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The 5 best cordless vacuums for 2024

Ditch the heavy machines and get a lightweight, cordless stick vacuum instead.

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Cordless vacuums offer a lot of improvements over their corded counterparts. They’re typically more lightweight and easier to maneuver around your home than upright vacuums, and now that these devices have gotten better over time, you typically don’t have to sacrifice suction power when choosing a cordless model over one with an old-school design. But just like the robot vacuum space, there are dozens of cordless vacuums to choose from now. Dyson isn’t your only option anymore, which will be a good thing for your wallet — but it also means that deciding which will be the best cordless vacuum for you can be confusing with all of the players out there. We at Engadget can help make that decision a bit easier. After testing a bunch of the most popular cordless stick vacuums available today, we’ve come up with our top picks, plus loads of buying advice to help you figure out which cordless stick vacuum is right for you.

Quick Overview

Factors to consider before buying a cordless vacuum

Design and bin capacity

Most of the cordless vacuums you’ll find today have stick designs, with a handle at the top attached to a debris bin, which has a space to connect different attachments at one end. These designs are more versatile than old school vacuums of yesteryear because, while you may use the long stick attachment most of the time to clean your floors, many cordless vacuums come with other attachments as well. Some allow you to clean hard to reach spaces like the interior of your car, while others make it easier to vacuum furniture and clean inside crevices.

Bin volume is worth keeping in mind when you’re choosing a cordless vacuum. The larger the bin, the more debris it can hold, but it might also mean a heavier machine. All of the cordless vacuums we tested had a bin size between 0.1 and 0.8 gallons and all were able to handle cleaning an entire one-pet home (roughly 2,000 square feet) in a single run without needing to be emptied. Anything smaller and you may have to deal with more frequent emptying during each cleaning session.

Some cordless vacuums also have removable, replaceable battery packs, which is super handy. That means you can buy a replacement battery and install it easily, without needing to seek out professional assistance. Also, these extra batteries cost around $150-$200 a pop — expensive, yes, but nowhere near as costly as buying a whole new cordless vacuum.

Suction and power modes

Cordless vacuum suction power is typically measured in air wattage (AW), but you’ll see some that list the power of the motor in wattage (W) instead. Typically the higher the air or motor wattage the stronger the suction power, and often strength is proportional to price — more expensive cordless vacuums tend to have stronger suction power. A general rule of thumb is that those with precocious pets or mess-making children would benefit from a cordless vacuum cleaner with stronger-than-average suction power.

Most cordless stick vacuums will have two different power modes: a “normal” or default power mode that balances suction power with battery life, as well as a “max” or stronger mode that kicks suction strength up a notch. Some vacuums, like those from Dyson, also have an “eco” mode, or one that prioritizes run time over strength.

Separate from power modes you can select yourself, some cordless vacuums will automatically adjust motor strength depending on the detected floor type or the amount of mess in its wake. Not only is this convenient, but it also ensures that the machine is working its hardest only when you need it.

Battery life

Obviously, battery life is important since you’ll probably want to clean more than one room in a shot. All of the cordless vacuums we tested had a battery life of at least 40 minutes in standard cleaning mode. I tested each by cleaning all three floors of my home (upstairs, downstairs and basement) on a single charge with the machine running in its standard (“auto”) mode and none of them ran out of juice before I could finish the third floor. That said, extra battery life can come in handy if you’re switching between power modes since “max” or high-power programs use more energy.

Base style

Most cordless stick vacuums come with some sort of base or mount where the machine lives when you’re not using it. Wall mounts are the most common, but some have free-standing bases where you dock and charge the vacuum. Consider the space in your home where you want the cordless vacuum to live, since it will have to have an outlet or another power source nearby.

Some high-end cordless vacuums come with self-emptying bases that act much like those included with expensive robot vacuums. After cleaning and returning the vacuum to the base, it will automatically empty the dustbin into a larger dustbin that you can then detach from the base when you need to empty it. This kind of base adds an extra layer of convenience into the mix, since you typically will only have to empty the larger dustbin every month or two.

