Things I wish I knew before buying a cordless vacuum cleaner

What you should know before investing in a new device

Image of Bissell vacuum on blue graphic background
(Image credit: Future)

When cleaning a home, there are few products which simplify things quite as much as using a good cordless vacuum cleaner. You have so much more flexibility, and they're equally as useful in a petite flat as they are a sprawling family home.

If you're hoping to to make use of the Black Friday cordless vacuum deals that are ongoing post the weekend rush, then make sure you pick the perfect product by finding out what you should be looking for.

What to know when buying a cordless vacuum cleaner

While all the best cordless vacuum cleaners have their pros and cons, there are a few tips that will help anyone work out if a model is right for them. Here's what we've learnt...

1. You should take the weight into consideration

Image of VAX Evolve vacuum

(Image credit: Vax)

Homeware products consistently come with the weight listed in the spec, and vacuums are one of the areas in which you should pay proper attention. 

Start by thinking about where you'll be using it. If you have a tall, terraced house you're going to want as light an option as possible, otherwise the ease of using a cordless vacuum cleaner will be - literally - outweighed by the effort of having to lug it up flights of stairs. Similarly, if you live in a flat or bungalow, then you can go for a heavier option.

Also think about who'll be using it, would everyone be able to carry the vacuum easily? 

2. Figure out what run time you'll need

Living room with vaccum cleaner women and sofa set with cushion

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dyson)

There's a lot of variation in the run time of cordless vacuum cleaners, from 15 minutes up to an hour. And often the price will reflect this.

A longer run time is aways tempting to plump for, but does your space really warrant this? I can vacuum the whole of my flat in about 10 minutes, longer if I've really gotten into the groove and decided to vacuum the sofa, the curtains and the mattresses. So as lovely as the longer run times are, they weren't worth paying extra for.

'Some models, like the Shark Stratos come with double battery packs (or can be bought separately) meaning you can be using one and having another charging,' says Ideal Home's Ecommerce Editor, Molly Cleary.

'This is my favourite way of doing it as it means you're never caught short and can get the place spic and span at a moment's notice.'

Molly Cleary
Molly Cleary

Our Ecommerce Writer Molly oversees vacuum and cleaning content at Ideal Home. She's tested out several Shark vacuums to review what the brand can bring to your home. She loves the Shark CZ500UKT DuoClean & Anti Hair Wrap Bagless Cylinder Pet Vacuum, which she used for two months before reviewing it. It is her essential vacuum for deep cleaning, and she thinks the intuitive controls are excellent for everyday use.

3. Work out how it can be stored

Shark cordless vacuum cleaner plugged into wall

(Image credit: Shark)

Like everything else you bring into your home, make sure you think think where your cordless vacuum cleaner is going to live when not in use. You'll quickly get annoyed if it's too large to tuck away neatly.

Some models, like most of the cordless Dysons, come with wall docks, meaning you can neatly lift up the vacuum and hang it on the wall to store and charge. However, if you rent then you might not be able to drill holes to hang from. In this case, something like the Beko Powerclean might be more up your street as it comes to with a dock that can be wall hung or stay freestanding.

Another option is to look for designs which can neatly fold up smaller to slot into short cupboards and awkward spaces. 

4. Pick an appropriate dust bin capacity

Dog lying on a barber style rug in a grey living room

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

Like with battery runtime, how big a dust bin you need will really vary dpeending on your home. Naturally, larger homes tend to need bigger bins so they don't have to be emtied during a vacuuming session. However, it's not just about size.

You'll want to look to larger capacity models if your home has a lot of carpets, as these tend to trap debris more than hard floors. Similarly, pet owners will find larger bins easier in order to keep on top of hair pickup. 

5. Keep your flooring types in mind

Image of Vax vacuum being used on a rug

(Image credit: Future/Helen McCue)

Floor type is key to keep in mind, even if you're not concerned about bin size. If your home has a lot of carpeted floors then look for models with rotating brush bars, which are designed for dealing with hair and dust tangled in the fibres.

However, some of these risk scratching hardwood floors, so check each model to make sure it's suitable for your floor type before purchasing.

Thea Babington-Stitt
Managing Editor

Thea Babington-Stitt is the Managing Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for around 10 years.

She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.