5 Best Lightweight Vacuums: No More Backache

Some of the most potent, deep cleaning vacuum cleaners in the market are also the heaviest.

Best Lightweight Vacuum

Take for instance the Rainbow Vacuum. This beast of a vacuum weighs around 20 pounds.

And even though it is one of the most versatile machines that you can buy, it’s not easy to carry this up and down a flight of stairs.

Here’ another example – Dyson uprights even though one of the most effective deep cleaning machines isn’t light.

The DC65 Animal with all its power and agitation still weighs 17 pounds which does not sound a lot.

But if you have a two or three storey home, carry this down can take a toll on your shoulders, arms and back.

The good news is – a good vacuum vacuum does not have to be heavy to be powerful. In fact some of the best performing vacuums available in the market right now weigh less than 10 pounds.

And some models will provide the same versatility and cleaning power.

If you’re a female, weak or getting up there in age – here 5 of the best lightweight vacuums available in the market right now.

Some of these machines like the Oreck Magnesium are capable of deep cleaning carpet.

Others offer versatility that allows it to clean not just floors but also upholstery and stairs. A few examples would be the Dyson V6 Absolute, Hoover Air Cordless Lift and Shark Rocket with Duo Clean.

None of these weigh more than 12 pounds which makes it easy to move around and carry.

Spec comparison

HEPA Filtration
Cord Length
30 feet
25 feet
Motorized brush
Brush on/off switch
Net weight
7.7 pounds
5.1 pounds
10.6 pounds
2.7 pounds
12.5 pounds
Cleaning Path
28 AW
100 AW (Max/boost)
700 watts
27 watt hours
7 years casing and motor

1 year on the rest of the parts
2 years
3 years
3 years on vacuum
1 year on battery and charger
5 years

How to choose a lightweight vacuum?

Before shopping online or going to a retail store, you must first answer these questions to help you get a better idea of what vacuum to buy.

1. What’s your budget?

Are you will to spend as much as $500 for a quality vacuum cleaner is your budget limited to just a hundred?

Setting a hard budget helps you quickly narrow down the option list. And automatically weeds out those out of your price range.

2. Do you have wall to wall carpeting?

Look around your house, does it have carpet all-around, half and half or all bare floors?

This determines the type of vacuum you’ll buy. And whether or not to choose something with a brush roll on/off feature.

If you’re cleaning bare floor, you obviously would not need as much power and perhaps a cordless would be enough.

3. How big is your home?

The size of your home will determine whether or not you will need a corded vacuum.

Small homes, particularly mobile homes where space is a premium – a cordless stick vacuum like a Dyson V6 would be enough but for medium to large homes over 1,500 square feet, a corded vacuum is a must.

4. Do you have pets?

If you have pets, not only will you need a powerful vacuum. But also something that has pet cleaning attachments to also clean up upholstery.

Another option would be having a deep cleaning upright plus a handheld for your above the floor cleaning needs.

Lightest Upright: Oreck Magnesium RS

The Oreck Magnesium RS is perhaps the lightest upright vacuum in the market right now, weighing less than 8 pounds. What’s great about it is it doesn’t lack power. Despite being lightweight, you can rely on this to deep clean carpet.

Oreck was able to pull this off thanks to magnesium – one of the lightest metals in the world right now.

Extremely lightweight

Magnesium is one of the lightest metals in the world, 33 percent lighter than aluminum and 75% lighter than steel. This makes it an ideal choice for a non-commercial vacuum.

This combination of weight and strength allowed Oreck to really streamline its design down to the bare essentials. That means using a thin magnesium frame that wraps around a wide. But thin bag that allows it to reach under most furniture.

Not versatile

The downside of this design is it limits the usability of this vacuum to only cleaning floors.

It does not have any hoses or attachments that will allow you to use this on upholstery or stairs but the lack of hoses gives it more efficiency in terms of power.

Oreck calls this the “direct suction path technology” where in the airflow has a straighter path. This means better force and more cleaning power.

Since this is a bagged vacuum, this is also suited for asthma sufferers. And most people with this ailment are either old or weak so they will benefit the most from this combination of lightweight and power.

What makes this a good option?

  • Weighs only 7.7 pounds thanks to the lightweight magnesium frame
  • Fully HEPA filtration that uses a bag
  • Large dirt capacity – around 8 dry quarts
  • Long 7 year warranty
  • 30 foot power cord
  • Fingertip controls lessens the need to bend

It’s a bit on the pricey side but this lightweight vacuum combines being a lightweight without compromising on suction and agitation.

Bottom line:

The Oreck Magnesium RS is great for people who have allergies because it has a sealed HEPA filtration system that uses bags. It filters out dust up to 0.3 microns so this will be a good option for people with asthma. This upright is one of the lightest at just 7.7 pounds.

Absolutely Worth It: Dyson V6 Absolute

The Dyson V6 is a great option if you want something lightweight, versatile and yet will still have good cleaning performance. This vacuum is usable on a various surfaces like carpet, hardwood, tile, etc. thanks to the soft roller and direct drive cleaning head. It’s a bit price at around $300 but its all-around performance makes it a great option especially for people with smaller homes.

Without a doubt the Dyson V6 Absolute is one of the best all-around vacuums in the market right now.

A big reason why is its versatility and it has it in bunches. It has been such a huge success that Dyson had not changed the basic design since it launched the DC35.

The latest generation V6 possesses the same trigger handle, extension wand plus two floor attachments for both bare floor and carpet.

This is what separates this from the other cordless vacuums in the market and a big reason why I add this to a lot of by “best of” lists.

Say what you want about the price or the lack of deep cleaning – this machine when used in the right setting will thrive.

What is the right setting?

Take note that this machine will not beat any upright vacuum in terms of deep cleaning. But if you need a quick cleanup tool, that can clean almost everything inside your home then very few can match its versatility.

If you have a small home with mostly bare floor – this may be the only vacuum you need because it has enough power to pick up dust bunnies and because it has HEPA filtration, it keeps allergens up to 0.3 microns inside the dust bin.

There is exposure to allergens during the emptying process because it’s bagless.

Unfortunately, all this technology will come at a price – over $400 for something brand new. If you’re willing to spend $180++ more then why not look at the latest Dyson cordless – the V8 Absolute.

It comes with more power, agitation and improvements in several key areas. These include the dirt bin and max switch. New dirt bin design makes it easier to empty without having to use your fingers to dislodge dirt. Max button now utilizes a slide switch also making it easier to toggled the max suction feature.

What makes this a great option?

  • Weighs only 5.1 pounds even with the extension wand and floor tool
  • Probably the most versatile handheld vacuum in the planet right now
  • Pretty decent suction for a cordless vacuum
  • Interchangeable tools make this usable on floors, stairs, upholstery, vents plus other nooks and crannies
  • Filters (both pre-motor and post-motor HEPA) are washable

Bottom line:

One of the best products ever released by Dyson – its combination of interchangeable tools, power and maneuverability is unmatched. A few like the Bissell and Shark have copied it’s design but just can’t match what this combination.

Lightest Shark: Shark Navigator NV105

The Shark Navigator NV105 is another great option if you’re looking for an upright vacuum that weighs less than 11 pounds. This is a cheaper alternative to the Oreck Magnesium RS but it’s bagless so will be exposed to dirt when emptying it. One advantage is has over Oreck is it’s ability to clean upholstery thanks to the detachable hose and tools.

When you compare the different Shark vacuums from both the Navigator and Rotator series, the NV105 is the lightest of the bunch.

This slimmed down upright weighs only 10.5 pounds but it has the functionality of a full sized minus the excess weight.

Like most other vacuums in the Shark upright line, this comes with a hose and extension wand.

More versatile than a standard upright

This gives it the ability to clean above the floors but it does not have the Lift Away or the Powered Lift Away feature that these other variants boast of.

