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Too many cordless vacuums fail to bust dust

Which? tests uncover twice as many terrible cordless vacuums as good ones

Too many cordless vacuums fail to bust dust

For every good cordless vacuum cleaner we uncover during testing, we also find two so poor at cleaning we have to label them Don’t Buys to avoid.

Overall, 43 of the 121 cordless vacuums we’ve reviewed are Don’t Buys. That’s more than double the number of Best Buys – the models that ace our tests and are recommended by us for home cleaning.

We found one new Best Buy in this batch of testing, and it’s good value for a cordless vacuum too. This brilliant budget vacuum excelled at cleaning up dust and debris on all floor types in our tests.

Head to our cordless vacuum cleaner reviews to see the latest reviews and our recommended buys, plus the ones to avoid.

Why are there so many Don’t Buy cordless vacuums?

We put every cordless vacuum through a range of tough tests, assessing everything from how well they suck up fine dust and larger debris from carpets, hard floors and floorboards, to how well the battery lasts, how easy they are to use and how well they keep fine particles and allergens locked up.

So why are the Don’t Buys so bad? We dug into the data, and some common themes emerged.

Most Don’t Buy cordless vacuums just can’t handle the all-important task of carpet cleaning, and many are also rubbish at retaining fine dust, which aggravates allergies. This also means part of what you spend time and energy sucking up leaks back into your home again.

Battery life doesn’t appear to be much of a problem for these vacs though, with only 7% of them scoring badly for the length of time their batteries run for and how long they take to charge.

There’s no point being able to clean for ages if it doesn’t actually make your home cleaner.

Check the full line-up of Don’t Buy cordless vacuum cleaners to avoid in 2020 so you know the ones to steer clear of.

Are cheap cordless vacuums the problem?

Paying more isn’t a guarantee you’ll get a decent cleaner. We’ve found some expensive duds as well as the odd cheap and cheerful cordless cleaner.

However, there’s no denying that a high number of cheap cordless vacuums tend to fall down on cleaning. You’d be hard pushed to find one under £100 that cleans effectively, for example.

In the £100–£200 range you can bag a bargain if you choose carefully. We’ve found a couple of budget Best Buys, but equally there are still Don’t Buys to be wary of, and plenty of mediocre models too.

Several Don’t Buys cost more than £200, though, so there are some expensive mistakes out there you’ll want to avoid making.

Get straight to the models we recommend with our round-up of the best cordless vacuum cleaners for 2020.

Latest cordless vacuum cleaner reviews

We aim to test all the big brand launches, as well as cheaper models, own-brands and the most widely available products, so that our reviews reflect what you see on the shop shelves. We’ll tell you which budget buys are worth having, and when it’s worth paying more.

The latest cordless vacuums to be put to the test are listed below. Click on the individual links to access our reviews and find out how they fared:


Vacuum cleaner buying guide – corded or cordless? We explain how to choose the right vacuum for you.

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