Last updated on November 19th, 2018 by Garrick Dee
I’ve updated the best cordless vacuum list once again and now includes Shark IONFlex Duo Clean and the Dyson V8 Absolute.
These two variants represent the future of cordless cleaners – versatile machines that will clean not just floors but all the nooks and crannies inside your home or vehicle.
Gone are the days when cordless vacuums are regarded as novelty items that can’t clean a lick.
Cordless technology has improved such that make these viable options even without a plugin cleaner.
New cordless vacuums have the latest lithium battery technology that has increased run time to figures never thought possible.
Our current pick is still a Dyson. The V8 Absolute to be more specific.
No, it isn’t the latest variant but it’s one of the best out there when you talk about cleaning performance.
I’m not gonna lie to you – this vacuum is expensive.
This is easily the most versatile and powerful of all the vacuums in this list.
It has interchangeable tools that allow this to clean dry dirt any area in your home without issues.’
Some will run for close to an hour making it good alternatives inside a small home.
Despite competition from the Shark Rocket ION and IONFlex 2x Dyson is still king of the cordless but the gap is closing fast so these are good times for us consumers because prices are becoming competitive. There’s no monopoly.
It’s lightweight and compact, making it easy to move around.
It’s is a good compromise if you don’t want to spend $400 or more.
Take note that the V7 isn’t as powerful as the V8 so if you’re cleaning carpet, the V8 is a better option.
By the way if you’re looking at this in a mobile device, you can scroll the table to the right (and left) to see all of the information.
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|
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.
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.
Here’s a short review of the top 5 cordless vacs
A glance at the features, strengths, weaknesses and why they rank as such:
The Dyson V8 Absolute will work best inside homes with carpet and hard floor. The interchangeable tools and extension wand make this one of the most versatile options available right now. If you don’t mind paying the $400++ price tag then this is a good option.
- Most versatile option of the all the vacuums in this list
- Great cleaning performance for a cordless
- Lifetime filters means no additional running costs
- Very expensive
- Does not have any hose attachment that would have been great for vehicles
Dyson really has been really active in launching new products.
If you ask me that name fits this product because the performance is absolutely amazing.
More power and run time
According to Dyson the 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.
The Dyson V8 Absolute is a beast of a cordless that’s why it takes the top spot. With the Dyson V10 on board, V8’s prices have gone down below the $400 threshold which makes it more attractive. It has the most versatile tool set of all the vacuums in this list, capable of cleaning both carpet and hard floors equally well.
This vacuum is hands down the best pure handheld available right now. A great complement to any upright or stick vacuum. The flexible hose is a game changer in that it extends the reach even to the tightest spots.
- Lightweight option weighing less than 4 pounds
- Flexible hose allows this to reach really tight spots not just in your home but also vehicle
- Decent suction for its size
- A good option for cleaning pet hair from upholstery
- Small dirt bin
- Can’t use this for cleaning carpet
At first glance, the Black & Decker 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.
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.
This handheld is a great spot up cleaner that is light enough to carry with you anywhere you go. Whether you’re inside the kitchen or in the car, this will be capable of picking up loose dirt like spilled chips or cheerios. It also comes with a nifty pet hair tool that is surprisingly effective.
The Shark IONFlex Duo Clean is a cheaper alternative to the Dyson V8 Absolute. It isn’t as powerful but the Duo Clean technology will work very well on bare floor and carpet. However, the large body make this very top heavy and would make it difficult for someone weaker to clean above floors. The bin is also smaller than a Dyson so you’ll have to empty it more frequently.
- 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
- More top heavy than the Dyson
- No HEPA filtration
- Swivel isn’t as smooth as a Dyson
- Small bin means more frequent trips to the trash bin
I thought I’d never see a product that would come close to a Dyson in terms of performance and features but we have one in our midst.
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.
What makes the Shark IONFlex a good option?
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.
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.
The Shark IONFlex cordless stick is the closest thing to the Dyson V8 without needing to spend close to $500 for one. There are two cordless variants – the IF251 and IF201. Both will have the same power and cleaning head but the IF251 has two batteries while the IF201 only has one but it’s more than $100 cheaper. Also it less tools included in the package.
