5 of the Best Cordless Vacuums – Reviews, Comparison Charts and Much More
Last updated Mar 27, 2018.
A lot has changed ever since I started this blog a few years ago.
Gone are days were cordless vacuums were thought as weak, overpriced, novelty tools that can’t clean a lick.
If you take a look at the latest products, these machines are more than capable than ever in tackling the tedious job of keeping homes clean.
Armed with larger batteries and better designed brushes, innovative companies like Dyson, Bissell, Shark and Hoover to name a few are leading the way with better performing products with more power and better run times that will not disappoint.
There’s also a review section that explains how each vacuum works, its strengths and weaknesses. How it’ll help clean different parts of the house, how it performs on different surfaces such as carpet, hard floor and rugs.
So, scroll away and see what’s in store for you!
Below is the comparison chart for the five best cordless vacuums available in the market today.
Dyson V8 Absolute
Black & Decker Platinum BDH2000FL 20-Volt
Shark IONFlex Duo Clean Cordless
Hoover Air Cordless Lift Bagless Upright BH51120PC
Hoover Linx Stick
|Nooks & Crannies|
|Battery||Lithium ion||20 volt Li-ion||Lithium ion||2 x 20-volt lithium ion batteries||18 volt Lithium Ion|
|Charge time||N/A||5 hrs||N/A||3 hours (each battery)||3 hrs|
25 mins. (w/ the motorized tool attached)
7 mins. (max mode)
|18 - 30||40 mins.|
25 mins. (w/ the motorized tool attached)
7 mins. (max mode)
|50 (2 batteries combined)||10 to 15|
|Power||115-Aw (Max)||22-Aw||115-Aw (Max)||100-watts||N/A|
What type of vacuum are you looking for?
What’s your budget?
- Battery – states the type of battery whether it uses an older ni-cad or a modern lithium ion plus how much voltage it cranks out. Take note that battery voltage will not accurately reflect on the power. It merely tells you how much volts the motor needs to function. Refer to the air watts for suction power
- Charge time – the time it takes to fully charge
- Run time – this represents the how long it will run continuously before power runs out
- Power (Air Watts) – It measures the suction power directly on the vacuum inlet and not from the motor. If you’re a gearhead think of it this way watts = bhp, air watts = wheel hp, bhp measures power from the crank, wheel horsepower measures power directly from the wheels
- Motorized brush – this is a powered brush that helps the vacuum pick up more stubborn dirt like pet hair off hard floor and carpet. A must have if you want to remove hair and dust
- Attachments – lets you know if it has any attachment included in the package such as a pet hair, crevice or brush tool, the type of charger included and if it has any extra batteries
- Cleaning Path – the overall width of the opening where all the dirt passes through – the wider the cleaning path, the more efficient it is
- Weight – how heavy the product is (in pounds)
- Price – Since prices in amazon change frequently because of promotions, availability and various other reasons, we will not list the prices. Refer to these instead – $ = below $50, $$ = $51 – $100, $$$ = $101 to $200, $$$$ = $201 and up
- Rating – Rating in amazon
A cordless isn’t meant to replace more powerful vacuums that have a cord because it lacks power.
Even brands with the longest run times will yield 45 minutes max per charge so you cannot realistically expect this to clean the whole house in a single charge.
Fully carpeted homes will need at least one upright or a canister that has enough power and agitation to deep clean.
A cordless only becomes a necessity if you need to spot clean an area in your home. It also comes in handy if you want to tidy up your car’s interior.
It is plausible to use a cordless as your primary vacuum inside small homes with no carpet since there is no need to deep clean anything.
There isn’t a one size fits all model that’s the best, you’ll have to look at your needs.
Are you primarily using it to clean floors?
What type of floor does your home have? carpet, tiled or wood?
A Dyson Fluffy would be great inside homes that do not have any carpet.
