What’s the best cordless vacuum?
Cordless vacuum cleaners have gone from being basic additions to plug-in models that you use for occasional spills, to powerful devices that can clean entire houses. Far easier to carry around and use on all surfaces, getting the best cordless vacuum cleaner can help you cut down on cleaning times and keep your house cleaner.
The main benefit of a cordless model is that you cut down on the faff of constant plugging and unplugging of a vacuum cleaner, getting the cable within reach of where you want to go; with a cordless model, you just pull it from the dock and carry the unit where you want to go. While all cordless cleaners are convenient to use, there are more factors that come into play, including battery life.
We’ve thoroughly tested all battery-powered vacuum cleaners to help you sort the quality cleaners from the merely convenient. Cordless vacs from all the leading brands, including Dyson, Vax and Bosch, make it into our list. We’ve summarised our findings below, but scroll down to read more detail, and find a link to our full comprehensive review of each.
- Best all-rounder: Samsung Powerstick Jet with Spinning Sweeper
- Best overall vacuum: Dyson Cyclone V11
- Best value Dyson: Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute
- Best for accessories: Tineco Pure One S12
- Best for ease of use: Bosch BCH7PETGB
- Best value: Vax Blade 2 Max
- Best for versatility: Shark DuoClean Cordless TruePet IF250UKT
- Quick and easy to use: Vorwerk Kobold VC100
How we test vacuum cleaners
The most important thing for a cordless vacuum cleaner, or any vacuum cleaner for that matter, is its ability to clean across a variety of surfaces. For that reason, we put all of the models that we test through a rigorous set of tests.
- We test each cleaner on carpet and hard floors to see how well they pick up our sample dust (a mix of carpet freshening powder, baking powder and talcum powder).
- We start testing on low power, which will also deliver the longest (and manufacturer-quoted headline battery life). If a vacuum cleaner does a good job on low power, it highlights that it will most likely be suitable to replace a bulky plug-in cleaner. Having to up the power levels reduces battery life, shortening the cleaning time available.
- We place some dirt right next to the skirting board to see how close to the edge a cleaner can get: these are usually the areas where dust collects in your home. We test how well each cleaner can deal with pet hair, too, as this is a common requirement for UK homes.
Cordless cleaners also get their own range of tests, designed specifically for these models. We look at usability and how well balanced each cleaner is; after all, these are models that you have to carry around.
Being able to reach different areas of your home is important, so we test how easy a cleaner is to lift up for high-level cleaning and how easy it is to clean stairs.
We test battery life to see how long each cleaner can last on different power settings, too. Finally, we test the quality and range of accessories and nozzles, as well as measuring how noisy each cleaner is.
With the most in-depth tests, our cordless vacuum cleaner reviews can be relied on. Find out more in our full how we test vacuum cleaners article.
1. Samsung Powerstick Jet With Spinning Sweeper
Excellent all rounder (score: 4.5/5)
- Flexible cleaning
- Powerful suction
- Replaceable battery
- Small bin
- No on-body storage
After a few years where Samsung vacuum cleaners were hard to find and not particularly good, comes the brand-new Samsung Powerstick Jet With Spinning Sweeper. This model is isn’t just a cordless vacuum cleaner, it’s also (as you can tell from the name) a hard-floor cleaner, using two spinning microfibre cloths to wash floors as well as vacuum.
Results from the mopping are excellent, picking up stubborn stains and leaving floors free of ground-in marks and stains that a vacuum cleaner can’t pick up.
Don’t worry about vacuuming performance, as the Samsung Powerstick Jet With Spinning Sweeper is also an excellent vacuum, complete with all of the accessories that you could need. It picked up all of our test dirt with ease, showing that this is a very powerful vacuum cleaner.
It comes with a huge variety of accessories, too, letting you clean into pretty much every area of your home.
There’s a removable battery, too, and you can buy a second battery if you want to extend runtime for the cleaner. Cleverly, the stand can charge one battery inside the cleaner and there’s a spare charging slot for charging the second battery, too.
