11 best corded vacuum cleaners
Make light work of household chores with a powerful, versatile machine
Many of the best vacuum cleaners are corded, but you need to get the right one.
If you live in a bijou flat with laminate and tiled floors, you’ll need a different machine from someone with big carpeted rooms and lots of stairs.
Your first consideration is cylinder or upright. Cylinder machines tend to be smaller and lighter, making it easier to tackle tight corners, stairs and upholstery. But they can be harder to push over the carpet.
Upright machines, on the other hand, can make light work of big carpeted areas, especially when it comes to removing ingrained dirt.
They tend to be more energy efficient too (all vacuum cleaner show their overall efficiency with "A+++" being the most energy-efficient and "D" as the least efficient).
Your next decision is bagged or bagless. With bagless machines – which collect the dust and dirt in a canister, which you empty – you avoid the hassle of having to buy replacement bags, but they tend to have a smaller capacity.
Bagged ones usually collect more debris, but emptying the bag can be messy and you have to buy new bags.
For more tips on which machine to buy for your home, head to our vacuum cleaner buying guide.
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Dyson Big Ball Animal 2: £299.99, Dyson
It doesn’t get better than this for pet owners – the bagless cylinder vacuum cleaner even comes with a tangle-free turbine tool to pick up stubborn tufts of fir from your carpet or upholstery.
Other handy accessories include pneumatic floor head, combination tool, stair tool and carbon fibre head.
Good on all floor types, it works quickly and efficiently to remove pet hair and pretty much anything else in its wake.
It’s quiet, had a big canister and good filter, which will be music to the ears of allergy sufferers.
Plus, it’s got a patented technology to push and pull in any direction. But you need a bit of elbow grease on thicker carpets and slightly heavier than we expected.
Miele Complete C3 Powerline: £240, John Lewis
Miele has always been a market leader when it comes to bagged cylinder vacuum cleaners.
And this is an exceptional machine that glides over carpets and hard floors as well as being one of the best machines we tried on upholstery.
Nooks, crannies and ceilings pose no challenge and it’s brilliant for pet hair removal and allergy sufferers too, trapping allergens and fur in its wake.
It’s surprisingly quiet and although it’s not as lightweight as some, it has a long cord and isn’t cumbersome to move around.
But it doesn’t seem to like sucking up larger debris especially on carpets.
Kärcher WD 4 Premium Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner: £129,99, Kärcher
The USP of the wet and dry range of vacuum cleaners from Kärcher is that they’re capable of picking up anything.
Seriously, we’re talking rubble, sawdust, sludge, oil, water, among others, as well as finer particles.
This is the most powerful of the three machines, yet isn’t the most expensive as it’s currently on offer.
It’s an absolute boon for anyone with messier jobs to clear up on a regular basis and boasts serious power yet is lightweight enough to move around easily – also thanks to the swivel wheels.
The filter is industrial standard and it comes with useful accessories including a narrow nozzle and extension pipes.
And while we were dreading emptying the bag, it was actually surprisingly mess-free.
Shark NV801UKT DuoClean Powered Lift-Away True Pet Vacuum: £249.99, Argos
This bag-less upright machine gets the thumbs up from us for carpeted homes, including those with four-legged friends.
It works well even on very deep pile rugs and we also like the pop-out cleaning canister for more challenging areas like stairs.
You get tools for dusting, upholstery and crevices, while the pet version has a motorised upholstery attachment so you can say goodbye to stubborn dog and cat hairs in the sofa.
It’s quiet and well-lit (great for darker homes and floors, as well as those with poorer eyesight).
But although there’s a brush bar for hard floors, it seems to struggle with fine dust on these non-carpeted areas.
Henry Xtra HVX200: £149.99, Henry
The Numatic Henry is probably the best known bagged, cylinder vacuum cleaner on the market.
And this latest version is even better, thanks to the bigger capacity and new specialist floor tools including an ‘airobrush’ for excellent results on carpets and picking up pet hair and a specialist hard-floor tool.
