If you're in the market for a new vacuum cleaner but you'd like to get the most bang for your buck, read on. We've rounded up the best budget-friendly hoovers we've tested.
Bear in mind that these aren't the cheapest vacuum cleaners on the market. Rather, they represent the best value for around £250 or under and are loaded with features that'll make cleaning much easier.
If you're not sure what specs and features you can expect, have a look at our buying advice after the chart. And if you want to spend a bit more, check out our list of the overall best vacuum cleaners we've tested.
The best budget vacuum cleaners
Halo Capsule - Best cordless design
- Pros: Brilliant design; Light weight; Effective; Environmentally friendly
- Cons: Low on features and extras
This is a great product, at a great price, particularly when compared to market-leading brands. Capsule is an independently-designed and produced vacuum cleaner, the creation of an engineer with two decades of industry experience.
Cordless, manoeuvrable and very light at 2.6kg – thanks to its carbon-fibre shell – it has the power of an upright and some very nice design features that set it apart from competitors.
Its specifications are also an improvement on those of rival products. Capsule needs three hours to charge its lithium-ion batteries and after that will run for at least half an hour without a loss of suction. It also has a huge dust-collection capacity of 1.6 litres.
It's also an environmentally-friendly option, with compostable dust bags and a manufacturer that encourages you to bring it in for a service, rather than replacing it. It's simple, streamlined and built to last.
It is recommended for smaller homes, flats or as a versatile handheld.
Read our full Halo Capsule review
Shark Anti Hair Wrap Duo Clean IZ201 - With jointed wand & lights
- Pros: Flexology wand; Headlights; Storage mode
- Cons: Battery life
It has many of the features of a luxury cleaner but at half the price of the market leaders. It's powerful, it has headlights and its jointed "Flexology" stick makes it easy to vacuum under furniture without stooping or bending. It can also be folded down for storage.
Its specifications are comparable to the best on the market as well, although, with a maximum cleaning time of 40 minutes compared to rivals' 60 minutes, a second battery would be a useful purchase.
Happily, you can buy a model with a spare battery, and with that in mind, this is a budget-friendly cordless that we're happy to recommend to people with a home of any size.
Bissell SmartClean Pet - Best for pet owners
- Pros: Exceptional cleaning; Ergonomic wand; Anti-tangle brush
- Cons: Large and bulky; Wired; Nowhere to store cleaning tools
While we're happy to recommend cordless cleaners to almost anyone, there's no doubt that pet owners will enjoy the sheer power of a corded cleaner for quick cleanups and de-furring operations.
Bissel's SmartClean Pet is a mighty cylinder cleaner. Yes, it has some disadvantages (its cord and general chunkiness) but these will be easily outmatched by its brilliant cleaning performance for anyone who's finding removing pet hair from their homes to be a chore.
It also has some great features: its 3-litre bin, 9-metre power cord (which retracts at the touch of a button) and a 3-metre hose and wand. Plus, it has a pivoting handle for more directional control, as well as front-mounted LEDs to make it easy to clean in dark corners.
It can automatically adjust suction, although you have the option to control it manually as well.
Read our full Bissell SmartClean Pet review
Proscenic P11 - Luxury features on a budget
- Pros: Light; Good charging options; Great features
- Cons: Weak on carpets; Average battery life; Not very robust
The Proscenic P11 isn't for everyone, but if you live in a flat and have a fairly minimalistic lifestyle - that is, if you have hard floors, not carpet and don't own a giant shaggy dog - then it could be for you.
The P11 has a lot of high-end features, including LED headlights, a touchscreen that displays battery life, two charging options, a swappable battery and a mop attachment. It's also very light and easy to use as a handheld cleaner.
It's not the most powerful vacuum cleaner (in spite of its impressive on-paper suction), and it's not hugely robust. But if you're looking for an appliance to help you with a bit of light cleaning, it's a pleasure to use.
Read our full Proscenic P11 review
Roidmi S1 - Cordless with smartphone support
- Pros: Super lightweight (1.5kg); Good battery life
- Cons: Tiny bin
The Roidmi F8 is one of the best cordless vacuums we've seen to date. It is impressively lightweight at only 1.5kg, while still offering great suction and almost an hour of battery life on a single charge, along with a variety of attachments and novel features including smartphone support.
