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The Best Cordless Stick Vacuum

By Liam McCabe
Five of the cordless stick vacuums tested for this review.
Photo: Michael Hession

Cordless vacuums are so impressively convenient that they can feel almost fun to use. They’re so easy, in fact, that plenty of owners are willing to overlook their many flaws, such as high prices and mediocre reliability. The best cord-free vacuum for you depends on your home and expectations of performance, but the first one we recommend right now is the Tineco Pure One S11.

How we picked

  • Hands-on testing

    We’ve tested more than 25 current cordless vacuums priced from $100 up to nearly $1,000, and dozens more since 2014.

  • Reliability research

    An AI-powered tool helped us analyze thousands of owner reviews, revealing that some popular models may break faster than others.

  • Cleaning ability

    We measured how much sand, baking soda, dust, and hair each vac pulled from two types of rugs, plus bare floors.

  • Ease of use

    We evaluated vacuums on how comfortable they were to handle and maneuver in tight spaces.

Our pick

Tineco Pure One S11

Comfy, well-rounded cleaner

The Tineco S11 is one of the lightest, most comfortable-to-use vacuums that also have enough cleaning power to work pretty well on most rugs (though it’s not quite the best we’ve tested). A unique dust sensor makes it easy for you to focus your efforts on areas that are actually dirty.

Buying Options

The Tineco Pure One S11 is our top pick because it’s pretty good (not great) at the important stuff, and it doesn’t have any major flaws. It sort of wins by default, because every other cordless stick vac with a similar battery life and cleaning ability has some kind of serious downside. The S11’s best trait is how comfortable it is to handle even during long cleaning sessions (you can realistically get about 30 minutes on a fully charged battery pack), as it feels lighter and easier to steer than any of its close competitors.

For the price, it did an above-average job of cleaning rugs and bare floors in our testing. While it won’t pull as much dust or hair out of rugs as some other models near this price (including the Dyson V8 series, one of our runner-up picks), the S11 is strong enough that we’re comfortable recommending it considering its other advantages over its competitors. And based on an AI-assisted analysis of customer reviews, we’ve found that most S11 owners are perfectly satisfied with its cleaning power. The S11 also has a built-in dust sensor, which we found to be surprisingly helpful: Whenever you roll over debris, an LED ring changes colors to give you a visual cue that you’re actually vacuuming something. On big messes, the S11 automatically bumps up the suction, too. Like most cordless vacuums now, the S11 works with extra battery packs that you can buy to extend the run time (though they’re $90 each), and it can function as a handheld vacuum, too.



Dyson V8 Absolute

Better on rugs, less comfy

The Dyson V8 is better than nearly all other cordless vacuums (besides other Dysons) at deep-cleaning rugs. Though the trigger-style power switch and built-in battery can be frustrating for some people, this vacuum has had excellent reviews from owners over many years. Try to wait for a sale, when it costs less than $400.

Buying Options

$400* from Dyson

Claim free tools w/purchase

*At the time of publishing, the price was $350.

If you want a cordless vacuum that can actually deep-clean your rugs, the Dyson V8 series–which includes the V8 Absolute, the V8, and the V8 Animal–will come closest to doing the job for less than $500. The thicker the rug and the clingier the debris, the bigger the advantage Dyson has over any other competitor at this price.

But Dyson sticks aren’t our top pick (anymore) because we don’t think their rug-cleaning power is so superior that it offsets their disadvantages compared with other cordless vacuums. Although they’re quite light, their trigger-style power switch can feel uncomfortable because you need to keep it squeezed constantly to make your vacuum run. Dyson sticks are fine on bare floors but nothing special. Their battery lives are about average and, we think, ample for most uses (roughly 35 minutes for the V8), but they use built-in (or screw-in) battery packs, so it’s impractical to swap in a spare battery as some owners would like to be able to do. The V8 in particular is overpriced and also seems to be about two to three times as prone to premature battery malfunctions as a typical cordless vacuum, according to our AI analysis of owner reviews.

Budget pick

Black+Decker Powerseries Extreme 20V Max

Carpet cleaning for less

We haven’t found another cordless vacuum for less than $200 that cleans carpets as well as this Black+Decker. Another plus: It uses common, affordable Max batteries, which are interchangeable with loads of other Black+Decker power tools. The dustbin is a pain, though.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $179.

If you want a decent cord-free carpet cleaner but don’t want to spend much, the Black+Decker Powerseries Extreme 20V Max is (usually) the least-expensive model we’d recommend. For a stick vacuum at this relatively low price, it’s surprisingly effective on short- and even medium-pile rugs—at least for gritty types of debris like crumbs or sand. (It’s not as great at digging out pet hair or fine dust.) This vac also runs on the same batteries as a lot of Black+Decker power tools, so spares are plentiful and affordable. On the downside, the atrocious dustbin falls off the vacuum anytime you bump it, replacement filters aren’t always in stock, and its bare-floor cleaning is just okay. But we regularly see the Powerseries Extreme going for $150—and at that price, it’s the cheap stick to beat if you want to be able to pull debris out of your rugs rather than just tickle the tops of the fibers.

If you’re looking for an even-cheaper stick that you can use for quick cleanups, you can pick pretty much anything. We don’t love any of the current options, but we do have a few leads to help you on your search.

Upgrade pick

Dyson V15 Detect

Exceptional cleaning, clever features

If you want a cordless vacuum that fully replaces a plug-in, a high-end Dyson is as close as it gets. The Dyson V15 is actually better than lots of plug-in vacuums at cleaning rugs. Owners love the auto-adjusting suction.

Buying Options

$740 from Walmart

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $750.

Dyson’s top-of-the-line models (including the V15 Detect and Outsize) all clean better than any other cordless vacuum we’ve tested. They actually work better than a bunch of the plug-in vacuums we’ve tested, too.

The V15 Detect is particularly excellent. Beyond the superb cleaning performance, it’s packed with features that make it a treat to use, including a real-time battery-life countdown, suction that automatically increases when it senses dirt, a comb built into the carpet-cleaning brush that shreds hair tangles, a second cleaning head with a soft-fabric brush for bare floors, a laser headlight to illuminate dust and other hard-to-see debris, and animated maintenance reminders and troubleshooting tips right on the vacuum display. There’s even a built-in dust-particle counter, which is a feat of engineering and also kind of a gimmick. And, yes, the V15 is wildly expensive. The trigger-style power switch can get uncomfortable to squeeze during long sessions, too, and we’re not confident that the V15 is more reliable than cheaper sticks from Dyson or any other brand.

You could also consider the pricier, bulkier Dyson Outsize models, which have larger bins and wider brushes than the V15, plus an extra battery pack, but otherwise perform similarly.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Tineco Pure One S11

Comfy, well-rounded cleaner

The Tineco S11 is one of the lightest, most comfortable-to-use vacuums that also have enough cleaning power to work pretty well on most rugs (though it’s not quite the best we’ve tested). A unique dust sensor makes it easy for you to focus your efforts on areas that are actually dirty.

Buying Options


Dyson V8 Absolute

Better on rugs, less comfy

The Dyson V8 is better than nearly all other cordless vacuums (besides other Dysons) at deep-cleaning rugs. Though the trigger-style power switch and built-in battery can be frustrating for some people, this vacuum has had excellent reviews from owners over many years. Try to wait for a sale, when it costs less than $400.

Buying Options

$400* from Dyson

Claim free tools w/purchase

*At the time of publishing, the price was $350.

Budget pick

Black+Decker Powerseries Extreme 20V Max

Carpet cleaning for less

We haven’t found another cordless vacuum for less than $200 that cleans carpets as well as this Black+Decker. Another plus: It uses common, affordable Max batteries, which are interchangeable with loads of other Black+Decker power tools. The dustbin is a pain, though.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $179.

Upgrade pick

Dyson V15 Detect

Exceptional cleaning, clever features

If you want a cordless vacuum that fully replaces a plug-in, a high-end Dyson is as close as it gets. The Dyson V15 is actually better than lots of plug-in vacuums at cleaning rugs. Owners love the auto-adjusting suction.

Buying Options

$740 from Walmart

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $750.

Writer Liam McCabe logged hundreds of hours of researching and testing vacuums, including hands-on experience with a few dozen cordless vacuums and well over 100 vacuums total (covering plug-ins, handhelds, and robots).

Writer Sarah Bogdan devised and performed some of our tests for this guide.

We tested six new models for this late-2021 update alone, on top of nearly two dozen others that we’d previously tested and that are still widely available. In addition to our own testing, we’ve talked with dozens of real-life cordless-vacuum owners who live in all kinds of homes; read feedback from our readers about our picks; analyzed thousands of customer reviews on Amazon using an artificial-intelligence-driven tool called FindOurView; compared our findings with those of other reviews from sources such as CNET, Consumer Reports, Vacuum Wars (video), and Good Housekeeping; and talked with representatives from several notable cordless-vacuum brands, including Hoover, LG, Miele, and Roborock. We’ve even interviewed Sir James Dyson himself.

