Some of the vacuum cleaners we’ve looked at recently have brilliant problem-solving features that make cleaning much easier. So, if you have issues with your current vac, you’ll definitely find a solution in the round-up that follows.
When you check out our round-up, you’ll notice that now most of our top-rated vacuum cleaners are cordless. That’s not only because cordless cleaners can do pretty much everything that a corded cleaner can, but also because that’s where companies are focusing their energies – so that’s where the innovations are.
At least three of the cordless vacuum cleaners in our top ten would be highly recommended even for people with large homes. A vacuum cleaner with a removable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery is key to making a cordless work for you if you live in a big place. However, we’d recommend you invest in a second battery so you don’t run out of juice mid-clean.
If you want some tips on specs and terminology to help you make your choice, have a look at the guide that follows after our top ten rundown. We also have a round-up of the best vacuum cleaner deals currently available, if you know what you want and are in search of a discount.
The best vacuum cleaners
1. Halo Capsule
This is a great product, at a great price, particularly when compared to market-leading brands. Capsule is an independently-designed and produced vacuum cleaner, the creation of an engineer with two decades of industry experience.
Cordless, manoeuvrable and very light at 2.6kg – thanks to its carbon-fibre shell – it has the power of an upright and some very nice design features that set it apart from competitors.
Its specs are also an improvement on rival products’. Capsule needs three hours to charge its lithium-ion batteries and after that will run for at least half an hour without a loss of suction. It also has a dust-collection capacity of 1.6 litres.
It is recommended for smaller homes, flats or as a versatile handheld.
Read our full Halo Capsule review
2. Samsung Powerstick Jet
This vacuum cleaner is our recommended all-rounder. It has everything. And then more stuff. It’s even got a mop attachment that – in a surprising break from tradition – works brilliantly. As well as being designed for every type of cleaning you can imagine, it’s also light, comfortable to use and has a long battery life.
While people with larger homes may think that a cordless is not for them, the Powerstick Jet could change their minds. It’s powerful enough that, even on its lowest setting, it can give a really deep clean. It also has space to charge a second battery (which you’ll need to buy separately), so if you run out of power before you finish, you can swap them out and keep going.
This isn’t a vacuum cleaner for minimalists. You’ll need space to store its large stand and attachments but if you can find such a spot, it’ll amply reward you with its usefulness and flexibility.
Read our full Samsung Powerstick Jet review
3. Dyson V11 Absolute
The V11 is an iterative update on the Cyclone V10 in terms of pure power, but a more substantial one when it comes to user experience.
Silly as it may sound, the introduction of an LCD screen on the handle is a genuine innovation, giving live battery updates and troubleshooting advice on the go. The High Torque head’s Auto mode is also ideal for those of us used to ploughing ahead with the same old attachment no matter the surface, with the V11 now capable of making up for our laziness.
The extra suction power is welcome, but with minimal battery improvements and extra weight compared to previous models this might not win over anyone yet to be convinced by cordless.
At the end of the day, this is without a doubt the current best cordless vacuum on the market, but at this price it would have to be, and for most people the company’s cheaper rivals will do the job just as well. And with the Auto mode strictly Absolute-only (in the UK) there’s really no reason to go for the cheaper Animal model.
Read our full Dyson V11 Absolute review
4. Miele TriFlex HX1 (Dog & Cat)
This high-quality cleaner would be an excellent option for people with larger homes who are looking to replace their upright with something cordless. However, we’d recommend investing in a second battery, or buying the Pro model (£679), which comes with one.
The TriFlex is a high-quality, solidly-built appliance that we would expect to last for a very long time. As a trade-off, it’s heavier than the V11 and the Powerstick Jet. This isn’t an issue in Comfort mode, which is where the TriFlex really comes into its own and beats the competition hands-down (and, in fact, hands-off). It bears its own weight and will stand up by itself, unlike other stick cleaners, so has all of the advantages of an upright cleaner, without the cord.
However, in its Range and Compact modes, it’s a little heavier than competing stick/ handheld cleaners. But if you want a replacement for an upright, with the versatility you need to clean upholstery, blinds and curtains, the TriFlex is our recommended option.
Read our full Miele TriFlex HX1 (Dog & Cat) review
5. Tineco Pure One S12
The Tineco Pure One S12 is one of our favourite vacuum cleaners, offering a combination of a sleek design, lightweight body a range of easy-to-swap accessories. The vacuum cleaner also stands out due to the inclusion of trigger activation, allowing you to easily turn the vac off and on mid-clean to save battery life where you can, and there’s also a lock for those that don’t get on with it.
But, of course, it’s the cleaning performance that really matters, and the Pure One S12 generally excels in that department too. The motorised brush head is compatible with both carpet and hardwood floors, helping to get up ingrained dirt and hairs – but that’s not the best part.
The Pure One S12 comes with an iLoop system that intelligently analyses how much dirt and dust is being picked up and automatically adjusts suction power. It saves battery life and allows the vacuum cleaner to operate at relatively low volumes most of the time.
With two removable batteries offering a combined 100 minutes of use during auto mode, it should be more than enough to clean most homes, and the included accessories allow you to tackle just about any environment.
Admittedly it is one of the more premium options on the market, and certainly in our chart, but you really do get what you pay for with the Pure One S12.
Read our full Tineco Pure One S12 review
6. Dyson Cyclone V10
The Cyclone V10 is undeniably a phenomenal cordless vacuum, and likely as close as anyone’s gotten yet to killing cords for good. It packs more than enough oomph to justify the steep price, with three power settings, multiple attachments, and a slick design with added options like wall-mounting.
