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Best vacuum cleaner 2024: The finest corded, cordless, bagged and bagless vacuums

Image of a hand using a Shark vacuum cleaner from above on a beige carpet

Check out our guide to the best tried and tested vacuum cleaners from handhelds to Henry

While nobody enjoys grabbing the vacuum cleaner and dragging it around every room in the house, the best vacuum cleaners can make a tedious task a little more bearable. Whether you’re searching for a super-powered full-sized vacuum cleaner or a lightweight cordless handheld model that you can take from the kitchen to the car, there are plenty of great models to choose from.

We have reviewed over 90 different vacuums over the years, putting each model through a series of tough tests, to prove they really do perform as well as the manufacturer claims. This also means we know how to distinguish a great vacuum from an average one.

f you’re a bit overwhelmed by the different models, our buying guide will run you through all the key features and technologies you need to know about. If you just want to get stuck in and start shopping for the best vacuum cleaners to buy, then you can jump to mini reviews of our favourite models further down the page.

How we test vacuum cleaners

Vacuum cleaners are put through a series of rigorous hands-on tests as part of our reviewing process. All vacuums are tested in a domestic setting, and used for the kinds of everyday cleaning tasks they are intended for. However, we also run a series of technical tests, which vary slightly depending on what type of vacuum cleaner we’re reviewing.

To test the cleaning ability of corded and cordless vacuums, whether they’re upright or stick models, we test how well they pick up a series of measured spills. We use flour and Cheerios to test both powder and larger particles, and use pet hair too. We run these tests on both short-pile carpet and hard floor. By weighing how much of each spill ends up in the collection bin after a single pass, we can compare how well the device cleans compared to its rivals.

Testing a Dyson vacuum cleaner

We also measure the suction on both cordless and corded cleaners, and test the battery life of cordless models by timing how long it runs from a full charge before cutting out. This test is performed on both the most powerful and the most efficient settings, where available.

When testing robot vacuum cleaners, we use flour, rice and pet hair, and perform the tests on the same short-pile carpet and hard floor as the regular cleaners. We also run every robot in the same space, from the same location. This lets us compare their ability to navigate the space and tackle any obstacles they encounter, and how long they take to clean the area.

READ NEXT: Best vacuum cleaner deals

The best vacuum cleaners you can buy in 2024

1. Dyson V15 Detect Absolute: Best vacuum cleaner

Price when reviewed: £630 | Check price at Amazon

Best vacuum cleaner: Dyson V15 Detect Absolute

  • Great for… all vacuuming tasks
  • Not so great for… can be messy to empty

We think Dyson has done it again with the Dyson V15 Detect Absolute, a cordless stick vacuum cleaner that trumps everything else on the market. Although it looks remarkably similar to its predecessor, the V11, Dyson has improved and built on this solid base, boosting the power and adding new features.

The V15 Detect Absolute gets its name from one of its primary new features: a laser on the Slim Fluffy motorised head that’s designed for cleaning your hard floors. It lights up even tiny dust particles on your floor, so you know where you’ve been and where you still need to clean. Its High Torque and smaller motorised heads now have anti-tangle technology, to stop the roller brushes collecting hair and needing regular cleaning.

These new features don’t come cheap: the V15 Detect Absolute is one of the most expensive vacuum cleaners money can buy. If you can afford it, though, our cleaning tests show that there’s no doubt that you’re getting the best cordless vacuum in the business.

Read our full Dyson V15 Detect Absolute review 

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 250 x 252 x 1,264mm; Weight: 3kg; Bin capacity: 760ml; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Suction power – stated (AW): 240

2. Henry Hoover: Best budget vacuum

Price when reviewed: £160 | Check price at Argos

  • Great for… all vacuuming tasks
  • Not so great for… can be messy to empty

Henry is something of a British institution, but while he looks like little more than a cheap plastic bin on wheels, his hoovering talents are a force to be reckoned with. The most recent HVR160 model has halved the power rating of the previous generations – it’s dropped from 1,200 to 620W – but suction is still more than respectable. Effective dust-gathering is matched with pleasingly quiet performance, and the huge 9l bin capacity dwarfs that of other vacuum cleaners in this lineup.

We found the enormous 26.8m mains cable can become a bit of a tangle if you’re not careful, but it’s a boon if you’re one of those people who hate plugging and unplugging your vacuum every few minutes. The Henry performed well in our tests but it’s best suited for vacuuming smaller particles on carpet, and its basic floor head doesn’t have a roller for agitating deeper seated dirt.

We’d argue Henry’s biggest appeal is value for money, though: replacement bags and filters are relatively cheap, and the overall performance is fantastic for a vacuum that costs as little as this. The best budget vacuum cleaner by far.

