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Cordless vacuum ‘revolution’ sees sales soar by 66%

Should you take the plunge with a cordless vacuum?

Bosch Athlet vacuum cleaner

The Bosch Athlet is one of the new breed of cordless vacuums

Upright cordless vacuums now account for 16% of all vacuum cleaner sales by value, thanks to flurry of launches from big brands including Bosch, Dyson and Vax over the last few months.

Sales of the slimline battery-powered models have increased by a staggering 66% according to market research firm GFK, with growth mainly being seen in the premium £200+ end of the market which suggests that many of us are trading up from traditional upright and cylinder cleaners to cordless rivals.

Best Buy cordless vacuums – see which models Which? recommends.

Cordless vacuums vs corded

Although many cordless vacuums cost less than normal vacs – the Morphy Richards 73200 Supervac and 731000 Cordless 2-in-1 are only around £100 for example – some are nearer triple that price. The latest Dyson V6 Fluffy will set you back a cool £400, while Bosch’s Athlet cordless cleaners cost more than £200.

Our independent lab tests have shown that several of the cheaper models fail to deliver decent cleaning power – but while quality generally rises with price, spending more on the most expensive models doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a top-class cleaner either. In fact, if you’re after an all-round deep clean, we think you’re still better off with a corded model.

But where cordless vacuums really beat traditional vacuums is the convenience factor. Cordless vacuum cleaners tend to be much lighter and easier to use, so they’re much quicker to grab for a quick blitz when you’re in a hurry. Some come with docking stations which keep them charged and easily on hand when you need them.

And of course, without a cord you won’t have to switch plug sockets when you move between rooms and cordless vacuums are easier to take out to the car or to more far-flung corners of your home.

You are limited by battery life though. Our tests show that some cordless vacuums last less than eight minutes on a full charge, and the best 37 minutes. Most are fine for quick pick up jobs, but as the average Which? member takes 36 minutes to clean all the way around the house, only a few corded models will last the distance.

Latest cordless vacuum cleaners

Dyson V6 Fluffy, £400

Launched earlier this month, the V6 Fluffy is one of Dyson’s new-for-2015 models. Its name is inspired by its fluffy spinning floorhead that’s designed for picking up fine dust and large debris from hard floors. At £400 it’s right at the top end of the market in terms of price, so we’ve tested it at the Which? test lab soon to see if it’s worth the extra money. 

Find out if it makes the Best Buy grade in our full Dyson V6 Fluffy review.

Black and Decker SVFV3250L 2-in-1 Floor Vac, £250

The SVFV3250L is part of a new range of cordless vacuum cleaners from Black & Decker. It uses a technology called Ora, which stands for optimised runtime and airflow.

Black and Decker claims that the vacuum cleaner can tackle heavier debris on any surface and won’t lose suction between charges. It has a removable handheld vacuum cleaner, a pet tool for removing cat and dog hair from furniture, a combi-nozzle with fold-out brush and a long crevice tool for reaching small spaces.

Find out our first impressions in our Black and Decker SVFV3250L review.

Bosch Athlet BCH61840GB, £240

Launched in 2014, this Bosch is a bagless and battery-powered vacuum that comes with a multi-floor floorhead, but no extras such as an upholstery tool or a flexible hose for getting into tighter spaces. It also has a display to show you how much battery power you have remaining so you aren’t surprised when it cuts out. At 3.2kg, its weight is average for a cordless vacuum but a lot lighter than a corded model.

Read our full Bosch Athlet BCH61840GB review to see how it fared in our tough lab tests.

Gtech AirRAM AR02, £200

While not strictly new, this Gtech was one of the original models to spark the cordless vacuum cleaner revolution. Gtech claims this cordless cleaner has all you need to completely replace a corded model, and it also makes some ambitious claims about battery life and cleaning power. Does it live up to the hype? 

Read our full test lab Gtech AirRam AR02 review to find out.

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