Best cordless vacuum cleaners 2020: for any budget and all floor types
An easier way to clean up your house is by getting the best cordless vacuum cleaner.
Chances are if you don’t think you need to seek out the best cordless vacuum cleaner, you’ve never properly used one. Few appliances can make such a difference to everyday life, from the convenience of vacuuming various rooms without being encumbered by wires, to hoovering up small spills with ease. Plus, if you have children or pets you’ll get your money's worth within days.
UPDATED:German domestic appliance company Miele has just launched its first ever cordless vacuum cleaner and its over £300 more than our best overall cordless vacuum from Hoover. Costing £479.99, the Triflex stick vacuum is a 3-in-1 model promises a run time of 60 minutes, a 0.5L capacity and it can be turned into a handheld cleaner if you prefer.
For the past month we’ve been putting the convenience and cleaning prowess of 10 of the most popular cordless vacuums to the test from brands including Hoover, Vax, Shark, Dyson and Gtech.
Only four points separated the top three models but Hoover’s H-Free 500 took the title of best cordless vacuum cleaner for its ease of use and cleaning power at such a low price. Our best value choice is to the Gtech Pro. It has the largest capacity of the cleaners we tested, a decent runtime and was a consistent performer across all tests while costing less than £200.
- House done? It's the garden up next. Check out our best cordless lawnmower test for some high-grade help. And if you decide you need a bit more help with the cleaning, then our best robot vacuum cleaner guide and best steam cleaner review are for you.
It’s not the best looking of cordless vacuums, with its bright green design, but this affordable cleaner combines power and performance. It’s one of only two vacuums in our list that uses a bag, which makes it easier to clean and more hygienic, and it’s surprisingly light despite its bulky build.
The Hoover brand is so synonymous with vacuuming, many use it to describe cleaners that aren’t even built by Hoover. This is testament to its success and its H-Free 500 doesn’t let the name down. It’s cheap, compact and light without sacrificing too much on performance. It also stands up on its own, a feature you don’t realise you need until the doorbell rings mid-clean and you’re not near anything to rest it on.
The expert's view
The shortlist: best cordless vacuum cleaner
1. Hoover H-Free 500
The Hoover H-Free 500 comes with a floor roller designed to work on both carpets and hard floors, plus a 2-in-1 dusting and upholstery tool with integrated crevice tool stored on the vacuum. It has 0.45L capacity and a maximum runtime of 40 minutes.
2. Shark DuoClean anti-allergen with TruePet and Flexology
Shark’s red and black, multi-purpose head cleans both carpets and hard floors and its vacuum can also be used with either its motorised pet tool or from a choice of the crevice, upholstery or dusting tool. It comes with two batteries and promises a runtime of up to an hour. Its dust canister capacity is 0.33L.
3. Gtech Pro
This Gtech Pro is the company’s bagged cordless vacuum cleaner and comes with a power brush, dusting brush and crevice tool in addition to its main multi-purpose head. Its dust canister has a 1.5L capacity and the Pro has a maximum runtime of 40 minutes.
4. Vax Blade Max 2
The Blade Max 2 cordless from Vax has a capacity of 0.6L and a runtime of up to 45 minutes. Its crevice tool and dusting brush can be stored on its tool caddy, and there is also a wall mount for easy storage.
5. Eureka Swan PowerPlush Turbo
The Eureka SwanPowerPlush Turbo has two interchangeable heads – a standard brush head and a power plush version – plus a crevice, and upholstery tool. Its dust canister can hold 0.5L of dirt and its maximum runtime is listed as 20 minutes.
6. Morphy Richards SuperVac
The Morphy Richards Supervac weighs 2kg and has capacity of 0.75L. In addition to its motorised head, it ships with a dusting brush, a crevice tool and an upholstery attachment, and promises a runtime of up to 40 minutes.
7. Bosch Unlimited
Bosch’s Unlimited cordless vacuum cleaner, available in white, offers a capacity of 0.4L, a runtime of up to an hour and ships with two tools – a combined nozzle and a flexible crevice tool. Two batteries, plus a Bosch universal 18V charger, is included in the price.
