Shark IZ251UKT flexology
Flexology lets you get right under furniture without having to bend down

Cordless vacuum cleaners have massively changed over the last couple of years, with far more choice of style and type available. Whether you want a more convenient cleaner for occasional use, to ditch your plug-in vacuum cleaner entirely, or to go for a spot cleaner for quick spill pick-up, we’ve covered everything you need to know here.

We’ve tested hundreds of cordless vacuum cleaners. For each one, we test its ability to pick up dirt on hard floors and carpets, how well they cope with pet hair, and their actual suction power. From there we test each one for ergonomics and ease-of-use. After all, what’s the point in a powerful vacuum cleaner if it’s uncomfortable or difficult to hold?

In this guide, we’ve chosen a wide range of vacuum cleaners that we think that you might like. We’ve looked at different needs and different budgets. From the most powerful to the most convenient, we’ve got it all covered.

1. Dyson V11

The power to replace an plug-in cleaner

The best cordless vacuum cleaner is the Dyson V11

 

Pros:

  • Incredible suction power
  • Adjusts suction power automatically
  • Screen shows remaining run-time
  • Good-sized bin with easy emptying

Cons: 

  • Still only one battery
  • Not cheap

Why we liked the Dyson V11

The Dyson V11 is the company’s top-of-the-range cordless vacuum cleaner, designed to replace your regular cleaner. Two factors are key to this: power and battery life. First, this is the most powerful cordless vacuum cleaner that we’ve tested, which it is easily able to pick up dirt from carpets, and hard floors.

Second, with the Dyson High Torque brush head, the vacuum cleaner automatically scans the floor and dirt, adjusting the power on the fly to maximise pick-up while saving battery life. You should be able to clean most houses on a single charge, although it’s a little disappointing that this vacuum doesn’t have a removable battery.

Cleverly, the display on the back shows battery life in minutes, so you know how much time you’ve actually got left to clean with, letting you decide to carry on or dock and recharge before tackling another room.

Sure, this is just about the most expensive cordless vacuum cleaner that we’ve tested, but if you’re looking for a powerful replacement to a plug-in cleaner, then this one will do everything.

Read the full review

  • Dyson V11 review

Dyson V11 Technical Specs

  • Vacuum cleaner type: Cordless stick 
  • Size: 1286 x 250 x 261, 3kg 
  • Provided heads: Motorised floor head, soft roller, mini roller, crevice tool, dusting brush, combination tool
  • Bin capacity: 0.76-litres
  • Bagless: Yes
  • Run time: 60 minutes Eco, 12 minutes Max

2. Dyson V11 Outsize

The perfect cleaner for very large homes

Dyson V11 Outsize accessories

Pros

  • Makes short work of large jobs
  • Efficient and powerful cleaning
  • Clever display shows real battery life

Cons

  • Hose is fiddly to use
  • Expensive

Why we liked the Dyson V11 Outsize

If you’ve got a large house the Dyson V11 Outsize is the best choice for you. This extra-large vacuum cleaner is big everywhere. First, there’s the 1.7-litre bin, which you’ll need to empty less often. Then, you get the High Torque XL floor roller, which is 25% wider than the original, letting you clean more floor surface in less time.

With this floor head, the V11 Outsize can adjust power automatically depending on the floor surface, giving you the best combination of cleaning power and battery life. You then get a whole load of accessories in the box for every eventuality. The extendable hose is nice to see, as it lets you get into tight gaps, but it is fiddly to use because you have to hold the trigger down to use the cleaner.

Cleaning performance is everything that we’ve come to expect from Dyson: the power to clean as well as a plug-in cleaner, with the battery life to match. And, this model has a replaceable battery, so you could buy a second. If you’ve got a smaller home, the standard V11 will do the job, but those that have larger homes and want full-on cleaning power from a cordless cleaner should buy this mode.

Read the full review

  • Dyson V11 Outsize review

Dyson V11 Outsize Technical Specs

  • Vacuum cleaner type: Cordless stick
  • Size: 1286 x 320 x 261mm, 3.5kg
  • Provided heads: High Torque XL, soft roller, mini motorised, combination tool, crevice tool, mini soft dusting brush, extension hose, wide nozzle, up-top adaptor
  • Bin capacity: 1.7-litres
  • Bagless: Yes
  • Run time: 60-minutes

3. Shark ICZ160UKT

An excellent replacement for an upright vacuum cleaner

Shark ICZ160UKT hero

Pros:

  • Super flexible
  • Replaceable batteries
  • Excellent performance on all surfaces

Cons:

  • No onboard tool storage

Why we liked the Shark ICZ160UKT

If you want the power of a cordless stick vacuum cleaner, combined with the ease of use of an upright cleaner, the Shark ICZ160UKT is for you. In its default mode, you just turn it on, tilt the handle back and you can push it around like a regular upright. As this model is freestanding, it puts little weight in your hand.

