Cordless Vacuums

The last couple of years has seen some major, innovative cordless models from Dyson , Shark and Gtech. Unlike previous models with large, old tech,  heavy batteries with short run times, these now have much lighter types using the latest battery tech. They not only are lighter and way more powerful but charge up in a lot less time too.

When shopping for a cordless model, be aware that the run time may be a laboratory testing figure done on new battery on full charge, with low load and an empty bag, so it may be exaggerated compared with the real life run time.  Some models come with 2 batteries which is a great idea, one in use and one on charge.

Another parameter to watch is charging time. Its not much use if it runs out and cannot be used for 16 hours!

Unless you are cleaning up after a major DIY job or a building site, perhaps  the day has come to say goodbye to the old plug in hoover.

The new models have enough power to deal with most daily cleaning throughout the house. It was initially my thought that these could not possibly deliver enough suction to do a thorough job  without a high wattage mains powered motor, but the Dyson for example with its unique ‘digital’  motor , showed that when the body and ‘business’ end is designed  efficiently, it is more than adequate.

manoeuvrability and  weight

One thing that the ads like to  show is using the machines with one hand, cleaning around the top of the curtains.  Take this with a pinch of salt! Unless you have wrists like Arnie Shwartz, holding up the weight of the dust collector, battery and the body of the machine is not really practical for more than a few seconds. But, it is true that compared to the average mains powered hoover, these are a revelation, you can whizz around a room full of obstacles in no time and as most new models  are much slimmer, allowing it to go underneath things,  there is far less effort required moving the furniture. 

Personally I’m not too  concerned about bag capacity, it takes only seconds to empty most of the latest range of vacuum cleaner, straight into the bin.

One of the things which have changed in our household is the willingness of the various members of the family to use the cleaner! As its so light and so quick there isn’t the resistance to cleaning up that spillage or mess that just happened. It doesn’t take so much heavy lifting, uncoiling of leads, plugging in etc.

The cleaning now is more frequent but for a shorter time. So unless you have a huge house to clean, I think its far preferable to empty it twice, than to lug  round a bigger bag or container, which makes the machine less manoeuvrable and heavier.

Not Tied to a Plug Point

As you move from room to room, there is of course no back and forth to the sockets in the room , to plug in the vacuum cleaner and no cable winding, just the cleaning.  Don’t forget in most rooms the sockets , which are not often in the most accessible places,  also may already be in use, so that’s more and more  time wasted unplugging something, then plugging in the vacuum, hoovering,  then reversing the procedure. Even if your house has just 3 or  4  rooms in total, that’s actually going to save you  quite a bit of effort and backache. The first time I tried out a cordless, that was the first and  most obvious advantage.

Efficient Motor not Power Monster

Today’s portable equipment has to work well to compete with the established mains powered devices, for example, phones, computers and vacuum cleaners. What the manufacturers have concentrated on up to very recently was power. But is all that power actually necessary?  The EU in its undoubted wisdom trying to cut power consumption… dictated that vacuum cleaners, hair dryers and some other household devices could now only be made up to a certain wattage.

This has stopped the power race in its tracks. Hoover and some other manufacturers has already produced models with in excess of 1kw motors. Dyson and co  have proved that its simply unnecessary and with more careful design,  the same suction can be achieved with much less hungry motors.  It reminds me of the sixties and seventies car engine designs where the 3, 4 and more litre engine cars were being beaten by the likes of Mini with their front wheel drive system which  simply cornered better and on the race track with Lotus , their low engine capacity but highly engineered cars could easily beat the bigger, far more powerful gas guzzlers of the time using technology. 

Noise and Weight

Lastly and a huge win for the cordless models. They are simply so quiet compared to the mains models.  Our last mains Hoover was incredibly noisy. And to be honest it had too much suction!  Its motor, an 800 watt monster was just too powerful for 90% of its work.

That size of motor is also very heavy, making it a nuisance to carry around especially up and down stairs, plus the cable, rated at a higher than normal  wattage was stiffer and shorter than was the norm at that time , our L shaped lounge needed two operations of plugging and replugging to complete.


If you want tools to reach high up, clean the car more easily, vacuum the curtains, hard floor, carpeted floor and any other variation, there will be a model with these extras, but do bear in mind, the price will reflect it.

So if all of the drawbacks of hoovering with a mains cleaner, weight, plugging in, noise and emptying the bag are your experience too, I encourage you to try the new cordless variety.


The Winner - Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaner:

The Gtech Ram v2:

  • 2 batteries – longest runtime
  • very Lightweight
  • cost reasonable

The VAX blade 32volt

  • Batteries – Good runtime but not replaceable
  • Lightweight but dust box small
  • Very good price