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Being a handy alternative to corded vacuum cleaners, cordless vacuums are gaining in popularity these days. And it’s hardly surprising, as they’re much more lightweight, easy to use, and offer the flexibility to vacuum your entire home without worrying about switching your cord to another outlet in every room. Without a cord, these vacuums allow you to more easily get into those hard-to-clean nooks and crannies that otherwise spread their mess to the rest of the house. Besides, they have become extremely affordable. So we decided it’s time to check them out!
To help you choose the best cordless vacuum for your needs, we researched all of the items currently on the market and distilled them down to 15 of the absolute best. We scoured product specifications for every vacuum and compared hundreds of customer reviews to list our top picks and make it easy for you to choose a vacuum without having to learn everything about every cordless vacuum there is.
This article begins with a comparison of our 15 favorite cordless vacuums in the table below, then offers a detailed review of each vacuum to help you learn more. The buying guide contains information about the most important features commonly found on cordless vacuums to help you find the right vacuum for your needs. Finally, we highlight our all-around favorite cordless vacuum.
"Type: stick and handheld.
Battery runtime: up to 60 min.
Brush: fluffy soft roller, direct drive cleaner head
Rated by J.D. Power as the highest in customer satisfaction with stick vacuums and features the Dyson digital motor that never loses suction."
More features: 14 concentric array cyclones, advanced whole machine filtration, 6 cleaner heads and tools in the box
This update to Dyson’s popular V8 Absolute cordless vacuum features a longer runtime and even more suction power. The vacuum is designed to function either as a stick vacuum or as a handheld dust-buster. When in stick mode, you can attach a motorized brushroll for deeply cleaning carpets and bump the motor up to a turbo-charged suction setting for up to 20 minutes of deep cleaning.
The V10 Absolute also performs well on hardwoods, and you can get up to 60 minutes of continuous runtime if you can clean without a motorized cleaner head. The 0.2-gallon bin is large enough that most people will be able to clean the whole house before needing to stop to empty it. When it’s time to put the vacuum away, it stores upright and hanging in a wall-mounted charging dock. Thanks to its thin stick design, the vacuum takes up almost no space at all in a closet.
The vacuum is relatively pricey, which is unsurprising given that it’s made by Dyson, but it does come with some of the best vacuum technology currently on the market. Suction is generated with 14 concentric array cyclones and filtration is designed to take place at every point in the vacuum so that no dust can escape. In addition to the dual stick and handheld functionality, you also get six different cleaner heads.
It’s also worth noting that Dyson still hasn’t added a lock button to the trigger on this vacuum. While users with larger hands didn’t find this to be a problem, some users felt that their hands began to cramp from holding down the trigger over more than 30 minutes of continuous use.
More features: 110 air watts in Max Mode, four-stage fully-sealed filtration system and HEPA filter, 10.4-inch cleaning path with two power modes, LED lights
Users rave about this reasonably priced stick and handheld vacuum from Tineco. The vacuum is limited by it’s battery, which only lasts up to 25 minutes on the low power setting. But, users loved that the lithium-ion battery can be removed so you can switch in a fresh spare battery to continue cleaning.
The vacuum works well on either hardwood or carpet floors thanks to a motorized brusroll with an available Max power setting. The vacuum only lasts a brief seven minutes on this setting, though, so it can be problematic if your whole house is carpeted. Users also liked that the stick design of the vacuum allows it to easily reach under furniture, while a set of front-mounted LED lights allows you to see the debris you’re cleaning. In addition, the vacuum has a power lock switch so you don’t have to grip the trigger the entire time.
Along with a short battery life, this vacuum has a relatively small dust bin. So, if you’re working on low power mode for the entire 25 minutes, you may need to stop and empty the bin. Thankfully, the bin is designed with a button-push trapdoor so it’s easy to prevent dust from escaping your garbage. When you’re vacuuming, a four-stage filtration system with a HEPA filter works very effectively to keep dust from spreading through the air.
Tineco offers a two-year warranty on this vacuum. Thanks to the fact that the battery is removable and replaceable, users found that this vacuum can run for years without breaking down.
Why are we impressed?
Removable lithium-ion battery
Front-mounted LED lights
Power lock switch
Four-stage filtration with HEPA filter
What negatives must you be aware of?
