What Should I Look For When Buying A Cordless Vacuum Cleaner?

Cordless vacuum cleaners are becoming ever more common in stores and in homes. Their lightweight convenience and slim nature make them highly appealing for those short on time and tight on storage space.

When searching for one you may be thinking – what should I look for when buying a cordless vacuum cleaner? Below we take a look at some of the key factors you may want to keep in mind when buying a cordless vacuum cleaner:

  • Power Rating
  • Runtime
  • Charge Time
  • Dust Bin Capacity
  • Weight
  • Dimensions
  • Accessories
  • Tools For Pets

What Should I Look For When Buying A Cordless Vacuum Cleaner?

So, what should I look for when buying a cordless vacuum cleaner? Let’s take a look at what you should be on the lookout for when it comes to buying a cordless vacuum cleaner,

Power Rating

The power rating of a cordless vacuum cleaner will help to provide a relatively consistent gauge of potential performance capability. It is not always like-for-like but generally, the higher the power rating the more the vacuum cleaner will be able to pick up. The power rating usually stated in Volts (V) can provide a helpful general guide to potential capability.

There are more specific measurements that will actually give a better indication of suction power for vacuum cleaners including, however, the issue is as great as this information can be it is rarely provided in product descriptions and in many cases on user manuals so it can be difficult to actually try to make use of it.


Cordless vacuum cleaners are usually powered by a battery. The runtime of a battery describes how long it can go on a single charge. This is perhaps one of the most important factors to keep in mind as it will determine how much you’ll be able to use it for once charged.

It’s probably worth keeping in mind not only the runtime but also charging time for the battery (see next factor).

Typically cordless vacuums can run for 20 or so minutes all the way up to 60 minutes at the higher end of the market.

Cordless vacuums powered by lithium batteries may offer better battery performance but nonetheless this will still vary between models so keep an eye on the details.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the stated run time on a product description will not necessarily apply to all the different suction levels available. Typically the maximum suction power level will only have a small fraction of the run time available for the low or standard setting for a given model. In addition, the run time usually stated in the product description will be for the standard/low suction and may not always include a motorised tool.

This is particuarly important if you have a large home with lots of carpet as you may want a battery with a long run time that also has a decent span for high suction levels.

Charge Time

Closely related to the battery run time of course is the charging time. Some batteries can take up to 5 hours to fully charge. This is important to keep in mind as it could determine how frequently you can use it on a given day.

It may also dictate if you have a large home, having to spread out cleaning across the home.

Some cordless vacuums come with some type of docking stating which makes it easier to store and charge the unit once you’ve finished cleaning.

With this way you can always make sure that the battery is sufficiently charged regularly.

Dust Bin Capacity

The dust bin capacity of your cordless vacuums is something to keep in mind when searching for your own. Typically this way range between 0.4 to 0.7litres.

The lower the capacity of course, the more frequently you’ll need to empty the bin. This is particularly important to keep in mind if you have any kind of allergies related to dust as you’ll want to minimise as much as possible how frequently you have to do this.

In any case, it’s likely most manufacturers will recommend you empty out the bin regularly to help keep the vacuum cleaner performing at its best and for longer.

With some units, as the suction power and performance can be impacted as they get closer to their maximum capacity.

Some cordless vacuum cleaners have transparent dust bins which will let you see how full the bin is as you use it so you’ll know when it’s time to empty it out.

If you’re concerned about having to routinely empty out the bin, keep a look out for models that have an easy disposal system e.g. Dyson V10 for example.


One of the main potential attractions for many when it comes to cordless vacuum cleaners is the lightweight nature when compared to upright and cylinder vacuum cleaners.

Cordless vacuum cleaners tend to be lighter and therefore easier to manoeuvre around the home than their traditional counterparts.

Stick vacuum cleaners can weigh as little as around 2kg making them fairly user friendly when it comes to lifting and pacing around with them in the home.

Keep in mind though that the weight will vary from model to model and between and within different brands.

It may also vary with the tools that you are using with the cordless vacuum with motorised brushheads typically weighing more than a crevice tool for example (more on tools below).

Another reason why weight is important is several models on the market require you to keep your hand pressed down on the trigger button to keep them operational. This may not be too much of an issue for most but it may tire out some hands when combined with actually supporting the weight of the unit around the home. So this is worth keeping in mind and if you have the option of a lighter cordless vacuum then it may be worth considering if you think this will be important to you.


Closely associated with the weight is the dimensions of the cordless vacuum. This may be particularly important if you are tight for space or unsure where it will be stored.

Quite helpfully in terms of length, some cordless vacuums can be disassembled quite easily and stored in this manner. So rather than having the power unit, hose and end attachment all kept together, you can detach them and store them more easily this way.

Another factor to potentially consider is the Shark cordless models that can be folded vertically for more compact storage.


An important consideration when looking for your cordless vacuum cleaner is the tools that it may come with. There are a number of tools and attachments that are designed to make various jobs easier. These commonly include the following found in some Dyson stick models:

  • Crevice Tool: Designed to help get into small spaces e.g. next to skirting board by the carpet; on the stairs. This can be useful when trying to get crumbs and dust out of tight/thin spaces.
  • Combination Tool: These are two tools in one – a brush and wide nozzle; these can be useful when tackling different types of tasks e.g. getting rid of crumbs in the car or sofa.

Tools For Pets

If you have a home with pets you may want to consider cordless vacuums supplied with special tools for dealing with animal hairs.

Some of the Dyson cordless vacuums for example are available with a mini motorised brush tool that makes it easier to pick up pet hair from around the home.

Conclusion: What Should I Look For When Buying A Cordless Vacuum Cleaner?

So, hopefully, the above has adequately helped to address the question – what should I look for when buying a cordless vacuum cleaner?. There are a number of factors highlighted above that you may wish to consider when buying your own cordless vacuum.

Depending on your budget you may not be able to hit everything but you can at least decide on what is most important to you and opt for a cordless vacuum that meets your minimum criteria.

Cordless Vacuums: Potential Options

Below is a brief rundown of some potential options when it comes to selecting a cordless vacuum cleaner.

Dyson V11 Animal

The Dyson V11 is one of the most – if not the most – highly rated cordless vacuums around. The Dyson V11 Animal comes with an impressive set of user reviews and is packed with features. If your budget strecthes this far then it’s definitely worth a look.

Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute

Another impressive option from Dyson, the V10 Cyclone is a well-received cordless vacuum that comes with a number of useful tools.

Shark IZ201UKT Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

If you’re after an alternative to the Dyson range then the Shark IZ201UKT Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner may offer an excellent option. From a brand with an increasing reputation for producing great vacuum cleaners, the Shark IZ201UKT is available with a 5 year guarantee and a removable battery.