It limits the versatility somewhat but if you don’t mind this limitation this is a good option that provides pretty decent power to clean bare floor to medium pile carpet.

One thing this Shark has over the Lift Away series is the cyclonic filtration system that basically increases the interval of which you need to clean the pre-motor filter.

It also comes with a crevice tool and a pet upholstery tool that rounds out its tool set – both these allow you to clean upholstery and vents.

This does not have swivel steering though so that’s minus points for moving around furniture.

Another downside is the lack of a HEPA filter so allergy sufferers cross this off your list.

What makes this a good option?

  • Weighs only 10.5 pounds
  • Capable of cleaning upholstery and to a degree stairs thanks to the hose, attachments and extension wand.
  • Cyclonic filtration extends the time you need to clean the pre-motor filter
  • Decent 3 year warranty
  • One of the cheapest options in the Navigator series

Bottom line:

If budget is a big concern then have a long look at this because it’s less than $80. It isn’t as light as the Oreck but still decent at 10.5 pounds. Don’t expect it to deep clean thick carpet as it lacks the power but it has good agitation.

Short Charge Time: Makita XLC02R1B

The Makita XLC021W is the lightest option in the bunch at just 2.7 pounds. It’s also the quickest to recharge at just 25 minutes. Being a Makita, expect rugged performance from this lightweight cordless. You can use this in your home workshop as a shop vacuum. It does not have any motorized brush so don’t expect it to clean carpets well.

When you heard the brand Makita I bet the first thing that comes to your mind is power tools. And you’re right they manufacture very good power tools like cordless drills and stuff but they also produce high quality vacuums.

The XLC02R1W is one of their latest creations and is powered by a lithium ion 2.0 Ah battery that takes only 25 minutes to recharge.

Yup, that’s not a typo. This vacuum only takes 25 minutes to recharge, faster than a Dyson or a Black and Decker vacuum.

One of the lightest options

This cordless only weighs less than 3 pounds which makes it the lightest of the 5 vacuums here.

Don’t let this make you think that this lacks power, on the contrary, this cleaning machine packs a punch, capable of picking up workshop debris like saw dust and bits and pieces of nuts and bolts.

The downside is the poor performance on carpet because it lacks a tool that has a motorized brush.

And with the wand and main floor tool attached, it’s less than 40 inches long. So if you’re over 5’8″, you’ll have to bend down.

What makes this a good option?

  • Very short 25 minute re-charge time
  • A great tool to have inside workshops capable of pickup stuff like saw dust and small pieces of nails
  • The lightest of the bunch at just 2.7 pounds
  • Capable of being a stick vacuum and handheld thanks to the removable extension wand and interchangeable tools
  • Great price at Amazon that comes with free shipping

Bottom line:

If you’re looking for a cordless shop vac, this is one of the best options hands down thanks to its quick recharge feature and robust motor that’s capable of picking up stuff like saw dust, nuts and bolts. Just make sure to clean the filters frequently and don’t expect this to clean carpet effectively.

Swiss Army Knife: Hoover Air Cordless Lift

I fondly call the Hoover Air Cordless Lift the Swiss army knife because of the versatility it brings to the table. The “Lift” feature morphs this stick vacuum into a caniter vacuum easily and allows you to clean stairs and upholstery with easy. It does not have the power of a Dyson but it can hold more dirt thanks to the upright design.

Shark was first to use the “lift away” concept and now Hoover has come up with their own concept but in a cordless version. I love innovative products and this is one of the best innovative products out there.

And while it isn’t the lightest, the lift away feature adds an element of versatility to this machine.


It allows you to separate the backbone and main floor tool from the body thus turning this into a canister vacuum.

But without any wheels. This allows you more flexibility in terms of where you can use it.

With this feature in addition to cleaning floors also clean stairs, upholstery and even your car because it is cordless. And it comes with a flexible hose and two attachments – a pivot dusting brush attachment and crevice/dusting brush combo.