If you’ve ever skipped vacuuming (maybe for weeks at a time) because your heavy, bulky, plug-in vacuum feels like a huge burden, a cordless vacuum could be a life-changer.

Most cordless models are skinny, lightweight, stick-style vacuums that many people find to be comfortable to use, even on stairs or in cramped spaces. When you get the urge to clean, you can just pick up the vacuum and go: You don’t need to unwrap a cord, find an outlet, and deal with tangles and snags. And because cordless vacuums are compact and often packaged with either wall-mountable charging docks or a floor stand, it’s common to store them in plain sight. All of that lowers the barrier to actually using your vacuum, so you might find yourself cleaning more often—and living with fresher air, tidier floors, and cleaner feet as a result.

Cordless vacuums have been around for a few decades. But up until a few years ago, they were all weak cleaners meant for easy tasks like sucking a few crumbs or a tuft of hair off a bare floor. If that’s the role you still want your cordless vacuum to fill, you can choose nearly any cordless vacuum, and it’ll work fine. We’re not confident enough in any of these cheaper vacuums to make one an official Wirecutter pick, but we can point you toward a couple that might work.

But today, some cordless sticks are good enough to be the workhorse vacuum in a lot of homes, digging dust and grit out of thick rugs, keeping up with hairy pets, and packing enough battery life to handle sprawling square footage.

As a bonus, most modern cordless stick vacuums can also transform into handheld vacuums, for super-convenient above-floor cleaning (upholstery or ceiling cobwebs, for example) and car cleaning.

Plus, cordless vacuums tend to be easy to maintain. They’re almost all bagless, and they typically come with filters and brush belts that are meant to last the life of the vacuum. They also come apart in several key places, so clogs are easy to clear. A two-year warranty is the norm in the industry (though there are some exceptions).

Once you’ve gotten used to a cordless vacuum, it’s really hard to go back to using a plug-in. Part of me wishes I’d never tried the Dyson DC59 (later renamed the Dyson V6), widely regarded as the first cordless vacuum that could take the place of a plug-in, at least in an apartment. I can’t un-know how convenient sticks can be, so I’m doomed to feel like plug-ins are a pain. Realistically, I’m going to spend at least an extra $1,000 on vacuums over the next few decades than I would if I had just stuck with something sensible like a Shark Navigator plug-in.

Because cordless vacuums use batteries, they are much more expensive and less reliable than plug-ins.

The most common complaint we hear is that new cordless vacuum owners expected better suction or cleaning power for their money. If you’re used to a good plug-in vacuum, you’ll need to reset your expectations. Expect to pay about three times as much for comparable cleaning power: A $30 plug-in stick vacuum should work about as well as a $100 cordless vac, for example, while a great $150 corded upright should clean like an elite $500 battery-powered stick.

You should also expect a cordless vacuum to last about half as long as a comparable plug-in vacuum. There’s a growing body of evidence that a notable percentage of battery packs in vacuums (and other small appliances) go bad after just a few years, if not sooner. The packs are expensive to replace, and we’ve found that several brands do not reliably keep spares in stock, so sometimes the lesser of two bad choices is to just replace a vacuum that’s only a couple of years old. Plus, sticks are still prone to the same clogs, cracked plastic, and other mechanical failures as plug-in machines. So if you choose a cordless vacuum, you can expect to create more waste and pay extra in the long run.

If any of those downsides make you queasy, or if you live in a really big home (battery life is a limiting factor), have delicate flooring (cordless models tend not to come with gentle cleaning heads), or have severe allergies or asthma (bagged vacuums can help), you might want to consider another type of vacuum. We have recommendations of all kinds, for many different floors, budgets, and handling preferences. (Don’t forget about robot vacuums, which are even more convenient than cordless sticks and are often in the same price range.)

The heads of five of the cordless stick vacuums tested for this review.
Photo: Michael Hession

Plenty of cordless vacuums are (finally) good enough to be the primary vacuum cleaner in most homes.

Based on specs, owner and expert reviews, experience with older models from some brands, and reader requests, we’ve tested more than 25 models that are currently available, including the Bissell AirRam, Black+Decker Powerseries Extreme 20V Max, Dreame T20, Dyson V8 Absolute, Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal, Dyson V11 Outsize, Dyson V11 Torque Drive, Dyson V15 Detect, Dyson Omni-glide, Eufy HomeVac S11 Infinity, Eureka Stylus, Hoover OnePwr Evolve Pet, LG CordZero A9 (and the similar A9 Kompressor and the All in One Auto Empty), Lupe Pure Cordless, Miele Triflex HX1, Roborock H7, Ryobi One+ EverCharge, Samsung Jet 70, Shark Rocket Pet Pro, Shark Vertex IZ462, Tineco A10 Tango (we tested the A10 Master, a similar variant that is no longer available), Tineco Pure One S11, and a handful of others over the past couple of years.

Here’s how we evaluated them:

Cleaning ability

Carpet-cleaning performance is our main focus because it separates the just-fine vacuums from the really good ones. Plenty of cordless vacuums work well on short rugs with debris like crumbs, grit, and most hair. The real test is how a vacuum performs on longer, denser rugs, since most models struggle to dig out clingy debris (like dust or embedded hair) from these types of fibers.

Using different suction settings (when they’re available), we test how each vacuum performs on all types of rugs with several kinds of debris. The main tests we run measure performance on both a loose, low-pile rug and a dense, plush, medium-pile rug by weighing how much of a 45-gram mixed batch of sand and baking soda each vacuum can pick up.

But there’s nothing like a real-world mess, so I also let the rugs around my house (a mix of all types) get dirty for a few weeks (lots of long cat and human hair, plus toddler crumbs) before a big batch of testing. Then I try out the top performers from the first trials.

Bare-floor performance is important, too. Although most models completely clean uncarpeted surfaces after a few passes, not many grab everything on the first or second push. Snowplowing—when big debris, like Cheerios or mulch, gets pushed around by a low-riding cleaning head—is a common problem at every price. (Some models struggle with big debris even if you plop the cleaning head right on top of the mess.) Most sticks don’t have the option to turn off the brush roll, so they tend to scatter cat litter and similar debris (though there’s usually a workaround, such as attaching a special brush or just removing the cleaning head). It’s also hit-or-miss as to whether a model will reliably clean up powdery debris, particularly when the stuff is stuck in gaps between floorboards.

On bare floors, we test each stick to see how well it does with Cheerios, cat litter, and a thin layer of flour. We’ve found that a headlight really helps with the flour pickup in this test, as well as with other dusty debris and hair in general, simply because we can see it, so we’re less likely to accidentally skip over it.

In one of our carpet-cleaning tests, we smushed a pre-weighed mixture of red sand and baking soda (it’s still un-smushed in this photo, for demo purposes) into a couple of types of rugs and measured how much each vacuum was able to collect at different suction settings. Photo: Michael Hession

For what it’s worth, specs and measurements of raw power do not reliably tell you how well a vacuum works. We test most models’ suction with a specialized gauge and some models’ airflow with an anemometer. We also make a note of each model’s advertised cleaning power, typically displayed in kilopascals (a measurement of suction) or air watts (a blend of suction and airflow), though sometimes the vacuum’s motor wattage is the only spec available. All we’ve really learned is that you can’t count on any of these figures to tell you how effective a vacuum will be. More suction tends to help, but we’ve seen plenty of models with relatively weak suction (at least according to our tests) that pick up much more debris than models with stronger suction or airflow. Clearly, the brush roll and the cleaning head design play a huge part in cleaning performance, but we don’t know how to quantify their effect.

Comfort, convenience, and ease of use

Cordless vacuums tend to be lightweight, slim, and easy to steer, even in cramped areas. That’s a great thing for pretty much anyone in any home. It’s especially handy if you need to carry your vacuum between different levels (and to clean the stairs in between), or if you have a tight floor plan with a lot of walls and furniture (as many small apartments do). The lightest cordless sticks weigh just a few pounds, and even the beefiest models weigh only about as much as small plug-in uprights.

However, a lot of popular cordless sticks are top-heavy, with the bulk of the weight resting in your hand rather than near the floor. Most Dyson models in particular have long used trigger-style power switches that you need to squeeze constantly to keep the vacuum running. By the end of a long cleaning session, that combination can be uncomfortable for anyone, and it can be especially painful for people with chronic wrist, hand, or forearm pain.

Most cordless vacuums can’t stand up on their own and are prone to falling down when they aren’t in a wall-mounted dock or floor stand. Video: Michael Hession

The good news is that as of 2021 plenty of models have better weight distribution and standard toggle-type power switches. You can now buy a great cordless machine that’s relatively comfortable to handle, like the Tineco Pure One S11, if that’s your priority.

We pay close attention to how comfortable it is to clean with each vacuum; several of our picks rank among the easiest-to-handle models that also offer good cleaning performance for the price.

Other sources of delight or dismay that we look for: what it’s like to empty the dust bin; whether the vacuum can stand up on its own, in an included floor stand, or in a wall-mounted dock for storage; and the variety and usefulness of extra attachments that come with each vacuum.

