best in class

The 8 Very Best Cordless Vacuums

“A cord while cleaning is a nightmare.”

Photo: Marcus McDonald
Photo: Marcus McDonald

In this article

Even in the smallest homes, a vacuum cord is limiting (and untangling it is a chore in itself). As Lori Williamson, creator of Now It’s Clean, puts it: “A cord while cleaning is a nightmare.” Luckily, cordless vacuums can liberate you from the outlet and take you to new heights in cleaning. Cordless models also boast a variety of attachments, increased suction power, and laser dust detection, all of which will help you reach your home’s nooks and crannies and eradicate more dust, hair, and debris than ever before. To choose the very best, I asked professional organizers, cleaning experts, and consultants what they use at home and at work — and, along with Strategist contributors, tested a few picks myself.

What we’re looking for

Suction power

Air watts (AW) indicate how much suction you can expect to get out of your vacuum. Jon Gibbons, a writer and consultant for the U.K. review site Smart Vacuums, recommends sticking to models with a minimum of 100AW, a standard all our recommendations meet (providing the information is listed).

Run time

Air watts (AW) indicate how much suction you can expect to get out of your vacuum. Jon Gibbons, a writer and consultant for the U.K. review site Smart Vacuums, recommends sticking to models with a minimum of 100AW, a standard all our recommendations meet (providing the information is listed).


Lighter is better when it comes to cleaning equipment, and cordless vacuums tend to weigh less than their corded ancestors. I’ve indicated the heft of each pick below.


Cordless vacuums come with an assortment of attachments, dust detection lights, HEPA filters, and extra batteries. I’ve included the bells and whistles for each model.

Best overall


Suction power: 240 AW | Run time: 60 min | Weight: 6.83 lbs. | Extras: LCD data display, hair screw tool, crevice tool, dust detection light

From vets to vacuum pros, our experts couldn’t say enough good things about the Dyson V15 Detect. Already a favorite of Strategist editors, the V15 comes with three cleaning modes (Eco, Auto, and Boost) and an assortment of attachments. Dr. Zay Satchu, co-founder and Chief Veterinary Officer at New York’s Bond Vet, says the Dyson V15 “handles like a champ” in her “never-ending battle against pet hair, dust, and all sorts of debris.” It’s also a go-to for Smart Vacuums’s  Jon Gibbons. He has been using the V15 for about 18 months and loves the advanced brush design and powerful suction the vacuum offers in Boost mode, calling it “the highest of any cordless vacuum on the market.” His favorite extra feature is the hair screw — living in a home with several women with long hair, it gets constant use. “It twists as it cleans, making it incredibly effective,” he says. Reka Viktoria Repka, professional cleaner at Wizard of Homes, and Azure MacCannell, founder of the home organizing company Live Composed, also swear by this vacuum. For MacCannell, the V15 was a birthday present from her husband last year. With four kids and a golden retriever named Harry who loves to shed and explore the nearby swamp, MacCannell uses her V15 everywhere in her home, including “under my dining room table after the kids eat, where it will suck up leftover mac and cheese,” she says. “It just sucks up everything.”

Best less expensive

Suction power: Not listed | Run time: 12 minutes on carpet, 17 minutes on bare floor | Weight: 7.5 lbs. | Extras: large dust cup

Professional organizer Katrina Green, who specializes in systems for neurodivergent people, opted for the compact Shark Navigator Freestyle as her affordable go-to cordless stick vacuum cleaner. With its shorter run time, Green, who owns Badass Homelife, recommends it for use in smaller houses and apartments, where it can be most effective. “I love how you can really see how much it takes away from carpets and rugs,” she says, adding that within minutes the Shark cleaned up an entire bag of oatmeal she had dropped on the floor. Strategist contributor Hannah Selinger is also a fan, calling the Shark Navigator a true bargain for your buck. Selinger writes that it “picks up crackers, pet hair, and whatever other detritus happens to be lying around my kitchen and living room.”