If you want one device to vacuum and clean your floors, there’s nothing else quite like this versatile vacuum. With the Powerstick Jet With Spinning Sweeper, Samsung has one of the most practical vacuum cleaners that money can buy.
- 250 x 1136 x 215mm, 2.8kg
- Motorised floor head, soft action brush, small motorised brush, crevice tool, upholstery brush, angle tool, mop
- 0.5-litre bin
- 60-minute run-time per battery (max)
Read our full Samsung Powerstick Jet With Spinning Sweeper review
2. Dyson V11 Absolute
The best vacuum cleaner, full stop (score: 5/5)
- Incredible suction
- Screen shows run-time
- Great for all surfaces
- Still only one battery
- Not cheap
Last year’s Dyson Cyclone V10 was a pivotal moment: it marked Dyson’s shift away from developing new corded models, with only new cordless models to come. This year, we’ve got the second product to come out, the Dyson V11. Although it looks very similar to the V10, the V11 has several improvements.
First, is the screen on the back. This may seem like an odd thing to include, but it shows you the battery time remaining in minutes, which is far more useful than the V10’s set of LEDs that only show rough charge remaining. This display also shows you which power mode you’re in (Eco, Medium or Burst), and can show you what to do if your vacuum develops a problem.
Dyson has boosted the power of the V11, making it a step up from the V10. There’s a larger battery, too, which now delivers up to an hour of cleaning using the motorised floor head; the V10 had up to an hour of battery life but only with non-powered heads. And, there’s now the High Torque brush head, which sends feedback to the main unit to adjust power on the fly to suit the surface: you get more suction on carpet and a gentler suction on hard floors.
Most importantly, the V11 is an excellent performer, cleaning up everything that we could throw at it. With this model, you can safely throw away your corded model and go battery powered. This is not only the best cordless vacuum cleaner but the best vacuum cleaner.
- 60-min/12-min run-times; 4.5hr charge time
- Three detail tools
- Wall dock supplied
- Three powered floor heads
- HEPA filtration
Read our full Dyson V11 review
3. Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute
Better value than the Dyson V11 (score: 5/5)
- Better cleaning than corded vacuums
- Well designed tools
- Excellent battery life
- Still only one battery
- Not quiet on Max mode
The Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute is the pinnacle of cordless technology. In fact, Dyson is so sure of the capabilities of this cordless vacuum that it is no longer developing new corded models. Fortunately, the Cyclone V10 Absolute lifts up to its claims, and isn’t just one of the best cordless vacuum cleaners that we’ve tested; it’s one of the best vacuums full stop.
The new digital motor is 20% lighter and 20% more powerful than the one fitted to the Dyson V8. At full speed it runs at 125,000rpm, generating the kind of suction that you’d expect from a plug-in cleaner. With the battery lasting at up to 60 minutes, the Cyclone V10 Absolute will last long enough on a single charge to tackle most homes.
The Absolute ships with all of the tools that you need, but the motorised heads for carpets and hard floors particular impress. In our tests, the Cyclone V10 Absolute managed to pick up all of the mess from our carpet, hard floor and pet hair tests. And, the handheld body makes tackling everything from cars to sofas simple, too. With the cleaning power to outdo plug-in vacuum cleaners, the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute is the future of vacuums.
- 60 mins / 23 mins / 8 mins run times; 3.5hr charge time
- Three powered floor heads
- Three detail tools
- Excellent filtration
Read our Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute review
4. Tineco Pure One S12
Brilliant for accessories (score: 4.5/5)
- Excellent accessories
- Decent cleaning
- Great price
- Small-ish bin
- Auto power mode can leave dirt behind
You wait ages for a vacuum cleaner with a screen to come along and then you suddenly have two within quick succession. Following on from the Dyson we have the Tineco Pure One S12. You’ve probably not heard of Tineco before, but this brand is backed by Ecovacs, the robot vacuum company, so there’s good pedigree here.
