A good cordless vacuum is a useful addition to any household cleaning arsenal. If you don't need to worry about staying in range of an outlet, it's easy to clean small, out-of-the-way areas not only inside your home but also tighter spaces like car interiors. You also don't have to worry about a power cord getting snagged on a piece of furniture and bringing a frustrating pause to your cleaning session. However, despite recent strides in extending overall battery life, a cordless vacuum still can't offer the worry-free indefinite runtime of a corded vacuum. For many, however, this trade-off is worth the near-infinite range that these appliances offer.
We've tested over 70 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best cordless vacuums to buy. These picks were selected not only based on their performance on different types of surfaces but also their feature set, battery life, and price. For more buying recommendations, take a look at our list of the best vacuums, our best cordless stick vacuums, and the best vacuums for high-pile carpet.
The Shark Rocket Pet Pro is the best cordless vacuum for bare floors that we've tested. This stick/handheld model does an incredible job of cleaning bare floors, where it easily clears pet hair and debris like sand and cereal. Its performance stays consistent as its dirt compartment fills, so you can clean a big room without emptying it very often.
It's quite light, portable, and can be used in a handheld configuration when you want to clean stairs, your car's interior, and other awkward areas. There are several tools and brushes included that can help with different cleaning jobs, like an upholstery tool for cleaning fabric-covered furniture and a crevice tool for cleaning tight corners. It's decently well-built and uses a bagless design and washable filters, so it should incur virtually no recurring costs as long as it's properly maintained.
Unfortunately, if you set it to its most powerful 'MAX (BOOST)' mode, its battery only provides roughly 10 minutes of continuous use. However, if you use less powerful suction settings, it can last for over 40 minutes, and it also recharges fairly quickly. Overall, its superb performance makes it a great choice for keeping your hardwood or linoleum floors clean. It's even one of the best vacuums we've tested.
If you prefer a vacuum that feels more sturdy, consider the Miele Triflex HX1. This cordless upright/handheld model incurs more recurring costs than the Shark Rocket Pet Pro, but it has a better build quality, as it's mostly made of plastic that looks and feels premium. It delivers similarly outstanding performance on bare floors, where it easily picks up pet hair as well as debris like rice and cereal. It can be used in a handheld mode if you want to clean awkward areas like stairs or shelves and can also be reconfigured into a stick vacuum by moving the main body above the wand. It's easier to maintain than the Shark, but its dirt compartment is smaller and needs to be emptied more often.
Go for the Shark if you prefer something with a bigger dirt compartment and virtually no recurring costs. Try the Miele instead if you want to do less regular maintenance and prefer a better-built vacuum.
The Shark ION P50 Upright is the best cordless vacuum cleaner for carpets that we've tested. This upright model delivers a great performance on both low-pile and high-pile carpets, where it easily picks up most pet hair as well as large and small debris. It can also be used in a handheld configuration, which is great for cleaning carpets in more awkward areas like stairs or the inside of your car.
Its battery performance is impressive. Using the default power mode, it gives just under one hour of continuous runtime, and with the more powerful 'ION BOOST' mode selected, it lasts roughly 20 minutes. There's a button on the handle that allows you to increase the speed of the brushroll, which helps to dislodge more dirt from carpets. It comes with several tools and brushes that can help with different cleaning jobs, including an upholstery tool for fabric-covered furniture. Also, thanks to its bagless design and washable filters, it incurs virtually no recurring costs.
Unfortunately, it's not the easiest to maintain since several parts need to be removed and serviced regularly. It also takes up quite a bit of vertical space and doesn't have any onboard storage for its accessories. Conveniently, it does come with a charging dock, and its great performance on carpets makes it one of the best cordless vacuums we've tested.
The best cordless robot vacuum that we've tested is the iRobot Roomba S9. This robot vacuum delivers a good overall performance on low and high-pile carpets, as well as on bare floors like hardwood or linoleum. It also has an outstanding battery life, as it provides roughly 45 minutes to an hour and a half of continuous cleaning time before needing to be recharged.
It's amazing at maneuvering itself, thanks to its iAdapt 3.0 navigation system, which it uses to create more efficient routes and identify spots that need extra cleaning. It's great if you need to clean up after a shedding pet since it easily clears pet hair from any surface type. It's also impressive on bare floors, where it picks up small debris like rice with no issue, as well as most bulkier material like sand. The companion app allows you to create cleaning schedules for different rooms and make virtual boundaries to keep the vacuum out of certain areas.
Unfortunately, while it picks up a good amount of debris like baking soda and sand from carpets, it might take a few extra passes to clear everything. Like many robot vacuums, its maintenance needs are quite demanding since it has several parts that should be removed and serviced regularly, and it also incurs quite a few recurring costs. Still, if you're looking for a cordless model that provides a mostly hands-off cleaning experience, it's definitely worth considering. It's also one of the best robot vacuums we've tested.
The Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ is the best cordless vacuum in the budget category that we've tested. This handheld model is light and has a handle that makes it easy to carry out to your car or wherever you may need to. It delivers a very versatile performance, tackling pet hair and debris on any surface type, from bare floors to high-pile carpets.
It has a simple design that makes it easy to assemble and maintain, with only a few parts that should be taken out and serviced regularly. It also incurs very few recurring costs since only the dust cup filter needs to be replaced regularly. There are a few tools and brushes included that can help with different cleaning tasks, including a turbo brush for use on fabric-covered furniture and a hard bristle brush for scrubbing away stubborn debris.
Unfortunately, it's not equipped with an allergen-trapping HEPA filter. Also, the battery only provides roughly 10 minutes of continuous use, so it's not ideal for long cleaning sessions. Otherwise, its amazing performance across surface types makes it one of the best handheld vacuums we've tested, and it's a great choice if you want an affordable vacuum for spot-cleaning small messes.
If you're looking for a budget-friendly cordless vacuum but have big areas to keep clean, you may want the BISSELL Adapt Ion Pet instead. This upright/handheld model is much less effective than the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ when it comes to sucking up debris, but its design makes it better suited for cleaning large rooms. It's a great option for pet owners, as it easily clears pet hair from bare floors as well as low and high-pile carpets. You can reconfigure it as a handheld vacuum if you want to clean furniture, and it has a folding handle that makes it easier to clean under low-lying tables and couches. It's reasonably well-built and incurs virtually no recurring costs as long as it's properly maintained. However, the battery only provides roughly 20 minutes of continuous use and takes a long time to recharge.
If you want the vacuum with the best overall performance or prefer a handheld model, go for the Shark. If you prefer an upright model that's better suited for cleaning big areas, consider the BISSELL instead.
Feb 18, 2021: Added the Shark Wandvac System WS620 to Notable Mentions. Verified picks to make sure the best products are being recommended and that they're in stock.
Jan 20, 2021: : Added the "Alternative With A Better Build Quality" category and added the Miele Triflex HX1. Removed the "Alternative With More Tools and Brushes" category and moved the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute to Notable Mentions.
Nov 30, 2020: Added the Black+Decker dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet to Notable Mentions. Renamed the 'Alternative With Better Battery Life' category to 'Alternative With More Tools and Brushes'.
Nov 06, 2020: Added Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ to main recommendations. Made BISSELL Adapt Ion Pet 'Upright Alternative'. Moved HoLife HM036E to Notable Mentions.
Oct 16, 2020: Replaced the Neato Botvac D7 with the iRobot Roomba S9. Added the HoLife HM036E as 'Handheld Alternative'.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best cordless vacuums. We don't just base our results on overall performance, but also factors like availability, price, and reader feedback.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our cordless vacuum reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no vacuum is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.