8. Vorwerk Kobold VB 100
Vorwerk ditches the stick design for a more traditional-looking, white upright vacuum with a long handle and wide base. It has a single attachment, for dusting, and collects dust in a bag in it 0.8L capacity canister. On a single charge, the Kobold will run for up to 90 minutes.
9. Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 930
Ecovacs’s robo-vacuum, the Deebot 930, is a flat, circular cleaner that has a water tank on board, plus four brushes, meaning it can be used as a vacuum or a mop, collecting dirt in its 0.45L canister. It’s powered by an app and has a maximum runtime of 110 minutes.
10. Dyson V11 Absolute
Three power modes, a digital display, two heads and a selection of attachments make the purple and silver Dyson V11 Absolute a versatile cordless vacuum cleaner, offering a runtime of up to an hour, and 0.75L capacity. A wall mount is included.
Best cordless vacuum cleaners: how we selected
Cordless vacuum cleaners come in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices, just kike the homes and offices they are designed to clean. Some are best suited for thicker carpets, others perform better on hard floors. Then there are models designed specifically for pet owners, with myriad attachments.
This can feel a little overwhelming. It’s not a decision to make lightly considering the best cordless vacuum cleaners cost in the region of £200+. At its most simple, a cordless vacuum needs enough battery power to tackle everyday household tasks while being easy to use, easy to store and ideally all without breaking the bank.
Our selection began life as a shortlist of the 50 highest-rated cordless vacuum cleaners from leading homeware sites AO.com, Argos, John Lewis, Currys and Amazon.
This included handheld-only cordless models, cordless stick models as well robotic cleaners. Don't miss our best robot vacuum test if you're interested in the latter.
From this list of 50, we read hundreds of customer reviews to find the 25 most popular cleaners based on real-world use. We then selected the highest-scoring models from each brand in our list of the 25 before handpicking the final 10 models based on features and price.
In terms of features, we were looking for battery-powered vacuum cleaners that offered at least two cleaning modes and shipped with at least one accessory. These modes include handheld, hands-free, upright, and mop mode. By selecting cleaners in this way, it ruled out handheld-only models because of their limited versatility.
Each cleaner additionally needed to have a minimum runtime of 20 minutes, as this is how long it takes to clean our house with a corded vacuum, and weigh less than 5kg. This latter criteria was included to rule out industrial models that tend to weigh, and cost, more and aren’t always suited for use around the home.
In terms of price, we wanted at least two budget and two high-end "premium" models. The others provided an assortment of options in-between.
This left us with cordless vacuums from Dyson, Bosch, Vax, Morphy Richards, Swan, Hoover, Vorwerk, Gtech, Shark and Ecovacs. The Ecovacs Deebot 930 was the only robotic vacuum cleaner to make the list and is a slight outlier, but is a cordless vacuum that gives you an extra option if the stick vacuums don’t appeal.
Best cordless vacuum cleaners: how we tested
Each cordless vacuum cleaner was judged out of 10 across a total of 18 criteria. Half of these scores were based on the individual cordless vacuums’ specifications and features while the other half were taken from performance tests carried out around the home.
When scoring the best cordless vacuum cleaners for features we assigned points based on price, capacity, power, size, weight and the number of bundled accessories. They were also judged on how loud they are on their lowest and highest settings, how easy they are to use and clean, and their design.
For example, the most expensive model - Vorwerk’s £749 Kobold VB100 - achieved a price score of 1 but gained points (9) for its large capacity. The Vax Blade 2 Max scored 10 for offering the highest power but was deducted points for being one of the loudest cleaner as a result of this extra oomph.
The cordless cleaners were then individually tested on their ability to vacuum the inside of our car, their ability to clean carpets, wooden floors and tiles, how well they vacuumed play sand and pet hair from carpets and tiles, how long they took to charge and how long their respective batteries lasted while vacuuming our four-bedroom house.
