What are the differences?
Let’s start by looking at the main differences between cordless and traditional corded vacuum cleaners.
We’ll look at their pros and cons so that you can decide if a cordless vacuum is the right choice for you.
Or perhaps you’d be better off with a corded machine.
So, why choose cordless over corded?
There are many reasons to choose a corded, and just as many to choose a cordless one…
The best one for you depends on many factors.
In order for you to make an informed decision you need to get all the information you can.
Here are some of the main differences between these two types of vacuum cleaners, including their pros and cons.
Corded Vacuum Cleaners
Corded vacuum cleaners are the traditional type of vacuums that have some advantages over cordless ones and can be a good choice for many households.
Although corded vacuums are not as practical and easy to use as cordless models, they do generally have more power than the cordless machines.
Their electrical input is higher, they can last for years on end, and even though the cord can be a huge hassle, they can be a great choice for some.
Value for money…
You get more for your money with a corded vs a cordless vacuum, and they have a more constant suction power that remains the same during the entire cleaning process.
When it comes to safety, the corded models can be a bit of a tripping hazard and are not as safe as the cordless vacuums.
If you decide to go for a corded vacuum cleaner here are some of the things you should know before making your purchase.
- The most powerful option
- Constantly high suction power
- No battery so unlimited cleaning time
- More robust and longer lasting
- Great for larger homes
- Better at vacuuming carpets
- More effective on stains and pet hair
- More features for the same money
- Heavier and harder to move around
- Use more power
- Take up more room when stored
- Cord can get annoying
Cordless Vacuum Cleaners
Some of the main factors that make the cordless vacuums more attractive include the fact that they are easier to use, lighter, more convenient and safer around pets and children.
Ideal for the elderly…
Cordless vacuums are a safer option for older people as well, and do not pose a tripping hazard since they do not have a long cord that’s dragging behind them.
Cordless vacuums are also very versatile and allow you to clean with ease. They are perfect for tight corners and inaccessible places.
For those hard to reach places…
You can easily take most of them out to your car, the shed or the loft without a problem.
On the downside, given that these vacuums are battery powered, they aren’t as powerful as most corded vacuums.
In addition, they will only last around 15-45 minutes at a time.
Saving you money…
Although this could be seen as a negative, the truth is that a cordless vacuum can save you a lot in electricity and it’s convenient for times when you don’t have access to the mains nearby.
Cordless vacuums are much more lightweight and smaller than the corded ones, which makes them easy to use, maneuver and store.
- Lightweight and easy to move around
- Perfect for smaller homes, such as apartments
- Ideal for hard floors
- Good for people with limited space for storage
- Excellent for elderly or weaker people
- Good for corners and ceilings
- Help you vacuum inside and out
- Usually cheaper on electricity usage
- Not as powerful
- Not as good on carpets as corded machines
- Run-time might not be enough
- Require a lot of charging time vs usage time
The main types of cordless vacuum
The two main types of cordless vacuums include a standard stick, upright model and smaller handheld ones.
Both have their pros and cons, so which is most suitable will depend on your needs.
However…I would usually recommend a 2-in-1 vacuum, having both an upright and hand-held option because it’s the most versatile and cost-effective.
What are cordless upright vacuums like?
The standard upright model is similar to the corded upright version except for the fact that it’s usually smaller and much lighter.
It sometimes comes with extra features and extendable parts and tools (like crevice tools) that help make the whole cleaning process a lot easier.
Usually it will have less power and have a smaller dirt tank for dust and debris.
And what about cordless hand-held ones?
The handheld models are the smallest type of cordless vacuums available on the market.
They are light, easy to use and portable.
They have a smaller capacity and are suitable for cleaning the house and smaller jobs such as a car or kitchen spill.
But I want both…
Your wish has come true…
Another very versatile and quite practical option is the 2-in-1 model that can be used both as an upright and a handheld vacuum.
This really is the best of both worlds. You get the ease of use with the hand-held machine but the practicality of the upright.
Probably what you need…
Let’s be honest, for vacuuming an entire home you need an upright with a large floor cleaning head to make it efficient for larger areas.
But when doing the stairs or a car boot, a hand-held if what you need.
Expert Tip: I always recommend getting a 2-in-1 machine. Vacuums like the GTech Air Ram Mk2 are great but are only uprights.
How long does a cordless vacuum cleaner last?
In terms of run-time, cordless vacuums vary significantly in run times.
For example, a Dyson V8 Animal might only last 7 mins on the maximum power setting.
But in general most will last between 15-45 minutes.
The GTech Pro, for example, has eco and max run modes. Eco lasts 40 mins whils max lasts 20 mins.
The bottom line…
You should be able to get 30 mins out of most in eco mode.
The best question to ask yourself is how long do you need it to last?
- For a smaller, 1 bed apartment you may only need 20 mins.
- For a larger home with lots of corners and awkward places you may need closer to 1 hour.
Expert Tip: Lots of people purchase second batteries for their cordless vacuums so they can get more out of it.
How much does it cost to charge a cordless vacuum?
This changes depending on the vacuum you have, but we can work out some approximate costs.
Here are some explanations followed by a table comparison.
- A normal corded vacuum has between 100 Watts and 300 Watts.
