09 Nov How to choose a cheap cordless vacuum cleaner
Cordless vacuum cleaners just make sense, don’t they? I think the best inventions are those that just seem so obvious that you can’t believe that it wasn’t always a thing. Take gravity, for example, it may seem obvious now, but can you imagine what it must have been like in the days before Newton’s amazing invention?
I’m joking, of course, I know Newton didn’t actually invent gravity, Thomas Edison didn’t invent the light bulb either, contrary to common belief. A number of British inventors had actually created the light bulb decades earlier, but he perfected it, mainly by improving the filament.
Getting back on topic, I suppose a similar is true of Dyson. A century or two from now people will probably be making the assumption that James Dyson invented the vacuum cleaner or at least the cordless vacuum cleaner (not the cheap cordless vacuum cleaner though) and it’s probably true to say that Dyson is to cordless vacuum cleaners what Edison is to light bulbs.
If you wanted to know who actually did invent the cordless vacuum cleaner, by the way, this was Black & Decker, with their Dust Buster which actually came as an indirect result of NASA commissioning them to create cordless space tools to collect samples from the moon.
Prior to this, the first “portable” vacuum cleaner was invented by an American chap called James Spangler, and the “Electric Suction Sweeper” may not be what we class as a portable vacuum cleaner now, given that by this point vacuum cleaners were huge contraptions carried by horse and cart, back in the early 1900s it really will have seemed super-portable by comparison.
If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard the name James Spangler then, given he invented the modern vacuum cleaner, you’ll probably recognize the surname of his cousin, Susan Hoover. Spangler sold the patent to her husband, William Hoover, who was looking to diversify from his leather horse harnesses business. Hoover came up with the idea of selling the machine via door-to-door salespeople and offering a 10-day free trial, and the rest is history.
Do You Need a Cordless Vacuum Cleaner?
The answer to this question is yes, probably, given that you’re reading a post specifically about cordless vacuum cleaners, but it is worth asking yourself the question of whether you really do need cordless, given that the “cordless” bit adds so much to the price, generally speaking.
If all things were equal, including overall cleaning ability and price, then I think most people would probably prefer to not have to mess about with a power cable, who wants to drag a power cord around with them if they don’t have to, and regularly bend down to unplug them (why are plugs always in such awkward places?).
It’s of no surprise then that cordless vacuum cleaners have quickly become the most popular type of hoover in the UK, they’re just so convenient, and most of us would choose convenience over inconvenience, not just the lack of the cable, but cordless hoovers are usually so lightweight, easy to maneuver, easy to store and usually transform quickly into handheld hoovers for vacuuming the car and so on.
But all things aren’t equal, and that includes price and cleaning ability. Generally speaking, it costs less to end up at the same kind of total cleaning ability with a corded cleaner vs cordless, mainly (not only) due to the cost of batteries. Not only are cordless hoovers usually more expensive, but the fact that they rely on battery power means that even those that have been designed to come somewhere close to the suction power of corded vacuum cleaners, usually give you a relatively short amount of cleaning time vs corded hoovers.
Who wants to be hoovering for hours, though? I know I don’t, although each to their own I suppose, there will be some people out there who find hoovering therapeutic, enjoyable even, who may be disappointed to hear that many cordless vacuums will only give you 20-30 minutes of cleaning power on a single battery. I would think the majority of people reading this, however, would hope to be done with the hoovering and onto something much more enjoyable after half an hour or so.
Anyway it’s worth keeping in mind that if, after giving it a bit of thought you come to the conclusion that you don’t really need a cordless, you’ll usually get a lot more for your money if you go with a corded vacuum cleaner. For more on the corded options, see:
For readers who have decided that they definitely need a cordless vacuum cleaner, here are some things to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a cordless vacuum cleaner, to ensure that the hoover you choose is right for your home and lifestyle.
Size of your home
If you live in a modestly sized home such as a smaller flat or bungalow, spending a fortune on one of the top-end brands such as Dyson or Shark would probably be overkill, as you’d never get the best out of them. The reason to shell out on the leading edge of the cordless vacuums is that these much more premium options usually have the ability to thoroughly clean bigger and busier households.
