7 Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaner Reviews of 2021 – Battery Vacs from Top UK Brands

Written by James Hall | 18 Comments| Last Updated: April 15, 2021

Fed up with cords? A cordless vacuum cleaner could be the perfect solution. After many hours of research, here are our current recommendations (2021) for the best cordless vacuum cleaner in the UK.

#1 Pick: Dyson V11 Absolute

Dyson V11 Absolute

Rating StarsDyson V11 Absolute
Our top pick for a cordless vacuum cleaner is the excellent Dyson V11 Absolute.

It’s a powerful vac with a 60-minute maximum battery life. It also has a larger bin capacity than the Dyson V8 series and new Torque floorhead.

Best of all, it’s brilliant at cleaning almost every type of floor, including carpets and hardwood. The V11 is expensive, but we think it’s worth the money.

Please note: This section is for upright or cylinder models. For handhelds, please view the handheld section.

Are you tired of tripping over your vacuum’s cord? Or fed up with lugging a heavy upright vacuum up the stairs?

If so, you’re not alone!

Cordless vacuums have rapidly grown in popularity over the last few years – and are arguably now the most popular type of vac. Brands such as Dyson, Samsung, Hoover, Shark and Gtech are falling over themselves to release powerful machines with longer battery life, lightweight design and advanced features, so it’s a great time to buy one.

Keep reading for our list of the best cordless vacs – plus tips for choosing the right model for your home.

Why Buy a Cordless Vacuum Cleaner?

Cordless vacs, also known as battery vacuum cleaners, don’t need to be plugged into a power socket when in use. Instead, they run on battery power.

This makes them convenient, lightweight, perfect for quick cleaning sessions and great for cleaning cars.

Of course, there are some downsides too. They tend to be more expensive, and the suction is often reduced compared to similar priced models powered by mains electricity (although the latest cordless models are a match for most corded vacs.) They also have limited battery life – although run-times are increasing all the time.

We think the convenience of a cord-free vac makes them worth the extra money. Many are also great for cleaning upholstery, stairs, above furniture and car interiors – especially if they have a built-in handheld mode.

Our top models are listed below, along with links to specific vacuum cleaner reviews. Each is manufactured by a top brand and provides excellent performance, but make sure you read each review to find the best for your home.

Keep in mind that some people call these machines battery vacuums, while others refer to them as a wireless vacuum cleaner. We’ve even seen them called rechargeable vacuum cleaners. All these terms usually mean the same thing, so we’ll use them interchangeably.

Which are the Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaners?

 NameMax Run-TimeWeightDust BinPriceRead More
TOP PICK!Dyson V11 Absolute60 minutes3.05kg0.76 litres£££££View Price
Dyson V10 Cyclone Absolute60 minutes2.68kg0.76 litres£££££View Price
Dyson V8 Animal40 minutes2.61kg0.54 litres££££View Price
Dyson V7 Motorhead Plus30 minutes2.2kg0.54 litres£££View Price
Gtech AirRam Mk240 minutes3.5kg0.8 litres£££View Price
BUDGET PICK!Vax Blade Pro TBT3V1P145 minutes3kg0.6 litres££View Price
Shark IZ251UKT80 minutes4.1kg0.7 litres££££View Price
Tineco Pure One S12100 minutesApprox. 3kgNot listed££££View Price

1. Dyson V11 Absolute

V11 Absolute

If you’re looking for the best cordless vacuum on the market – and don’t mind paying a premium for it – then the Dyson V11 Absolute is our top pick. This ultra-powerful stick vacuum takes the company’s cordless range to new heights, with strong suction, advanced features, and up to 60 minutes of cleaning time.

The V11 has the same core design as the V10 Cyclone, with the bin parallel to the stick to maximise suction. There are three cleaning settings, including an auto mode for the upgraded Torque floorhead, along with a powerful digital motor.

Dyson claims that the V11 provides twice the suction of any cordless vac at the cleaner head. It’s hard to argue with this, as the vacuum is highly effective and the Torque floorhead can generate plenty of cleaning power. The V11 also has “smart” technology that adjusts suction based on the type of floor, so the V11 is always easy to push around without sacrificing suction strength.

As you would expect from such a pricey cordless vacuum, the V11 comes with plenty of advanced features. There’s an LCD monitor showing the current mode and remaining runtime of the vacuum. The Absolute version of the V11 also comes with Dyson’s excellent soft roller floorhead for hard floors, a HEPA filter, and a pet tool.

Battery life is always a concern with cordless vacs, but the Dyson V11 can last up to 60 minutes on the lowest power setting. You’ll probably want to use the “Auto” mode (middle setting) for most tasks, which reduces battery life – but the vacuum still provides enough run-time to clean an average home.

There’s also a “Boost” mode for when you need extra suction, although this reduces the run-time to just 12 minutes. The good news is that this is still almost double the run-time of the V10 Cyclone on its highest setting, and the Auto power mode provides plenty of suction for most tasks. Dyson claims that the battery takes 4.5 hours to fully charge, although in our experience it takes a bit less than this.

