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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

Introduction

Cordless vacuum cleaners are the easiest way to keep your home clean, giving you grab and go portability without having to faff around with plugs. Thanks to recent advances in technology, cordless cleaners now come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, designed to suit all kinds of users and jobs.

That, naturally, makes finding the right cleaner for you rather hard, which is where I come in. Trusted Reviews reviews every major cordless vacuum cleaner (and a lot of smaller brands, too), so that we can compare, contrast and test each one.

That makes my list of the best cordless vacuum cleaners the best that you can get, as we have had every single product in for review, and we’ve thoroughly tested each one.

In this guide, which is updated regularly, we’ve listed our best buy vacuum cleaners, with models in all price ranges and every conceivable size and shape.

How we test

Learn more about how we test vacuum cleaners

Every vacuum cleaner that we test goes through exactly the same tests. We use both real-world tests and technical measurements to tell the good from the bad. First, we measure suction power in Air Watts (AW), which is a combination of suction and airflow. This lets us compare the raw power of each cleaner.

Actual performance depends on a lot of factors including the quality of the accessories and the ability of a vacuum to agitate dirt. For that reason, we take before and after pictures of dust collection on carpet, hard floors and with pet hair.

We don’t weigh the before and after results, as this test is notoriously difficult to do properly, as vacuum cleaners will pick up fibres from the floor that will add to the weight collected. And, without a super-sensitive set of scales it’s impossible to measure fine differences between machines.

If you want to learn more, please visit our detailed page about how we test vacuum cleaners.

Dyson V15 Detect

The most powerful and easy-to-use cordless cleaner
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Pros

  • Laser highlights dirt on hard floors
  • Anti-tangle heads
  • Smart automatic mode
  • Tonnes of accessories

Cons

  • Laser only works on hard floors
  • Expensive

This Dyson V15 Detect is the company’s latest cordless vacuum cleaner and the single best model that we have tested. There are two new innovations here. First, there’s a dust sensor that shows you how much dirt is being collected on the LCD at the pack, and is also used to adjust power automatically to the motorised tools.

Secondly, there’s a laser on the hard floor head, which highlights dirt, so you can make sure that you pick up everything. This only works on hard floors but it’s brilliant (if not a bit icky, seeing all the dirt that has accumulated).

With a smart LCD that shows you real battery life remaining, a replaceable battery, host of accessories and excellent controls, the Dyson V15 Detect can easily replace a powered cleaner. It’s also the most powerful cordless vacuum cleaner that we’ve tested.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full Review: Dyson V15 Detect

Dyson Omni-glide

A super-flexible cleaner built for use on hard floors
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Pros

  • Very light
  • Powerful
  • Incredibly easy to manoeuvre

Cons

  • Not ideal for use on carpet

While previous Dyson vacuum cleaners have been built for multi-purpose use, the Dyson Omni-glide is the company’s first specialist cleaner. With its fluffy, flexible head and new layout, it’s a vacuum cleaner designed for modern living.

Thanks to that flexible head, you can dash around furniture, slide under sofas (the cleaner goes flat to the floor) and quickly suck up dirt anywhere. Cleaning performance on hard floors is outstanding. It’s not built for carpets, but I ran my usual carpet tests and the cleaner did better than a lot of competitor models built for carpet.

You get all of the other accessories you need for detail and upholstery cleaning, too.

This model ditches Dyson’s usual trigger switch for a brand-new on/off button, which makes it easier to use. Battery life is a little short, but for those in a small apartment or that want a grab-and-go cleaner for smaller jobs, this is exceptional.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full Review: Dyson Omni-glide

Shark Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner with PowerFins, Powered Lift-Away & TruePet ICZ300UKT

The Shark ICZ300UKT is a cordless vacuum cleaner that’s can be used as an upright, with the added flexibility that the Lift-Away mode brings.
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Pros

  • Very flexible
  • Replaceable batteries
  • Great selection of tools

Cons

  • No onboard tool storage

As good as cordless stick vacuum cleaners are, they all take a bit more effort to hold and use than a regular upright cleaner, as they put all of their weight in your hand. Not so with the Shark ICZ300UKT.

This model is battery powered, but looks and acts very much like one of Shark’s plug-in vacuum cleaners. Just turn it on, tilt the handle back and you an push it around like a standard upright. There’s very little weight in your hand, so this vacuum cleaner is super-easy to push.

As there’s a large bin on the front, getting under furniture can be tricky in upright mode. Fortunately, there’s Lift-Away mode instead. This lets you lift out the cylinder and use the floor head or accessories via the hose. That makes cleaning under sofas, on stairs or hard-to-reach areas much easier.

This new model puts all of the controls on the handle, where you can reach them, next to a nifty LCD panel that shows you the battery life as a percentage. You get one battery in the box but, as this is removable, you could buy a second battery to extend runtime.

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.


Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full Review: Shark Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner with PowerFins, Powered Lift-Away & TruePet ICZ300UKT Review

Halo Capsule

With its carbon-fibre body, the Halo Capsule is a lightweight and powerful cordless vacuum cleaner that performs well on all surfaces.
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Pros

  • Very light
  • Excellent cleaning performance
  • Large and cheap bags

Cons

  • Battery life could be longer
  • Few accessories

The Halo Capsule is built in Britain and made of carbon fibre, which makes it one of the lightest vacuum cleaners that I have ever tested. It’s also unusual in that it takes bags, rather than using a reusable bin.

Don’t let that put you off. You get a pack of 26 1.6-litre bags in the box, and replacements are a reasonable £25.99. Certainly, I can’t knock the value of them and Halo isn’t trying to make a load of money by overcharging for these replacements.