Read our full Henry Hoover HVR200 review 

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 340 x 360 x 370mm; Weight: 8kg; Bin capacity: 9l; Vacuum type: Cylinder; Bagless: Optional; Vacuum power: 620W

Check price at John Lewis

3. Shark ICZ300UKT: Best cordless-upright hybrid

Price when reviewed: £299 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… houses with both carpet and hard floor
  • Not so great for… those with limited storage space

The Shark ICZ300UKT is the perfect cordless vacuum for a whole house clean. Its battery runs for 60 minutes, which we think should be plenty of time to clean a modest home. However, if you need more time, the battery is easy to remove and recharge, and you can add a second battery to double your vacuuming time for around £100.

Its versatile DuoClean floor head works wonders on both carpet and hard floor, with both a soft roller and a regular brush roller in the main unit. In our tests, it proved to be one of the best vacuum cleaners we have tested when it comes to picking up our Cheerio and flour test spill. Shark’s Anti Hair Wrap tech stops hair from getting tangled around the rollers, and it comes with a great selection of tools and attachments to cover all the key vacuuming jobs.

Read our full Shark ICZ300UKT review 

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 260 x 250 x 1,080mm; Weight: 6.2kg; Bin capacity: 0.6l; Vacuum type: Cordless upright; Bagless: Yes; Vacuum power: 450W

4. Eufy RoboVac 15C Max: Best robot vacuum cleaner

Price when reviewed: £244 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… those on a budget, automatically cleaning small areas
  • Not so great for… large houses with complex floorplans

If you aren’t too keen to put in the elbow grease, or simply want something to help out with your chores, a robot vacuum cleaner is fast becoming a solid household companion. We’d argue the Eufy RoboVac 15C Max is easily the best robot vacuum cleaner you can buy. It offers the best value we have tested so far, by a country mile.

Costing a fraction of the price, the Eufy RoboVac 15C Max lacks some flashy features, such as the ability to map your room and infra-red object avoidance.  However, with solid performance in our tests, across a variety of flooring, you really can’t do wrong. Most importantly, due to its small size, the RoboVac 15C Max is capable of covering almost every inch of your floor with little effort on your part. And, in the end, that’s the dream scenario, right?

Read our full Eufy RoboVac 15C Max review 

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 325 x 325 x 72mm; Weight: 2.7kg; Bin capacity: 0.7l; Vacuum type: Robotic; Bagless: Yes; Suction power: 2,000Pa

5. Numatic George: Best wet and dry vacuum cleaner

Price when reviewed: £279 | Check price at Currys

  • Great for… wet and dry cleaning
  • Not so great for… hard floor vacuuming

Few vacuum cleaners are one-trick ponies, but hardly any perform as many functions as the George from Numatic. This innocuous-looking cleaner vacuums just as well as its bright red brother Henry, but, with a few adjustments, it can also wash carpets, hard floors and upholstery, with a mixture of water and detergent, sucking up the dirty water afterwards to leave the area almost dry.

While its vacuuming isn’t necessarily the best clean – it relies solely on suction and lacks the carpet agitation of a motorised roller brush – we’d argue it does the job and is reasonable for the price.

Read our full Numatic George review 

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 360 x 370 x 510mm; Weight: 11.2kg; Bin capacity: 15l; Vacuum type: Cylinder; Bagless: No; Vacuum power: N/S

Check price at Currys

6. Henry Quick: Best cordless stick with bags

Price when reviewed: £300 | Check price at Argos

  • Great for… no-mess emptying
  • Not so great for… larger particles on hard floor

Most cordless stick vacuum cleaners are proud to be bagless, but the Henry Quick takes an opposite stance. The Henry Quick’s bags sit in the collection bin, acting as an extra filter, keeping the inside of the device spotless.

They also mean that emptying is a much cleaner process. Emptying the canisters of bagless cordless stick vacuums can often create a large dust cloud. However, with the Henry Quick the entire bag – with all the dirt contained within – is jettisoned into the bin. This all but eliminates those annoying dust clouds, which we found to be a breath of fresh air – literally.

The vacuum doesn’t come with many of the fancy features of more expensive vacuums, such as a soft roller for hard floors. That showed up in our tests, where it wasn’t as effective at picking up large particles from hard floor. However, it performed well in our other tests and, if you want an affordable stick vacuum that creates minimal mess when emptying, it’s hard to beat.

Read our full Henry Quick review 

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 240 x 270 x 1,220mm; Weight: 3.2kg; Bin capacity: 1l; Vacuum type: Cordless upright; Bagless: No; Vacuum power: N/S

Check price at Argos

7. Vax ONEPWR Blade 5 Dual Pet & Car: Best-equipped all-rounder

Price when reviewed: £405 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… carpet and hard floor cleaning, accessories
  • Not so great for… thorough carpet cleaning – though it still does a decent job

Most homes have a mixture of hard floor and carpets, which can be a challenging test for any vacuum cleaner. The Vax ONEPWR Blade 5 Dual Pet & Car handles the transition between them with a dual-action floor head. It contains both a brush roller to agitate the dirt out of your carpet, and a fluffy roller at the front to efficiently sweep hard floor.

