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Published Oct. 11, 2021

Cordless vacuums have cleaned living rooms since the ’70s. Back then, there were founded concerns that these cordless wonders would never rival their corded counterparts. Today’s more powerful batteries and energy-efficient designs get close and offer portability full-size vacuums can’t beat. 

A cordless model frees you from the tether of an electrical cord and outlet. There’s no getting tangled, wrapped around furniture, or changing outlets while you work. Innovative designs give the best cordless vacuums the power to suck it up for 20 minutes or more and offer versatile uses for cleaning cars, stairs, upholstery, and drapery. 

How we picked the best cordless vacuums

Cordless vacuums are the lightweight speed demons of the vacuum world. I evaluated them based on their combination of power, design, battery life, and run time. 

Power: Power in watts and amps can be deceiving when it comes to vacuums because design heavily influences how much suction the motor creates. I looked for designs that enhance suction to remove tough debris like pet hair and fine dust. 

Design: Design covers everything from the motor and brush roll to the handle and emptying process. I considered how all of these worked together and looked for any design issues that showed up consistently in reviews. 

Battery life and run time: Battery life and run times vary by the settings and accessories in use. Here’s where balance mattered. Batteries that kept the vacuum’s weight low while still offering at least twenty minutes of juice were more likely to make the list. 

The Best Cordless Vacuums: Reviews and Recommendations

 Best cordless vacuum: Tineco A11 Hero Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Quiet and Powerful

This powerful vacuum filters out allergens and offers quiet operation.
Tineco

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Why it made the cut: The Tineco’s combination of suction power, quiet operation, and impressive HEPA filtration made it an obvious choice for the best cordless vacuum overall.  

Specs: 

  • Weight: approximately 5-6 pounds
  • Dust cup size: 0.6 liters
  • Conversions: 1 (to handheld)

Pros: 

  • Lightweight at approximately 5 pounds
  • Handy wall charger that holds additional tools
  • Quiet operation

Cons: 

  • Clogs can be an issue

The Tineco A11 Hero Cordless Vacuum Cleaner brings suction power and versatility to your cleaning. The 450-watt cyclonic brushless (quiet) motor produces excellent suction. While it’s not as strong as a full-size vacuum, it makes quick work of light debris and pet hair. 

Pet owners will also find that the four-stage HEPA filtration helps contain pet dander. The filters are washable, saving you some cash on replacement filters. On the lowest setting, without the motorized brush, it can run up to 40 minutes. That run time goes down if it’s powering the brush, of course.

The Tineco vacuum also gets points for the wall storage/charger. It hangs out of the way without eating up any floor space. The charger also holds the additional tools, including the power brush, dusting brush, and crevice tool. However, the Tineco has been known to clog easily, depending on the kind of debris and the carpet length and thickness.

Best value: Shark Navigator Freestyle Cordless Stick Vacuum

Back to Basics

This no-frills vacuum may not have extra accessories, but it quickly removes debris without a problem. Shark

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Why it made the cut: The Shark keeps things simple but does the basics like a pro and doesn’t come with the big price tag of many of the convertible cordless models. 

Specs: 

  • Weight: 7.5 pounds
  • Dust cup size: 0.64 quart
  • Conversions: 0

Pros:

  • Two-speed options
  • Motorized brush lifts embedded pet hair
  • Swivel steering

Cons: 

  • Brushroll throws debris on hard floors

The Shark Navigator Freestyle Cordless Stick Vacuum skips bells and whistles like conversions and extra accessories. Instead, it’s got two speeds, one for bare floors and one for carpets and little else. The combination of suction and brush-roll power help lift pet hair from carpets. Swivel steering maneuvers around obstacles with speed and precision. However, you can’t turn the brush off, which gives it the potential to scratch delicate hardwoods. 

Best cordless vacuum for pet hair: Shark Anti-Allergen Pet Power Cordless Lightweight Stick Vacuum

Pet Hair Magnet

A vacuum with silicone fins and a brush that resists tangles helps pet owners stay on top of cleaning. Shark

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Why it made the cut: This Shark vacuum’s silicone powerfins and tangle-resistant brush are designed to attract pet hair without daily hair removal, making it one of the best cordless vacuums for homes with four-legged furry friends. 

Specs:  

  • Weight: 7.17 pounds
  • Dust cup size: 0.32 liters
  • Conversions: 1 (to handheld)

Pros:

  • Silicone powerfins attract hair and pull it from carpets
  • Easy-to-empty dust cup
  • Resists tangles and easy to remove hair

Cons:

  • Weight distribution causes head to lift off of the ground when pulling backward 

The Shark Anti-Allergen Pet Power Cordless Lightweight Stick Vacuum doesn’t have the Shark Duo Clean technology, but it puts the hurt on pet hair with its silicone powerfins. The fins work in a couple of ways. First, they keep constant contact with the floor, so hair can’t escape. Second, the silicone creates a slight charge that attracts pet hair that can then get sucked into the vacuum. 

While silicone can be gentle on hardwoods, the head also has bristles. They’re soft and work well on most hardwoods, but many people are surprised that the silicone fins have bristled helpers. 

This brush design also self cleans, making it easier to manage pet hair. That doesn’t mean it’s completely tangle-proof, but you’ll deal with fewer tangles than with other models. The Shark also comes with useful accessories, like an eight-inch crevice tool, dusting brush, and pet multi-tool. 