What really stands the Tineco Pure One S12 out from the competition is the sheer number of accessories that you get in the box. There are accessories to cover pretty much every single floor type and to get into every nook. This vacuum is powered by the iLoop AI system, which detects how much dirt is being sucked up and then adjusts power on the fly, while an indicator shows you how well you’ve vacuumed and if there’s still more dirt to pick up. iLoop works pretty well, although we found that we had to make the odd extra sweep with this model compared to the competition.
You also get two batteries in the box, with the charging dock able to charge both the spare and the battery installed at the same time. This gives you plenty of runtime, so the Tineco Pure One S12 is even suitable for large houses. While the Dyson V11 is more powerful, the Tineco Pure One S12 is better value and gives you a wider range of accessories and longer run time.
Read our full Tineco Pure One S12 review
5. Bosch BCH7PETGB
Easy to use but some loss of convenience (score: 4.5/5)
- Excellent all-round cleaning
- Very good edge cleaning
- Excellent filter system
- Using hose and tools is a faff
- No charging dock
Ditching the traditional stick design for a regular upright model, the Bosch BCH7PETGB is one of the most comfortable and powerful cordless vacuum cleaners that we’ve tested for hard floors. While the first power setting is a bit underwhelming, there are two more power settings that do a far better job.
In our usual tests, we found that the Bosch BCH7PETGB did an excellent job on all surfaces, getting right up to edges in our demanding carpet tests. Thanks to the shape of the vacuum cleaner, it’s really easy to push around, too. In fact, it’s as easy to use as a regular upright vacuum cleaner, although you’re not tied to the wall with a cable.
Battery life is rated at up to 75 minutes on the low-power mode, although you’re better off running in medium (25-30 minutes) and turbo (14 minutes) for the best clean. That may not be enough to do an entire house, so you can either use this cleaner alongside a plug-in one, or change your cleaning schedule to do a couple of sweeps around.
You can clip the upholstery and crevice nozzles in place instead of the motorised floor head, although you have to hold the entire vacuum cleaner. Bosch thoughtfully provides a carrying strap to make using the vacuum easier in this mode, although it’s still fiddly to do so: if you want more flexibility, a stick cleaner is going to be for you.
We’d expect a small turbo tool and proper charging dock, rather than plug-in lead, at this price. That aside, the Bosch BCH7PETGB provides excellent performance. If you want the power and convenience of an upright in a cordless format then this is the model for you.
- SmartSensor cleaning Control
- Up to 75 mins runtime
- 3Kg in weight
- 0.9l dust bin
- 6 hours charge time
- Upholstery/Crevice nozzle
- Pro AnimalBrush
Read our full Bosch BCH7PETGB review
6. Vax Blade 2 Max
Great value option (score: 4.5/5)
- Powerful motorised brush
- Long run time
- Clever bin arrangement
- Falls over too easily
- Few brush heads supplied
The move away from corded cleaners is growing, as can be seen with the Vax Blade 2 Max, a vacuum that’s three times more powerful than any battery-powered cleaner Vax has produced before. It’s certainly a good all-round cleaner, capable of running for up to 45 minutes on low power, which should be enough for most average-sized homes.
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 was offering them free as part of a trial. They’re worth the cash, as they make cleaning stairs and tougher stains easier.
Operation of the vacuum is easy, with a button to turn the cleaner on – there’s no pistol grip that requires continuous pressure here. It’s a shame that the wall mount doesn’t charge; you have to plug in the power adaptor separately.
Well-priced and with powerful cleaning, you have to spend a chunk more to get more powerful suction and a greater range of tools.
- 45 / 12 mins run times
- Motorised floor brush
- Crevice and dusting tools
Read our full Vax Blade 2 Max review
7. Shark DuoClean Cordless TruePet IF250UKT
Highly versatile performer (score: 4.5/5)
- Outstanding run-times
- Excellent hard floor and carpet cleaning
- Great for stairs and pets
- Slightly unwieldy
The Shark DuoClean Cordless TruePet IF250UKT has a features list as long as its name.
