Best cordless vacuum cleaners for 2020
By Matthew Knight
From the best cheap cordless vacuum to which Dyson is best, we recommend the top cordless vacuum cleaners to buy in 2020.
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.
Best cordless vacuum cleaner
This is the best cordless vacuum we've tested. It's brilliant at cleaning, has a lengthy battery life, and is really easy to use. What's more, it has nifty extras like a digital display that tells you how much cleaning time you have left, automatic suction control so you don't need to worry about changing settings when you switch surfaces, and a little accessory clip so you can take mini tools with you as you clean. Cheaper cordless vacuums also clean well, l if your budget won't stretch, but this is our top pick overall.
Best for larger homes
One of our top picks, this cordless vacuum cleans up in our tough dust and debris tests, leaving carpets and hard floors spotless. Pet hair is quickly dispatched and the battery lasts for well over an hour - handy if you've got a lot of floorspace to cover. Handheld mode is clunky, as you have to hold the vac over your shoulder with a strap, but overall it cleans so well on floors that it's worthy of a place at the top.
Best cheap cordless vacuum
This cordless vacuum is an absolute bargain and it's great at cleaning too. It's one of the best cordless vacuums you can get for less than £200. Its battery life isn't as long as some of its more expensive competition, and its filters aren't up to the very highest standards, but if it's pure cleaning grunt on carpets and hard floors you're after, then this cordless vacuum has it in spades.
Best cordless vacuum for pet owners
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
This is a bagged vacuum cleaner, and it's the best we've tested under the current test programme. It’s great at cleaning on carpets and in crevices, it has great allergy filters and it cleans up pet hair easily too. It’s also one of the quietest vacuums we've tested and it has an adjustable suction dial, which makes cleaning on different surfaces a doddle. On its highest setting, it's tough to push on plush carpets, but if you reduce the power it skims easily over the carpet, and still cleans brilliantly too.
Recommendations last updated: November 2019
Would a corded stick vacuum suit you better?
Corded stick vacuum cleaners have some of the benefits of cordless vacs. They have the same slim and lightweight design, with a compact handheld cleaning unit, but they plug in so you don’t need to worry about battery life.
They tend to be cheaper than cordless models, and because they don’t have heavy batteries, they can be lighter too.
Shark is the main brand that makes this type of vacuum, so if you like the sound of it, head to our Shark vacuum cleaner reviews, to see how these vacs measure up on cleaning power.
Three cordless vacuum cleaners to avoid
There's a lot to like about 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.
This is a genuinely awful vacuum. It's rubbish at cleaning carpets, and it's not much cop for floorboards either, leaving dust behind in the crevices. To top it off it has poor allergen filters, so dust can leak back into your home. We wouldn't recommend it.
This Pifco is one of the worst we've ever tested for carpet cleaning. It’s awful at sucking up hair and fibres too, and has some of the least effective filters of any vacuum we've tested, meaning that the dust you do manage to suck up can leak back out into the room again.
Opting for well-known brand, or spending more, won't guarantee you avoid a dud. We've found pricey cordless vacuums and models from the big brands that fail to make the grade. See our full list of Don't Buy cordless vacuums for the models to steer clear of.
Should you go cordless?
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 £100.
- 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.