Sufficient battery life

Our rule of thumb for cordless vacuum battery life: Take the square footage of your home and divide it by 50. That’s how many minutes you’ll need (give or take) to clean your whole place in a single session, including a quick pass over the upholstery and the occasional cobweb on the ceiling. So if your apartment is 1,150 square feet, for example, you’ll need about 23 minutes of battery life to clean it all in one go.

Most people rarely need even that much run time. Cordless vacuums are convenient enough that owners seem to get into the habit of cleaning in shorter bursts—maybe whenever they notice a mess, or in one or two rooms at a time—rather than doing a whole-house cleanup once a week.

You can get a vacuum with extra battery life if you want it, but it’s usually a value trap. The price of lithium batteries (which power most cordless vacuums) has fallen but is still high, and you can easily overpay for extra minutes you’ll rarely use. You can find some reasonably priced models with long run times, but they tend to be too weak to work well on rugs.

Most of the time, the advertised battery life is about the same as the real-life run time. We confirm this for each model by running the vacuum with no breaks on medium-pile carpet (these are the harshest conditions for a battery and should result in the shortest possible battery life).

You may find yourself trying to choose between built-in (or screw-in) battery packs and click-in (or swappable) battery packs. We don’t think the distinction is important for most people because, again, you probably won’t need as much battery life as you think you will.

But plenty of great models have click-in packs now, so you can opt for one of those (such as our top pick, the Tineco S11) if you’d like. Click-in packs give you the flexibility to extend the run time as long as you want and to charge packs separately from the vacuum. But there’s no guarantee that they’re easier to replace than built-in packs; we’ve found plenty of instances where spare click-in packs become unavailable within a year. (Contrary to popular belief, built-in packs are usually replaceable with the help of a screwdriver.)


This catch-all term includes day-to-day reliability, long-term durability, repairability, ease of maintenance, warranty coverage, and customer service.

Our take: Cordless vacuum cleaners, in general, are not long-lasting products. Our educated guess is that they might last five years, if you’re lucky, before an expensive or non-repairable part fails, and that’s if you keep up with the maintenance. Reliable stats about specific models or brands that are more prone to problems are still hard to come by (though it’s getting easier with each passing year). We try to look at owner ratings on Amazon and at other retailers to try to figure out if there are any obvious design flaws or quality-control issues—and we’ve even used a service called FindOurView to run an AI-assisted analysis of those customer reviews for some popular models—though it’s hard to spot obvious patterns until a vacuum has been out for a couple of years. Customer service is hit-or-miss across all brands, even when a model is under warranty.

On the plus side, basic maintenance tends to be simple, and you’ll rarely, if ever, have to replace consumable parts like filters or brush belts because they’re usually designed to last the life of the vacuum.

Our best guess is that you’ll get something like three to five years of good use out of a typical cordless vacuum (depending on how you use it) before you need to replace an expensive part like the battery or cleaning head.


This is not a major distinguishing factor in our picks. That’s partly because vacuums with poor filtration tend to be bad at a lot of other things a vacuum is supposed to do, but on top of that, restrictions due to the pandemic have mostly kept us out of our test space, which has air-quality-monitoring equipment. In the meantime, the filtration tests in Vacuum Wars’s video reviews are worth checking out. And in general, if you have serious allergies or asthma, the conventional wisdom is that you’re better off with a vacuum that collects debris in a self-sealing, disposable bag (or that uses water filtration).

Tineco Pure One S11 cordless vacuum resting on a chair with cushions.
Photo: Michael Hession

Our pick

Tineco Pure One S11

Comfy, well-rounded cleaner

The Tineco S11 is one of the lightest, most comfortable-to-use vacuums that also have enough cleaning power to work pretty well on most rugs (though it’s not quite the best we’ve tested). A unique dust sensor makes it easy for you to focus your efforts on areas that are actually dirty.

Buying Options

Nearly every stick vacuum we’ve tested has major flaws. The Tineco Pure One S11 also has plenty of flaws, but they’re all minor, and it isn’t bad at anything important. Maybe that’s the best we can hope for from such an imperfect (but inherently fun to use) category like cordless vacuum cleaners.

The S11’s best feature is its comfy handling, which is lighter and smoother than most—and doesn’t force you to keep squeezing a trigger to make it run, like a Dyson. The S11’s color-coded dust sensor, unique at this price, makes the most out of the vacuum’s cleaning ability and battery life by helping you focus your attention and effort on the parts of your floor that are actually dirty. The S11 is also a little better than most of its close competitors at getting dust and hair out of the most common styles of rugs, and it also works well on bare floors, without scattering debris. But if excellent cleaning performance is your top priority, you should look elsewhere, such as at a Dyson cordless model or even a plug-in vacuum.

On paper, the Tineco S11 weighs almost as much as the Dyson V8 and a load of other cordless stick vacuums around this price. But the Tineco simply feels lighter than other sticks while you’re using it. We think that’s partly because it has two big wheels on its cleaning head that help distribute the weight a bit, as well as better weight distribution in the main unit (the part you hold in your hand). Although it does have a trigger-style power switch, it also has a trigger lock so you don’t need to constantly squeeze the trigger while the vacuum works (as you do with most Dyson models). It all adds up to a comfier experience than you get with most sticks at this price, especially over longer cleaning sessions.

The dust sensor (or debris detector) is another useful feature that we haven’t seen on other vacuums at this price. (Our upgrade pick has it, but that’s a $700 vacuum.) On the S11’s main unit is a ring of LEDs that starts to change colors according to how much debris the vacuum collects at any given moment—when there’s more debris, more of the light ring turns from blue to red. It’s a satisfying visual cue for you to spend extra time on areas that you can’t tell are dirty by sight alone (as on some rugs) and to quickly move on from areas that are clean. And when the S11 senses a big mess, it automatically turns up the suction. We wrote in 2020 that it didn’t feel like a life-changing feature, but it has actually grown on us over time.

It was surprisingly hard to capture on video, but the ring of LEDs on the Tineco S11 changes color when the vacuum senses debris—more red means more debris. Video: Michael Hession

The S11 can be a decent cleaner, but it’s not a standout. It did well in most of our carpet-cleaning tests when it was running at maximum battery-draining suction, picking up a similar amount of sand and baking soda as the Dyson V8. However, in real-world testing, it failed to dig up nearly as much embedded hair and dust as the V8—particularly on its default, battery-saving suction setting, where it was notably weak. Even when the S11 did grab pet hair off the floor, the hair seemed more likely to get wrapped around the brush or jammed somewhere in the intake than with many other models.

Bare-floor cleaning was okay at best with the S11. The headlight does make it easier to spot small debris on bare floors that you might not otherwise notice from eye level. But the cleaning head tends to push around larger debris instead of sucking it up, and the default suction setting can struggle with moderately heavy debris like sand or cat litter—if the dust sensor doesn’t bump up the suction on its own, you’ll need to turn on the max suction manually.

Tineco cordless vacuums all come with a basic cleaning head for all surfaces (pictured), though some models also come with a soft-roller brush (not pictured), which is great on bare floors. Photo: Michael Hession

The Tineco S11 also uses a click-in, swappable battery pack, so the only limit on its run time is how much you’re willing to spend on spare batteries (though, as we’ve argued, extra battery life tends to be overrated). The S11 comes with a single pack that runs anywhere from 10 minutes on the highest suction setting with the cleaning head attached up to 40 minutes if you use the open wand or another non-motorized attachment and if the dust sensor never kicks the vacuum into higher gear. Realistically, you can probably expect 25 to 30 minutes of cleaning time on a single charge. Short battery life was the most common complaint we found in our analysis of customer reviews, but that’s true of nearly every cordless vacuum. Across the reviews we analyzed, the battery prematurely stopped holding a charge for about 2% of reviewers, which is better than average—way better than the 10% early failure rate for the Dyson V8. Spare batteries cost $90 from Tineco at this writing.

Tineco’s reputation is a bit of an unknown. It’s a sub-brand of EcoVacs, the biggest vacuum manufacturer in China (and therefore probably the world) and best known in the US for making some decent robot vacuums. According to publicly available import records (subscription required), EcoVacs has also manufactured vacuums for Shark (including newer versions of the beloved Navigator line of plug-ins) and Bissell. As enormous as its manufacturing operation is, its brand presence in the US is still relatively small, so we don’t know what to expect in terms of customer or product support. The company has done a better job in 2021 than in previous years of keeping spare parts in stock, but that’s a low bar. What we do know about EcoVacs’s product quality is nothing to get excited about—its robots tend to break within a couple of years.

Another flaw that doesn’t get mentioned in many customer reviews, but that we think is important, is that the S11’s foam pre-filter (tucked into the bottom of the dustbin door) gets dirty fast. We think this is because the S11 is designed with just a single cyclonic dust separator, so the filter has to do a lot of work capturing dust before the stuff flies through the motor—a lot more than filters do on vacuums with multiple cyclones (such as Dyson models and some others). It’s easy enough to clean the filter: Run it under water for a couple of minutes and let it dry on a windowsill for about a day. But it’s one more chore, and you’ll probably have to do it more frequently with this vacuum than with most others.

