The best cordless vacuum cleaner is, for most peoples' purposes, now the best vac full-stop. They are bigger sellers than the corded ones and that's because people have realised the convenience and versatility of the best cordless vacs now outweighs worries about battery life. I've been using cordless vacs since the earliest Dyson efforts and I know that their cleaning power has really shot up in recent years. That has also naturally tended to make them bulkier but you can't have everything, and they are usually still lighter than practically all corded vacs.
So long as your home is a not a sprawling pile, lined throughout with deep pile carpet, the best cordless vacuums will not let you down in terms of battery life or suction. You can waft them about with such ease, without being hindered by the wire spooling out from the back of a bulky traditional vac.
There is a lot of choice out there, too. You can still go for one of the best Dyson cordless vacuum cleaners – try our guide to the best Dyson deals if you seek a bargain – but there are numerous rivals for the title of best cordless vac. While many of these are Dyson-style stick vacs, there are also cordless models that take a different approach, such as the more upright-style Gtech AirRam Platinum and Lupe Pure.
If you want something with a cable attached, try our guide to the best vacuum cleaners, as that's got a bit of everything. But if you really can’t be bothered to ‘hoover’ the floors yourself, why not just get a best robot vac to do it for you?
Best cordless vacuum cleaners ranking 2023
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Dyson has refined its cordless vacuum formula yet again, and this is the T3 Award 2021 winning result. Cleaning power has been improved across all surfaces but the real headline improvement is the addition – finally – of a headlight. But in true Dyson fashion, it's no ordinary headlight. It's a laser mounted at an angle on the front of the hard-floor head and it reveals a borderline horrific amount of dirt and dust.
There's another excellent cleaning head for doing your carpets, although this 'High Torque' head does not contain a laser. Among the various smaller heads the pick is a powered one for doing upholstery that is almost totally resistant to getting tangled in long pet or human hairs.
Dyson really has thought of everything with this vacuum cleaner. It's the complete package, the best cordless vacuum cleaner in town, has now won a T3 Award two years running.
Read our full Dyson V15 Detect review
It’s pure white, it stands up on its own and it vacuums like a trooper – the new Gtech AirRAM Platinum is available to buy right now so if you find cordless stick vacs a bit ungainly and you simply can’t take their weight in the hand for more than a few minutes at a time, the AirRAM Platinum is the vac for you.
This new model has some additional tech in the form of ‘Anti Hair Wrap Technology and innovative Forward Inertia Drive’, otherwise it’s very similar to the Gtech AirRAM Mk2 K9, only in a gorgeous white livery.
If you’ve never used one of these upright vacs before, you’ll be amazed at how well it performs on all types of flooring, even deep pile carpet. It’s a brilliant model for pet owners, too, because all the hair that’s collected is quite literally rammed into its transparent 0.8-litre bin which is then emptied with a quick slide of a lever, leaving nothing behind. If you’re fed up with sticking fingers in a vac bin to pull out clumps of hair, this model will impress you a lot.
Of course, the really good thing about a cordless vac of this nature is that all the weight of the motor and bin is on the floor so all you need to do is a bit of push and pull. It also stands up on its own and can even collapse to half its height for easy storage. It has great battery stamina, too – 60 minutes on a full charge.
The Gtech AirRAM Platinum doesn’t come with any tools, though you can use the supplied short handle to turn it into a stumpy version for cleaning the sofa or stairs. But when it comes to convenience and quick vacs around the home, it’s one of the best cordless models on the market.
Read our full Gtech AirRam Platinum review.
Shark enjoys a significant presence in the vacuuming arena which is of no surprise given the general effectiveness of its products and the great prices. This new, very well engineered pet-specific model comes with a tranche of clever design flourishes, including automatic dust sensing, anti-odour technology and a folding main tube that allows the cleaning head to reach deep under beds, sofas, chairs and cupboards while making it easier to store under the stairs.
If you’re concerned about battery consumption then the good news is that this model comes with two, plus a charging station that accommodates both batteries at the same time. Shark states a combined running time of 120 minutes though that is measured in ‘Eco’ mode. It consumes far more juice when in ‘Boost’ mode so you may not get much past 20 minutes. On the plus side, this model features Clean Sense IQ which monitors the amount of dust moving passed its sensors, automatically ramping up or lowering the power accordingly.
