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1 October 2020

Which cordless vacuum brand to buy in 2020

Choose a cordless vacuum cleaner brand that lasts. Our unique survey data covers leading brands including Bosch, Dyson, Gtech and Vax, and reveals which score best in our cleaning tests, develop the least faults over time, and make their customers happy.

Blocked filters, a complete loss of suction or a faulty battery are the most common cordless vacuum problems, according to our survey of 2,832 cordless vacuum cleaner owners in the UK. 

Knowing which brands develop the most faults – and how quickly – is vital when you're buying a new vacuum cleaner. That's why each year we ask nearly 10,000 Which? members to tell us whether they're happy with their home appliances, or have experienced problems with them, in our unique reliability and customer-satisfaction survey.

Our survey data takes into account the number and severity of reported faults, and how soon they happened after buying. We've got data on all the biggest cordless vacuum cleaner manufacturers – including Bosch, Dyson, Gtech and Vax – so we can tell you which brands are worth buying, and the ones to avoid.

Cordless vs corded vacuums: which are more reliable?

In general, cordless vacuum cleaners are less reliable and develop faults sooner than traditional plug-in vacuums. If reliability and longevity are your top priorities, it's worth considering the most reliable corded vacuum cleaner brands, as our data suggests that these will outlast even the most reliable cordless models. They're usually cheaper, too.

Preventing faults: what you can do

Regular maintenance will go a long way to keeping your vacuum fault-free. It's even more crucial with cordless vacuums, which need more frequent maintenance because of their smaller dust containers. See our guide to maintaining your vacuum cleaner for step-by-step advice, with video, on how to stop your vacuum getting blocked up and losing suction. 

Best vs worst: cordless vacuum cleaner brands compared

As the table reveals, there isn't a huge difference between the most and least reliable brands. But test scores from our lab, and customer satisfaction with different brands, does vary more dramatically.

*Average test-score data based on brands we have ownership survey data for, but doesn't include some of the worst brands. Check our Don't Buy cordless vacuum cleaners for models to avoid. 

The most reliable cordless vacuum cleaner brands

The table below summarises this year’s reliability results. Brands are ranked by their customer score, which is based on how likely owners are to recommend the brand based on their experiences. The more stars for reliability, the fewer the problems reported. 

Only logged-in Which? members can view which brands are the most and least reliable, and which our members are most satisfied with, in the table below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Brand Reliability rating Reliability score Customer satisfaction score
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75% 75%
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80% 72%
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81% 71%
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80% 67%
Table notes

Based on a survey of 2,832 Which? members conducted in September 2019.

Common cordless vacuum cleaner problems

The most common problem people experience with their cordless vacuums is with the battery. This accounts for one in four of all of the faults recorded for cordless models. It's worth checking if the battery can be replaced, or looking out for a model with swappable batteries – this can buy you more cleaning time, too, although spares often cost £50 or more, so can be an expensive extra.

Blocked filters are the next most common problem. Fortunately this is also one of the easiest to fix, just by cleaning the filter. Regular cleaning will prevent the next most common problem, which is no suction at all, or deteriorated suction.

25% - faulty battery/not lasting as long as it used to

Look out for products that have easily sourced spare batteries that are easy to fit.

After a couple of years' use, the chances are the battery in a cordless vacuum will need replacing. They tend to be quite expensive, at around £50 or more.

18% - blocked filters

Blocked filters can seriously impact how well your vacuum cleaner cleans. They can also lead to the vacuum overheating, and possibly even the motor failing early.

It couldn't be easier to clean the filters on most vacs, so make sure yours are in good condition to prevent costly repairs.

12% - No suction or suction deteriorated

This could merely be a symptom of blocked filters or a clogged brush bar, or it could be a more serious issue such as a faulty motor or a blockage in the vacuum.

Restore lost suction on your cordless vacuumsee our vacuum cleaner maintenance guide for five easy steps to keeping your vac problem-free.

Which cordless vacuum cleaner brands stay fault-free for longest

The graph above shows how the brand that stays fault-free for longest compares with the worst brand, as well as the overall average. Which? members can see how brands compare for faults over a three-year period in the table below.

Cordless vacuum cleaner brands rated



Only logged-in Which? members can view which brands achieved the ratings and verdicts in the table below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access. 



Brand name % fault-free after three years
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84%
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83%
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81%
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79%
Table notes

Results based on feedback from 2,832 cordless vacuum cleaner owners, surveyed in September 2019.

How long will my cordless vacuum cleaner last?

On average, a cordless vacuum will last about five years. This is based on the experiences of Which? members who told us how long they kept their previous appliance before replacing it because of a fault. As you can see from the graph below, quite a lot of major brands' products are replaced before the five-year point. 