Editor’s note: Dyson has a new cordless vacuum – the V10. This next generation cordless is their most powerful to date, with a larger bin and better cleaning performance. If you’re looking for something that’ll replace an upright in your small home, please take a look at this.
If a Dyson is too expensive, a cheaper option would be a Hoover Linx Stick that performs almost as well but lacks versatility and has a shorter run time.
Do you have pets? Then you’ll need something that won’t clog up easily and has enough power to suck up pet hair.
Are you using this in your vehicle? Then look for something small and lightweight that’s easy to carry around, has a hose and can fit in tight areas, with enough tools to reach tight nooks and crannies.
Look at the list above and compare features such as power, battery life, charging time and weight.
We’ve gathered all these information from different sources so you don’t need to go back and forth between sites just to look for it.
Make sure to do due diligence and set a budget first then read reviews and compare features so that you can make an informed choice before making the final decision.
Setting a budge helps weed out options outside the price range and allows you to focus on variants you can afford.
We’ve created a guide to help you understand the features listed and how to use that information to narrow down which one to buy.
Remember to always look at the facts first before believing in all the hype that you see on TV.
Here’s a short review of the top 5 cordless vacs
A glance at the features, strengths, weaknesses and why they rank as such:
Along with their newest robotic vacuum the 360 Eye, James Dyson also has unveiled a brand new cordless vacuum called the V8 Absolute. If you ask me that name fits this product because the performance is absolutely amazing.
More power and run time
According to Dyson the new V8 has around 20% more suction power and 150% more brush bar power compared to any V6 variant.
Another area of improvement is the battery.
Dyson says that they’ve “improved the battery chemistry” which means longer run time of up to 40 minutes. If you use this as a handheld but with any of the motorized floor tools attached that number drops down to 25 minutes.
When you turn-on the Max button, that number drops down to 7 minutes but it increases power up to 115 air watts (around 15 air watts higher than the V6).
This allows it to clean thicker pile carpet and dig deeper than any cordless vacuum in the market right now.
But wait there’s more…
Dyson also address two of the biggest issues.
First was how mess it was to clean the bin and second, the max button behind the HEPA filter that needed some force to turn on.
With the previous V6 emptying the bin was a messy proposition even though their advertorials say otherwise that’s because of the narrow space of the filter and outer shell.
Improved dirt bin
The V6 relied on gravity for emptying the bin. To empty it, you had to push a lever to release a hinge that held a door in place.
Without any device to push dirt down, stuff like dust clung on which made emptying a messy chore.
This was a universal problem across the V6 product line.
With the new V8 that is no longer an issue because it has a rubber mechanism that pushed it down for you…
It doesn’t push all of it out but it is a much better design.
New max switch
The V6 had another flaw, it’s max button placement was at the back of the HEPA filter housing.
This made it awkward when trying to engage the max function because you had to press on it hard.
The design isn’t bad per se. I’d say the designed is flawed because it lacked precision.
Dyson has improved the design. The new switch ditches the push button functionality and replaced it with a more traditional looking slide switch.
At first glance, the BDH2000FL doesn’t look anything like a cordless vacuum but the weird design has a purpose – portable cleaning!
It has a 4-foot hose that you can pop out and use to clean up your car’s interior or the creases around your sofa bed.
The 20-volt lithium battery gives you roughly 15 to 20 minutes of run time that will take 5 hours to recharge.
Update (September 19, 2014) – Black and Decker has released a updated version of this vacuum – the BDH2020FLFH. It has virtually the same features. This includes a 4 foot flex hose, crevice, combination brush/nozzle and pet hair tool but this newer version is slightly more powerful (25 air watts v.s. 22 air watts) and it has a floor tool / wand attachment that allows you to use this as a stick vacuum. Read the full review here.
Features at a glance:
- 20-volt lithium ion battery
- 5 hour charge time
- 4 foot flexible hose
- Pet hair attachment
Why did this make it to this list?
The unique design of the hose is clever and adds to the versatility.