Practically all cordless vacs of this nature site the motor housing and dust collector near the top just below the handle, and this of course adds extra weight on the wrist and forearm. This model is no different, but in its favour it does feel fairly light in the hand despite its bulkiness. The anti-allergen dust collector, meanwhile, is of reasonable size (0.7-litres) and super easy to empty without creating too much dust in the process.
One of the main selling points of this model and others in the Shark range is that it comes with Anti Hair Wrap tech that uses a series of prongs to prevent long hair and threads from wrapping around the cleaning roller; it works extremely well. And speaking of rollers, this one comes with two – a front mounted smooth nylon head for catching larger detritus and a combined rubber/brush roller behind it for deep cleaning on carpets.
The Shark Stratos defaults to the Clean Sense IQ when you turn it on and this is the setting you’ll likely use most since it adjusts suction power depending on the amount dust and dirt the sensors detect. The other two settings are ‘Eco’ which is ideal for lightly soiled hard floors and ‘Boost’ for carpets. This writer has two dogs and three cats and the ravenous Shark collected a remarkable amount of hair and other stuff I didn’t recognise after just a few sweeps. The steerable head – replete with LED headlights – was easy to manoeuvre, too, and surprisingly light to push around.
As is the case with all cordless vacs, the Shark comes with an assortment of tool attachments – motorised pet tool plus crevice and multi-surface tools and an accessory bag to hold them all – for detailed cleaning of stairs, pet beds, shelves and car interiors.
If you’re in the market for a very impressively specced, well designed and surprisingly quiet pet-specific cordless vac that truly sucks in the real sense of the word, then make a beeline for this efficient contender.
Vax’s brand new flagship cordless stick vac is a cut or two above its lower-priced sibling, the Blade 4. First, it comes with a wider and much deeper brush bar replete with tandem rollers – a soft towelling roller at the front for picking up larger debris and a stiff bristle one just behind it for collecting dust and pet hair. Vax calls it VersaClean Technology and this writer can vouch that its performance on both hard floors and carpet is outstanding. The addition of LED headlights makes it handy for vacuuming in dark areas of the home.
Unlike the Blade 4, the eco-packaged Blade 5 features dedicated buttons for hard floors and carpet and a new user interface comprising a small but bright LED monitor that tells you which mode you’re in and how much battery is available in minutes (the Blade 4 uses a less accurate bar system). Like the Blade 4 it also comes with a boost button that naturally draws quite a bit more power from the ONEPWR battery. Nevertheless, because this model comes with two 45-minute batteries, you should easily get about 90 minutes of use out of it, and that’s a massive benefit for anyone with a lot of rooms. Although the 0.7-litre dust bin is easy to eject for emptying, putting it back on again is a mite too fiddly if I’m honest.
You can also use this model as a handheld and in that respect it comes with all the tools you’ll ever need, including a Mini Motorised Pet Tool that is brilliant for cleaning dog hair off sofas, a 2-in-1 crevice tool with dusting brush attached and a handy tech tool with long, soft bristles for cleaning computer keyboards, the car’s dashboard area and around TV and Hi-Fi connections. It also ships with a 1.5-metre hose extension for getting the tools in tight places. True, at one kilo more than the Blade 4, the 5 does feel quite heavy when used as a handheld but you really won’t notice any extra weight when using it in stick configuration.
What you may notice is that your floors are suddenly much cleaner than they were before, and that’s testament to the Blade 5’s awesome suction, the better designed brush head and the vac’s ability to steer around furniture like a dodgem.
The Henry Quick brings dust-free bin emptying to the table by dint of its clever disposable pod system. Simply load a pod – or dust bag as it is more commonly known – do your vacuuming and when it’s full, press the latch and, voila, the entire one-litre bag drops into the bin. No dust, no faffing about with your fingers to extricate pet hair, just simple, efficient emptying with zero dust in the air. The unit comes with 26 spare pods.
In the pantheon of cordless stick vacs, the Henry Quick is an extremely efficient vac for both hard floors and carpet. It’s also a doddle to use since it only has three buttons – on/off, a brush roller activation button and boost for extra dirty floors. However, we did struggle to remove the main brush head from the suction tube because of its extraordinarily tight fit.