Using bags can be good, particularly if you have people with allergies in the house, as you pull out a used bag and throw everything away with no mess.

Performance from this vacuum cleaner is fantastic, too, with the middle setting (Performance) able to deal with most mess, with only a little bit of Boost mode required. Battery life is rated at 25 minutes in Performance mode, which is a little short: cleaning quality means you can clean a surprising amount of space but you’ll likely need at least one charge in the middle of cleaning a house.

Successfully taking on the big brands, the Halo Capsule is a great lightweight cleaner, which takes large and cheap bags.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full Review: Halo Capsule Review

Shark Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner with PowerFins, Flexology & TruePet [Twin Battery] IZ320UKT

Lots of power and the battery life to last for an entire house clean
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Pros

  • Flexible design
  • Very powerful
  • Long lasting, particularly with two batteries

Cons

  • Can’t stand upright when extended

Power, flexibility and long battery life are the main things you could want from a cordless vacuum cleaner, and they’re what the Shark IZ320UKT delivers. This model has Flexology, which is Shark’s name for its hinged wand: use this and you can clean under furniture without having to bend over, and you can fold the vacuum up for neat storage.

This new model is packed with the latest tech, including the new PowerFins DuoClean head, which is built to agitate and collect dirt on carpets and hard floors.

At the back of the cleaner is an LCD screen that shows the current battery life as a percentage, plus the power mode selected. With two batteries in this set, there’s enough battery life to last for up to two hours of cleaning, so you can replace your regular plug-in cleaner with this model.

Cleaning performance is fantastic on all surfaces, with the Shark IZ320UKT getting right up to the edge. Given the features and power, this vacuum is exceptionally well priced and a great all-round cleaner for every type of job.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full Review: Shark IZ320UKT Review

Shark WandVac System WV361UK

An excellent handheld cleaner that can tackle larger spills, too
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Pros

  • As powerful as a regular cordless
  • Very light
  • Extremely flexible cleaning

Cons

  • Relatively short battery life
  • Bin emptying is rather energetic

Sometimes you just need a quick grab-and-go cleaner for smaller jobs, which is where a handheld model comes in. But what about those bigger jobs? That’s where you need the Shark Wandvac System WV361UK.

This model is a proper, powerful handheld cleaner that you can use for kitchen spills or quickly tidying up a sofa. But it also has a wand and floor head, so you can use it to tackle larger spills.

Performance in both modes is good, although slightly lagging behind a more powerful stick cordless vacuum cleaner; certainly, the power is good enough for those everyday spills.

With lots of accessories and a clever stand, this lightweight vacuum cleaner is easy to store and, most importantly, easy to grab when you need it. Battery life is short, but think of this as a handy utility cleaner for when you quickly need to tidy up some mess and it’s a great addition to a house that already has a good vacuum cleaner for weekly and deep cleaning.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full Review: Shark WandVac System WV361UK Review

Hoover H-Free 300

A decent mid-range cordless vacuum cleaner, the Hoover H-Free 300 has a neat trick: it can stand up by itself.
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Pros

  • Very light
  • Exceptionally quiet
  • Can stand up by itself
  • Good range of tools in the box

Cons

  • Battery life with motorised tools is average
  • No tool storage

If you already have a good plug-in cleaner, then what you may want from a cordless model is one that’s light and easy to use. Step forward the Hoover H-Free 300, which is exceptionally lightweight and has one clever trick: you can stand this cordless cleaner up by itself. This is the only cordless cleaner that we’ve seen that can do this job. You can only really stand the cleaner up for quick tasks, such as answering the door or moving some furniture out of the way, but it makes the H-Free 300 a lot more convenient and easy to use.

In the box you get a good array of accessories, although it’s a shame that there’s no onboard storage for any of the tools. Performance is generally good, too, although you may need to up the power to pick up tougher spills, which reduces battery life. As a result, this is a useful add-on cleaner that you can grab and go, rather than a full-on replacement for a plug-in model. Still, if you need something light and easy to use, this cleaner is exceptionally well priced.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full Review: Hoover H-Free 300 Review

Hoover H-Handy 700

A simple grab-and-go vacuum cleaner, the Hoover H-Handy 700 is a powerful tool for dealing with minor spills and dirt.
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Pros

  • Small and compact
  • Neat storage
  • Powerful

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.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full Review: Hoover H-Handy 700 Review

Eufy HomeVac H30

A great little handheld cleaner for smaller jobs
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Pros

  • Powerful
  • Good range of attachments
  • Simple and lightweight

Cons

  • High-end Infinity model’s tools aren’t that useful
  • A little chunky

Versatile, cheap and easy to use, the Eufy HomeVac H30 is a great little grab-and-go handheld cleaner. There are three versions available, but the Mate is the best value, shipping with a motorised pet tool. If you don’t need this tool, the Venture is cheaper, while the high-end Infinity comes with an extension wand and mopping kit, which don’t think are worth it.

A powerful vacuum cleaner for smaller jobs, the HomeVac H30 can easily deal with tough spills. It has a battery that lasts for 20 minutes on the lowest setting and 10 minutes on the highest: that’s enough to deal with a kitchen spill or with a sofa.

When flat, the H30 sits on its charging dock, which also has room for accessories. If you’re after a handheld cleaner that can tackle pet hair quickly, then the Eufy H30 Mate is a great choice.

Reviewer:David Ludlow
Full Review: Eufy HomeVac H30 review

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FAQs

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.

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.
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.

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.

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.

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