Long-Lasting Batteries, Strong Suction, Not Ugly: Meet the Best Cordless Vacuums
Our favorites passed the test on hardwood, tile, and even high-pile rugs.
Published Mar 11, 2022 4:00 PM
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Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.” That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
For the Paris World Exhibition in 1900, French artists were asked to envision life in the 21st century. Predictions included everything from underwater croquet and a submarine-type bus powered by a whale to flying firefighters and extensive machine automation. Sadly, not all of these innovations have come to pass, but they got relatively close with an “electric scrubbing” machine. (At least way closer than the guy in the 1950s who predicted we’d be hosing down the interiors of our entirely waterproof homes by now.)
Robot vacs and cordless iterations—which keep getting better and better—have made home maintenance less difficult and, if not fun, then at least very satisfying. With stronger suction power, better performance, and longer battery life, today’s offerings way outperform those from even a few years ago. Our favorites include a luxe upgrade for high-usage households, a robot you’ll soon consider a cherished member of the family, and the perfect pick for pet owners and those with multiple types of flooring. Here are the best cordless vacuums on the market.
- Best overall: Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Vacuum
- Best for pets: Black + Decker Powerseries Extreme Cordless Stick Vacuum
- Best all-in-one system: LG CordZero All-in-One Auto Empty Cordless Stick Vacuum
- Best robot: Roborock S6 Pure Robot Vacuum and Mop
Best Overall: Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Vacuum
Battery life: Up to 40 minutes, depending on setting | Surfaces: All | Weight: 5.75 pounds | Bag vs. bagless: Bagless | Converts to handheld: Yes
What we like:
- Well-designed floor-heads for two primary floor types—soft and hard
- You can attach the plastic mount in a closet or pantry and, if you have an outlet there, run the charger up for easy charging
- Great filtration, airflow, and suction
- Must engage the trigger the whole time in use; no on/off button
- Battery isn’t removable; must recharge the whole vacuum
Why we chose it: This powerful model from an industry leader works on all sorts of surfaces.
For a while, stick vacuums were considered supplemental—lightweight and convenient but not able to handle a full home (and undermined by very limited battery life). They’ve come a long way over the past decade, and Dyson has been at the forefront of this shift. Owned by several Domino editors, the V8 Absolute is a versatile, well-designed stick vacuum with up to 40 minutes of charging time, powerful suction, and the ability to handle a variety of flooring types. At under 6 pounds, it’s very lightweight and easy to use, the kind of vacuum I would grab for a quick touch-up and happily turn to for a bigger clean.
If you’re an infrequent vacuum-er with a large home, the battery run time and inability to swap in a second battery may present an issue. But for more frequent use, the battery life (up to 40 minutes) is less of a pain point. This model comes with two vacuum heads—one for hard flooring, one for carpets and rugs—and it’s worth switching off, as they do make a difference. The hard flooring head has soft woven bristles to prevent scratching, and the other is designed to pull up dirt and dust that gets trapped in carpet fibers. The accessories aren’t an afterthought either; a brush for stubborn dirt and pet hair made my entryway mat look brand-new.
Best for Pets: Black + Decker Powerseries Extreme Cordless Stick Vacuum for Pets
Battery life: Up to 55 minutes, depending on setting | Surfaces: All | Weight: 10.58 pounds | Bag vs. bagless: Bagless | Converts to handheld: Yes
What we like:
- Great performance-to-price ratio
- Battery is removable, so you can buy a second one to have an extra charged battery on hand
- Unexpected but highly useful features like front-facing dustbin and lights, plus rubberized bristles for removing pet hair
- It’s a bit heavier than comparable stick models
- It takes 5.5 hours to fully charge
Why we chose it: Powerful suction and great features at a reasonable price make this an easy choice for pet owners.
This vac holds its own with rugs and carpeting, thanks to a setting for each (in addition to one for hard flooring). At first, I wondered why on earth I’d need LED lights on a vacuum. But when I turned on this model, the front-facing lights revealed small bits of dust and hair in a hallway I previously considered clean. When pet hair blends in or matches the wood tone, it’s a great way to make sure you’re getting everything up.
There were two small features that made a big difference in ease of use. I loved that it was self-standing, so I didn’t have to lean it on a chair or balance it precariously when I wasn’t actively vacuuming. On a lot of stick vacuums, the dust canister is on the back, which means the stick cannot lie flat against the floor. With a front-facing dustbin, this vac can lay completely flat for hard-to-reach areas, like under sofas and beds, that pet hair often drifts into. Overall, this is great-value vacuum: highly effective on multiple surfaces, well designed, and particularly useful for pet owners.