The Hoover Air Cordless Lift gives you upright-like dirt capacity not found in the other vacuums in this list so you don’t need to empty as often. It still has a similar versatility as a Dyson thanks to the “lift” feature. However it will not clean as well as a Shark or Dyson so manage expectations accordingly.
- Larger than usual dirt bin
- Lift Away feature gives it lots of reach and flexibility in terms of what it can clean
- Extra battery essentially doubles its usual run time to up to 50 minutes
- Cleaning performance not up to par with the Shark ION Flex or Dyson
- Not great for cleaning pet hair on upholstery
Out of the 5 vacuums in this list, I’m sure you’ll agree that the Dyson V8 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 machine is viable alternative to the V6 Absolute if you find it too expensive. While it won’t match it in terms of weight and maneuverability, it makes up for it with the longer run time. The lift feature also gives this machine its own measure of versatility.
Despite its age, the Hoover Linx stick vacuum is still a great option for folks looking for a decent and affordable stick vacuum for cleaning high traffic areas. The biggest issue with this product is it’s strictly limited to cleaning floors and nothing else and it’ll run for just 10 minutes with the brush roll on.
- Very decent floor cleaner on both bare floor and carpet
- Decent sized dirt bin
- Can’t clean anything above floors
- Poor run time with the brush roll on
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.
This lightweight stick vacuum is great people looking for a quick cleanup tool for bare floor or carpet. The short runtime limits the coverage of this vacuum. But it makes up for it with a better overall cleaning performance than a DC59 (that’s according to CNet). This is a cheaper alternative to a Dyson if you cannot afford one but you will need a hand held to pair with this.
If spending $150 or more isn’t an option for you I’ve got some recommendations that will hopefully fit your home cleaning needs.
The Shark Navigator FreeStyle is a capable stick vacuum that will clean decently on low to medium pile carpet. It does not have the versatility of a Dyson V8 or Hoover Air Cordless Lift but heck, it’s cheap. Make sure to pair this with a good handheld vacuum because it will only clean floors.
- Great option for cleaning floors at under $100
- Can carry quite a bit of dirt thanks the upright-like design of the body
- Lacks versatility (can only clean floors)
One big advantage stick vacuums like this have over vacuums the have a similar design to a Dyson cordless (meaning bin is right beside the motor on top), is the larger capacity.
You will not have to empty it as often.
Unlike the Hoover Linx Stick, this lightweight vacuum will swivel.
It is a must have feature 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.
The short one year warranty is a turn off but it’s cheap enough to ignore it. Besides you can get extended warranty (up to three years) in Amazon for just under twenty bucks.
Buying from a reputable store like Amazon alleviates some of these concerns because it has a solid return policy.
This is a solid spot clean up performer that will not put a huge dent on your wallet. Works equally well on carpet and hard surfaces. Remember though that this isn’t a deep cleaner. But it’ll keep your carpets tidy enough in between deep cleaning sessions.
2. Black & Decker BDH2000PL Pivot
- Foldable nozzle works great at cleaning areas high up there like ceiling vents and fans
- Great suction for picking up stuff like cheerios
- Decent run time for up to 20 minutes
- Small dirt bin
This little dynamite has 35 air watts as compared to just 28 for the former.
What I like about this compact vacuum is the foldable nozzle. It will come in handy when cleaning areas over your head.
It has a brush at the end that folds in and out which makes it usable for cleaning dust on vents, keywords and ceiling fans.
Pull 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.
However, It lacks a hose and a pet hair cleaning attachment that would benefit pet owners.
This is another underrated product from Black & Decker that you should sleep on. It has as much power as the Dyson V6 but much more affordable. The lack of a hose tool makes this limited inside vehicles. The lack of a pet attachment tool means pet owners should look elsewhere.
Product turnover is relatively high in this industry.
It seems like a new product comes out every day but typically the top brands release a new version every year or so just to have one leg up over the competition.
Over the past 5 years, I’ve reviewed easily more than 40 cordless vacuums.
Some of them are no longer in production.
