The first step in deciding which vacuum cleaner is best for you is to decide exactly what you want it to do and which features are important to you.

Do you live in a large home or a smaller home?

Do you have pets? If so, how many and do they shed hair?

Do you have stairs in your home?

Does your home have lots of sockets that are conveniently located?

Is a hose important to you?

Will you use your vacuum outside your home, for instance vacuuming your car or caravan?

Only after you have answered these questions will you be in a better position to choose your ideal vacuum cleaner. Both types have advantages and disadvantages so let’s examine the pros and cons.

Advantages of cordless vacuums –


Lightweight – The lightweight cord free design of cordless vacuums, around 3kg compared to around 7kg to 11kg for a corded model. Makes them extremely portable and convenient for a quick clean when visitors arrive unannounced or to deal with sudden spillages and mess.

Storage – They are easy to store, taking up much less space than a corded vacuum with some models even having a wall mounted bracket that can be used for both storing the vacuum and charging it.

Manoeuvrability – They are more manoeuvrable than corded vacuum because of their lightweight and not being restricted by a cord inserted into a socket and they are much easier to use outside the home such as when cleaning the car.

Disadvantages of cordless vacuums

Limited dust capacity – They have a much smaller capacity for collecting dirt which can be as little as 0.5kg which is much less than corded vacuums meaning that you will be required to empty the bin much more often which is a disadvantage that must be taken into account especially by allergy and Asthma sufferers.

Run time – The majority of cordless vacuums only last for around 20-45 minutes cleaning time. The run time of the vacuum can also be much shorter than the manufacturers would lead you to believe. For instance, a vacuum may be advertised as having a run time of up to 60 minutes and a maximum power of up to 450w which can sound impressive. But what this often means is that to obtain a run time of 60 minutes the vacuum needs to be used on a setting that uses so little power that the suction is virtually useless and when used on the maximum power setting it can only be used for as little 4 – 5 minutes. The Dyson V11 (costing around £500) for instance states a maximum run time 60 minutes but must be used on eco mode to achieve this, but just a maximum of 12 minutes on full power. The surface that you are vacuuming can also make a big difference on both cleaning efficiency and battery run times. It takes much more effort to power a brush roll through carpet fibres than to run over a hard surface floor such as a laminate floor. So, the battery run time suffers accordingly. The recharge times can also be hours long so when you are halfway through cleaning and the battery runs out it can be hours before you can continue with your cleaning. Batteries can have a relatively short life because they have a limited number of recharge cycles and can be very expensive to replace.

Suction power – They tend to be much less powerful than corded vacuums with the vast majority of them picking up less than 50% of the dirt in your carpets. Although they can be more convenient and transportable for cleaning the car the suction can be so much less powerful than a corded vacuum with a hose and its bulky body can hinder it from reaching the narrow areas such as between the seats.

Awkward for ‘above the floor’ cleaning – For cleaning ‘higher above the floor’ areas you must support the entire weight of the vacuum. Although cordless vacuums are much lighter than corded ones almost the entire weight is borne by your hand and wrist rather than the floor. Cordless stick vacuums will not stand up on their own and so are much more prone to falling over when lent against walls or worktops.

Conclusion – Cordless vacuum cleaners can definitely be a useful addition to the home but unless you have no long-haired pets, little carpeting and a smaller home they should be used more as a convenient addition to your corded vacuum and not a replacement for it.

The views and opinions in this article are those of PHC Vacuum Service and are the result of experienced gained over 30 years of repairing and servicing vacuum cleaners and are independent of any other supplier or manufacturer.