Best All-in-One System: LG CordZero All-in-One Auto Empty Cordless Stick Vacuum
Battery life: Ranges from 12 to 120 minutes, depending on the suction power and whether you’re using it as a smaller handheld or stick vacuum | Surfaces: All | Weight: 5.95-pound vacuum, but the tower with vacuum attached and all accessories is closer to 46 pounds | Bag vs. bagless: Bag | Converts to handheld: Yes
What we like:
- Tower acts as charger, storage, and debris emptier
- HEPA filtration system and a canister that auto-empties into the port significantly reduces contact with dust and debris
- Universal power nozzle for multiple floor types, and it can transform into a mop
- A very high-end model with a price tag to match
- You will have to replace disposable bags
- Mopping feature can only use water, no cleaning solution
Why we chose it: A high-end option for high-usage households will make vacuuming way less of a pain.
LG took the most annoying aspects of vacuuming—emptying that gross dustbin, keeping the model charged and tools on hand—then came up with this sleek, all-in-one tower system that significantly improves user experience. The plug-in docking station acts as a charger for the vacuum (plus the extra battery that’s included), automatically empties the dustbin every time you dock, and stores a bevy of tools out of sight. An aesthetically pleasing vacuum tower that wouldn’t look out of place in a kitchen corner, this model is great for high-traffic households, families, pet owners, and/or people with serious allergies.
With a bunch of accessories, the ability to transform from a stick to a handheld vacuum, and a mopping attachment (though you can only use water, no cleaning solution), this LG vac can handle all sorts of cleaning needs. The fact that it’s always ready to go makes vacuuming just that much easier. Instead of emptying the dustbin over a trash can and trying not to breathe in any of the resulting dust plumes or get too much on my hands, it felt like an absolute luxury to finish vacuuming, return it to the port, and hear the auto-empty feature hum to life.
Best Robot: Roborock S6 Pure Robot Vacuum and Mop
Battery life: 180 minutes maximum | Surfaces: Hardwood, tile, low- to medium-pile carpeting and rugs | Weight: 7.05 pounds | Bag vs. bagless: Bagless | Converts to handheld: N/A
What we like:
- Smart features make it easy to install and customize use
- It can run for up to three hours, does so quietly, then takes itself back to its charger
- Once set up, regular use is pretty effortless and all cleaning is tracked on the app
- Can go over classic transition strip between rooms and clear up to an .8-inch-high threshold, but nothing taller and no high-pile rugs
- Charging port is small but requires significant clearance around it: 4.9 feet in front, 1.6 feet on either side, plus access to an outlet
- Mop feature can only use water, no cleaning solution, and dustbin is on the smaller side
Why we chose it: A smart option that seamlessly integrates into your home and takes vacuuming out of your hands.
After installing the Roborock Pure 6, what I really wanted was some bonbons so I could fully enjoy the fact that a robot was vacuuming my floors while I had my feet up on the couch. But before that, I was worried about two things: that setup and regular use would be so cumbersome that I’d rather just grab a cordless stick vacuum, and that this vac would regularly bash into my furniture and damage it.
However, those concerns were quickly quelled. Setup was a breeze; it took half an hour and didn’t require any hotline help. I was impressed by the sensors and internal compass; there was no furniture bashing and the Roborock navigated easily around my apartment and always seemed to know where it was in relation to the docking port.
The mapping technology is impressive, as is the ability to clean a single room, multiple rooms, or a whole house, plus create invisible walls, preventing it from entering certain spaces. It’s pretty quiet, good at maneuvering around furniture legs and over low- to medium-pile rugs, and picks up small and large debris with ease. I found the dust canister to be on the smaller side, but I used the Roborock more than I normally vacuum on my own. So since my floors were getting cleaned more frequently, the canister size wound up being less important.
On Our Radar
- It’s always nice to see a new vacuum that doesn’t look like a kids’ superhero costume, and the white and silver Dreametech T10 is sleek and features layered noise-reduction technology, quality filtration, and up to 60 minutes of run time. All that, and it’s only 3.6 pounds!
