Best cordless vacuum cleaner 2021: Which is the best handheld vacuum for you?
Keep your house dust- and dirt-free without the hassle with our selection of the best cordless vacuum cleaners
While nobody jumps to pick up the vacuum and start cleaning, cordless vacuum cleaners make the whole ordeal that little bit more bearable. They’re wonderfully handy for quick cleaning jobs and are able to handle most dirt spillages without you ever having to drag the cumbersome Henry out from under the stairs.
The problem is that there are so many brilliant handheld vacuum cleaners doing the rounds, it’s tricky to pick out what’s best for you. While most cordless vacuums look the same, however, not all are created equal. This is where we come to the rescue – we’ve rounded up the best handheld and cordless vacuum cleaners you can buy right now.
Below, you’ll find our pick of the best cordless vacuum cleaners to buy in 2021. Whether you’re tired of lugging a hefty cylinder vacuum around your home, or you just need something pint-sized to clean up after a messy pet/child/partner, we’ve got you covered.
If you’re not sure which cordless vacuum cleaner is best for you, check out our buying guide below. It answers all the key questions you might have before buying and explains the specifications and key features you need to look out for before you head to the checkout.
Best cordless vacuum: At a glance
- Best-value cordless:
- Best sub-£200 cordless: Vax Blade 3
- Best of the best: Dyson V11 Absolute
- Best lightweight: Gtech HyLite
- Best handheld: Shark Cordless Handheld
How to buy the best cordless vacuum cleaner for you
What specifications should I pay attention to?
There are a handful of specifications to look at before you begin, of which the most crucial are weight, bin capacity and battery life.
Weight: It isn’t so much of an issue when you’re vacuuming the floor, but you’ll certainly notice a heavy model when you’re standing on a chair and cleaning a lampshade. The lightest models we’ve seen are around 1.3kg, while the heaviest can weigh more than 2kg – that may not sound like a big difference, but you’ll certainly notice the extra weight when you’re holding a handheld vacuum at arm’s length.
Bin capacity: This determines roughly how much dirt you can collect before you have to empty the vacuum. The models on this list range from tiny handhelds with 250ml capacities to larger uprights with up to 1.2l of bin space on offer. Even if a model has a small bin, however, it’s not a deal-breaker as long as the bin is quick and easy to empty.
Battery life: Or perhaps more accurately, battery power, determines roughly how much suction power a vacuum will have, as well as how long it will last on a single charge. The models on this list range in longevity from under ten minutes up to one hour, which is a pretty good cross-section of cordless vacuums more generally.
Keep in mind that handheld cordless vacuums won’t last anywhere near as long as upright models. On the flip side, however, keep in mind that even a seemingly miserable eight-minute battery life will be enough to deal with a car interior or unexpected kitchen spillage.
What accessories and features are worth having?
Accessories: Keep an eye out for detachable hoses or pivoting nozzles for awkward spaces; crevice tools for sofa cushions and tight spots; and powered vacuum heads for stubborn carpets. There are other, more unusual accessories, but these are the most common.
Charging: Most of the models on this list will come with either a charging dock – many of which can be mounted to a wall – or a standard DC mains plug and cable. Some smaller models come with removable batteries or, in rare cases, a second power pack so you can switch batteries mid-clean and enjoy twice the longevity.
The best cordless vacuum cleaners to buy
1. Dyson V7 Absolute: The best-value Dyson
Price: £299 l Buy now from Currys
Despite being superseded by a handful of new Dyson vacuums, the V7 Absolute remains the best-value cordless vacuum cleaner on the market. Offering similar levels of features as the more expensive Dyson V11 (listed below) the V7 now costs a fraction of the price, making it our top cordless pick.
The Dyson V7 is a superb, lightweight vacuum cleaner that’s perfect for small-sized flats with hard flooring, but it also does a tremendous job at cleaning thicker carpet areas in a pinch. In our testing, we found that it delivered 30 minutes of use on a single charge and can be neatly stored away in a cupboard thanks to the included wall mount. Likewise, the bin size is identical to the more expensive V11, at a generous 0.8 litres.
If you’re put off by the high prices of Dyson’s other cordless vacuum cleaners, and you don’t mind picking up something a little older, then the Dyson V7 provides 90% of the experience of the newer models for a third of the price.
Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 1,243 x 250 x 210 mm; Weight: 2.3kg; Bin capacity: 800ml; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Suction power – stated (AW): 100
2. Dyson V11 Outsize: The most powerful Dyson of all
Price: £650 | Buy now from Currys
The Dyson V11 Outsize aims to bridge the gap between cordless convenience and the cleaning efficiency of an upright. Its cleaning head is 25% larger than the other V11 cordless models, which lets you cover more carpet in less time. It cleans for longer, too, with a 1.7-litre collection bin and a battery that lasted 1hr 19mins when we tested it on its Economy setting.
Apart from its size, the design is similar to Dyson’s other models and it performed similarly well in our tests. The suction power is just as strong as the smaller V11, and it collected 95% of everything we attempted to clean with it on a single pass.
The only downside is that, along with the increase in size, there’s also a significant increase in weight: 3.5kg is a lot of vacuum cleaner to lug around.
Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 261 x 320 x 1286mm; Weight: 3.5kg; Bin capacity: 1.7l; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Suction power: 220AW
3. Dyson V11 Absolute: The best cordless vacuum
Price: £600 | Buy now from Currys
The undisputed king of the vacuum industry is the Dyson V11 Absolute, and it’s head and shoulders above everything else we’ve ever tested. Performance is the name of the game here: the V11 has a bigger battery and a more powerful motor than its predecessor, the V10, lasting an hour in normal mode and 12 minutes in the souped-up ‘Boost’ mode.
The new High Torque head also has built-in pressure sensors that can adjust the suction power depending on the surface to save energy – or, if you’d rather take manual control, you can adjust the power yourself with a slider on the front of the head. A handy LCD display on the top of the motor keeps track of exactly how much time you have left until the battery runs out, and also notifies the user of any blockages.
Delivering a whopping 185 air watts of suction power in Boost mode, the V11 is an obvious and capable candidate for anyone looking to ditch the cord and banish the dirt without any hassle. There’s no better cordless vacuum cleaner than this, so long as you can afford one.
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Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 250 x 261 x 1,286mm; Weight: 2.97kg; Bin capacity: 0.76l; Run time: 25 minutes; Warranty: 2 years RTB
4. Vax Blade 3: The best sub-£200 cordless vacuum cleaner
Price: £180 | Buy from John Lewis
There aren’t that many cordless stick vacuum cleaners around for less than £200 but the Vax Blade 3 bucks the trend without compromising on cleaning; it does a remarkably good job of clearing spills from hard floors and carpets.
Launched at the same time as the Vax Blade 4, the Blade 3’s motor isn’t quite as powerful but it proved just as capable in our tests. You might occasionally find some mess or other that the Blade 3 can’t clear quickly, where a more expensive model might cope better, but those instances should be few and far between.
It isn’t perfect, the main drawback being that it’s heavier and less manoeuvrable than some of our favourite models. However, if you want good cleaning for less money, the Vax Blade 3 is well worth considering.
Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 240 x 185 x 1,140mm; Weight: 3kg; Bin capacity: 600ml; Battery power: 18V, Run time: 40 minutes; Warranty: 3 years
5. Gtech HyLite: The best lightweight cordless vac
Price: £129 | Buy now from Currys
The Gtech HyLite is the smallest and neatest vacuum cleaner we’ve ever seen. Take it apart into its separate pieces, and the HyLite is compact enough to fit in any drawer, or simply hung on a hook in your airing room, and it’s remarkably lightweight too.
While it might be small, it’s actually rather powerful. Of course, there are a few compromises – it won’t clean your carpets as thoroughly as same of the high-powered and bulky vacuums on this list – but it’s more than capable of handling everyday cleaning duties, it’s remarkably power efficient and it doesn’t cost much either. The Gtech Hylite is a solid choice if money is tight or if you don’t have much storage space in your house.
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Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 1,090 x 280 x 180mm; Weight: 1.5kg; Bin capacity: 0.3l; Battery power: 14.4V, Run time: 20 minutes; Warranty: 2 years RTB
6. Shark Cordless Handheld: Best cordless handheld vacuum
Price: £130 (single battery) | Buy now from Currys
Shark’s first handheld vacuum is also the very best on the market. This dinky handheld caters towards those hard-to-reach areas of your home or car, and it makes a fine replacement for your ancient dustpan and brush for cleaning small spills without any fuss.
It might be small, and it certainly isn’t the cheapest handheld on this list, but this cordless vacuum is unmatched when it comes to sheer versatility. It’s a high-quality product, with a sleek, trim frame and a handy charging dock with space for a second battery, if you don’t mind spending a bit extra. It also managed to suck up almost anything we threw at it, and although a larger, more powerful vacuum might have done a better job, the Shark takes the top spot when it comes to space-saving and smaller cleaning jobs.
