Best cordless vacuum for 2021: Today’s vacuum cleaners are not the heavy, large-scale appliances they once were. Modern machines are powered by lightweight, cordless and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Can handle many different types of flooring, from hardwoods to rough carpets. And they often come with useful attachments to help with more work around the house.
One company, in particular, saw this trend coming. Dyson was a pioneer in the field for the first time with a capable – and valuable – Cyclone V series stick. Other companies have since followed suit and now sell their own cordless vacuums. Some have shamelessly cloned Dyson products as well. There are distinctive new cracks on the other cordless vacuum, all with their own innovative features.
Then we put them all on hard floors, carpets and other surfaces through a rigorous battery of floor-care tests. The process took more than 150 hours to complete. It consumes several pounds of sand and rice, along with hundreds of handfuls of pet hair. After that, we have determined that these products are our choice for the best cordless vacuum for 2021. We update this list periodically.
The V11 is Dyson’s latest and greatest stick. It is also the most expensive machine in our test group. That said, this flagship model gave the best-in-class performance to match its steep price. On hardwood floors, this Dyson vacuum literally cleaned bare floors from dust and dirt. The vacuum, consisting of a lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack, demonstrated an almost flawless pickup of the sand and black rice test samples (99.6% and 100%, respectively).
Pet owners will also appreciate the V11 on eliminating pet hair. During anecdotal tests, the vacuum completely removed hair fibres and dust from the mid-pile and low-pile carpet. Pet hair pickup in the hardwood floor almost went along. The only blocker was a stray from the vacuum left behind at the top of our test area and some strands wrapped around the V11’s brush roll.
I definitely like how easy it is to empty the V11’s dust bin. Just aim for the vacuum in the trash, and push a release tab to open the lid of the dust bin. To turn it off, drag the tab in the opposite direction. The other models we tested were a nightmare in this regard. Hoover Bledmax gave us the most trouble. Hair and dust usually stuck deep inside her dirt cup. I opened it without difficulty. Worse, it is not always clear that the dirt bin is securely attached.
Dyson also binds several attachments to the box. Among them is a crack tool for cleaning tight spots, a motorized tool for upholstery, a soft dust brush and a stubborn dirt brush head to pull dirt into the ground from a carpet with strong suction. All this can buy the Dyson V11, the obvious choice for the best cordless vacuum money. Read more about the Dyson V11.
The second-best performance in our group of cordless spaces was the Shark Rocket Belly Pro Cordless. It came very close to cleaning the floor and the Dyson V11, but the cost is hundreds less. Rocket cordless and bagless vacuums received just as much sand from both the midpile carpet and hardwood floors. In fact, the only area where the Sharks overtook the V11 as the best cordless vacuum was on the low-pile carpet. There, cordless cleaners pulled more than 67.6% of our test sand. In contrast, the Dyson V11 removed a significant amount of sand from our low-pile carpet (78.4% on average).
Rocket did not have trouble handling pet hair. On both low-pile carpets and hardwoods, this handheld cordless vacuum erased all traces of animal drains. The results were also favourable for the middle carpet. Only a small tuft of hair remains after the vacuum passes over the dense, more challenging surface.
The design is one of the features of Rocket Pet Pro. Its dust cup is almost empty like the Dyson V11. The dust cup is usually clean and dirt and debris, not stuck inside even after emptying. I also appreciate how Rocket Pet Pro’s wand and upholstery tools can stand upright on their own (disconnected from the main vacuum unit). LED lights on the nozzle help you see dirt and debris around your home, and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery makes for easy charging. So, if you want a solid midrange cordless upright stick blank, Shark’s Rocket Pro is an excellent choice. Read more.
Musu is not a household name at all. Nevertheless, the Moosu M X6 Cordless Vacuum packs a respectable punch given its low price. The M X6 was the fourth-best performer in our test group of eight models, despite costing much less than competing vacant spots.
99% of our test sand was picked up (on average) from hardwood. On low-pile carpets, the figure sank by 41.3%. However, the M X6 outperforms the coarse Xpile carpet, earning a high sand pickup average of 52.2%.
Black rice, our large particle testing soil, was a breeze for the Musu vacuum. It manages pickup averages above 90% on hardwood, low-pile and midpile carpets (95.4, 96.8 and 94%, respectively).
Do not buy Moosoo M X6 if you own a pet. The cons are that at least some visible scramble remained after vacuuming, no matter the test surface. A roll of brush wraps strands of hair around.
If you want cordless vacuuming on a tight budget, consider the Moosu M X6. It can just fit the bill and for very little cash. Read more.
If you own a Dyson, but won’t spend top dollar, consider the Dyson V8 Absolute Hand Blank. This step-down cordless model is a few years old yet has powerful suction and is a winner. On our floor-cleaning tests, the V8 came in a respectable third. Only the Dyson V11 and Shark Rocket Pet Pro V8 bridged the floors better in our test group.
On a hard floor, the vacuum succeeded in taking an average of 98% of the sand we dropped. For low-pile carpets, this average dropped to 68.3%. On average, the midpile slipped further on the carpet, though at a respectable 52%.
The pet hair V8 hand vacuum wasn’t too much either. This completely removed the hair from the midpile and low-pile carpets. It failed to remove even a small amount of hardwood. Additionally, some fibres were wrapped around vacuum brush rolls. But there was a washable filter.
And similar to the V11 torque drive, the V8 comes with a generous assortment of absolute upright vacuum add-ons. It includes gadgets for dusting, a crevice tool for accessing a tight crevice, a soft cleaning head for bare floors, a motorized brush roll for grabbing ground-in dirt and debris, and docking stations for charging batteries. So for those who want to give a little less cash to a Dyson brand stick, the V8 Absolute is worth a look. Read our Dyson V8 first hand.
How do we test cordless vacuums?
Inserting cordless vacuoles through your paces is not that complicated.
Our custom-made tools allow us to match the soil area to the nozzle width of each vacuum. The amount of soil used for each test also depends on the type of floor.
The width of the testbed is proportional to the nozzle width of the vacuum. We measure this width ourselves. We also use the width of the nozzle, and the type of floor, to calculate the soil density for each test, according to the guidelines of the International Electrotechnical Commission. The IEC is an international standards body responsible for, among other things, the management of vacuum testing processes for vacuum manufacturers.
We test vacuoles on three types of floor surfaces.
We use three types of soil. To simulate small particle sizes, we play a mixture of sand and landscaping sand. To simulate large dirt particles, we use unripe black rice. To see how vacuums deal with pets, we use a mixture of sour clipping for us through our local pets.
We do three runs (at a minimum) on each floor type. We also test separately with sand and rice. It comes to perform at least 18 tests per vacuum. We weigh the vacuum’s dust bin before and after each run.
From there, we can calculate the percentage of dirt and debris pickup for every run, and the average amount of soil vacuum manure can extract. Additionally, we run anecdotal (visual) pet hair tests on all three-floor types for each vacuum, enabling us to select the best cordless vacuum.
Want more cordless vacuum options? In addition to the models listed above, here is a list of other stick vacancies we tested: