13 best cordless vacuum cleaners for hassle-free hoovering

Kate Hilpern
·18-min read
We tested these machines multiple times across all floor types – carpet, laminate and floorboards (The Independent)
We tested these machines multiple times across all floor types – carpet, laminate and floorboards (The Independent)

The engineering behind cordless vacuum cleaners means that growing numbers of people don’t even bother with the plug-in kind anymore.

We’ve rarely come across a home cleaning product that has moved so fast in terms of technology.

Probably the biggest factor to consider is whether you want a machine for just floors, or a handheld unit too.

Always check the battery life and running time too – both vary significantly. And don’t just take the manufacturer’s word for it – check our reviews as we’ve been horrified at some wildly exaggerated claims.

Check the machine excels on the type of floor type you have – some breeze over carpets but leave behind dust bunnies on hard floors, or vice versa. For other features to consider, see our FAQs.

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We’ve taken all these factors (including in the FAQs) into consideration when testing vacuum cleaners, which we’ve done multiple times across all floor types – carpet, laminate and floorboards with different size debris to put these machines through their paces.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Dyson V11 absolute

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Capacity: 0.76l
Charging time: 4.5 hours
Running time per charge: 60 minutes (12 minutes on turbo)
Weight: 3.05kg
Dimensions: 128.6cm x 26.1cm x 25cm
Variable power? Eco, auto and boost

We deliberate long and hard when choosing which product should get the prestigious Best Buy status, but there was zero wavering in this case. Dyson’s ergonomic V11 is mind blowingly good and has seriously raised the bar in the world of cordless vacs. It effortlessly sucks up debris of all sizes (from fine dust to spilt cereal) on all floor types (with no need to change heads) and the filters mean it’s particularly wowsers for allergy sufferers.

The basics are good too – we got a full hour on the minimum setting, which is longer than most machines, and nearly a quarter-of-an-hour on turbo, then you’re ready to go again in four-and-a-half hours after charging. It’s a doddle to empty and it looks hi-tech, with the fancy LCD display telling you everything from how much time you’ve got left on your current charge right through to troubleshooting alerts about blockages or when the filter need cleaning. Flaws? None.

Buy now £599.00, Dyson

Tineco A11 hero

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Capacity: 0.6l
Charging time: 4 hours
Running time per charge: 40 minutes (20 minutes on turbo)
Weight: 2.5kg
Dimensions: 110cm x 26.5cm x 21.4cm
Variable power? Regular and max

This is an updated version of the A10 and it is heaps better, not least because it has much better suction, the battery lasts longer, it has the capacity to collect more dust and you can mount it on the wall.

We were really impressed by the thorough, deep clean it provided – and that goes for both power modes. We’d even recommend it for larger homes, both because the minimum setting has noticeably more oomph than with most other machines in this price bracket and because you get two batteries included, essentially doubling your run time. We like the LED headlights and comfy handle, as well as the fact that the suction is just as good even when the dust cannister is nearly full. But the dust filter could be better – so perhaps not the best machine for people with allergies. And there are better machines for reaching right to the edge of walls.

Buy now £279.00, Amazon

Vax onepwr blade 4

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Capacity: 0.6l
Charging time: 3 hours
Running time per charge: 45 minutes (9 minutes on turbo)
Weight: 3kg
Dimensions: 114cm x 24cm x 18.5cm
​Variable power? Standard and turbo

Say goodbye to drawers full of different chargers for different gizmos, thanks to Vax’s new product range that shares the same battery type – hard floor cleaner and combined carpet and upholstery cleaner among them. But how does it perform? Well, on boost mode, we thought it was exceptional, although with the battery lasting only nine minutes, you’ll be more likely to opt for the standard setting which gets you round the whole house. Even then, it’s impressive on all floor types.

Pet owners will like the motorised floor head that leaves no animal hair in its wake, while for floors that might scratch you can just turn the motorised brush off for extra protection. The headlights give you a full view under furniture and the detachable handheld unit does a great job on upholstery, although is slightly cumbersome to use. Other machines have better filtration systems for allergy sufferers and be warned you only get the extra accessories kit thrown in free if you buy it straight from Vax.

Buy now £219.99, Argos

Shark anti hair wrap with flexology IZ251UKTC

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Capacity: 0.7l
Charging time: 3.5 hours
Running time per charge: Up to 80 minutes (34 minutes on highest setting)
Weight: 4.1kg
Dimensions: H: 118 x W:26 x D: 24.5cm
Variable power? Three levels

Part of the Shark flexology range, this has superb manoeuvrability on its side. It’s all down to a section of flexible tubing that forms part of the cleaning tube – you lock it into place for floor cleaning or into flex mode to reach right under the likes of sofas and beds. There’s a third benefit: you can fold the vac in half, which makes it storable in an upright position without a wall mount. Even some of the most expensive machines don’t allow you to do this.

The anti-hair wrap floor head will save you untangling time and it has a good filter. The run time is great, even on the highest setting, and there is good dust capacity. The LED lights are handy, and it comes with two batteries and a dual charging dock so both can be fully charged ready for longer usage. You get all the usual accessories, plus a mini pet hair tool. But while it’s great for pet owners and hard floors, we didn’t find it quite as good on carpets.

Buy now £379.00, Currys

Bosch BCS612GB series 6 unlimited prohome

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Capacity: 0.9l
Charging time: 4 hours
Running time per charge: 30 minutes (8 minutes on turbo)
Weight: 2.3kg
Dimensions: 122cm x 26.5cm x 20cm
Variable power? Standard and turbo

Top marks for manoeuvrability with this modern, minimalistic black and white stick vacuum – it’s an absolute breeze to move around. The controls are as user friendly as they come and it’s much quicker and easier to switch floorheads than with many other machines. It’s also very easy to empty.

You’ll have no trouble spotting the “before and after” difference on hard and laminate floors – the suction works a treat. This one is one of the quietest machines we tested, so you won’t have to wake up your family or flat mates if you’re clearing up after a late-night party or are prone to early morning vacuuming. And it’s got all the gear, including nozzles for upholstery and mattress although we didn’t rate the crevice nozzle – other vacs do better on tight corners. It comes with two battery packs, which doubles your run time and can be used with other machines in the range. But it’s pretty average when it comes to carpets.

Buy now £329.00, John Lewis & Partners

Halo capsule vacuum

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Capacity: 1.6l
Charging time: 4 hours
Running time per charge: 60 minutes (9 minutes on turbo)
Weight: 2.6kg
Dimensions: 124cm x 13cm x 14cm
Variable power? Eco, performance and boost

The first thing that won us over with this one was the huge capacity. It collects a whopping 1.6l of dust and dirt and alerts you when it needs emptying – a good job as you probably wouldn’t notice otherwise, due to the high performance even when it’s nearly full. Unusually, it’s a bagged machine, but fear not about extra costs as it comes with no less than 52 spare compostable bags.

There are three settings – eco (best for hard floors), performance (best for carpets), and boost (for more entrenched dirt). All have serious oomph and hold on tight to those fine dust particles – good news for allergy sufferers. Other plus points are the indicator will tell you how much time you have left and the sheer ease of use, with all the tools – combination floorhead, dusting brush, and crevice tool – working beautifully. It’s on the noisy side, though, and it took us a fair bit longer to charge than the manufacturer’s three hours claim.

Buy now £249.99, Capsule

Miele triflex HX1 cat and dog

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Capacity: 0.5l
Charging time: 4 hours
Running time per charge: 35 minutes (17 minutes on turbo)
Weight: 4kg
Dimensions: 129.7cm x 26cm x 28cm
Variable power? Three power settings

This is the Range Rover of cordless vacs. It’s top dollar, but top end, powerful, a joy to use and feels fantastically well engineered. Believe it or not, there’s an even pricier model – the pure HX1 pro. The difference with this one is that it has one battery, not two, it looks slightly different and it has a mini turbo for pet hair and a hepa filter for pet pongs.

Despite Miele being a latecomer to the cordless vac market, it excels in all areas, including sucking up dust from the tightest corners and between floorboards, and it doesn’t fall short on any type of floor surface. Controls and handling are well thought out and pet owners and allergy sufferers will be suitable wowed. The LED headlights on the brush head are handy and 17 minutes on the turbo setting is very impressive. It can be used as an upright, stick, or handheld vac, although be warned the handheld unit is quite heavy. Be warned that we found the running time on the lowest setting is half what Miele claims it is.