“Smart” features

Yes, some cordless vacuums have “smart” features like Wi-Fi and app connectivity. But before we get into those, let’s talk about the extra perks scattered among these devices. Some models, like the latest from Dyson, include particle sensors that show you how many different sized pieces of debris it’s sucking up in real time. Dyson’s, for example, is a piezo acoustic sensor that detects particle size and frequency and displays that information on the vac’s LCD screen. Tineco’s iLoop sensor is similar, controlling its vacuums’ automatic suction power adjustment and changing a circle on the display from red to blue as you fully clean an area.

Higher-end cordless vacuums may also have companion apps that show things like battery level, filter status and cleaning logs. It’s an added level of convenience, but by no means necessary. Unlike robot vacuums, which rely on their apps to set cleaning schedules, manually control the machines and more, cordless vacuums that you operate yourself really don’t need Wi-Fi or an app connectivity.

Price

Cordless stick vacuums range in price from $150 all the way up to over $1,000. The best ones for most people lie in the middle, in the $400 to $700 range. You’ll notice most of our picks land in the higher end of that range, but for good reason: More expensive machines tend to have more sucking power, which means less time wasted going over the same spots over and over. But does that mean everyone needs the most premium cordless vacuum? Definitely not. We’ve come up with top picks at various price points that should work well for people with different budgets, lifestyles, home sizes and more.

How we test cordless vacuums

Engadget doesn’t have a dedicated lab in which we can test cordless vacuums, but I used each model in my home for weeks. I ran them over hardwood and tile flooring, as well as low-pile carpet. And my first runthrough consisted of cleaning all three floors of my home on a single battery charge. I performed the same cleaning job as many times as possible, but also intermittently cleaned a single floor as needed, or sucked up isolated messes like crumbs, cat litter spills and tufts of pet fur. Over the course of many cleanings with each model, I made note of how loud the machine was, how easy it was to maneuver around my home, how easily it sucked up pieces of large debris (or if it pushed it around my floor instead) and if they got warm or hot.

Best cordless stick vacuums for 2024

Photo by Valentina Palladino / Engadget

Suction power: 240AW | Bin capacity: 0.2 gallon | Battery life: 60 min | Weight: 6.83 pounds

The Dyson V15 Detect is just as impressive now as it was when it first came out in 2021. It’s our top pick because it provides the best mix of features and its suction power is remarkable. Even a few years after it's initial release, it remains one of the best vacuum cleans out there today.

One thing that was immediately apparent during my testing was that Dyson models just have superior suction, period. That’s not to say a cordless vacuum from another brand can’t get the job done, because they absolutely can. But even in auto mode, all of Dyson’s vacuums did a better job trapping even the smallest dust and debris.

The “Detect” in this model’s name refers in part to the laser “blade” on the Fluffy Optic cleaner head. It does a great job of illuminating floors to clearly show you where the mess really is, and that goes for large debris like food and granules of cat litter, as well as much smaller stuff like layers of dust on an untouched part of the floor. But it’s worth noting that this light is only present on the Fluffy Optic head, a brush roll designed to work best on hard floors. The V15 Detect comes with a few other head attachments, including a Digital Motorbar head that automatically detangles hair from the brush bar as you clean. That’ll be better for all floor types, including carpet, but you won’t get the same illumination effect.

The V15 Detect also has a piezo acoustic sensor that recognizes the size and frequency of the particles it’s sucking up. It’ll show that information on the machine’s LCD display in a neat little bar graph. Is this information useful? Not particularly, but it’s satisfying to clock this while cleaning and see the bars increase and decrease as you move throughout your home. However, this is more of a neat perk than a killer feature; it’s not going to change the way you vacuum your home. But the piezo sensor is also involved in automatically adjusting the V15 Detect’s cyclone engine to better clean particularly dirty floors.

That automatic adjustment is separate from the machine’s three power settings: Auto, Eco and Boost. I spent most of my time in Auto mode, every so often switching to Boost in rooms where I knew I needed a more thorough cleaning. Eco mode is convenient to have if you need to conserve battery life.

But the V15 Detect, like all of the other Dyson machines I tested, really stands out for its suction power. I rarely, if ever, had to go over the same spot twice because the V15 Detect captured all of the dust and debris the first time. In my one-cat household, it’s easy to see tufts of fur on our hardwood floors and tile, but they’re basically invisible on our upstairs carpet. But it didn’t matter if I could see fur or not — the V15 Detect collected all of it. After every cleaning the bin was full and I was consistently shocked by how much cat hair was hiding in my carpet.

