Whether you’re moving house, off to live in university halls, or simply want to upgrade your current sweeper, choosing a new vacuum can be confusing. With so many different makes and models available, it’s hard to know which features to look out for.
Cordless? Bagged? Bagless? Upright? Handheld? Stick? So many decisions. But there’s no need to panic. If you want to know what to look for in a cordless vacuum including cordless handhelds, you’ve come to the right place.
In this blog post, we’re going to look at different types of cordless vacuums, including who they’re most ideal for as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each. Then, we’ll go through other important features to condider when looking to buy a new cordless vacuum cleaner.
What is a cordless vacuum cleaner?
Rather than relying on a cord for power, a cordless vacuum cleaner is a vacuum that’s powered by a rechargeable battery, meaning no more unplugging mid-clean to move between rooms, and no tedious task of rewrapping the cord when you’ve finished. Sounds ideal, right?
Cordless vacuums have been designed with ease of use in mind. With no cord to hold you back, you’re free to roam between rooms, floors, and even outside to your garages, cars, and caravans. There’s no compromise on power either. Our cordless vacuums are powered by lithium-ion technology, giving you both the freedom to move as well as a powerful clean.
What should you look for in a cordless vacuum cleaner?
So, what should you look for in a cordless vacuum? Well, there are lots of features to consider to make sure that your new cordless vacuum works for you, your home, and your lifestyle.
It’s important to look at the vacuum’s weight, attachments, battery life, and disposal system (bin or bag), as well as more lifestyle-based considerations such as your floor type and whether you own pets.
But as there are so many different styles to choose between, it can be hard to know where to start. First, let's make it easier by explaining the differences between each of the vacuums we offer.
Different types of cordless vacuum cleaner
Upright vacuum cleaners
Whether you’re tackling crumbs on the kitchen tiles or dried mud on the stairs, upright vacuums make easy work of floor cleaning. With a powered brush bar, LED headlights and no settings to change, our upright vacuums are perfect for deeper cleans as well as tackling day-to-day mess.
The bulk of their weight is on the floor, meaning our uprights are incredibly easy to manoeuvre. And as they all feature our patented AirLOC Technology, these vacuums effortlessly pick up large debris as you push forwards and pesky crumbs hiding in deep crevices as you pull back.
Benefits of upright vacuums:
The main body of the vacuum is on the floor, rather than in your hand, meaning your arms won’t get as tired when vacuuming for longer durations
We offer bagged and bagless upright vacuums, so you can choose the disposal system that works best for you
The on/off button is on the vacuum body rather than the handle, so you’re much less likely to accidentally switch it off whilst in use
Drawbacks of upright vacuums:
Upright vacuums are not as easy to use in handheld mode, such as to clean stairs or inside cars
They’re not suitable for above-the-floor cleaning, such as ceiling cobwebs and behind bookcases
There's only one power setting
Upright vacuums are ideal for:
Homes with a lot of floor space to vacuum, including both carpets and hard floors
Homes with pets
HyLite 2: Weighing just 1.6kg, our super lightweight and compact vacuum is perfect or people with minimal storage space such as university halls or motorhomes
Stick vacuum cleaners
Stick vacuums provide ultimate versatility. Used with the twin aluminium tubes and power floor head, they deliver high performance cleaning across all floor types as our patented AirLOC Technology picks up large debris as well as embedded dust.
Or, remove the tubes and transform it into a useful handheld vacuum for effective above-the-floor cleaning. Their wide range of attachments makes them adaptable to the various levels and surfaces around your home.
Benefits of stick vacuums:
Stick vacuums are incredibly versatile, providing both upright and handheld cleaning with lots of useful attachments
Our stick vacuums are bagged, meaning they’re perfect for allergy sufferers who want to dispose of the collected dust without coming into contact with it again
With two power settings, you can choose to save energy or experience an extra burst of power
Drawbacks of stick vacuums:
- Our stick vacuums can’t stand up without support, so they will need to be propped up against something or disassembled for safe storage
- As you hold the body of the vacuum in your hand, the weight can become straining when vacuuming for longer durations
- The additional cost of bags must be factored in, as they will need to be replaced to keep the vacuum working at its best
Stick vacuums are ideal for:
- People who frequently clean cars or smaller spaces, requiring lots of different attachments for different surfaces
Homes with varying levels/surfaces and stairs, requiring easy transformation to a handheld vacuum
Allergy sufferers wanting to dispose of the collected dirt/debris without the coming into the allergens again
Handheld vacuum cleaners
If you’re wondering what to look for in a cordless handheld, look no further.
Handheld vacuums are ideal for cleaning hard-to-reach places around the home as well as upholstery and windowsills.
Being lightweight and portable, it’s easy to take our handheld vacuums to your cars and caravans, or your sheds and garages, for a thorough clean wherever you need it. They’re purpose built for tackling tricky areas like stairs, with a range of attachments to ensure all areas are covered.