Most importantly, the V11 Absolute provides outstanding cleaning performance. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this model raises the bar for all cordless vacs, as it’s effective on every type of floor and debris.

In particular, the Torque floorhead is brilliant for cleaning pet hair and getting dirt out of carpets. The soft roller is also great for hard floors, while the detachable handheld mode is useful for stairs and cars.

There aren’t any real drawbacks to this vacuum’s design and performance, but the price is likely to be a barrier to many. You also need to hold down the trigger when cleaning, which some people find annoying or tiring, so keep this in mind.

We still think the Dyson V11 Absolute is the best cordless vacuum cleaner available at the moment though. It’s incredibly powerful and effective, while also being a pleasure to use. Highly recommended!

Note: There are other versions of the V11, including the V11 Torque Drive and V11 Animal. The included floorheads and tools vary depending on the version.

Key Features:
  • The best cordless vacuum on the market
  • Up to 60 minutes run-time
  • Brilliant Torque floorhead
  • Versatile and great on all surfaces
Specification:
  • Price Range: £££££
  • Weight: 2.68kg
  • Capacity: 0.76 litres
  • Filter Type: Whole Vacuum

2. Dyson V10 Cyclone Absolute

V10 Cyclone

The V10 Cyclone is model down from the V11 in the Dyson “V” series. It has the same bin design as the V11, a more powerful motor than the V8, and provides outstanding cleaning performance on all surfaces.

Let’s start with the main differences between the V10 and previous Dyson cordless vacs (such as the V8).

The maximum battery life has been increased to 60-minutes. This is only possible on the lowest power mode and without a motorised tool, but the V10 still provides plenty of power in this mode (unlike many alternatives).

Unlike the V6, V7 and V8, the V10 Cyclone’s bin is parallel to the stick. This has allowed Dyson to increase the bin size by 40%, so you won’t need to empty it as often, while maintaining the manoeuvrable design. The new layout also makes it easy to point the canister deep into a bin when emptying, which reduces the amount of dust and other allergens that escape into the air.

Most importantly, the V10 is brilliant for cleaning carpets, hardwood floors, laminate and tiles. Dyson’s V10 motor provides great suction even on “Low” and “Medium” modes, so you won’t need to switch to “High” for most tasks (which greatly reduces battery life). The standard direct-drive cleaner head, which is included with all versions of the V10, is also excellent for digging into carpet fibres and removing more dust and dirt.

Like previous Dyson vacs, the V10 is highly mobile and versatile. The detachable handheld mode is great for car interiors and stairs, while the mini turbo tool is perfect for removing pet hair from upholstery. People with allergies will also be pleased to hear that the V10 provides excellent filtration, due to the combination of 14 cyclones and post-motor filter.

Are there any downsides though?

The biggest drawback is the price. The cheapest model (Animal) has an RRP of over £400, so it’s a significant investment. When it comes to cleaning performance and all-round mobility, however, there aren’t any cordless vacuums that can match the V10.

The “High” power mode also reduces run-time to just 5-7 minutes. We would have liked the V10 to come with a replaceable battery, but the excellent suction on “Medium” mode means you’ll rarely need to switch to full power anyway. It also doesn’t include the Dyson Torque floorhead – that’s only available with the V11.

We recommended getting the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute if you have laminate, tile or hardwood floors in your home. This is the mid-range model, and comes with the Soft Roller cleaner head that’s brilliant for tiles and hardwood flooring. With that said, if your home is mainly carpets you can save money by choosing the V10 Animal, which doesn’t include the Soft Roller (we’ve written a full comparison of the various V10 models here and an in-depth comparison with the V8 here).

So, if you’re looking for a high-quality cordless vacuum cleaner that’s a bit cheaper than the V11, the Dyson V10 Cyclone series is a great choice. There are no major drawbacks, aside from the price, and its cleaning performance is a match for most upright vacuums.

Key Features:
  • Up to 60 minutes run time when in low power mode
  • Three power level settings for different tasks
  • Direct-drive cleaner head digs deep into carpets
  • Soft Roller head is great for cleaning floors
Specification:
  • Price Range: £££££
  • Weight: 2.68kg
  • Capacity: 0.76 litres
  • Filter Type: Whole Vacuum

3. Dyson V8 Animal

Dyson V8 Animal

The Dyson V8 Absolute was once our top pick for a cordless stick vacuum. Dyson has restructured their models due to the release of the Cyclone V10 series and V11 series though, so the V8 Animal is now the primary V8 currently in production.

In practical terms, there is little difference between the Animal and Absolute, so the V8 Animal is still one of our top recommendations – especially if the V10 is outside your budget. The main difference is the Animal doesn’t include the soft roller cleaner head for hardwood floors – although you can purchase this separately.

So what makes the V8 stand out compared to other vacs?