At around £300, this is a great-value option, especially if you suffer from dust allergies. Yes, its robust plastics look a bit cheap when compared to, say, a Dyson, Vax or Shark but given Henry’s excellent reliability record – at least with the pull-along electric versions – we think this one should last quite a few years.
Read our full Henry Quick review
This cordless model from Vax – also available as a Pet-specific model – is a lot cheaper than its new stable mate, the Blade 5 we review above. That’s because it has a smaller brush bar and not as much fancy tech. Nevertheless, despite the racket it makes, there is remarkably little to tell between the Blade 4 and, say, the Dyson V11 when it comes to cleaning power. The Blade 4’s antimicrobial brush bar is just 22cm in width so it will require a few more sweeps per session, but it picks up pet hair and everything else in between exceptionally well. If things get really hairy – like the dog bed, sofa or car seats – with this model you have an extra motorised pet tool to hand that genuinely makes an impression, removing pretty much all signs of canine life.
However, this model is less fun to use as a handheld – it feels cumbersome and not as well balanced as a Dyson. On the plus side, the 0.6-litre dust collector is of above average size for a cordless stick and the three-stage filtration system does a grand job of keeping dust and musty carpet smells to a minimum.
It's hard to declare a precise battery life for cordless vacs because of the varying real-world ways they get used, but the Blade 4 generally seems to last as long if not longer than the Dyson V11 in both Max Power and standard modes. That's particularly impressive given that, unlike any Dyson to date, the Blade 4 incorporates an LED headlight, which activates alongside the revolving brush bar and really helps with cleaning in dimly lit areas.
All in all, the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 comes very highly recommended.
Read our full Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 review
ROIDMI swaggers into the cordless fray with a very decent new stick contender that’s very efficient and comfortable in the hand. Let’s start with the rounded lightweight handle. Where most cordless vac handles are quite angular and not especially comfortable in the hand, this one has a smooth, curvy profile that allows it to be held in different positions and vacuum the floor using a light-handed back-and-forth pendulum motion. It even has a slim finger-grip spacer on the handle for extra control.
Along with the ultra comfy handle and overall lightness (just 2.7kgs), the X300 is effortless to manoeuvre around furniture and it’s especially impressive at cleaning along skirting boards. The X300 has two main control buttons – one to switch it on using a slightly annoying two-second press, and the other is for ramping up the suction in three increments from low to high to max. Like most of the vacs here, the middle setting is the one to go for if you don’t want the battery to drain too quickly (a small LED screen on the handle displays real-time battery usage).
The ROIDMI X300 is fitted with a 25cm brush head (wider than many other models) comprising a velvet like roller with added nylon bristles for carpet use. It also features a bright light-sensitive LED headlamp for illuminating darker areas of the home. As to be expected, it ships with the usual cluster of detail tools, including a small motorised cleaning head for stairs and the bed, plus a crevice tool – with built in LED lamp no less – and a wide flat nozzle. This writer also likes the very simple wall-mounted magnetic charging base; simply mount the tiny plaque on the wall and rest the X300 against it.
We gave this one a good innings on a pet hair-strewn rug and a swathe of hard flooring and its roller brush and huge amount of suction power picked up pretty much everything we put in its path, including the entire contents of a toolbox. I jest, but this vac really does sport more suction power than most. However, the relatively small 0.65-litre bin did fill up quickly with pet hair and some of it got trapped behind the cylinder’s rubber flange so we had to remove the whole bin and attack the hair from the rear. No big deal, though it was a struggle clipping the bin back into place. In our tests we managed to eke out a full 85 minutes of serious vacuuming in its default standard mode and about 20 minutes when switching it to ‘max’.
With so many cordless vacuum brands flooding the market, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell them all apart. To be honest, they all perform very well even though some do require a few more floor passes than others. This model didn’t perform as well as the slightly cheaper Dyson V15 but it was more comfortable to use and much easier to charge.
The Beko PowerClean comes with plenty of bin capacity (0.9 litres), which is always a boon and not a frequent feature of cordless vacuums. It’s perfectly suited to hardwood floors and is able to get stuck into a variety of dust and detritus, including pet fur. You’ll get around 45 minutes from a full charge too, so it’s got plenty of get up and go.