For a start, twin batteries promise run times of up to 23 minutes each, its filtration is HEPA quality and the potent DuoClean head sports LED headlights for lighting up darker areas. The main vacuum tube will even bend to get to hard-to-reach areas, like under sofas.
It’s a little unwieldy in the hand, and it’s heavy for using up high compared to its Dyson equivalent. However, its cleaning power on hard floors and carpets alike is impressive enough to overlook that.
It comes with plenty of accessories too, including a motorised tool for tackling pet hair and a number of handheld tools, like a dust brush for windowsills.
Super-versatile and hugely capable, this Shark is a great all-rounder, and though it lacks a touch of finesse in the design department, it’s still a serious competitor to Dyson’s mighty V-series.
- Cordless, up to 46 minutes of cleaning
- Dual batteries
- 0.33-litre capacity
- HEPA filtration
Read our full Shark DuoClean Cordless TruePet IF250UKT review
8. Vorwerk Kobold VC100
Quick and easy to use (our score: 4.5.5)
- Quick and easy to use
- Decent suction
- Flexible stand
- Small bin
- Hard to clean into corners
While most cordless vacuum cleaners are designed to be as powerful and as useful as a corded model, the Vorwerk Kobold VC100 is a little different. Looking more like a dustbuster of old, the VC100 is a small, handy vacuum cleaner for picking up the odd spill quickly.
It can be wall-mounted, or just stood upright on the charging stand, so you can easily place this vacuum cleaner where you need it most.
Power lags behind other cordless models that we’ve reviewed, but the Vorwerk Kobold VC100 managed to pick up our test spills of oats and flour. It has two running modes normal and turbo, which adds that extra bit of power for picking up bigger items.
With a 20-minute run-time (13 minutes on turbo mode), this vacuum is a good option for clearing up the kitchen as you go, without having to resort to the big guns. You’ll still need a full-size vacuum cleaner for larger areas, though.
While a different cordless vacuum cleaner will be better for tackling big spills, the handiness of the Vorwerk Kobold VC100 makes it an excellent tool for tidying up as you go, whether that’s for when you’re cooking or just for cleaning off a table after dinner.
- 20 mins / 13 mins run-time
- 0.2-litre bin
- Charging stand
Read our full Vorwerk Kobold VC100 review
Why buy a cordless vacuum cleaner?
Cordless vacuum cleaners are a great idea. While most aren’t as powerful as corded vacuum cleaners, cutting the wire is hugely useful and convenient. They let you clean in a completely different way. Instead of doing a big clean every week or so, it’s easy to get a cordless machine out to do quick spot cleans whenever you need.
Improvements in efficiency also means that cordless vacuum cleaners are also getting better all the time. In fact, Dyson is so confident that cordless is the future that the company is no longer developing new corded cleaners, focusing on battery models, entirely.
In many cases, the quality of a cordless cleaner comes down to is accessories, with motorised heads, for example, helping lift up dirt and keep your home clean.
Not being tethered to a socket means cleaning takes less time, too. That means less back bending, plus cordless vacuums are lighter too, so they’re a good option if you have a bad back. They’re typically easier to use on stairs and most are great to use in cars, making them even more versatile.
What style of cordless vacuum cleaner is best?
When cordless vacuum cleaners started to appear they were all roughly the same size and shape, which we’d now call stick models. These have a handheld unit that you can attach accessories to. When you want to use the vacuum as a traditional model for cleaning floors, you attach the wand and floor head and off you go. In terms of versatility, these models are still the best, letting you clean a wide variety of surfaces and really getting to where the dirt is whether that’s on the floor, on a shelf or even above a cupboard.
The downside of this type of model is that the weight is all in the handheld unit, which can make them slightly more tiring to use and not ideal for people with mobility or grip problems. Fortunately, there are other types of cordless vacuum cleaner.
