Cordless vacuums give you the freedom to track down messes in your home, regardless of how close they are to an outlet, and, we’ve been testing them for years in our labs.
So, we decided to round up a handful of cordless vacuums that we think cover every corner of the market and see how they performed in our lab testing environment, where we focus on battery life, dirt- and debris-pickup capabilities, and ease of use.
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The Dyson V11 Torque Drive (available at Amazon for $599.99) vacuums circles around the rest of the competition.
We’re not saying the V11 is the best for everyone. Its premium technology is worth its high-end price, but we do understand that not everyone is looking to spend a small fortune on a cordless vacuum.
From expensive to a good value, these are the best cordless vacuums we tested ranked, in order:
1. Dyson V11 Torque Drive
The Dyson V11 Torque Drive has two major features that set it apart from all other cordless vacuum cleaners: an LCD screen on its back and automatic suction adjustment.
The LCD screen lets you know how much battery life you have left, down to the second. This feature ensures you’ll never be caught short while vacuuming between cushions.
The V11’s self-adjusting suction feature is a little more subtle. When you’re cleaning, it lowers or increases the amount of suction based on the type of surface you’re cleaning. This increases battery life and helps keep this Dyson from damaging your floors.
Shiny new toys aside, the V11 Torque Drive is a stick vac that aces the basics. Our testing shows that this Dyson picked up 95% of the dirt we laid out for it. The large debris tests also impressed us: A lot of vacuums just plow crumbs from one side of the room to the other, whereas the V11 has specialized gaps in its brush head to ensure pickup.
Get the Dyson V11 Torque Drive on Amazon for $599
2. LG CordZero A9 Kompressor
The LG CordZero A9 Kompressor is a cordless vacuum with few equals. During our cleaning tests, it picked up 90% of the sand, pet hair, and crumbs we laid out for it. We found that we could clean carpets for over 80 minutes or big messes for 16 minutes between the two included batteries.
While Dyson cordless vacuums give the LG CordZero A9 Kompressor a run for its money, the A9 Kompressor has two distinct advantages: its charging stand, which lets you store it and its accessories anywhere you want without having to drill holes in the wall, and the Kompressor, which helps increase the dirt capacity and ensure the bin empties fully.
Get the LG CordZero A9 Kompressor at Amazon for $549
3. Dyson V10 Absolute
Dyson announced that it would stop developing new corded vacuums because of how confident its R&D team was in the Dyson V10 Absolute. But, the details made us skeptical.
However, after testing the V10, we found that its Absolute moniker is apt. The V10 comes with absolutely everything: a powered brush head that’s designed for hardwood floors, a motorized mini brush for cleaning upholstery, a soft brush for hardwood, a combination upholstery/bare floor tool, a crevice tool, a drive cleaner head, and a soft dusting brush for computers and delicate items. These all attach to a 5.6-pound, wall-mountable package, making it one of the lightest cordless vacuums on the market.
Without a doubt, the Dyson V10 puts all its tools to good use. In our testing lab, it picked up 89% of the dirt we left out for it.
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It also dominated the battery tests. On the low setting, it can run for 60 minutes, perfect for day-to-day maintenance. For intense cleaning jobs, the Absolute can run for 9 minutes on the highest setting.
The Absolute’s downside is its absurdly expensive price tag. Still, if you want zero compromises in power or battery life, this is the cordless vacuum to buy.
Get the Dyson V10 Absolute on Amazon for $534.38
4. LG Cordzero A9 Ultimate
LG Cordzero A9 Ultimate epitomizes an easy-to-use cordless vacuum. Its dock can be set up to be free-standing, allowing you to charge anywhere without having to drill holes in the wall. This standing dock also has space for the alternate cleaning head and several attachments.
When in use, the A9 comes with two removable batteries, giving you 16 minutes of cleaning time on the highest setting.
We cleaned carpets and bare floors with the A9. This cordless impressed us with its powerful suction, picking up 72.5% of the testing dirt we laid out for it and all of the food debris. Also during cleaning, we enjoyed using the telescopic wand, adjusting the reach up to 45 inches from handle to tip.
Overall, we think the A9 is a strong competitor to Dyson’s top performers. The A9 is easier to store and has more battery life, but lacks the raw power of the V11 or V10.
Get the LG Cordzero A9 Ultimate on Amazon for $499
5. Dyson V8 Absolute
The Dyson V8 Absolute is near the pinnacle of cordless vacuum technology, i.e. it’s one heck of a vacuum.
The V8 almost overwhelms with its number of included attachments: a powered brush head that’s designed for hardwood floors, a motorized upholstery brush, a soft brush for hardwood, a combination upholstery/bare floor tool, a crevice tool, and a soft dusting brush. As a hallmark of Dyson’s design, the handheld unit only weighs 5.6 pounds.
The brush head is made from carbon fiber and nylon. It’s softer than a puppy, infinitely more gentle on floors, and better at picking up dirt. In our labs, the V8 picked up 88% of the dirt we put down for our tests.
On the low setting, the battery lasted an amazing 40 minutes. (The max suction setting drains the battery in 7 minutes, though.) When you’re done, you can empty out the V8’s dustbin with the pull of a single lever on top of the machine.