Opt for the boost mode and you’ll get even more suction, although this does come at the cost of extra battery power. The good news is that there’s an LCD screen, which lets you keep tabs on how the battery is faring. Looking low? Simply stop, make a cup of tea and put the PowerClean on charge via the magnetic docking station.
This is a great all-rounder, which is well suited to a variety of homes and works surprisingly well on carpets. Again, this isn’t always a strong point of a cordless vacuum, but in the case of the Beko, it's a standout feature. You’ll also be impressed by the Shark-style ActiFlex functionality of the design which makes it easy to vacuum under beds without bending down and the brilliant fact that it can stand up on its own with having to be supported like most cordless stick vacs.
Ever since Dyson started making a mint by selling premium cordless vacuum cleaners that could, in many homes, replace corded ones there have been two types of cordless vac. On the one hand, Dyson cordless vacs, and arrayed against them, vacs that are just like Dyson cordless vacs but not quite as good. Nearly always more affordable, and always somewhere between a bit crappier and a lot crappier. Now though? I'm not so sure.
Nearly all the other products in this list will do an excellent job as a 'Dyson alternative' but this Samsung one matches it in practically every way, and will almost certainly end up being cheaper.
You already get a lot for your money. The Jet 90 Pro comes with a proper stand to hold and recharge it when not in use – it's perhaps not as neat as the Dyson wall mount, but it's considerably more substantial, and you don't have to screw it in to a wall, which a lot of people will prefer. It also has attachments for 4 tools instead of the Dyson's endlessly irritating limit of two.
Then you get a revolving mop head for wet and dry cleaning of hard floors, a bendy attachment for going under beds and other furniture, a main suction tube that you can extend to the length of your choice – admittedly more useful for adjusting to your height or for storing away, rather than reaching up particularly high, but still a neat touch.
You also get all usual, Dyson-esque stuff, with an efficient HEPA filter and attachments for dusting and 'crevices' – does anyone actually use crevice tools? The battery life is between 6 minutes and 60 minutes, depending on which of its tools and three power settings you use, while a screen shows you what setting you're on, and how long you have left. All just like the V11 above, in fact.
The only minor failing of the Jet 90 Pro is it doesn't seem to clean quite as well as the Dyson – that's based on abstract tests such as sucking a pile of ricicles, as well the more general feeling gathered during day-to-day use. There's very little in it, though. I am not sure the mop head attachment spins quickly enough to be really effective, but again it certainly isn't bad – and Dyson doesn't even make such a thing, so it's a USP of sorts.
In summary, I still narrowly prefer the look and cleaning performance of the Dyson, which also has a bin that's slightly bigger and slightly easier to empty. The Dyson also handles better when used for dusting surfaces but again not by much. Actually it might just be that I'm more used to the Dyson. Samsung hasn't cut any corners with the Jet 90 Pro, and if you see it at the right price in the widgets above – ie: that bit cheaper than the Dyson V11 Absolute – I would not hesitate to recommend it. Make sure you check our Samsung discount codes to bag the best price.
This keenly-priced upright is an ideal choice for those who want a cordless vac that can stand up on its own instead of lying around in a jumble under the stairs. The Edge comes with a larger-than-average dustbin (1.5-litres) and two near full-width brushes (soft and bristle) that have been designed for all types of flooring, including deep pile carpet.
Although the grippy low-set rollers make it feel quite heavy when pushing it around, for an upright it’s actually pretty light in the hand – a good thing for anyone with stairs to climb. It also steers extremely well around obstacles and it has a front headlight upfront for sweeping in darker recesses of the home.
There are no clever automatic settings with this vac. Instead you have four simple mode choices: suction only, a gentle hard floor setting, a more robust carpet specific setting, and a boost function that ramps up the suction power quite considerably.
This vac is one of the best options here for larger houses because it comes with two batteries and each one is capable of keeping the motor running for up to 50 minutes at a time in standard hard floor or carpet mode. That’s a combined running time of around 100 minutes.