Which? members can login to view which cordless vacuum brands last the longest before they need to be replaced. 

How we measure cordless vacuum cleaner reliability

When calculating reliability, we categorise and take into account minor, major and catastrophic faults:

  • Minor fault – a fault that doesn't affect the product's performance significantly, or a fault that only occurs occasionally with minimal impact. This issue may be irritating or annoying, but it isn't frequently problematic and you can easily work around it. For example, if an accessory you don't use very often breaks.
  • Major fault – a fault that has a noticeable effect on the product’s performance. This fault affects how you use the product, and can be problematic. For example, if the battery life dramatically shortens over time.
  • Catastrophic fault – a fault that renders the product unusable, with the fault needing to be repaired or parts replaced before you can use it again. For example, the vacuum cleaner's motor might cut out intermittently, or not turn on at all.

Cordless vacuum cleaner brands rated

We've pulled together our reliability and customer insight for the major brands, alongside their average performance in our independent vacuum cleaner tests. Choose a brand from the list below to see all the data and get our verdict on whether it's a brand worth buying.

Bosch cordless vacuum cleaners overview table
Number tested
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Number of Best Buys
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Average test score
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Brand reliability rating
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Customer score (%)
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Typical spend
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Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested under the latest test programme and available to buy as of November 2019. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey of 278 Bosch cordless vacuum owners, conducted in September 2019. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated November 2019.
  • Find out how well Bosch vacuum cleaners score for reliability, and how Bosch fares against rival vacuum cleaner brands such as Vax and Dyson.
  • Discover whether any Bosch vacuum cleaners have impressed enough to be rated as Best Buys - or have been judged poor enough to be Don't Buys.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Dyson vacuum cleaner overview table
Number tested
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Number of Best Buys
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Average test score
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Brand reliability rating
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Customer score (%)
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Typical spend
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Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested under the latest test programme and available to buy as of November 2018. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey of 1,821 Dyson cordless vacuum owners, conducted in September 2019. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated November 2019.
  • Find out how well Dyson cordless vacuum cleaners score for reliability, and how Dyson  fares against rival cordless vacuum cleaner brands such as Bosch and Vax.
  • Discover whether any Dyson vacuum cleaners have impressed enough to be rated as Best Buys - or have been judged poor enough to be Don't Buys.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Gtech cordless vacuum cleaner overview table
Number tested
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Number of Best Buys
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Average test score
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Brand reliability rating
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Customer score (%)
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Typical spend
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Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested under the latest test programme and available to buy as of November 2019. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey of 347 Gtech cordless vacuum owners, conducted in September 2019. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated November 2019.
  • Find out how well Gtech cordless vacuum cleaners score for reliability, and how Gtech fares against rival vacuum cleaner brands such as Dyson and Vax.
  • Discover whether any Gtech vacuum cleaners have impressed enough to be rated as Best Buys - or have been judged poor enough to be Don't Buys.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Vax vacuum cleaners rated
Number tested in the past three years
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Number of Best Buys
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Average test score
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Brand reliability rating
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Customer score (%)
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Typical spend
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Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested under the latest test programme and available to buy as of November 2019. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey of 179 Vax cordless vacuum owners, conducted in September 2019. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated November 2019
  • Find out how well Vax vacuum cleaners score for reliability, and how Vax fares against rival cordless vacuum cleaner brands such as Dyson and Gtech.
  • Discover whether any Vax vacuum cleaners have impressed enough to be rated as Best Buys - or have been judged poor enough to be Don't Buys.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.

Head to our cordless vacuum cleaner reviews

How we calculate the best and worst cordless vacuum cleaner brands

Every year, we gather a wealth of information about Britain's favourite vacuum cleaner brands, both cordless and corded, through our independent testing and a survey of Which? members about the products they own. 

We crunch the numbers from our tough cleaning tests, where we test all the major cordless vacuums launched each year, to see how each brand fares on average. 

We also ask members to tell us how likely they would be to recommend a brand, based on the products they own, and how reliable they are. This year nearly 10,000 Which? members told us about more than 30,000 products. We calculate a brand's reliability and its customer score based on the results of our annual survey.

Our reliability survey, combined with our testing data, means we can give unique insight into which cordless vacuum cleaner brands are a good bet.

This data is crucial for our testing, too. If a brand falls far below the category average, we won’t recommend any of its products unless it shows a marked improvement in reliability, or the brand offers an above-average guarantee on a product that qualifies as a Best Buy based on our cleaning tests.

View all Cordless vacuum cleaners