Battery only lasts 25 minutes, or seven minutes on Max mode
More features: 220W Powerful Suction, easy-to-empty dust cup, LED headlights
This stick vacuum from Eureka is surprisingly heavy at 6.5 pounds – but that’s because it provides roughly twice the suction power of similar cordless stick and handheld vacuums. The 220-watt suction offers enough performance to thoroughly clean carpets as well as hardwood floors, but you’re not limited by battery life thanks to the massive onboard lithium-ion battery. You get up to 30 minutes of runtime on the standard power setting, plus you can swap in a fresh battery since it’s easily removable.
The brushroll on this vacuum is slightly larger than on competitors, which can be good or bad depending on your needs. On the one hand, you can cover more area thanks to the larger brush and extra suction power. On the other hand, it can make it slightly more difficult to swivel and to reach into tight spaces. However, the head also has a set of LED lights to guide you in shadowy areas. Plus, the vacuum comes with several accessories and the head can be quickly detached with a touch of your foot to improve the vacuum’s versatility.
Users especially loved the washable filter on this, which is extremely effective at keeping dust out of the air while requiring almost no maintenance beyond the occasional rinse. The dust bin, too, is designed to minimize hassle with a one-touch button to dump out debris.
In terms of durability, users reported vastly different experiences with this vacuum. Some people reported the frame breaking after one to two years of use, while others found that the vacuum ran for years with few problems. In any case, Eureka offers a solid two-year warranty and the battery is simple to replace.
More features: DuoClean Technology with bristle brush and soft brushroll; interactive display; MultiFLEX Technology; duster crevice tool, pet multi-tool, anti-allergen dust brush included
If you need a vacuum that can reach under couches and beds, this vacuum from Shark has you covered. What sets this vacuum apart is its MultiFLEX technology – effectively, the vacuum has a latch in the middle of the wand that can be unhinged to allow the vacuum to bend. That means that you can have the roller head and lower wand nearly horizontal to reach the back corners under a bed while the upper wand reaches up to your body so you don’t have to bend under the bed yourself.
The other unusual feature of this vacuum is that it comes with two batteries that can easily be switched out for larger jobs. The runtime of the batteries changes depending on what mode you are using the vacuum in, but you can expect about 15-20 minutes of use out of each when using the full vacuum rather than using it as a handheld cleaner. However, given that the batteries take several hours to charge and thus cannot be switched out continuously, this is comparable to other vacuums with a larger single battery.
The Shark uses a single head with brushes designed for both carpet and hardwood flooring, and it adapts between the two using an interactive display on the hand unit. This display allows you to switch between handheld, floor, and carpet modes as well as maximum power settings for all three, which allows you to easily customize the suction power you need as you move throughout your home.
What makes it special?
MultiFLEX technology allows reaching under furniture
Interactive display for easily changing suction power
What cons did we find?
Two batteries do not last as long as one large battery on other vacuums
More features: auto-adjust cleaning head, 3-stage cleaning system, adaptive navigation, dirt detect sensors, Google Assistant & Alexa compatible
As for the iRobot Roomba 694, the features make it clear why this vacuum cleaner is included on the list. In our opinion, it should be one of the easiest cordless vacuum cleaners to use. After all, it does come with an app where you can control everything, including the cleaning schedule. The other alternative for controlling the machine is to use voice commands with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
Notably, it even collects information on your cleaning habits. This it uses to help you customize your cleaning schedules in the app. It’s also very impressive in terms of cleaning prowess. The built-in sensors detect spots with dirt and debris; hence the machine is able to clean them. Unfortunately, since it moves around your house randomly, we noticed that it tends to miss a few small spots. Other sensors detect furniture to help the machine navigate around fixtures in the house.
There are cliff detect sensors as well. These help identify stairs that the machine should avoid, thereby protecting it from damage. Additionally, the manufacturer made the device with the intention to clean both carpets and hard floors. This justifies the inclusion of the auto-adjust cleaning head that rises when cleaning the carpet and lowers to clean hard floors more effectively.
What are our favorite features?