It fared well in our tests, with the fluffy roller really helping it excel on hard floor. We found it didn’t handle itself quite as well on carpet as the best dual roller rivals from Shark but it’s an admiral effort for the price. Its versatility doesn’t end there. This Pet & Car model lives up to its name with a generous selection of accessories designed to tackle the trickiest cleaning environments – furniture you share with your hair-shedding pet, and the barely accessible nooks, crannies and carpets in your car.

To round the package off, it also comes with two batteries, so you can have one in use and another fully charged and ready to go. This is ideal if your cleaning tasks often last longer than your vacuum cleaner’s battery.

Read our full Vax ONEPWR Blade 5 Dual Pet & Car review 

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 270 x 260 x 1,040mm; Weight: 3.9kg; Bin capacity: 700ml; Vacuum type: Cordless; Bagless: No; Vacuum power: N/S

8. Dyson Omni-glide: Best vacuum cleaner for hard floor

Price when reviewed: £250 | Check price at Argos

  • Great for… living spaces with only hard floor
  • Not so great for… larger homes and not suitable for use with carpet

Not everyone lives in a cosy suburban house filled with carpet and soft furnishings. For those living in apartments with hard floors throughout, Dyson has developed a specialist vacuum cleaner that’s phenomenal at its job.

The motorised floorhead is cleverly designed with two soft rollers. These float above four omnidirectional coasters, which can be pushed effortlessly around a flat, dodging chair legs and lunging under low furniture. It charges from a wall mount and is small enough to hang in the narrowest spaces.

The Omni-glide doesn’t have the capacity, the suction or the features to be the main vacuum in a multi-surfaced household, and our tests show that it can’t operate on carpet. However, if your living space is suitable, we think this is the perfect hard floor vacuum cleaner.

Read our full Dyson Omni-glide review 

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 206 x 91 x 1,077mm; Weight: 1.9kg; Bin capacity: 200ml; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Suction power – stated: 50AW

Check price at Argos

9. Dyson V12 Detect Slim: Best Dyson for smaller homes

Price when reviewed: £550 | Check price at Currys

  • Great for… smaller spaces
  • Not so great for… its small collection bin

A full-sized Dyson cordless stick might be overkill for smaller houses and flats. However, we don’t believe that means compromising on Dyson’s unrivalled cleaning power and versatility. The Dyson V12 Detect Slim has all the tools and features you expect from a flagship Dyson cordless stick, but in a smaller, lighter, more convenient format.

The V12 Detect Slim comes with a brush roller for carpet and a fluffy roller for hard floors, each built into its own floor head for easy switching. The fluffy roller floor head illuminates dirt and dust particles with a green laser so you can see where you’ve cleaned. The vacuum also measures and counts particles and displays the results live on its screen, which also doubles up as a control panel and battery-life indicator.

In our tests, we found that it doesn’t have the same powerful suction we’ve become accustomed to in Dyson’s larger models, but that had virtually no impact on its ability to clean up our test spillages, which it did with aplomb.

Read our full Dyson V12 Detect Slim review 

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 250 x 252 x 1,234mm; Weight: 2.5kg; Bin capacity: 350ml; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Vacuum power – stated: 150AW

Check price at Currys

10. Shark WandVac 2.0 (WV270UK): Best handheld vacuum

Price when reviewed: £129 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… kitchens, workshops and sofas
  • Not so great for… short battery life and small collection bin

There are times when a clean up job is so small it’s not worth getting your main vacuum cleaner out, even if it can easily convert into a handheld. For this kind of work, we think the Shark WandVac 2.0 is perfect. It’s a small, light wand vacuum, which sits on its handy charging station, always ready for action.

The WandVac comes with two attachments: one a multipurpose dusting brush and crevice tool; the other an upholstery nozzle that’s great on furniture and car seats. Its battery lasts 15 minutes and we like that it has a boost button to increase the suction if its standard settings aren’t enough. In our tests, it managed spills well, though its relatively tiny collection bin needs emptying after each significant use. Overall, this is a useful addition to your cleaning routine if you find yourself regularly vacuuming sofas, seats and other small upholstered items around your home.