Pop it back in if you’re cleaning wide open areas like your floors or tables but if you need to get in tight spots like your car’s interior the flexible hose comes in handy.
It also has a pet hair tool that helps you clean pet hair off upholstery.
Are there any potential issues?
Biggest issue at least for the long term is the built-in battery.
As with most battery powered tools – this can be the weak link if it breaks pre-maturely.
Fortunately the B&D Platinum series comes with a 3-year warranty so you’re guaranteed at least 3 years of service life.
Before this product came along there was no product that matched the Dyson V6 or V8 that had the same type of cleaning tools for both bare floor and carpet.
With the IONFlex cordless series, Shark has narrowed the gap between Dyson and has features that not even found in a James Dyson product.
Features I like
First it’s one of the few cordless stick vacuums that come with the soft roller cleaning head that transforms how this machine cleans on bare floor. Second it’s got LED headlights to help with visibility.
Lastly the extension wand is bendable that makes it even more maneuverable under furniture. This feature also makes this one of the very few 2-in-1 stick vacuums that can stand on its own.
If you’ve followed how Shark has designed their products you’ll know how these guys are innovative.
Instead of using separate tools for bare floor and carpet, Shark has integrated it into one tool called the DuoClean technology.
- Almost $100 cheaper than a Dyson V8
- It comes with two batteries so it’ll provide at least twice the run time of a Dyson
- Duo Clean head will work great on carpet and bare floor
- LED headlights helps in terms of visibility
- MultiFlex technology provides more maneuverability under furniture
- Interchangeable tools make this as versatile as a Dyson cordless
- It’s a bit top heavy so it’ll strain your wrist if you clean areas above the floor
- Swivel isn’t as smooth as a Dyson
- Small dirt bin
The two lithium ion batteries will run for about 20 to 30 minutes each so combining them will give you as much as a 1 hour run time which is plenty.
Other tools include a mini turbo brush tool for cleaning pet hair off upholstery, crevice tool and brush tool.
Out of the 5 vacuums in this list, I’m sure you’ll agree that the Dyson V6 Absolute is hands down the most versatile and feature rich however it’s crazy expensive.
There’s another product in the market that aims to challenge Dyson in terms of cleaning performance and versatility.
Did I mention that it’s cheaper?
Let me introduce the Hoover Air Cordless Lift.
No won’t match the Dyson in terms of compact versatility but it has one feature that separates it from other stick vacuums.
Hoover calls this the “Lift” feature.
With a push of a button you can separate the canister from the body. It basically transforms this stick into a canister vacuum. Pretty neat huh?
Why did this make it to this list?
Most cordless cleaners in the market will run for roughly 15 minutes. This perhaps is its biggest chink in the armour.
The Air Cordless Lift changes all of that. Combine the two lithium ion batteries included and you’ll get a whopping 50 minutes of run time.
Another reason is the lift feature that you saw earlier. I don’t think you’ll find this feature in any of the stick vacuums in the market right now.
This feature is a game changer because it allows users to use this above the floor on areas like upholstery and stairs.
So essentially you are buying two products for the price.
What are the potential issues?
The biggest issue for me would be the price. At nearly $200 bucks it is a whole lot of dough to fork out for a cordless but for what you’ll get I think it is a bargain.
But it is still cheaper than the V6 Absolute and if you don’t mind it not having the type of maneuverability the Dyson has then this would be a cheaper alternative that will help you keep a small home clean.
This is the Hoover Linx Stick vacuum. The other half of the Linx platinum series vacuum cleaner that also includes the handheld version.
Both of these products use the same 18 volt lithium ion battery that will last for around 10 to 15 minutes depending on what surface you are cleaning.
With over 8,000 reviews in Amazon and counting, a lot of them giving high marks.
This cordless stick is one of the best-selling vacuums they have anywhere, better than the newer Air cordless series.
Why do consumers love this vacuum?
One of the best attributes of this machine is its carpet cleaning abilities that beat out even a Dyson DC59 in CNet’s controlled tests.