Tineco sticks have a trap-door-style dust bin, so if debris gets wedged between the sides and the center baffle, you’ll have to reach in and pull it out by hand. (Note: Pictured here is an older model of the Tineco Pure One S11. It’s now gray and black.) Video: Michael Hession

Other Tineco models worth considering

We’ve tested a handful of similar Tineco vacuums. We think any variant of the Pure One S11, including the standard set, the Spartan, or the Tango, has the best balance of performance and features for the price within the Tineco lineup. Here’s a cheat sheet of the variants’ relevant differences:

ModelTypical priceExtra features
Tineco Pure One S11$320 to $350Mini motorized brush, filter cleaning tool
Tineco Pure One S11 Spartan$250 to $300None
Tineco Pure One S11 Tango$330 to $400Mini motorized brush, bare-floor cleaning head

Some Tineco sticks outside of the S11 can be good options for the right price. If you can find the top-of-the-line S12 for $350, that’s worth it. It’s a marginally stronger cleaner than the S11, and its battery life is a little longer (10 minutes extra on default, about two minutes extra on high suction). It also has a built-in display with the remaining battery percentage and a few indicators that can help you troubleshoot problems such as a clog or tangle. Like the S11, the S12 comes in a few variants, with different sets of accessories.

We’d skip the base-model A10 and A11 vacuums from Tineco. We tested the A10 a few years ago and found it to be very weak, just not effective on rugs. The A11 is only marginally stronger. Neither model has a dust sensor, either.

The Pure One X often costs less than $200, and it does have a dust sensor, plus a much longer battery life than the S11 (up to 70 minutes). But the X’s advertised suction (80 air watts) is significantly weaker than the S11’s (130 air watts). Suction specs don’t mean much when you’re comparing the numbers across brands, but we’ve found that the figures are meaningful within a brand—so although we haven’t tested the X, we have to imagine that considering the S11’s solid but not excellent performance, the Pure One X would noticeably struggle to pick up more types of common debris. The Pure One X Tango variant does come with a second cleaning head that’s better suited for bare floors, thanks to a brush covered in microfiber. But you can find cheaper vacuums that work well on bare floors, so we don’t think the X Tango is a great value.

The Dyson V7 Motorhead shown resting on a box of records.
Photo: Michael Hession


Dyson V8 Absolute

Better on rugs, less comfy

The Dyson V8 is better than nearly all other cordless vacuums (besides other Dysons) at deep-cleaning rugs. Though the trigger-style power switch and built-in battery can be frustrating for some people, this vacuum has had excellent reviews from owners over many years. Try to wait for a sale, when it costs less than $400.

Buying Options

$400* from Dyson

Claim free tools w/purchase

*At the time of publishing, the price was $350.

Dyson’s entry-level sticks, including any variants from the V8 series, are the most affordable cordless vacuums with enough power to dig clingy dust and hair out of most rugs. Other vacuums offer more battery life, comfier handling, and better bare-floor pickup. And we found some evidence that the V8 in particular is less reliable than many other cordless vacuums. But if you think effective carpet cleaning is a vacuum’s most important job, a Dyson is the best option for your money.

Any Dyson model from the V8 line, including the Dyson V8 Absolute, the V8, and the V8 Animal, will work well on rugs. The main differences between the models are the combination of clip-in tools, accessories, and cleaning heads they come packaged with, including the Fluffy cleaning head for bare floors. The V8 Absolute and the V8 were also recently updated to include the same anti-tangle brush head feature found on our upgrade pick, the Dyson V15 Detect. (We also previously recommended the Dyson V7 series, which has been discontinued. It offered most of the the same benefits as the V8, so if you happen to find a model available at a great price, it’s worth considering too.)

In our controlled tests, the V8 sucked more sand and baking soda out of more kinds of rugs than other cordless vacuums at this price (and some pricier models, too), including popular sticks from brands like Bissell, Shark, and Tineco. It performed better on its lower-suction, battery-preserving setting than many (though not all) other vacuums did on their maximum-suction, battery-draining settings. On its Max setting, the V8 even outperformed some models that are significantly more expensive, too.

But the V8 really stood out in our real-world, around-the-house testing, where it consistently dredged up more hair and dust than its closest competitors. The difference was especially noticeable on thicker rugs, where it completely outclassed other sticks at this price (and many beyond it). We’re not sure why the Dyson V8 beat its competitors so soundly—its raw suction isn’t any stronger than that of most competitors—but the advantage was clear. What’s even more impressive is that we ran these tests with a heavily used unit, and it still beat a bunch of brand-new machines.

In 2022, the V8's Motobar cleaner head was updated, and a small cosmetic change was made to the color of the filtration cap. Specifically, the Motobar's nylon bristles were redesigned to more deeply clean rugs and carpets. The new Motobar head also features detangling vanes designed to clear snarled hair. We're currently testing the redesigned V8 and will update this guide with our findings.

Different variants of the Dyson V8 come with different clip-in tools. The motorized mini brush (shown here on the vacuum) comes with the Animal and Absolute variants, and it’s great for getting hair off upholstery. The soft-bristle brush (bottom right) comes with Absolute variants and is useful for dusting. The basic crevice tool (bottom left) comes with all variants and is widely useful. Photo: Michael Hession

Apart from the cleaning performance, the V8 is pretty typical of cordless vacuums at this price, with lightweight (but top-heavy) handling, enough battery life to clean most apartments or small houses in a single session (up to 1,500 square feet, give or take), and relatively easy maintenance (but not-so-great reliability).

The Dyson V8 models have a Transformer-like trap door for thoroughly emptying the dustbin, so you’ll rarely have to get your hands dirty. Video: Michael Hession

One of the most common complaints about Dyson stick vacuums, including the V8, concerns the trigger-style power switch. You need to squeeze it constantly to keep the machine running. That, combined with the top-heaviness, can make the vacuum pretty uncomfortable to use over longer cleaning sessions, especially if you have nagging wrist or hand pain anyway. Nearly all other current cordless vacuums have simpler on/off power toggles now. Sir James Dyson himself told us in an interview that the company will be moving away from the trigger-style power switches in future models. “The reason we did it was to save battery power,” Dyson said. “But people felt they had to press it hard. So we’re dropping it.” If you're interested in a button-operated Dyson, you could consider the V12 Detect Slim.

The V8 also uses built-in battery packs, so when the vacuum is out of juice, you’re done cleaning for a few hours. With regular suction you get about 35 minutes from the V8, and on max mode for thicker rugs you get eight minutes from the V8. Most people are perfectly comfortable with these run times, but if you want more battery life, you need to pick a different model. (To be clear, you can replace the built-in packs with the help of a screwdriver when they fail. Dyson’s official replacements are expensive and not always in stock, but that’s also true of most other reputable brands’ spare packs. Knockoffs are available, but buyer beware.)

Other potential annoyances include a dustbin that ejects debris like a mini T-shirt cannon (even if you aren’t quite aiming at the trash can) and can get creaky and hard to slide over time, customer service that’s generally good by industry standards but still occasionally has long hold times or clueless or evasive representatives, out-of-stock spare parts, and the vacuum’s inability to stand up on its own (though it does come with a wall-mountable charging dock, and third-party floor stands are available online).

Dyson sticks aren’t particularly durable, long-lasting, or affordable to repair. But there’s little evidence that other brands’ cordless vacs are much better. If you want a long-lasting vacuum that’s likely to give you more years of service for your money, your safest bet is to get a plug-in model.

However, the Dyson V8 in particular seems to be prone to battery failures within the first few years of ownership. In an AI-assisted analysis of Amazon customer reviews, we found that 10% of V8 owners claimed that their V8’s battery stopped holding a charge, versus just 3% of Tineco S11 owners.

We’d previously written that we doubted that Dyson’s reliability was really as bad relative to other brands as some sources had claimed, most notably Consumer Reports. Our objection was that Dyson looked worse than it deserved because CR had lumped the data for cordless stick vacs and plug-in stick vacs into the same pool. Since Dyson’s sticks are exclusively cordless, the company had a huge disadvantage against brands that sold a mix of styles or exclusively plug-in models. Cordless vacuums are inherently less reliable but much more convenient than plug-in stick vacuums, and we’d argue that the two kinds shouldn’t be compared with one another directly. A spokesperson from CR even told us in early 2020: “When we looked at the raw problem rates of Dyson vs. cord-free stick vacuums in general, it appeared that Dyson wasn’t more problematic than cord-free vacuums made by other brands.” CR later updated the way that it rates cordless vacuums, and Dyson no longer looks like such a loser. All that said, now that we’ve done a thorough analysis of customer reviews, it sure looks like the Dyson V8 has a higher rate of premature battery failure than the average cordless vacuum. Now we know.

Jasmine Khoury, a software engineer at Wirecutter, reports that her V8’s battery stopped holding a charge after about four months. She reached out to Dyson’s customer service, and they sent her a new battery with detailed instructions on how to replace it, as well as with the recommendation to empty out the dust bin after every use to avoid this problem happening again. (A Dyson engineer we spoke with said that having a full dust bin or clogged filters can make the vacuum work harder, which can shorten the battery’s lifespan, but that the bin being full doesn’t otherwise affect the battery.) She hasn’t had any issues with the new battery in the year-plus since she installed it.