In terms of performance, this is a brilliant vacuum. With powerful suction, a longer run-time and a new motor, it’s probably as close to a corded cleaner replacement as you’re likely to get.

This performance is partly due to the powerful direct-drive head for carpets. The brush roll digs into carpets to remove dust and dirt that’s buried in fibres, while untangling cat or dog hair. The Animal also comes with a mini turbo tool for upholstery and cars.

Allergy sufferers will be pleased with Dyson’s “whole machine filtration,” as it does a good job of keeping allergens trapped. The V8 can also be converted into a handheld mode and uses a total of 15 cyclones to capture dirt and dust.

This is where the specification starts to diverge from the previous V6 range. Inside is the V8 motor, which Dyson claims is the most powerful in any cordless (at least until the V10 came along). The run-time of 40 minutes is significantly longer than the V6 Absolute’s 20 minute lifetime. It also comes with a docking station for charging and space for attachments.

Despite its price, the V8 series has proven to be a popular model due to its versatile and powerful design. It was also awarded the “Which? Best Buy” rating in August 2016.

So, there’s no doubt that the Dyson V8 Animal is an outstanding vacuum. With its powerful new motor and battery combination, along with the excellent direct-drive floor-head, it can give many corded models a run for their money. If you want a Dyson cordless but the Dyson Cyclone V10 or V11 are too expensive, the V8 Animal is an excellent alternative.

Click here for our full review of the Dyson V8 Animal. We’ve also written an in-depth comparison of the V8 Animal and Vax Blade 2.

Key Features:
  • Powered by Dyson’s V8 motor
  • New battery (Nickel-Cobalt-Aluminium) doubles the run-time of the V6 Absolute
  • Direct-drive head and mini tool for hair
Specification:
  • Price Range: ££££
  • Weight: 2.61kg
  • Capacity: 0.54 litres

4. Dyson V7 Motorhead Plus

V7 Motorhead Plus

The Dyson V6 range, with its stick design and detachable handheld mode, was one of the most popular cordless models – and for good reason. It was a powerful vacuum with a lightweight and versatile design, while being significantly cheaper than the V8 Absolute.

Dyson doesn’t manufacture the V6 anymore – but the V7 series is an excellent replacement with several improvements. It’s a lower budget option compared to the other Dyson vacs on this list, but still provides excellent performance.

The biggest difference between the V6 and V7 is the longer 30-minute run-time. The V6 was criticised for its 20-minute battery life, which was too short for cleaning a home in one session. The V7 provides up to a half-hour of fade-free suction – although this drops if using a motorised tool.

Dyson has also included their no-touch dirt emptying system with the V7. Instead of a simple trap door, you empty the vacuum by pulling up a lever. This opens the hatch while simultaneously forcing dust and dirt out rather than relying on gravity.

Aside from these additions, the V7 Motorhead provides all the features you expect from a Dyson cordless. It has a detachable handheld mode, two-tiers of radial cyclones for consistent suction, “MAX” power mode, and a lightweight 2.2kg design. The V7 Pro is quiet and easy to use, while the handheld mode is great for above floor cleaning and stairs.

It also provides outstanding cleaning performance on almost any surface. The direct-drive cleaner head (which wasn’t included with the standard V6) digs deep into carpets to remove more dust and dirt. It also does a great job of sucking up both fine dust and small debris from hard surfaces, and is highly effective at removing animal hair.

So, there’s no doubt the V7 is one of the most effective cordless models on the market – but which version should you buy?

Firstly, it’s important to understand that all V7 vacuums have the same core design. The only difference between the Motorhead Pro, Animal and Total Clean are which tools are included.

The Motorhead Plus is a minor upgrade on the original Motorhead, which was the basic version. It comes with the direct-drive cleaner head, crevice tool, combination tool, stubborn dust brush and docking station, so it’s a highly versatile vacuum. If you want a Dyson cordless vac for the cheapest price, the Motorhead Plus is the one to go for (although it’s still not cheap compared to other brands).

With that said, the Motorhead Plus doesn’t include Dyson’s miniature motorised tool for getting rid of hair from upholstery or car interiors. If you have pets, it’s worth paying a bit extra for the V7 Animal which includes this tool. If you have lots of hard flooring, the V7 Total Clean comes with Dyson’s popular soft roller cleaner head, along with a mini dusting brush and turbo tool.

There are also a few drawbacks to this vacuum cleaner. It runs out of battery fast when in turbo mode, so you’ll need to use this sparingly. It’s also not quite as powerful as the V10 and V11, although it’s no slouch and these other models are much more expensive.

Overall, the Dyson V7 Motorhead Plus is one of the best cordless vacuum cleaners available at the moment. While the different Dyson models can be confusing, the V7 Motorhead balances excellent performance with a reasonable price – although check out our Dyson V7 comparison if you’re considering the V8.