As with most cordless vacuums, you get a number of attachments with the V15 Detect. In addition to the Fluffy Optic and Digital Motorbar cleaner heads, hair screw, combination and crevice tools are included in the box. I particularly like the hair screw tool, which is great for vacuuming chairs and couches, and the crevice tool is handy for cleaning car interiors and other tight spaces. The docking station must be mounted to a wall, but it’s separate from the vacuum’s charger, which means you can power up and use the V15 Detect before picking a permanent place for it in your home.

My biggest gripe with the V15 Detect is that it doesn’t have a single-button start like the newer and more advanced Dyson Gen 5 Detect and Dyson V15 Detect Submarine do. You must press and hold down the trigger to vacuum, which requires constant effort. However, that’s a small price to pay considering the complete package you’re getting. At $750, the V15 Detect is a machine on the higher-end of the price spectrum that’s well worth the money if you want an easy to use cordless vacuum that will provide a truly thorough clean every time.

Pros
  • Fantastic suction power
  • Includes Fluffy Optic cleaner head with illuminating blade light
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Good battery life
Cons
  • No single-button start
  • Headlight laser only on the Fluffy Optic cleaner head
$750 at Dyson

Suction power: 500W | Bin capacity: 0.12 gallon | Battery life: 40 min | Weight: 6.8 pounds

I reached for the Tineco Pure One S15 almost as much as I did for the Dyson V15 Detect. It’s slightly less powerful than our top pick, but it’s otherwise very similar and it even has Wi-Fi and app connectivity as well. It handled all kinds of dry messes well and didn’t choke at the first sign of pet hair. It includes Tineco’s iLoop smart sensor, which detects the amount of dirt and auto-adjusts suction power. I also appreciate that its LED display has a big ring that changes from red to blue as it sucks up all the debris in its way, and it has a battery indicator on it as well.

The Pure One S15 Pet has an unfussy design and comes with attachments that are easy to pop on and off. The main cleaning head has a headlight which does a great job of showing you exactly where the worst pockets of dirt are. And, despite its bin being a bit smaller than that on the Dyson, I never had to pause mid-cleaning to empty it.

Unlike the Dyson, though, the Pure One S15 Pet has Wi-Fi connectivity and a companion app, which is about as “smart” as any cordless vacuum gets. It’s a totally unnecessary feature, but Wi-Fi setup is pretty painless, and Tineco’s mobile app will show you things like battery level, filter status and a cleaning log. Filter status is arguably the most useful of them all, since it takes the guesswork out of figuring out when to replace it.

The $500 Tineco machine beat out the $450 Shark Detect Pro for our runner-up spot by only a hair. The Shark is a solid vacuum with a self-emptying base,in the same price range. But the Pure One S15 Pet has stronger suction and did a better job cleaning up big messes. It’s also worth noting that, while Tineco’s vacuum typically costs $500, you can often find it on sale for as low as $350 — a killer bargain.

Pros
  • Great suction power
  • Single-button start
  • iLoop smart sensor auto-adjusts suction power as you clean
  • Great value for the money
  • Wi-Fi and app connectivity
Cons
  • Small bin
  • Shorter battery life
$500 at Amazon
Explore More Buying Options
$994 at Wayfair
Photo by Valentina Palladino / Engadget

Suction power: 450W | Bin capacity: 0.15 gallon | Battery life: 40 min | Weight: 5.7 pounds

Tineco makes a number of cordless vacuums at various price points, but the Pure One S11 is a budget-friendly model at $300 — and it’s often on sale for less. While it was the clunkiest of the Tineco vacuums I tested, it’s still relatively lightweight. It also includes Tineco’s iLoop smart sensor, although it doesn’t have the single-button start that the Pure One S15 Pet does.

The Pure One S11 did a decent job of collecting all kinds of messes, including pet hair, but I did have to go over some spots more than once for the most thorough clean. In addition to the main cleaner head that has built-in headlights, it comes with three extra attachments that make it easy to get into small spaces.

Tineco estimates a run time of 40 minutes for this machine, and I found that to be accurate. That was just about enough time for me to clean all three floors of my house, but if you have a particularly large home, you may need to recharge at some point. Its bin size is also on the smaller side like the Pure One S15 Pet, so there’s a chance you may have to pause to empty it if you’re cleaning up big messes or you have a lot of ground to cover.

