Finding the best vacuum cleaner can be a bit of a chore. There are so many models to choose from, and who really wants to spend their time finding an appliance that means more work around the house?
The thing is, vacuum cleaners have come a long way since those massive corded vacs you had to heave out of the hall closet and reconnect to a new outlet every few minutes. We remember with disdain the gargantuan vacuum we had in our house growing up; it was practically medieval.
Vacuum cleaners today are much slimmer, with some controlled by hand and some with robotic brains of their own. While it's still a "chore" in the traditional sense, vacuum cleaning can now be done in far less time and with far greater ease thanks to cordless vacuums. Even easier, you can now have a vacuum clean house on its own while you're out and about.
[Update: Dyson's latest and greatest vacuum cleaner, the Cyclone V10, is now on our list! We spent several weeks with the cordless vac. Our conclusion: Vacuum engineering and design come together in perfect harmony in this king of suction, and while the Cyclone V10 is undoubtedly expensive, there's no denying it's the best vacuum Dyson has made to date.]
Digging out the best Dyson or Roomba to help lighten the load can be the sort of investment where the benefits become almost immediately clear. Like the budding Ghostbusters we are, sucking up junk into our proton-pack-aping vacuum cleaners can actually be quite satisfying. It’s instant gratification, seeing the dirt, grime and crumbs sucked away into the netherworld of the vacuum cleaner’s bin.
And it only gets better if you’ve got a top-notch gadget to help you do it all. Whether it’s a lightweight cordless, a super-powerful upright or a “who needs humans?” robot cleaner you’re after, these are the best vacuum cleaners TechRadar has used. They all suck, but in the best possible way.
Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute
Power supply: : Cordless, battery | Weight: : 5.9 lbs / 2.6 kg | Bin size: : 0.75L | Run time: : Up to 60 minutes
Battery drains fast on highest setting
Dyson's newest cordless vacuum cleaner is so good, the company is no longer producing new corded vacuums. That's how confident Dyson is that the Cyclone V10 and the vacs that follow will meet all your cleaning needs.
Simply put, the Cyclone V10 is the best vacuum Dyson has ever made. Dyson has redefined its cyclone technology to produce more suction power than ever; the new V10 digital motor is 20% more powerful than the previous V8, and, we can assure, it sucks a lot (we mean that as a compliment).
You'll notice a number of crucial changes between the V10 and older V models. For example, the barrel is now front-facing, and all attachments connect here directly. The design allows for greater suction efficiency, according to Dyson. The V10 is smarter than ever before, too, and can even detect differences in altitude, air pressure and temperature, and adjust itself for maximum performance.
Prices and models vary across regions, but needless to say, you pay for the Cyclone V10's souped-up suction. And while the Cyclone V10 is more powerful than ever and boasts a more energy-dense battery than previous models, putting it on the highest setting will drain the battery in about five minutes. At the lowest setting, however, you'll get up to 60 minutes of use, and that should be plenty for your everyday messes.
Read our full Dyson Cyclone V10 review
Dyson V8 Absolute
Power supply: : Cordless, battery | Weight: : 2.16kg | Bin size: : 0.54L | Suction power: 22AW (115AW in MAX mode)
Portable and modular
Formerly the best cordless vacuum experience that money could buy, the Dyson V8 Absolute is still a top-of-the-line battery powered vacuum cleaner, even as the Cyclone V10 has dethroned it as the very best. It also remains an absolute joy to use.
First, the design. With a removable extender pole and equipped with six different heads for different surfaces and use cases, the V8 Absolute is lightweight and easy to run around the house. But with the suction motor in the pistol-grip handle area, you can easily clip a head directly onto the main unit, turning the whole thing into a portable cleaner, perfect for going up the stairs of de-crumbing the car.
A full-charge will give you around 40 minutes of use, which is really impressive for a cordless cleaner – though mileage will vary once you start using on the motorized heads, or switch on the V8 Absolute’s MAX mode. You’ll rarely need it though – for a handheld, this cleaner will rival even an upright for sheers dirt-sucking power. Its large bin will take in plenty of trash too before needing emptying – another convenience not often seen in a cordless.
Best of all though, it genuinely is fun to use. The sci-fi aesthetic makes it one of the few “white goods” gadgets you’ll happily leave on show in the house, with the transforming design as useful as it is clever. It’s worth saving the cash for.