We began by recording the decibel levels of each vacuum on their respective low, medium and high settings and combined these scores to find an average volume.
For each floor type, we used the cleaners as stick vacuums with the main heads attached and judged them on their manoeuvrability, plus how effectively they cleared the house of crumbs, dust and dirt. We used this same test to measure the battery life of vacuums on their lowest settings.
When we repeated the house test using each of the vacuums’ respective Boost or Turbo modes, not a single one lasted for the full 20 minutes, with times ranging from six to 10 minutes.
The same manoeuvrability and effectiveness test was carried out using the vacuums in handheld mode, fitted with upholstery attachments, in our car and on furniture.
Using each model as a stick vacuum again, we poured a cup of play sand on our carpet, vacuumed the pile and measured how much sand was collected in the dust canister. Play sand, rather than regular sand, was used as it has a high water content making it particularly stubborn to remove from carpets. This test was repeated on tiles.
For the final test, we acquired a bag of pet hair from a local dog groomers and used each cleaner in stick mode to vacuum 50g of hair from our carpet.
Best cordless vacuum cleaner reviews: The test results
The top of our best cordless vacuum cleaner group test leaderboard was incredibly close but the £200 Hoover H-Free 500 stole the crown by a single point.
Its performance largely matched, and in some cases exceeded, that of vacuums which cost up to four times more. And it has a handful of extremely useful features that make it easy to use and easy to store.
In second place was the Dyson V11 Absolute. Its easy-to-read display tells you exactly how much battery you have left and it comes with a wide range of attachments for all eventualities.
It’s chunky, but that gives it a decent capacity, and it’s fantastic on tiles.
Coming in third was Bosch’s Unlimited due to its fast-charging, double battery system, respectable runtime and the fact it was the only vacuum to remove almost all of the play sand on the first attempt.
Shark’s DuoClean was also impressive at removing sand from carpet and achieved top, or close to top scores in all our performance tests. Sadly, its high price combined with a poor capacity in a large frame stopped it achieving a podium place.
Fifth place went to the Gtech Pro. It matches the Hoover for price but fell a little short of its performance. It does have the largest capacity of all the vacuums we tested though.
We expected the most powerful vacuum in the list – the Vax Blade 2 Max – to have scored higher in the performance tests but it only reached mid-level, average scores across the board. It’s also a loud vacuum, especially on Turbo.
The seventh and eighth places are occupied by two vacuums at opposite ends of the price spectrum. The Morphy Richards Supervac took the higher position because it’s the lightest model in the list without sacrificing too much capacity, but for its low price you get a tiny head.
The £749 Vorwerk Kobold is in eighth. Having used the vacuum extensively during testing, we’re struggling to see what justifies its extremely high price tag. It has a great runtime and is easy to use but it is lacking from a performance point of view.
We had high hopes for ninth place Ecovacs Deebot 930 but it appears you sacrifice cleaning power and control for the extremely high-level of convenience it offers. It’s tricky and time consuming to map your house before the cleaner’s first use, and it regularly got stuck on our door bars.
However, once mapped, you can just leave it to do its work. It will also mop floors, which is an added bonus.
And finally, Swan’s PowerPlush Turbo came last in all of the floor type tests and struggled with the sand and pet hair.
It redeemed itself somewhat by being a quiet vacuum with one of the lowest charge times. However, it was the only vacuum that failed to last the full length of the house cleaning test and noticeably dropped suction as the battery depleted.
The best cordless vacuum cleaner reviewed:
Hoover H-Free 500 cordless vacuum cleaner, £199.99
Hoover was once a leading vacuum brand in the UK. But the likes of Dyson and Shark have toppled its dominance in recent years, regularly taking the headlines and awards. It was somewhat of a surprise, then, that its H-Free 500 model took the title of best cordless vacuum in our group test against flagship models from these rivals.
Granted, only a single point separated Hoover’s model from Dyson’s entry, but that’s still a major achievement considering its a third of the price of the V11 Absolute.
