The Best Cordless Stick Vacuum
Updated 26 February 2021
In our increasingly busy lives, convenience is key when it comes to household chores.
That’s where a good cordless stick vacuum comes in handy.
Lightweight, versatile and easy to pull out for a quick whip-round, they help to make short work of an arduous task.
We’ve taken a look at the most popular tools on the market and, based on exceptionally high ratings across the board, the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute claims the prize as the best cordless stick vacuum in our 2020 roundup.
As a leader in the world of household appliances, it’s probably no surprise that a Dyson model takes the number one spot in our best stick vacuum review.
The Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute isn’t the latest release from the vacuum giant (it has been around since 2018) but in terms of value for money, it ranks exceptionally well.
At £150 less than the more recent V11, the V10 Absolute gives an outstanding cleaning performance with several improvements on its predecessors.
To look at, it has the stylish, sleek design you’d expect from a Dyson.
This standard extends to the build quality, with a robust construction that feels anything but cheap.
Assembly is quick and easy with secure click mechanisms that hold each part firmly in place.
Of course, good design is of little use if the vacuum doesn’t do its job, but that’s certainly not a worry here.
The Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute has incredible suction. It performs brilliantly on hard surfaces, easily picking up crumbs from gaps between tiles and floorboards, and has the power to lift hair and embedded debris from carpets.
With a capacity of 0.76 ltr, its dust bin is larger than previous models, so you don’t need to empty it so often.
When you do, its ‘point and shoot’ release means there’s no pulling out clumps of dust by hand.
Along with powerful suction, it delivers on being lightweight and easy to manoeuvre.
There’s a good distribution of weight; when used as a handheld, it’s easy to lift to reach those ceiling cobwebs, even with the wand attached.
When using the vacuum with either of the two cleaning heads (one for each floor surface), a simple twist of the wrist is enough to change direction, and it doesn’t tire your arm, even after prolonged use.
There are a lot of positives with this model, including its improved battery life which gives a run time of one hour after a full three and a half-hour charge.
However, this is not as straightforward as it sounds:
The Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute has three power modes – low, medium and high.
The one hour run time only applies if the vacuum is used in low power mode and without a motorised head.
So, it’s only with one of the attachments, like the crevice tool, for example, that you’ll get the maximum battery life.
Using a motorised head and boosting the vacuum up to full power, you can expect around just eight minutes of run time.
This might seem insufficient, but when you consider the V10’s superior suction, even on a low setting, it’s likely more than enough to cater for most households.
The maximum setting only needs to be used on the odd occasion for those quick clean-ups.
There’s another aspect of the V10 that some may find an annoyance; you have to continuously hold down the trigger when in use.
This is a power-saving feature, helping you to get the most from a relatively short battery life, but if you have problems with your hands, this can cause major discomfort.
Despite these drawbacks, the V10 Absolute remains an excellent buy. It does come at a significant cost, but you’re paying for both quality and high-powered performance.
In addition to the two cleaning heads, you also get four attachments for a range of cleaning needs, including vacuum-assisted dusting, and a wall-mountable docking station so you can keep this incredibly versatile piece of kit neatly stored away when not in use.
If you’re not a fan of Dyson products and want a more affordable mid-range model that still gives a great performance, we recommend the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 as the best cordless stick vacuum in this price range.
For the latest release in its ONEPWR range, Vax has not only improved on battery life (which we’ll come back to later) but has also made major advancements in terms of build quality.
Compared to its predecessors, the Blade 4 has a far more premium feel and is much sturdier, though it’s still a long way off from the quality you’ll get from a Dyson.
It’s easy to set up, with four individual sections that click firmly into place.
When it comes to performance, the Blade 4’s suction power is not to be sniffed at.
It effectively picks up both smaller particles and large debris, as well as hair (which for many of us is an absolute must when choosing the best stick vacuum).
That said, you’ll only get this kind of performance when using medium or high power mode.
The low power mode is the major drawback of this vacuum.
The suction at this level is actually quite poor, and the cleaner head tends to move debris around instead of picking it up.
We don’t see this as a dealbreaker since stepping up to medium power, or boost mode as Vax calls it, gives you the incredible performance that exceeds expectation for a cordless vacuum.
It’s also in boost mode that you’ll get the new and improved 45-minute run time.
With that in mind, the Blade 4 should give you more than ample time and power to have a decent run-around that leaves your floors free from dust and dirt.
There’s also a third setting for deep cleans. In maximum power mode, you’ll get the same suction as in boost mode but with the added benefit of the motorised roller.
You’re compromising power for run time here, though, as the motorised head will only spin for around nine minutes before the vacuum reverts to boost mode.
Vax markets the product as having a ‘DustTracker’, which is far less impressive than it sounds.
Essentially, the ‘DustTracker’ is a set of LED lights on the cleaner head which help you see dirt.