Best run time

Suction power: Not listed | Run time: up to 80 minutes (with both batteries) | Weight: 8.51 lbs. | Extras: Two removable, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries

The one hard truth about cordless vacuums, according to Melissa Homer, professional cleaning expert and chief cleaning officer of Microfiber Wholesale, is that the batteries will eventually lose their ability to hold a charge. “It’s just the nature of lithium, so you can’t hold that against any specific product,” she says. Still, some vacuums hold charges better than others, says Anna Harasim, founder of Anna’s Cleaning Service. The one she’s found with the longest battery life is the Shark ION F80 Lightweight cordless stick vacuum. Harasim, who has used this model for the past two years, loves the extended run time: “One battery is on the vacuum cleaner and one is on the charger, so when one dies, you don’t have to wait to charge the battery.” Harasim recommends the vacuum to her family and clients alike because long battery life is ideal for professional cleaning services. “When my cleaners go to clean the houses, a lot of people forget to put the vacuum cleaner on the charger and then they can’t clean. With the Shark, you always have one battery on the charger.” She says each battery lasts for about 40 minutes. Note: The Shark ION F80 is currently out of stock, but as an alternative, Harasim recommends the similar Shark IZ682H Vertex Pro Cordless Stick Vacuum, which also comes with an extra battery.

Best handheld

Suction power: Not listed | Run time: 15 minutes | Weight: 2.3 lbs. | Extras: mountable wall charger, lightweight, washable dirt bowl

If you’re in the market for a small cordless vacuum, Badass Homelife’s Katrina Green loves the Beyond by Black and Decker Dustbuster handheld vacuum. “I use it for work when I have to vacuum the inside of cabinets or small spaces, and I highly recommend using it for your car as well,” she says. “I rely on it a lot.” Green has owned hers for about a year and recently used it to clean out a “very dirty junk drawer” with ease. Donna Dougherty, CEO of Go Green Cleaning Experts, also prefers Black and Decker, opting for the QuickClean Dustbuster cordless model that costs $25 on Amazon. The QuickClean has a built-in crevice tool and includes a charger wall mount. “It has great battery life” for a small vacuum, explains Dougherty. “It is very simple and easy to use for my steps and couch.”

Best filtration

Suction power: 151 AW | Run time: 60 minutes | Weight: 5.9 lbs. | Extras: whole machine filtration

Trusting your vacuum’s filtration system is a must for those with allergies and asthma. As Melanie Carver, chief mission officer for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, explains, some vacuums release dust particles back into the air, “so you’ll want one with a system proven to trap and remove those particles.” The Dyson V10 Animal does just that, according to Microfiber Wholesale’s Melissa Homer. Its filtration system offers “solid levels of suction,” includes a washable HEPA filter, and has versatile attachments that she says transforms the vacuum from broom to upright vacuum to dust buster and back. “I found its performance is really the closest you can get to a commercial grade vacuum for home use,” says Homer. It’s also a favorite of musician and self-professed cleaning queen Yuna Zarai, who told the Strategist it was the first thing she invested in when getting her own apartment. “This vacuum was life-changing for someone who lives with two cats and a husband. I use it every day.” For a further upgrade, Lori Williamson of Now It’s Clean recommends trying the Dyson Gen5, which combines advanced HEPA filtration — trapping 99.97 percent of microscopic particles as small as 0.1 microns — with laser dust detection. “I totally think something looks clean to the naked eye,” Williamson says. “But all of a sudden this green laser goes on and highlights all the dust particles. It’s really great.”

Best lightweight


Suction power: 115 AW (on Max mode) | Run time: 40 min | Weight: 5.64 lbs. | Extras: crevice tool, handheld convertible

Dyson’s V8 series makes frequent appearances on the Strategist’s Best in Class lists, and the V8 Origin is a favorite of Naeemah Ford Goldson, owner of Restore Order in Atlanta and founder of the National Association for Black Professional Organizers, for how light it is, weighing in at just 5.64 pounds. “Traditional vacuums are bulky and heavy, which always caused me to have back pain,” Ford Goldson explains, “so I wanted something that was easier to use.” The V8 Origin is still plenty powerful for Ford Goldson, who uses it all the time. “We have two kids and Twinkie, our cute golden mix, who sheds like crazy,” she says. One of her favorite features is how the V8 can convert into an even lighter handheld vacuum, which she uses to clean up messes in the car and between the sofa cushions. It does have trouble tackling her thick bath mat, but elsewhere, “it works wonders,” she says. Ashley La Fond, founder and CEO of Of Space + Mind, and Ann Lightfoot, co-founder of Done & Done Home, are also enthusiasts of the V8. As a professional organizer, La Fond says the lack of cords and light weight make cleaning much more efficient and feel less like a chore. Lightfoot got hers seven years ago as a Christmas gift from her children. She uses hers every few days, including after her grandson dumped an entire bottle of baby powder all over her kitchen floor. “I tell people I love my vacuum almost as much as the kids who gave it to me!” she says.

