
  • Large bin
  • Picks up dirt well on hard floors and carpets
  • Converts into a handheld

The Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Fiddly conversion
  • No motorised mini tool

If you’ve not heard of the Lupe Pure Cordless before, don’t worry, it’s because this is a brand-new company. Its founders come from good pedigree having previously worked at a certain large vacuum cleaner manufacturer before. What they’ve tried to do with the Pure Cordless is make something different that’s built to last, with a promise that there will not be iterative improvements to the product for the sake of it, rather a model that is on sale for a long time.

With its traditional upright design, the Pure Cordless is as easy to use as any regular model. It’s also exceptionally powerful, with three modes, able to pick up dirt and pet hair from any floor surface. You can convert it into a portable cleaner, too, lifting out the main cylinder and using the hose to reach those hard-to-get-to areas. It is fiddly moving from upright to handheld mode, and Shark Lift-Away cleaners are easier to use in this regard.

We also felt the lack of a motorised mini brush, and pet hair removal from a sofa wasn’t as easy as a result. Then, there’s the price: this is more expensive than its Dyson competition. What you get for the price is excellent power, decent battery life and a large bin, making this a great replacement cleaner for a plug-in model.

The best lightweight cordless vacuum cleaner is the Hoover H-Free 500

The best lightweight cordless vacuum cleaner is the Hoover H-Free 500

Specifications:

Vacuum cleaner type: Cordless stick | Size: 1179 x 252 x 195mm, 2.2kg | Provided heads: Motorised floor head, crevice tool, combination dusting tool and furniture brush | Bin capacity: 0.45-litres | Bagless: Yes | Run time: 45-minutes

You can read our more detailed review of the Hoover H-Free 500. This tiny, easy-to-store cleaner impressed us so much that we gave it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

The pros:

  • Very small and stores easily
  • Decent cleaning performance
  • Simple controls

The cons:

  • Fiddly to adjust floor head for carpets and hard floors
  • Needs Turbo mode fairly regularly

To some degree, all cordless vacuum cleaners are small and lightweight when compared to plug-in models, as they’re all designed to be portable. However, there are variations and we’ve seen some rather chunky cordless models that aren’t well balanced. If you want something really light that’s easy to wield, the Hoover H-Free 500 could be for you.

This tiny model weighs just 2.2kg, so it’s easy to pick up and move around, whether you’re cleaning the floor or need to get up high around your ceilings. It’s also one of the easiest models to store, with the bin section clipping onto the wand to make the vacuum half-height to fit in a cupboard. It’s quite an impressive storage method and means that you can pretty much place the vacuum where you want it.

This model ships with a single battery promising up to 45 minutes of life, although you can buy additional models if you’d like to extend run time. Depending on the size of your house, you may need to do this, as we found that the H-Free 500 needed frequent bursts of its max power mode to really clean up, making this a better companion to a plug-in cleaner rather than a replacement. Cleaning was impressive, though, across all of our usual tests: carpet, hard floor and pet hair.

Our one minor complaint about this model is that the floorhead has fiddly slide-in strips to convert it from carpet to hard floor mode. That aside, the quality cleaning and small body make this vacuum a winner, particularly for those struggling to use a larger model.

The best handheld vacuum is the Hoover H-Handy 700

The best handheld vacuum is the Hoover H-Handy 700

Specifications:

Vacuum cleaner type: Cordless handheld | Size: 418 x 66 x 69mm, 640g | Provided heads: 3-in-1 tool (crevice tool, brush and upholstery tool) | Bin capacity: 0.15-litres | Bagless: Yes | Run time: 12-minutes

You can read our more detailed review of the Hoover H-Handy 700. This tiny cleaner is powerful and easy to use for small spills, scoring 4.5 out of 5.

