A new vacuum might not be the most glamorous product to shop for, but a great one can seriously improve your cleaning routine from the moment you unbox it. Whether you’re looking for something to handle daily cleaning in the kitchen or tackle constant crumbs in the car, a quality cordless vacuum cleaner should make your life both cleaner and easier.
We spoke with both cleaning and electronics experts to get their recommendations for top-quality cordless vacuums. Many of their top picks also double as portable handheld vacuums.
Our top picks
- Best basic: Shark Navigator Freestyle
- Best wet and dry: Bissell CrossWave X7
- Best handheld: Black+Decker Handheld Vacuum CHV1410L
How we picked the best cordless vacuums
We spoke to cleaning and electronics experts about what to look for in a cordless vacuum, and got their recommendations. Our experts shared the following tips.
Battery life: Kadi Dulude, owner of Wizard of Homes in New York City, says battery is the most important aspect of any cordless vacuum. She recommends cordless vacuums that come with a backup rechargeable battery, “so that you can keep working while the other battery is charging.”
Size and weight: “You want it to be as light and small as possible without giving up the functionality of the vacuum,” Dulude says. This is especially true if you are cleaning a large, multi-story space.
Dustbin: The size of the dustbin will impact how often you need to stop and empty it. Dulude also emphasized to check if the dustbin is easy to empty into the garbage when it’s full.
Vacuum type: We included a wide variety of upright, handheld and stick cordless vacuums, as different styles work best for different types of spaces.
Expert-recommended cordless vacuums in 2023
All of our top picks are direct recommendations from our experts, including brands like Dyson, Shark and Black+Decker.
Best basic upright cordless vacuum: Shark
Kathy Turley, director of marketing at Home Clean Heroes, says this upright cordless vacuum is very versatile. “It provides a quick clean for all surfaces, with strong suction power and a good runtime,” she says. “The extra-large dust bin has a top and bottom emptying design so you don't have to come in contact with the dirt.” It is also one of the more affordable vacuums on our list, priced under $200.
Type: Upright cordless |Bagless: Yes | Weight: 7.5 lbs | Battery life: Up to 15 minutes | Bin capacity: 0.6 liters
Best mid-range cordless vacuum: Shark
Turley recommends this mid-range option from Shark for flexible, everyday cleaning. “It allows you to bend the wand to make vacuuming under furniture and in corners a breeze,” Turley says.
It has a battery life of 40 minutes, and can be converted into a smaller hand vacuum for more portability. Turley says that it is great at cleaning hair, both from pets and people.
Type: Multi | Bagless: Yes | Weight: 7.2 lbs | Battery life: Up to 40 minutes | Bin capacity: 0.32 liters
Best handheld cordless vacuum: Black+Decker
Turley describes this vacuum as “the little engine that could” — it’s the smallest and most portable vacuum on our list. It comes with a crevice tool and a slim nozzle that can rotate 180 degrees. Both attachments are “great for cleaning behind appliances or under places,” she says. Its portability also makes it good for cleaning places outside the home, like a car or shed.
Type: Handheld | Bagless: Yes | Weight: 2.6 lbs | Battery life: Up to 10 minutes | Bin capacity: 0.6 liters
Best affordable cordless vacuum for pets: Black + Decker
This handheld cordless vacuum has anti-tangle rubber bristles that easily pick up pet hairs, says Turley, who owns two dogs. It has two speeds plus a boost button that increases suction for tough messes. “Its extra-long crevice tool attachment comes in handy for nabbing hair under the sofa or in crevices in your car,” says Turley.
Type: Handheld | Bagless: Yes | Weight: 4.2 lbs | Battery life: Up to 25 minutes | Bin capacity: 0.75 liters
Best cordless vacuum under $100: Dirt Devil
“This option is affordable, lightweight, powerful — and extremely versatile,” says Turley. Part of that versatility stems from the design: it can be adjusted between an upright, handheld and stick setup. At under $100, it is one of the lowest priced recommendations from our experts. Turley says the handheld vacuum is useful for cleaning small spaces.
Type: Multi | Bagless: Yes | Weight: 5 lbs | Battery life: Up to 12 minutes | Bin capacity: 0.4 liters
Best wet and dry cordless vacuum: Bissell
Our experts recommend this upright model because it can mop and vacuum at the same time. It has two water tanks, one for fresh water with a cleaning solution and one for dirty water and debris. This adds to its weight though, making it heavy at 10 pounds. The main roller has LED lights on the front to better illuminate your path as you clean. It has a decent run time of around 30 minutes.
When you are finished cleaning, it automatically self-cleans the brush roll and the inside of the canister so it’s fresh for the next use, according to the brand.
Type: Stick, mop & vacuum | Bagless: Yes | Weight: 10.6 lbs | Battery life: Up to 30 minutes | Bin capacity: 0.44 liters
Best powerful cordless vacuum: Miele
Turley recommends this option from Miele because of its longer battery life and powerful suction. She says it cleans heavy carpets with ease, and its 60-minute battery life is enough to clean apartments of varying sizes. Like many of our recommendations, it can be converted into a smaller handheld vacuum and comes with attachments.
Type: Multi | Bagless: Yes | Weight: 8.2 lbs | Battery life: Up to 60 minutes | Bin capacity: 0.5 liters
Is a cordless vacuum worth it?
Cordless vacuums work well for small spaces or when you need something portable. Other pros our experts mention include:
- Convenience: Cordless vacuums don’t need to be plugged in while you clean.
- Weight: Without a long cord weighing them down, cordless vacuums tend to weigh less and require less storage space. “This also makes most of them a good choice for quick, daily maintenance,” says Dulude. The lightweight design also makes them easy to transport.
- Noise level: Many cordless vacuums are quieter than their corded counterparts, says Turley. If noise levels are important to you, she recommends checking reviews and manufacturer details.
Dulude says there are some downsides to cordless vacuums shoppers should be aware of too, including:
- Not ideal for heavy-duty cleaning: Battery-operated vacuums tend to be less powerful than corded vacuums. “Cordless vacuums need battery power to function and once the battery starts dying, the suction also goes down,” says Dulude. “If you want to do a great job at vacuuming then you need a great suction power from beginning to end.”
- Low suction power: Turley says that the intensity of the suction you need depends on the type of floors you have. “If it's on hardwoods, you likely won't need something as powerful as what is needed on your carpets,” she says.
- Must be recharged often: Most of our recommended cordless vacuums have a battery life between 15 and 60 minutes
Meet our experts
At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
- Kadi Dulude is owner of the cleaning service Wizard of Homes in New York City.
- Kathy Turley is the director of marketing at Home Clean Heroes, a customizable home cleaning service company with locations in six states.
- Carl Prouty is a product specialist at Abt Electronics, a US electronics, appliance and furniture retailer.
Why trust Select?
Lauren Levy is a former contributor to Select.
Harry Rabinowitz is a reporter at Select who has covered consumer tech for over three years. For this piece, he spoke with experts in both the cleaning and electronics industry to better understand cordless vacuums and get their product recommendations.