I’ll be constantly updating this page once something new comes out. Technology is ever evolving and so are vacuum cleaners.
Here are features that you have to look at.
Must have features:
- Lithium ion battery: A good baseline would be an 18-volt battery that will work well in most homes. A higher voltage does not necessarily mean more power but it’s a good measuring stick of how it will perform. Avoid buying something with a NiCad battery because these take much longer to recharge and they tend to lose power halfway through the cleaning cycle.
- 15 minute run time: This is enough time to clean a room, high traffic areas or picking up small messes.
- Interchangeable tools: Having tools extends the functionality of a cordless. You don’t want to buy something that just cleans one area. This defeats the purpose of getting one. Look for something with a brush tool and crevice tool.
- Motorized brush: A must have if you’re looking for something that will clean floors. Of course, vacuums with this feature will cost more so weigh your priorities accordingly.
- 2 Year Warranty: If you’re spending lots of $$$ for a vacuum, make sure it comes with at least a 2 year warranty. This gives you some peace of mind just in case it fails prematurely.
Not as important features:
- Power: Good cordless vacuum should at least have enough power to clean dust on bare floor and surface dirt on carpet. A brush roll helps a great deal on carpet but it doesn’t hurt to have power.
- Ergonomics: Since you’ll be using these products on a daily basis, look for something that’s easy to move around and comfortable to hold. All the models I looked weigh less than 8 pounds and easy to use. Having intuitive controls and easy to empty bin are also things that I factor highly.
- Long run time: Having a long run time doesn’t hurt and lessens the downtime. The 15 minutes I said earlier is just a baseline, looking for something that’ll run longer is always a plus.
- High consumer ratings: Anything below 4 stars could mean there are some performance or quality control issues.
- Swivel: This is a pretty standard feature on a decent brand cordless. If it does not have this then you better consider something else.
For a decent cordless vacuum expect to pay between $120 and $350. Obviously if it doesn’t have any motorized tool, it’ll be closer to the $120 range. Cheap vacuums at the $50 to $90 are decent but don’t expect in terms of features – these are just basic machines that will do the job.
Spending more than $350 will give you an excellent product with decent power and run times extending close to an hour.
Some of these machines have specialized tools specifically designed for carpet and bare floor.
The main advantage of a cordless vacuum is convenience. Minus the cords and excess weight, these machines are nimble, maneuverable and versatile.
However these features will come at a premium cost. If you are willing to pay for this luxury then by all means go for it.
Advancement in battery technology has allowed the best cordless vacuums to match the power of even good plug-in vacuums.
These new batteries have allowed some of variants to run as much as an hour. This much run time was unheard of even 5 years back where a cordless with a 20 minute run time was already considered long.
It is now possible to clean a small home between 2,000 and 2,500 square feet in a single charge!
Aside from not having to wrap or unwrap cords you don’t have to deal with carrying something that weighs 15 pounds or more.
If you live in a small home, a bulky upright vacuum may not be the best option. Imagine lugging around a 15 pound vacuum, unwrapping a 30 foot power cord just to clean your dining room. That’s not some that I’d want to do on a daily basis.
This is where a lightweight cordless vacuum comes in. A good one will weigh less than 8 pounds.
However this convenience comes at a premium price. This is perhaps the biggest downside of a cordless. You can buy a comparable plug-in cleaner for a few hundred less.
Even with the improved run time, you can’t use this as a standalone cleaner in homes with more than 2,500 square feet. Brands that use lithium ion batteries will take around 2 to 4 hours to recharge. Once the battery is out of power, you’ll have to wait a bit.
Lastly, don’t expect these lightweight machines to deep clean because it lacks power and agitation.
What type of vacuum are you looking for?
What’s your budget?
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.
Our top pick is the Dyson V8 Absolute which is cheaper right now with the release of the V10. It’s a bit more powerful the our old pick the V6 Absolute. If you’re willing to spend $400 for a cordless then this is a great option.
An good alternative to the V8 and V6 would be the Dyson V7. It’s more expensive than the V6 but not as expensive as the V8. This variant solves two issues – the hard (and mess) to empty bin and max switch.
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.