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Cheap cordless vacuums challenge Dyson – but are they any good?

We compare budget and premium cordless vacuums

Cordless vacs

The Vax SlimVac cordless range and the Bosch Athlet are best sellers.

It’s now easy to find cordless vacuum cleaners on offer for less than £120 – and these cheaper models are proving popular with shoppers, giving premium brands like Dyson a run for their money. But what should you look out for before snapping up a tempting bargain?

Cordless vacuums continue to rise in popularity, outpacing their traditional corded counterparts in value growth last year, so it makes sense that pricing is becoming more competitive.

The popular Vax Cordless Slim range – which shares aesthetic similarities with Dyson’s cordless range in their streamlined design – and the Bosch Athlet are so often on offer that you needn’t ever pay full price.

This crop of Dyson look-alikes with attractive price tags in understandably tempting, but they might not necessarily be the best option. Though we’ve found cheaper Best Buys, a lot of them are at the higher end of the price spectrum.

To find out how much you need to pay for the top performers, browse our Best Buy cordless vacuum cleaners.

Cheap vs premium cordless vacuum cleaners

The Vax TBTTV1T1 Cordless SlimVac is currently at Argos for only £119, and the Vax TBTTV1B1 Cordless SlimVac is £95 at both Amazon and Currys. Both those are significantly lower than the advertised RRPs. The Bosch Athlet BCH61840GB/01 is also on sale well below the RRP at almost every outlet. 

This is commonly the case, so we’d advise taking the RRP with a grain of salt.

Meanwhile, you’ll need to fork out a lot more for Dyson’s cordless vaccums – £269 for the Dyson V6 Absolute and more than £400 for the Dyson V8 Absolute.

The Vax SlimVac Total Home offers more floor tools than the Dyson V6 Absolute, and has a handy latch which keeps the power button pressed while you clean, so you don’t have to hold it down the whole time, as you do with the Dyson. 

The Vax only has a marginally longer claimed battery life of 24 minutes, compared to 20 for the Dyson – but apparently takes five hours to recharge where the Dyson takes three.

Interested in a Dyson? Browse our Dyson cordless vacuums reviews before you splash out.

Should you buy a cordless vacuum?

The convenience offered by a light, portable cordless vacuum is appealing, but there are some factors to consider before you buy.

Capacity 

Compared to normal vacuums the capacity of cordless models is much smaller – around 0.6 litres compared with around 2-3 litres for an average-sized standard vacuum cleaner. 

This means you’ll need to empty the bin more often to maintain suction, as well as washing filters and detangling the brush bar regularly. Therefore it’s important to go for a model that’s easy to empty and maintain.

Run time

Depending on the way you clean and the size of your home, some models might hold you back with short battery lives or long recharge times – we’ve tested models that recharge in two hours, and some that take a headache-inducing sixteen hours. 

Vax offers models with interchangeable batteries, but this is an added cost to factor in.

Accessories

You should check whether the cordless vacuums you’re looking at come with any convenient accessories. Some cordless vacuums are better adapted for switching from floor to handheld mode, or can handle a range of floor surfaces than others. 

Some come with wall racks or are self-standing, which makes storage easier. When we test cordless vacuums, we try them out in a range of configurations and on different surfaces, so you can find out how they perform in several different situations.

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