These are the best cordless vacuum cleaners for any budget
You don’t have to go too far back to remember when cordless vacuums were hopeless, offering mediocre suction and even worse battery life. Thankfully things have changed, and you can now find designs with enough suction to rival a traditional chorded model and myriad attachments to ensure everything from the carpets, car and curtains get cleaned with ease. Here’s our pick of the best available, whatever your budget.
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WIRED Recommends: Dyson Cyclone V11 Absolute
Pros: Supreme suction; generous battery; auto cleaning mode
Cons: Price; no trigger-hold
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The king is dead, long live the king. We thought the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute was the battery powered boss to beat them all, but Dyson’s latest handheld creation is even better, although beating the best will set you back a second-hand-car-worthy £600.
Essentially the V11 Absolute (£599) offers the same multi-functional design as the V10, but Dyson has boosted the power by 20 per cent, and you can feel the extra suction, particularly on Boost mode. It’s easily as powerful as a standard wired vacuum but so much easier to use. Cleaning the stairs becomes almost pleasurable.
Battery life has also been extended to a full 60 minutes (on the lowest eco setting) which is more than enough for even the biggest home. In reality nobody normal vacuums for an hour, but the extra battery life means you don’t have to charge it every time you’ve finished using it. Dyson has included a small LCD screen which is wholly unnecessary but extremely cool and will tell you when to clean the filters, and how to clear blockages.
But the biggest improvement on show is the new high-torque motorised full-width brush head that, when clicked into place, adjusts power depending on the surface you’re cleaning, not only protecting rugs and floors from damage but maximising battery and suction.
Our only complaint – aside from the whopping outlay – is the fact you have to hold the trigger down the whole time you’re cleaning. This is fine if you’re using a Dustbuster with a 15-minute battery life, but it gets tiring after tackling a three-bed semi.
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Price: £599 | Check price on Amazon | Dyson | Currys
THE BEST CORDLESS VACUUM CLEANERS IN 2019
WIRED RECOMMENDS: DYSON CYCLONE V11 ABSOLUTE
The Cyclone V11 won’t disappoint
Price: £599 | Check price on Amazon | Dyson | Currys BEST FOR VALUE: VAX BLADE 2 MAX 40V Plenty of power for the money
Price: £249 | Check price on Amazon | Argos | John Lewis BEST FOR VERSATILITY: SHARK DUOCLEAN CORDLESS UPRIGHT This modular 3-in-1 is great for hard floors
Price: £449 | Check price on Currys | Argos | Very BEST FOR PET HAIR: GTECH PRO K9 What it lacks in style, the K9 makes up for in performance
Price: £200 | Check price on Amazon | Gtech | Argos BEST FOR WHOLE HOUSE CLEANING: AEG FX9 The closest thing to a traditional upright vac
Price: £349 | Check price on John Lewis BEST FOR BATTERY LIFE: BOSCH UNLIMITED BCS122GB Two batteries are always better than one
Price: £350 | Check price on Amazon | Currys | John Lewis
Best for value: Vax Blade 2 Max 40V
Pros: Great value, power, battery life
Cons: Limited attachments, hefty, difficult on stairs
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Three times more powerful than the next best Vax cordless cleaner, the Blade 2 Max (£249) is a brute, and while it can’t quite match the Dyson V11, it’s more than up to the deepest of shag piles. It’s heavier than most (3.1kg) but we found it extremely well balanced even when reaching up into the corners, and the lack of a trigger – on/off and power controls are on top of the handle – would be most welcome if you have stiff fingers or weak grip.
Battery life is an impressive 40 minutes (12 minutes on full power) and the motorised brush head gets deep into carpet pile for a really thorough clean, but the brushes can be turned off, which can often be better for hard floors. Obsessive cleaners will also enjoy the fact the 0.6 litre bin can be taken out, and the filter and cyclone unit fully removed for easier maintenance.
Vax are currently throwing in a £50 bundle of tools if you buy direct from them. This includes a hugely useful 1.6m stretch hose, flexible crevice tool, tough dirt tool, dusting brush and textile tool. Without the freebie your cleaning options are limited to a basic crevice tool and dusting brush, and tackling the stairs can feel a bit laborious.