If you like the Dyson V10’s sleek design but don’t want to spend as much money on it, the V8 is a viable option. However, the Dyson V8 still costs twice as the average cordless vacuum.
Get the Dyson V8 Absolute at Amazon for $487
6. Tineco Pure One S12
The Tineco Pure One S12 is one of the most unique cordless vacuums we’ve ever tested. It has a user interface that lets you know how much battery life you have left, the amount of suction, and how clean your floor is.
While testing, we found that the S12 was pretty good at estimating how much dirt was on our carpet. It declared a clean surface when 80% of the testing dirt was suctioned up. Overall, the cleaning performance lagged behind other cordless vacuums in the Pure One’s price range, but not so much so that it’s a deal breaker.
If you want the coolest tech in your home, the Tineco Pure One S12 is a solid choice.
Get the Tineco Pure One S12 on Amazon for $499.99
7. Tineco A10 Hero—the best value
The Tineco A10 Hero, our best value choice for cordless stick vacuums, comes from the same people that brought us the Ecovacs robot vacuum series. It has a lot to live up to—iLifes are known for being affordable workhorses. The A10 does its robot vacuum cousins proud. If you’re worried about delving into a newer brand, the A10 is covered by a two-year warranty.
We like the fact this stick vacuum cleaner picked up 47% of the dirt we laid out for it—a more than impressive performance. Plus, the A10 has the endurance to match our top pick, around 7 minutes on the max settings and 14 minutes on the regular. Unlike the Dyson, you can buy additional batteries and swap them in for even more cleaning time.
The A10 comes with the standard assortment of attachments including a crevice tool, a mini-powered brush, and an upholstery brush. While none of these wowed us, we like the fact that the default brush head has bright LED lights to help us spot dirt and debris under furniture.
Get the Tineco A10 Hero on Amazon for $199.99
8. Tineco A11 Master
The Tineco A11 Master stands as the best of what the company has to offer. It’s like an affordable Dyson V8—like the V8, it has two different brush heads, one for carpet and one for hardwood. So, if you ever find dust sticking to the floor, its specialized brush head may be just the ticket.
Beyond the floor, the A11 has tools for cleaning under and around furniture, which we appreciated.
Aside from having more tools, the A11 also comes with two batteries. During testing, the two batteries gave us about 14 minutes of cleaning power on the highest setting.
The downside is that while the A11 apes many of Dyson’s features, it can’t match its power. It required four passes to get our testing area clean while the Dyson V10, for example, needed only two.
Get the Tineco A11 Master on Amazon for $399.99
9. Kenmore Elite 10441 Complete
When it comes to vacuums, Kenmore makes some of our favorite models. This time around, the storied company wowed us with its new cordless duo: the Kenmore Elite 10441 Complete and the 10440 Quick Clean. The Complete comes with an additional brush head that specializes in carpets, while the Quick Clean should only be used on bare floors. We also found that the Complete has a telescopic arm to give you that extra reach, should you need it.
We liked its 13-minute battery life and the fact that it picked up around 45% of the dirt we laid out for it. The Quick Clean was in strong contention for best value model, but it has a relatively high price and it’s heavier than most of the models in this roundup. However, if you like the vibe of Kenmore’s canister vacuums, you’ll love these two Elite vacuums.
Get the Kenmore Elite 10441 Complete on Amazon for $299.99
How we tested
When we test cordless vacuums, we’re looking for long battery life, ease of use, and powerful suction.
To test battery life, we charge each model for 24 hours. Once charged, each vacuum is run at its highest settings and timed until it stops working. If the vacuum doesn’t meet its manufacturer’s advertised claim about its total runtime, we take note and adjust our expectations to see if, under laboratory conditions, the vacuum can still adequately do its job.
Cleaning shouldn’t be complicated, so we take note of how intuitive the design of the vacuum is: Can we figure out how to use it without opening its manual? We also consider the little things: how easy it is to use; and how quickly we can change a vacuum’s attachments, plug in the charger, store it, or empty its dirt bin.
To test cleaning power, we place 20 grams of sand on a testing platform covered in medium-pile carpet. Before use, this sand is sifted through a specialized mesh to ensure a consistent size of grains between 420 and 595 microns. After evenly spreading the sand across our test platform, we run each vacuum over the carpeted platform once, on max settings. We also check to see if each vacuum can pick up large debris like uncooked rice and macaroni. This test is conducted twice: once with the vacuum’s motorized head and once with its crevice tool.
Can cordless vacuums replace regular ones?
For the most part, cordless vacuums should be viewed as supplementary cleaning tools to be used in between uses of heavier cleaning equipment or in situations where a full-sized vacuum is too cumbersome.
If you’re willing to pay a higher price for the privilege, some cordless vacuum models can stand toe-to-toe with full-sized vacuums. The Dyson V11 Torque has a suction force similar to that of a regular vacuum. But, this amount of suction comes at a price: You’ll only be able to use it for this level of cleaning for about 9 minutes before it runs out of power and needs to be recharged.
What’s the difference between cordless vacuums and hand vacuums?
In many cases, the only difference between a cordless vacuum and hand vacuum is the cordless vacuum’s long extension, which allows the brush head to reach the floor.
Although rare, some two-in-one models come with a handheld vacuum that can be removed and used to clean, without the floor extension—a real bonus when you’re cleaning furniture or a flight of stairs.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.