Best cordless vacuum cleaners 2020 – the top cable-free stick cleaners

We've tested the latest cordless vacuum cleaners to see which felt like clever time-savers and which felt like too much of a faff to be worth using

Best cordless vacuum cleaners featured Vax
(Image credit: Vax)

Every piece of technology in the home is going wireless – why should vacuum cleaners be any different? Cut the cord and you save valuable time, as there's no need to keep plugging in and unplugging.

The best cordless vacuums are light and manoeuvrable and make quick work of little clean-up jobs, much more convenient than dustpan and brush.

Stick cleaners have a long reach that makes it easy to catch cobwebs and clean curtains. And some have enough cleaning power and battery life to serve as the only vacuum cleaner in smaller homes.

Why do I need a cordless vacuum cleaner?

Best cordless vacuum cleaner lifestyle Vax

(Image credit: Vax)

Think of a cordless vacuum as a hi-tech replacement for dustpan and brush. Something you’ll use little and often. So power and convenience is good (we like charging stations, so they’re always ready to use.)

Battery life is probably less important but if your home is small, you could consider using a cordless as your main vacuum cleaner – in which case you’ll want it to last more than a few minutes.

What is the best cordless cleaner in 2020?

After thorough testing by Caramel, we have voted the Dyson V11 Absolute as the best cordless vacuum cleaner in 2020. If you've got less to spend, the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 is our best-value cordless vacuum cleaner. The Miele Triflex HX1 Cat&Dog is our favourite premium vacuum cleaner.

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(Image credit: Dyson)

1. Dyson V11 Absolute

Best overall cordless vacuum cleaner

Reasons to buy
+Quality look and feel+Displays remaining run time+Brilliant tools+60 minute run time+Good dust bin capacity
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey

The new Dyson promises twice the suction (at the cleaner head) of any cordless vacuum cleaner. But it also costs twice as much as competitors. So is it worth the money?

The V11 is undoubtedly the best-designed and most powerful cordless vac on the market and boasts a quality look and feel. Its elongated body makes the whole thing look long and elegant.

It model improves on predecessors’ battery life, offering (around 15) up to 60 minutes run time. Importantly, use the high torque floorhead and its clever auto mode reduces power on hard floors to conserve battery, increases it on carpeted areas. 

A bright display shows you not just your power mode but how many minutes cleaning you have left in the current mode, so you can make an informed choice.

It also comes with a superb fluffy hard floor roller and four smaller accessories. You can store two on the excellent wall-hung charging dock and clip the crevice nozzle onto the V11’s wand – together they’re great for cobwebs

Capacity is higher than ever and it’s easy to empty. But the run time and power controls are the stars of the show. If money’s no object, buy the V11: you won’t be disappointed. On a tighter budget, consider the V11 Animal.

Homes & Gardens' rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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(Image credit: Bissell)

2. Bissell Icon 25V

Best designed cordless vacuum cleaner

Reasons to buy
+Headlights useful for cleaning under sofa, etc+Floor head lessens hair tangles+Wall bracket that lets you charge+Impressive design details
Reasons to avoid
-Small dust bin

The Bissell really impressed us. It performs really well and the design includes impressive attention to detail.

Bright headlights on the floorhead illuminate cleaning. Run time is up to 50 minutes but it will be much less on high power, using the floorhead... and the Bissell always starts with both when you turn it on. 

There are three power levels and the medium one is fine most of the time, but the vac doesn’t remember your last setting, it always starts at top whack, which reduces battery life.

The floorhead claims to beat the problem of hair tangles and we certainly didn’t manage to get it badly tangled. It’s also smaller than the Shark floorhead. The 0.4 litre bin isn’t the easiest to empty but it’s ok.

Weighing in at 3.2kg, the design is a top-heavy stick that converts to handheld. It comes with just one tool, a crevice nozzle that converts to a brush. That’s great: you only really need those two tools. Though ironically the designers have given you space to store multiple tools at the charging dock.

That’s right, that rare beast, a wall hanger that also lets you charge the vac. It’s surprising how few come with this.

We were even bowled over by tiny design details. For example, built into the inside of the dock is a little spirit level, to make it very easy to mount the dock level. Another one: the tip of the crevice tool lights up when it’s in use. We could go on.

It’s a mid-priced cleaner but the performance and design combine to impress.

Homes & Gardens' rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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(Image credit: Miele)

3. Miele Triflex HX1 Cat&Dog SMML0

Best premium cordless vacuum cleaner

Reasons to buy
+Powerful+Easy to use+Cleaning power of a corded vac
Reasons to avoid
-Second battery/longer run time would be helpful-Dust bin on the small side

Miele’s first cordless claims to be powerful enough to be your only vacuum cleaner. It’s also supremely convertible: you can rearrange the pieces to convert from an upright cleaner (bottom-heavy, perfect when you’re just vacuuming floors, stands up by itself) to a stick cleaner (top-heavy, very manoeuvrable) to a handheld.

