Best cordless vacuum cleaners 2021: Tested and rated picks from Dyson, Roborock, Shark and more

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(Pocket-lint) - After testing and reviewing the best cordless vacuum cleaners, our Top Pick is the Dyson V11. Other devices we recommend are the Roborock H7, SharkAnti Hair Wrap Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner, Dyson V15 Absolute Detect and Dyson V8.


Cordless vacuums are different beasts from their cable-toting predecessors, with some of the top models now making it incredibly easy to help keep on top of dust and dirt in the home.

With many people still married to their corded model, though, or perhaps wary of the pitfalls that this new and exciting frontier of home upkeep holds, the Pocket-lint team has been hard at work. To help you choose the right path, we've been testing all the latest and greatest devices - and, below, offer up some key things to consider before you make a final decision.

The set of cordless vacuums featured in this article have all been put through the rigours of day-to-day life; being asked to clean up everything from spills on a hard floor to crumbs and debris found in carpets. All the while, we were able to rate their cleaning chops, stretch battery performance and figure out just how easy each is to wield.

This way, you're able to figure out if it's the right device before popping it in your basket. And given that we've been rating vacuums since they first dropped the cord - overseeing everything from the battery-weak initial designs right through to the attachment-laden cleaning monsters on the market today - we're expertly placed to inform your buying decision.

With all that said, it's time to detail our top recommendations. Below, you'll discover a mix of designs, power, and budgets that should hopefully suit what you're looking for.

Best cordless vacuum cleaner: Our Top Pick

Pocket-lint

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Dyson V11

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For

  • Improved cleaning performance over the Dyson V10
  • LCD screen is very handy
  • Plenty of power modes

Against

  • Can't charge and use concurrently
  • Bin can be awkward to empty
  • Expensive

Dyson's V11 is the latest and greatest in the British company's cordless vacuum range, and it's fair to say that in use it feels like a bit of a Rolls-Royce.

This is a cordless vacuum that feels as powerful as you could want, and we didn't once experience it running out of juice during a whole-home sweep.

It's got better battery life and superior performance to the already-tremendous V10, which was also considered for this list.

If you're after a solution that can replace your corded vacuum, or simply act as the ultimate upgrade on your current cordless vacuum, the V11 is as well-crafted and reliable as we've ever tested.

The only true downside is the price, but it's still easily our top pick for the best cordless vacuum.

Cordless vacuum cleaners we also recommend

Here are four other cordless vacuum cleaners you should also consider.

Shark

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Shark Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

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For

  • Ingenius brush design
  • Flexible stick works a treat
  • Good array of power modes

Against

  • Still relatively expensive
  • Lights can't be turned off
  • More svelte models out there

Shark's vacuum is a really impressive number and is more affordable than Dyson's premium offerings by a margin. That said, this is still a pretty premium offering. 

It's got superb suction and a really smart set of brushes that cleverly avoid that all-too-familiar tangle of hair. The vacuum also folds down brilliantly and those folding joints mean it's easy to run it under furniture, too. 

Depending on what you need, you can opt for versions with a motorised pet-hair attachment and extra batteries to get you more runtime.

It's a brilliant vacuum that we've used around the home frequently since our initial review, and it rarely fails us.

Pocket-lint

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Dyson V15 Absolute Detect

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For

  • Anti-tangle hair screw is brilliant
  • Laser Detect works well in darker spaces
  • Excellent accessories

Against

  • Extremely costly
  • Laser Detect is semi-gimmicky
  • Better value in other Dyson models

If you're looking for the best out-and-out cleaner on this list, you've found it. 

But there's a big downside - the price - that holds it back from being our top pick. It does boast a really cool feature in its head, with Laser Detect allowing you to see dirt on hard floors, but, for most people, the V8 or V11 is the better cleaner

In particular, the V11 offers most of what the V15 does at a much more palatable price point. For those for whom money is no object, though, we can't recommend the cleaning capabilities of the V15 enough. 

Pocket-lint

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Roborock H7

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For

  • Powerful cleaning
  • Magnetic attachments
  • Large dirt bin

Against

  • No soft roller brush
  • Dirt bin hard to empty properly
  • Can't override carpet detection feature

Roborock's H7 didn't especially blow us away in any particular area, but it did handily fight off some stiff mid-tier competition to make it into our top selections.

As with the company's robot vacuums, the H7 provides a very complete package and represents solid value for money. That doesn't mean it's cheap, either, but it always felt like it was able to justify the price tag.

We'd really like to have seen a soft roller included, and it should be slightly easier to empty - currently, you have to put your hand or another implement in to get the dirt out - but the cleaning experience more than makes up for these shortcomings. 

For us, the standout elements are the magnetic attachments and the option to use a dirt bag. It's not something that features in much more expensive alternatives, and they both really enhance the overall clean.

Dyson

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Dyson V8

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For

  • Surprisingly quiet
  • Capable of whole-home cleans
  • Solid battery life

Against

  • Still very expensive
  • Not the biggest bin
  • Takes a while to charge

Dyson gets an unthinkable third slot in our top five selections - but, then, the V8 is still just an absolute master when it comes to cleaning.