Key Features:
  • Powerful suction from the digital V7 motor
  • Motorised cleaner head that stirs up dust and dirt from carpets
  • Converts to a handheld mode
Specification:
  • Price Range: £££
  • Weight: 2.2kg
  • Capacity: 0.54 litres

5. Gtech AirRam Mk2

The Gtech AirRam Mk2 improves on what was already a great vacuum cleaner

The original AirRam vacuum was way ahead of its competition – and the Mk2 improves on an already successful formula. It’s a sleek and stylish model that comes with a number of useful features, including a 40-minute run time (which is significantly longer than many other models).

The Mk2 vacuum also collects dirt and dust in small bundles, rather than spinning it through a cyclonic canister, which makes emptying easier and less messy.

But that’s not all you get with the Gtech AirRam Mk2. The model has been designed from the ground up to compete with mains connected cleaners – at least for floor cleaning. It features a lightweight design at just 3.5kg, excellent performance on both hard floors and carpet, and a low profile for easy mobility.

The Mk2 is similar in many ways to the original vacuum, but has been upgraded in several key areas. The AirLOC system maintains the vacuum’s ability to pick up fine dust, while improving its large debris performance. The dirt system has also been changed to provide extra compression and an easier-to-empty design.

It’s true that these aren’t revolutionary changes. But the Mk2 is certainly an upgrade compared to the original.

Most importantly, the AirRam is great at picking up dirt and dust – and in many cases can almost match a corded model. It’s also a stylish model with excellent build quality.

The biggest downside of this cordless vacuum is that it doesn’t come with any tools or attachments. Unlike cordless vacuum cleaners from brands such as Dyson (such as the Dyson Cyclone V10), there’s no option to use it in a handheld mode. It’s also not the best cordless for hair, as it struggles to remove hair from carpet fibres.

In summary, there’s little doubt this is one of the best cordless upright vacuum cleaners on the market for floor cleaning. Keep in mind that it doesn’t come with any tools or a hose though, so it’s not the right choice for above-floor or car cleaning. It can also struggle with hair.

Can’t decide between the AirRam or Dyson? Read our Gtech AirRam Mk2 Vs. Dyson V8 comparison.

Key Features:
  • 40 minute run-time after a 4 hour charge (Lithium-ion battery)
  • Lightweight vacuum at just 3.5kg
  • Improved large debris pick-up compared to the original
Specification:
  • Price Range: £££
  • Weight: 3.5kg
  • Capacity: 0.8 litres

6. Vax Blade Pro TBT3V1P1

Vax Blade TBT3V1P1

If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive cordless vacuum that can match the Dyson V8 when cleaning carpets, the Vax Blade Pro 32V TBT3V1P1 could be the ideal choice.

It’s a lightweight vacuum with a 32V Lithium-Ion battery, powerful boost mode and up to 45-minute run-time. Like the Dyson V8 Animal, it also comes with a pet tool for getting rid of hair and a handheld mode for stairs.

How does it perform when cleaning though? Don’t expect the all-round performance of the Dyson V8 or V10 – but it’s an excellent cordless for cleaning carpets. This is due to the powerful suction and great floor head design. It also makes quick work of both animal and human hair.

Aside from its carpet performance, we like how easy the Blade Pro is to use. It has a lightweight design and multi-positioned handle, so it always feels comfortable to hold. The “Smart Control” dial is really just a glorified battery power and mode indicator, but gives the vacuum a modern feel.

There are a few drawbacks of the Blade Pro – although you expect this from a relatively cheap cordless (at least in comparison to Dyson and Bosch models). It’s not terrible on hard flooring, but it’s not as effective as the top models on laminate. It’s also slightly heavier than the V8 and the pet tool isn’t motorised.

Even so, the Vax Blade Pro TBT3V1P1 is a stylish and versatile vacuum. It’s great on carpets, while the handheld mode makes it easy to clean stairs or above furniture. If your home is mainly carpeted and the Dysons are outside of your price range, it’s an option to consider.

Note: Looking for a cordless vac with an upright style? The Vax U85-ACLG-BA Life Solo could be an option. This model also replaced the now unavailable Hoover FD22G.

Key Features:
  • Great performance on carpets
  • Balanced and comfortable to hold
  • Powerful boost mode
Specification:
  • Price Range: ££
  • Weight: 3kg
  • Capacity: 0.6 litres

7. Shark IZ251UKT Cordless Stick Vac

Shark IZ251UKT

If you’re looking for a cordless vacuum cleaner with a similar design to the Dyson ranges, then the Shark IZ251UKT is definitely an option to consider.

It’s not just a copy-cat vacuum though – this model comes with a range of useful and innovative features. These include dual batteries, Shark’s excellent DuoClean floorhead, and Flexology design for cleaning under furniture. Like the Dyson V series, it also has a detachable handheld mode.

Shark has managed to pack many of their upright vacuum features into the IZ251UKT, which is why it’s such a versatile cordless stick vac. The Flexology system allows you to bend the stick, which is great for cleaning under furniture. The DuoClean floorhead, which has two brush bars for different surfaces, also makes switching between carpets and hard floors easy.