You can control your cleaning schedule via the app
The machine has sensors to help navigate the home
Auto-adjust cleaning head to clean the different surfaces
Effective 3-stage cleaning system
Google Assistant & Alexa compatible
What could be better?
The machine tends to miss cleaning some spots
Also, we noticed it avoids some spots due to the cliff-detect sensor
More features: collapsible lay flat handle, LED lights, multi-surface cleaning, easy empty dirt bin
This cordless vacuum from Bissell is ideal for users that need more power than a stick vacuum can provide, but still want all the same maneuverability. The vacuum head is able to swivel to more than 50 degrees to either side, making it easy to turn. Plus, with a retractable handle that can fold all the way to the floor, it’s easy to store the vacuum or to reach under furniture for deep cleaning.
The lithium-ion battery is another highlight of this vacuum. On the single available power setting, it lasts for up to 30 minutes and is removable so you can swap in a fresh spare battery.
The brushroll on this vacuum is optimized for multi-surface cleaning and performs admirably on either hard floors or carpeted floors. When you’re cleaning up against walls, the suction and bristles extend all the way to the vacuums edge so you don’t miss anything. Plus, a set of LED lights on the front of the vacuum makes it easy to identify dust and debris. Note, however, that there is no secondary power function for cleaning particularly difficult debris out of carpets.
The main downside to this vacuum is that many users complain of issues with durability. Users found that the handle breaks and falls off the vacuum relatively easily, and while Bissell’s customer service is responsive the part can take several weeks to ship. In addition, some users found that the vacuum’s motor stopped working entirely after just a few months of use – although this was covered by Bissell’s warranty. Still, these issues are problematic if you want a vacuum you can depend on for many years to come.
More features: Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology and HEPA filter, DuoClean Technology
This unique cordless vacuum from Shark performs triple duty. It works like a traditional upright vacuum, as a stick vacuum, or as a canister vacuum. The trick is that Shark put the suction unit in a canister that’s connected to the rest of the vacuum by a suction hose, instead of on the trigger handle as for many cordless stick vacuums.
That design has some advantages for people who prefer the performance of a canister vacuum – this vacuum can easily lift dust and dirt out of any carpet. It also means that the vacuum can accommodate a larger removable battery, which gives it up to 50 minutes of runtime.
However, there are some downsides to this three-pronged design. The first is that the vacuum is one of the heaviest cordless vacuums we’ve reviewed, at over 12 pounds. In addition, the vacuum doesn’t function particularly well as a stick vacuum – your range is limited by where the canister is, so it’s more effective to use it as a true canister vacuum once the canister is removed from the handle.
The other major problem that users ran into with this vacuum is that it can severely scratch wood floors. The brushroll is always on when the vacuum is on, and there’s no way to replace the vacuum head. So, if you’re using the vacuum on hardwood floors, there’s a good chance of creating scratches. That said, for other types of hard flooring, the vacuum has different power modes for carpet and hard floors.
Shark offers a long five-year warranty with this vacuum. That’s important for peace of mind given the somewhat high price tag on this cleaner.
What are its best features?
Upright, stick, or canister vacuum
Powerful on carpets and hard floors
Up to 50 minutes of battery life with a removable battery
More features: Rapid Optimum Charger and quick-charge technology, 2-stage cloth filtration system
Users were pleasantly surprised by this compact but powerful vacuum from Makita, which is ideal for cleaning up small shop areas. The vacuum can function in either stick or handheld mode and offers plenty of power to pick up dust from either carpets or hard flooring. Plus, with a two-stage cloth filtration system, you can be certain that no dust will escape from the vacuum into the air.
The downside to this vacuum is that the battery is relatively small. It provides just a 15-minute runtime, even though the vacuum only has one power mode. That said, the Makita charger is designed to work fast, so it only takes several minutes to fully recharge the battery and get back to cleaning. The battery is also removable so you can keep a spare battery for cleaning larger areas.
The vacuum comes with several accessory nozzles, which can make it easier to clean in oddly shaped and tight spaces around your home or shop. The massive 1.16-gallon dust bin is the truly unique feature of this vacuum, and makes it perfect for picking up large volumes of sawdust and other debris without having to constantly empty the bin.