Of course, there are sacrifices to be made for the lower price so let’s start with the negatives.
The H-Free 500 has one of the lowest capacities on test. Although it does hold more than you’d think – it didn’t need to be emptied until after two regular, full house cleans – it was almost full from just a single batch of dog hair. Its charging time is slow too, taking a little short of six hours.
Another complaint is that its runtime hit 32 minutes in Auto mode when others in our list kept going for as long as an hour and a half. In Standard mode, it lasted a little less than 23 minutes and on Turbo, the Hoover gave up after seven minutes 25 seconds.
Its battery and mode LED indicators could also be easier to read when you compare it to just how simple Dyson’s V11 Absolute’s battery and mode screen is to use, but this is a minor inconvenience.
Yet we could hardly fault the Hoover’s performance. It’s one of the lightest vacuums we tested – just behind Morphy Richards Supervac – making both full house cleans and vacuuming high areas comfortable and easy.
This was a bonus when cleaning the car. Suction is powerful enough to suck up crumbs and larger pieces of dirt on the first run. This sped up the process, somewhat cancelling out its relatively poor runtime. Across all performance tests it scored 9/10, with the exception of cleaning tiles for which it dropped a single point to 8.
It also offers standout features that elevate it above rivals. For instance, if it’s too tall for your cupboards with the stick attached, a simple bit of engineering means you can shrink it down to almost half the size without removing any attachments.
These attachments – separate tools for crevices, dusting and upholstery – are stored on-board the vacuum, meaning you also don’t have to store them separately and risk losing them, plus it’s a doddle to switch between all three.
The Hoover H-Free 500 scored full marks for design due to these features, and the fact it can be locked into a freestanding position when not in use. Only Shark’s DuoClean offered a similar compact design, and the ability for the vacuum to stand on its own. This really is a bonus, and one we hadn’t considered to be important until we had to use a vacuum without it.
The best cordless vacuum cleaner for value reviewed:
Gtech Pro, £199.99
While its performance wasn’t as strong as Hoover’s model – coming out as average or just below average in every test – Gtech’s Pro cordless vacuum offers consistent, reliable cleaning for the same price as the H-Free 500 while improving on a number of features that were lacking on its rival. Namely, runtime.
In Eco mode, the Gtech Pro exceeded the promised runtime of 40 minutes, lasting 49 minutes. This may not seem a significant difference but it was the equivalent of being able to clean two extra rooms.
In Max mode, it lasted a little over 19 minutes. This extra runtime is necessary, though, in order to counteract the drop in performance if you still want to achieve the same level of clean as the Hoover. Positive differences include faster charging time. The Gtech Pro was two hours faster, at four hours, and the battery status indicator is much easier to understand.
The Gtech Pro, along with the Vorwerk Kobold, were the only two vacuums in our list to use bags, and Gtech’s canister and bag were able to hold as much as five times the amount of the lowest capacity Shark DuoClean, and three times as much as the majority of its competitors, including the Hoover.
This bag also made it incredibly easy to clean, without causing any further mess when trying to empty the canister. It also trapped dust and allergens away more effectively.
You will need to buy replacement bags eventually – a pack of 10 retails for around £9.99 – but you’d have to buy 40 packs of these before you even reached the starting price of the Dyson, for example. Plus, online reviews suggest these bags can last as long as a month.
We’re not a fan of the green design, nor is the bulky casing the easiest to store because it just about balances against a wall, but it is surprisingly light, coming in third behind the Hoover and Morphy Richards vacuums. It does come with a wall mount should you want to make it a permanent fixture.
If price is a major factor in your search for a cordless vacuum cleaner, the decision between our two award winners will ultimately come down to whether you’re after a powerful machine that will run out of battery fairly quicky, or a machine that will get the job done eventually, and do so more hygienically.
Comparing the rest on test
As with almost every Dyson product we’ve ever tested, the Dyson V11 Absolute price may be high but you largely get what you pay for. It’s great at clearing up pet hair, second only to the Shark DuoClean, and the V11 Absolute removed virtually all traces of sand from our kitchen tiles with minimal effort.