As you would expect from a pet vacuum, the IZ251UKT comes with a pet turbo tool for cleaning stairs and furniture. It also has a relatively large 0.7 litre capacity, combination of washable and HEPA filter, and several additional tools.

The Shark also has dual batteries. This allows for a long run-time of up to 80 minutes, although only in “ION” mode and when you’re not using a motorised tool. While the run-time drops when using motorised tools, the IZ251UKT still provides excellent battery life compared to most cordless vacs. We also love how the batteries can be removed and charged separately from the vacuum.

Most importantly, the IZ251UKT is at effective at cleaning most types of floor, despite being cheaper than models from Miele, Dyson and Samsung. It’s particularly effective at cleaning hard floors and pet hair, making it a good choice for dog or cat owners.

There are a few drawbacks though. The anti hair wrap technology is a useful bonus, but it’s not always effective, especially for long hairs. It’s also not the best cordless vacuum for carpets, although it’s no slouch. Additionally, the Shark is a bit heavier than other cordless vacuums we’ve reviewed, which could be an issue if you want a lightweight model.

Even so, the Shark IZ251UKT is an excellent cordless vacuum cleaner. It’s packed with features, provides strong performance, and has a pet turbo tool for cleaning hair. If you’re looking for an alternative to one of the cheaper Dyson models, then the Shark is a great alternative.

Key Features:
  • Versatile vac that's great with pet hair
  • Anti hair-wrap technology
  • Up to 80 minutes run-time
Specification:
  • Price Range: ££££
  • Weight: 4.1kg
  • Capacity: 0.7 litres

8. Tineco Pure One S12

Tineco Pure One S12

Tineco is a newcomer to the UK vacuum market – but it’s made quite an impression. The Pure One S12 is one of the company’s high-end models, and it aims to directly compete with the Dyson V10 and V11.

Let’s start with the advanced features. The Tineco has “Smart Suction” technology, which means suction power is adjusted depending on the amount of dust detected. It also has a ring-light indicator showing when dust is present and when you can move to the next patch of floor. This technology doesn’t just provide a deeper clean, but also improves battery life.

Speaking of batteries, the Tineco comes with two detachable lithium-ion batteries. These provide a 100-minute maximum run-time, which is more than enough to clean most homes. Keep in mind that this is the maximum battery life though – it’s reduced when using motorised tools.

The Pure One S12 even comes with an LED display. This shows metrics such as battery level and suction power, along with indicators if the brush roller becomes tangled (amongst other things). You can also manually adjust suction power using a slider if you don’t want to rely on the machine’s automatic detectors.

Other features include a motorised brush bar, LED headlights, strong maximum suction power, and a recharging wall mount. There’s even app integration, allowing you to track the vacuum’s performance. In short, it’s one of the most advanced vacuums we’ve seen.

It’s not just a gimmicky vac though. The One S12 does a great job at cleaning every type of floor. It also has a detachable handheld mode for upholstery, cars and stairs. If you’re looking for an alternative to a Dyson cordless, the Tineco is one of the best on the market.

Key Features:
  • Smart suction technology that varies depending on amount of dust
  • Handheld mode
  • Up to 100 minutes run-time
  • Packed with advanced technology
Specification:
  • Price Range: ££££

How to Choose a Battery Powered Vacuum

There’s no doubt cordless vacuums have a number of advantages over traditional models. Even so, not all are created equal, so it’s important to know the various considerations before you buy.

Here’s a list of factors to look for when choosing a cordless vacuum cleaner.

Budget

Cordless vacuums can be pricey! The reviews above should give you an idea of the top models in different price ranges, but there’s still a huge range.

If you’re looking for corded replacement, we recommended spending at least £200 – if not more. Cheaper models are often only suitable for quick clean-ups.

Fortunately, you can often find deals on cordless vacuum cleaners that push the price below this limit. We don’t recommend choosing a cheap vacuum just because of the price though, as you may be disappointed by its performance.

Suction Power

One of the key considerations when choosing any vacuum is the suction strength. This is especially important for battery-powered models, as low-quality models often have weak suction.

It’s important to understand that cleaning performance isn’t only related to suction though. The vacuum’s airflow technology and floorhead design also play a role. Many also have a boost mode for removing stubborn dirt – although this can greatly reduce battery life.

The floor types in your home also play a role. Some vacuums are particularly good on carpets, while others excel at hard floors. The best models are great at cleaning both.

Battery Life

Cordless vacuum cleaners are powered by batteries, so they have a limited run time. This varies depending on the brand and type of battery used. Lithium batteries, in particular, usually maintain suction for longer and charge faster.

Most high-quality battery vacuums can clean for 20-60 minutes on a single charge, which makes them suitable for most jobs – as long as you remember to charge them! Some models have a run-time of more than an hour though.

Be wary of models with very short battery life. The worst may last as little as ten minutes or less. This may not be an issue if you only plan on using it for small jobs, but can be frustrating if you want a vacuum for a proper clean.