It’s a nice feature, but we’re not sure it warrants such fancy terminology.
There are a couple of things that set the Blade 4 apart from the Dyson V10 Absolute, other than its price tag.
First is its removable battery.
This means you can purchase an additional battery that you can have charged and ready to go, essentially doubling your run time.
The battery takes just three hours for a full charge, comparable to the Dyson but much quicker than other vacuums on the market.
Next is the power button.
Conveniently located on top of the handle, this is a push-button, meaning you don’t have to hold it down as you do with Dyson’s trigger switch.
It’s a little heavier, not quite so easy to move, and only comes with two additional attachments, but for the price, combined with its excellent suction power in medium mode, the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 is a great alternative to higher-end stick vacuum cleaners.
Miele has been making high-quality vacuum cleaners for decades, but the Triflex HX1 is its first cordless stick vacuum, and it certainly lives up to the brand's top-class standards.
It has suction power comparable to the Dyson V10 Absolute, cleaning exceptionally well on both hard floors and carpets.
It has the edge on the Dyson in that it uses innovative sensor technology in its cleaning head. This detects the type of surface you’re on and adjusts the power accordingly.
So, when you move from hard floor to carpet, the brush head will automatically spin faster for a deeper clean.
Dyson’s latest model, the V11 Absolute, uses similar technology, but at £599, it’s over £100 more than the Triflex HX1.
When it comes to battery life, Miele is on par with the leading high-end brands.
At four hours, it’s a little longer on charge time, but you’ll get a maximum battery life of one hour on the lowest power setting without a motorised tool attached.
In maximum power mode, and with the motorised cleaning head in full swing, you can expect around 15 minutes of run time, almost double that of our best stick vacuum top pick.
The thing we most rate about the Triflex HX1, though, is its three in one design.
As with all the other models we’ve reviewed, it’s easy to use as either a stick vacuum or a handheld, but it has an additional configuration that Miele refers to as comfort mode.
Basically, in comfort mode, the power pack and dustbin sit at the base of the vacuum, just above the cleaning head.
This makes it look and feel very much like an upright vacuum cleaner and does indeed make it very comfortable to use.
As the weight is centred at the base, there’s virtually no strain on your wrist, great for those who find the weight balance of stick vacuums difficult to manage.
It also means that the Triflex HX1 can stand up on its own. This is a major bonus since you have to lay most stick vacuums down or balance them against the wall if you stop using them for a moment.
There are a couple of minor downsides to this vacuum.
Its dustbin is slightly smaller than those of competing brands and, at 3.42 kg, it’s a little on the heavy side.
That said, if you’re using it in comfort mode, this isn’t an issue.
The accessories you get are also a little basic and don’t quite match the innovative design of the vacuum itself.
However, Miele has clearly thought hard about usability with its first stick vacuum and, whilst there’s room for some small improvements, it’s still an excellent product with great cleaning power, and a stylish, sturdy finish.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Cordless Stick Vacuums?
Stick vacuums have a good few benefits over corded cleaners, but they’re not without their drawbacks.
Let's take a look at the pros and cons:
- They’re convenient – The major benefit of cordless stick vacuums is the freedom they bring. Corded appliances not only tie you to a plug point, making an already taxing job more of a hassle, but they’re also an effort to drag out in the first place. By contrast, cordless stick vacuums can be used anywhere, and are easily pulled out for a quick spring clean, or to clear up the odd bit of dirt as and when you need to.
- They’re versatile – Cordless stick vacuums easily convert from an upright style machine to a handheld device, making them ideal for cleaning around tight spots, on shelving and reaching up to the ceiling, as well as easily cleaning stairs, upholstery and even your car. The best cordless stick vacuums also come with a range of attachments specifically designed for such tasks. Whilst corded models also have attachments, their bulk and reliance on a power source make them far less versatile.
- They’re lightweight – Despite advancements in design, corded vacuums remain cumbersome and carry far more weight than their cordless counterparts. Vacuuming is a physical task, so the lightweight nature of stick vacuums is a welcome relief.
- They have less power – Stick vacuums work on lithium-ion batteries. These are far more powerful these days than they were several years ago but even the best cordless vacuum will struggle to match the suction power of a corded model. However, technological advancements around airflow, particularly from industry giant Dyson, mean that many stick vacuums now perform exceptionally well.
- They’re pricey – You’ll pay more for a cordless vacuum than a cylinder or upright corded model. We’ve tried to include a range of price points in our review to cater for every budget, but the cheaper you go, the more you’re likely to compromise on cleaning performance.
- They have short battery lives – The longest battery life we found in our best cordless vacuum review is one hour. If you have a large house, you’re not going to get very far on that. However, they’re not meant as a replacement for your corded vacuum. They’re designed for the convenience clean, and most batteries give enough run time to tackle a room or two sufficiently.