Many user reviews mention that after a couple of years of use, their V8 will no longer run on Max for more than a minute or two (and several Wirecutter staffers have had the same experience; see below). We’ve read several reviews that say that when they were provided with a replacement battery, customer service recommended not using Max power, since that can shorten battery life. We asked Dyson about this recommendation via email, and the communications manager for floor care at the company replied, “For V8 specifically, we recommend Powerful Mode for longer, everyday cleaning. For particularly dirty areas or for deep cleans, MAX Mode is recommended. While modes vary by machine, most everyday cleaning can be tackled in the lower power modes or in auto mode, which will help conserve battery life.”

A Dyson cordless vacuum in someone's home.
Photo: Michael Hession

A number of Wirecutter staffers own the Dyson V8. Senior editor Erica Ogg has owned hers for three years and uses it daily to clear out Cheerios from under the kitchen table, as well as several times weekly to clean hardwood and carpet. Michael Hession, head of photo and video, has had his V8 for four years: “I bang that thing around, drop it often, and it has withstood all abuse.” Both of them love the vacuum but note that the Max setting now runs for only a minute or two.

The Black+Decker PowerSeries Extreme shown against a box of records.
Photo: Michael Hession

Budget pick

Black+Decker Powerseries Extreme 20V Max

Carpet cleaning for less

We haven’t found another cordless vacuum for less than $200 that cleans carpets as well as this Black+Decker. Another plus: It uses common, affordable Max batteries, which are interchangeable with loads of other Black+Decker power tools. The dustbin is a pain, though.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $179.

If you want to spend as little as possible on a cordless vacuum that’s good at cleaning rugs, and you’re willing to tolerate an inconvenient design, check out the Black+Decker Powerseries Extreme 20V Max. It comes in two variants: The standard blue version, which we tested, and the pricier Pet version, which is purple and comes with a slightly larger bin and an attachment to suck hair off upholstery but is otherwise the same.

This Black+Decker is a surprisingly adept carpet cleaner for the price. In our tests, it actually sucked up about the same amount of gritty debris as the Dyson V7 (though not nearly as much pet hair and hardly any fine dust), and it beat out many models that cost much more. We’re really not sure why it worked so well, because we measured relatively weak suction. It must be something about the cleaning head, which felt like it gripped the floor in a way that’s uncommon among cordless vacuums—and totally unique at this price. The downside is that the Black+Decker works just okay on bare floors, where it struggles with debris that’s very heavy (mulch) or very light (flour). But the Black+Decker is also one of the minority of stick vacs that let you shut off the brush roll so that it doesn’t scatter hard debris like cat litter. It also has a headlight, which is always helpful for spotting fine debris, though this lamp isn’t very bright.

Although the Black+Decker PowerSeries Extreme doesn’t seem to have much suction, the cleaning head feels like it hugs the ground in a way that’s uncommon among stick vacuums, and this helps it perform unusually well for the price. Photo: Michael Hession

Even though the Powerseries Extreme’s battery has a slightly below-average run time (12 minutes on the maximum suction setting and about 20 on the middle setting), it’s noteworthy because it’s the same battery that many Black+Decker power tools use. If you’ve already bought into that system, you might have some spares lying around. If you like the idea of buying an entire battery-powered system of household tools and appliances, maybe this is an attractive feature. (Wirecutter’s resident tool expert, senior staff writer Doug Mahoney, warns that Black+Decker tools “are not great” and “pretty flimsy,” so take that for what it’s worth.) At the very least, it means plenty of spare batteries should be available for several years.

The low point is the awful dustbin, which falls off too easily if you bump it. In our tests, we always struggled to reattach it because it offered no tactile cues for where to line it up and no audible click when it slotted into place. It’s not a trap-door-style bin, either, so you need to pull off the filter by hand (often getting dusty in the process) to dump it out.

The trap-door bin on the Powerseries Extreme is easy enough to empty, but that’s the only good thing about it. Video: Michael Hession

We are cautiously optimistic about this Black+Decker’s reliability, at least relative to the sorry standards of other cordless vacuums. It’s been available for more than a year at this point, and our analysis of customer reviews did not turn up any evidence of widespread defects or design problems (apart from the obnoxious dustbin).

Our Upgrade pick for best cordless stick vacuum the Dyson V15 Detect.
Photo: Michael Hession

Upgrade pick

Dyson V15 Detect

Exceptional cleaning, clever features

If you want a cordless vacuum that fully replaces a plug-in, a high-end Dyson is as close as it gets. The Dyson V15 is actually better than lots of plug-in vacuums at cleaning rugs. Owners love the auto-adjusting suction.

Buying Options

$740 from Walmart

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $750.

If you’re willing to throw down the cash for a machine that cleans better than any cordless (and many plug-in) vacuums from any other brand we’ve tested, upgrade to a higher-end Dyson model. These vacuums, including the V15 Detect, are fantastic cleaners. For cleaning rugs, they’re the category leaders by a mile. They work well on bare floors, too, and the V15 is especially great when equipped with its soft-roller, laser-lit cleaning head. The battery life is ample, thanks in part to an automatic suction-adjustment feature. And some variants have extras that are also useful, such as a real-time countdown of the remaining battery life.

In our around-the-house testing, the V15 picked up an astounding amount of fine dust and hair from rugs, even after we’d already cleaned those rugs with other vacuums. The V15 is the only cordless vacuums we’ve tested that dredge up any noticeable amount of super-fine, flaky, or powdery debris from carpets—the sort of dross that you don’t know is hiding there (until you suck it out with a great vacuum) but slowly turns your rugs dingy over time.

The V15 Detect is so strong that it essentially defeated our controlled rug-cleaning tests. On its middle (Auto) power and cleaning-head settings, the V15 Detect picked up nearly all of the sand and baking soda that we’d laid out on both a low-pile rug (98%) and, more impressively, a dense, medium-pile rug (96%). Very few cordless vacuums can clean that well even on their highest power settings, and none even come close on their lower settings. When we cranked it up to its top power setting, the V15 managed to pick up a full 100% of the debris we’d laid out on both types of rugs.

Another useful feature on the V15 is Auto mode, which automatically adjusts the suction level depending on the situation to maximize the cleaning ability while preserving battery life when possible. For the V15, the suction automatically changes depending on the floor type, using a brush-resistance sensor, as well as on how dirty an area is, based on what the built-in particle counter finds (more on that feature in a bit). The carpet-cleaning head also has adjustable “gates,” which give you a little more control over the cleaning performance. You can close the gates to increase the cleaning power, open them to allow big debris like breakfast cereal under the head (preventing snowplowing), or set them in between.

The battery life for the V15 is ample, anywhere from nine to 60 minutes depending on the power setting but typically around 30 to 40 minutes on Auto mode. Plenty of other cordless vacuums have similar or even longer run times, but they aren’t as powerful as this Dyson model, so it’s an imperfect comparison. The V15 model also uses swappable, click-in batteries, so you can buy spare packs to extend the run time if you think you’ll need it. (That’s a change from previous Dyson models.) The packs are $140 each, though cheaper knockoffs are now available if you’re willing to risk it. Our advice: Give yourself a few weeks with the single pack before you splurge on a spare—you’ll probably be satisfied with just one.

The other feature that makes it a true pleasure to use the V15 and a few other high-end variants is the LCD screen. The screen is useful mostly because it provides a real-time battery-life countdown, which eases the “range anxiety” of worrying about how much time you have left to clean, as well as the rushed feeling that accompanies that uncertainty. The LCD can also display animated maintenance reminders and troubleshooting tips, a feature we haven’t seen on any other vacuums.

In addition to its impressive cleaning power, solid battery life, and LCD screen, the V15 has a handful of extra features that are easily worth the money, at least for some people. Its carpet-cleaning head comes with an anti-tangle comb. That comb is nothing sophisticated—just some rough plastic teeth at the back of the head—but it passively shreds any hair that gets tangled around the roller, so you shouldn’t have to cut the hair away by hand as often. After six weeks of steady testing, we found no tangles on this brush.

The carpet-cleaning heads that come with the V15 have adjustable “gates.” You can set the gate to the open (or “minus”) position (pictured) so that larger debris can pass under the head without getting snowplowed; to the closed (or “plus”) position to maximize the airflow, which is especially useful for deep-cleaning carpets; or to an in-between setting. Photo: Michael Hession

And then there’s the Fluffy head. It makes the V15 excellent on bare floors, rather than merely “very good,” as it would be with the default carpet-cleaning head. The roller is covered in soft microfiber fabric, which is great for a couple of reasons: The microfiber helps the head glide smoothly across wood and tile and linoleum and other hard surfaces, and it’s also better at reliably grabbing the kinds of debris that the stiff-bristled carpet-cleaning head can struggle with. Fine, clingy dust is one example. Pebbly debris like cat litter is another, as is large, snowplowable debris like Fruit Loops.