The pros:

  • Small and compact
  • Neat storage
  • Powerful

The cons:

  • Small nozzles only

Thanks to improvements in battery technology and motors, it’s possible to have a tiny handheld vacuum cleaner, such as the Hoover H-Handy 700, that’s as powerful as a big cleaner. This simple grab-and-go cleaner is your friend for smaller spills, such as cleaning up after cooking or quickly tackling a sofa.

As well as being neat and small, the charging stand contains everything and has space for the three-in-one accessory: a crevice tool, dusting brush and upholstery tool all in one. Each nozzle is rather small, so large areas can take a bit of time to cover; this really is a tool designed for quick clear-ups.

Performance is excellent, though, with the vacuum able to cope well with carpets and hard floors, while doing a decent job with pet hair; if you’ve got pets that shed a lot the Pet version of this cleaner comes with an extra motorised brush. Battery life is just 12-minutes, but this is enough to deal with pretty much every small spill, so you shouldn’t need more.

The best budget handheld vacuum cleaner is the Vax ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vac

The best budget handheld vacuum cleaner is the Vax ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vac

Specifications:

Vacuum cleaner type: Cordless hand vacuum | Size: 420 x 120 x 155mm, 1.1kg | Provided heads: Crevice tool | Bin capacity: 0.3-litres | Bagless: Yes | Run time: 25-minutes

The pros:

  • Small and easy to use
  • Works with all ONEPWR batteries
  • As powerful as a full-size vacuum cleaner

The cons:

  • Best value if you have another ONEPWR product
  • Just the one accessory

You can read our more detailed review of the Vax ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vac. A powerful handheld vacuum, perfect for anyone with ONEPWR tools already, this model scored 4.5 out of 5.

Available as barebones vacuum cleaner only, the Vax ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vac ships without its own battery. This keeps the price down, but it means that the vacuum is best suited to anyone that has a ONEPWR product already. If you do, you can just slip the battery from your existing product into the back of this one, giving runtimes of up to 25-minutes with the largest battery, dropping to half this with the smallest battery in the range.

Using full-size batteries like this increases the size of this handheld cleaner, but it at least means that you get a decent-sized bin. There’s lots of power, too, and this vacuum easily has the power of its full-sized brothers. You get a limited selection of tools, though, and can use the vacuum without an attachment or with the crevice tool for more detail work. This slightly limits what you can tackle, and you can only cover small areas at a time.

What we can say is that this vacuum easily picks up regular mess on hard floors and carpets, making it a great kitchen companion or grab-and-go tool for small areas of dust. If you’ve got an existing ONEPWR product, this is a well-priced addition.

Buy now from Vax for (£49.99)

Comparison table

Type

Size

Runtime

Dyson V11 Cordless stick 1286 x 250 x 261, 3kg 60-minutes
Shark ICZ160UKT Cordless upright 1080 x 250 x 260mm, 5.5kg 50-minutes
Shark IZ251UKT Cordless stick 1180 x 260 x 245mm, 4.1kg
80-minutes (2 batteries)
Lupe Pure Cordless Cordless upright 1145 x 175 x 260mm, 4.6kg
60-minutes
Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Cordless stick 1140 x 240 x 185mm, 3kg 45-minutes
Hoover H-Free 500 Cordless stick 1179 x 252 x 195mm, 2.2kg 45-minutes
Hoover H-Handy 700 Handheld 418 x 66 x 69mm, 640g 12-minutes
Vax ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vac Handheld 420 x 120 x 155mm, 1.1kg 25-minutes
  • Best cordless vacuum cleaner: Dyson V11
  • Best cordless stick vacuum cleaner: Shark ICZ160UKT
  • Best cordless upright vacuum cleaner: Shark IZ251UKT
  • Best cordless vacuum cleaner for power: Lupe Pure Cordless
  • Best budget cordless stick vacuum cleaner: Vax ONEPWR Blade 4
  • Best lightweight cordless vacuum cleaner: Hoover H-Free 500
  • Best handheld cordless vacuum cleaner: Hoover H-Handy 700
  • Best budget cordless vacuum cleaner: Vax ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vac