These days, most cordless vacs have a run-time of at least 30-minutes. This might be tight for a whole house clean, but provides plenty of run-time for most cleaning tasks.

Note: You may also want to look for a base station with charger that can be attached to a wall, as this makes storing the vacuum more convenient.

Weight

One of the great things about cordless vacuum cleaners is that they can be carried around the house without needing to change plug socket. This is also why lightweight cordless vacuum cleaners are popular.

As a general rule, cheaper vacuums are heavier than the top models. There are exceptions, however, so it’s important to check the weight before you buy. The good news is that the majority of models in this category are lightweight, as manufacturers tend to place an emphasis on convenience and manoeuvrability.

Linked closely to weight is the size of the vacuum. A small cordless can be highly convenient when it comes to storage, especially as it has a docking station attached to the wall. The downside is that the capacity will be smaller.

Canister or Bag Capacity

Nearly all cordless vacuum cleaners have a bagless design. They typically have small dust capacities compared to full-size models, as this minimises weight and size.

The downside is that they need to be emptied regularly. The smallest models may hold as little as 0.3 litres of dust, so be prepared to empty them multiple times during a clean.

Some of the larger cordless vacuums have a capacity of 0.7 litres (or more). This is still relatively small, but reduces how often the canister needs to be emptied.

Filtration System

HEPA filters are the best at stopping fine particles being pumped back into the surrounding air. This is important for health – especially if you or anyone in your family suffers from asthma or dust allergies.

Cordless vacuums with HEPA filters are often more expensive though.

Other Considerations

  • 2-in-1 vacuums. Some models, such as the Dyson V series, can be used in both upright and handheld modes. This makes them highly versatile and perfect for cleaning almost any area of your home. Most handheld models are also cordless (click here to view our top handhelds).
  • Hair Tools. If you have a pet, you’re probably already aware of how much hair they can shed! Some cordless cleaners come with motorised tools for picking up hair, which can be very useful.
  • Tools. We’ve already mentioned hair accessories, but there are many more tools that might be helpful. These include dusting brushes, crevice tools and tough-bristle brushes for getting rid of stubborn dirt. Make sure you know which attachments a model comes with before you buy.
  • Your requirements. We’ve mentioned it before, but it’s vital to choose a cleaner that meets your personal requirements. The best cordless vacuum for stairs, for example, may not be the same as the best model for animal hair, which may differ again from the top cordless car vacuum (for this see our car page) – even if they all have excellent reviews.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I need a cordless if I already have a corded vacuum?

In the past, we’ve been cautious about recommending a cordless as a replacement to a corded vac. This was because even the top cord-free cleaners didn’t have the suction to rival corded alternatives. Instead, we recommended buying a cordless for quick clean-ups and clearing dry spills.

While this is still true to an extent, the latest generation of cordless vacuum cleaners get surprisingly close to the suction and cleaning performance of a corded vacuum. The limited run-time is still an issue for full-house cleaning – especially when using boost mode – but the most powerful cordless vacs are now capable of replacing a corded model.

This doesn’t mean all are corded replacements though. While expensive models like the Dyson V11 or Tineco Pure One S12 can provide all-round cleaning performance, they are often outside people’s budget. Lower-priced cordless vacuum cleaners may only be suitable for dry spillages, top-up cleaning and for when you don’t want to lug a large vacuum around the house.

But to answer the question, a high-quality cordless vacuum is much more versatile and mobile than a heavy corded model. Even if you have a corded vacuum, you may want to consider getting a cordless – and you might find it replaces the corded model altogether.

Q. How do I care for/maintain my cordless vacuum cleaner?

All vacuums require ongoing maintenance to perform their best. Your machine should come with a manual, regardless of whether you buy from Amazon, John Lewis or anywhere else, and this will contain basic maintenance instructions. Here are some other tips for keeping yours in top condition:

  • When the bin is full, air can’t flow properly through the vacuum. This reduces suction. Cordless vacuums often have small dust capacities, which means it’s important to empty them more regularly than a larger model.
  • Brush rollers can often become tangled. This is especially likely if you have long hair or pets. Every few weeks, check the brushes and cut any hair that’s preventing it rotating. Some models also have easily detachable brush bars to make it easier to remove hair.
  • Cleaning your vacuum filter is also vital for proper suction. If a filter is clogged, less air passes through which greatly reduces performance. How often you clean your filter depends on the make and model, but I recommend cleaning at least every 4-6 uses. Make sure the filter is completely dry before using it.

Cord-Free Vacuums for Specific Tasks

The vacuum cleaners listed above are our top all-round cordless vacuums, but what if you want one mainly for a specific task? Here’s a table of common cleaning surfaces and features, along with our current top vacuum for each (these are updated regularly).

Hard Floors

An example showing how the Dyson V6 Fluffy hard floor vacuum cleans wood flooring.