Impressively, Dyson’s runtime on Eco mode exceeded an hour after being on charge for just under four hours. This dropped to nine minutes in Boost mode. It’s not a particularly light vacuum, nor is it cheap or quiet. You also have to press the power button in at all times, which made our hands ache, but it looks great and comes with a wide range of accessories.
Bosch calls its vacuum Unlimited because it “has an infinite runtime”. This is stretching things a little.
It comes with two batteries, meaning as long as you’ve got one charged, you never have to stop vacuuming and could technically clean forever. It’s not quite infinite – a single battery will last around an hour – but this double battery system is a fantastic feature and is matched only by Shark. The charger on the Bosch Unlimited is huge, and makes a loud buzzing noise while charging, but can take a battery from zero to full in an hour.
Shark’s DuoClean achieved top marks in almost every real-world test, from cleaning carpet, wood and tiles with ease – a button on the top lets you easily switch between floor types – to removing the pet hair first time thanks to its powerful motor.
It ships with the most accessories, which goes some way to compensating for its high price. The trade off for all of its power is a disappointing runtime of 24 minutes, helped a little by the inclusion of a second battery. It was also the loudest of all the vacuum cleaners, and one of the heaviest, with the smallest capacity.
As we move into the lower half of the leaderboard, the models were less consistent than their higher scoring rivals. The souped-up Vax Blade 2 Max has a good three-hour charging time, will run for a not-too-shabby 44 minutes and has a relatively average capacity without weighing too much, yet it never achieved higher than 6/10 in the real-world tests.
Morphy Richards Supervac feels the most flimsy of the lot and has a tiny head, meaning you have to make many more movements to cover the same amount of floor as those with the largest heads – Shark and Dyson.
It matches the Gtech Pro’s charging and runtimes, yet takes a lot more effort to achieve the same level of clean. It is cheap though and will do the job, especially if space is at a premium.
We’re yet to be convinced by robot vacuum cleaners. As a mop, Ecovacs’s Deebot 930 did a thorough job – even if it took nearly 16 minutes to clean our kitchen when we can do it manually in less than three – yet as a vacuum it was slow and tedious to use.
Once it has mapped your home’s layout, which took more than an hour, you need to make sure your house "looks" identical each time. You can’t leave a table out of place and toys on the floor or it messes with the program. We definitely do a better job of cleaning our house manually but we can’t argue with the convenience of being able to put the Deebot 930 onto clean when we go out. Plus, it will run for more than an hour and a half.
There are better, much cheaper cleaners in this list but if housework really isn’t your thing, you can’t really put a price on this convenience.
Into ninth place, the Vorwerk Kobold doesn’t look like other vacuums in the list and doesn’t perform as well, despite costing a staggering £749. It does use a bag, so it gets a thumbs up for hygiene, and it will slot tidily against a wall. It has an impressive 90-minute runtime and the second largest capacity on test. Plus its traditional vacuum shape, and light frame, is easy to use.
However, it didn’t stand out in any of the real-world tests, scoring just a single point in both sand tests and was only marginally better at tackling pet hair. Its best performance was on wood and tiles so if you’ve only got hard floors, and money to burn, this is the vacuum for you
Any cordless vacuum cleaners to avoid?
It may be quiet, and cheap, but there is little else to get excited about with the Eureka Swan PlushPower Turbo. Achieving the lowest, or second lowest, scores across all the real-world tests, its head got clogged with pet hair, the sand fell back out almost immediately and it cut out just before we got to the last room of our house, lasting just 18 minutes.
We then had to wait 3.5 hours for the battery to charge so we could finish our housework. When you consider the Hoover and Gtech Pro with their various performance and features strength cost just £40 more, if you can stretch to it we strongly recommend you do. Like the Dyson, you get what you pay for with Eureka Swan’s model. But unlike the Dyson, that’s not a lot.