But for $300, the Pure One S11 offers a lot of value. It’s arguably best for those who live in apartments or small- to medium-sized homes, or those who just want a no-frills, easy-to-use cordless vacuum without dropping an excessive amount of money. It holds its own against pet hair as well, but that’s coming from a person who only has one cat; you’d be better off getting a stronger vacuum with a larger bin if you have a small menagerie in your home.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Good suction for the price
  • iLoop smart sensor auto-adjusts suction power as you clean
Cons
  • No single-button start
  • Small bin
  • Shorter battery life
$300 at Amazon
Photo by Valentina Palladino / Engadget

Suction power: 240AW | Bin capacity: 0.2 gallon | Battery life: 60 min | Weight: 8.3 pounds

Overkill for most, the Dyson V15 Detect Submarine will be exactly what some are looking for: a vacuum with all of Dyson’s signatures along with the ability to wash hard floors. It’s similar to the V15 Detect in power and design, but it comes with Dyson’s “submarine” wet cleaner head that has two water reservoirs (one for clean water and one for dirty) and a brush bar that does all the scrubbing. To wash tile and other hard floors, you fill the clean reservoir with water, reattach it to the head and turn on the machine as if you were just vacuuming. The built-in motor ever so slightly propels the machine in this mop mode, and as you move it around, it sucks up spills and other wet messes into the dirty reservoir while also washing the floor.

In my testing, the V15 Detect Submarine did a great job sucking up spills and a pretty good job cleaning my hardwood and tile, even in spots where there were more persistent stains (although it did take a few passes to fully suss them out). I typically use a corded steamer to wash the hard floors in my home, and while the V15 Detect Submarine doesn’t use heat and can’t quite match up to a device that does, it’s impressive nonetheless for its abilities and convenience.

After my first go-around with the machine, I was excited to use it again primarily because the process is so easy. Instead of getting my steamer out, plugging it in and fighting with its cord as I moved around, I popped the Submarine cleaning head on the Dyson, filled the tank and off I went. It’s worth mentioning, though, that I did have to fill the clean-water reservoir twice to wash the main floor of my home (roughly 800 square feet), which added a few minutes to the process. After each session, you’ll want to empty both reservoirs, clean the brush head and let the whole attachment dry. After that, I found it was ready to go again the next day.

The V15 Detect is a solid vacuum and an above-average mop, but more than anything, it’s convenient. It’s one relatively thin and lightweight device that can clean all of the floors in your home without a ton of extra effort needed on your part and with few, if any, frustrations. But as with anything, convenience comes at a cost: you’ll pay $950 for this model, and no, you can’t just buy the Submarine head separately and use it with a standard Dyson stick vac. If you only have a little bit of tile or hard flooring in your home, it’ll be difficult to justify the cost of the Submarine — but if convenience is of utmost importance and you want one cordless vac-and-mop to rule them all, Dyson’s machine is a great option.

Pros
  • Great suction power
  • Includes Submarine cleaning head for mopping and cleaning up wet messes
  • Good battery life
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Water tank is a little small
  • No single-button start
$950 at Dyson
Photo by Valentina Palladino / Engadget

Suction power: 230W | Bin capacity: 0.8 gallon | Battery life: 60 min | Weight: 5.29 pounds

Tineco’s high-end Pure One Station FurFree deserves a nod here because it was one of the cordless vacuums I tested that I wanted to use the most, and it’s arguably the most convenient option on the list. Not only does it have strong suction power and the company’s iLoop smart sensor, but it docks and charges in a self-emptying base that cleans all parts of the machine — brush, tube and dustbin — after each use.

The freestanding base is a little intimidating when you unbox it, purely because it has more parts than that of any vacuum cleaner I tested (including the Shark Detect Pro). The whole thing, vacuum included, remains relatively svelte; it was easy for me to tuck it into a corner of a room near an outlet. The vacuum itself has a single-button start and, while not quite as strong as the Dyson V15 Detect, did a good job cleaning up all kinds of messes, pet hair included. Run time comes in at 60 minutes, more than enough to clean my whole home, and it supports Auto and Max modes along with the auto-adjusting feature provided by the iLoop sensor.