The V6 Fluffy excels at cleaning hardfloors due to strong suction and its “Fluffy” head.

Unfortunately, many vacuums do a better job of pushing dirt around hard floors than actually picking it up. This is because the vacuum is entirely dependent on suction to remove dirt – it can’t rely on a powerful brush bar to stir up dirt.

It’s also important that the brush doesn’t scratch the floor. The best cordless vacuums for hard floors either use a softer brush design or allow you to turn off rolling brushes. While these are important for carpets, as they agitate the fibres to remove more dirt, they are unnecessary for harder floors and can even cause scratches.

That’s why our top recommendation in this category is the Dyson V11 Absolute. It’s a powerful vacuum soft roller cleaner head designed specifically for hardwood or laminate.

The key feature of the cleaning head is that it’s “fluffy.” This helps trap larger particles of dirt and other substances, while the carbon bristles use static electricity to attract dust and other smaller particles. This design is much gentler than a regular brush bar, so it’s safe to use on delicate hardwood without worrying about scratches. It also comes with a powered head for carpets and turbobrush for hair, along with outstanding suction power.

You can also view how the soft roller floor head works (and how to clean it) in the following video:

Carpets

A strong rotating brush bar is essential for carpet vacuuming. This lifts dirt from the carpet fibres, allowing the vacuum to remove as much as possible. It’s also important to buy a cleaner with strong suction to clean deeply into carpets.

The good news is that the most powerful cordless vacs can now match upright models on carpets. Our top pick, once again, is the Dyson V11 Absolute with the brilliant Torque cleaner head.

Pet (Cat & Dog) Hair

The Dyson V8 Animal is our top recommendation for a cordless pet vacuum.

The Dyson V8 Animal is our top recommendation for a cordless pet vacuum.

When it comes to cat or dog hair, both strong suction and a powered brush bar are required. This is something many cordless models struggle with, and until recently there were few vacuums in this category that were up to the job. Fortunately, this has begun to change.

Aside from suction, a pet vacuum should also have an efficient filter. This prevents allergens, such as dust, pet dander and bacteria, from escaping back into the air when vacuuming. While a good filter is important for anyone, it is essential for anyone with a pet allergy.

That’s why we recommend the powerful Dyson V11 Absolute as the best cordless vacuum for pet hair. The Cyclone comes with a mini motorised tool for sucking up hair on a variety of surfaces, along with the company’s “Whole Machine Filtration” and additional post-motor filter. It’s not cheap, but if you have a dog or cat it’s one of the best options.

Cars

The pivot system makes it easier to clean under car seats.

The pivot system makes it easier to clean under car seats.

If you’re looking for a vacuum cleaner to use in your car, you’re probably better served by visiting our car vacuum section or even our handheld page. This is because you probably don’t need a full upright or stick vacuum, as the extra size is likely to get in the way (there are some exceptions though).

To make things easy though, we’ll summarise that page here. Cars pick up a lot of dirt and rubbish on the floors and under the seats, so it’s important to choose a vacuum with strong suction. It should also be lightweight and make it as easy as possible to clean in all the awkward places in your car. That means it needs to be able to get into glove compartments, under seats and around the gear stick.

For this reason, we recommend the Dyson V7 Trigger. It’s a powerful and versatile handheld vacuum that’s one of the best cordless vacuums for cars at the moment.

Stairs

We think a cordless for stairs should be three things: lightweight, portable and powerful. A lightweight vacuum is essential, as you don’t want to carry a bulky, heavy appliance up and down stairs. Portability is similarly important, and the model should make it easy to clean both the horizontal and vertical parts of steps. Finally, it should have enough power to remove dirt and dust embedded in carpet, whilst ideally cleaning right to the edge of steps.

One of the best vacuum cleaners that satisfies these requirements is the Dyson V8 Animal, which is a cheaper alternative to the V10 and V11. It’s a powerful vacuum which Dyson claimed was twice as strong as any previous stick model when it was first released. It also comes with a direct-drive cleaner head and motorised turbo tool. This, as the names suggests, drives bristles into the carpet with more force than other brush bars, allowing it to remove more dirt and dust.

But the Absolute isn’t just about power – it also comes with a range of features and accessories to make stair cleaning easier. The stand-out feature is that you can swap between stick mode and handheld without sacrificing suction. The motorized floor head (or soft head for harder floors) can be directly attached to the handheld, allowing for deep cleaning without carrying an unwieldy stick or upright vacuum. This is great for vacuum cleaning the entire step – not just the horizontal section.

Caravans

What makes a good caravan vacuum? Our criteria is that it must be small and easy to store, versatile (to get into all the tight areas) yet still powerful enough to give a deep clean on carpets.

For this reason, we’ve chosen a handheld model – the Black + Decker Lithium Flexi. It is built with a lithium battery, providing strong suction that doesn’t decrease while in use. The Lithium Flexi also uses Black + Decker’s ECO technology to charge up to four times quicker than other models.