What to Look for in a Cordless Stick Vacuum
Every brand uses different terminology to describe the power, performance and design of their stick vacuums. This can make your purchase decision a tricky one.
However, a few simple considerations can help narrow down your choices:
There’s no point splashing the cash on a cordless stick vacuum if it doesn’t pick up dirt.
On paper, it can be hard to tell which models perform the best.
Instead of getting bogged down by outputs and airflows, put your trust in other consumers and read product reviews.
Most households have a combination of carpet and hard floors, so make sure it performs well on both.
Different cleaning heads are suited to different surfaces – soft rollers for hard floors and bristle brushes for carpets.
Some models, like the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute, come with two cleaning heads, others have both rollers in a single unit.
You won’t get hours of continuous use from a cordless vacuum. Even Dyson hasn’t developed its technology that far yet.
However, you should at least expect a run time that allows you to do more than the bare minimum.
It’s important to look into the exact specifics of the stated battery life, as it’s highly unlikely that it will refer to the highest power setting of the vacuum.
It’s important to weigh battery life against the performance of the machine itself. A long battery life is worthless if the vacuum doesn’t do its job. A powerful cleaner with a shorter run time is of far more use.
You may also want to consider if the battery is fixed or removable.
If the latter, you can purchase additional batteries and keep a spare charged to double your cleaning time.
Some models come with more than one battery as standard.
Weight and Manoeuvrability
Unless you’re using household chores as a substitute for a gym membership, you’ll want a vacuum that’s lightweight and easy to use.
Under 3 kg is typically considered lightweight enough for most, but we all have our levels of comfort, so keep this in mind.
You also want a vacuum that has good weight distribution.
Some are exceptionally top-heavy, which can easily tire the arms. It also makes it harder to reach high places.
Keep in mind that the more powerful the battery, the more weight it’s likely to add.
It’s a question of where your preference lies.
Dustbin Capacity and Release
The smaller the dustbin, the more often you’ll have to empty it; which isn’t necessarily a flaw since most are easy to empty, but it’s still worth checking your chosen model's capacity.
It’s also handy to have a quick-release system that makes the emptying process clean and efficient.
Bear in mind, though, that since all stick vacuums are bagless, you will inevitably get some dust in the air when you empty the bin, no matter how well designed it is.
The best stick vacuum cleaner in our review, the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute, comes with two cleaning heads and four additional tools. This makes it an incredibly versatile machine, ideal for several tasks.
Check what tools come with your chosen model to ensure you’re getting a good all-rounder.
At the very least, you’ll want a crevice tool to get into those tight nooks and crannies and, ideally, a soft bristle attachment for power-assisted dusting.
If you have pets, look for a model that includes a mini motorised head; these are great for picking up hair from upholstery.
Of course, you can usually buy add-ons, including universal attachments which fit many popular models and are much cheaper, but if you’re paying a lot for your vacuum, you should expect these to be included.
All vacuums use air suction to pick up dirt and dust and then expel the air back into the room. It’s the filter that stops the dust particles being expelled along with it.
When it comes to filtration, HEPA filters are the gold standard.
To use the term HEPA, the filter must be able to capture 99.97% of particles.
You can also get HEPA-type filters, which still perform exceptionally well, but not quite to the true HEPA requirements.
For most households, HEPA-type filters will be more than sufficient for decent air quality, but if you suffer from allergies, asthma or any other related health issue, you’ll want a filter that can claim true HEPA status.
If you’re a household with pets, you’ll also want to make sure your chosen cordless vacuum effectively picks up pet hair.
The majority of the models we’ve reviewed perform well in this area, and some can be purchased as a pet-specific version should you require it.
Other Cordless Vacuums We Reviewed
Whilst Dyson has a stronghold on the market, there are plenty of other brands to consider when choosing the best cordless stick vacuum for you.
Here are a few more that ranked highly:
Shark has made a name for itself in the world of stick vacuums thanks to its DuoClean technology.
This essentially means that the cleaning heads include both a soft roller and a rotating bristle brush. Perfect for both hard and soft flooring.
The bristle brush also has anti-hair-wrap properties that stops hair from twisting around and jamming the roller.
It doesn’t work flawlessly but it certainly helps alleviate one of the major frustrations of a stick vacuum.
The thing we love about the Shark DuoClean, and why it rates well in our best cordless vacuum review, is that it’s a twin battery model, meaning you get up to 80 minutes of run time.
The trade-off here is weight. At 4.1 kg, it’s the heaviest model on our list.
For those that want a cheap stick vacuum to complement their corded cleaners, the Tower F1 Pro is a very affordable option.
It’s an incredibly lightweight vacuum with a handy flexible pole for reaching under beds and sofas with ease, and comes with two accessories for added versatility.
It works well on hard floors, though its performance on carpet is not comparable to the leading brands.
