The humble hoover packs in a lot more tech these days and we've tested the best on the market. Some of the vacs we've looked at recently have brilliant problem-solving features that make cleaning much easier. So, if you have issues with your current vac, you'll definitely find a solution in the round-up that follows.
When you check out our round-up, you'll notice that now our top-rated vacuum cleaners are all cordless. That's not only because cordless cleaners can do pretty much everything that a corded cleaner can, but also because that's where companies are focusing their energies - so that's where the innovations are.
At least four of the cordless vacuum cleaners in our top ten would be highly recommended even for people with very large homes. A vacuum cleaner with a removable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery is key to making a cordless work for you if you live in a big place. However, we'd recommend you invest in a second battery so you don't run out of juice mid-clean.
If you want some tips on specs, features and terminology to help you make your choice, have a look at the guide that follows after our top ten rundown. And if you'd like to see more budget-friendly options, check out our round-up of the best cheap vacuum cleaners.
The best vacuum cleaners
1. The Shark Anti Hair Wrap Duo Clean IZ201 - Best value cleaner
The Shark Anti Hair Wrap Duo Clean Cordless Vacuum Cleaner (IZ201) has pretty much everything you could want in a vacuum cleaner, except for a snappy name.
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.
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.
It has an RRP of £349 but if you shop around, you should be able to buy it for £249 and at this price, it's a bargain.
2. Halo Capsule - Best design
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 dust-collection capacity of 1.6 litres.
Replacement parts are easily available and Capsule's makers encourage you to send it in for servicing, so it's both environmentally friendly and budget friendly as well.
There are no bells and whistles, just solid cleaning power. We'd highly recommended it for smaller homes, flats or as a versatile handheld.
Read our full Halo Capsule review
3. Samsung Jet 90 - Most versatile cleaner
This vacuum cleaner is our recommended all-rounder. It has everything. And more stuff on top of that. It’s even got a mop attachment that – in a surprising break from tradition – works brilliantly. As well as being designed for every type of cleaning you can imagine, it’s also light, comfortable to use and has a long battery life.
While people with larger homes may think that a cordless is not for them, the Jet 90 could change their minds. It’s powerful enough that, even on its lowest setting, it can give a really deep clean. It also has space to charge a second battery (which you’ll need to buy separately), so if you run out of power before you finish, you can swap it out and keep going.
This isn’t a vacuum cleaner for minimalists. You’ll need space to store its large stand and attachments but if you can find such a spot, it’ll amply reward you with its usefulness and flexibility.
Read our full Samsung Powerstick Jet (Jet 90 Pro) review
4. Dyson V11 Absolute - Best Dyson vacuum
The V11 is an iterative update on the Cyclone V10 in terms of pure power, but a more substantial one when it comes to user experience.
Silly as it may sound, the introduction of an LCD screen on the handle is a genuine innovation, giving live battery updates and troubleshooting advice on the go. The High Torque head’s Auto mode is also ideal for those of us used to ploughing ahead with the same old attachment no matter the surface, with the V11 now capable of making up for our laziness.
The extra suction power is welcome, but with minimal battery improvements and extra weight compared to previous models, this might not win over anyone yet to be convinced by Dyson's cordless cleaners.
At the end of the day, this is probably still the most powerful cordless vacuum on the market, and at this price it would have to be. For most people, a more budget-friendly cleaner will do the job just as well. And with the Auto mode strictly Absolute-only (in the UK), there's little to recommend the cheaper Animal model.
Read our full Dyson V11 Absolute review
5. Dyson V11 Outsize - Most powerful
The Outsize is a powerful cordless cleaner, with 220AW of suction (against the already powerful V11 Absolute's 185AW). With a much larger dust collection bin and a wider cleaning head, this vacuum cleaner is made to tackle larger homes. It comes with a huge selection of cleaning accessories as well.
It also has some great features, including its LCD screen, which tells you in real time how much longer you can vacuum for with your current battery life. It also features a swappable battery, so you can keep another one charging and never be caught out. But bear in mind that you'll have to buy a second battery separately, which adds to its already high cost.
But there's a price to pay for its increased size. The Outsize is heavy and the fact that you have to keep the trigger pressed down while you clean makes it extra hard work to use.
Buy it if you have deep pockets, strong arms and a large home.
Read our full Dyson V11 Outsize review
6. Miele TriFlex HX1 (Dog & Cat) - Best replacement for an upright cleaner
This high-quality cleaner would be an excellent option for people with larger homes who are looking to replace their upright with something cordless. However, we'd recommend investing in a second battery, or buying the Pro model, which comes with one.
The TriFlex is a solidly built appliance that we would expect to last for a very long time. As a trade-off, it's heavier than the V11 and the Powerstick Jet. This isn't an issue in Comfort mode, which is where the TriFlex really comes into its own and beats the competition hands-down (and, in fact, hands-off). It bears its own weight and will stand up by itself, unlike most other stick cleaners, so it has all of the advantages of an upright cleaner, without the cord.
However, in its Range and Compact modes, it's a little heavier than competing stick/handheld cleaners. But if you want a replacement for an upright, with the versatility you need to clean upholstery, blinds and curtains, the TriFlex is our recommended option.