Dyson has made a version of the Fluffy head for a half decade (and plenty of other brands have copied it). A Fluffy comes packaged with some V7 and V8 models, and it will work with the V10 and V11 if you purchase the head separately. But the Fluffy that comes with the V15 is a souped-up version of the old design; it’s one of the lowest-profile cleaning heads we’ve used, which helps it sneak under shelves and other furniture.

The V15 Fluffy also has a headlight—a green laser headlight. Headlights are always useful on a vacuum because they can reveal dust and hair that you simply can’t spot with the naked eye in normal lighting. They guide your path, showing what areas you still need to clean and reassuring you that the vacuum is actually picking up debris. Usually headlights are just a strip of white LEDs, and they work great. Does the Fluffy’s headlight really need to be a laser? In typical Dyson fashion, it’s part flashy gimmick, part actual innovation. The laser really does do a better job of illuminating debris in brighter rooms and on lighter-colored floors than the LED headlights we’ve used. A Dyson representative also told us that since lasers are more compact than LEDs, that allowed its engineers to fit this type of light into the Fluffy’s low-profile chassis, as well as to situate it very low to the ground, at a shallow angle, diffused widely, so the light glistens off more fine debris.

The V15 Fluffy head's laser headlight.
The V15 and the V12 Fluffy head has a laser headlight, which is excellent at illuminating all the dust and hair (and other imperfections) on your floors, to guide your cleaning path. Photo: Michael Hession

The laser is a bit over the top, but we can’t think of any major downsides compared with a standard LED headlight. One nitpick is that it’s almost too good at lighting up the floor—not just debris but also un-vacuumable, irritating flaws, like scratches and dents and uneven boards, that you might prefer not to know about. The laser’s shade of cyberpunk green might look odd or uninviting to some people, too. Dyson reps told us that the engineers tested other colors but found that green did the best job of highlighting debris.

One downside to the Fluffy head is that it is not effective on rugs—it was terrible in our tests in that regard—but that’s not what it’s meant for. Another is that you have to manually switch between the heads. It’s not complicated: You just press a big red button to release one and then slide the new head in until it clicks (just like switching attachments). But it’s not elegant, either, since you need to store both heads separately, remember where you keep them, and crouch and fumble to switch them out. (Vacuums from Lupe, Shark, and some other brands avoid the awkward swapping by equipping their cleaning heads with both a soft-fabric roller and a stiff-bristle roller in the same chassis, and it works. But the trade-off is that they’re awkwardly bulky.)

Then there’s the V15’s chief gimmick, the particle counter. Plenty of vacuums have a dust-sensor feature, including the Tineco Pure One S11 (our top pick), and we think it’s genuinely useful because it helps you focus your efforts on dirty areas while not wasting the battery on clean spots.

But Dyson took this good idea way over the top. The V15 not only senses dust and adjusts the suction accordingly—it also estimates the exact number of particles that it’s collecting, broken down into several different sizes (as small as 10 microns, which is a fraction of the width of a human hair) and displayed in a bar graph above the battery-life estimate on the LCD. The particle counter is a cool engineering project, but we don’t know what it really accomplishes in a vacuum cleaner. For one, it’s really hard to verify whether it’s counting accurately (though Wirecutter’s resident air-quality expert and particle-counter user, senior staff writer Tim Heffernan, said he’s willing to believe that it’s reasonably accurate). But even if it’s not, who cares? How important is it to know that you’ve collected 800,000,000 super-tiny particles and 1,500,000 medium-tiny particles? Do you feel cleaner when you can quantify your filth? Isn’t that what the clear bin is for?

At best, the particle counter is more information for the kind of people who like to count and track everything. (I still don’t know what you’d actually do with this info.) Most people will probably ignore it most of the time once the novelty has worn off. At worst, it could be a source of disgust or stress for people who don’t want to know how many hundreds of thousands of dust mite eggs they’ve just collected or who might drive themselves batty hunting down the last 10,000 pollen spores that may be hiding on a bookshelf.

The LCD screen available on the V15 Detect and some of the V11 Torque Drive and Outsize variants.
The LCD screen on the V15 Detect (and on the V12 Detect Slim, and some V11 Torque Drive and Outsize variants) provides genuinely useful info such as animated maintenance reminders and troubleshooting tips, as well as a real-time, range-anxiety-reducing readout of how much battery life is left. The V15 display (pictured) adds a bar graph with the estimated number of particles the vacuum has sucked up in a cleaning session, grouped by size. Photo: Michael Hession

The first time I personally used the V15, I was astounded to learn from this vacuum that my bedroom, which a Roomba had cleaned the day before, could contain 300,000,000 of anything, especially since the dustbin appeared to be mostly empty when I was finished. The next few times I used the V15, I treated the particle count like a video game, trying to find every nook and crevice to jam the vacuum into so I could try to beat my high score. One time I caught 1.2 billion tiny particles, sick! Another time, the brush jammed on a small rug about halfway through my session (it can happen with any vacuum), and the particle count got reset, all of my work erased, you’ve got to be kidding me. I stopped paying attention at all after about a month. (No, I haven’t used it to test how well other vacuum cleaners work—yet.)

We’ve established that these Dyson vacuums are impressive, so what’s the downside? The main one is that the V15 is an exceptionally expensive vacuum cleaners. And there’s no sign that it’ll be more durable than other, more affordable cordless vacuums, let alone plug-in vacuums that clean just as well but cost many hundreds of dollars less.

Also, like the cheaper Dyson sticks, the V15 is top-heavy and uses a trigger-style power switch, which you need to squeeze constantly. The switch can be uncomfortable to use for long sessions. (That said, we think the V15 is actually more comfortable than the cheaper Dyson models because its trigger doesn’t need to be squeezed so hard and its overall weight distribution is better.) The V15’s extra bulk and wide snout also make it unwieldy as a handheld vacuum—it can’t reach into super-tight spaces very well.

Other high-end Dyson models worth considering

Dyson makes a bunch of variations of these high-end models. Most recently, the company released the V12 Detect Slim, a slimmer and lighter version than its predecessors. The V12 has many of the features we liked in the V15, but at a lower price. It takes an hour less to charge and runs for 20 minutes longer than the V8 Absolute, and comes with more accessories, including a cleaner head that lights up dirt in hard-to-see areas and a display with a run-time countdown and (gimmicky) particle counter. Most importantly maybe for some, it has a button, as opposed to a trigger. ,We haven’t put the V12 through extensive tests yet, but it seemed promising during its first, eight-hour test run. We’ll spend more time testing the V12 and comparing it to other Dyson models, and cordless stick vacuums from other companies, so stay tuned.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how to tell them apart.

ModelTypical priceKey features
V15 Detect$700Dust sensor, bare-floor laser head, battery timer
V11 Torque Drive (limited retailers)$700Battery timer
Outsize$800Two batteries, battery timer, XL bin, extra-wide brush
Outsize Absolute+$900Two batteries, battery timer, XL bin, extra-wide brush, bare-floor laser head
V12 Detect Slim$500Laser Slim Fluffy cleaner head, dust sensor, battery timer, button

Each of these variants comes with slightly different sets of clip-on tools, but they always include a crevice tool, a bristled brush, and a motorized brush for vacuuming carpeted stairs and upholstery.

We’ve tested the Outsize, and we’ve found its larger bin and brush to be a little unwieldy, but the owner ratings are plentiful and excellent, so there must be an audience for it.

The V11 Animal was previously an upgrade pick, but Dyson has discontinued it, and the V11 Torque Drive has limited availability.

You might also consider the older Dyson Cyclone V10, with caveats. This model doesn’t clean quite as well as the V15, nor does it have Auto mode, but it’s still a stronger vacuum than anything else at its price. Dyson told us that the V10 Animal is part of the “core” lineup for 2022, should be consistently available through most retailers, and normally costs $500. We’ve seen other variants for as little as $350 on sale, so keep an eye out for deals. However, judging from our AI-assisted analysis of customer reviews, it looks like the V10’s battery is much more likely to fail within a few years than those of many other cordless vacuums: Around 15% of Amazon customers—the highest rate among the 13 vacuums whose reviews we analyzed—cited this problem.

LG CordZero

We nearly made the cheapest version of the LG CordZero the runner-up pick in this guide, and buying this vacuum instead of a Tineco S11 or a Dyson V8 is a reasonable choice. The LG CordZero isn’t as lightweight or smooth-steering as the Tineco S11, but it does have noticeably stronger suction. On the other hand, this LG model’s regular on/off power toggle is much more comfortable than the Dyson V8’s, but this vacuum doesn’t clean rugs quite as well. The low-end CordZero A9 is an in-betweener option, and a great fit for some people. The main weakness is that it snowplows more types of big debris on bare floors—even cat litter, to some extent—than most stick vacuums.

According to our analysis of customer reviews, the CordZero also seems to be a reasonably reliable cordless vacuum. And LG appears to keep spare parts (including batteries) in stock, for non-ridiculous prices.