Beware that some users found that the plastic casing of the vacuum is not very durable, and can even start to crack just from the power of the vacuum’s suction. Unfortunately, while Makita offers a three-year warranty on the vacuum’s battery and suction unit, the company won’t offer any coverage for damage to the plastic casing.
What stands out?
Large 1.16-gallon dust bin
Several accessory tools
Removable battery recharges quickly
Two-stage cloth filtration
What cons did we manage to find?
Plastic casing is flimsy and not covered by warranty
More features: larger dirt cup capacity, ultra-lightweight
Another top-tier cordless vacuum option is the Hoover ONEPWR Evolve BH53420A. This machine ships with a 4.0 Ah battery to power through most of your cleaning needs. Additionally, it has a 35-minute runtime which in our opinion isn’t very good especially compared to the competition.
Besides that, it’s fairly light for a stick vacuum seeing as though it weighs only 6.6 lbs when empty. This results in easier maneuverability around the house as you clean.
Next, you have an antimicrobial brush roll that will not only dislodge dirt before it’s suctioned by the machine but also prevent odors in your home. Speaking of suction, the device features high-speed airflow to ensure that most of the debris and dirt is removed from your floors. That said, you can also adjust the brush roll to match whether you’re cleaning hard floors or the carpet.
Another useful feature you might appreciate is the fairly large dirt storage cup. Compared to other cordless stick vacuums, this option will hold up to 3x more dirt. This means that if you keep a regular cleaning schedule, the dirt cup should be more than enough for each cleaning session.
Also, we felt it performs exceptionally well when cleaning pet hair, so if you have a cat, dog, or any other furry creature in your home, this machine is for you. Lastly, you have easy access to the brush roll so that you can remove it occasionally for cleanup.
Why is it special?
Effective against pet hair
Antimicrobial brush roll helps prevent odors
Adjustable brush roll and suction to cater to different surfaces
What are the flaws?
At 35 minutes, the battery lasts a fairly short while
More features: two-speed controls, cyclonic suction, LED front lights
This inexpensive upright and handheld vacuum combination from Deik places the suction unit in the back of the handheld vacuum frame rather than at the top handle. For many users, that’s enough to make a huge difference in the comfort of holding this vacuum. Plus, it weighs under 7 pounds so it’s easy to lift up and down stairs.
The battery lasts up to 30 minutes in the low-power setting, which is enough to give your home a once-over. However, if you need more power, such as for cleaning hair and dust out of carpets, you can expect to get just 15 minutes or less of runtime. In addition, note that the battery cannot be removed and takes 4–5 hours to fully charge.
Another minor inconvenience to this vacuum, which is true for many inexpensive competitors, is that the dust bin is somewhat small at just 0.1 gallons. That means you’ll need to empty it relatively frequently. While the bin releases with a push-button, it also lacks the mess-free trapdoor design of higher-end cordless vacuums.
That said, the vacuum does have some helpful features for the price. There is a set of LED lights on the front of the vacuum head. It also includes a HEPA filter so you can be confident dust won’t escape into the air. The roller brush is detachable so you can clean off tangled hair, and it even comes with a crevice attachment.
Keep in mind that the warranty on this vacuum is limited to two years, and the battery isn’t removable. While some users report years of use out of this vacuum, it’s worth thinking of it as something that will only last for two years when considering the price.
Why is it special?
Detachable roller brush
What are the flaws?
Battery only lasts 30 minutes and takes 4–5 hours to charge
More features: lightweight design, additional battery, versatile modes
The versatility of cordless vacuums is unbeatable especially if you want to deep clean hidden corners in your home or office space. Eufy is a renowned brand, popular for budget vacuums and the HomeVac S11 Infinity is one of their most acclaimed gems.
The vacuum offers unmatched versatility with different cleaning modes. You can choose the Max-mode and utilize up to 120AW suction power to get a whopping 8 minutes of deep cleaning. The mid-mode will allow you to clean up crumbs and dust easily for 25 minutes. When your house needs some cleaning attention, you can turn on the low-mode and get 40 minutes of deep cleansing.
The vacuum uses battery for power and it comes with an extra one that you can swap to complete cleaning your house in one session.
Anyone can use the vacuum as it is ultra-easy to handle. It is cordless and remarkably lightweight that you can maneuver it around furniture, other obstacles and into hard-to-reach areas easily.
