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Top five cordless vacuum cleaners for 2018

By Matthew Knight

From the best cheap cordless vacuum to which Dyson is best, we recommend the top cordless vacuum cleaners to buy in 2018.

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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.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations and the models to avoid in the tables below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Best cordless vacuum cleaner

Typical price £300.00
Which? score 81%
Reviewed Oct 2017
Carpet cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Weight:
Member exclusive
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

This cordless vacuum cleans up on our tough dust and debris tests and is the joint-best cordless vacuum cleaner we have tested so far. It's great on carpets and hard floors, sucks up pet hair quickly, and the battery lasts for well over an hour. In handheld mode it’s a bit awkward to use. Overall, though, it cleans so well it's worthy of its place at the top.

Typical price £450.00
Which? score 81%
Reviewed May 2018
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Weight:
Member exclusive
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

This is the joint-best cordless vacuum cleaner we've tested. It's good at cleaning all floor types, excellent at picking up pet hair and keeps allergens safely locked up. It's a little noisy, but otherwise it's a top-notch vacuum.

Our top Dyson pick

Lowest price (in stock) £329.40
Which? score 79%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Weight:
Member exclusive
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

This cordless vacuum is a top-notch choice, and is brilliant at cleaning floors and surfaces. It's one of the few that can compete against a mains-powered equivalent. It's supremely easy to use, and simple to switch between floor and handheld cleaning modes, too.

Best-value cordless vacuum cleaner

Lowest price (in stock) £219.99
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Jul 2015
Carpet cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

This cordless vacuum cleaner has many of the benefits of the best cordless vacuum cleaner we have tested, and it's at least £100 cheaper. It may not have all the bells and whistles, but it cleans brilliantly and is easy to use, although you’ll need to make do with a few minutes less of battery life.

Best cordless vacuum for pet owners

Lowest price (in stock) £274.95
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Allergen retention:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Weight:
Member exclusive
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

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

Lowest price (in stock) £272.58
Which? score 78%
Reviewed Oct 2017
Carpet cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Laminate cleaning:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Crevice cleaning:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Large debris removal:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Hair and fibre removal:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Type (cylinder/upright):
Member exclusive
Bagged or bagless:
Member exclusive
Capacity (l):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

OK, so this isn't a cordless vacuum cleaner, but bear with us. A good cordless vacuum cleaner tends to be on the expensive side, their battery life is limited and the cleaning isn't quite yet up to the extremely high standards of the very best mains-powered equivalents, such as this one. This vacuum cleaner is a great all-rounder and has a variable suction dial that means you can dial the power up and down to suit your needs. It's not as easy to use as a cordless cleaner, and it is much heavier, but it's one of the very best vacuum cleaners we have tested.

Three cordless vacuum cleaners to avoid in 2018

There's a lot to like about the rise of 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.

Awful carpet cleaning

Lowest price (in stock) £98.00
Which? score 33%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Carpet cleaning:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Allergen retention:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Weight:
Member exclusive
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

You’ll want to avoid this dreadful cordless vacuum. On first appearances if you are just using it on a flat hard floor then you might be impressed, but ask it to do anything even slightly more challenging, such as cleaning carpets, and you will be left very disappointed. It lets lots of the dust and allergens that it does suck up straight back into your home and, to add insult to injury, it's nearly as expensive as our top-scoring options.

Cheap, but not worth it

Typical price £95.00
Which? score 32%
Reviewed Jan 2018
Carpet cleaning:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Allergen retention:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Weight:
Member exclusive
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

This shoddy cordless vacuum is one of the worst cordless vacuums we've tested. It has terrible allergy filters, it can't clean carpets or hard floors effectively and it leaves loads of dust behind in crevices.

Terrible

Typical price £30.00
Which? score 34%
Reviewed Jan 2018
Carpet cleaning:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Floorboard cleaning:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Laminate floor cleaning:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Pet hair removal:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Allergen retention:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Weight:
Member exclusive
Detachable handheld:
Member exclusive
Dust capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Charge time:
Member exclusive
Run time in minutes:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

This cordless vacuum is rubbish at cleaning carpets and hard floors and has poor allergy filters. It's cheap, but you shouldn't be tempted.

Should you go cordless in 2018?

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 £150.
  • 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.

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