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Easy-to-use vacuum cleaners

By Zoe Galloway

We round up our top-scoring easy-to-use vacuums that are light to carry, comfortable to hold and simple to operate.

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Vacuum cleaners can be bulky and awkward, especially if you're getting older or have reduced dexterity or strength. To help, our lab tests have uncovered vacuum cleaners that are light and easy to use, as well as being simple to store and reassemble.

Every vacuum cleaner we test for our vacuum cleaner reviews is analysed on how easy it is to use, including how straightforward it is to manoeuvre, how easy it is to empty the bag and change the filter, and how light it is. The table below reveals the top three vacuum cleaners best suited to those who find hoovering tricky due to handling and carrying.

Top three easy-to-use vacuum cleaners

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Vacuum cleaner Our verdict Carpet suction Ease of use Score

 

Pros: It's easy to use and balance on the stairs, it manoeuvres easily around obstacles, it's easier than most to empty and maintain, It's lighter than average, it cleans all floor surfaces fantastically well.

Cons: On the highest suction settings it can be difficult to push and pull over some types of carpet, however, the suction settings can be adjusted to suit your strength.

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80%

Pros: This cordless vacuum is much lighter than any conventional vacuum, it's very easy to use, excels in areas that corded vacuum cleaners can be more cumbersome in (such as cleaning stairs, at various heights and in hard-to-reach places).

Cons: Limited battery life, expensive, cleaning power is not as good as the very best corded vacuum cleaners.

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78%

Pros: Lighter than average, its tools and attachments make it incredibly versatile, easy to clean upholstery and at various heights, easy to maintain and empty, excellent cleaning around the home

Cons: It doesn't suck up larger debris as well as it does fine dust.

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71%

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Table note: Prices and availability correct as of March 2016. For today's best prices, see our full vacuum cleaner reviews.

Choosing an easy-to-use vacuum cleaner

Ideally, before buying one of the above vacuum cleaners, you should try it out in the shop so you can really get a sense of whether it’s right for you. Here’s what to think about:

How heavy is it?

The lightest vacuums are half the weight of the heaviest. We’ve found vacuum cleaners that weigh just 4.5kg and ones that are a hefty 8.9kg. 

It’s worth trying to actually lift, pull and push the vacuum cleaner around if you can, to see just how light it feels.

Is it comfortable to hold and use?

Check that the handle, as well as attachments, such as the hose, are easy to grip. If you think you might need to use two hands to carry it, find a handle that allows for this.

Make sure it’s easy to get the floorhead under furniture and into awkward corners - this is something we test in our labs and that our selected models have excelled at.

Unless your home is small, you’ll need a vacuum cleaner with a long reach (the distance from the plug to the end of the floorhead or nozzle), so you don't have to switch plug sockets to often. A long nozzle and attachments will enable you to reach up high or under furniture to clean.

Are the controls simple and easy to operate?

Controls should be easy to press with a light touch and should ideally be raised from the main body.

Markings should be large and contrast well with the background so they stand out - see if you are happy with how easy it is to read the controls on the model you've chosen.

Can it be easily stored and reassembled?

Look at how all of the attachments fold away or are stored.

Also check if the attachments are fiddly to get back out. They shouldn’t be tricky to attach or change, and you shouldn’t need to use force.  

How easy is it to remove and change the bag and filter?

Try removing and re-attaching the filter so you can see how easy it is to empty. We found this was effortless to do with one of the vacuum cleaners featured here.

You can find out more about choosing the best vacuum cleaner by reading our guide to buying a vacuum cleaner, and by looking at our vacuum cleaner glossary.

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Easy-to-use vacuum cleaners - our research

To find the easiest-to-use vacuum cleaners for those with a little less strength, or difficulty with dexterity or sight, we narrowed down all the vacuum cleaners we've tested to look only at the lightest models.

We then looked at which scored four or more stars for overall ease of use, then manoeuvrability and the ease of emptying the bag/canister and filter. Finally, we only chose vacuums that achieved an overall score of more than 70% in our lab tests.

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