Gtech AirRam MK2
Power supply: Battery (cordless) | Weight: 3.5kg | Battery live: 40 minutes
Lightweight, easy to carry and move
Easily accessible bin
Bin is small
No attachment tools
The Gtech AirRam MK2 blends the flexibility of a cordless vacuum with strong suction performance and easy use, making it a great choice for those looking for a vac they can quickly whizz around the home.
It’s super easy to setup out of the box, and after the the initial charge (it takes four hours to fully charge from flat) you’re ready to go. The need to charge however can be a hassle, especially if an accidental spillage has occurred and you want to quickly clean it, only to find the AirRam MK2 is out of battery. You could use it if plugged into the wall, but with such a short charging cable supplied that'd be wholly impractical.
An hour on the charger will give you a short burst of power to address a spillage, but if you’re planning on doing a general clean you’ll want a fall charge, which gives you around 40 minutes of use – similar to what you'd get from Dyson's V8 Absolute.
While charging may be a little inconvenient at times, it means you’re never tethered to a cord when using the Gtech AirRam MK2 and that is where is comes into its own. It’s lightweight and highly manoeuvrable body allows you to quickly and efficiently move round your home.
Gtech’s Airlock technology automatically adjusts the head for different flooring types, and suction is generally very good - but it’s not the best on offer.
The collection bin may be a bit on the small side too, but it’s incredibly easy to empty and ensures you don’t get your hands dirty, with the removable cylinder featuring a sliding lever that pushes out all the nasties.
It’s easy to carry up and down stairs, but with no hose or attachments you can’t easily vacuum stairs with it, or hard to reach areas of your home. It's price tag makes it a more approachable option than the Dyson however, so if you're on a budget it's well worth a look.
Dyson Light Ball Multi Floor
Power supply: Corded | Weight: 6.9kg | Cord length: 9.4m | Suction power: 90AW
Impressive, continuous suction
Multi-functional tools included
Heavy to carry up stairs
Cord is annoying
If you want serious suction from your vacuum cleaner, Dyson is the market leader. Its cyclone technology has long been touted as the best sucker around, and on the Light Ball Multi Floor we can safely say; this thing sucks big time. In a good way.
With 90AW of suction power the Dyson Light Ball Multi Floor tackles carpet, wood floors, laminate and more. Each pass hoovers up dust, hair and other particles struck inside your carpets too, not just those sitting on top.
We were surprised, and impressed with the amount of stuff it picked up during the first few trips around our house - clearly our previous vacuum wasn’t doing the job as effectively.
When the large bin fills up, it’s just a simple one button release from the body of the Light Ball, and then another one button press to dispense its contents into the bin - although with the large flag that opens at the bottom you’ll need to angle the cylinder accordingly.
As well as acting as a standard upright cleaner, the Light Ball also comes with a built in hose and tools, allowing you to tackle hard to reach places, ceilings and stairs with relative ease.
It’s still a bit of a beast to carry up and down stairs though, and at times the long 9.4m cord does get in the way, making you wish this was a cordless vacuum - but the trade off will be inferior suction.
If you’re in the market for a vacuum cleaner that will give your floors a seriously good seeing too, then the easy to use, highly maneuverable and surprisingly quiet (considering the suction) Dyson Light Ball could be up your street.
Dyson 360 Eye robot vacuum cleaner
Power supply: Battery | Weight: 2.4kg | Bin size: 0.33Lm | Suction power: 20AW
Not the most thorough clean
With AI smarts improving all the time and robotics increasingly as at home as on the production line, the sci-fi dream of having a little robot helper to potter about the house is increasingly becoming a reality. The Dyson 360 Eye is the vacuum cleaning company’s first effort in the space, and makes a good account of itself.
After a relatively painless app-powered set-up process, the camera equipped Dyson 360 Eye is able to navigate your home, weaving around obstacles on a cleaning routine you again establish through the app.
Considering its small size, it's surprisingly capable at sucking up the rubbish in your home and, when its battery gets low and it's time for a recharge, the 360 Eye will intelligently return to its charging station without any prompting.
It’s a premium product, commanding a high asking price that’s best used as a supplement to your usual cleaning rota rather than a replacement. With the 360 Eye doing the rounds once every day, you’ll find that your home will need a “deep clean” vacuum session by your own hand far more rarely.
But there’s still room for improvement if the company ever make a second generation – the tall clearance makes it difficult for the 360 Eye to fit under furniture, a bigger bin would lessen the need to keep emptying it out, and a larger battery would give it a better chance of completing a whole-house sweep in one pass without a recharge session.
