Update: The VAX Blade Max II has hoovered its way onto our best cordless vacuum cleaners guide, with strong suction and simple assembly giving plenty to recommend it. Read on below for more about this affordable but capable entry into the world of cordless vacuums.
Cutting loose with the best cordless vacuum cleaners is easier than ever, considering that so many of the best vacuum cleaners available on the market today have done away with the cord entirely.
Long gone are the days when cordless vacuum cleaners struggled to match their tethered competitors. If anything, they're taking over, with brands like Dyson and Shark offering lightweight vacs engineered to perfection and packing in more sucking power than you can shake a cordless stick at.
In fact, Dyson is so over wires that during the launch of its Cyclone V10, it vowed to never make a corded vacuum again. The cord, it seems, is going the way of the dodo in the vacuum world.
Of course, there are now many robot vacuum cleaners on the market, which are free to roam and tidy your home without you so much as lifting a finger. These certainly have no wire holding them back.
But if you're looking to get cleaning with one of the best cordless vacuum cleaners in 2018, we have all the best options for you to choose from right here.
Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute
Power supply: : Cordless, battery | Weight: : 5.9 lbs / 2.6 kg | Bin size: : 0.75L | Run time: : Up to 60 minutes
Battery drains fast on highest setting
Is this the perfect cordless vacuum cleaner? A few niggles aside, it very nearly could be. Dyson is so confident in the Cyclone V10 Absolute that it's stated since its release that it will no longer be building corded vacuum cleaners – that's just how good the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute is.
If you're familiar with Dyson's other cordless vacuum models, you'll know what you're getting here – a stylish and transformable handheld cleaner with removable heads and an optional extender pole, making it as well suited to cleaning the car as hard to reach corners.
You'll get up to an hour's worth of battery life from a single charge which is great compared to the competition – though do be aware that if you push it to its most powerful suction settings that figure drops dramatically.
Add in a larger bin size than previous models and a 20% improvement in max suction power and this is the cleaner to beat right now.
Read our full Dyson Cyclone V10 review
Vax Blade II Max
Power supply: : Cordless, battery | Weight: : 3.1kg | Bin size: : 0.6L | Battery: up to 45m (20m in boost mode)
Portable and modular
Stiff connecting parts
The Vax Blade II Max is cordless vacuuming that won't cost you the earth – but is more than capable than cleaning it up off the floor. This new iteration on Vax's previous cordless vacuum triples the suction power and makes a clear assault on Dyson's number one spot in the market, even if it doesn't take the crown.
At just over half the price of the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute, it sharply undercuts much of the competition while retaining strong suction and a smart, modular design that will let you clasp together longer sticks or shorter heads to best suit the room or surface you're cleaning. The joints can be a bit stiff but, hey, when you get to the actual cleaning it more than does the job.
The Vax Blade II Max will last for 45 minutes off a three-hour charge, though that quickly zaps down to half that when using the more power-intensive boost mode. There's also a separate setting for heading into dark corners or under furniture, which switches on a torch and speeds up the vacuum's rotations to suck in dust just out of reach.
You won't find the design flair or premium-grade materials of Dyson's offerings, but for the price this is still one of the strongest arguments for cordless vacuuming out there.
Power supply: : Cordless, battery | Weight: : 4kg | Bin size: : 0.33L | Suction power: 25.2AW
Variety of cleaning modes
Heavier than some competition
The Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute is superb, but it's also superbly expensive. If you're after something a little less extravagant, but just as well served in the sucking stakes, consider the Shark IF250UK instead.
Shark's cordless vacuum can only run for 22 minutes on a single charge... but also offers hot-swappable batteries, with another popped in the box essentially doubling that running time.
It's a little more cumbersome than the Dyson models, but an articulated mid section makes the Shark IF250UK well suited for cleaning those hard to reach places underneath the sofa.
And, if you're a pet lover, there's an animal-focused version available too with a selection of attachments dedicated to getting stubborn fur out of where it shouldn't be. Not quite the saving of the Vax Blade II Max, but still a worthy alternative to the Dyson elite.
Read the full Shark IF250UK review
Dyson V8 Absolute
Power supply: : Cordless, battery | Weight: : 2.16kg | Bin size: : 0.54L | Suction power: 22AW (115AW in MAX mode)
Portable and modular
Were it not for the Shark and newer Dyson models above, the Dyson V8 Absolute would still be our top pick of the cordless vacuum cleaners on the market. And though it's getting a bit long in the tooth, as an older model now commanding more affordable pricing, it's still well worth giving a try.
Another transforming cordless vacuum cleaner, like the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute it too features a pistol-grip power button, meaning it's only drawing from the battery and sucking up grime when it's actually being held down and used. As such, its 40 minute running time can feel much longer than that – though again the more powerful settings and motorized heads will see that figure drastically reduced.