If you live in a spacious 5 or 6-bedroom house full of kids and pets, then this sounds like a job for one of the more expensive premium cordless vacuum cleaners, and dropping several hundred pounds on a hoover is probably a good investment, given that trying to keep such a home clean with a much cheaper option will probably cost you a lot more in time, and time is money.
By the way, if you do live in a bigger house but you can’t justify the layout required for one of the top-end Dyson or Shark cordless vacuum cleaners, but you don’t want to waste money on a cheap cordless cleaner that won’t have the suction power or battery life for the job in hand, as I’ve just mentioned, corded vacuum cleaners are a great option for getting more bang for your buck.
How many people live in your home?
The size of your home isn’t the only consideration, the number of people living in the home, and the presence or absence of pets will also be a determining factor when it comes to deciding whether a cheaper cordless vacuum cleaner has the muscle you need to keep your home clean.
If you live in a more spacious property but there’s just yourself or you and your partner rattling around in it, a cheap cordless vacuum cleaner may be absolutely fine for the number of rooms in the home that you’ll really need to regularly hoover, and how dirty the floors in these rooms are likely to get. Which leads us nicely to:
How dirty does your home get?
While the number of people in your home and how dirty it gets can be linked, it isn’t necessarily the case. For example, a single person or a couple living in a city apartment, the entrance into which comprising of a nice clean corridor coming from a clean entrance area, is likely to need less hoovering grunt than a single person or couple living in a similarly sized home in the country, who regularly stomp half of the countryside in with them.
What floors does your home have?
Hard floors tend to require less hoovering to keep clean than carpets, so if you have a lot of wooden and/or tile floors in your house then you’ll probably need less cleaning power to keep them clean. If you have a lot of carpets, and particularly if you have deeper pile carpets in which the dust and dirt will love to hide as deep as it possibly can, then you’ll possibly need the better cleaning power of a slightly more premium cordless vacuum cleaner.
All floors will accumulate dirt and dust, so even if your home mainly has laminate or hardwood flooring, you’ll still need a hoover capable of keeping them clean, but a cheap cordless hoover is more likely to be an acceptable option for harder floors, while you may need to spend a bit more if you have a number of carpeted rooms including deep pile.
Do you have pets?
If you have hairless pets, such as Crocodiles or Hippopotami, then you’ll probably have quite a few things to worry about, but hoovering up pet hair won’t be one of them. Goldfish shouldn’t cause much need to hoover up, either, unless you have the rare breed of goldfish called the hairy carpet-skipper, which I doubt you will do given that this is a creation of my very strange imagination.
If you have a more common pet such as dogs or cats, however, then as well as the usual dirt and dust, there will also be hair and also dander of your furry friends to clean up regularly, in which case you may need to dig a little bit deeper into your pocket for a higher end cordless vacuum cleaner, especially if you have deep pile carpets. If you do go for a cheap cordless hoover and you have pets, just make sure it has a pet tool, to remove embedded pet hair.
If yours is a pet-free home, however, then this is one less thing to worry about, and depending on the size of your home and generally how dirty it gets, you might not need the kind of suction power that a Dyson or Shark cordless vacuum cleaner produces.
These are the best and cheapest cordless vacuum cleaners in the UK:
Vytronix Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
The Vytronix cordless hoover is a full-size cordless stick vacuum cleaner that easily converts into a handheld with just a few clicks, making it a great option for hoovering stairs, sofas and other above-floor surfaces, and also for hoovering cars, a thankless task that nevertheless must be done occasionally.
This is an impressive feat, given that the Vytronix cordless costs less than half the price of many purely hand-held hoovers. It doesn’t quite have the same level of suction power of the super expensive top-end brands do, but you wouldn’t expect that at this price level. It’s important to set your expectations at this price because batteries alone that generate the power that a Dyson does cost quite a lot more than this entire vacuum cleaner.
If you want mega suction you’ll need to spend more but the suction on this is the best out there for the money and will do a perfectly good job in small to medium-sized homes.