Read our full Shark WandVac 2.0 review

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH):: 63 x 70 x 390mm; Weight: 0.6kg; Bin capacity: 100ml; Vacuum type: Handheld; Bagless: Yes; Vacuum power: 160W

11. Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute: Another fantastic cordless

Price when reviewed: £450 | Check price at Argos

Best vacuum cleaner: Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute

If you’re in the market for a top-end cordless, but you don’t fancy spending a king’s ransom on the latest flagship, then the Dyson Cyclone V10 is the next best thing. Significantly cheaper than Dyson’s latest and greatest, the V10 Cyclone is still rather costly, but we found it to be it’s a remarkably powerful vacuum that does just as good of a job at tackling stubborn dirt and annoying spillages.

The dust bin is a decent 0.77l and it proved to have a good battery life in normal mode during our testing. It was also good at picking up our problematic test spillages. If you have the budget for one, the Dyson Cyclone V10 remains a worthy, upright-replacing vacuum.

Read our full Dyson Cyclone V10 review 

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 250 x 256 x 1,249mm; Weight: 2.61kg; Bin capacity: 0.77l; Vacuum type: Cordless handheld; Bagless: Yes; Vacuum power: Unknown

Check price at Argos

12. Shark Classic Upright Vacuum NV602UK: Best budget corded upright vacuum cleaner

Price when reviewed: £130 | Check price at Shark

  • Great for… those on a budget and carpet vacuuming
  • Not so great for… hard floor

The Shark Classic Upright Vacuum NV602UK is an affordable route into Shark’s impressive upright range of cleaners. It boasts the company’s typical powerful suction and a design similar to several of their best models – including the lift-away vacuuming unit and hose, which help it clean areas that traditional uprights can’t reach.

We feel as though a few corners have been cut for affordability, though. Many of Shark’s more expensive models come with its brilliant dual floor head, which has both a brush bar and a fluffy roller. The NV602UK only has the brush bar which means it can still operate on hard flooring, but we found it wasn’t quite as effective in our tests. This budget model also lacks Shark’s anti-tangle technology, so you’ll need to regularly clean the brush bar to keep it free from long hair. However, apart from these relatively minor shortcomings, it’s still fantastic value. After a brilliant corded upright vacuum for minimal expense? Look no further.

Read our full Shark Classic Upright Vacuum NV602UK review 

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 285 x 260 x 1,180mm; Weight: 5.25kg; Bin capacity: 1.1l; Vacuum type: Corded upright; Bagless: Yes; Vacuum power: 750W

Check price at Shark

How to choose the best vacuum cleaner for you

Should you buy a cylinder or upright vacuum?

If you’re looking for a traditional corded vacuum cleaner, the first thing to decide is whether you want a conventional cylinder vacuum or an upright. Cylinder vacuums actually come in various shapes but they’re generally squat things with multiple wheels that you drag around behind you as you vacuum. An upright has a handle at the top and you push it around in front of you.

Cylinder vacuums typically excel when it comes to bag or bin capacity compared to their upright cousins, which require emptying more often. However, uprights usually take up less space so can be easily stowed away in a utility closet for those short on room, and they generally aren’t as cumbersome either.

Which is better: bagged or bagless?

The next consideration is whether you want a bagged or bagless vacuum. Bags are great because they’re neat and tidy; once the dirt and dust go in, you never see it again and changing the bag is a breeze. Bagless vacuums store their dirt in a transparent container that you have to empty into the bin, which can be a bit messy. The key benefit of a bagless vacuum is that you don’t need to buy bags, which hugely reduces running costs.

READ NEXT: Best Dyson vacuum cleaners

Should I buy a cordless vacuum?

For those needing a particularly agile and nimble vacuum cleaner, it might be worth looking at a cordless vacuum. Battery-powered cordless vacuums have improved over the years, meaning operating times are far longer than before, and most battery-powered vacuums are now capable of full-home cleans. They can also break down into handheld devices, which offer significantly more versatility.

READ NEXT: Best cordless vacuums

EU vacuum regulations: why wattage doesn’t matter

If you find yourself replacing a decades-old vacuum, you might find that today’s vacuums sound like they’re less powerful than the vacuums of old. This is because the manufacturing or importing of vacuum cleaners above 900W was banned within the European Union in September 2017. Post-Brexit, cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has headed the campaign to remove this limitation, but as of yet, no progress has been made.

However, wattage isn’t a good precursor to suction or overall performance in any case. Our tests have shown that a vacuum’s rated power wattage has little real-world impact on suction performance. Motor and cylinder design often have more of an effect in this instance.

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Does it matter what accessories it comes with?

Yes, definitely. It’s well worth checking what accessories come with each vacuum. Some vacuums are better designed for hardwood floors, whereas some are better suited for carpet. This is usually based on whether they have a rotating head to get in between the carpet fibres or just a simple suction head.

Accessories and additional nozzles can also make a vacuum far more versatile for vacuuming other surfaces such as cobwebbed ceilings or bookshelves, or for better dealing with difficult dirt such as pet hair.

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