9 best cordless vacuum cleaners
Clean ceilings, corners and cars easily with a model free from pesky cables
Dyson believes cordless vacuum cleaners are the future and that, in the not-too-distant future, cordless versions will be seen as archaic. We’ve certainly been blown away by how good some of today’s cordless machines are, compared to even just five years ago. The run and charge time, the suction power, the manoeuvrability and the weight have all improved. With some machines, we’d go so far as to say you could get away with using it as your one and only vacuum cleaner, even if you live in a large house.
There are so many benefits to going cordless. You don’t have to bend down and plug your machine in, then out again, every time you move to a different room. They’re easier to use on stairs and in cars than traditional corded machines, and they tend to be lighter too.
There are several types to choose from. There’s the standard cordless vacuum, which may or may not have an extendable hose with nozzle or attachments that can get into tricky-to-reach places. Then, there’s the two-in-one machine that has a detachable handheld section to reach small spaces. Finally, there are handheld machines, which don’t tend to have as much oomph but are useful for cleaning places like the inside of your car.
When buying your cordless vacuum cleaner, check the battery life as this can vary dramatically, with some giving you less than 10 minutes of vacuuming, while others provide over an hour. (Word of warning: the battery life claimed by the manufacturer is often exaggerated and it will also be dramatically different on minimum power vs turbo boost). Charging time in the dock can be equally variable – some are ready on full charge within a few hours, while others take over 15 hours.
Check your vacuum cleaner comes with all the bits and pieces you need for cleaning anything from walls to upholstery – if you want those features - and think about whether you want the charging station to be wall mounted. And don’t forget to look at the capacity, especially if you don’t want to be emptying it too often, as well as whether it’s bagged or bagless.
Dyson Cyclone V10: £449.99, John Lewis
This is Dyson’s latest cordless vacuum cleaner and the one they boldly claim will bring an end to the need for corded vacuum cleaners ever again. ‘We genuinely believe that cord-free is the future,’ they told us. ‘The technology is now rivalling full-size machines in suction power and are by far more convenient and versatile.’
And actually, it’s not all talk – this is a seriously impressive, albeit expensive, machine that gives a professional level clean on both carpet and hard floors, with a run-time of around 45 minutes – easily enough to give even large homes a once-over.
And although you only get around 10 minutes on turbo mode, you’d need a very messy home to require that level of oomph – and it only takes three-and-a-half hours to fully recharge. It’s lightweight, easy to push and empty – and we also like the sensors that tell you when to clean your filters and if there’s a blockage.
Vax Blade 32V Cordless Vacuum Cleaner: £159, Amazon
Whether you’ve got short or long pile carpets, laminate or hard wooden floors, you won’t regret buying this powerful machine, which lasts for 45 minutes on standard setting and around 20 in turbo mode.
For just over two hundred quid, you get a stand-up machine plus a handheld one that pops out for tackling anything from hard-to-reach corners right through to the interior of your car.
We were about to add countertops in the list, but actually the stretch hose means you can do that with the machine in stand-up mode just as easily. But very fine dust and allergens are not its forte, so forget it if you’re an allergy sufferer. It takes four hours to charge.
Morphy Richards Supervac Deluxe 734050: £159, Amazon
This whizzy machine is a good-value option. It’s not up there with the Dyson V10 – nowhere near, actually - but it’s still does a good job all floor types and if you use it long enough, it does get up even fine dust.
The different modes you can use it in means it easily reaches under furniture and in tight spaces, as well as on walls and even ceilings.
It will give you just over half-an-hour’s worth of cleaning but if you need full power – which we found far better for suction - you will have to race round your home as you only get 15 minutes.
Be warned you might have to clean out the rotating brush more often than with other machines, especially if you have pets, and the handheld mode feels heavier than with some other machines. Recharging time is five hours.
Bosch Athlet Ultimate Cordless Vacuum Cleaner BCH732KTGB: £299.99, Currys
This stick vacuum cleaner does an incredible job on hard floors, as well as on upholstery and carpets, and it’s great on stairs too, eradicating dirt, debris and pet hair both easily and quickly.
It’s got a great filter for allergy sufferers and you don’t have to empty the dust canister as often as other machines.
