Best Cordless Vacuums

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
Bottom Line
Pros
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

93 Models Considered
37 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
173 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Buying guide for best cordless vacuums

Last Updated October 2019
By Stacey Nash

Untether yourself while cleaning and reach those tricky spaces around the home with a cordless vacuum. With a lightweight, compact frame, cordless options are great for tackling messes that may lie just beyond the reach of a corded vacuum quickly and effectively with the convenience of a rechargeable battery.

Think about the types of messes you intend to clean: bigger messes require more power and better brushes/attachments. The most important considerations for finding a capable cordless vacuum include the power — measured in volts — the dust container size, and of course, the battery. Batteries come in nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion forms, both of which can offer around 15-20 minutes of use on a single charge.

We've done the research to find the best cordless vacuums you should consider before buying. Check out the rest of our guide for more information on important features and the best vacuums we feel will give you an easy and effective cleaning experience.

About the author

Stacey Nash spent years as a homemaker before stepping into her role as a home products researcher and writer. She searches for and tests the products that use technology to simplify home life so that home is always where you want to be.


Stacey Nash  |  Writer
Know where you want to use your cordless vacuum. If you want to vacuum stairs, one that converts to a handheld is nice. If you want to vacuum drapes, an extension tube would be a good feature.

Our goal is to help you make informed shopping decisions.

If you’re ready to click buy, check out our favorite cordless vacuums and select with confidence.

But if you want to know more before you buy, including the features to look for in a cordless vacuum and how much you should pay, read our shopping guide.

Allen
Expert Consultant

Allen Rathey is a cleaning expert who promotes healthier indoor spaces. He is past-president of the Housekeeping Channel and the Healthy House Institute, and principal of the Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI) culminating more than 30 years of experience in making indoor places cleaner. He has been tapped as an expert by the New York Times, Real Simple, U.S. News & World Report, and other national media.


Allen  |  Indoor Cleaning Expert

What to look for when buying a cordless vacuum

Battery type

There are three types of rechargeable batteries used in cordless vacuums. Each type has its pros and cons, from shelf life to power to cost.

  • Nickel-cadmium

NiCad batteries are the least expensive of the rechargeable battery types and work best when completely drained before recharging. With a limited shelf life and a lower charge capacity, they need to be replaced more often than the other types.

TESTING CORDLESS VACUUMS

We spent 37 hours researching 93 cordless vacuums before picking our top 5. We then purchased our favorite model and tested it in our lab.

  • Lithium-ion

Li-ion batteries are lightweight, have a long shelf life, a high energy capacity, and charge quickly. However, they can be sensitive to overcharging and are more expensive than NiCad batteries.

  • Nickel-metal hydride

NiMH batteries work best in appliances that are used often and require a lot of power. They’re expensive, but because of the amount of power they hold in each charge, they are cost-effective in the end. While their shelf life is limited, their performance makes them one of the top rechargeable batteries.

It’s best to avoid vaccuming up small objects like coins or hairpins, which can clog or cause damage to your vacuum.

Power

For cordless vacuums, power is measured in volts. The higher the voltage, the more powerful the vacuum.

Rotating brushes or “power” modes, which can help pick up more dirt and pet hair, require a higher voltage and will eat up more power.

EXPERT TIP

Stick vacuums, like robotic vacuums, are more portable but generally less powerful. They are not a replacement for a full-sized vacuum if you care about deep cleaning and your floor’s longevity.


Allen  | Indoor Cleaning Expert

Battery charge

Before you purchase a cordless vacuum, consider how long it takes for the battery to charge. This will vary by model because of differing power demands.

Battery type will also affect the runtime. Most cordless models can run for 15 to 20 minutes on a single charge, but there are a few that can go 60 minutes at a time.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Be sure to read the owner’s manual before charging your cordless vacuum’s battery for the first time. Some batteries need to be completely drained before charging, and other batteries need to charge for four hours or more before first use.

Dust container

Cordless vacuums have a dust container rather than a bag. The ease of emptying the dust container varies by model. One-button release systems are the easiest to use.

Others have a more complicated removal process that may require reading through the manual.

Whatever type you choose, be sure to hold the vacuum over a garbage can while removing the container as some vacuums open upon release.

Storage

Cordless vacuums take up less space than full-size vacuums.

Some come with a docking station that needs to be mounted on a wall or in a closet. Others have a plug-in charger that can be placed anywhere in the house.

If space is a concern, there are vacuums that fold down to make their footprint even smaller.

DID YOU KNOW?

Check your owner’s manual to see how often your filters need to be changed. Keeping filters clean helps the air in your home stay clean as well.

Other features

Cordless vacuums are lighter than traditional corded uprights, which makes it easier to clean stairs, under furniture, and other hard-to-reach places. Some extras that add even more convenience to a cordless vacuum include:

  • Filtration system

HEPA filtration systems trap dust and allergens and are great not only for allergy sufferers but for pet owners as well.

  • Rotating/swivel head

Rotating heads can move around furniture and corners as well as reach underneath furniture.

Be sure to turn off a rotating brush on hardwood floors as the brush could scratch or damage the wood.

  • Included attachments

Nozzles, swivel heads, crevice cleaners, and extension heads are just a few of the attachments that can come with a cordless vacuum.

Before buying a vacuum with a long list of attachments, check to see how they are stored — onboard or separate.

  • Specialized performance settings

Some vacuums include a power boost that increases the rotation of a brush or increases suction in short bursts. This gives you extra power when you need it, without draining the battery as fast.

EXPERT TIP

Prevent dust and dirt from entering your home by placing mats at the entrances. This can extend the life of your carpet and vacuum.


Allen  | Indoor Cleaning Expert
  • Brush

A rotating brush is an absolute must for pet owners. Some vacuums turn the brush on or off, which you’ll need if you have hardwood floors.

  • Handheld conversion

Converting to a handheld vacuum makes cleaning spills easier and adds a greater degree of versatility. This feature is ideal for spot cleaning in the house or car.

How much do cordless vacuums cost?

Inexpensive

For under $50, you’ll find basic cordless vacuums that are lightweight and have a good amount of power.

They don’t usually have the extra attachments and features of higher priced models, though. You may also notice a difference in the runtime and battery life.

EXPERT TIP

Take the time to occasionally clean out hair or string wound around a rotating brush. If it isn’t removed, it can quickly wear out the motor.


Allen  | Indoor Cleaning Expert

Mid-range

Between $60 and $150 are larger cordless vacuums with more features, like crevice tool attachments and swiveling heads.

You can find a few that convert to a handheld vacuum and some that are specialized for picking up pet hair.

For those with arthritis or weak hands, look for a model with an option to lock the “on” button, so you don’t have to hold the button down. Some vacuums have an ergonomic design that makes using them even easier.

Expensive

At $150 and above are the Cadillacs of the cordless vacuum world. These vacuums have powerful motors, plenty of attachments, and impressive conversion abilities.

They often use more expensive batteries, like the relatively new NiMH batteries, for longer runtimes. However, all the extra features might also result in a shorter battery life.

The team that worked on this review
  • Alvina
    Alvina
    Photographer
  • Amos
    Amos
    Director of Photography
  • Branson
    Branson
    Videographer
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Production Assistant
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Stacey
    Stacey
    Writer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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