Best Cordless Vacuums of 2018By Jonathan Chan
Cord-cutting isn't just for television anymore. With better batteries and more powerful motors, today's cordless vacuum cleaners give you the freedom to clean where the mess is—not where the cord can reach.
That's why we rounded up seven of the most popular cordless vacuums—from Hoover, Dyson, Kenmore, Dirt Devil, and Electrolux—to see which one best fits your freedom-loving lifestyle. We timed how long their batteries lasted, measured how much dirt and debris they could pick up, and weighed them to know what they'd be like to lug up the stairs. We also looked for neat features—like a detachable hand vacuum, removable battery, or innovative storage solution.
In the end, we found that each battery-powered device presented a series of tradeoffs. However, if you want the best suction, battery life, and easy-to-use features, the expensive Dyson V10 Absolute (available at Amazon for $514.04) will delight you.
Here are the best cordless vacuums we tested ranked, in order.
- Dyson V10 Absolute
- Dyson V8 Absolute
- Dyson V6
- Kenmore 10341
- Dirt Devil Extreme Power
- Electrolux Ergorapido EL2081A
Updated December 11, 2018
Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute
Dyson Cyclone V10 AbsoluteBest Overall
When we first heard about the Dyson V10 Absolute, the details made us skeptical. Dyson announced that it would stop developing new corded vacuums because of how confident the R&D team was in the V10.
However, after spending time with the V10, we found the "absolute" moniker to be apt, since the V10 comes with absolutely everything: a unique, powered brush head that's designed for hardwood floors, a motorized mini brush for cleaning upholstery, a soft brush for hardwood, a combination upholstery/bare floor tool, a crevice tool, drive cleaner head, and a soft dusting brush for computers and delicate items. They all attach to a 5.6-pound wall-mountable package, making it one of the lightest cordless vacuums on the market.
The V10 puts all these tools to good use. In our testing lab, it picked up 89 percent of the dirt we left out for it, better than any other cordless. Even more surprising, the V10 also dominated the battery tests. On the low setting, it can run for 60 minutes, perfect for day-to-day maintenance. For intense cleaning jobs, you can run the Absolute for nine minutes on the highest setting.
The one major downside of the Absolute is that it's absurdly expensive. In fact, you could buy six of our best value pick for what you'd spend on this Dyson. Still, if you want no compromise in power or battery life, this is the cordless vacuum to get.
Dyson V8 Absolute
Dyson V8 Absolute
The Dyson V8 Absolute is near the pinnacle of cordless vacuum technology. It's one heck of a vacuum.
The V8 almost overwhelms with the number of attachments: powered brush head that's designed for hardwood floors, a motorized upholstery brush, a soft brush for hardwood, a combination upholstery/bare floor tool, a crevice tool, and a soft dusting brush. As a hallmark of Dyson design, the handheld unit only tips the scales at 5.6 pounds.
The brush head is made from carbon fiber and nylon. It's softer than a puppy—and infinitely more gentle on floors and better at picking up dirt. In our labs, the V8 picked up 88 percent of the dirt we put down for our tests.
On the low setting, the battery lasted an amazing 40 minutes. (The max suction setting will drain the battery in 7 minutes, though.) When you're done, the newly designed dustbin empties out dirt with the pull of a single lever on top of the machine.
If want the V10's sleek design, but for less, the V8 is a viable option. However, the V8 still costs twice as much as most of the vacuums on our list. For everyone else, our Best Value pick works almost as well, but costs a quarter as much.
How we tested
Hi, I’m Jon Chan, the senior lab technician at Reviewed. If you clean with it, it’s likely I oversee it’s testing in our labs. That includes everything from detergents to full-sized vacuums. When it comes to cordless vacuums, I like models that provide excellent battery life and value.
When we test cordless vacuums we’re looking for long battery life, ease of use, and powerful suction. To test battery life, we charged each model for 24 hours. After, we ran them on their max settings and timed until they stopped working. We also checked to see if the battery life matched any advertising or claims. In the instance they didn’t match up on the maximum settings, we adjusting to see if under the ideal conditions the vacuum can make the distance.
Ease of use if about how quickly we can change the attachments, plug in the charger, store the unit, and empty the bin. We noted how intuitive the design was and if we could figure it out without looking at the manual.
To test cleaning power, we placed 20 grams of dirt on a testing platform covered in medium-pile carpet. The sand was sifted through a specialized mesh to ensure a consistent size of grains between 420 and 595 microns. After evenly spreading the sand, we ran each vacuum over the carpet once on max settings. We also checked to see if each vacuum could pick up large debris like uncooked rice and macaroni. This test was done with both the motorized head and crevice tool.
What you should know about cordless vacuums
Can cordless vacuums replace regular ones?