Upright models are becoming more popular. They aim to mimic a traditional upright vacuum cleaner, only in cordless form. These models have elongated bodies and can often stand up by themselves. With the balance spread throughout the body, you use them as a traditional vacuum, pushing them along the floor. As such, you get the convenience of not having to have a cable but the simplicity of having a model that’s easier to push around.
These models are best suited for cleaning floors. While they usually have accessories, using them means picking the entire vacuum up two-handed, which makes them clumsy to use.
Finally, there are mini handheld models, which are similar to the old Dustbuster. These small, low-power cleaners are really designed for light spills: you make a bit of a mess when cooking and want to tidy up but you can’t be bothered to get the big vacuum out. These models work alongside other cleaners and aren’t suitable for cleaning an entire house.
Should I get a cordless vacuum that can mop?
We’re starting to see more models that don’t just vacuum but also clean hard floors. These can be simple systems using water on a microfibre cloth or more in-depth including spinning cloths and steam cleaning. These products are designed to not only pick up surface dirt, but they can also clean hard floors of stains and harder-to-remove marks. So, should you buy one?
Our reviews tell you how good each product is at vacuuming and mopping, but the main choice will come down to how much area you have to cover. If you’ve got a lot of hard floors then you may well be better off with a dedicated hard floor cleaner, using this after you’ve vacuumed. Typically, you’ll get better overall results and you won’t waste the battery on your vacuum cleaner trying to do two jobs.
For smaller areas or for more infrequent use, a cleaner that can vacuum and mop can be really handy. For example, if you’ve got a kitchen floor that constantly looks messy, then you can use one of these products to quickly whip it back into shape, cleaning up mess and spills that would otherwise need some manual labour.
It’s worth pointing out that these types of device tend to leave the floor less wet than using a mop, as the control of water is better. In turn, that’s better for the environment as you use less water to clean, as well.
Space is also an important consideration, as you can store a vacuum cleaner and mop combination in the same space as a vacuum cleaner. For those with smaller flats or houses, this could well be the selling point that makes you choose this type of vacuum.
What accessories do I need?
Cordless vacuum cleaners are largely about the accessories that they ship with, extending the quality of the clean and making a vacuum more flexible. It’s possible to find different accessory bundles with the same cleaner, with the more expensive packages offering more.
In general, the minimum you should look for are a motorised floor head, which spins a brush to agitate dirt from hard floor and carpet; a soft brush for cleaning more delicate items (these typical convert into a harder brush for upholstery); and a crevice tool that lets you get right into the corners of a room.
While these will cover the basics, you can go a bit further if you get more tools. A small motorised brush does the same thing as a floor one, only you can more easily use this tool on stairs and upholstery. Look out for a soft roller if you have hard floors, as these improve dust pick-up where you don’t have carpets. An extendable crevice tool can improve reach, such as for the back of radiators. Look for an extendable hose, too, as you can improve the reach of some of the handheld tools. A soft dusting brush can be useful for clothes and more delicate fabrics, where the normal upholstery tool is a bit too harsh.
Carefully weigh up how you’ll use each tool and only buy the package with the accessories that you’ll use: while more accessories increase cleaning flexibility, you still need somewhere to store them all.
Will I still need a corded vacuum cleaner?
When they first launched, cordless vacuum cleaners were largely designed to complement a traditional vacuum cleaner: the battery-powered model was the one you grabbed for quick jobs or to reach up high or get into a smaller space. Today, things are changing and cordless vacuum cleaners often now have the power and stamina to clean an entire house to the same level of quality as a plug-in model. If you buy one of these more powerful models, then you don’t need a plug-in cleaner for day-to-day cleaning.
However, if you still have a powerful plug-in vacuum cleaner that you’re happy with, it might make sense to buy a cheaper, less powerful battery model for when you need to clean out the car or for quickly cleaning up a spill.
Even if you buy a cordless vacuum cleaner designed for whole-home cleaning, you may still want a plug-in vacuum for dirtier jobs. For example, sucking up DIY dust or cleaning out a fireplace can clog a cordless cleaner, but a more powerful plug-in cleaner will do a better job. It’s worth looking into wet and dry vacuum cleaners for these types of dirty jobs, as you can suck up liquids and harsher dust without clogging.
