After weeks of testing cordless vacuums, we’re finally ready to hand out awards for the best cordless stick vacuum. Though we did decide to split this competition up into two categories: the best overall cordless vacuum and the best budget cordless vacuum for reasons I will discuss.
With budget cordless vacuums, the main thing that separates them from the premium vacuums, like the Sharks or Dysons besides just the price, is their lack of HEPA filtration and/or a sealed system. All five of the budget vacuums we tested did not pass the fog test, which either shows a lack of HEPA filtration or an unsealed system or both. But this is typical of any vacuum under a certain price range.
That being said, there’s a lot to like with the budget vacuums. Here’s a quick summary from our tests. The Hoover React had the most power at 37 CFM at the wand with the Dirt Devil Reach Max Plus coming in second at 33 CFM.
The Dirt Devil had the best battery life at 24 minutes and six seconds with the Deik coming in second and the Hoover React third. Though it should be noted that the Dirt Devil’s battery life number was on its low power setting which tested at 29 CFM. The Dirt Devil was also the only budget cordless vacuum that had two power settings.
The best budget cordless vacuum for hard floors was probably the Eureka Power Plush with its soft roller but that’s about all the Eureka Power Plush was good for as it was terrible with carpets and had the worst battery life. But the second place for hard floors was the Bissell Multi Reach which was really good, followed by the Dirt Devil Reach Max Plus.
On carpet, most of these did good with the pick up test with surface debris, whether that was fine debris, pet hair, or large debris. But deep cleaning carpets is hard for cordless vacuums. That being said, the three that did the best were the Dirt Devil, the Hoover React and the Bissell Multi Reach Plus.
So our choice for the best budget cordless vacuum was the Dirt Devil Reach Max Plus. It comes with good attachments and is extremely inexpensive with the main negative being that it’s prone to clogs and can lose power easily if you don’t keep it cleaned.
The next choice would be the Bissell Multi Reach which is a bit more expensive but is really solid overall. You can see our full reviews of both of these below and let’s move on to the premium vacuums.
All three of the premium cordless vacuums we tested proved to be sealed systems with HEPA filtration, so that’s a huge plus especially if you have asthma or allergies. As far as the specs, the Dyson V10 had the most power on high power and the Shark Ion P50 had the most power on low power.
Battery life numbers require some explanation. All these numbers are with the cleaner head attached, despite the fact that you can get higher battery life numbers if you test them without the cleaner head attached. Also notice the amount of power in CFM that each vacuum is using in each setting. All three have a low and a high power, but the V10 also has a medium power setting.
It seems that the Dyson V10 in the Shark Ion P50 have basically the same battery capability but the V10 gives you more options, including its low power setting which takes the CFM way down to 24, but gives you 46 minutes and 16 seconds of runtime on low power, which is by far the longest. And we found that 24 CFM was sufficient for most tasks. So you have to give the V10 the edge here.
On hard floors, it also depends. If you get the more expensive Absolute versions of either the Dyson V8 or V10 which come with a soft roller or fluffy brush, then it’s pretty close to even since soft rollers are amazing with hard floors picking up just about anything and everything they come into contact with. However, the Dyson V8 or V10 with the standard motor head only would lose big time to the Shark DuoClean system, which has both a soft roller and a standard brush roll on the same cleaner head.
On carpets, despite the fact that the Shark DuoClean does better at its sheer ability to gobble anything on top of the carpet, the Dyson V8 and V10 with their standard motor heads attached do much better with deep cleaning carpets, as we saw in the flour and black carpet test.
The build quality on all three premium vacuums was top-notch with no edge to any particular one. And the only other consideration is that I like how the Shark Ion P50 does not require changing the cleaner heads when you switch from hard floors to carpets. Though, technically, you could use a standard motor head on hard floors as well as carpets, it’s just not as good at hard floors.
So to make a long story short, I have to give the premium cordless vacuum crown to the Dyson V10 Absolute. It is the most expensive of all three but the price has come down considerably since its release in early 2018 and it’s a much better value these days. But a close second place would go to the Shark Ion P50. I love its versatility and its handling and I really love its DuoClean technology so it’s a really good utilitarian choice.