The entire unit converts to a handheld vac that fits all of the accessories. If you’re looking for a con, the weight distribution on this vacuum doesn’t always work quite right. Some users find that when they pull it backward, the lightweight head lifts off the ground. 

Best cordless vacuum for hardwood floors: Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Protective Suction

Hardwood floors get powerful suction and the option of a soft vacuum head to protect their delicate surface. Dyson

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Why it made the cut: Dyson enjoys a reputation for power, and the Dyson V8 doesn’t disappoint with its powerful suction, impressive maneuverability, and soft vacuum head option for hardwood floors. 

Specs: 

  • Weight: 5.75 pounds
  • Dust cup size: 0.53 liters
  • Conversions: 1 (to handheld)

Pros:

  • Soft bristles on the hardwood attachment are gentle on delicate floors
  • Multiple vacuum head options provide versatile uses
  • Powerful suction that picks up fine dust and dirt

Cons: 

  • Can start pulsating if it starts to get a clog

The Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner has the benefit of Dyson’s powerful motor and highly-functional (and long) list of tools. Dyson makes a soft brush head that’s ideal for hardwood floors. However, it also comes with a more aggressive head designed for carpets. Other accessories include a dust brush, crevice tool, and soft brush. There are other heads available from Dyson, which are sold separately.

This model has good balance, adding to the maneuverability and ease of use. The Dyson can be used as a handheld vacuum for a car or stair-cleaning as well. While it has plenty of pros, the V8 has also been known to have a pulsating problem if a clog starts to form in the tube.  

Best cordless handheld vacuum: BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum

Simple Yet Efficient

Versatile accessories create a handheld vacuum that tackles messes in the home or car. Bissell

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Why it made the cut: The Bissell handheld vacuum is lightweight and includes a wide range of accessories that give versatile options for use, landing it a spot on our “best” list. 

Specs: 

  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Dust cup size: 0.7 liters
  • Conversions: 0

Pros:

  • Large dust cup needs less emptying
  • Multiple head tools create versatile applications
  • Powerful suction for a vacuum this size

Cons: 

  • No accessory storage

The BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum packs a lot into a little package. This lightweight, three-pound vacuum comes with a motorized brush tool (great for pet hair), upholstery tool, and crevice tool. They’re simple to change out and turn the vacuum from an upholstery cleaner to a stair master. 

The Bissell cordless, handheld vacuum also features a larger 0.7-liter dust cup, which is larger than many stick vacuums. At that capacity, you won’t have to empty it nearly as often. However, the downside for this model is all those accessories. They work brilliantly, but there’s no storage for any of those extras. 

Things to consider before buying a cordless handheld vacuum

Battery life and run time

Battery life and run time really only factor in if you’ll be vacuuming a big area on one charge, like a five- or six-bedroom house. If the vacuum will only be used for spot cleaning or spiffing up a studio apartment, battery life and run time won’t affect your use that much. 

For those that fall into the former category, bigger batteries typically offer longer run times. However, that also means more weight. Consequently, manufacturers try to strike a balance between the weight and run time. You can expect anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes per charge, depending on the accessories used and suction settings. Some models are advertised as having 60 minutes or more, but that is often under ideal conditions, like a fully charged battery, low pile carpet, and the lowest power setting. 

Vacuum weight

Handheld cordless vacuums can weigh as little as one or two pounds. Stick and upright vacuums usually weigh between five and ten pounds. If you use the vacuum on the stairs or in the car, a lower-weight model will be easier to maneuver. If the vacuum stays on the same floor at all times, a little extra weight (and a more powerful battery) probably won’t affect maneuverability unless you have arthritis or weak wrists. 

Pet, car, or stairs

Your carpet style, pets, and stairs are all factors that influence the type of cordless vacuum that will work best. Vacuums designed specifically for pet hair often feature brush action and vacuum heads that attract hair into the vacuum. 

For car cleaning, a handheld vacuum or a cordless model that converts into a cordless vacuum offers the best portability. Models that include extra tools like a crevice tool and upholstery tool let you reach into a car’s crevices and clean seats.

A cordless vacuum’s light weight and lack of cord are definitely stair-friendly. Some convert into a stair vacuum with a short handle, so you don’t have to stoop. Handheld models are also a good option for stairs, though you’ll have to bend over more than with a stair vacuum.  

FAQs

Q: What is the best cordless vacuum for the car?

The best cordless vacuum for the car has to be either the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum or the Shark Anti-Allergen Pet Power Cordless Lightweight Stick Vacuum when in the handheld configuration with the crevice tool. Both of these vacuums have good power and several tools to clean the varied surfaces and crevices of a car.

Q: Is Shark cordless better than Dyson?

A Shark cordless can be better than a Dyson. It depends on which models you’re comparing and what you’re using them for. Dyson typically offers more high-quality accessory options with impressive power and battery life. However, Shark’s models have large dust cups and excellent suction, especially for removing pet hair.

Q: Which cordless vacuum lasts the longest?

Cordless vacuums typically last two to three years, depending on how often and what you use the vacuum for. At that point, their batteries begin to lose power. However, models with a removable and replaceable battery may provide longer life.

Final thoughts

The Tineco Cordless Vacuum Cleaner gets the top spot for its high-power suction, quiet operation, and effective HEPA filtration. However, when it comes to stairs and cars, the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum’s impressive mobility and accessories let you zip through cleaning.

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