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.
So far, we've reviewed over 30 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 on their feature set, battery life, and price. For more buying recommendations, take a look at our list of the best vacuums and the best vacuums for high-pile carpet.
The best cordless vacuum for bare floors that we've tested is the Shark Rocket Pet Pro. This stick/handheld model does an outstanding job of clearing all kinds of debris on this kind of surface, as it can suck up everything from pet hair to larger foreign objects like cereal and sand. Its performance remains consistent as the dirt compartment fills up, which is helpful when clearing larger messes.
It's decently well-built and, thanks to its bagless design and cleanable filter, incurs virtually no recurring costs as long as it's properly maintained. While there are quite a few parts that require scheduled maintenance, most are pretty easy to access. It can also be easily converted into a handheld vacuum, and it features a trigger on the grip that allows you to quickly change its suction level on-the-fly to suit different kinds of messes.
That said, its highest power mode can drain your battery in just over 10 minutes. Used more gently, it still only provides slightly over 40 minutes. Thanks to its great maneuverability and superb performance on bare floors, this is one the best cordless vacuum cleaners we've tested so far.
If you're looking for something similar with slightly more battery life, consider the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute. This stick/handheld model is less well-built than the Shark Rocket Pet Pro and isn't quite as effective in clearing both small and large debris. However, it can be used for an additional 20 minutes and feels even lighter in your hand. It also comes with a wider assortment of specialized tools and cleaning brushes, including an upholstery brush and a 180-degree extension cleaner to make it easier to reach high-up shelves. Like all other Dyson vacuums, it employs a bagless design and has only one filter to clean monthly, though other components require more frequent maintenance. Thankfully, it's quite easy to take apart and reassemble.
Get the Shark if you need to clean heavier debris more often, but consider the Dyson if you want something with better battery life and a much wider assortment of brushes.
The best cordless vacuum for carpets that we've tested so far is the Shark ION P50 Upright. It feels decently sturdy and comes with a sufficiently large dirt compartment, so you don't have to empty it all the time. While there are quite a few parts that need regular maintenance, they're all pretty easy to access. Thankfully, the pre-motor and HEPA filters are designed to last for a couple of years, so as long as you clean them to manufacturer specifications, there are virtually no recurring costs to worry about.
It does an excellent job of clearing large debris, like cereal and sand on both low and high-pile carpet, requiring very few passes to get the job done. That said, it struggles a little more with smaller, finer messes, so it isn't quite as good at sucking up baking soda spills. It comes with a couple of tools and brushes and can be easily reconfigured into a handheld vacuum to help you clean tighter carpeted spaces, like car interiors. It also has great battery life for a cordless upright, as even in its high-power 'ION BOOST' mode, it runs for upwards of 20 minutes. If you don't push it that hard, it should last for just under an hour.
On the downside, this vacuum doesn't fold and it lacks an onboard tool storage rack, so it's quite hard to squeeze into small spaces. The hard brushroll in the main vacuum head also can't be removed, which makes clearing by hand hair wraps a little harder than it needs to be. Still, it's a very good choice if you want to clean a lot of carpeted surfaces without dealing with the hassle of a corded connection.
The best cordless robot vacuum we've tested to date is the Neato Botvac D7. This robot vacuum delivers great cleaning performance on bare floors and, unlike many other robot vacuums, doesn't struggle to move around on carpeted surfaces. It's very well-built and fairly easy to maintain, with a reasonably simple design to take apart and reassemble.
This vacuum can run for an impressive two hours on a single charge when used in its lowest power setting, but even if you need more power, it should still yield roughly 100 minutes of continuous runtime. It also comes with a fairly broad range of automation features, accessible via its companion app, including a coverage map, previous cleaning session history, and a remote piloting feature. You can also set up custom boundary lines in the app if you think the included physical boundary strips can't cover the area you want.
With that said, this vacuum struggles slightly when it comes to sucking up small debris like baking soda. It also has fairly high recurring costs, as the filter, brushroll, and battery will need to be replaced according to the manufacturer-specified intervals. Still, if you intend to mostly clean surfaces like hardwood and tile and don't mind dealing with higher than average recurring costs, this is among the best cordless vacuums we've tested so far.
The best budget cordless vacuum that we've tested so far is the BISSELL Adapt Ion Pet. This vacuum employs a distinctive hybrid design that allows you to easily switch between upright and handheld configurations by simply detaching the motor from the main body. It's reasonably sturdy and has a simple, easy-to-assemble construction. As long as you take care of the pre-motor, dust cup, and mesh screen filters, recurring costs are virtually nonexistent.
Regardless of configuration, this amazingly lightweight vacuum is very easy to carry around, even when cleaning high-up shelves. The folding upright handle makes it both more convenient to store and helps you clean under low-lying furniture without needing to bend over. In terms of performance, it does an outstanding job of cleaning pet hair across a wide range of surfaces.
Unfortunately, it struggles with picking up small debris like baking soda on carpeted surfaces. Its small vacuum head also traps large debris and prevents it from entering the dirt compartment. Battery performance is also sub-par, as it can only run for a maximum of 19 minutes and takes almost five hours to completely recharge. Still, if you don't need to clean huge spaces and have few carpeted surfaces, this is a good choice if you're on a tighter budget.
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.
That said, if you'd like to make your own choice, here's the entire list of vacuum cleaners that we've reviewed so far, as to let you make the best choice for your current situation.