It comes with three tools: crevice nozzle, dusting brush, flat upholstery tool.

We tested the Cat & Dog model. There’s also a regular model that’s a bit cheaper (no HEPA filter, no headlights on the floorhead, no turbo brush for lifting pet hair from furniture) and a Pro model that’s dearer (comes with a second battery and charger).

We weren’t convinced that you need the pet turbo brush unless your furniture is plagued with pet hair. But a second battery might be worthwhile.

The Miele is easy to use, well designed and impressively powerful on floors and more. It really offers the cleaning power you’d expect from a corded cleaner. But the 'up to 60 minutes' run time is 34 minutes if you’re using the floorhead (which you probably are) and just 17 minutes at top power.

Fortunately the lower power setting is good enough and 34 minutes is long enough for a couple of rooms.

You wouldn’t be able to vacuum a whole house thoroughly on one charge. You’d need a second battery or to clean little and often. Its 0.5-litre capacity is on the small side too. You’ll need to empty the dirt canister regularly, but this is easy and isn’t messy.

The Miele Triflex HX1 gives Dysons a run for their money. We missed the Dyson’s charging dock and fluffy hard floor roller. But the Miele’s convertibility and sheer cleaning power won us over. 

If you don’t mind the price, the HX1 is a great buy.

Homes & Gardens' rating 5 out of 5 stars

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(Image credit: Vax)

4. Vax ONEPWR Blade 4

Best value cordless vacuum

Reasons to buy
+Comfy grip+Responsive+Impressive vacuuming+Easy to empty+Lots of tools
Reasons to avoid
-Dust bin could be bigger

This stick-style cordless vacuum cleaner has a slight design difference: the cyclone cylinder sits sideways, like its predecessor. But the thing that really stands out is its comfy grip. 

It’s perfectly shaped and has a soft touch. It feels nice enough in the hand that its 3.1kg weight doesn’t feel too heavy.

Buttons are under your thumb and responsive. One turns it on and off, another cycles between the two power settings (it remembers which one you were on last time) and the third turns on the floorhead’s powered brush and headlights.

It boasts triple filtration and runtime is quoted as 45 minutes but it will be much less on high power, using the floorhead. Its vacuuming was impressive on both power settings.

Tools are impressive too. It comes with a crevice nozzle and dusting brush, both of which are well designed. But at the time of writing it also came with a free Cordless ProKit 2 accessory pack.

This gives you an extendible, flexible crevice nozzle for tricky gaps, an upholstery tool, a stiff brush for tough dirt and a stretch hose so you can use the tools without the weight of the cleaner in your hand. The toolkit comes with a fabric storage bag too, but it would have been great if this could clip to the Vax.

The battery comes off and docks in a charger. And the Vax comes with a wall mount, so you can hang it up when not in use. Meanwhile the 0.6-litre capacity dust canister isn’t large but it comes off easily and then is straightforward to empty.

We were really impressed with the Vax’s comfort, array of tools and cleaning performance for a mid-priced machine. 

It really gives the Dysons and the Miele a run for their money.

Homes & Gardens' rating 5 out of 5 stars

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(Image credit: Henry)

5. Henry Cordless

Best cordless cylinder vacuum cleaner

Reasons to buy
+Well priced+Tough build+Onboard tool storage+Two batteries
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky-Fiddly clips

This is unusual: a cordless version of the Henry cylinder vacuum cleaner. It’s almost as large as the mains-powered family favourite and it’s not too expensive.

Build quality is tough and simple. The three tubes just push together, no fancy controls. We liked the fact that the plastic end of the flexible hose is designed to double as a nozzle for quick cleaning of little corners, no need for an accessory.

It also comes with three tools: crevice nozzle, dusting brush and upholstery tool. There’s space to store two onboard at any time. Plus you can clip the floorhead to the side of the vac, so the whole thing stands independently. The floorhead is good on carpet and hard floors alike but there’s no powered brush.

Henry Cordless is bulky compared with all the other cordless vacs on test. With the head clipped to the base and the long (2m) hose snaking out, it takes up more space than an upright cordless. 

The benefit of the bulk, though, is huge capacity: It stores your dust in 6-litre bags, with two-stage filtration. Tabs close the HepaFlo bags, so you can empty the vac cleanly.

Cleaning power isn’t as good as the mains-powered Henry, but it isn’t bad. There are two power levels, which you select using a switch on the main body. There are no controls on the handle. 

Run time is 30 minutes on low power and 20 minutes on high – we found ourselves using high most of the time. Thankfully it comes with a second battery, effectively doubling those run times. You pop the battery out of Henry to charge it in a dock.