Our biggest gripe is with the small, 0.4 litre bin, which means you'll have to empty it fairly regularly. But beyond that, this is an easy cordless vacuum to recommend, offering performance close to the best from Dyson and Philips, at a significantly lower price.
Read our full Roidmi S1 review
Hoover Upright 300 - The redesigned Hoover
- Pros: Manoeuvrable; Portable; Clever handheld mode
- Cons: Cord has to be wound by hand; Shape makes it difficult to get under furniture
Hoover has packed a lot of great design features into this handy little vac, including swivel steering.
It's very well-priced and delivers impressive suction, especially if you're coming from a cordless cleaner. And it has many of the features you'd get from the best cordless cleaners: it has a bagless system and a washable H13 HEPA filter.
Hoover has also done its best to minimise the effect of the cord. It's over 8 metres long, which should reduce the number of times you have to unplug it and move it to a nearer power point. Still, you'll have to wind it by hand, which is very annoying: we'd have preferred a cord that automatically retracted.
Read our full Hoover Upright 300 review
Bissell CrossWave - Dual functionality cleaner
- Pros: Vacuums and mops
- Cons: Corded; Bulky
The Bissell CrossWave is a multi-surface cleaner that allows you to vacuum and wash most types of floors in one go, either vacuuming and mopping simultaneously or using the two modes separately. If you have pets or messy kids you'll probably like it, as it allows you to get hairs and mud out of rugs rather efficiently, but it has some limitations.
It's corded, which is an obvious downside, and the bulky body means it struggles to clean under and around furniture, while brush head design struggles to get right up into corners. Those are big problems and mean that as convenient as the CrossWave is for cleaning spills, you'll probably still need another handheld or cordless vacuum to clean those tight spots.
Read our full Bissell CrossWave review
Hoover H-Free 500 - Most compact cleaner
- Pros: Light; Small; Easy to use
- Cons: Short battery life; Small dustbin
For its reasonable price, the Hoover H-Free 500 is a decent little stick vacuum. And we mean little: it's really lightweight and packs away in a cleverly compact, transformer-like way.
Like other vacuum cleaners, it offers a modular system so you can clean in different ways. We found it to be very versatile and reasonably powerful, too.
However, the turbo mode will only give you eight minutes of cleaning and it has an average of 25 minutes across all modes, which is not very long. This, combined with a small dustbin, means it's more suited to flats and small homes. You might want to consider an Energy model, which comes with an extra battery.
Read our full Hoover H-Free 500 review
What to look out for when you're buying
If you're buying a cordless, the first thing to think about is battery life. The best budget cordless cleaner will give you 30-40 minutes of cleaning time – and that’s on the lowest setting. Others will only give you 15-20 minutes. Think about how long you normally spend on a cleaning session and you’ll get a good idea of how important battery life is to you.
Some cleaners, like the Shark Anti Hair Wrap Duo Clean IZ201 have a removable battery. You can buy a spare and double your cleaning time.
Weight is also very important as, unlike an upright or cylinder cleaner, you’ll be bearing some of its weight while you clean. However, all of these cleaners will be easier to move around than a heavy, old-fashioned vacuum and will typically weigh 2.5-4kg.
If you're used to a powerful cylinder cleaner, you’ll notice that the suction on a cordless is probably not quite as strong. But cordless suction has improved so much over the past few years that for almost everyone, a cordless cleaner will be enough. In this list, we think the Roidmi, the Shark and the Halo Capsule have the best suction.
What you gain in lightness and versatility, you’ll lose in dustbin capacity. Most of the cleaners in this list have a relatively small dustbin size, from 0.5 litres upwards. The Halo Capsule has the largest dustbin, with a capacity of 1.6 litres.
If you opt for a corded cleaner, you'll gain suction power, dustbin size and won't have to worry about charging your cleaner, but the trade-off is the cord, plus added weight and bulk.
Most of these cleaners will have a HEPA filter, which is industry standard now. HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters must trap 99.97% of particulates that are 3 microns or larger. For reference, a human hair is 50-70 microns thick. If you have a HEPA filter with a bagless cleaner, don't forget that you'll still have to empty it, which will release some of the dust back into the air. In this list, the Halo Capsule is the only bagged cleaner.
There are other features that might be important to you. One example is lights on the front of your vacuum cleaner, like those on the Shark Duo Clean, the Proscenic P11 and the Bissell SmartClean Pet. They make a big difference to spotting dust and fluff in dark corners and under furniture.