Consumers who’ve used this agree that this machine though not a deep cleaner, is a great tool to have for small in-between cleanups on high traffic areas.
Even when you try and clean larger items like a cheerios or crackers, the Linx Stick has a small opening in the middle that funnels all the larger debris inside.
This prevents the dreaded snowplowing effect that you see in other vacuums (like the Dyson) that don’t have this feature.
It also has a brushroll on and off switch which means you can turn off the motorized brush just in case you need to clean your hard floors.
This is a great feature if you have easy to scratch hardwood flooring at home.
What are the potential issues?
The biggest Achilles’ heel in the Linx’s armor would be that small mounting point between the handle and body.
A single screw holds these two sections together. The issue is the material used in the mounting point which is plastic.
Over time as this product begins to age and wear there is a chance this part breaking.
If you accidentally drop this then a roll of duck tape may come in handy.
And yes, consumers have resorted to duct tape to hold these two parts together.
But they didn’t seem to mind because it cleaned well enough to ignore this issue but it is something to consider.
Another issue is the run time
Unlike the newer Air Cordless Lift that has nearly a one hour run time, this cordless only has maximum run time of 15 minutes minus the brush roll.
Not long enough to clean an entire room but good enough for spot cleaning.
With the brush roll spinning, run time goes down to around 10 minutes.
Also this vacuum cannot clean anything above the floor since it lacks a hose or tools that you can use to clean upholstery.
If spending $150 or more isn’t an option for you I’ve got some recommendations that will hopefully fit your home cleaning needs.
Shark Navigator FreeStyle
This Shark Navigator FreeStyle is a good performer on both low to medium pile carpet and bare floor surfaces. The great part about this is the price.
For the price you’ll get a light vacuum that swivels.
This is a must have because if your home has lots of furniture.
Turning on this vacuum wouldn’t require you to bend down because the power switch is at the base.
Run time is slightly below average between 12 to 17 minutes though some consumers claimed to have stretched the run time to 30 minutes.
Charging time would be around 3 to 7 hours.
Buying from a reputable store like Amazon alleviates some of these concerns because it has a solid return policy.
Black & Decker BDH2000PL Pivot
This little dynamite has 35 air watts as compared to just 28 for the former.
Perhaps the best feature would be the fold-able nozzle. It comes in handy when cleaning different heights.
Fold the nozzle all the way and you’ll have a powerful handheld capable of cleaning loose debris on upholstery.
The beauty of this design is it allows you to set it at different angles to clean areas high up there. Areas like the tops of cabinets or ceiling fans.
It lacks a hose and a pet hair cleaning attachment that would benefit pet owners.
The reality is choosing the best cordless vacuum is all about making the right compromise.
You either pony up enough cash and buy something that performs well or be thrifty and get something that doesn’t clean as well.
Why the Dyson V6?
The Dyson V6 Absolute is as close as a perfect compromise you can make when choosing something cordless.
It has just enough power to clean high traffic area in homes with carpet. In homes without carpet you can use it as the primary vacuum because it has enough versatility.
If money is not an issue
If money isn’t an issue then I’d recommend the V8 without hesitation because feature-wise it is the best. The improvements Dyson made in this product is substantial but it comes at a cost. Dyson also has the latest V10 cordless, it’s much more expensive than the V8 but it’s more powerful, with a larger bin and better performance.
The other options listed here are cheaper just in case you’re not willing to spend $$$ on a Dyson. Nonetheless these are great options.
Don’t sleep on the Black & Decker handhelds listed here because these are small, yet powerful tools that will clean up small messes efficiently.
Choosing between the two will boil down to need and priorities so make sure to list those down before purchasing.
Hoover is another great alternative to the Dyson. Not as versatile but it offers comparable cleaning performance for less.
If you think we’ve missed out anything in the list, let us know by posting it in the comments section below. We want to be as objective as possible and appreciate your input.