The hour-long battery life (less on higher speeds) isn’t quite enough to clean a big house top-to-bottom, and the weight will also be an issue if you’re trying to clean for that long anyway, but for most people this will be plenty.
Just stick to the Animal model, and resist paying over the odds for unnecessary add-ons in the Absolute and Total Clean versions.
Read our full Dyson Cyclone V10 review
7. Philips SpeedPro Max
The Philips SpeedPro Max is an excellent cordless vacuum, which is at a similarly high level to Dyson’s Cyclone V10.
There’s little to choose between the two with features like a modular design, powerful suction and three speed settings. We like the LED headlights here and the runtime is slightly longer but not enough to make a difference.
The Dyson narrowly pips it due to being cheaper and actually coming with more attachments.
Read our full Philips SpeedPro Max review
8. Hoover H-Free 500
For a reasonable price, the Hoover H-Fee 500 is a decent little stick vacuum. And we mean little as this thing is really lightweight and packs away in a cleverly compact transformer-like way.
Like others it offers a modular system so you can clean in different ways and access various areas. We find it very versatile and reasonably powerful, too.
However, the turbo mode will only give you eight minutes of cleaning and with an average of 25 minutes it’s not very long. This combined with a small dustbin means it’s more suited to flats and small homes. You might want to consider an Energy model which comes with an extra battery.
Read our full Hoover H-Free 500 review
9. Gtech HyLite
If you’ve got pets in the house (or just some seriously shaggy carpets) then the Gtech HyLite won’t have the power to keep up. Similarly, if you’re lucky enough to live in a mansion then it might not make it all the way round thanks to just 20 minutes of battery life.
But for everyone else this is an affordable contender at just £200, combining an astonishingly compact design with a lightweight modular build, and an eco-friendly design ethos that should help ease your guilt next time you sneak some recycling into the regular rubbish.
This is proof that good things come in small packages.
Read our full Gtech HyLite review
10. Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away Upright NV801UK
A good deal if you can find it on sale, the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away NV801UK is a mouthful but one of the better vacuum cleaners available in the UK today.
Excellent on hardwood floor and carpet, the versatility of the Lift Away system, means it’s a one-size-fits-all cleaner to have around the home for floors, under furniture and even curtains.
It’s easy to manoeuvre and not very heavy, and doesn’t do much wrong at all – all with a five-year guarantee. A fine if pricey buy.
Read our full Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away Upright NV801UK review
How we test our vacuum cleaners
Rather than performing a series of tests in lab-style conditions, we take the vacuum cleaners home and try them out. We keep products for several weeks and use all of their functions in as many situations as we can, so we can give you an honest evaluation of how well they’ll work in your life.
We think that’s how you get to know the advantages and annoyances of each model.
We then compare the vacuum cleaners by their specs and come up with an overall rating that reflects where we believe they sit in the marketplace and how much easier they’ll make your life.
What to look out for when you’re buying
Weight: The lightest cordless vac we’ve tested is the Halo Capsule, at 2.6kg, but anything below 3kg is likely to be comfortable to use.
Running time: The best cordless cleaners, using lithium-ion batteries, will promise up to an hour on a single charge. This is on the lowest setting, without motorised attachments. On a medium setting, you’ll be lucky to get half an hour. On a high setting, your charge will only last 5-6 minutes.
One of the innovations from new, top-of-the-line cordless cleaners like those from Dyson, Samsung and Miele is removable lithium-ion batteries that can be charged separately. With another battery ready to go, you can instantly double your cleaning time.
Bag or bagless? Bagless is characteristic of most high-end vacuum cleaners now. It’s certainly the more environmentally-friendly choice. However, if you are dust-sensitive, go for a bagged vacuum cleaner, as much less dust will escape during disposal.
Samsung’s new cordless Jet range comes with a bin that empties itself. You simply slot it into the stand and avoid the dust cloud. (Although, as we haven’t tested it yet, we are wondering how you then empty the backup bin.)
Charging time: Four hours is decent. Anything less than this is very good.
HEPA filter: This is the gold standard. HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters must trap 99.97% of particulates that are 3 microns or larger. (A human hair is 50-70 microns thick.) If you have a HEPA filter with a bagless cleaner, don’t forget that you’ll still have to empty it, which will release some of the dust back into the air.
Capacity: Two litres is good for a corded cylinder. Cordless cleaners have significantly less, meaning you have to take breaks to empty the bin more frequently. A cordless Dyson will give you 0.76L of space and some of its competitors only 0.5L.
Suction: Manufacturers can be cagey about this and with good reason, as it’s hard to quantify. Cleaners with a long distance between the motor and the vacuum head use more power to create the same suction. Measurements will either be in W – Watts (not very accurate) or AW – Air Watts (better but controversial). As a rough guide, a good cordless may have 100+ AW, a good upright 250+ and a good cylinder 300+.
Accessories: Manufacturers often have different versions of the same model, and these will come with different accessory sets. Any Dyson product that has ‘Animal’ after the name will have a specialist cleaning head that’s optimised to pick up pet fur. The equivalent Miele cordless is called the ‘Dog & Cat’ version. Meanwhile, Dyson’s ‘Absolute’ cleaners will come with all of the accessories (minus the pet hair cleaning head). The Miele equivalent is the Pro.
If there’s an accessory in particular you’re after, you can often buy it separately from the manufacturer’s website.
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