This is really a model for those quick pickups, as opposed to something you’d use to actually clean your home from top to bottom.
It’s a basic stick vacuum with an entry-level price to match.
If you’re looking for a low-cost model to pull out for a quick pick up now and again, you might want to consider the Gtech AirRam MK2.
This latest version of the Gtech AirRam performs well on both hard floors and carpet, without the need to change the cleaner head.
You’ll get around 40 minutes of battery life. Taking into account its quality performance, this should be more than enough for most households.
However, the Gtech AirRam MK2 is a floor cleaner only, unlike the other stick vacuums reviewed here which easily transform into handheld cleaners.
If you want this type of versatility, this isn’t the model for you, although you can buy the AirRam in a package with the Gtech handheld vacuum if you wish.
Samsung is certainly making its mark with its high-end stick vacuum, the Jet 90 Pro.
It has a comparable spec to the more recent Dyson models, with up to one hours run time on a three and a half hour battery charge, as well as a design optimised for airflow, making it a powerful, effective cleaner.
Samsung has also made a unique innovation with its ‘Spinning Sweeper’.
This attachment can be used dry to buff hard floors and in wet mode for cleaning up the odd spillage.
Working as both a vacuum and battery-powered mop, the Samsung Jet 90 Pro is perhaps the best stick vacuum we’ve looked at in terms of versatility.
With a good all-round cleaning performance that’s comparable to many of the Dyson alternatives, the Bosch Unlimited Pro is a decent stick vacuum with a lightweight, sleek and attractive design.
With little to differentiate itself in terms of performance, this model sells itself with its super-quick-charge capabilities.
It comes with two removable batteries that give a maximum 60 minute run time, but they only require a one hour charge, the fastest charging time of all the stick vacuums we’ve reviewed.
Bosch has also been clever enough to make the batteries interchangeable with all its other 18V cordless home and garden tools.
It could be seen as a marketing gimmick, but if you have a range of Bosch equipment, it could very well come in handy.
The V11 Absolute is the most recent Dyson stick vacuum and, as you’d expect, it’s certainly the best when it comes to performance.
Improvements on the V10 include more battery power and increased airflow.
These give the V11 fantastic suction that cleans deeply, even on thick carpet.
It also makes use of sensor technology.
The cleaner head automatically detects the type of floor you're vacuuming and adjusts its power accordingly.
This is a really useful feature if you have a combination of hard floors, rugs and carpet.
There’s also a handy LCD display which shows your remaining battery time.
It’s a simple addition, but it’s a feature we love since there’s nothing worse than unexpectedly running out of power mid clean.
There are some downsides.
Increased battery power means extra weight and, of course, there’s the price.
However, the V11 Absolute is the closest you’ll get to a corded vacuum when it comes to performance.
At a Glance Comparison
|Model||Price||Weight||Max Battery Life||Charge Time||Dustbin Capacity||Accessories||HEPA Filter|
|Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute||£449||2.68 kg||60 mins||3.5 hours||0.76 ltr||Combination tool, crevice tool, mini motorised tool, dusting brush||Yes|
|Vax ONEPWR Blade 4||£219||3.1 kg||45 mins||3 hours||0.6 ltr||Crevice tool, dusting brush||No|
|Miele Triflex HX1||£479||3.42 kg||60 mins||4 hours||0.5 ltr||Crevice tool, upholstery tool, dusting brush||Yes|
|Shark DuoClean IZ251||£346||4.1 kg||80 mins (twin battery)||3.5 hours||0.7 ltr||Crevice tool, upholstery brush, dusting brush||Yes|
|Tower F1 Pro||£91.99||2.48 kg||55 mins||5 hours||0.8 ltr||Crevice tool, dusting brush||No|
|Gtech AirRam MK2||£183.95||3.2 kg||40 mins||4 hours||0.8 ltr||None||No|
|Samsung Jet 90 Pro||£549||2.8 kg||60 mins||3.5 hours||0.5 ltr||Combination tool, flexible tool, crevice tool, mini motorized tool, Spinning Sweeper||Yes|
|Bosch Unlimited Pro||£499||2.9 kg||60 mins||1 hour||0.4 ltr||Crevice tool, upholstery tool, hose||No|
|Dyson V11 Absolute||£599||3.01 kg||60 mins||4.5 hours||0.76 ltr||Combination tool, crevice tool, mini motorised tool, dusting brush||Yes|
Although stick vacuums aren’t designed to replace your corded vacuum cleaner, for many us, they have done just that.
The fact that they’re so convenient means a full morning clean is a thing of the past, and we’re now able to simply spruce up our homes as and when we need to.
Though Dyson is undoubtedly leading the way in terms of stick vacuum performance, many other brands are upping their game and the market has become quite competitive.
This means continued innovation and a wider range of models to suit all types of households and all types of budget.