The vacuum’s maneuverability is further enhanced by the multiple attachments it comes with. The attachments include; 2-in-1 crevice tool for a softer touch, and mini-motorized brush for cleaning below the bed and sofa fabrics.
All these excellent features are backed by a 2year warranty which is a good indicator for top-notch quality. The battery pack has a 12-months warranty.
What are its best features?
This is the best affordable way to ensure every nook and cranny in your house is cleaned. It offers flexible movement and a cleaning solution for different surfaces. With the 3 cleaning modes, it comes second to none in terms of deep cleaning.
What could be improved?
Some users may find it cumbersome to keep their finger on the trigger at all times.
More features: multi-floor cleaning, WindTunnel technology, extreme recline handle
Hoover is one of the longest-standing names in vacuums, and this cordless offering combines their knowledge of vacuum design with 21st-century technology. Hoover understands what features set a vacuum apart when it comes to cleaning. The vacuum design is extremely streamlined and features a highly reclining wand so that it is easy to fit the head under low-clearance furniture and really reach the back corners under couches and beds. Even better, the vacuum head has brushes designed to loosen hair and crumbs up against cabinetry and walls. This makes a huge difference in getting at these areas without having to switch to a crevice tool or handheld cleaner. Overall, the suction provides plenty of power to pick up hair and large crumbs alike on both hardwood and carpet flooring.
However, while the vacuum does some things well, it likely has a few more tweaks to work out before it can compete with other top-of-the-line cordless vacuums. The major limiting features to this vacuum are the battery and the weight. The battery lasts only 15 minutes, which is barely enough time to clean a few room let alone an entire house. While the battery is removable so that it can be swapped out for a spare, the vacuum comes with only a single battery and a spare costs fully half as much as the vacuum itself. At 10 pounds, this is one of the heaviest cordless vacuums to make our list, and seems even heavier when considering that it does not offer a handheld cleaner option.
What are its best features?
Edge brushes make cleaning against walls easier
Extreme recline handle allows for cleaning under furniture
What could be improved?
Short 15-minute battery life, and spare battery is expensive
More features: 3-Point Cleaning System, remote control, infrared-sensor for evading obstacles and drop-sensing tech, auto recharging, anti-scratch tempered glass cover
This robot vacuum is a serious competitor to the Roomba, but with a totally unique feature set that caters to a different set of needs. Instead of integrated Wi-Fi, this vacuum must be controlled from within the house – either by remote control or by hand. That makes it difficult for busy people who spend the day at work to clean remotely. However, the vacuum makes up for this pitfall by offering advanced features such as infrared avoidance sensing. This prevents it from bumping into chair and table legs, so it won’t scratch your furniture or damage itself in a fall or crash. Plus, the battery lasts 30 minutes longer than the Roomba and users found that its return to home function was more accurate.
The vacuum is excellent at picking up dirt on both carpets and hardwood, although its suction is strong enough to pick up the occasional sock or toy as well. The side brushes funnel crumbs and hair into the vacuum, effectively increasing its footprint without increasing the time it needs to clean the entire house. And best of all, the vacuum is nearly silent – some users report running it while they sleep.
The interior uses a triple filter system to prevent any dust from moving around the house with the vacuum. Two of the filters are washable, while the third is a replaceable HEPA filter.
The biggest design flaw is that the vacuum’s battery is not replaceable when it dies, typically after one to two years of use. Given the significant price tag, this can be a major deterrent to purchasing what is otherwise an excellent cleaning solution.
More features: cleaning path width-3.6 inch, high speed, brushless motor, multi surface tool, tapered nozzle
Cleaning without the right tools can be a daunting job that nobody loves to do. However, if you are equipped with the right tools for the job, you will find it quite easy and enjoyable to do. Well, one of the best equipment that you can use for cleaning is the Shark WV201 WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum. This is a very versatile option that is used for different things. You can use it for general cleaning of the home and can use it in your car as well.
With a weight of 1.4 pounds, this is a relatively lightweight option. You would certainly require a lightweight option for simple vacuuming. This lightweight vacuum can be used for a long time without having to suffer from strain in the arms.
