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Are Corded Vacuums More Powerful Than Cordless?

Written by James Hall |

are corded vacuums more powerful

Cordless vacuum cleaners are increasingly popular – but how do they compare to corded models? Are corded vacuums more powerful? And which type provides better cleaning performance on carpets? Let’s find out.

Cordless vacuums are lightweight, convenient, and easy to use. So, it’s no surprise that they’ve become a popular choice in the UK.

Corded vacuums cleaners still have the edge when it comes to suction power and cleaning performance though. In this article, we’ll discuss how the two types compare.

Do Corded Vacuums Generate More Suction Power?

On average, a corded vacuum cleaner is nearly always going to generate stronger suction power than a cordless model.

Power pulled directly from the mains supply is more consistent and won’t run out. In other words, corded vacuums don’t need to balance suction with battery life, so they can deliver maximum performance at all times.

In contrast, a cordless vacuum cleaner can’t run on maximum power all the time without quickly draining the battery. Most people need at least 30 minutes of run-time, so manufacturers must optimise their cordless models for run-time along with suction power.

That doesn’t mean that all cordless vacuum cleaners are less powerful than all corded vacs though. There are powerful cordless vacuums on the market that rival corded models for cleaning performance, along with some terrible corded vacuums that should be avoided.

If you want maximum power, however, then a corded vacuum cleaner is still nearly always the best choice.

What About Boost Modes?

Many cordless vacuum cleaners have a boost mode. These modes often provide a significant increases in suction power, but at the expense of battery life.

In fact, activating boost mode usually reduces battery life to just 5-10 minutes. This is only enough for spot cleaning, so it’s more important to compare suction power on regular suction modes when buying a vacuum, rather than the maximum.

Corded Vacuums (Usually) Excel at Carpets and Larger Debris

So, corded vacuum cleaners are typically more powerful than cordless models, but what does that mean for cleaning performance?

Suction power is important for all types of cleaning, but it’s not the only factor that affects cleaning performance. Brush bar power, airflow optimisation, and floorhead design all play an important role.

There are some types of cleaning where strong suction is essential though, which makes corded vacuums the more consistent choice. These include:

  • Carpets
  • Larger debris
  • Sucking dust out from between floorboards

The very best cordless vacuums can compete with corded models in all three of these areas. The Dyson V11, Tineco S12, and models from brands like Shark and Miele are some good examples.

However, these are often very expensive vacuums (some cost £500+). Cheaper cordless vacuums often struggle with carpets and removing dirt between floorboards – especially compared with corded models in the same price range.

Tip: Keep in mind that there are still plenty of poor-quality corded upright and cylinder vacuums on the market. Just because these types are more powerful on average doesn’t mean that every model will outperform cordless vacs.

Will Cordless Vacuums Catch Up in the Future?

While corded vacuum cleaners are more powerful than cordless, the gap has already narrowed a lot over the last decade. Models such as the ones mentioned above are now able to compete with some corded vacuums – albeit at a much higher price.

There’s no doubt that cordless vacuum cleaners will continue to improve. How quickly they surpass corded vacuums for suction power depends on whether there are breakthroughs in battery technology.

A new type of battery that could hold significantly more charge would allow cordless vacuums to quickly close the gap to corded models. When (or if) this will happen is impossible to predict.

Related Article: Is a Cordless Vacuum the Right Choice for Everyone?

What Advantages do Cordless Vacuums Have?

Despite having less power than corded models, there are still plenty of advantages to cordless vacuums. These include:

  • Lightweight designs. Many cordless vacuum cleaners weigh 2kg-4kg, making them much lighter than the average corded vacuum.
  • Not restricted by power cord length. A cord-free design makes cordless vacuums more convenient for cleaning around the home. You don’t need to worry about sticking close to plug sockets or tripping over the cord.
  • Smaller due to the stick design. If you don’t have much space to store your vacuum, then a cordless vac’s small design can be a bonus.
  • Most have a handheld mode. Handheld vacuums are great for cleaning awkward locations.
  • Great for cleaning stairs. The lack of a power cord makes cleaning stairs easier and safer.
  • Advanced features. The latest generation of cordless vacuums often include advanced features, such as adaptive suction and LCD screens. You’ll need to purchase a premium vacuum to get these features though.

Of course, there are some downsides to cordless vacuums too – and not just when it comes to cleaning power.

Cordless vacuums have a limited battery run-time, so you need to keep cleaning sessions short. They also have small dust capacities and may be less durable. Don’t forget about recharging time too, as cordless vacs can take 4-6 hours to fully recharge.

The right choice depends on what you need from a vacuum cleaner. If you need a powerful vacuum for deep cleaning carpets, then a corded vac (or possibly a high-end cordless vacuum) is probably the best choice. If you need a vacuum for quick cleaning sessions, a flat or small home, or spot cleaning, then a cordless vacuum could be a more convenient option.


In general, a corded vacuum cleaner is more powerful than a cordless vacuum. Corded vacuums draw power from a consistent mains supply, so manufacturers don’t need to worry about balancing power against battery life.

There are some high-end cordless vacuum cleaners that can compete with corded vacuums for power though. The best models by brands such as Dyson, Miele, and Shark are worth considering if you want a cordless vacuum with plenty of suction power.

Do you have any questions about the difference in power between corded and cordless vacuum cleaners? Please let us know in the comments section.

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