Tech Q&A: What are the pros and cons of cordless vacuums?

Liz’s old vacuum cleaner has died and she wants to know if cordless vacs are up to the task.

Should I buy a cordless vacuum?

Liz’s old vacuum cleaner has given up the ghost and she wants to know if cordless vacs are up to the task.


Q. Liz
I have had a solid barrel vacuum cleaner for the last 20 years, but it recently gave up the ghost and now I am in the market for a new one.

I see lots of ads suggesting that modern cordless vacuums are just as powerful as more traditional vacuum cleaners these days, but is this just advertising hyperbole, or are they up to scratch?

A: Stick vacuum cleaners have some advantages over the traditional barrel or upright vacuum cleaner.

Stick vacuums are compact, light and easy to manoeuvre around, making them perfect for vacuuming up crumbs, cobwebs and pet hair. They're also perfect for quick cleans before visitors arrive.

Most stick vacuums on the market these days will also split into a smaller handheld vacuum, which you can pull apart for more convenience, if needed.

Consumer group Choice, however, does explain that stick vacuum cleaners are not expected to perform as well at cleaning carpets as a standard vacuum cleaner, although new design and technology such as lithium-ion batteries have led to improved dirt pick-up and running times.

If you are looking for a stick vacuum that you want to use on high pile carpet, look for those models that have a rotating brush in the head.

On the other hand, if you are looking for one to use on mostly hardwood floor or tiles, you may need to seek out vacuums that come with special attachments, as a rotating brush can scratch hard floor surfaces.

How to pick the best stick vacuum
Some of the key components you want to consider when comparing stick vacuums is the battery life and recharge time, how much dust the vacuum can hold, and any attachments or extras that come with the purchase.

A high-voltage lithium-ion battery will stay charged for longer, so these are often better, but they do come with a higher price tag.

What vacuum cleaner do you use at your house? Would you recommend it to others?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    1st Nov 2018
    Have one old Dyson stick ( Animal ) and one newer one which is heavier and has a foam roller therefore more friendly on smooth surfaces . Both on trickle charge 24/7 . Will never go back to lugging cords . Both provide for instant use for those small spills and/or big jobs Very pleased with this brand . Bit of mucking around for reassembling after filter clean etc but well worth the effort .
    1st Nov 2018
    We also have a Dyson stick (a couple of years old). While it generally works OK it doesn't like moderate size rubbish like small pieces of paper. The heads get dirty and are awkward to clean, but overall it's easier to use than the old corded one.
    1st Nov 2018
    My neighbour has a Dyson stick and for the above reason has told me not to get one ... too much time spent cleaning it.
    1st Nov 2018
    We have a Dyson stick (animal). Brilliant machine. also have a heavy electric upright. No diference cleaning the heads. For a quick cleanup the stick does a great job on carpet or tiles picks up cat hairs a treat.
    1st Nov 2018
    Have both a Dyson V6 and the built-in ducted Valet (about 30 years old). Use the Dyson for everyday cleaning and the Valet for the weekly deep-clean prior to floor mopping. My wife likes them both equally. Dyson is brilliant for vacuuming the car. As for cleaning, no problem, the Dyson cleaning head disassembles/reassembles so easily it is not an arduous chore.
    1st Nov 2018
    Electrolux Ultraflex Cyclotron, a u-beaut machine purchased as a package offer from Harvey storeman. Does an exceptional job - so long as yours truly is hangin off the business end - and wouldn't dare shirk the responsibility for fear of incurring the wrath of the powers that be.
    A cord model, with multiple job specific heads that compensates with a longer cord and a brilliant filtration system which is easily removed for washing/replacement.

    Dare I ask where; Mick, OG, Trebor (to name but a few) and the the rest of the regular (overblown) 'harpies' are ... maybe they're busy vacuuming all the blow-back of their relentless pontifications ?
    2nd Nov 2018
    I have the latest Dyson stick vac: DYSON CYCLONE V10 ABSOLUTE. It is brilliant.

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles