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 50 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, our best cordless stick vacuums, and the best vacuums for high-pile carpet.
The Shark Rocket Pet Pro is the best cordless vacuum cleaner for bare floors that we've tested. While this hybrid stick/handheld is designed with pet hair in mind, it has a fantastic performance on bare floors as it can pick up small and large debris without a problem. Its performance stays consistent as its dirt compartment fills, which is especially good news if you're tackling a large mess.
This decently well-built model is easy to assemble and has excellent maneuverability. It comes with a couple of tools and brushes, such as an extension wand and crevice tool, so that you can get into hard-to-reach places. You can also use it in a handheld configuration if you want to clean tricky areas like shelves or stairs. Although it has a few parts that require regular maintenance, as long as you take care of them, there are virtually no recurring costs. It also has a trigger on its grip so that you can change its suction to better deal with different minds of messes, even while you're already vacuuming.
Unfortunately, its battery life is quite short, and if you're using it in its most powerful mode, it can drain your battery in just over 10 minutes. Luckily, its less power-intensive mode helps it last over 40 minutes, which should be enough time to tackle a few spills or messes. All that said, it has an outstanding performance on bare floors, and it's even among the best hardwood vacuums we've tested.
If you're looking for a cordless vacuum that comes with a wider variety of accessories, try the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute. While it's not as well-built or easy to maintain as the Shark Rocket Pet Pro, it comes with a wide variety of tools and brushes to help you clean different surface types and messes. It comes with more common brushes such as a soft bristle brush for cleaning delicate objects like blinds, as well as more unusual tools such as a 180-degree extension cleaner that can help you clean high-up shelves. It also delivers outstanding performance on bare floors, and you can use it in a handheld configuration if you want to reach crevices and other narrow places. Although several parts need regular maintenance, as long as you properly maintain each part, there are virtually no recurring costs either.
Consider the Shark if you prefer a better-built vacuum that's easier to maintain. However, check out the Dyson if you like having a wide range of different tools and brushes to suit your cleaning needs.
The Shark ION P50 Upright is the best cordless vacuum for carpets that we've tested. This sturdy model has a great performance on carpet as it picks up pet hair and large debris without too much of a problem. It also has a manual surface type adjustment feature, which speeds up the rotation of the brushroll to help dislodge dirt from carpet fibers.
It has a great battery performance as it can last over 20 minutes on its most powerful mode. Lowering its power level can increase its runtime to under 60 minutes, and there are even battery indicator lights to let you know when you're running low on power. It can also be used as a handheld, which is handy for cleaning more tricky places like inside your car. It also comes with a couple of tools, such as a soft bristle brush for cleaning more delicate objects like lampshades.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have an onboard tool rack, and it can't fold to become more compact, which makes storing it and its accessories a bit challenging. There are also a few parts that need regular maintenance, and the brushroll in the head can't be removed at all if you want to remove hair wraps. That said, as long as you take care of each part, there are virtually no recurring costs. If you prefer to clean your carpet without worrying about cables, it's a suitable choice.
The iRobot Roomba S9 is the best cordless robot vacuum that we've tested. If you're looking to automate your cleaning tasks, this premium robot model is suitable for both bare floors and carpet alike. Thanks to its outstanding battery life, it's also able to clean for over 150 minutes before it needs to be recharged again, and it can return to its charging station to top off its battery when needed.
It can effectively maneuver around an area as it uses its navigation system to create a cleaning route and avoid obstructions. If you have a pet, it's able to pick up their hair without a problem from bare floors or carpet. It also does an impressive job cleaning small debris like rice or large debris such as cereal from bare floors. Its performance on low-pile carpet is impressive too, and while it struggles more with any sized debris on shaggy, high-pile carpet, it still does quite a good job overall.
Unlike others on this list, it's not able to clean stairs, inside your car, or other narrow and tight spaces due to the limitation of its design. It also has quite a few maintenance needs, as well as several recurring costs that can add up over time. That said, this cordless robot model is one of the best cordless vacuums we've tested and is a suitable choice if you're looking for a more automated cleaning experience.
The best budget cordless vacuum that we've tested is the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. This cordless handheld can deal with everything from pet hair to large chunks of debris on a wide variety of surfaces, including hardwood floors and densely-woven shag carpeting. It comes with a crevice tool, hard bristle brush, and self-cleaning turbo brush to deal with messes on furniture upholstery, which is handy.
It features a durable plastic construction that's easy to disassemble for routine maintenance. It doesn't use dirt bags, with the only disposable part being its dust cup filter, so recurring costs are quite low. It's light enough and small enough to tackle messes in small, closed-off areas, like stairs, closets, or inside your car. It has a relatively large dirt compartment for its size, so it shouldn't need to be emptied too often.
Unfortunately, it has a short battery life of just over 10 minutes, so you need to work quickly when dealing with bigger messes. It also doesn't have an allergen-trapping HEPA filter, which may be a nuisance if you have a heavily-shedding pet. Small issues aside, this vacuum is a great choice for thorough spot cleaning on a budget.
If you're shopping on a budget but need to clean larger areas, consider the BISSELL Adapt Ion Pet. This unusually-designed cordless upright doesn't deal with bulky debris nearly as effectively as the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+, but it does have an upright design that's better suited for cleaning bigger spaces. It has a simple construction that can be easily disassembled for routine maintenance or reconfigured into a handheld to deal with messes in small areas. Since it has a bagless design with washable filters, recurring costs are practically nonexistent. Unfortunately, while it has a slightly longer battery life than the Shark, it takes almost five hours to completely recharge, which is very long.
Get the Shark if you value better cleaning performance and all-out portability, but consider the BISSELL if you prefer the ergonomics of an upright vacuum.
11/30/2020: 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'.
11/06/2020: Added Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ to main recommendations. Made BISSELL Adapt Ion Pet 'Upright Alternative'. Moved HoLife HM036E to Notable Mentions.
10/16/2020: Replaced the Neato Botvac D7 with the iRobot Roomba S9. Added the HoLife HM036E as 'Handheld Alternative'.
09/25/2020: Minor updates to the text, verification for accuracy.
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.