The Insider Pick:
- Cords are a pain — especially when you’re trying to vacuum. Cordless vacuums keep gaining in popularity, and the Dyson V6 is the best one you can buy with its powerful suction, reasonable battery life, and helpful accessories.
Not many people like cleaning, but it’s still something that has to get done. Of course, just because you may not enjoy cleaning, that doesn’t mean you should try to find ways to make it as painless as possible. Perhaps the first step in doing so is ensuring that you have tools that actually work.
A great vacuum can make a world of difference when you’re trying to suck up that dirt and animal hair. Many prefer the convenience of the cordless vacuum, which eliminates the annoyance of being tethered to a much-too-short cord that limits where your vacuum can reach.
Getting rid of a tether isn’t the only reason to choose a cordless vacuum. Normally, cordless vacuums are also a little lighter than their wired counterparts and they’re quicker to set up and tear down, so you can get the house tidied up quickly if you’re on a time crunch.
So what should you look for in a cordless vacuum? Well, because there is no cord, these vacuums rely on battery power, so you’ll want to ensure that the battery can last long enough for you to clean the house. Normally, batteries last anywhere between 15 and 40 minutes, and for most, that will be enough to clean the carpet in the house, but those with larger homes should look for something with longer battery life.
You should also consider things like weight, included accessories and extensions, and whether or not the vacuum can clean hardwood floors or just carpets.
As for the appeal of cordless vacuums? Anyone who’s ever had their ankles tangled up while vacuuming, or has gotten to the end of a room only to run out of cord, knows the pain. We’ve done the research to find the very best cordless vacuums you can buy.
Here are our top picks for the best cordless vacuum cleaners:
- Best cordless vacuum overall: Dyson V6
- Best cordless vacuum for pet owners: Shark Navigator Freestyle
- Best cordless vacuum for under $75: Bissell Lift-Off
- Best high-end cordless vacuum: Dyson V8 Absolute
- Best cordless vacuum that’s a full-size crossover: Hoover Air Lift
- Best cordless vacuum for small spaces: Hoover Cruise Ultra-Light Stick
Updated by Malarie Gokey on 07/11/2018: Updated prices and formatting. Added a pick for small spaces.
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best cordless vacuum overall
Why you’ll love it: The Dyson V6 is a powerhouse of a vacuum, offering a high level of versatility and a super light design.
Dyson is a household name in the vacuum business, and for good reason. The company has built a reputation of delivering powerful, high-quality vacuums. Sure, Dyson vacuums aren’t always the cheapest vacuums out there, but if you can swing it, the extra cash may be well worth it.
The Dyson V6 is one of Dyson’s premium cordless vacuum models, and even though it’s older, it’s still excellent, and it costs less at $250. If you want to spend a bit more for more battery life and cleaning power, get the V7 for $330 or V8 for $430. You can also opt for the latest model, the V10, but it costs between $450 and $700.
However, we think the Dyson V6 is still the best for most peoplebecause it gives you a lot of value and cleaning power for a decent price.
For starts, the vacuum is highly versatile. Not only is it great for picking up the dirt around the house, but it’s also pretty good at getting animal hair and carpet fluff. That’s largely owed to the range of accessories that you’ll get with the vacuum – like the long arm attachment, which will help you get to those hard-to-reach spots.
The vacuum also comes with two different cleaner heads – one for hard floors and one for carpet. While you will have to pause to switch out the heads in the middle of cleaning, it does mean you can clean your entire house with the vacuum.
When it comes to battery life, the Dyson V6 lasts 20 minutes, and unlike some other vacuums, which slowly decrease in power as the battery dies, you’ll get full power for the entire 20 minutes until the vacuum shuts off altogether. That battery life may not be big enough for some larger houses, but it should be plenty for apartments and standard-sized houses.
Apart from the somewhat short battery life, there are some downsides to consider. Like the fact that the vacuum has a small-ish dust capacity. Still, the vacuum has gotten excellent reviews: Trusted Reviews gave it a nice 9/10, while Expert Reviews awarded it a full five stars. It was The Wirecutter’s top pick for cordless vacuum cleaners, too. Dyson offers a two-year warranty, too.
If you’re looking for the Cadillac of cordless vacuum cleaners, your search will end with Dyson. Devotees of this brand swear it’s the most powerful product in its category, but there’s a hefty price to pay for top quality, making this an investment that only people who truly enjoy vacuuming (yes, there are some of you out there) will go for.