Fitted with a large bin and sold complete with a ton of accessories, it's a great package and, best of all, it's fun to use – its sci-fi aesthetic will make you feel like a Ghostbuster while you're doing your chores.
Power supply: Battery (cordless) | Weight: 3.5kg | Battery: 40 minutes
Lightweight, easy to carry and move
Easily accessible bin
Bin is small
No attachment tools
"AirRam" sounds almost like too cool a name for a white goods product – it could be a special move in Street Fighter or something like that. But the Gtech AirRam MK2 backs it up with respectable sucking action, and at a palatable price point too.
Designed like an upright, you'll get about 40 minutes out of the AirRam MK2 per charge, giving the Dyson V8 Absolute a run for its money. It'll run off a mains power supply too, though don't expect to go very far with the short cable that's supplied.
Gtech Airlock technology adapts the head for different flooring types which guarantees a good suction seal whether tackling carpet or hardwoods, while a removable cylinder bin lets you easily dispose of any collected grime.
But though it's not too heavy, the lack of a hose or different attachments makes it less versatile than some of the other products on this list. Still, it gets the job done, and at a far more affordable price than the competition to boot.
Dyson 360 Eye robot vacuum cleaner
Power supply: Battery | Weight: 2.4kg | Bin size: 0.33Lm | Suction power: 20AW
Not the most thorough clean
Not content with just building traditional vacuum cleaners, Dyson has also tried dipping its toes into the world of robotics too. And with the Dyson 360 Eye, it's made one of the most impressive robot vacuum cleaners on the market.
Run a relatively smooth app-driven set up process, allowing the Dyson 360 Eye to map your home, set a cleaning schedule for the bot, and you're away.
Dyson's robot is intelligent enough to avoid table legs and clothes left on the floor, as well as damaging drops like stairs. Its camera and AI smarts still get caught out at times, and it's too chunky to slide comfortably under most sofas, but you can reliably let it get the job done for you, provided you're prepared to do some of the bigger jobs that occur every once in a while.
What is intimidating though is the price – Dyson products already command a premium, and with all the smart connected and imaging technology crammed in here, it's one of the priciest items they offer. An extravagance then, but a very cool one.
Read the full Dyson 360 Eye review
iRobot Roomba 980 robot vacuum cleaner
Power supply: Battery | Weight: 3.94kg | Bin size: 0.6Lm | Suction power: 33AW
Relatively low clearance
Sluggish app control
Struggles with cables
Another pricey, but super-cool bot is iRobot's Roomba 980 robot vacuum cleaner. It's neck and neck with the Dyson as to which robot cleaner is our favorite at the moment.
Like the Dyson, it'll intelligently map your home and keep an eye out for problem zones, and will know exactly when to jump between high and lower power modes depending on whether or not its on carpets or hard floors.
It has a few advantages over the Dyson alternative, with a lower clearance letting it get under more types of furniture, and a two hour battery that will let it clean for longer before needing to return to its charging station. You can also set up battery-powered “Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers”, which send a signal to the Roomba preventing it from passing between two points – perfect for blocking off doorways to areas you'd rather it not disturb.
It's pricey, and has a particular dislike of cables on the floor, but if you're after a luxury robotic cleaner, and don't much fancy the Dyson competitor, it's definitely one to consider.
Shark IONFlex 2X DuoClean
Weight: 3.8 pounds | Bin Capacity: 0.3 dry quarts | Power: Battery
Very short battery life
The Shark IONFlex 2X DuoClean is truly eye-catching. It's main tube is a lovely a metallic blue and it has all the looks of a futuristic cleaning machine. You may be hard pressed to believe this is actually a vacuum for your humble home.
The IONFlex 2X DuoClean easily switches from hardwood floor cleaning to carpet with the push of a button. The detachable motor lets you use it as a handheld, too, letting you clean furniture or other surfaces very easily.
The package includes an assortment of attachments for different kinds of cleaning, such as a head specifically designed to clean fabric.
In handheld mode it's on the heavier side due to the lithium-ion batteries, so you'll definitely get an arm workout when using this vacuum. But, you'll be cleaning a lot of surface area because it moves so fast and efficiently.
The bin is big enough, so you should have plenty of room to clean a large room or a few smaller ones before needing to dump it out. Dumping the contents of the bin is as easy as holding it over a garbage bin and pressing a button.
The biggest knock against the IONFlex 2X DuoClean is the battery. It doesn't last long at all, probably close to 10 minutes or so, before you need to swap out another one. The good news is that the batteries are rechargable; the bad news is that they take a lot longer than 10 minutes to recharge fully.
So, you'll likely find that you've burned through two batteries quickly, then need to wait a few hours before both are back to full charge. You can, of course, use one after it's only charged for a short while, but it won't last very long.
Still, this cordless vacuum has a lot going for it, so it's well worth considering adding to your cleaning collection.
- Happy with a few cables? Then check our full best vacuum cleaners guide