But it’s loud, quite heavy and switching it over to use the detachable unit takes time, so it shouldn’t be your first choice if you want a machine for inside cars or if you have lots of tricky-to-reach nooks and crannies to clean in your home.
Impressively, the battery lasts for over an hour (although just 15 minutes on full power and/or on carpets) and charging time is six hours.
Dyson V7 Total Clean: £319.99, Dyson
If you want a small and lightweight machine with striking suction power, and you’re prepared to pay for it, this is outstanding.
You get half-an-hour’s action out of it in one go, with no fading towards the end, and although that drops to 20 minutes if you use it on the highest power setting, we found the minimum setting was powerful enough even after a children’s tea party.
Plus, it is quicker than other machines to fully charge at just two-and-a-half hours.
It glides across all floor types (although you do need to change heads when going from carpet to hard floor) and the filtering system means it collects up the finest of dust – a boon for anyone with allergies.
The accessories mean there’s no corner of your home that you can’t reach and the dust ejector pushes the dirt out of the dust container, so it’s a doddle to empty.
GTech Pro Cordless Bagged Vacuum Cleaner: £189.99, Amazon
This is a bagged machine, which some people claim is better for those with allergies as there’s no chance of the dust escaping once it’s gone in the machine.
And with the sealable bags holding 1.3 litres, it’s not as if you’ll have to change them that much – and they only cost £1 a bag when you do.
Other things to love about this machine are the LED lights (great for darker areas of your home) and the hand-held mode, which is quick and easy to access, while the tools make it good for cleaning everything from upholstery to car interiors.
But it’s far superior on hard floors compared to carpets, especially when it comes to finer particles, and it’s quite loud and cumbersome. Plus – and this surprised us – it won’t stand up on its own, which can make it a pain to store.
You get around 40 minutes run time, and it takes four hours to charge.
Bosch BCS122GB Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner: £499.99, John Lewis
This is even more pricey than the expensive Bosch Athlet. In fact, it will set you back as much as the Dyson V10.
But we’re including it here because it’s such a sheer joy to use. The handheld stick skates across all floor types, drawing in everything in its wake, and unlike the Athlet there’s a handheld cleaning mode that we found equally efficient.
The interchangeable batteries mean you can use them in any other Bosch power tool and they charge quickly too.
It’s probably not for you if your have a longer pile carpets or rugs – that was its one weakness when it comes to cleaning – and it’s not as quite easy to empty to others, but the latter shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
Black + Decker Lithium Flexi Vac with Pet Hair Removal Tool: £72.17, Amazon
A godsend for cleaning cars, this handheld machine gets rid of everything from entrenched pet hairs to daily dirt and pongs – and it comes in at a great price, too.
The flexi-hose means you can easily reach tricky angles, including under the seats, and you can use it within the home for anything from cleaning curtains to getting under sofas and beds.
The battery runs out after 15 minutes though and it takes four hours to charge, so it’s not the best option if you plan to do the whole house in one go. It’s also noisy. A long and short crevice tool and soft brush are included too.
Numatic New Henry HVB160 Cordless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner: £159.99, Amazon
The original Henry is iconic, and good news for fans is that the new cordless version works as well on all floor types as its corded counterpart, and also has a great filter for allergy sufferers.
Also like the original, it picks up finer specs through to bigger fragments, and because it’s bagged, you rarely have to empty it (although it’s simple to change the bag anyway).
But pet hair poses a challenge, even on the higher of the two speed settings, and at 8.5kg it’s seriously heavy – although, to be fair, that matters less as it’s a cylinder machine.
When this machine was originally launched, it came with two batteries, which bumped the price up, but now there’s this cheaper single-battery version available. You get a running time of about half-an-hour and it takes three-and-a-half hours to recharge.
Verdict: cordless vacuum cleaners
The Dyson Cyclone V10 is as good as a professional carpet cleaner and while some vacuum cleaners excel on either hard floors or carpets, this does a grand job on both.
Dyson claims this is the machine marks the beginning of the end to the need for corded vacuum cleaners and when you try this machine, you do wonder why you’d ever go back to the faff of plugging in.
But it comes at a cost – this machine is definitely not cheap.
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