If you’re willing to pay, a cordless vacuum can stand toe-to-toe with a full-sized vacuum. Our top pick has a suction force similar to that of a regular vacuum, but can only do so for about nine minutes at a time. For most other models, you can expect similar performance on hardwood floors and reduced pickup on regular carpet. For the most part, cordless vacuums are supplementary cleaning tools to be used in between heavier cleaners or in situations where a full-sized vacuum is too cumbersome.
What’s the difference between cordless vacuums and hand vacuums?
In many cases, the only difference is the extender that allows the brush head to reach the floor. Rarer are two-in-one–models that have a hand vacuum built into a larger chassis.
Formerly Dyson's cordless flagship until the V8 replaced it, the Dyson V6 is the cordless vacuum to buy if even your smallest messes require significant cleaning. The V6 sells for $299—about twice as much as most of its competitors—and it proved to be the most powerful of the cordless vacuum we've tested, making quick work of dirt and debris. It's as powerful as the V8, but it doesn't clinch the top spot because of its weaker battery life (20 minutes on low compared to the V8's 40 minutes) and lack of a bare floors attachment.
However, the V6 does not lack for customizing options. It can be reconfigured to better clean your car, the stairs, the ceiling, the floor, and your carpets. On paper, that's all very well and good, but we found it cumbersome in practice. That's because there's no place for the extra parts to go when they're not in use.
For all its faults, the V6 has the best cleaning-to-price ratio. It picked up 10 percent less dirt than the V8, but costs half as much. The V6 is the second most expensive cordless on our list, and it cleans the second best. Normally, we'd give it some sort of laurels, but it lacks the raw power of the V8 and the flexibility of the Hoover 2-in-1.
Where To Buy$124.99 Sears Buy
Only available at Sears, Kenmore is new to the cordless vacuum game. We think its first offering—the Kenmore 10341—is a promising debut, although we weren't thrilled with some of its rough edges.
We'll start with what we loved: the charging dock and the look. A docking dock is great because it allows you to simply plop the whole unit down, standing straight up and forget about it until your next cleaning session. We also loved the look of this vacuum. The glossy silver and black finish gave the 10341 a futuristic design that's just toned down enough not make you want to shove it in a closet. Unfortunately, we found the touch controls didn't always respond on the first try.
In the cleaning department, we kicked the 10341 up to is highest setting in our labs and it picked up 67 percent of dirt. The handheld portion fared a little better, cleaning up all crumbs we left out for it. The tradeoff is that we only got 11 minutes of power before the battery gave out. That battery can't be swapped out, either—it's sealed within the machine.
Dirt Devil Extreme Power
Dirt Devil Extreme Power
The Dirt Devil BD20040RED Extreme Power 14.4 Cordless Bagless Stick Vacuum proves that you get what you pay for. Easily found online for less than $50, the Extreme Power failed several of our tests. It only picked up 40 percent of the test dirt we put down, and its sealed battery is of the nickel-cadmium variety.
Such batteries suffer from a myriad of problems that newer, lithium-ion batteries don't. Be prepared to see this Dirt Devil lose the ability to charge over time, and get ready for less suction as the battery drains. When we put the battery to the test, we got about 10 minutes of normal suction before the power started to fade, finally dying out at the 20 minute mark.
The Extreme Power isn't the best performer but it wasn't designed to be. It will work for a dorm room or small kitchen, although you'll need to take it to a proper recycling facility once the battery goes kaput. After all our testing, we can say the Dirt Devil Extreme Power isn't the best, but at least it's cheap.
Electrolux Ergorapido EL2081A
Electrolux Ergorapido EL2081A
The original stylish stick vac, the Electrolux Ergorapido EL2081A has been around for a decade. The lineup got an update in 2014 that made the Ergo a great all-rounder. A 2.2-pound handheld vac detaches from the main cleaner for easy spot cleaning. We measured a 16-minute battery life, with decent dirt pickup: on average, 56 percent of soil and dust got picked up after a single pass. There is also a swivel joint in the brush head so the Ergorapido can twist and turn around corners.
While this Electrolux showed good performance in every category, it excelled at none of them. It's not as affordable as the Dirt Devil, as powerful as the Dysons, and—unlike the Hoover 2-in-1—it has a sealed battery. Even the original can only hold out against its competitors for so long.
Hoover LiNX BH50010
Where To Buy$128.99 Walmart Buy
Hoover LiNX BH50010Avoid
The Hoover Linx BH50010 combines the design of the Kenmore 10341 and the removable battery of the Hoover 2-in-1. It sounds like a winning combination, but the Linx lacks the power of the Dysons. In our dirt pickup tests, the Linx performed the worst of all the cordless vacuums we tested, leaving a whopping 80 percent of dirt still on our test surfaces. However, the battery life was pretty decent, with a 17-minute lifespan on the highest setting. It weighs 7.3 pounds, so it's a little on the heavy side.
Overall, we think that if you're looking for a Hoover cordless, it's best to stick with the 2-in-1.