We had written off the CordZero in previous versions of this guide as an overpriced Dyson wannabe. But the price has fallen so sharply for the base model that it’s a much better choice now.

LG sells loads of CordZero variants, but the higher-end options aren’t as compelling as the low-end versions that we like. They are all essentially the same vacuum with the same cleaning power. The pricier models just include extra accessories like spare batteries (which you probably won’t need, given the generous run time of a single pack) or even a huge floor stand that stores tons of tools and can automatically empty the vacuum bin (sort of like the newly popular auto-emptying docks for robot vacuums). We tested that top-of-the-line, floor-stand All in One Auto Empty model, and although it’s impressively convenient, the eye-watering $1,000 price tag is hard to get past, especially when its cleaning power is only as strong as that of the $280 version of the CordZero.

Miele Triflex HX1

The Miele Triflex HX1 was an upgrade pick in this guide from late 2020 through late 2021, but we had to demote it because we identified in customer reviews a high rate of battery defects and a pattern of poor customer service.

We still think the Triflex is a wonderful vacuum in a lot of important ways. Its best quality is the comfort—no other cordless vacuum beats the handling. You can convert it between two different body styles by rearranging the order in which the parts fit together (no tools needed). In its traditional upright configuration, the Triflex is the most balanced, comfortable, sturdy-feeling cordless vac we’ve ever used. (The modern stick-style configuration is fine, too, and it can also separate into a Dustbuster-like handheld vac.) It hugs the ground in a way we haven’t experienced with almost any other battery-powered machine. The cleaning performance was also excellent in our tests: It wasn’t quite as effective as the top-of-the-line Dyson models at digging fine dust out of thick carpets, but it was better than nearly all other models, and it did an excellent job on bare floors (without our having to switch to a specialty cleaning head as on most cordless vacuums). The only major downside we could glean from our initial testing was the small, hard-to-use dustbin.

We had hoped that Miele’s generally excellent reputation for appliance reliability would mean that the Triflex would be one of the most reliable cordless vacuums out there. It’s still possible that the Triflex units with non-defective battery packs will prove to be longer-lasting than a typical stick vac. But we don’t know if that’s a realistic prediction anymore.

The Miele Triflex HX1 shown upright.
The Miele Triflex HX1 is an exceptional cleaner that’s comfortable to use. But we learned that its battery packs seem to be prone to defects, and that Miele’s customer service for this model is substandard. Photo: Michael Hession

If you’re still interested in the Triflex, three versions are available: The basic model comes with one battery and no headlight, the Cat & Dog model comes with a mini turbo brush for upholstery and special odor-reducing filters, and the Pro model comes with two battery packs and extra tools. (One battery pack lasts anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the power setting and whether the brush is attached. Spare packs are a whopping $160 each.)

Lupe Pure Cordless

The Lupe Pure Cordless is billed as a strong, long-lasting cordless vacuum that will allow you to continually replace parts over time instead of chucking the whole machine when a single part fails. (It began as a Kickstarter project by some former Dyson engineers, and it actually came to fruition—good for them.) We’ll have to wait and see whether that proves to be true. It certainly feels like a sturdy vacuum, but we don’t have any solid evidence that it’ll be longer-lasting than other expensive cordless vacuums we’ve tested.

We asked representatives of Lupe to describe why its vacuum is more durable, and they didn’t provide any specific details that we found convincing. Lupe does have an extensive list of spare parts available for sale on its website, though the list doesn’t currently include spare motors or control boards, which are the parts that could do the most to extend the lifespan of the vacuum. (The Lupe reps told us that the company would sell replacements for those parts and provide installation instructions upon request, though they “don’t currently anticipate demand” for those components.) Lupe is making big promises and charging a lot of money for this vacuum, but if you want to support the mission, go for it—innovation sometimes requires early adopters to take a gamble on an unproven product.

As for the basics, the Lupe Pure Cordless is actually the most powerful bare-floor cleaner we’ve tested, thanks to very strong suction and an unusual dual-roller head design. We found that it’s excellent on carpets, as well, though not on the level of the (less expensive) Dyson V15. It can’t convert into a handheld vacuum, but it does have a flexible hose that mostly accomplishes the same thing. The big downside is the handling: It’s heavy and a little hard to steer compared with most cordless stick vacs, and it tends to jam on area rugs that other sticks have no problem with.

Shark Vertex

The Shark Rocket lineup was thoroughly mediocre in our testing, but the new Shark Vertex IZ462 is worth a look if you frequently need to suck up large debris (think yard waste or breakfast cereal) alongside your regular rug-cleaning routine. Its carpet performance is respectable for a vacuum with such magnet-like prowess on bare floors—a great compromise for people who really need both, in other words. We don’t recommend it for a wide audience because our analysis of customer reviews suggests that very few people really want this kind of floor-carpet balance in their vacuum’s cleaning performance. (Owners are much more likely to comment on a vacuum’s carpet-cleaning performance, we found.) The Vertex is also noticeably heavier than the Tineco or Dyson models we recommend, and the mechanism that locks the vacuum into the upright position didn’t always click into place for us, giving the vacuum a bit of a cheap feel. (For those who might be keeping track: This is an updated version of the Shark Ion F80, which we recommended in this guide a few years ago.)

Cheap vacuums

I’d like to begin this section by taking a moment to remember the Hoover Linx, Wirecutter’s first ever pick for the best cordless vacuum in 2014 and a budget pick for many years until it finally disappeared from stores in fall 2021. Despite its modest suction and short battery life by the standards of the past few years, it was unusually sturdy for a battery-powered appliance. That alone is why we continued to recommend it for people who wanted something not too expensive for quick cleanups. Thanks for the memories!

Unfortunately we aren’t confident enough to pick a direct replacement for the Linx. Here’s what we can tell you, though:

All the cordless vacuums we’ve tried have been strong enough to suck up small crumbs and tufts of hair off bare floors, at least when they’re new. But we don’t know which ones will continue to perform well over time. Most models in the range of $150 haven’t been out long enough for us to know one way or the other, and those that have been out for a while don’t have as good of a track record as the Linx did.

We can give you two options that we feel the best about:

The first is the Hoover OnePwr Evolve Pet, which is sort of an updated version of the Linx available for a similar price ($150-ish). It had respectably strong suction in our tests and worked okay on rugs, but not nearly as well as the Black+Decker Powerseries Extreme that we recommend. And like the Black+Decker, this Hoover model is a snowplower on bare floors. The traditional self-standing design is easy to steer and store. Hoover has switched most of its lineup, including the Evolve, to a unified battery pack system, so finding replacement batteries should be easy for at least the next few years, and they’re reasonably priced, too. Unfortunately, the rate of battery pack failure is uncomfortably high, according to our AI-assisted analysis of customer reviews—about 10% of owners cited that as a problem, and the vacuum has been out for only about 18 months at this writing, so that isn’t a great sign.

The second is the Shark Navigator Freestyle. This model has a long track record of okay reliability, but its suction is weak. One of the most common complaints from owners is that it tends to get jammed with fur (though that should be a problem only if you have a really hairy pet). The Shark Freestyle doesn’t work very well on rugs at all, but at least it doesn’t snowplow on bare floors as badly as the Black+Decker Powerseries Extreme or Hoover OnePwr Evolve.

What about all those cheap sticks on Amazon? You might be reasonably happy with one when it’s brand-new, but we’re confident that none of them will last, so we’ve decided not to waste any more of anybody’s time trying to figure out which $100 Dyson knockoff might pick up a few extra grains of sand before it heads to the landfill in a year.

We did try a couple of the cheapest, best-selling models from Amazon back in 2020, sold under the Aposen and Moosoo names. Those vacuums worked okay on bare floors but felt super cheap, with creaky construction and parts that sometimes didn’t fit together quite right.

To give you an idea of the kinds of brands behind these super-cheap vacuums: Both the Aposen and Moosoo brands vanished from Amazon in 2021 after the retailer’s crackdown on fraudulent customer reviews, along with half of the other cheap-stick brands we were tracking, including Deik, Geemo, Isiler, Onson, and Vanergy. But new names like Inse, Nequare, Toppin, and Wowgo have popped up to take their place, often selling vacuums that look suspiciously similar to the ones sold by the blacklisted brands. We did some digging into their origins, and most of these brands have almost no traceable presence outside of Amazon and maybe a sloppy-looking brand site. We spoke to Denny You, a vacuum-industry blogger and founder of floor-care manufacturer Glorison, who told us that brands like Aposen or Moosoo usually don’t manufacture the vacuums themselves; instead, they simply pick vacuums made by one of dozens of small vacuum manufacturers around Shenzhen or Shanghai. Lucas Lappe, the head of product for design firm Doris Dev, told us that his company often works with small factories in these regions and has found that it’s common for many manufacturers within a category to use many of the same components in their products—the Aposen and Moosoo vacuums, for example, use the same cleaning head. So with all that in mind, we don’t think there are any diamonds in the rough to be found at this price.