It also comes with a shedload of tools, including a pet-hair specific mini motorised brush head for dog beds and car seats. However, you may struggle to reach some elevated areas with the hand tools because the hose is quite short.
For the price, this is an excellent upright option that performs comendably well on all types of flooring. But it’s the larger bin and its ability to stand up on its own that really clinch the deal.
Read our full Vax ONEPWR Edge Dual Pet & Car review
This British-made vac delivers similar cleaning power and innovation to its compatriots at Dyson – although Halo's styling and marketing budgets are clearly somewhat lower than Lord Dyson's stable.
This is for some reason made of carbon fibre, which seems to be the go-to design idea for brands with no aesthetic sense and a desire to seem high-tech. Unlike almost every other cordless vac it uses little tiny bags rather than being bagless, and the dirt collection area is not a cunningly designed capsule that pings out at the press of a button. Instead, it is held on by a clamp, a bit like something you'd take on a camping holiday circa 1978.
However, that all rather fades into insignificance when you clean floors with it, as it performs supremely well. The Halo Capsule is far cheaper than the Dyson V11 and it doesn't emit a horrific shrieking sound as works, unlike its budget rival Vax. On hard floors in particular, cleaning performance is comparable to both, as is overall battery life.
For cleaning spills, car interiors and surfaces as a handheld, the shape and weighting of it mean it's nowhere near as good as the Dyson or Vax. It also feels a bit ridiculous to be using bags in a vac in 2020. Still, given that Halo throws in no fewer than 52 of them with every purchase, you at least can't complain that the brand is milking you by selling its hardware cheap and its software expensive.
Read our full Halo Capsule review
Taking a totally different approach to Dyson and co, the older AirRam Mk2 K9 – which is being superseded by the Platinum edition above – is a traditional upright vac, stripped down to the lightest, simplest form possible, yet still highly effective.
Its 22-volt Lithium Ion battery provides up to 40 minutes of vacuuming – enough charge for a two bedroom house – and although it takes about four hours to charge, that means you won't feel obliged to leave it habitually plugged in, as this writer does with both the Dyson v11 and V8.
The dirt collection system is one of the very best. All detritus is compressed into a cylindrical capsule positioned just behind the front roller brush. To clean, you just remove the 0.8-litre bin, flip it open above a dustbin and slide an ejector arm across to pop the compressed dirt out of the side. Being able to see how much it's picked up is a satisfying bonus.
If you're used to dragging a standard vac around, the AirRam Mk2 K9 is a revelation. It's so light to manoeuvre – all the weight’s at floor level – and the vertically adjustable handle articulates to the sides for literally 'steering' around corners. It can also go very low to the ground, to get under beds and other furnishings with legs.
Use the AirRam Mk2 K9 on a hard kitchen floor or a dog-hair strewn carpet and it will collect more dirt and hair than you'd think possible. It's at least as good as the Dyson v11 Absolute in this respect. And one thing it has that the v11 lacks is a bright LED headlamp, which is extremely useful – it's actually slightly chastening to see just how much dust is on the floor, when it's suddenly illuminated by a bright LED light.
The only surfaces the AirRam struggled with are thin rugs, as the fast-spinning rotary brush is positioned at a low, non adjustable height, it tends to suck them up into its maw. A lot of vacs do that, but the thing about the AirRam is it only has one power setting, so you can't really get around it
That small limitation aside, the AirRam Mk2 K9 is one of the very best at removing pet hair. It's quick, effortless and proficient for both quick shufties round the living room and full house jobs, and the small footprint and upright design mean it’s a doddle to store.
Of course the AirRam Mk2 K9's massive failing compared to the other vacs here is that it is just an upright, so you can forget about doing shelves, mantelpieces, behind the TV and up on the ceiling with it. However, if you invest in the cordless Gtech Multi handheld at the same time as the AirRam you do get a discount. The Multi is nowhere near as good as the Dyson V8 or V11 in handheld mode, but it's also by no means bad, and the bundle price is considerably less than the price of the V11 on its own.
If you want to embrace the very latest in Gtech tech, head straight to our review of the new AirRAM Platinum edition which is very similar to the K9, only with some newer onboard tech to make it even better.