Think of it this way: most cordless cleaners are built for household dust; if you want to do something else, a corded cleaner designed for the job may be a better choice.
What are the weaknesses?
Cost: A good cordless vacuum cleaner doesn’t come cheap. You can buy cordless vacuums for around £100 or so, but they generally don’t clean well enough to justify the expense. That means the cheapest machines in our round-up designed for general cleaning cost upwards of £200.
All of the vacuums in this round-up clean well, but with one or two exceptions, they don’t clean as well as corded machines. For example, few can collect dirt trapped up against skirting boards, so you’ll need to go around with a crevice tool to get right into the corners.
Battery life: this varies, too. Most corded cleaners have multiple power settings, with the lowest power modes giving you a longer run time at the expense of cleaning performance (typically 30 minutes plus); high-power modes can suck the dust out of anything, but sub-ten-minute runtimes are par for the course.
Run time: to get the most out of a cordless cleaner, you need to balance the power modes you’re using. Don’t worry too much about run time, as 30 minutes or more is quite a lot of time, particularly when you’re only using the vacuum in comparatively short bursts. The main downside is that for larger houses, the run time of a cordless cleaner may not be good enough for a single cleaning sessions. You’ll either have to adjust your routine to allow for charging inbetween cleaning or opt for a corded model for larger jobs.
Auto-shutoff: cordless cleaners also tend to have one major weakness for some jobs: they typically have an auto shutoff when the cleaner is clogged or air is not moving through them properly. That’s generally very clever but there are a couple of scenarios where this isn’t the best option. First, if you use vacuum bags for storage, then a cordless cleaner will turn off before it has sucked the air out and compressed everything. And, if you have a drill vacuum attachment to suck out dust, preventing it falling to the floor, then a cordless vacuum cleaner may turn off. Plus, many have triggers making it impossible to turn them on constantly.
What power mode is best?
All cordless vacuum cleaners have several power modes available, with low-power modes designed to increase battery life at the reduction of suction power; more powerful settings up the suction power but reduce battery power. There’s often a setting or two in the middle, so which one do you go for? While this varies between cleaner to cleaner, we can give some basic guides here.
- First, the high setting, often called Turbo or Max, will generate a lot of suction but gives you a run-time in minutes. Use this for sucking up stubborn dirt that’s left behind by the other modes. Only use this mode sparingly, as you’ll run out of battery before you manage to clean everything. The standard (the lower setting of two on some cleaners, or the middle option on others) is good for general cleaning up, and you should find that this works well on most surfaces for a regular clean.
- Try the lowest setting or Eco mode if available on surfaces where high suction isn’t as needed. For example, on hard floors the dirt tends not to get trapped in the flooring, so you can get away with less suction and still pick up everything.
Bagged or bagless?
Most cordless vacuum cleaners are bagless models, collecting dust in a bin that you can empty and reuse over and over again, but there are an increasing number of bagged models coming out. So, which is best? Well, the answer depends on your needs.
Bagless cleaners have the advantage that you don’t have to pay for bags, so once you’ve bought the cleaner, you can just keep emptying it and using it time and time again.
The downside is that the bin can get quite dirty and you can spill dust when you’re emptying it. If you’ve got allergies, having dust go everywhere isn’t particularly helpful: you may end up vacuuming up dust again to clear up the mess caused by emptying. The second downside is that the dust tends to fill up the filters quicker, so you have to keep an eye on these to make sure that you get maximum suction.
Bagged cleaners have the disadvantage that you have to pay for additional bags, throwing away one when it fills up. This is an extra hassle and cost. If you forget to buy new bags, then you can’t use your cleaner. However, there are a couple of advantages. First, bagged cleaners are easier to empty, and they keep the dust sealed in, which can be useful for allergy sufferers. Secondly, the bag acts as a secondary filter, so you’ll typically need to clean your vacuum’s other filters less regularly.