You’ll find two types of cordless vacuum cleaners: cordless stick vacuums and handheld vacuums.
Some will provide you with both options: you’ll have a stick vacuum cleaner where the floor nozzle detaches, leaving you with a neat hand-held vacuum. You won’t have to look for an outlet for your vacuum–but instead, you’ll have to consider the amount of battery life your vacuum will have. Some offer only 20 minutes of battery life, which makes them a suitable vacuum for a small apartment.
Considerations When Buying a Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
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- Battery type: Nowadays, most cordless vacuum cleaners use Lithium-Ion batteries as their source of power. They have the feature of “fade-free use”: The batteries supply the tool with full power until the battery is totally drained.
- Vacuum power: The power of a vacuum cleaner can be measured in a number of types of units. You’ll see vacuums whose power rating is given in CFM (cubic feet per minute), where a typical vacuum operates at anywhere from 50 to 100 CFM. Another option is the Air-Watt (AW), which is the number of watts used to suck in a unit of air through the vacuum’s nozzle. Vacuums with HEPA (= High-efficiency particulate air, which filters out 99.97% of particles larger than 3 micrometers) filters will need a higher Air-Watt rating since such a vacuum has to drive air through the minuscule holes in the filter.
- Battery runtime indicator: This is a feature that tells you how much cleaning time do you have remaining until the battery runs out. You’ll have such a feature on the Hoover Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner, with three indicator lights indicating that the battery is over 75%, two lights showing the battery at 50%, and one light indicating 25% or less. This is a useful feature since it tells you when you should recharge the device.
- Battery life: As for the battery life, you’ll notice that the Dyson V8 series vacuums, for example, have an advantage over the early Dyson models, and most cordless vacuums for that matter–in that they have an improved Lithium-Ion battery that offers you 40 minutes of battery life (as opposed to 20 minutes with the Dyson V6 and 30 minutes with the Dyson V7 vacuum). But, if you use a vacuum with a motorized head attachment, the attachment will also use some power–so expect the battery life to be correspondingly less.
Useful Tips for Shoppers
- Lightweight: The more light your cordless is, the more maneuverable it will be, and the easier it will be to carry around.
- Stick uprights: Typically stick upright vacuums will range from 5 to 10 pounds. For example, the Eufy HomeVac Lightweight Cordless Upright-Style Vacuum Cleaner weighs only 5.8 pounds. It also has a Li-Ion battery that can give you 50 minutes of uninterrupted use. The Shark Navigator Freestyle Cordless Stick Vacuum is somewhat heavier, at 7.5 pounds. These have the advantage of a wide cleaning path so that you can get a carpet vacuumed up relatively quickly. Also, they can save the effort of having to bend down to reach under furniture.
- Hand-vacs: Then there are the super-light hand-vacuums, which are 3.5-4.0 pounds in weight, such as the Black & Decker MAX Lithium Pivot Vacuum (Cat. No. BDH2000PL), weighing in at 3.8 pounds. They’re good for vacuuming out your entire car, or for small spills in the house. But they’ll have to be supplemented with a full-size upright if you want to vacuum a whole house.
- Attachments: You’ll find that hand vacs have on-board attachments for special jobs, which can convert them into a vacuum suitable for pet hair. The Black and Decker Cordless Lithium Hand Vac (Cat. No. CHV1410L) has a crevice tool which extends the vacuum’s reach into narrow spaces, and a brush tool for vacuuming on fabric, such as a sofa or armchair.