It’s perfect for hard floors and short pile carpets and for anyone that lives in a flat on their own or with one other person.
You’ll get about 30 minutes out of one charge and it comes with a wall bracket to store easily against the wall in your cupboard if storage space is tight.
It also comes with a long crevice tool attachment and the waste container easily clips off so you can empty it in the bin.
Budget Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
You’ll probably be familiar with the idea of saving money by going the non-branded route. Investing in a known brand does make sense because you’re investing not just in a name, but in the reputation behind that name, a reputation which has usually been built on keeping the lion’s share of their customers happy, so by buying a branded vacuum cleaner you’re spending some extra money on the peace of mind that this brings.
If you want to save money on a cordless vacuum cleaner, though, then one of the main options – as with purchasing anything else – is to simply take a bit of an educated risk by buying an unknown brand, as this way you’re investing only in the product, you’re not paying for the brand name.
Many people think that branded products are a “rip-off” because they cost so much more money than non-brands, but the reality is that the reason they are well-known brands is the mega amount of money they spend on marketing, and that is reflected in the price of their products. If it wasn’t then they wouldn’t make a profit, and they wouldn’t be in business.
The internet has made things a more level playing field, especially when it comes to platforms such as Amazon, as any enterprising business can instantly plug themselves into an almost instant source of sales without spending crazy amounts of money on marketing. This is an opportunity for the consumer to save money by focusing purely on the features of the product they’re buying, but it’s worth keeping in mind that buying unbranded products does present a risk.
The great thing about Amazon though is the reviews, especially these days given that they’ve really tightened up the procedures around reviews to ensure they’re completely authentic. You only have to have a quick look at the huge number of reviews that have been left for this product to get a good idea of what other customers think of it, and it is an impressive cordless hoover for the very low price.
This makes it an ideal choice for smaller homes and has particularly good suction power for a hoover at this price point. There are two power levels and you’ll get 30 mins on one charge in the low power setting and 15 minutes on high.
The filtration is excellent with a HEPA filter making sure that over 99% of all the dust that goes in stays in and it easily converts into a handheld as well.
Excellent value for money.
Vax Blade 4 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
Where the above recommendations are more suited for small to medium-sized homes this is meant more of a Dyson killer at a much more reasonable price.
This is the most expensive “cheap” vacuum cleaner on our list and although it may not be super low cost it does represent tremendous value for money as it delivers about 90% of the performance of a top end Dyson or Shark but costs an awful lot less.
It has also been cleverly designed by Vax to maximise battery life and they have done that by enabling you to turn off the brush roller when you are not vacuuming carpets to increase the amount of time you get on one charge.
On full power which is not that far off what you get with the suction on a Dyson you’ll get about 30 minutes of vacuuming time which is very impressive for suction this strong.
It also weighs only 3kg which is really light for something this powerful and makes it easy to move around and get up and down the stairs.
When you see the price this may not strike you as super affordable but when you compare what you get versus some of the most expensive vacuum cleaners out there the Blade 4 compares very favourably.
If you have a busy home and you need the convenience of a cordless hoover but you don’t want to pay silly prices then this is well worth considering.
You’ll pay a little more than some of the vacuums on this list but you are getting close to Dyson performance for about half the price of their super expensive vacuums.
The suction is very strong and the battery will last you way longer than a Dyson on full power as you can use this one on full power on one charge for about 30 minutes.
You can achieve that by controlling whether you need to use the brush roller on the floorhead by switching it on and off with your thumb. Not all surfaces need a spinning brush and so when you are hoovering the kitchen or any hard floor surface just turn the brush off and turn it on again when you do the carpets.
That way you can use it on full power to clean the whole house without the need for a spare battery or having to worry about the battery running out but still be able to use it on max power.
This is a very clever vacuum from Vax and it weighs only 3kg.
Vax Evolve Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner
You’re probably familiar with the Vax brand, they’ve been around for a long time – since the late 70s in fact, and they were once among the leading brands for vacuum cleaners. They might not be quite as popular these days as the likes of Shark or Dyson, but they’re still a force to be reckoned with, as this powerful yet low-cost cordless hoover demonstrates.