Pros: Very versatile, can clean both hard floors and carpet, relatively light
Cons: Somewhat short battery life, small dust capacity, relatively expensive
Buy the Dyson V6 Absolute Cord-free Vacuum on Amazon for $248 (originally $299.99)
The best cordless vacuum for pet owners
Why you’ll love it: The Shark Navigator Freestyle is great for both standard cleanups and for sucking up pet fur.
Perhaps the only thing worse for your floors than crumb-dropping kids is hair-shedding pets. But not to worry, the Shark Bagless Navigator Freestyle will restore your floors to furball-free status in minutes.
Pet owners face a special kind of necessary cleanup, and a good vacuum can mean a world of difference in making that cleanup a quick and easy process. The Shark Navigator Freestyle has been highly rated for all kinds of uses, but it’s especially good at cleaning up rogue pet fur.
The Shark Navigator Freestyle stands out among other cordless vacuums with its ability to easily swivel around furniture and other household items. The vacuum is also relatively lightweight, and instead of a bag, the vacuum has a large dust cup, which is easy to take off and empty.
The Shark Navigator Freestyle is also pretty well-built. It features rubberized wheels to help minimize any scratching on hard floors, and the battery, which will run for around 17 minutes, is replaceable – so if it eventually wears out you won’t have to get rid of the vacuum altogether. It also has a one-year warranty.
What makes this vacuum stand out from others in its category is the longer run time it gets (nearly an hour), and that it only take four hours to recharge.
There are a few negative things to consider about the vacuum before you buy. For example, the vacuum is somewhat bulky despite being light, and it doesn’t come with any attachments to clean up areas above the ground – this is a ground-only vacuum.
Pros: Easy swivel, well-built, replaceable battery, relatively inexpensive
Cons: Relatively short battery life, no above-ground attachments
Buy the Shark Bagless Navigator Freestyle Cordless Stick Vacuum on Amazon for $92.49 (originally $129.99)
The best cordless vacuum for less than $75
Why you’ll love it: The Bissell Lift-Off vacuum doesn’t just fold up for easy storage – it’s also usable on hard floors and carpets for an excellent price.
Looking for a cordless vacuum on a pretty tight budget? The Bissell Lift-Off cordless vacuum may not be the most powerful one out there, but for those with small apartments, it might be the perfect option.
The vacuum features a brushroll that you can turn on or off, so it’s capable of vacuuming both carpets and hardwood floors. On top of that, the vacuum features a 2-in-1 design, so you can detach part of it to use as a standalone hand vacuum, which you can then use for sucking up crumbs on the couch, spider webs, and more. That design also helps the vacuum fold up easily, which is perfect for small storage places.
You do get what you pay for, and as mentioned, this vacuum is cheap. While the company doesn’t officially list the battery life, don’t expect it to be all that long, and don’t expect it to be all that powerful, either.
Still, if you’re looking to clean up a small apartment and don’t want to spend much, then you can get this one on Amazon for less than $70. Bissell offers a two-year warranty, too.
Pros: Cheap, folds up, detachable hand vacuum, usable on both carpet and hard floors
Cons: Not very powerful, likely short battery life
Buy the Bissell Lift-Off vacuum on Amazon for $60.25 (originally $64.52)
The best expensive cordless vacuum
Why you’ll love it: If you have a larger home to clean, the Dyson V8 Absolute steps battery life up to 40 minutes, so you can clean the whole house in one go.
The Dyson V6 may be our pick for best vacuum, but if you want a newer high-end version with longer battery life, look no further than the Dyson V8 Absolute. This vacuum is both highly powerful and has a monstrous battery life, making it the perfect choice for people with larger homes that might take a little longer to clean.
The V8 Absolute will last 40 minutes on a single charge, though Dyson says it’ll only last 25 minutes with the motorized floor tool attached to it. It’s also usable on both hard floors and carpets, so you can make full use of that 40-minute battery life by cleaning your whole home.
Trusted Reviews, Expert Reviews, and T3 all awarded the V8 Absolute 5 stars, citing the excellent battery life and the vacuum’s ability to get into every nook and cranny of your home. The Wirecutter calls it the best cordless vacuum cleaner upgrade, and says it offers “unmatched power.”
You will pay for all of these features, though. The vacuum comes at a hefty $430 on Amazon, which is a lot to pay for a vacuum. You can also opt for the latest model, the V10, but it costs between $450 and $700.