Despite being a mid-level pick and slightly long in the tooth, it still packs a serious wallop when compared to other cleaners.

Unfortunately, the premium price of Dyson is still there, but this is a good sight cheaper than both the V10 and V11 models.

We love the iconic Dyson ray gun-like handle on the V8, and the attachments allow it to double up as a handheld cleaner for different areas of the house.

We also think that the 40 minutes of clean-time, despite not being elite-level, is a good amount, and the cleaning performance is as good as you’d expect from the industry leader.

Other products we considered

The Pocket-lint editorial team spends hours testing and researching a large number of products before recommending our best picks for you. We consider a range of factors when it comes to putting together our best guides, including physically testing the products ourselves, consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. Many of the devices we consider don’t make our final best guides.

These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top five, but they may still serve a purpose in your home:

How to choose a cordless vacuum

In the last few years, vacuum cleaners have embraced the battery. The days of dragging a vacuum along the floor tethered to the mains may not quite be over, but cordless is the future. There's a greater sense of freedom as you clean, as well as the ability to get into places you couldn’t if the power cable was holding you back.

Cordless designs do bring with them their own set of issues, however, including battery life, weight and size. How do you choose the best one for you? Well, below are some key considerations.

What kind of floors do you have?

Most of us have a mixture of hard floors and carpets, but, if you only have one or the other, you may want to look for a vacuum that says it’s best for that kind of flooring. In most cases, the vacuum will come with multiple nozzles and brush heads so that when you go from wooden floor to carpet, you simply swap the head.

Others take this further and have brush heads that recognise the flooring, turning the rotating brush head on or off as the terrain demands.

How big is your home?

The bigger your floors, the more battery capacity - and waste bin - you need on your vacuum cleaner. Smaller cleaners are lighter, which is a good thing but won’t cover as much ground as a bigger one, which isn’t.

It’s worth checking how many square metres the manufacturer says it can deal with before it needs a recharge. One of the lightest is the Dyson Omni-glide, but, great though it is, it really won’t suit a larger home (unless you do it in multiple bursts with a long pause in between) as it's only designed to run for a few minutes at a time.

Often, you'll have to consider battery hours rather than floor reach.

What should you look for in battery life?

Even the best vacuums have limited life because they’re battery-powered, and once it’s flat, it’ll take a while before you can use it again.

Only a few years ago, battery life was 20 minutes or less. Things have improved dramatically since then, but you still need to be sparing with your usage. Vacuum cleaners that boast a full hour’s use are almost certainly referring to the least powerful suction setting and this will drop significantly when you’re on full power to lift the toughest bits of dirt.

So, anything longer than around 40 minutes is solid, but that also means you still have to be sparing with your power.

How about filtration?

HEPA filters pick up remarkably tiny particles and leave the air cleaner. This is especially important if you have anyone with allergies or asthma in your household. Some filters need to be maintained, usually by rinsing under the tap at infrequent intervals and left to dry.

How many attachments do you need?

Some models come with hoses, curved pipes, full-length wands close-up accessories, crevice tools and more. This means you can stretch up to clean the top of the curtains as effectively as reaching into tight corners or under sideboards or beds.

Not everybody needs all of these, so you may want to save money by choosing something simpler.

How easy is it to empty?

Some cleaners use a quick in-and-out movement to empty the bin, while others are a little more fiddly. Sure, you’ll get used to it, but as it’s guaranteed you’ll empty it pretty much every time you use it, it’s worth checking out just how straightforward it is.

You'll also want to consider the capacity of the bin.

More about this story

Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.

In the case of these cordless cleaning gadgets, we selected from a large number of devices and tested their capabilities on hard floors, high-pile and low-pile carpets, rugs, mats and pretty much every other surface in our home.

By experimenting with plenty of different models in a number of indoor environments, we were able to make notes on battery life, compare cleanup performance and get to grips with the range of attachments offered by most manufacturers.

With cordless vacuum cleaners representing an area of technology that's still in its infancy, we've been able to review pretty much every major release that's hit the market - and that makes us a great fit to help you make your buying decision.

Cordless cleaners are evolving rapidly, with battery life constantly creeping higher, cleaning performance improving and decibel levels reducing. And following an initial teething phase, we've also witnessed some much-improved designs that, with the help of an army of attachments, are now even more adept at helping you keep your home tidy.

When it comes to reviewing and testing these cordless cleaners, though, we aren’t interested in super-detailed motor specs and other cleaning jargon - we just want to provide an easy to understand review that gives you an idea of what it's going to be like to use.

Don’t think for a second that the products aren't tested fully because the reviews are concise, either. We’ve been covering tech since 2003, and, as already alluded to, have been able to review multiple generations of the same product line. In fact, we were testing vacuums long before cordless designs were even a reality.

As with all our buyer's guides, there was also plenty of models we considered that didn't make the cut.

Writing by Conor Allison. Originally published on 6 December 2018.

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