The Pure One Station FurFree also supports Wi-Fi connectivity, with its mobile app showing you battery life, dustbin capacity and self-cleaning settings. But since the small screen on the docking station gives you most of that data as well, the app is just a bonus.

The biggest selling point of this cordless vacuum is its self-emptying base, which has its own large dustbin that can hold up to 60 days worth of dirt. It’s a plastic canister that takes no garbage bags, so there’s nothing to add to the cost of ownership — simply remove the base’s dustbin to empty into your own garbage can every couple of weeks and then snap it back into place. You can customize self-cleaning settings to do a quick clean (30 seconds long) or a deep clean (60 seconds), or keep it to the auto mode (45 seconds). The machine will clean itself whenever you return the vacuum to its dock, unless you manually disable this feature. I appreciate that the base automatically empties the vacuum’s dustbin during self-cleaning, but it’s also great that it uses gusts of air to clean the vacuum’s brush and tube. Lots of little particles and hair can get stuck in those parts, and with other vacuums, you’re left to clear those out yourself.

The “FurFree” in the Pure One Station’s name refers to the extra attachments that come with the machine that basically turn it into a pet-grooming tool. This will likely be more useful for dog owners, or maybe folks with more amenable cats than mine (she hates all vacuums — cordless, robot, you name it). If you’re not a pet owner, there’s a standard Tineco Pure One Station that’s otherwise an identical machine with the same self-cleaning base, but only comes with regular vacuum attachments, and costs $200 less. FurFree or regular, though, the Pure One Station is a great cordless vacuum that’s made better by its clever and convenient self-emptying base.

Pros
  • Great suction power
  • Includes self-emptying base
  • Base empties bin and also cleans the vacuum’s brush and tube simultaneously
  • Wi-Fi and app connectivity
Cons
  • FurFree model is expensive
$599 at Amazon

Other cordless stick vacuums we tested

Dyson Gen 5 Detect

The Dyson Gen 5 Detect has a single-button start and stronger suction power than our top pick, but it’s otherwise quite similar. However, since the Gen 5 Detect is more expensive at $950 (although it does receive discounts at Dyson online), the V15 Detect still provides greater value for your money. The Gen 5 Detect is arguably best for those who want the latest Dyson, or care about getting a more future-proof machine, since it came out just last year.

Shark Detect Pro

The Shark Detect Pro provides a lot of value for the money, but it was ultimately beat by the Tineco Pure One S15 Pet for our runner-up slot thanks to the Tineco’s stronger suction power. The kicker for the Detect Pro is that it includes a self-emptying base in its $450 price, which is super handy. It’ll automatically dump the contents of the vacuum into the larger bin in the base after every cleaning, and you only need to empty the base’s container every month or so. The Detect Pro did a good job cleaning up messes across different types of flooring, and it’ll auto-adjust suction power depending on the amount of debris and whether you’re cleaning hard or carpeted floors. However, it’s not as smooth to use as any of our top picks and its main cleaner head is a bit tall, making it difficult to use to clean under low furniture.

FAQs

How long does the battery last on a cordless vacuum?

Most cordless vacuums will run for at least 30-40 minutes on a single charge, but you can find cordless vacuums with battery lives of up to 60 or 70 minutes. Manufacturers will outline an estimated battery life for each model, and they’re usually based on using the vacuum’s standard power mode for the entire runtime; if you switch between modes or prefer to use a higher-powered program for improved suction, you’ll drain the battery faster.

Can cordless vacuums be as powerful as corded ones?

Cordless vacuums do sacrifice a bit in overall power when compared to corded models, but that doesn’t mean they can’t handle everyday messes just as well. If suction power is your biggest concern, we recommend springing for a high-powered, high-end cordless vacuum since, typically, the more expensive a cordless vacuum is, the stronger the suction. Also, cordless vacuums have the edge over corded models when it comes to weight and convenience: cordless vacuums are much lighter than their corded counterparts, and you’ll never have to worry about placement or picking a fight with a cord while cleaning your living room.

Are cordless vacuums effective on pet hair?

Yes, cordless vacuums can handle pet hair well, but we recommend getting a model with strong suction power to get the best results. It’s also wise to get one with a larger bin, since pet hair can quickly fill up smaller bins, which may force you to stop cleaning to empty the vacuum before finishing.