Strategist writer Ambar Pardilla traded in her taped-up Dirt Devil for the V8 Animal model. The V8 Animal, which topped our previous best-of list, has comparable weight and runtime to the Origin. After watching her new vacuum guzzle up everything from fallen planter soil to hair mounds, Pardilla was sold.

Best stand-alone charger

Suction power: 160 AW | Run time: up to 50 minutes | Weight: 5.7 lbs. | Extras: portable stand-alone charging stand, handheld convertible, telescope wand

Content creator Alexandra Beuter recommends the LG CordZero A9 for those looking for a portable charging stand, saving you the hassle of drilling holes into your wall for a charging mount. “I’ve tested a crazy amount of vacuums,” says Beuter, “and I have yet to find a comparable product at this price range, especially one that comes with a stand-alone charging base.” Beuter also likes the simplicity of the LG CordZero, which she’s had for two years and is still going strong battery-wise. “I find cordless vacuums that come with many attachments end up only taking up space or are easily lost. You’re essentially paying for items you’ll rarely use.” With its convertible handheld, five-step filtration system, and powerful suction, Beuter says the CordZero has enough power and battery to clean her entire two-story home; it’s especially good at getting into the corners of stairs and cleaning up her car. “It’s a real game-changer,” she says.

Best for pet hair

Suction power: 185 AW | Run time: 60 minutes | Weight: 6.61 lbs. | Extras: crevice tool, anti-tangle tool, LCD screen

Pet-cafe owners, pet owners, and vets who spoke to the Strategist recommended the Dyson V11 as the optimal tool for cleaning up after pets. Rita Li, founder of the pet-accessories brand Roririri, told us that she uses her V11 at her retail shop, where the daily progression of fur means the store needs constant cleaning. The V11, she said, is efficient and lightweight, making it easy to vacuum around displays and underneath furniture. Similarly, Rebecca Fadden, founder of Finn + Me, a dog-accessories brand, uses the V11 to suck up the mounds of hair her hypoallergenic goldendoodle sheds. Fadden finds that the V11 makes it easy to alternate between head attachments, so she can move seamlessly from her carpet to couches. Strategist contributor Margaret Rhodes tested out the V11 Torque, going so far as pouring an entire box of white sugar onto her hardwood kitchen floor. She found that the V11 got every grain, but it took about four swipes to do so. Caitlin Hanson, a general manager at Neko Cat Cafe, endorses an older Dyson model, the V7, to manage the excess fur of the 15 or so cats at the cafe’s Seattle location. During a recent heatwave, “It was almost like we had 15 new cats because of the amounts they were shedding; we thought it was going to be insurmountable in terms of the amount of fur,” says Hanson. “But the Dyson did a great job.”

Some more Strategist-approved vacuums

Our experts

• Dr. Zay Satchu, co-founder and chief veterinary officer at Bond Vet
• Azure MacCannell, founder of Live Composed
• Naeemah Ford Goldson, organizing and design expert, founder of Restore Order
• Anna Harasim, founder of Anna’s Cleaning Service
• Katrina Green, owner of Badass Homelife
• Jon Gibbons, consultant and writer at Smart Vacuums
• Becky Rapinchuk, founder of Clean Mamaz
• Donna Dougherty, CEO of Go Green Cleaning Experts
• Melissa Homer, chief cleaning officer at Microfiber Wholesale
• Ashley La Fond, founder and CEO of Of Space + Mind
Alexandra Beuter, content creator
• Lori Williamson, creator of Now It’s Clean
• Ann Lightfoot, co-founder of Done & Done Home
• Caitlin Hanson, general manager at Neko Cat Cafe
• Melanie Carver, chief mission officer, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
• Reka Viktoria Repka, professional cleaner at Wizard of Homes

Additional reporting by Ambar Pardilla and Liza Corsillo.

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The 8 Very Best Cordless Vacuums