Best cordless vacuums to make light work of vacuuming

We've tested the latest cordless vacuum cleaners to see which felt like clever time-savers and which felt like too much of a faff to be worth using

Every piece of technology in the home is going wireless – why should vacuum cleaners be any different? Cut the cord and you save valuable time, as there’s no need to keep plugging in and unplugging.

The latest cordless vacs are light and manoeuvrable and make quick work of little clean-up jobs, much more convenient than dustpan and brush. Stick cleaners have a long reach that makes it easy to catch cobwebs and clean curtains. And some have enough cleaning power and battery life to serve as the only vacuum cleaner in smaller homes.

Shopping for home tech? Read more of our definitive buying guides

Why do I need a cordless vacuum cleaner?

Image credit: Black & Decker

Think of a cordless vacuum as a hi-tech replacement for dustpan and brush. Something you’ll use little and often. So power and convenience is good (we like charging stations, so they’re always ready to use.)

Battery life is probably less important but if your home is small, you could consider using a cordless as your main vacuum cleaner – in which case you’ll want it to last more than a few minutes.

What are the different types of a cordless vacuums?

  • Stick vacuum cleaners are handhelds that you add a wand to, to extend the reach – then add a brush head to clean floors or a smaller tool for cobwebs and other hard-to-reach spots. They’re fast, manoeuvrable and good for getting under furniture. But the weight is all in your hand, which can be tiring after a while. They often can’t stand up by themselves if you want to pause to move something.
  • 2-in-1 upright vacuum cleaners look more like traditional upright vacuum cleaners. The weight is fairly low down, but the middle section pops out and doubles as a handheld cleaner for small stuff. Often the upright’s handle also pops off and doubles as a wand, giving the handheld extra reach for high-up stuff like cobwebs.

Best cordless vacuums

1. Dyson V8 Absolute cordless vacuum cleaner – best for cleaning power

The V8 is expensive. It’s a cyclonic cordless stick cleaner that costs more than many of us would dream of spending on our main vacuum cleaner. But it promises double the suction of the competition, HEPA filtration and up to 40-minute battery life – where previous cordless Dysons lacked endurance.

We tested the top-of-the-range V8 Absolute (officially £520). It comes with two large floor heads: a brush bar for carpets and a big, fluffy roller for hard floors. It also comes with a small, powered brush bar and three detail tools. Filters are washable and a single catch releases the base to empty dirt.

Use it as a handheld or add the wand to clean floors or reach cobwebs. All the tools worked well but it was the hard floor roller that really impressed – it’s highly manoeuvrable, gentle on floors and very effective, even on high suction instead of max. High buys you 25 minutes with a motorised head, up to 40 without. With max mode you just get 7 minutes for a quick blitz.

The V8 is too top-heavy to stand up by itself but comes with a superb wall-mounted charging station with room to store two of the detail tools.

An outstanding, powerful cordless cleaner if money’s no object.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Dyson V8 Absolute cordless vacuum cleaner, £397, Amazon

2. Vax Blade 32V – best cordless vacuum for affordable power

We tested the 32V Blade with 45-minute battery life but Vax also offers a 24V version (35 minutes).

Its cyclonic stick design is reminiscent of Dyson handhelds, but the chamber is horizontal. Tip it to one side and press a button to empty. Twist the other side to remove the washable filter.

Handling is similar to the Dyson in terms of size, feel and excellent manoeuvrability. But it comes with just one big brush head and two detail tools (a brush and a crevice tool). Fewer tools then, less to store, but we miss the Dyson’s soft head for hard floors.

The trigger is under your thumb and you just press it once, you don’t have to hold it down. Lights indicate charge and there are two extra buttons: one turns boost mode off (the default is on, which increases suction but halves battery life), the other makes the brush bar spin (the default is off).

Cleaning is impressive. It could replace the main vacuum cleaner in a small home and is superb for stairs and quick clean-ups.

Again it’s too top-heavy to stand up on its own. It comes with a very simple wall bracket that doesn’t include the charger – you’ll have to plug it in each time.

An excellent, more affordable alternative to the Dyson but we miss the hard floor head and charging station.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Vax Blade 32V cordless vacuum cleaner, £169.99, Amazon

3. AEG CX7-45SR Animal Cordless 2-in-1 – best upright cordless vacuum

This sleek, 2-in-1 upright cordless vacuum looks good in pearlescent white. And it’s pleasing to use. At its heart is a pop-out handheld but the larger cleaner has two buttons on the handle, so you don’t need to reach down to turn it on or adjust between the two power levels. Battery life is up to 45 minutes. To assemble you need to do up one screw with a screwdriver or even a coin.

The floor head has a powered brush bar (you can’t turn it off and vacuum without the brush as an upright). And the brush bar boasts a neat feature: a button to chop off stuff like hair that gets tangled around the brushes.

As an upright, it’s manoeuvrable and we like the fact it stands up by itself. The weight is low down, so it’s not tiring to use. It comes with a charging base with discreet storage for its crevice tool with optional brush tip. It also comes with a mini brush bar great for cleaning the car and awkward spaces.

One button and it’s easy to eject the handheld cleaner from the middle. Use it by itself or with the mini brush bar for picking up pet hair from furniture, the car, etc. Opening its small dust bin is trickier though, you can’t just pop it open over the bin without touching like a cyclonic.

Very impressive usability for a 2-in-1 upright, good for quick clean-ups.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: AEG CX7-45SR Animal Cordless 2-in-1 vacuum cleaner, £228, Amazon

4. Morphy Richards Supervac Deluxe Cordless Vacuum Cleaner – best for awkward spaces

best-cordless-vacuums-morphy-richards-734050-hero

This bills itself as a “3-in-1” upright thanks to its unusual design. Like a 2-in-1, you can use it as an upright (with motorised brush bar floor head) or pop out the middle as a handheld. The third option is adding a separate wand to convert it into a stick-style cleaner.

This means there’s more to store because the charging base has to accommodate an extra wand. But because the upright’s handle doesn’t have to double as a wand, it’s free to do more. Much more. Controls at your fingertips are for power and brush bar (three different settings) and a clever “backsaver” button that folds the handle by 90 degrees – so the cleaner body can lay flat under furniture without you having to lean down.

Switch to the wand and you can either use the floor head again or one of its two detail tools (a crevice tool and an upholstery brush – there’s no storage for these, sadly). Both upright options can stand up by themselves.

It’s powerful (32V) and the 0.5-litre bin is easy to empty. We liked it best as an upright but found the wand handy for dusting and cobwebs. If you can’t decide between a stick and a 2-in-1, this could well be the cordless cleaner for you.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Morphy Richards Supervac Deluxe Cordless Vacuum Cleaner, £179, Amazon

5. Hoover Discovery Pets DS22PTGC – best affordable stick cordless vacuum

This 22V cyclonic cleaner has a similar stick design to the Dyson and Vax. The main difference at first glance is that it can stand up by itself. It’s top-heavy, so you wouldn’t leave it like that for ages, but it balances just well enough that you don’t have to lie it down or lean it against something every time you need to let go to shift a piece of furniture. This is surprisingly helpful.

This also makes storage and charging easier: there’s a simple wall bracket and separate charger, but you could just stand the Hoover in a cupboard without the bracket if it won’t get bumped. Another nice design touch is the option to trigger it with your index finger or flick a lever to keep it on constantly. One push of a button and the base of the dust container opens to empty it.

It comes with a floor head (with brush bar), a mini brush bar for removing pet hair, and two versatile tools: crevice tool and upholstery head, both with optional brushes. There’s nowhere to store them but at least four tools in two means less to store. We did find getting tools on and off stiff though.

Powerful enough for quick clean-ups, affordable and we like the versatile tools.

Ideal Home’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Hoover Discovery Pets DS22PTGC cordless vacuum cleaner, £139, Amazon

6. Black & Decker CUA525BHP 45Wh Multipower Pet – best cordless vacuum for versatile tools

This 2-in-1, 18V upright clearly wants to replace your corded vacuum cleaner. It’s large and boasts HEPA filtration and battery life of up to an hour. The floor head has a motorised brush bar designed for pet hair, with a sensor that detects floor type and adjusts suction accordingly.

It stands up by itself while not in use and comes with a charging stand (that takes up a fair amount of cupboard space). It comes with two tools and you can store one of them on the top of the handle. You can also add scent.
The handle is just a handle, with no controls. So, using it as an upright, you have to reach down to the middle to turn it on and adjust power.

The pop-out middle doubles as a handheld, cyclonic cleaner. This is a faff: you have to eject it and detach the hose, then add a tool and maybe also the wand (which was the handle) for extra reach. And then, with one hand holding the weight and the other holding the wand, the power button isn’t at your fingertips.

You also need to pop the middle section out before emptying the generous 1 litre bin or washing the filter.
It is not the zipperless experience you might hope for but it’s a pretty effective handheld. And it comes with a nylon belt, so you can wear it and pretend you’re in Ghostbusters.

Don’t buy it as a convertible, it’s too much faff. But if you want to replace your vacuum cleaner with a cordless model and occasionally use it as a handheld for spring cleaning, it’s a good choice.

Ideal Home’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Available soon: Black & Decker CUA525BHP 45Wh Multipower Pet cordless vacuum cleaner

7. Beko VRT6221P Self Drive – best cordless vacuum for tool storage

We immediately liked the Beko for one simple reason – its charging base offers storage for all three tools (crevice tool, ceiling brush and a slightly larger upholstery tool with brushes that pop off).

It’s an attractive, curvy 2-in-1 upright in silver and metallic green. The floor head features a motorised brush bar. The middle pops out to become a handheld very easily and then you can adapt it further by popping the upright’s handle off and adding it as a wand for a long reach.

Converting is simple but, weirdly, you leave part of the vacuum cleaner behind. The Beko features a three-stage cyclone for extra efficiency and one of the chambers stays on the body of the cleaner. So there are two bins to empty. The one on the body is just a cup that twists off easily. The one in the handheld is a bit more of a faff: you have to eject it and pull out the washable filters to get to it.

The Beko’s unusual selling point is its “self drive”: the upright cleaner very gently propels itself forward. On a really smooth hard floor, you can stand it up by itself and it moves forward very slowly. More often, the machine doesn’t pull itself along but it does make it lighter work to use.
Battery life is 25 minutes, which isn’t huge, but we like the fact that it docks well on its charging base.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Beko VRT6221P Self Drive cordless vacuum cleaner, £99, Amazon

How much should I spend on a cordless vacuum?

Cheap-Dyson-V6-handstick-cleaner

Image credit: Dyson

Budget around £150 for a good-quality cordless with decent cleaning power. But you can spend more than three times as much on premium models. More money can buy you powerful suction, longer battery life or better tools.

What other key questions do I need to ask about cordless vacuums?

This probably isn’t your main vacuum cleaner, but if you have allergies it is worth getting a cordless vacuum with a HEPA filter. This removes tiny particles from the air, putting a stop to coughs, sneezes and breathing issues.

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