Read our full Gtech AirRam Mk2 review
This looks a great deal like the V10 but adds more suction, especially on carpet, better battery management and a power gauge that tells you when to start panicking because the battery is running out. A clock actually counts down, based on estimates determined primarily by what power mode you're using.
The good news is that, although you aren't likely to get more than 15 minutes of suck out of this if you only use the highest, 'Boost' setting, the 'Auto' mode, which adapts suction based on use conditions such as whether you're on carpet or hard floor, lasts a lot longer and is highly effective. The 'Eco' mode which can last for up to an hour, is also not bad at all.
For a mid-sized, modern-ish home with a mix of carpets and hard floors, I can't really think of how a vac could be better than the Dyson V11 Absolute.
Due to its size it's not as satisfying to use as a handheld (for shelves, surfaces, the car etc), as the older V8 but it works well enough when doing that. Also, the increased bulk is balanced by the fact it allows for much more suction power, and a bigger bin. Granted, the bin is still hardly gargantuan at 0.76 litres, but it's sufficiently easy to empty to make that a non-issue.
The 'Dyson premium' is well worth paying for the V11 Absolute. Sell your corded vac to contribute towards the cost. The cheaper V11 Animal, incidentally is excellent but alas, lacks the Absolute's High Torque head, which is one of the real killer features here. So you will have to go all in if you want the current state of the art in cordless vacuum cleaning.
Read our full Dyson V11 review
Why settle for a cordless stick vac or a cordless upright such as the Gtech AirRam Mk2 (the UK's favourite such vac is further down this list) when you can have a Lupe Pure Cordless, which does both?
Offering Dyson-rivalling battery life and even better cleaning power when used as an upright, the Lupe Pure doubles as a stick vac, converting in just a few seconds. The only downside to its stick incarnation is it does remain tethered to the upright portion – rather like the pull out handheld part of a Dyson corded upright, in fact.
However, with a great design and every part serviceable and/or replaceable, the Lupe Pure Cordless should last a lifetime, which is another big plus.
Read our full Lupe Pure Review
Outdoing even the Lupe Pure in terms of cleaning options, Miele’s first cordless vac is a three-in-one system that allows you to configure it in a number of ways.
If you have the strength of Hercules, you can use it with the main power unit-cum-dust collector positioned near the top of the suction tube. Most cordless vacs use this method but many of them suffer as a result of the extra weight on the wrist and forearm – that’s the case with this model which is about 1kg heavier than the average Dyson.
Just as well, then, that Miele’s engineers gave us another option to mount the power unit to just above the cleaning head. This method is not only far easier on the wrist and forearm, it enables the unit to stand up on its own for easy storage and behave more like a standard upright cleaner. However, it doesn’t provide quite the same level of flexibility (getting under sofas and into tight spaces, etc).
The third configuration involves removing the main suction tube and using it as a hand vac for stairs, shelves and hard-to-reach areas.
For some reason (maximum battery efficiency apparently), Miele recommends the very first charge is carried out while the battery is attached to the power unit (oops). From thereon in the battery can be removed and charged separately. Unfortunately, there’s no status light on the battery or the charging plug (an oversight) so we’d recommend always leaving it attached to the power unit which at least has a row of battery status lights.
As the moniker suggests, the Triflex HX1 Cat & Dog is designed for pet owners. It certainly passes much muster in the pet hair arena though the small bagless dust collector does fill up very quickly, especially if your pet is of the long-haired variety. On the plus side, the collector is a doddle to empty.
Suction is excellent but you do have to keep the main brush head moving on carpets or it may stop spinning (a byproduct of the design that allows you to stand the unit upright while still on if pausing between sessions). Power wise, the Triflex comes with three levels of suction and runs for about 60 minutes on the lowest setting and about 17 minutes on the highest. Mind, the suction on even the lowest setting is ample for most vacuuming duties.
This pet-specific model comes with two heads: the main revolving Electrobrush Multi Floor which features LED headlights and a smaller ‘Electro Compact’ head with long revolving bristles for removing obstreperous pet hair. It also comes with the obligatory trio of small crevice tools. A long-life HEPA filter completes a very efficient but pricey package.
Tough as nails, the Triflex will appeal to fans of both Miele's build quality and its renowned reliability record. Available in any colour as long as it’s black.