They’ve kept the vax Evolve cordless vacuum cleaner cheap by making it very much no-frills, no digital displays, no bundled attachments and so on which of course will all reflect in the price. It’s simply operated via an on-off button and a few buttons to switch between cleaning modes for hard floor and carpet.
That’s it. It’s easy to use and has great suction power. So if you want something that you can use straight out of the box without having to learn how to use it then this is worth checking out.
Morphy Richards 732007 Supervac Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
If you don’t want to pay much but you want a brand you can trust then Morphy Richards may be more well known for their kettles and toasters but they have been around for a very long time in the UK and they have their reputation to protect.
This vacuum cleaner has been around for a long time and enjoys a good number of positive reviews and is best suited to smaller and medium-sized homes.
Suction power is good for a hoover priced at this level and you can expect about 30 minutes of runtime on one charge.
The handle is collapsible making it easy to store if space is a premium
What should I look for in a cordless vacuum cleaner?
It’s possibly needless to say that suction power is crucial with any vacuum cleaner, cordless or otherwise. With cordless hoovers, though, suction power is usually the main sacrifice vs corded, because of the cost of creating comparable suction power on battery power, including but not limited to the cost of the batteries.
As discussed earlier, though, we’re all different when it comes to our homes and our lifestyles, and not everyone needs the ultra-high suction power of much more expensive cordless hoover, or a corded one. Lots of people and dirt requires more suction power to keep floors clean, particularly carpeted floors. Homes with fewer people, less dirt and no pets tend to require less where suction power is concerned, especially if you have a lot of hard floors in your home.
So just keep in mind that if you do need heftier suction power, and especially if you have a larger home meaning that you may require premium suction power for longer, you need to be sure the cordless vacuum cleaner you’re buying has a decent suction power but also that it can keep going for a long enough cleaning time for you to be able to get all of your hoovering done on one battery charge.
Many cordless vacuums have several power settings including stronger suction power at the higher settings, but with the cheaper options you’ll almost always need to use them on full power to get decent suction so look at the time you get on full power and not what you get on low power.
It’s worth taking the total cleaning time on one charge in the marketing blurb with a pinch of salt with the premium brands too. Dyson for example will often shout about their cordless vacuums being able to deliver an hour of cleaning time from one charge, but if you look for the cleaning time rating on full power you’ll usually find this is more like 10-20 minutes at the max if used on full power, and also with Dysons this means keeping your finger on the trigger all the time.
Also just take a look at the accessories that are being bundled with the hoover you’re thinking of buying, and ask yourself if you had to pay for all of these separately, would you still buy them all? I think we all know that nothing is free, you’re paying for every single accessory in the box. So if you’re going for an option with more accessories than you’ll need, you’re needlessly shelling out cash for bits of plastic to take up space in the cupboard, space that would be much better put to use for storing this years awful secret santa gifts ready to re-gift next year.
Affordable cordless hoovers that do a good job are hard to come by, so if you’re buying one from a little-known brand, just pay close attention to the reviews to make sure that you’re taking an educated risk rather than a daft one, and I’d always recommend looking for a high number of reviews, and a rating of 4 stars and over.
Are cordless vacuums as good as corded?
This depends on what is meant by “as good as”, so it’s just a matter of perspective, but realistically speaking, as long as the cordless vacuum cleaner in question has the cleaning power and the battery power to get all of your hoovering done well on a single charge, then it’s probably as good as it needs to be.
There are some cordless vacuum cleaners that are very good, amazing in fact, but if they’re better than you actually need, then you’re potentially spending money needlessly. At the most expensive end of the market with Dyson and Shark you will find the performance of cordless as good as corded, and this is fine as long as you actually need this level of performance from a cordless vacuum cleaner, and as discussed, not everyone does.
Batteries are expensive though and so as you go down the pricing ladder it becomes harder to produce a cheap battery that does a good job.
For smaller to medium-sized homes a cheap, well-researched cordless can do a good job but the cheaper you go the better corded vacuums compare to cordless.