Our only quibble with build quality was the clips that attach the top to the bottom: they’re fussy and don’t always clip fully. Clipped right, though, it’s heavier than other cordless vacs but it pulls along behind you with ease and the weight in your hand (just the tube and attachments) is very light indeed.

Homes & Gardens' rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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(Image credit: Bosch)

6. Bosch BCS122GB Unlimited

Best cordless vacuum cleaner for cleaning time

Reasons to buy
+Innovative design+Two chargers+Quick charging+Light
Reasons to avoid
-Emptying isn't easy

The Bosch has an innovative design. It may look similar to other stick cleaners but its buttons are extra well thought out and the two interchangeable batteries let you extend its run time, much like you would a power tool.

It also comes with not one but two chargers. Its wall bracket includes a neat charger plus space to store the two tools (one upholstery and brush tool, the other a long, flexible crevice tool). There’s also a separate, fan-cooled fast charger.

Unless you’re in turbo mode, run time is 45-60 minutes. But then you can swap to the second battery pack. In fact, charging time is only 60 minutes, so you can keep swapping – and therefore cleaning – for as long as you want.

Our only quibbles were that emptying isn’t effortless and the wheels on the floorhead are loud on hard floors. 

But the Bosch is light to steer and its suction and brush floorhead are powerful enough for most uses and great in turbo for stubborn dirt. 

It’s a bit pricey but it’s impressive.

Homes & Gardens' rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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(Image credit: Vax)

7. Vax Blade 32V

Best cordless vacuum cleaner for affordable power

Reasons to buy
+Excellent manoeuvrability+You don't have to hold down the trigger+Impressive cleaning
Reasons to avoid
-No hard floor head

We tested the 32V Blade 3 with 45-minute battery life but Vax also offers a 24V version (35 minutes).

Its cyclonic stick design is reminiscent of Dyson handhelds, but the chamber is horizontal. Tip it to one side and press a button to empty. Twist the other side to remove the washable filter.

Handling is similar to the Dyson in terms of size, feel and excellent manoeuvrability. But it comes with just one big brush head and two detail tools (a brush and a crevice tool). Fewer tools then, less to store, but we miss the Dyson’s soft head for hard floors.

The trigger is under your thumb and you just press it once, you don’t have to hold it down. Lights indicate charge and there are two extra buttons: one turns boost mode off (the default is on, which increases suction but halves battery life), the other makes the brush bar spin (the default is off).

Cleaning is impressive. It could replace the main vacuum cleaner in a small home and is superb for stairs and quick clean-ups.

Again it’s too top-heavy to stand up on its own. It comes with a very simple wall bracket that doesn’t include the charger – you’ll have to plug it in each time.

An excellent, more affordable alternative to the Dyson but we miss the hard floor head and charging station.

Homes & Gardens' rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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(Image credit: Dyson)

8. Dyson V8 Absolute

Best mid-price stick cordless vacuum cleaner

Reasons to buy
+Great on hard floors+Brilliant wall-mounted charging station+Lots of useful tools+Lasts longer than older Dysons
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey-A little top heavy

The V8 is expensive. It’s a cyclonic cordless stick cleaner that costs more than many of us would dream of spending on our main vacuum cleaner. But it promises double the suction of the competition, HEPA filtration and up to 40-minute battery life – where previous cordless Dysons lacked endurance.

We tested the V8 Absolute (officially £520). It comes with two large floor heads: a brush bar for carpets and a big, fluffy roller for hard floors. It also comes with a small, powered brush bar and three detail tools. Filters are washable and a single catch releases the base to empty dirt.

Use it as a handheld or add the wand to clean floors or reach cobwebs. All the tools worked well but it was the hard floor roller that really impressed – it’s highly manoeuvrable, gentle on floors and very effective, even on high suction instead of max.

High buys you 25 minutes with a motorised head, up to 40 without. With max mode you just get 7 minutes for a quick blitz.

The V8 is too top-heavy to stand up by itself but comes with a superb wall-mounted charging station with room to store two of the detail tools.

An outstanding, powerful cordless cleaner, though not quite as good as the V11.

Homes & Gardens' rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

What are the different types of a cordless vacuums?

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(Image credit: Bissell)

How much should I spend on a cordless vacuum?

Budget around £150 for a good-quality cordless with decent cleaning power. But you can spend more than three times as much on premium models. More money can buy you powerful suction, longer battery life or better tools.

What other key questions do I need to ask about cordless vacuums?

This probably isn’t your main vacuum cleaner, but if you have allergies it is worth getting a cordless vacuum with a HEPA filter. This removes tiny particles from the air, putting a stop to coughs, sneezes and breathing issues.