The limitations of the wider product category taken into consideration, it’s a solid luxury cleaning product regardless.
iRobot Roomba 980 robot vacuum cleaner
Power supply: Battery | Weight: 3.94kg | Bin size: 0.6Lm | Suction power: 33AW
Relatively low clearance
Sluggish app control
Struggles with cables
Dyson’s not the only company working with robotics in the home space, and many rate iRobot and its Roomba 980 vacuum cleaner very highly, too.
A low-clearance, dirt-sucking disc, it’s likewise intelligent enough to go about its business in your home without much prompting from its human owners. The Roomba 980 will intelligently map your home for problem spots, kicking into a high-power mode when carpets are identified, and weaving around chair legs and other potential obstacles.
With a two hour battery life, it will manage a longer cleaning cycle than the Dyson before it too heads back to its charging dock.
Other smart features of the Roomba 980 include its battery-powered “Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers” which signal to the bot which area to avoid if placed across a doorway, and more granular control over its cleaning procedures through its accompanying app.
However, the Roomba 980 too has room for improvement, with it’s app not always terrible intuitive, and the robot itself sometimes getting bamboozled by cables.
It’s another pricey cleaning luxury, and making the choice between it and its Dyson rival will be a tough one. But for those that can afford it, the Roomba 980 is another excellent cleaning convenience.
Eufy RoboVac 11
Power supply: Battery | Weight: 3.02kg | Bin size: 0.6Lm
Low price compared to competition
Lots of cleaning settings
No companion app
Limited battery life
You may not have heard of the name Eufy before, but this more affordable robot vacuum cleaner offers some fantastic value and it comes from the sister brand of Anker, which is the closest thing to a household name in the world of portable chargers.
The RoboVac 11 has lots of cleaning settings included an automatic mode, maximum power, edge cleaning, single room cleaning or a mode that specifically focuses on one small area.
The problem is, unlike the two vacuums above you can't connect the RoboVac 11 to an app so you can't monitor or set your robot cleaner to go when you're not in the house.
Instead it's all activated through a remote control that comes in the box with the RoboVac 11. You can set it up on a timer so the cleaner will automatically head on its journey once a day, but it's not as useful as having an app to do it from anywhere in the world.
There's also no mapping technology built in and instead the RoboVac 11 will just make its own way around your home until the battery runs out. It uses infrared sensors to avoid bumping into furniture in your home, but it can be quite frustrating if you're to sit and watch it work as it doesn't clean as efficiently as some other cleaners.
With a 0.6 Lm bin this will keep going for multiple cleans and we found the battery life to last around 90 minutes on the automatic mode and a little bit less if you're using the maximum power suction.
The Eufy may not be the most efficient or powerful robot vacuum cleaner on the market, but considering its super low price point it's impressive how much value for money you get with the RoboVac 11.
Read our full Eufy RoboVac 11 review
Neato Botvac Connected
Power supply: Battery | Weight: 3.94kg | Bin size: 0.6Lm
Incorrectly assesses its own height
Marks very easily
While not quite as familiar a name as Dyson or Roomba, with the Neato Botvac Connected, Neato managed to create a vacuum cleaner that definitely gives the others a run for their money.
At 10 cm tall, it comfortably manages to shuffle under most items of furniture, and uses laser guidance to map the room. It’s very satisfying watching it figure out which items of furniture it can navigate under and around.
A little frustratingly, it doesn’t seem to factor in the little protruding circle on top of the unit that houses the Neato logo, and so does occasionally get caught on items that it only just clears.
You can control the Neato Botvac Connected using your phone, set up routines for when you want it to clean, and even pause mid-clean. There are also convenient buttons on the unit itself; one for ‘spot clean’ that will do one room, or ‘house clean’ that will do your entire home before guiding itself back to its base station.
At 0.7 Lm, the bin size is bigger than both the Dyson 360 and the Roomba, but is still small in comparison to a standard vacuum cleaner, and will need emptying mid-clean if you have a large (or particularly dirty) home.
There is the option to either have the Neato clean in Eco or Turbo mode, which will give you quieter or deeper cleaning, depending on your preference. From the time that we have spent with it, the deeper cleaning mode provides a very thorough level of cleaning, although will invariably miss areas that require moving of obstacles, so you’ll still need an occasional once-over with a hand-held vacuum cleaner.
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