The bulky vacuum unit and bin can get in the way when trying to get under furniture, but there’s a clever workaround using Shark’s lift-away mode. This lets you take out the main cylinder and release the hose and stick. You can then use the floor head free from the bulky bin. You can also use the provided accessories to give you extra reach. As you can place the cylinder on the floor out of the way, you get detail cleaning without the fatigue of having to carry the entire vacuum.

Shark’s clever DuoClean head is built to work on hard floors and carpet alike, and it uses anti hairwrap tech, so you never have to unclog the rollers. With a replaceable battery to extend runtime, the ICZ160UKT can either work as an add-on to a plug-in cleaner or, with the addition of a second battery, give you the time to clean an entire house.

Read the full review

  • Shark ICZ160UKT review

Shark ICZ160UKT Technical Specs

  • Vacuum cleaner type: Cordless upright
  • Size: 1080 x 250 x 260mm, 5.5kg
  • Provided heads: DuoClean floor head, upholstery tool, crevice tool, brush, mini motorised tool
  • Bin capacity: 0.6-litres
  • Bagless: Yes
  • Run time: 50-minutes

4. Shark IZ251UKT

An excellent stick cleaner for all jobs

The best stick cleaner is the Shark IZ251UKT

Specifications:

 

You can read our more detailed review of the Shark ICZ251UKT.  We liked how flexible this cleaner was and gave it a score of 4.5 out of 5.

Pros:

  • Powerful cleaning on all surfaces
  • Flexible cleaning and storage
  • Lots of accessories

Cons:

  • Protruding bin can make contact with some tools tricky
  • Doesn’t stand up when extended

Why we liked the Shark IZ251UKT

If there’s one thing you can rely on Shark for, it’s power and clever design. The Shark ICZ251UKT fits into both categories, with this stick cleaner featuring the company’s flexology technology. This lets you fold the top half over completely, letting you store the vacuum cleaner standing up; sadly, it won’t stand up when extended, so be careful if you pause cleaning.

Flexology also lets you use the bend in the wand to clean under furniture without having to bend over, which can make some cleaning jobs much easier. We also love the DuoClean floor head, which gives you two brushes to cover hard floors and carpets without having to change heads. And, this vacuum has Shark’s excellent anti hairwrap technology, which stops the brushes from getting tangled with hair.

Cleaning performance is excellent on all surfaces, and will last for up to 80 minutes thanks to the dual batteries included, both of which can be charged at the same time. Cleverly, the vacuum turns on in low power mode, which is good for most jobs, but there’s a trigger to quickly engage the Max mode, which gives you a boost of power for tough jobs. Having this on a trigger means you can use Max mode when you need it without running out of power.

Our only minor complaint is that the large bin can make it a bit tricky to get the right type of contact when using some of the accessories. That all said, this is a powerful and flexible stick cleaner.

Read the full review

  • Shark IZ251UKT review

Shark IZ251UKT Technical Specs

  • Vacuum cleaner type: Cordless stick
  • Size: 1180 x 260 x 245mm, 4.1kg
  • Provided heads: DuoClean motorised floor head, upholstery tool, crevice tool, dusting brush, anti-allergen dusting brush, motorised pet brush
  • Bin capacity: 0.4-litres
  • Bagless: Yes
  • Run time: 80-minutes (two batteries)

5. Vax ONEPWR Blade 4

A great budget stick cleaner

The best budget stick cordless vacuum cleaner is the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4

Specifications:

 

You can read our more detailed review of the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4. This flexible, well-priced cleaner impressed us and we scored it 4.5 out of 5.

Pros:

  • Powerful
  • Excellent price
  • Swappable batteries

Cons:

  • Base model has few accessories
  • Doesn’t stand up by itself

Why we liked the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4

An update on last year’s model, the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 takes everything we loved about that vacuum and adds in a replaceable battery. Not only does this expand runtime, but the batteries are compatible with other ONEPWR products, so you can swap out between the range, which includes a hard-floor cleaner and carpet spot cleaner.

The main stick comes with a motorised brush head that’s great for multiple surfaces and has a handy light to highlight any dirt. You also get a crevice tool and brush in the box, but that’s it: you have to pay more for the additional tools accessory, although Vax offers a free accessory kit if you buy direct.

Operation of the vacuum is easy, with a button to turn the cleaner on – there’s no pistol grip that requires continuous pressure here. Although the wall mount doesn’t charge, that’s not an issue here, as you can remove the battery and drop it onto the charging dock.

Well-priced and with powerful cleaning, you have to spend a chunk more to get more powerful suction and a greater range of tools. Look out for the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Pet if you have pets, as this model has an antimicrobial coating on its main floor brush and comes with a smaller, powered pet brush.