Buy now £579.99, John Lewis & Partners

Dyson V7 absolute

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Capacity: 0.54l
Charging time: 3.5 hours
Running time per charge: 30 minutes (6 minutes on turbo)
Weight: 2.2kg
Dimensions: 124.3cm x 25cm x 21cm
Variable power? Powerful and max

If you love Dyson, but the V11 is too expensive, check out its entry-level cordless vac which – at half the price – is its cheapest on the market and still manages to knock the socks off many of its competitors in terms of getting a deeper clean in quicker time. Newly designed for 2020, with an improved filtration system and tool to help it stretch even further under deep sofas, we think it’s a great all-rounder – for carpets, laminate, and hardwood, as well as upholstery.

It sweeps up hair from four-legged friends in no time and the filtration system is terrific. We also like the improved bin emptying system and it’s great for getting right to the edge of walls. On the downside, it left behind some larger debris and in turbo mode, the battery only lasts six minutes. As with the V11, you have to keep the button held down while in use, which some people don’t like, but it didn’t bother us.

Buy now £299.00, Dyson

Gtech airram MK2

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Capacity: 1.6l
Charging time: 4 hours
Running time per charge: 35 minutes
Weight: 3.2kg
Dimensions: 34cm x 43cm x 20cm
Variable power? No

Another cordless stick machine from a reliable brand, this one offers exceptional performance on hard floors – which is interestingly where cordless machines often fall short. It’s reasonable enough on carpets too, with no need to switch modes between the two. The headlights ensure you don’t miss a spot.

The stand-out filter will be music to the ears of allergy sufferers and with a running time of 35 minutes (manufacturer says 40, but we didn’t get quite that long), there’s plenty of time to get your home clean. It’s lovely and comfortable to hold, even for long periods, and you can empty the cannister and store it away in a jiffy – helped by the handy dirt-ejection feature. Be aware that it doesn’t have a detachable handheld cleaner, so can only be used on floors. Should you be looking for a hoover that eliminates pet hair, other machines do fair a little better.

Buy now £183.75, Amazon

Samsung 90 jet pro

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Capacity: 0.6l
Charging time: 3.5 hours
Running time per charge: 45 minutes (10 minutes on turbo)
Weight: 2.8kg
Dimensions: 112.5cm x 28cm x 19cm
Variable power? Eco, performance and boost

At this price, we expected a lot – and we got it. The biggest stand out point is the spinning sweeper attachment which means you not only can vacuum your floors but mop them too. You can even choose between disposable wet cloths or reusable micro-fibre mop pads. Other bells and whistles include two floorheads, an extendable cleaning tube to cater for people of different heights, freestanding charging stand, washable dust container, and an ultra-fine dust filter to cater for allergy sufferers.

It cleans like a dream, including in homes with pets, and moves over floors of all types like butter, either as a vac or mop. There’s a digital display that shows what setting you’re on: minimum, medium, turbo, or mopping – as well as a battery indicator and any alerts. The attachments are good too. In short, this is a dazzler of a machine, and although it could be easier to empty, for an extra £200 you can get a clean station to eliminate the issue.

Buy now £499.00, AO.com

Henry HVB160 cordless cylinder vacuum cleaner

Bagged or bagless? Bagged
Capacity: 6l
Charging time: 3.5 hours
Running time per charge: 30 mins (20 minutes on boost)
Weight: 6.4kg
Dimensions: 32cm x 34cm x 32cm
Variable power? Standard and boost modes

The Henry is one of the most well-known vacs around and the fact that it’s a top choice for builders gives you an idea about its suction power. While the cordless version didn’t wow us quite as much as it's corded contemporary, it still packs a punch both on carpets and hard floors both for fine dust and bigger fragments. Although we don't recommend it if you have any four-legged friends in the home as it failed our pet hair tests.

The filter is outstanding, so allergy sufferers will love it – as will those who prefer machines with a bigger dust capacity, made possible by it being a bagged machine. There are plenty of options – one or two batteries included, and with or without crevice or hard tool or extra bags, making it nice and versatile. We tried the two batteries model, which gave us a double bubble in terms of running time, and it included 10 bags. It’s heavy, but as it’s a cylinder machine that didn’t bother us.