Fortunately, it is a fast unit as well. This means that you can use the handheld vacuum quickly. It comes with a powerful suction function that will get rid of the dirt in the car and home easily.
Performance is impressive too, as this model has a brushless motor. Because of the brsuhles motor, you have an energy-efficient machine that certainly doesn’t use up a lot of power. Additionally, the brushless motor is quiet.
Shark WV201 WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum is a versatile unit that will work on a wide variety of surfaces too. You can use it on carpets, rugs, tiles, and other surfaces effectively.
More features: 4-foot flexible hose, crevice tool and pet hair brush included, 3-stage filtration system
This budget vacuum from Black+Decker is first and foremost a handheld cleaner, but it offers solid functionality as a cordless vacuum when the optional stick vacuum extension accessory is added on (an inexpensive add-on purchase). The unit is designed to be carried by hand – which, at nearly seven pounds, can quickly begin to feel heavy – and the suction is directed using the extendable four-foot hose. This is great for vacuuming areas that are normally difficult to do with a vacuum brush head, such as stairs, window and door sills, couches, and drapes. This design also makes the vacuum extremely compact, which can be ideal if you are limited on storage space, plus allows you to easily vacuum any areas within arm’s reach.
There are three primary downsides to this vacuum. The first is that the battery is limited to 15 minutes of runtime and cannot be switched out for a replacement battery. This drastically limits the amount of cleaning you can do in one session, since most houses will take more than 15 minutes to clean from top to bottom. The second is that while the vacuum’s suction power is plenty when used in handheld mode, the power decreases significantly when the stick attachment is added. This makes it difficult to pick up large crumbs and stuck-on pet hair, especially from carpets. The third is that the vacuum is loud. The handheld unit needs to generate enough suction for the stick attachment and does not have a low power mode, so this vacuum is noticeably louder than other cordless vacuums on the market.
Why did it make our list?
Works as either handheld cleaner or upright cordless vacuum
Good suction power in handheld mode
What is not ideal about it?
Short 15-minute battery lifespan
Stick vacuum accessory must be purchased as an add-on and drastically reduces suction power
Loud compared to other cordless vacuums
Things to Consider
Choosing the cordless vacuum that is right for your needs can seem like a daunting task – after all, there are tons of different vacuums on the market and all boast different features that can be difficult to understand for the new vacuum buyer. In this buying guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about what to look for in a cordless vacuums and the features that are most important to getting the ease of use that you need.
Why use cordless vacuum cleaners?
Cordless vacuums differ only from traditional vacuums in that they are powered by batteries rather than by connection to an electrical outlet. However, this can make a huge difference in the time it takes to clean your home since it removes the need to unwind a cord, plug in and unplug the vacuum every time you change rooms, and rewind the cord when you’re finished. Without a cord to navigate around while vacuuming, you can maneuver the vacuum more easily and not worry about tripping over the cord. Plus, without a cord, it is possible to vacuum spots in your home that are far away from an outlet or even to bring your vacuum outside to use on your patio or car interior.
There are different types of vacuum cleaners in terms of their shape and design. Let’s see how they differ and what pros and cons there are.
When most people think of a typical vacuum cleaner, they think of what is known as an upright vacuum. These vacuums have the wand and suction unit integrated into a single standing vacuum. Upright vacuums offer a relatively large amount of suction power that is perfect for picking up hair and crumbs from rugs as well as hard flooring since they typically have a large roller head with brushes and many offer a removable suction hose. Although upright vacuums can be bulky, they tend to be the vacuum type of choice because of their versatility and suction power.
Stick vacuums are similar to upright vacuums but are designed with compactness and light weight in mind. These vacuums can be a great choice for people with very small homes, but stick vacuums are severely limited by suction power even on hardwood flooring.
Canister vacuums, on the other hand, separate the suction unit from the vacuum wand. Canister vacuums are typically smaller than upright vacuums and the wand is able to penetrate into harder-to-reach places, so they can be preferable to upright vacuums for people with small homes and little storage space. However, they lack the suction power needed to pick up litter from rug floors. Canister vacuums also require you to frequently bend down and pull the canister along with you as you vacuum.
Bagged or bagless?