But the feature that makes this a good choice for caravans is the integrated hose. While this is only 1.5 metres long, it provides much greater versatility than other handheld cordless models. And, when it’s not needed, the hose wraps around the body so it can be used like a traditional handheld. The Lithium Flexi also comes with a variety of accessories, such as a long crevice tool and upholstery brush.

With Hose Attachment

Vax U86-AL-B Cordless Vacuum with Hose cleaning stairsMost cordless cleaners don’t come with a traditional hose attachment. Their increased manoeuvrability and lightweight design often means a hose is unnecessary. Even so, there are some jobs that require a hose attachment – especially if you want to clean high areas or right into corners.

In our opinion, the best cordless with hose attachment at the moment is the Vax U86-AL-B. It comes equipped with double Lithium batteries, which provides an impressive run-time of around 50 minutes, and uses WindTunnel Three technology for greater suction. The vacuum also comes with Vax’s 6 year guarantee for extra peace of mind.

Most importantly, at least for this section, it includes a detachable wand with hose.

With Handheld Attachment

The lightweight nature of cordless models provides greater freedom when cleaning. But sometimes anything larger than a handheld just gets in the way. That’s why many vacuums have both an upright (or stick) mode and a detachable handheld function.

If you’re on a tight budget, the Vax TBT3V1P1 Blade Pro is a great choice for this. As it’s a cheaper cordless vac, it’s not as powerful as pricier models and the pet tool isn’t motorised. But its lightweight design, easily detachable handheld and low price tag make it a popular model.

If suction power is more important to you than price though, the Dyson V11 Absolute is one of the most powerful vacuum cleaners with a handheld mode. It comes with Dyson’s Torque cleaner head for cleaning deep into carpet fibres, along with a turbo tool for hair and stubborn dirt.

Note: Every model in the Dyson V7, V8, V10 and V11 ranges can be quickly converted to handheld modes. The same is true for the Tineco Pure One S12.

Conclusion

There you have it! A list of the best cordless vacuum cleaners and a complete guide to choosing the right model.

Before we sign-off for this post, it’s probably a good idea to talk a bit more about the advantages and disadvantages of cordless models.

The main benefit is obvious – just imagine how much easier your last vacuum cleaning session would have been without having to worry about cords and plug sockets. It really can reduce the stress and frustration of vacuuming.

The downsides are that cordless models tend to be more expensive compared to mains-powered models with similar power and features, and they often don’t have the same suction power. Even so, cord-free vacuums are steadily growing in popularity and have improved immensely.

If you have any questions about this category of vacuum or would like to add something to this page, just leave a comment below. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

A-Z of In-Depth Cordless Vacuum Reviews

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TheCleaningGal9
TheCleaningGal9
3 years ago

OK I’m really confused…

Is the Dyson V8 REALLY better than the V6? It’s a lot more money!

Jim
Jim
3 years ago

Do you think any cord-free hoover is a worthy replacement for my Dyson DC40?

I want to get a new hoover and I like the idea of a cordless one…I’m worried it will be too weak though.

MomOfTwoCats
MomOfTwoCats
3 years ago

Do you still recommend the Dyson V8 for people with pets? My two cats shed a lot but I want something less bulky than my Henry.

Jeff Wheeler
3 years ago

Hi James,

Don’t you think the V7 is a bit of a better bet than the V8?
Yes, the V8 is a beast, but IMHO the V7 offers very similar performance, similar battery life and bin size for a much more lucrative price than the V8?
I’m not arguing or anything, don’t get me wrong, just interested to hear your opinion!
Cheers!

Adam
Adam
2 years ago

What happened to the Dyson V6? Is Dyson not making it anymore?

wombat
wombat
2 years ago

Hello, sorry – I have questions!
can you please explain why the Dyson V10 range are not in the top spot….? Are they no better than the V8 then? I thought they were more powerful?

Also, why is the V8 Animal better than the Absolute, as it does not have one of the heads?
Is it more powerful than the Absolute?
I don’t have pets.

Also, is there a risk of having hair (fallen from head) caught up in the roller heads, and having to be cut off all the time?

thanks (-;

wombat
wombat
2 years ago
Reply to  James Hall

Thank you James,
yes it has helped, I didn’t realise they had stopped making the Absolute, I wonder why?
I mentioned about hair getting blocked in the roller, is this a problem, do you have to keep pulling hair that has stuck in the bristles?

thanks again

Fran
Fran
2 years ago

I’ve been looking around at the cordless vacuums, and so far it’s between the Dyson v10 animal, v8 animal or the bosh athlete pet. The Dysons just seem so expensive over £100 more than the Bosh, are they really worth the extra money?
I’ve got mixed floor boards and carpet in the house and a dog that is regularly moulting so I’m looking for the best vacuum to do the job.

VivianWinters
VivianWinters
2 years ago

Thanks for this website! I’ve just bought the V8 Animal – I don’t remember ever being so excited about a new vacuum!