Prefer something a little smaller? Head over to our guide to the best handheld cordless vacuum cleaners. Also, check out our guide to the best hard floor cleaners.
How we test cordless vacuum cleaners
As we do not own a testing lab, with robot arms pushing vacs along lengths of mind-blowingly expensive carpet, the only way to test is in the homes of our reviewers. We put these machines through their paces on carpets and hard floors, doing day-to-day cleaning and also dealing with spills – both ones that happen naturally and ones we create ourselves.
We base our assessment of cleaning performance and battery life on real-world testing rather than going on what the manufacturers claim. Although at this point, it can be taken as read that any vac we recommend will last the usual 5-10 minutes on max power, 1 hour on the lowest setting and somewhere in the region of 20-30 minutes when on auto, eco and medium power settings.
Want to know more? Discover how we test at T3.
What is the best cordless vacuum?
Our top choices for best cordless vac come from Dyson, Panasonic and Vax. The best cordless vacuum cleaner overall, and just the best vacuum cleaner period, is the newish Dyson V15 Detect Absolute. This model will quite happily take over from your corded vac because it’s exceptionally powerful. It even uses a laser beam to highlight dust and debris.
Although the 15 minutes or so of cleaning that you get on the V15’s highest setting seems rather fleeting, the two lower suction settings last much longer. I just keep it plugged in when not in use and it has literally never run out of juice in mid-clean, so theoretical arguments about how long it does or doesn't last seem rather moot. Also, the V15 (and V11) have battery meters that actually count down the time to the next required charge, so if nothing else, you can't claim to be taken by surprise.
The closest thing to a true 'Dyson killer' we’ve so far encountered is the Gtech AirRAM Platinum – an upright vac we unreservedly recommend. However, we also rate the new Shark Stratos Anti Hair Wrap Plus Pet Pro IZ420UKT with its articulating easy-store suction tube and automatic suction control.
How to buy the best cordless vac for your space
The best cordless vacuums come with one obvious advantage: no cord. This makes them so much easier to push around than the best vacuum cleaners (of all kinds) and they're also light enough to clean everywhere from the ceiling to the skirting board, as well as sucking up kitchen spills from worktops, dust from shelves (high and low), and so on.
They're a lot more convenient to use than the best robot vacuum cleaners, especially if you're trying to clean a contained spillage (although robot vacuum cleaners certainly have their uses as well).
Because of the way they've developed since Dyson made them a more premium, versatile product, they're good for everything from traditional uses, such as cleaning out the footwell of your car, to properly vacuuming large expanses of carpet.
Cordless vacs do come with disadvantages. In order to keep the weight low enough to make them useful, the lithium-ion batteries they use can't be all that big and heavy, and so their battery life is invariably quite short – usually no more than 20 minutes at full power, up to 40 or so at the lower power settings (that nobody uses). Dyson has addressed this by gradually improving its batteries over the years, but now some other brands are taking a rather simpler approach to the problem and including two batteries.
A lot of homes' floors can be given a good enough clean in 20 minutes, especially if you're using your handheld daily to maintain a dust-free domicile. Your other option, of course, is to buy a corded vac for the weekly/monthly/annual Big Vacuuming and use the handheld for smaller tasks.
If you live in a house with lots of carpets and two or more bedrooms, a cordless vac is still a great supplement to your mains one. If you have a flat with mainly hard floors, you can probably forget about a cylinder or standup.
Of course, they're also ideal for cleaning your car, so you'll find some of the same models in this guide also in the best car vacuum and best hand vac buying guides.
Nearly all cordless vacs are bagless, which seems like a great feature initially. Then, when you come to empty their often small, usually translucent dust bins, you may initially find yourself cursing the day you ever bought one. With practice, if the vac is sufficiently well designed, this will become less of a problem, but the only one we'd unreservedly recommend in this department is the Dyson V8. Its bin emptying mechanism is sheer poetry in motion.
Finally, most stick vacs come with a range of heads for different surfaces, crevices, pet hair and so on. You can usually also buy cheaper versions of the vacs with just one or two basic heads, but, as the old saying goes, more heads are better than some.
Looking to clean hard floors or windows? Read T3's guide to the best hard floor cleaners and the best window vacs.