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Cordless vacuum cleaners

By Matthew Knight

Smaller, lighter and without the cumbersome cable, cordless vacuum cleaners – also known as stick vacs – can make quick work of cleaning your home.

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Cordless vacuum cleaners explained

Cordless vacuum cleaners are ideal if you're looking for a light alternative to a full-size vacuum cleaner for quick clear-up jobs. Some models claim to rival the power of full-sized corded vacuums, but the biggest drawback of a cordless vacuum is the limited running time and the need to recharge them frequently. They're usually slimline and, because of their smaller size, easy to store.

We've fully tested and rated a number of the latest cordless vacuums, including the Dyson V6 and V8 range, the Gtech AirRam and the Bosch Athlet. You can see all our test results, including videos, in our cordless vacuum cleaner reviews.

Cordless vacuum cleaner checklist

If you're about to choose a cordless vacuum cleaner, here are some factors to consider.


A light vacuum cleaner

Cordless vacuum cleaners are by design lighter than a standard vacuum cleaner, but if you're in a shop it's worth picking up a few different models to compare their weight. You can also compare models' specifications and features using our cordless vacuum cleaner reviews.


Cordless vacuum cleaner prices

Prices depend on the brand and model you go for, with RRPs on the 16 cordless vacuum cleaners we've tested ranging from £100 to more than £400. The cheapest Which? Best Buy full-sized vacuum cleaner is around £100 – so, if price rather than convenience is your main priority, it could be worth comparing what you'd get for your money if you bought a full-sized corded cylinder or upright model in stead of a cordless one.


Cordless vacuum cleaner battery life

The amount of time a cordless vacuum cleaner can run for depends on the type of battery and what setting you use it on. Running times really vary – from less than 10 minutes to up to an hour – so it really depends on which cordless vacuum you get as to whether you’re likely to be able to clean an entire house with it in one go.

Bear in mind that the battery life claimed by the manufacturer is sometimes different to the actual amount of time we measured in our tests - one vacuum cleaner brand said its vacuum runs for 30 minutes, but in our tests it only lasted for 20.

20 minutes - The battery life of the Dyson V6


Extra features

There's more to some cordless vacuum cleaners than meets the eye. Some models offer different options for vacuuming carpets or wooden flooring, while the AEG Electrolux Ergorapido features a detachable handheld vac for two-in-one flexibility. Other extras to look out for include cleaning attachments, indicator lights to tell you when the vac is fully charged, and models with an easily detachable dust container for quick emptying.


Storing a cordless vacuum cleaner

Cordless vacuum cleaners are a popular choice with people who are short on storage space. Some models have extra space-saving features that could come in handy if you've got limited storage – look out for ultra-slimline models, folding or detachable handles and small charger bases no bigger than the vacuum cleaner head.


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