The rest

Roborock (which makes some of our favorite robot vacuums) makes a strong, comfortable-to-use, somewhat overpriced cordless stick vacuum, the H7. (We also tested its predecessor, the H6, a couple of years ago.) It’s particularly great on rugs, landing between the Dyson V8 and V11 in our test results. The unusual part here is the battery: It’s a polymer “soft pack” that offers as much run time as on most competing models but is less bulky. And if you want, you can swap out the H7’s cyclonic filter and pop in a vacuum bag instead for easier dirt disposal. We found that using the bag chokes the suction a bit but otherwise seems to work well—you’ll just have to replace the tiny bags pretty frequently. We like the Roborock H7 vacuum a lot, but we’re not ready to recommend it because we have no idea how durable it will be: Soft-pack batteries do not have a track record in vacuum cleaners yet. A Roborock representative also told us that the company doesn’t yet have plans to sell replacement batteries and expects owners to move on to a new vacuum every three years or so.

Samsung isn’t known for its vacuums in North America, but it released a slew of new cordless stick vacs in 2021. We tested the Jet 70 and found that it was just okay, really nothing special among a crowded field. In our tests it was a decent carpet cleaner, though not quite as strong as the similarly priced Tineco S11 or Dyson V8. It was also the worst snowplower we tested on bare floors—it pushed around more types of debris without sucking the stuff up than the other models we tested. Spare parts for the Jet 70 and other Samsung Jet sticks are also more expensive than other brands’ spares—even Dyson’s. Samsung sells a few other variants of the Jet sticks, but the main differences are the suction levels and accessory kits. Of note, the Jet 90 will work with an optional accessory (usually $200) that empties the vacuum on its own, though we have not tested it.

Dreame, a newish vacuum brand, makes a few vacuums with similar specs and at similar prices to those of our main picks, so we tested the midrange Dreame T20 to see how it stacks up. The T20 is rather ordinary, with decent performance but a worrying rate of defects according to our analysis of customer reviews. The electrical wiring that runs through the wand, to connect the cleaning head to the main vacuum unit, seems like it wears out much more frequently than on other vacuums.

Dyson makes a couple of models that aren’t very compelling. The Dyson Omni-glide is meant to be a nimble vacuum designed for cleaning bare floors. We cover it in greater depth in our guide to hard-floor vacuums, but in a nutshell, we just didn’t find it to be very comfortable to use or very good at cleaning bare floors.

We tried the Hoover OnePwr Blade+, which worked great on short rugs and did a solid job of getting heavy debris out of thicker rugs, especially considering the price. The main downside is that it snowplows big debris like nobody’s business. Also, the Blade+ is awkwardly top-heavy, and this vacuum (like the OnePwr Evolve, which we covered above) has a lot more negative reviews about battery failures than we expect to see. Hoover makes a bunch of other vacuums in the OnePwr series that we may test in the future, though nothing jumps off the page as an obvious challenger for any of our picks.

We tested the Bissell AirRam a few years ago. It has good ratings from several other publications that test and review vacuums, but we didn’t find it to be outstanding on either bare floors or carpets. It doesn’t convert to a handheld vacuum, and the handling is stiff—though not top-heavy, as with most other cordless sticks.

The expensive Bissell ICONpet Pro (now discontinued) was just okay on rugs and not great on bare floors. It also felt heavier in the hand than most models and was otherwise unremarkable. The regular ICONpet is much more affordable but still isn’t anything special for the price.

On rugs and bare floors, the Eureka Stylus performed below average for the price. The loop-style handle and light body weight were pretty comfortable to us. But otherwise there’s no compelling reason to pick this vacuum over its countless competitors in the $200 price range.

We like a lot of Eufy products, but not the HomeVac S11 Infinity. It’s priced like a Dyson but cleans like a cheap vacuum. It could be worth a look if Eufy cuts the price to $150.

Tacony makes cordless vacuums under its Simplicity and Riccar labels, but none of them are standouts. The most impressive is the Simplicity Cordless Freedom, at $700. But it can’t convert into a handheld vacuum, and it lacks a hose, offers less suction, has a less-aggressive brush roll, and is heavier and harder to steer than the Dyson V11 Torque Drive.

Several brands that sell cordless power tools also sell stick vacuums that use the same battery packs. Results vary. Black+Decker’s offering is good enough to be one of our budget picks, for example. On the other hand, the Ryobi One+ EverCharge is one of our least-favorite stick vacuums we’ve ever used, with terrible top-heavy handling and mediocre cleaning performance. We know of about a half-dozen others, and we may take a closer look at some of them someday. In the meantime, we’ll put it this way: They’re all likely to work okay in most cases, but the best vacuums tend to come from brands that focus on vacuums rather than on power tools.

You can sometimes find a good discount on gently used vacuums that have been reconditioned to work just as well as a brand-new one. We keep an eye out for notable deals on such models, and generally we recommend only those units that have been refurbished by the manufacturer (unless they come from sellers we’ve found to be reliable), have a minimum 90-day warranty, and can be returned for free (we’ve written elsewhere about our criteria for refurbished products in general). Although some refurbished vacs are available only from the manufacturer, many companies also sell them through storefronts on Amazon, eBay, or Newegg.

To see whether reconditioned vacuums are worth seeking out, we asked the manufacturers of some of our picks how they handle refurbished models.

Dyson takes models returned by retailers and customers, inspects them, and then disassembles them into sub-components. A representative of Dyson’s US-based Reliability & Engineering Team told us that some items are immediately disqualified if they are too old or in poor condition, while others are passed on to the refurbishment line. From there, each part is cleaned, tested, and inspected. Minor defects are repaired, and parts are replaced as needed, including batteries that fail Dyson’s testing. The unit is tested and inspected again after reassembly. Dyson sells its refurbs through the Dyson Outlet as well as through its eBay storefront and at retailers like Walmart, and all refurbished units come with either a six-month or one-year warranty depending on the item.

A Tineco representative told us that the company “is working on a refurbishment effort,” but that it’s limited right now.

Miele refurbishes vacuums and sells those units through the company’s dealers only, not directly to individual buyers through Miele itself nor online through Miele or its dealers. (The Triflex is still pretty new, so we wouldn’t expect to see too many refurbished units out in the world yet.)

The battery is the most delicate and expensive part of any cordless vacuum, so it’s wise to do what you can to maintain battery health. Wirecutter’s battery specialist, staff writer Sarah Witman, recommends storing it (as with any lithium-ion battery) in a cool, dry place, and if you don’t plan to use it for a while, you should leave the pack half-charged. Companies also tend to recommend that you avoid overusing the maximum suction setting on your vacuum, as well as to let the battery pack cool off for a few minutes after use before you plug it in to recharge. Dyson lead systems engineer Carlos Dorado Cardenas told us in person that it’s best to keep Dyson’s cordless stick models as close to fully charged as possible, and to recharge after each use—especially older models like the V7 or V8, which use an older battery technology than the V15.

Apart from their batteries, cordless vacuums need most of the same type of maintenance as any other vacuum. At least a few times a year, it’s a good idea to clean the filters and, if necessary, untangle the brush roll, unclog the intake, and unjam the bearings.

We’re currently testing the Dyson V12 Detect Slim, which has been available in other countries since 2021 and launched in the US for the first time this year. The V12 has the same suction power as the Cyclone V10—considerably less than the V15—and a much smaller bin (0.35 liters, the same size as the Omni-Glide’s). Like the V15, the V12 comes with a laser headlight and LCD screen with a run time countdown and particle counter. Perhaps the most notable difference between the V12 and most of Dyson’s other cordless stick vacs, however, is that it has a push button instead of a trigger, which may make it more comfortable to operate.

We’re testing two new cordless vacuums from Tineco aimed at pet owners. The Pure One S11 Pet has the same features as the Pure One S11 but adds an anti-tangle brush head for picking up pet hair. The Pure One S15 Pet has additional filtration and stronger suction, along with an anti-tangle brush.

We plan to test Samsung’s Bespoke Jet, which launched in April 2022. It seems to be positioned as a competitor of the Dyson V15 in both price and specs, and we’re interested to see how it does in head-to-head testing. Some notable features: The Bespoke Jet has a charging station that empties the dust bin for you into a bag within; the battery can supposedly last up to two hours (compared with one hour for the Dyson V15); and the stick is adjustable in length. You can also purchase a non-suctioning head that spins two washable pads to wipe up spills and that can spray water from a small attachable reservoir.

We're also currently testing:

Sabine Heinlein contributed reporting.

  1. Consumer Reports spokesperson, phone and email interviews, January 15–16, 2020

  2. Mary H.J. Farrell, Dyson Stick Vacuums Lose CR Recommendation Over Reliability Issues, Consumer Reports, March 28, 2019

  3. Mary H.J. Farrell, Most and Least Reliable Vacuum Cleaners, Consumer Reports, June 25, 2020

About your guide

Liam McCabe

Liam McCabe is a former senior staff writer for Wirecutter, and has covered the wild world of appliances since 2011. After testing dozens of robot vacuums, he is neither worried about AI nor holding his breath for self-driving cars. He enjoys visiting factories and learning about regulatory loopholes, and has flooded our testing area only three times.

Further reading