Read the full review

  • Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 review

Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Technical Specs

  • Vacuum cleaner type: Cordless stick
  • Size: 1140 x 240 x 185mm, 3kg
  • Provided heads: Motorised floor head, crevice tool, brush (optional toolkit include upholstery tool with a clip-on stiff brush, extendible crevice tool and a flexible extension hose)
  • Bin capacity: 0.6-litres
  • Bagless: Yes
  • Run time: 45-minutes standard, 12-minutes turbo

6. Hoover H-Free 300

An excellent lightweight cleaner that can stand up by itself

Hoover H-Free 300 standing up by itself

Pros:

  • Very light
  • Exceptionally quiet
  • Can stand up by itself
  • Good range of tools in the box

Cons:

  • Battery life with motorised tools is average
  • No tool storage

Why we liked the Hoover H-Free 300

If you already have a good plug-in cleaner, then what you may want from a cordless model is one that’s light and easy to use. Step forward the Hoover H-Free 300, which is exceptionally lightweight and has one clever trick: you can stand this cordless cleaner up by itself. This is the only cordless cleaner that we’ve seen that can do this job. You can only really stand the cleaner up for quick tasks, such as answering the door or moving some furniture out of the way, but it makes the H-Free 300 a lot more convenient and easy to use.

In the box you get a good array of accessories, although it’s a shame that there’s no onboard storage for any of the tools. Performance is generally good, too, although you may need to up the power to pick up tougher spills, which reduces battery life. As a result, this is a useful add-on cleaner that you can grab and go, rather than a full-on replacement for a plug-in model. Still, if you need something light and easy to use, this cleaner is exceptionally well priced.

Read the full review

  • Hoover H-Free 300 review

Hoover H-Free 300 Technical Specs

  • Vacuum cleaner type: Cordless stick
  • Size: 1135 x 252 x 228mm, 2.5kg
  • Provided heads: Motorised floor brush, mini motorised pet tool, 2-in-1 crevice tool, 2-in-1 upholstery brush
  • Bin capacity: 0.7-litres
  • Bagless: Yes
  • Run time: 40-minutes (low), 25-minutes (medium)

7. Hoover H-Handy 700

A handheld cleaner for those smaller jobs

The best handheld vacuum is the Hoover H-Handy 700

 

Pros:

  • Small and compact
  • Neat storage
  • Powerful

Cons:

  • Small nozzles only

Why we liked the Hoover H-Handy 700

Thanks to improvements in battery technology and motors, it’s possible to have a tiny handheld vacuum cleaner, such as the Hoover H-Handy 700, that’s as powerful as a big cleaner. This simple grab-and-go cleaner is your friend for smaller spills, such as cleaning up after cooking or quickly tackling a sofa.

As well as being neat and small, the charging stand contains everything and has space for the three-in-one accessory: a crevice tool, dusting brush and upholstery tool all in one. Each nozzle is rather small, so large areas can take a bit of time to cover; this really is a tool designed for quick clear-ups.

Performance is excellent, though, with the vacuum able to cope well with carpets and hard floors, while doing a decent job with pet hair; if you’ve got pets that shed a lot the Pet version of this cleaner comes with an extra motorised brush. Battery life is just 12-minutes, but this is enough to deal with pretty much every small spill, so you shouldn’t need more.

Read the full review

  • Hoover H-Handy 700 review

Hoover H-Handy 700 Technical Specs

  • Vacuum cleaner type: Cordless handheld
  • Size: 418 x 66 x 69mm, 640g
  • Provided heads: 3-in-1 tool (crevice tool, brush and upholstery tool)
  • Bin capacity: 0.15-litres
  • Bagless: Yes
  • Run time: 12-minutes

What to look out for when buying a cordless vacuum cleaner

If you already know what you’re looking for, skip down to our list.

When choosing a cordless vacuum cleaner, it’s important to choose the one that is right for you, so you get the cleaning power that you need for your home without having to spend too much money. Some of the questions you should be asking yourself are.

      1. What type of cordless vacuum cleaner do you want? Stick cleaners are the most common. These have a main vacuum unit, controlled via trigger, that you connect the wand and floor head to for regular cleaning, and accessories for detail work. These are quick and easy to use, but put all of the weight in your hand. An upright replacement has to be carried where you want it, but these are easier to push around and most of the weight is on the floor. You can connect accessories via a hose, although you don’t quite get the reach that a stick model gives you. Finally, handheld or spot cleaners are much smaller, and are designed to be grab-and-go for dealing with quick spills, such as mess in the kitchen after cooking.
      2. What floor head do you need? Motorised floor brushes help agitate dirt for easier pick up, but make sure you get one built for your type of flooring: carpet or hard floors.
      3. What other accessories do you need? You should get a crevice tool for working around the edges of a room and a dusting brush, as a minimum. Upholstery tools make it easy to clean curtains and sofas. If you have pets, a motorised pet tool helps remove pet hair from a variety of surfaces.
      4. How much battery life do you need? Battery life is measured in minutes, usually topping out at around 45-minutes. This should be enough to clean a small house or flat in one go, as you only use power when the vacuum is on. If you need more run-time, look for a vacuum with removable batteries, so you can swap out and keep cleaning.
      5. How much power do you need? Our reviews tell you if a cordless cleaner can replace a plug-in model entirely, or if the vacuum acts as a convenient back-up to a bigger one.

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