It is easy to use and manoeuvre, exceptionally quiet, energy efficient, and it attacks house dirt and animal hairs at speed.
It lacks the whizzy features of some other machines though and there are easier machines to use on stairs.
Dyson Light Ball Multi Floor: £199.99, Dyson
Another corker from Dyson, this quiet, compact upright machine is a boon for smaller homes.
It has great suction, thanks to a redesigned floor-head and it glides across all floor types.
Everything from fine dust to larger bits of cereal gets sucked up immediately with no need to go over the same spot twice.
Because it rotates on a ball, it’s easy to manoeuvre around furniture and has good reach so you don’t have to unplug it too often.
It’s good for allergy sufferers, too. Not the easier to use on stairs or upholstery, but that’s not unusual for upright machines.
Vax Air Lift Steerable Advance Upright Vacuum Cleaner: £199.99, Argos
This vacuum cleaner is great value for money as the middle pops out and works as a cordless model – great for cleaning stairs and the car.
In the plugged-in upright mode, the machine is good for carpets and fine for hard floors. It's also easy to steer.
It comes with some six great tools including a turbo brush for pet hair and a crevice tool, although you can only store one away in the machine at any one time.
It’s quite heavy in both modes, but for a two-in-one machine, it’s still an impressive buy.
Miele Blizzard CX1 Comfort Powerline Lotus Cylinder: £400, John Lewis
This brand is relatively new in the world of bagless vacuum cleaners, but for homes with carpets, this smart-looking machine is hard to fault. It's also blissfully quiet.
With its easy manoeuvrability and well-thought-out accessories, you'll be able to get to every corner and crevice. You'll even be able to reach the ceiling.
Our tester found that this vacuum cleaner removed pet hair and trapped allergens really well, while the self-cleaning filter saved them a job.
It was great on upholstery too, although not quite as effective on hard floors, particularly laminate ones.
You have to bend down to change the setting when you move to a different type of floor.
Hoover Velocity Evo Reach: £146.99, Amazon
If you’re after a bagless upright machine but find the Shark and the Dyson too expensive, then this model is your best bet.
It’s good on both carpets and hard floors, including for pet hair and allergens, and it has an extra-long power cable and hose which meant that our tester could vacuum several rooms without unplugging it. This also makes it easier to use on stairs.
This model is energy efficient and comes with some great accessories. Our favourites include the brush tip for dusting and mini turbo brush for upholstery and the car – and they store easily in the machine during use.
The controls are on the machine rather than the handle.
It's quite heavy and its suction is just below the Shark.
Philips Ultimate Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner FC9920: £229.64, Amazon
This futuristic-looking, bagless, cylinder model is pretty large and heavy.
But those jazzy wheels do their job, with this well-built machine coasting around smoothly. The suction also easily tackles entrenched dirt and fluff in carpets, and is also good on hard floors and upholstery.
It’s quiet and has a flexible hose that will reach all the way up the stairs.
Our tester said that they had to be careful emptying the canister as it could have been quite messy, and noted that there weren't any extra accessories for pet owners.
Sebo Felix Vogue Eco Upright Vacuum Cleaner: £289.90, John Lewis
Many people who buy a Sebo never buy any other make of vacuum cleaner again, and this retro-looking upright vacuum cleaner is particularly popular.
We can see why, especially when it comes to pet owners and allergy sufferers.
It works as well on hard floors as on carpets, and it picks up hairs off upholstery instantly.
We found it really easy to get under furniture and right into corners, and liked the long hose and crevice tool for harder-to-reach spots.
It felt really well-built and, as its name suggests, is energy efficient. It's more difficult to use on stairs and high areas.
Verdict: 11 best corded vacuum cleaners
The Dyson Big Ball Animal 2 stood out for us for households with four-legged friends. The Miele Complete C3 Powerline is also impressive – it’s also a cylinder machine, but unlike the Dyson, it is bagged.
For something completely different, the Karcher WD4 Premium Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner deserves a mention.
As the name suggests, it excels at picking up both wet and dry debris.
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