- A normal corded vacuum has between 600 Watts and 900 Watts
- The average cost for 1 kW of electricity is 14 pence per hour
Although the cost to run any kind of vacuum cleaner are pretty small, you could save 87% of your electric by switching to a cordless electric vacuum.
Let’s look at some real life examples…
HOWEVER…The power difference between them is massive. 750 Watts vs 100 Watts.
Whether that’s a problem will depend on the type of home you have, how much carpet vs hard floor and the size of your home.
How much does a decent one cost?
One of the key factors that we all consider when buying a new appliance is definitely the cost.
Although you can find solid models for under £150, if you’re looking for a more reliable model, you should consider some spending around £250, at least.
Of course, there are some budget ones that are durable and do a good job, but if you’re expecting to get a powerful model that can be used for more than just some light vacuuming, you should expect to pay more.
Are cordless vacuums worth the money?
This is quite subjective. Many people with smaller apartments who want a lightweight, easy to store, low cost, manoeuvrable machine will say yes.
Others who have larger homes with lots of carpet, kids and pets that create dirt and require lots of vacuuming each week will say no.
Expert Tip: Make sure you know what your requirements are before deciding whether cordless or corded is for you.
It’s time to make up your mind…
Once you’ve made your decision to go cordless, you’ll be facing an even more difficult decision…choosing the right model.
The choices can be overwhelming, so I’ve made a list of the 6 key factors to consider when buying a cordless vacuum cleaner.
When choosing a cordless model it’s important to check out a few different models first to see how they compare in regards to power.
You need to consider the type of carpets you have, the space you need cleaned and how often you need to clean it in order to determine which one will be up to the task.
Most cordless machines will vary from 100 to 300 Watts.
But power alone does not determine suction strength…
Think of a hand-held machine where the motor is right next to the nozzle.
Now think of an upright with a long extension tube.
Q: Both have 250 Watts of power but which do you think will have better suction?
A: The hand-held
Why? Because the motor is closer to where the suction needs to be.
Make sure you check out how much the vacuum weighs before you make your purchase.
Even if you think that the weight of the vacuum isn’t an important factor, having a lightweight, easy to use vacuum can be of great help and can encourage every member of the family to use it, including the kids!
Weight might be a big consideration if it’s for cleaning up high and for elderly or weaker users.
A lightweight cordless could range from 2-3.5kg.
You also need to consider the run-time and charging time of the battery if you want to be able to clean your home without annoying interruptions and delays.
Depending on the space you need cleaned, you have the option to choose between smaller vacuums with a smaller capacity that run between 15-30 minutes or the more expensive models that run up to 50 mins, or come with an interchangeable battery that extends the run-time.
Lots of models have “eco” and “max” modes to give you the option of more powerful cleaning or a longer run-time.
Another important factor that needs to be considered when you pick the model and type of vacuum cleaner is your intended use.
Think about the type of carpets or floors you have, whether or not you have children and pets and the size of the space you need cleaned.
Those are the key things you need to consider when making your choice between a handheld, or an upright model, a budget or a more expensive model and so on.
- More carpet, bigger spills, a larger home = a more powerful upright machine
- A small apartment, mainly hard floors with no kids or pets = a lower powered, small machine
As with all appliances and electronics you buy, you should know what kind of warranty comes with the cordless vacuum cleaner you’re interested in buying.
For detailed information you can check out the official manufacturer’s site, or talk to the sales clerk.
#6 Features & Attachments
Last but not least, you need to consider what kind of features and attachments the vacuum cleaner comes with.
This is especially important if you have tricky and not easily accessible spots, high ceilings, stairs, etc.
You should check out what kind of features, brushes and accessories the vacuum comes with and make sure to do some comparison to other models before you make your final decision.
To add the power hose is £50 which makes it the same price as the K9 one…
It’s all just a matter of doing some research and understanding what is included and what you require.
But I’ve done all the hard work for you below with my top 3 cordless vacuums of 2019 list.
How to Choose
I’ve categorised these vacuums based on cost, features, value and power.
- Best Value – A low cost option which is still an excellent choice and has everything you need.
- Top Buy – A mid range cost option for those wanting that little extra power and features to match.
- Premium – All singing and dancing option for those who want full power and features to match.
#1 BEST VALUE
The GTech Pro is a bagged upright and hand-held cordless vacuum cleaner. Perfect for apartments, lightweight and easy to use.
Advantages: Lightweight, up to 40 mins run time, reasonable price
Disadvantages: Not powerful enough for large debris
Approx. price range: £250
#2 TOP BUY
Dyson V8 Animal
The Dyson V8 animal is a powerful and versatile cordless beast! Specifically designed for homes with pets, with the inclusion of a powered pet hair tool. It runs up to 40 mins in eco mode, but only 7 mins in super max mode!
Advantages: Powerful, good for pet hair, hygienic dust collection
Disadvantages: Only lasts 7 mins on super max mode
Approx. price range: £320
Shark Duo-Clean IC160
This Shark cordless vacuum is powerful and feature packed. Including powered lift-away mode which is a great feature. It’s heavier than other cordless models, but packs a powerful punch with features to match.
Advantages: Good power, lots of features, powered lift-away mode
Approx. price range: £400