Buy now £188.26, Amazon

Bissell icon 25v cordless vacuum

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Capacity: 0.4l
Charging time: 4 hours
Running time per charge: 50 minutes (30 minutes in medium mode and 17 minutes high mode)
Weight: 3.18kg
Dimensions: 112.39cm H x 27.94cm W x 19.68cm D
Variable power? Three levels

If you’re a pet owner, this should definitely make your shortlist as it had no trouble sucking up even stubborn pet hair that got entrenched into carpets and gathered in corners and edges of hard floors. We found it consistently hard working on all floor surfaces, and it angles right down flat to reach under the likes of big beds with narrow gaps underneath, while the handheld unit makes short work of the stairs.

It sucks up smaller particles first time round, but you might need to go over the same spot twice for larger debris like bits of rice or hardened lumps of mud off the kids’ shoes. It’s easy to set up and the LED illumination works both on the crevice tool and floor head. We also like the tangle-free brush roll and wall mount. Other machines scored higher, though, when it comes to manoeuvrability, although it wasn’t a deal breaker.

Buy now £349.99, Lakeland

Dyson V11 outsize

Bagged or bagless? Bagless

Capacity: 1.9l

Charging time: 4.5 hours

Running time per charge: 60 minutes in Eco mode

Weight: 3.5kg

Dimensions: 127cm x 32cm x 30cm

Variable power? Eco, auto and boost

We love the V11, but the Outsize is even better for family sized homes that build up lots of dust and dirt. There are two main differences. The cleaning head is 25 per cent larger which – especially when coupled with the 20 per cent greater suction – means significantly speedier vacuuming time. Then there’s the bin, which, at 1.9l capacity, can hold one-and-a-half times more dirt than the standard V11. Even in a large home, that means minimal emptying – less than once a week for an average household.

We whizzed round the rooms of our house, loving the fact that we didn’t need to bother with plug sockets and most of all, that the floors left behind were pristine. And we still had time to make a cuppa in the time it would have taken me with the V11 Absolute. On the downside, it weighs more, although it’s more noticeable in handheld mode than when using it as a normal vac.

Buy now £649.99, Dyson

Cordless vacuum cleaner FAQs

Are cordless vacuums powerful enough?

This is a fast changing industry – the cordless vacs coming out now are far more advanced than those launched even just a few years ago.

Before, batteries lasted 20 minutes if you were lucky. Now, some vacs can run for over an hour, although note that the turbo/boost button on many models will reduce this significantly. Some brands also tend to exaggerate run times in their marketing, so read reviews before you buy. Newer machines are more intelligent too, with some automatically adapting to the type of surface you are cleaning. Many also have advanced LCD screen displays.

They are also becoming increasingly lightweight, and in some cases more powerful, with significantly more suction power. In fact, the best ones now give just as deep a clean as their corded counterparts, with some models suitable for all floor types (and many come with pet attachments).

Dyson has so much faith in the cordless vac market that it has stopped developing new technology for corded models (although they are still producing them) to focus on cordless machines.

Tanks or bags?

Bagged vacuum cleaners usually have a greater capacity for storing dust and dirt, so you have to empty them less often. But new bags cost extra and it can be a messy job.

Bagless machines collect debris in a canister, which you empty, so, no need to buy replacement bags and, with some machines, it’s a very quick and simple job.

How often do you need to charge them?

Cordless vacs use rechargeable batteries, which need to be charged when the battery runs low. Run times vary between 15-20 minutes to an hour, with an average charge time of four hours (although many are a lot quicker). If the machine has a turbo button, the battery will run lower more quickly, but the best machines work so hard on this mode that you may find this seemingly short run time is actually enough to clean your home.

Note that machines with lithium batteries tend to have a longer run time and charge up more quickly. Some machines even come with a pair of batteries so you can swap them over for a longer run time. But even machines with a shorter running time and/or those that only come with a single battery can be useful for quick jobs like cleaning small spaces or regular tasks like tackling crumbs after a meal.

Benefits vs corded

Corded vacs tend to be smaller, lighter and more manoeuvrable than their corded counterparts. This makes them easier to use, carry and store and better for jobs such as stairs or cleaning the car.

The verdict: Cordless vacuums

It’s not always the case that you get what you pay for, but in the world of cordless vacuums it does seem that the more expensive machines are by far the best. The Dyson V11 is the mother of all cordless vacs, in our opinion (and the Dyson V11 Outsize if you have a big home). If your purse strings don’t stretch that far, we doubt you’ll be disappointed with the Tineco A11 hero.

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