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Top five cordless vacuum cleaners for 2017

By Matthew Knight

From the best cheap cordless vacuum to which Dyson is best, we recommend the top cordless vacuum cleaners to buy in 2017.

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Cordless vacuum cleaners can be a lighter, more convenient and easier-to-use substitute for an ordinary vacuum cleaner. But we've found plenty that aren't up to the job, failing to pick up dust, dirt and fluff from your floors and surfaces. Get straight to the best cordless models with our round-up of five top picks.

The cordless vacuum cleaners recommended below have all gone through our rigorous lab tests, so you can be sure that they'll do a brilliant job of cleaning your floors - and other spots around your home. We've hand picked our favourite options from our full list of the best cordless vacuum cleaners, including our cheapest Best Buy, the best option if you're keen on a Dyson, and our highest-scoring cordless vacuum.

We've also uncovered several models that are so dreadful at cleaning we think you should avoid them. See further down the page for the three worst cordless vacuums we've seen.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations and the models to avoid in the tables below. If you're not yet a member, sign up for a £1 trial to get instant access.

Best cordless vacuum cleaner

Dyson V8 Absolute
Today's best price £381.99
Which? score 79%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Best Buy
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
5 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
4 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
5 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 5
Weight:
Member exclusive
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

This cordless vacuum is a top-notch choice, providing brilliant floor and surface cleaning. It's one of the few that can compete against a mains-powered equivalent. It's also supremely easy to use. It is pricier than other options, but it wont disappoint when you get it home.

Best cordless vacuum with a long battery life

Bosch Athlet BBH65ATHGB
Typical price £250.00
Which? score 70%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Best Buy
Carpet cleaning:
5 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
5 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
4 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
5 out of 5
Allergen retention:
2 out of 5
Weight:
Member exclusive
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

This cordless vacuum cleaner is one of the best scoring cordless vacuum cleaners we've tested, and it lasts for over an hour on its lowest power mode. It's great at cleaning hard floors and good for carpet cleaning too.

Best-value cordless vacuum cleaner

Dyson V6
Today's best price £179.00
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Jul 2015
Best Buy
Carpet cleaning:
5 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
5 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
4 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
4 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 5
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

This cordless vacuum cleaner has many of the benefits of the best cordless vacuum cleaner we have tested, and it's well over £100 cheaper. It may not have all the bells and whistles, but it cleans brilliantly and is easy to use, though you’ll need to make do with a few minutes less of battery life.

Best cordless vacuum for pet owners

Dyson V7 Animal
Today's best price £294.99
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Best Buy
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
5 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
4 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
5 out of 5
Allergen retention:
4 out of 5
Weight:
Member exclusive
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

This cordless vacuum comes with a mini pet tool which is great for sucking up hair and fibres from upholstery. It can also clean carpets and hard floors brilliantly - whether it’s fur, dust or larger debris that’s in your path, this cordless vacuum will effortlessly whip it away..

Best vacuum cleaner

Bosch GS-50 Power Animal 2
Today's best price £374.99
Which? score 80%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Best Buy
Carpets:
5 out of 5
Laminate:
4 out of 5
Floorboards:
5 out of 5
Large debris:
3 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
4 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 5
Type (cylinder/upright):
Member exclusive
Bagged or bagless:
Member exclusive
Capacity (l):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

OK, so this isn't a cordless vacuum cleaner, but bear with us. A good cordless vacuum cleaner tends to be on the expensive side, their battery life is limited and the cleaning isn't quite yet up to the extremely high standards of the very best corded equivalents, like this one. This corded vacuum is the pinnacle for vacuum cleaning, so if you do decide that it's not yet time for a cordless machine, you need look no further than this machine.

Three cordless vacuum cleaners to avoid in 2017

There's a lot to like about the rise of cordless vacuum cleaners, but it doesn't include this bunch of poor performers. Even if you see these cordless vacuums at an attractive sale price, or starring in a glossy TV advertising campaign, they are best avoided. All three fail to achieve the most basic standards of cleaning you'd expect from a cordless vacuum.

Terrible and expensive

Tefal Air force extreme TY8865HO
Typical price £220.00
Which? score 35%
Reviewed Dec 2016
Don't buy
Carpet cleaning:
2 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
4 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
4 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
2 out of 5
Allergen retention:
1 out of 5
Weight:
Member exclusive
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

This cordless vacuum cleaner is good at cleaning hard flat floors, but that's about it. You should avoid it if you ever want to properly clean your carpets. It's also unsuitable for allergy sufferers and pet owners as it's terrible at sucking up fur and fluff, and leaks dust and allergens back into your home.

Awful carpet cleaning

Black & Decker 2in1 Dust Buster SVJ520BFS H1
Typical price £130.00
Which? score 33%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Don't buy
Carpet cleaning:
1 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
1 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
4 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
3 out of 5
Allergen retention:
1 out of 5
Weight:
Member exclusive
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

You’ll want to avoid this dreadful cordless vacuum. On first appearances if you are just using it on a flat hard floor then you might be impressed, but ask it to do anything even slightly more challenging, like cleaning carpets, and you will be left very disappointed. It lets lots of the dust and allergens that it does suck up straight back into your home and, to add insult to injury, it's nearly as expensive as our top-scoring options.

Cheap, but not worth it

Hoover Flexi Power SU204B2 001
Today's best price £79.98
Which? score 34%
Reviewed Jul 2015
Don't buy
Carpet cleaning:
1 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
1 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
4 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
1 out of 5
Allergen retention:
2 out of 5
Weight:
Member exclusive
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

This cordless vacuum starts off cleaning badly, and only gets worse when the container slowly begins to fill. While, like most cordless cleaners, it does well on a flat hard floor; crevices, carpets or patches of hair will be left almost untouched compared to the very best vacuum cleaners on the market. You might be tempted by the price, but we would recommend paying a little more for miles better cleaning performance.

Should you go cordless in 2017?

We're passionate about finding the brilliant vacuums that will help you keep your house looking spick and span for years to come. Decades of experience testing vacuum cleaners means we can tell you how cordless vacuums compare on cleaning power, and which models can truly replace your main vacuum and still provide a superior clean. 

If you're thinking of going cordless, it's worth considering the following before you buy:

  • Budget - if you're on a strict budget, you might find it easier to get a top-notch mains-powered vacuum rather than a cordless vacuum cleaner. Our cheapest Best Buy cordless vacuums start from around £180, whereas we have a couple of Best Buy vacuum cleaners for under £150.
  • Maintenance - cordless vacuum cleaners have much smaller dust containers than ordinary vacuums, so you'll find you need to empty them more frequently. For many, this is a small price to pay for easier cleaning, but if you have allergies, cordless might not be the best option for you.
  • Battery life - cordless vacuum cleaner battery life can range from less than 10 minutes to nearly an hour. Some models have the option to swap batteries and continue cleaning, while others will have an indicator so you know when you are running low. Consider how much floor space you have to cover before buying. A smaller home with mainly hard floors may be fine with 20 minutes of battery life, while a larger, carpeted home will need more juice.

For more advice, try our guide to corded vs cordless vacuum cleaners.

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