Choosing between bagged and bagless vacuums is another big decision you’ll have to make. All of our top 15 cordless vacuums are bagless because of the convenience and ease of use. Bagless vacuums simply pull the debris into a canister, which can then be cleaned by simply ejecting the canister off the vacuum body and shaking it out into the trash. Some bagless vacuums even offer an easy eject button on the canister to reduce the chance of transferring dust into the air when cleaning out the canister. Although many canisters that have filters that must be replaced on occasion, they typically work without changing out parts every use.
Bagged vacuums, on the other hand, use a liner bag inside the debris collection area of the vacuum. Bagged vacuums tend to offer a larger capacity than bagless vacuums, but this is offset for many people by the need to replace the bag with every use of the vacuum – meaning you have to have a ready supply of spare bags in order to use the vacuum.
The battery is one of the most important features on a cordless vacuum, since it determines how long you can use your vacuum for and how long you have to wait between uses. Cordless vacuum batteries last anywhere from 20 minutes to nearly an hour on a single charge but can take several hours or more to recharge depending on the size of the battery – so you will likely want to choose a vacuum with a battery that is certain to last for the duration of cleaning your entire house at once. Most batteries currently used on cordless vacuums are lithium-ion batteries, which are relatively durable and safe compared to traditional alkaline batteries.
Another important consideration is how the battery is charged. Many cordless vacuums include an integrated battery, so the entire vacuum must be docked on a charging station that is plugged into a wall outlet. In this case, there is also no possibility of easily swapping out the battery for a fresh battery. Some vacuums are designed for the battery to be removed and charged separately from the vacuum, which enables you to purchase a second battery to keep vacuuming if you have a large cleaning job to finish.
Suction power is obviously critical to a vacuum’s usefulness, but it can be a tricky performance factor to measure. More wattage does not necessarily mean more suction – instead, look for information about a vacuum’s water lift and airflow capacities, which describe how powerfully and quickly air moves through the vacuum. Suction power also depends in part on the ability of the brush head to loosen debris, particularly on rug floors, and on the size of the head opening.
Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to increase the suction power of a new vacuum. However, you can maintain the maximum suction power over time by cleaning out the canister, filters, and brush heads on occasion.
How much canister or bag space a vacuum has to store the collected debris will determine how often you need to stop vacuuming in order to empty it into the trash. Smaller, lighter vacuums will typically have a smaller capacity than larger vacuums, although this is often not a deciding factor in choosing a cordless vacuum.
Filtration systems are critical to the functioning of a vacuum both because they keep dust from being lifted into the air and because a clogged filter can greatly reduce suction power. The majority of cordless vacuums use replaceable HEPA filters, which are cheap and easy to swap out when the filter becomes clogged with dust. However, some vacuums have begun appearing with washable filters – although this can require more work on your part, you will always have easy access to a clean filter when you need it. If you are particularly sensitive to airborne dust, some vacuums are designed with multi-stage or cyclonic filtration systems that are extremely effective at removing dust, but may also be more prone to mechanical issues than simple replaceable filters.
Cordless vacuums come in everything from lightweight stick designs to heavy-duty units. If weight is a concern, a stick vacuum that boasts top-of-the-line suction power may be a good option for you. Canister vacuums also offer a very lightweight wand, although the canister itself will weigh significantly more.
Noise can be an important consideration for many people – after all, your vacuum shouldn’t wake up the neighbors. Thankfully, cordless vacuums tend to employ newer, quieter suctioning technology than their counterparts from previous decades. Vacuum noise tends to increase with suction power, so consider this trade-off when thinking about how much noise you are willing to tolerate from your vacuum.
Accessories and attachments
Most vacuums come with several attachments that can be swapped out for the standard vacuum head in order to clean in tight crevices or on surfaces other than the floor. While these accessories are not essential, consider whether they will fit any of the spaces in your home that you know will need cleaning. Although some vacuums will fit after-market accessories from the same manufacturer, the attachment points are not universal across vacuums, especially those from different manufacturers. In addition, consider whether the vacuum has a mechanism for holding the attachments on the handle so that they are available as you need them – having to dig through the closet to find an attachment can be a major barrier to actually using it, especially when vacuum battery life is at a premium.