- We’re big fans of Dyson, so its new vacuum offerings always catch our eye. The V15 Detect feels futuristic in the best ways—lasers spotlight hard-to-see dust so you don’t miss it, smart technology adjusts power based on dust level, and an LCD screen shows you what you’re picking up. The suction and filtration look to be top of the line.
How We Chose These Products
We looked for reputable brands at various price points, bypassing vacuums with documented unreliable performance or quality issues. After weeks of research, we sought the models that result in ecstatic, all-caps reviews and nods of approval from industry experts. But there’s nothing like testing a vacuum hands-on to get a feel for how it works and whether it holds up at home. We ran several vacuums through a series of tests—on hardwood floors, tile, and rugs, looking at how they picked up small and large debris. We paid attention to how easy they were to set up, charge, and empty, and what they worked best for.
Our Shopping Checklist
Bagged vs. Bagless
The benefit of a bagged vacuum is that you’re exposed to less dust and fine particles since the whole thing gets tossed when it’s full. That’s particularly useful for allergy sufferers or those with dust sensitivities. But the drawback is that you’ll need to continue buying bags, and if you run out, you can’t use your vacuum until replacement bags come in. Plus it’s less eco-friendly than simply emptying dust and debris into the trash directly. With bagless, you’re always ready to go, and reordering bags isn’t another thing to add to your to-do list or shell out for. But emptying the dust canister is a bit grimier and you’ll be breathing in more dust as you do so. That said, the best cordless vacuum brands have worked to tweak the dust-canister emptying so that it’s less dusty.
Weight and Conversion
A lightweight stick vacuum is easier to use and more pleasurable to handle than its heavier corded counterparts. It’s less annoying to maneuver into tight spaces and great for kids who might not be able to handle a larger canister or upright vac (weekly chore list). Another great feature of many stick vacuums is their ability to convert into smaller, even lighter handheld devices for cleaning out the car or getting into smaller nooks.
For a robot vacuum that is maneuvering itself, weight is less of a concern, since you’re barely handling it. But many robot vacs, like our Roborock pick, convert into mops, too. To prevent rugs from getting ruined, you want a robot vac with smart sensors and the ability to rapidly distinguish between different flooring types. Note that in many stick and robot iterations, mopping features don’t allow you to use cleaning products, just water.
Battery Power and Charging Time
If cordless vacuums have one issue, it’s battery power. They don’t run for hours, and the battery doesn’t last as long as the max run time if you use the highest suction power. Unfortunately, they also take a while to fully recharge. The high-end LG takes up to 3.5 hours to fully recharge, while our Dyson pick takes up to 5 hours, and the Black + Decker takes 30 minutes more. Some brands have reduced the friction of battery constraints by allowing for swappable batteries, so you can keep an extra on hand and sub in when the first dies. That’s possible with our Black + Decker pick and our LG model, but not the Roborock or the Dyson, though battery life span is way less of an issue with a robot vacuum that will return to the port and charge itself.
Before investing in a pricey vac, check out how hard it will be to have issues fixed or parts replaced. Bagged vacuums will need new bags and some filters have parts that eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Batteries can be an issue, so it’s always worth looking up whether replacements are readily available. Check out the retailer’s website to see if it has easy access to tech support, whether that’s by phone or an online chat service. Once you pick a vac, take those five minutes to actually review the brand’s maintenance and replacement suggestions (yes, we know, manuals are boring) and set a few far-out reminders on your phone. The best way to prevent issues from cropping up is to keep your vacuum well maintained.
Q: Are cordless vacuums powerful enough to, well, vacuum?
Yes! They’ve gone from a supplemental item, useful for quick touch-ups before dinner parties and after toddlers have had a meal, to a powerful stand-alone appliance that can often handle all sorts of surfaces and meet the needs of most homes.
Q: How do cordless vacuums charge?
An outlet. Either the battery is removable and has a little charger; the best cordless vacuums come with a cord that connects the whole unit to an outlet; or it comes with a docking station that plugs into the wall.
Q: Will cordless vacuums clean pet hair?
Yes, and many brands have specific models tailored to the needs of pet owners. If you search “[brand] + pet vacuum” you’ll be able to see the ones that work particularly well for pet owners. We love the Black + Decker model discussed above.
The Last Word
With the convenience of the best cordless vacuum, you don’t have to constantly plug in, and brands have recently made battery issues less of a, well, issue. When stellar performance is paired with an easy-to-use appliance, this household chore is less likely to spark dread and more likely to induce delight.