Pros: Extremely powerful, plenty of attachments, long battery life
Buy the Dyson V8 Absolute on Amazon for $429 (originally $499.99)
The best cordless vacuum that’s a full-size crossover
Why you’ll love it: The Hoover Air Lift Cordless vacuum looks like a full-size vacuum, and it comes with plenty of accessories and features – like two batteries.
Looking to go cordless, but don’t like the smaller design of all the others on this list? You’ll forget you’re using a cordless vacuum (apart from the convenience of no cord) with the Hoover Air cordless vacuum.
From the front, the Air looks just like any other full-size vacuum, and it has the accessories to match. The vacuum even comes with a second battery. Each of those batteries lasts around 25 minutes, and while you will have to switch it out mid-cleaning if you go over 25 minutes, in total, you’ll get a hefty 50 minutes of use out of it.
While full-size, the vacuum is lightweight enough to satisfy most people. As you would expect from a vacuum of this size, the Hoover Air has a brushroll on the bottom, meaning it can be used for both the carpet and the hard floors.
It’s gotten good reviews, too. PCMag gave the vacuum a nice 4/5 stars, while CNET awarded it 7.6/10. Part of the attractiveness of this vacuum also comes in the form of its warranty, which lasts five years.
Pros: Two batteries, full-size, lots of accessories, 2 filters
Cons: Expensive, have to switch batteries for full 50 minutes
Buy the Hoover Air Lift Cordless Vacuum on Amazon for $142.95 (originally $299)
Buy the Hover Air Cordless Vacuum at Home Depot for $139
The best cordless vacuum for small spaces
Why you’ll love it: The Hoover Cruise Cordless Ultra-Light Stick Vacuum can transform from a full vacuum to a handheld vacuum on demand.
If you don’t have a huge space to clean, Hoover’s Cruise Cordless Ultra Light Stick Vacuum is a great buy (especially when on sale for $99.99). It comes with a number of different attachments, so it can be used as a full vacuum, a handheld one, or a vacuum for hard-to-reach spots.
In the box, you get a detachable hand vacuum, multi-floor brushroll, upholstery tool, dusting brush, and crevice tool. You can use the long tube attachment to elongate the vacuum and reach up high with little effort. The heart of the vacuum can be used as a handheld vacuum, which is very convenient. I use it as a hand vacuum quite often to remove cat hair and other small messes.
All the attachments and the small physical size of the vacuum make it easy to store. It’s great for apartment dwellers who don’t have room for a giant vacuum. I use this vacuum in my one-bedroom apartment, and it’s perfect for my needs.
Obviously, if you have a full house, this small vacuum and its shorter battery life won’t cut it. Hoover says you get 45 minutes of runtime, but Good Housekeeping only got about 20. I’ve found the runtime to vary depending on what surfaces you use it on, but it charges quickly. — Malarie Gokey
Pros: Many attachments, can be used in different ways, lightweight, affordable, good with pet hair
Cons: Short battery life
Buy the Hoover Cruise Cordless Ultra-Light Stick Vacuum on Amazon for $99.99 (originally $179.99)
Buy the Hoover Cruise Cordless Ultra-Light Stick Vacuum at Target for $99.99 (originally $179.99)
Check out our guides to more great vacuum cleaners
The best vacuum cleaners under $300
We combed through top consumer product review websites, Amazon bestsellers, and feedback from vacuum owners to whittle down the many inexpensive vacuum cleaners out there to the five we feel are the best.
These are the best vacuums you can buy for less than $300:
- Bets overall: Shark Navigator Lift-Away
- Best for pets: Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Pet Vacuum
- Best canister vacuum: Eureka Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum
- Best cordless stick vacuum: Hoover Platinum Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum
- Best hand vacuum: Black & Decker Cordless Lithium Hand Vac
- Best robot vacuum: Eufy RoboVac 11S
The best robot vacuums you can buy
Vacuuming is a real pain, but robot vacuum cleaners can suck up the dust for you. You can get robot vacuums for as little as $220, but the high-end models run up to $1,000 or more. We tested out a number of highly reviewed robot vacuums that run the gamut from $220 to $900. We also included a $170 robot mop and duster in our guide because it’s a great vacuum alternative for basic cleaning.
Here are the best robot vacuums you can buy:
- Best overall: iRobot Roomba 690
- Best under $250: Eufy RoboVac 11S
- Best connected vacuum: Neato Botvac Connected
- Best for big homes: iRobot Roomba 960
- Best self-navigating vacuum: Electrolux Pure i9
- Best mop: iRobot Braava Jet 240 Robot Mop
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