While vacuums aren’t typically associated with injuries, they do involve fast moving parts that can cause damage as well as electricity. Check whether vacuum heads and suction units are fully encased, as well as whether the vacuum will automatically shut off when the canister is opened.
When it comes to buying and using your cordless vacuum, there are several important tips to keep in mind.
First, it’s important to think about the types of floors that you have throughout your house. Vacuums that are designed for deep-cleaning hair and dust out of carpets aren’t necessarily suitable for hard floors, and can even scratch hardwood flooring if there is no way to turn off the brushroll. If you have mostly hard flooring and pets that shed a lot of hair, on the other hand, you may need to prioritize a vacuum that won’t get tangled up with hair and that offers a relatively large dust bin.
The second thing to keep in mind when choosing a vacuum and when vacuuming is that you may need to move furniture around. Even stick vacuums that allow you to get deep under furniture can’t get everything, and debris tends to travel and spread out once you’ve cleaned. So, take the time to move furniture out of the way whenever you’re doing a big cleaning job.
Finally, remember that even the best and most powerful vacuums may not be able to get every bit of dust and debris on the first pass – especially if you’re vacuuming carpeted floors. It’s well worth running your vacuum over the floor twice or more to make sure everything has been suctioned up. Keep in mind that you’ll need extra battery life to do this, or you may run out of battery before you make it through the entire house.
Vacuum prices, especially for newer cordless vacuum models, can range very widely. For example, the Deik 2-in-1 Cordless Vacuum is priced at under $100, but compromises significantly on features and design quality. On the other hand, while the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute is a powerful vacuum with incredible performance, it costs more than $500 – more than many people have in their budgets for a new vacuum. Thankfully, there are a wide variety of excellent cordless vacuums in the $100–$300 range, and many of these are less than $200.
If your battery is relatively new, it should provide relatively consistent suction for the majority of its charge. You may see some slight performance drop-off in the last few minutes of vacuuming, at which point changing out the battery would help. However, if your vacuum’s battery is one or more years old, replacing the battery altogether can sometimes make a difference. Ultimately, it depends on whether you are seeing a decrease in performance because the battery is no longer properly holding a charge, or because some other part of the vacuum is not working properly.
Almost every cordless vacuum has a dust cup that is transparent, so you can keep an eye on how full it is getting. It’s typically a good idea to empty the dust cup before it fills up completely, since this will hinder your vacuum’s performance and can even allow some dust and debris to escape your vacuum’s filters. If your vacuum has an especially small dust bin, you may need to empty it multiple times when cleaning your entire home.
Almost every manufacturer and vacuum model uses a different set of filters or filtration mechanism to prevent allergy-causing dust from escaping your vacuum. The most effective filters are HEPA-rated filters, which are specifically designed to capture small dust particles that can result in allergies. However, many vacuums use non-HEPA filters or multiple-stage filtration systems that are just as effective. For example, the Makita vacuum uses a two-stage cloth filtration system that is not HEPA-rated, but is extremely effective at trapping dust.
You can typically tell when a vacuum filter needs to be cleaned simply by pulling it out and looking at it. If it’s very dirty, chances are it needs to be washed or replaced – all of the built-up dust and debris on the filter can decrease your vacuum’s performance and allow some allergens to escape. When in doubt, it’s a good idea to play it safe and clean your vacuum’s filter.
Most modern vacuum heads are designed to work on all floor types, whether they are carpeted or hard. However, vacuum heads with a motorized brushroll are typically better suited for carpets because the bristles can get deep into the carpet fibers to pick up dust, hair, and other debris. Vacuum heads with a soft brushroll or no brush at all are ideal for hard floors, and especially hardwood, because they won’t leave scratches and the brushes aren’t needed to pick up surface debris.
Having a great vacuum can make a huge difference not only in how easy it is to clean your house, but how often you’ll want to. Cordless vacuums offer a ton of versatility and maneuverability over their traditional wired and canister counterparts without giving up on suction power. While battery life remains a limiting factor for cordless vacuums, many of the top-of-the-line models offer plenty of life for the average home. While purchasing a cordless vacuum can seem like a daunting task, with our guide you now have all the information you need to find the vacuum that perfectly matches your cleaning needs.