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Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 950 x 220 x 385mm; Weight: 1.3kg; Bin capacity: 0.25l; Run time: 8 minutes; Warranty: 2 years RTB
7. Roidmi Nano P1 Pro: The most stylish cordless handheld vacuum
Price: £119 | Buy now from Amazon
It might look more like a big can of deodorant than a cordless vacuum, but the Roidmi Nano P1 Pro is a big help for cleaning away small messes. Designed to stand upright on your shelves, Roidmi’s vacuum is lightweight and looks stylish enough to be left out in the open.
Charging is done via USB, and when powered up it has surprisingly strong suction for such a slimline device. We measured 10kPa in its standard mode, which boosts to 13.3kPa when switched to max. While it can’t rival a bigger cordless vacuum switched to full power, it definitely surpasses their most economical settings. And with a bin capacity of only 0.1 litres, it won’t be much good for big cleaning jobs, but for sucking up dust and crumbs – smartening your workplace or tidying your sofa – it’s hard to beat in terms of portability and convenience. We guarantee it’ll also look much nicer on your mantelpiece than a dustpan and brush.
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Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 283 x 87 x 86mm; Weight: 0.5kg; Bin capacity: 0.1l; Run time: 24 minutes; Warranty: 5 years RTB
8. Dyson Cyclone V10: Another superb Dyson
Price: £450 | Buy now from Currys
The Dyson Cyclone V10 was once the king of cordless vacuum cleaners, but it was a noteworthy improvement over the V8 in almost every way and is still worth a recommendation today. it’s incredibly powerful – so much so that Dyson ceased development of new corded cleaners because of this vacuum – and we agree that the V10 is easily good enough to replace your old upright if you’re hoping to upgrade.
Considering how powerful it is, the Dyson V10 Cyclone has an excellent battery life of up to 60 minutes in the default mode, and 30 minutes in the more powerful ‘Max Boost’ setting. The dust container is also 40% larger than the V8 (it’s now 0.76l) and while it isn’t as cheap as the Dyson V7 – the least expensive Dyson on this list – it’s still exceptional value for money if you’re hoping to keep your house spick and span.
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Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 250 x 1,249 x 256mm; Weight: 2.68kg; Bin capacity: 0.76l; Run time: 60 minutes; Warranty: 2 years RTB
9. Eufy HomeVac S11 Infinity: Best vacuum cleaner for bundled accessories
Price: £280 | Buy now from Amazon
A vacuum cleaner is more than just a sum of its parts but the contents of the Eufy HomeVac S11 Infinity’s box is particularly impressive. Chief amongst these is its second detachable battery, effectively doubling the length of time you’ve got before you hang the cleaner back in its wall mount and wait for it to recharge. It also comes with a good selection of add-ons that other cleaners only offer as optional extras, such as an extendable bendy tube for getting the crevice tool into difficult corners and a small motor-powered floorhead that’s ideal for stairs.
The vacuum also impresses with its lightness and manoeuvrability. It glides across carpet and hard floors alike, easily twisting around corners and under furniture. It has powerful suction but we did find that larger particles got stuck in the tube in our testing.
Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 220 x 260 x 1,250 mm; Weight: 1.5kg; Bin capacity: 650ml; Battery power: 30V; Run time: 40 minutes per battery (two supplied) ; Suction power – stated (AW): 180; Warranty: 2 years
10. Roidmi X20: The best vacuum/mop hybrid
Price: £350 | Buy now from Amazon
Xiaomi’s household appliance division is back at it again, but this time it’s added a mop to its excellent lineup of well-priced vacuum cleaners. The Roidmi X20 maybe its priciest vacuum yet, but its exquisite user-friendly design and long-lasting battery make it worthy of a recommendation, even if it can be a bit tricky to get hold of in the UK.
Likewise, the addition of the “Magic Mop Box” – which you attach to the brush head, mopping as you clean – adds another cleaning option that not many cordless cleaners can boast either. Other than the price, our only complaint is the small bin capacity at 0.4l, which is quite a bit smaller than a lot of other cordless vacuums on the market. Regardless, so long as you don’t mind emptying the bin fairly often, the Roidmi X20 is a wonderfully versatile cleaner and well worth picking up if you don’t fancy paying Dyson prices.
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Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 1219 x 254 x 152mm; Weight: 2.6kg; Bin capacity: 0.4l; Battery power: 30V; Run time: 12 minutes; Warranty: 2 years RTB