Read our full Miele TriFlex HX1 (Dog & Cat) review
7. Tineco Pure One S12 - Smart cleaning functionality
The Tineco Pure One S12 is one of our favourite vacuum cleaners, offering a combination of sleek design, a lightweight body and a range of easy-to-swap accessories. It also stands out for its trigger activation system, which allows you to easily turn the vac off and on mid-clean to save battery life. There’s also a trigger lock, in case you don’t get on with it.
But it’s the cleaning performance that really matters, and the Pure One S12 excels in that department as well. The motorised brush head is compatible with both carpet and hardwood floors, helping to get up ingrained dirt and hairs - but that’s not the best part.
The Pure One S12 comes with an iLoop system that intelligently analyses how much dirt and dust is being picked up and automatically adjusts suction power. It saves battery life and allows the vacuum cleaner to operate at relatively low settings most of the time.
With two removable batteries offering a combined 100 minutes of use during the auto mode, it should be more than enough to clean most homes, and the accessories included will allow you to tackle just about any environment.
Admittedly, it is a premium option, but you really do get what you pay for when you buy the Pure One S12.
Read our full Tineco Pure One S12 review
8. Dyson Cyclone V10 - Best value Dyson
The Cyclone V10 is undeniably a phenomenal cordless vacuum. It packs more than enough power to justify the steep price, with three settings, multiple attachments, and a slick design with added options like wall-mounting.
The hour-long battery life (less on higher speeds) isn't quite enough to clean a big house top-to-bottom, and the weight will also be an issue if you're trying to clean for that long anyway – but for most people, this will be plenty.
Just stick to the Animal model, and resist paying over the odds for unnecessary add-ons in the Absolute and Total Clean versions.
Read our full Dyson Cyclone V10 review
9. Lupe Pure Cordless - Buy it for life
The independently made Lupe Pure has a lot going for it. It's solidly built and undeniably powerful but best of all - it's built for life. It's a very expensive vacuum cleaner but invest and you should only have to buy it once. Replacement parts are readily available and you can send it in to be serviced if problems arise.
But it's not perfect. It's heavy and its handheld mode requires you to carry it around while you use a hose attachment, making cleaning shelves and blinds hard work.
It's now come down in price from £699 to £599, although it's still one of the priciest vacuum cleaners on the market.
Read our full Lupe Pure Cordless review
10. Hoover H-Free 500 - Most compact cleaner
For a 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 others, 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, with an average of 25 minutes, that's not very long overall. 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
How we test our vacuum cleaners
Rather than performing a series of tests in lab-style conditions, we take the vacuum cleaners home and try them out. We keep products for several weeks and use all of their functions in as many situations as we can, so we can give you an honest evaluation of how well they'll work in your life.
We think that's how you get to know the advantages and annoyances of each model.
We then compare the vacuum cleaners by their specs and come up with an overall rating that reflects how well they work, where we believe they sit in the marketplace and how much easier they'll make your life.
What to look out for when you're buying
Weight: The lightest cordless vac we’ve tested is the Halo Capsule, at 2.6kg, but anything below 3kg is likely to be comfortable to use.
Running time: The best cordless cleaners, using lithium-ion batteries, will promise up to an hour on a single charge. This is on the lowest setting, without motorised attachments. On a medium setting, you’ll be lucky to get half an hour. On a high setting, your charge will only last 5-6 minutes.
One of the innovations from new, top-of-the-line cordless cleaners like those from Dyson, Samsung and Miele is removable lithium-ion batteries that can be charged separately. With another battery ready to go, you can instantly double your cleaning time.
Bag or bagless? Bagless is characteristic of most high-end vacuum cleaners now. It’s certainly the more environmentally-friendly choice. However, if you are dust-sensitive, go for a bagged vacuum cleaner, as much less dust will escape during disposal.
Samsung's new cordless Jet range comes with a bin that empties itself, called the CleanStation, which we reviewed. You simply slot the vac into the station and it sucks the dust away and stores it in a bag. It's a good option for anyone who wants to go bagless without dealing with dust. The Halo Capsule is also a bagged vacuum cleaner, and as a bonus, its dust pouches are environmentally friendly and can be composted.
Charging time: Four and a half hours is decent. Anything less than this is very good.
HEPA filter: This is the current industry standard for a filter in a high-quality vacuum cleaner. HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters must trap 99.97% of particulates that are 3 microns or larger. (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.
Capacity: Two litres is good for a corded cylinder. Cordless cleaners have significantly less, meaning you have to take breaks to empty the bin more frequently. A cordless Dyson V11 will give you 0.76L of space and some of its competitors only 0.5L. The new Dyson Outsize has a whopping 1.7 litres.
Suction: Manufacturers can be cagey about this and with good reason, as it’s hard to quantify. Cleaners with a long distance between the motor and the vacuum head use more power to create the same suction. Measurements will either be in W – Watts (not very accurate) or AW – Air Watts (better but controversial). As a rough guide, a good cordless may have 100+ AW, a good upright 250+ and a good cylinder 300+. The Dyson V11 has 185AW and the V11 Outsize has a mighty 220.
Accessories: Manufacturers often have different versions of the same model, and these will come with different accessory sets. Any Dyson product that has 'Animal' after the name will have a specialist cleaning head that's optimised to pick up pet fur. The equivalent Miele cordless is called the 'Dog & Cat' version. Meanwhile, Dyson's 'Absolute' cleaners will come with all of the accessories (minus the pet hair cleaning head). The Miele equivalent is the Pro.
If there's an accessory in particular you're after, you can often buy it separately from the manufacturer's website.