Good run time

Run time is also impressive at around 50 minutes from the 2 lithium ion batteries that come along with this which make this one of the longer running cordless cleaners in the market right now.

The downside though is that since this is a cordless machine, don’t expect it to do be a deep cleaning machine.

But if you live in a small home with minimal low pile carpeting or just area rugs, this machine would be enough to cover all the rooms. It has the same versatility as a Dyson cordless but at a more affordable price and a larger bin.

What makes this a great option?

  • Weighs just 12.5 pounds
  • Long 5 year warranty
  • Lift away feature converts this from a stick vacuum to a canister vacuum (without wheels)
  • Comes with a pivot brush too and a combo crevice and brush tool for your above the floor cleaning needs

Bottom line:

This is one of the most versatile products in the market right now (maybe second to the Dyson V6 Absolute). It is capable of cleaning not just floors but stairs and upholstery as well and inside your vehicle.  Ever since it debuted in the market last year the price has dropped significantly. And if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative than the Dyson this is one of the better options.

To Wrap Up

These 5 products are a mix of canister, handheld and upright vacuum that for me provide the best cleaning performance for their weight class.

As you’ve noticed there are a couple of cordless vacuums because I love how these products have evolved through the years in terms of cleaning functionality and run time.

Why the Oreck Magnesium is a good option?

Oreck Magnesium is perhaps the lightest upright available right now. This full sized upright weighs less than 8 pounds. And it still has enough power and agitation to deep clean carpet.

Unfortunately this product is just limited to cleaning floors. It lacks a hose and tools to clean above floors. This is the most expensive product in this list at around $475. But that’s because it uses a magnesium frame that’s responsible for it being lightweight.

Why the Dyson V6 Absolute?

Hands down the Dyson V6 Absolute is in a class of its own not just because it’s light but because of it’s versatility. None of the vacuums here can match it in terms of coverage and performance.

It has a separate attachment for cleaning bare floor and carpet. The former I really like because it really pulls in dirt and the soft roller cleaning head prevents snow plowing. If the V6 Absolute is too expensive then you can look at the different variants available. And find one that suits your needs.

Other options

If Oreck or Dyson is way over your budget then consider the Shark Navigator NV105. It’s not as versatile as the Dyson V6 or powerful as the Oreck Magnesium but it’s only $80 in Amazon. It is a decent upright to have in small to medium sized homes because it isn’t too bulky and still provides enough power on carpet.

For DIYers looking for a heavy duty tool to clean up messes in their workshops, Makita has such product called the XLC02R1W. It’s a cordless that charges in just 25 minutes, yes you heard that right only 25 minutes.

You can also use this inside your home as a spot cleaner. But the extension wand is short so if you’re over 5’8″ you’ll have to bend over to use to as a stick vacuum.

This product has been discontinued by the manufacturer and has been replaced by XLC02RB1W with the 18 volt battery.

Hoover is a good Dyson alternative

The Air Cordless Lift is another great option because it offers an upright sized bin in a cordless package. Hoover says that this product has upright power but in reality it will not deep clean as well.

However it provides versatility similar to the V6 thanks to the “Lift” feature that separates the canister from the main floor tool. This features allows people to use this product as a canister vacuum minus the cord. This is a good cheaper alternative to the Dyson V6 Absolute because it’s around $200 cheaper.

Another alternative to consider would be the Shark Rocket with Duo Clean.

It is similar to the V6 Absolute in terms of how tools are interchangeable but it has a cord. The unique selling point of this product is the “DuoClean” head that combines a soft roller and a bristled brush. This redesigned cleaning head has been a huge success thanks to it’s effectiveness on both hard floor and carpet.

And you don’t need to change tools when transitioning from one surface to another. It’s another cheaper alternative to the Dyson V6 that offers better performance but it’s got a cord.

If you feel that I missed anything let me know in the comments section below.

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