Price: £249 | Check price on Amazon | Argos | John Lewis
Best for versatility: Shark DuoClean Cordless Upright
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Pros: Hard floor cleaning, modular 3-in-1 design, removable battery
Cons: Carpet cleaning, expensive
Shark’s DuoClean Cordless Upright IC160UKT is a hugely practical modular vacuum that switches easily between handheld (with hose) and a more traditional upright style, with the bulk of the 5.5kg weight near the ground making it quick to push around. It can also stand up unaided, which doesn’t sound like much, but trust us, it’s a feature worth looking for. Being able to lift the motor and bin canister away from the extendable hose also means you can get under furniture far easier than a standard upright design.
Controls on the handle give you the option of switching between hard floors and carpet, which is useful, but in truth this design is much more suited to hard surfaces and couldn’t match the Dyson when tackling carpets. It comes with a range of accessories, the best of which is a small handheld motorised brush designed to help get rid of pet hairs which also makes cleaning the stairs – pets or otherwise – extremely easy.
Battery life is rated at 50 minutes (on the lowest speeds) but crucially it’s removable and spares can be bought for £100, so you can always have a full charge if you really love cleaning.
Price: £449 | Check price on Currys | Argos | Very
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Best for pet hair: Gtech Pro K9
Pros: Battery life, suction, reach, good for allergies
Cons: Bags need changing, not the best looking
What the Gtech Pro K9 (£250) lacks in style, it makes up for with versatility; you get a 20 minute run time at full power (40 minutes standard), two powered brush bars heads (one for floors, the other upholstery) and extendable and flexible hoses, which makes it ideal for cleaning the car as well as the house. It performed admirably on carpet and hard floors, and at 2.4kg was easy enough to move about.
Unusually for a modern cordless design Gtech has kept with traditional vacuum bags, which, on the one hand means you get extended battery life and never need to go near the dust once it’s collected or clean out any filters – great for allergy sufferers – but on the other you’ll need to buy replacements (£13 for 10, good for one year) and remember to change them.
As an added trick, and something that may appeal to pet owners in particular, the K9 also comes with replaceable lavender-scented cartridges that pump out scent as you clean. It’s a gimmick, but if your dog stinks…
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Price: £200 | Check price on Amazon | Gtech | Argos
Best for whole-house cleaning: AEG FX9
Pros: Solid build, multifunctional, impressive cleaning
Cons: No mini brush bar, expensive
Hats off to AEG’s R&D department, this vacuum has some brilliant design touches, not least the three-in-one brush/crevice/upholstery tool that cuts the clutter.
The AEG FX9 (£450) is also the closest we’ve found to a traditional upright cleaner, with a rigid, extendable frame giving it a robust feel that doesn’t bend like many stick cleaners. This frame does more than add strength, it enables you to move the body up and down – adjusting the centre of gravity and making it easier to get right under beds and sofas etc. Hidden inside the frame you’ll also find a flexible hose for reaching into and up to awkward places. The FX9 doesn’t however come with a small powered brush bar, which seems amiss given the high price.
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Battery life is exceptional – clocking in at 60 minutes on the lowest setting, 30 minutes at ‘normal’ speed and 17 minutes on ‘high’. It comes with an upright docking station, while the LED headlights illuminate missed dust, even in the cleanest of houses, and the 0.7-litre bin, with washable filter, is neat and easy to empty. If you hanker for a traditional vacuum but need the versatility of handheld and battery power, this could be the model for you.
Price: £349 | Check price on John Lewis
Best for battery life: Bosch Unlimited BCS122GB
Pros: Two batteries, fast charging, great cleaning
Cons: Fiddly design, minimal accessories
With two 18v batteries supplied with the Bosch Unlimited BCS122GB (£449) – and yes, it’s also compatible with Bosch 18v power tool range – you have no excuse to run out of power mid clean, and even if you do forget to juice up, the ridiculously quick charger can do the job in just 60 minutes. Battery life is impressive, rated at 60 minutes for standard cleaning and 45 minutes if you’re using the motorised brush bar. But all the battery life in the world counts for nothing if it can’t get the carpets clean, and for the most part the Bosch does brilliantly – especially in high-power mode, where it matches the Dyson on carpet performance.
‘Normal’ power can be a bit disappointing if you’ve got kids and pets to contend with, and in our tests, we were happy to stick with 20 minutes of impressive full power, rather than dithering around and making multiple passes at the same bit of flooring.
Given the Dyson-esque price point we expected more accessories, and the lack of mini powered brush bar is a real shame as it makes deep cleaning the car and stairs far more cumbersome than it should be. The dust bin is also clunky compared to the Dyson V11, requiring you to disassemble the unit completely to empty.
Price: £350 | Check price on Amazon | Currys | John Lewis
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