Benefits of handheld vacuums:
Handheld vacuums are lightweight and compact, making the mundane tasks of vacuuming the stairs, upholstery, and car interiors a breeze
We offer both bagged and bagless handheld vacuums, so you can choose between an easy-empty bin or bags, which are simple to remove and replace
Taking up minimal storage space, our handheld vacuums are great for taking away in caravans or motorhomes
Drawbacks of handheld vacuums:
- As handhelds use smaller attachments, it will take longer to vacuum larger areas (such as the floor of a whole room)
They can sometimes feel heavy in the hand when using for a long duration
Being smaller, the size of the bins can often be smaller, leading to emptying more regularly
Handheld vacuums are ideal for:
- Homes with little storage space, such as caravans and motorhomes
Homes with high ceilings and other above-the-floor areas that need a vacuum with high reach
Quick clean-ups, they’re easy to grab and go for emergency clean-ups, such as crumbs on the kitchen counter or car footwells
Other features to consider
So, now you know the different types of cordless models available, you can probably work out which is going to best suit your home and lifestyle. However, we think there are a few other product-specific features that you might also want to consider when contemplating what to look for in a cordless vacuum, or cordless handheld.
We can’t deny one of the huge benefits of corded vacuums is that you don’t need to worry about running out of battery and not being able to finish the job. As annoying as the cord is, it’s arguably less annoying than having a half-vacuumed room. That’s why we pride ourselves on creating cordless products with ample battery life.
Our AirRAM MK2, AirRAM MK2 K9, Pro 2 and Pro 2 K9 each provide up to 40 minutes’ runtime – that’s enough to vacuum an average home twice*! Or, if you have even more floor to cover, our newest vacuum, the AirRAM Platinum, has been enhanced to provide up to 1 hour of runtime.
If you’re using your cordless handheld for quick clean-ups, you might not notice the battery life dropping as drastically. Do remember, though, that with any vacuum cleaner, runtimes may vary depending on the surface being cleaned.
Battery life often takes the limelight, but we can’t ignore the importance of charge times when discussing what to look for in a cordless vacuum. All of our vacuum cleaners use lithium-ion technology and fully recharge in just 4 hours or less. So you can feel reassured in knowing that within a few hours you’ll have enough battery to get the job done.
Manoeuvrability is both an important factor when considering what to look for in a cordless handheld as well as a cordless upright or stick vacuum. Handheld vacuums are more likely to be used in smaller areas and above-the-floor spaces such as cars, garages, and motorhomes, so they need to be highly portable and comfortable to use.
Similarly, manoeuvrability is a key factor in uprights and stick vacuums because you want to know that you can get around and underneath furniture easily, without the need to move it first. For this reason, our cordless floor vacuums effortlessly clean up to and along skirting boards and have a low-profile reclining handle, allowing you to reach underneath coffee tables with ease.
What’s more, the AirRAM Platinum also features Forward Inertia Drive, meaning it practically pulls itself forwards, and makes pushing it virtually effortless for you.
Weights and dimensions
Upright, stick, or handheld – it’s vital to consider the weight of a new vacuum. If you’re using it mainly for above-the-floor cleaning, you don’t want your arm to get tired halfway through. Similarly, if you’re pushing/pulling your floor vacuum around the home, or needing to carry it up and down stairs, you’ll want to keep the weight as low as possible.
Dimensions also play a huge role, as no matter how good a vacuum is, you need the space to store it. If you lack spare storage space, a vacuum that breaks down into components easily is ideal, or one with minimal attachments.
For example, the HyLite 2 can fit in a drawer when broken into its individual components – perfect for caravans, apartments, and university halls.
Compatible floor types
When you’ve got different floor types throughout your home, it’s important to consider how a vacuum will work on them. Vacuums with rotating brush bars are perfect for agitating fibres in carpets, loosening and collecting embedded dust and hair, and sweeping the collected debris into the vacuum bin.
However, when used on hardwood floors, there’s a risk of the brush bar scratching the surface and leaving it damaged. For this reason, it’s important to check the flooring manufacturer’s recommended cleaning instructions before using a vacuum on your various floor types.
To help combat this issue, we’ve made our brush bars removable and enhanced our floor vacuums with our patented AirLOC Technology, meaning you still get the same great suction even without a brush bar. AirLOC also helps with deep crevices between tiles, forming a vacuum seal to lift up debris with ease. But, again, always check the flooring manufacturer’s recommended cleaning instructions first.
When thinking about what to look for in a cordless vacuum, suction power is of course one of the main features to consider. You want to know that your vacuum can actually suck up dirt and debris, and across different floor surfaces too, rather than just moving it around the room. After all, that's what a vacuum is made to do, right?
However, it's important to note that suction power is not the be-all and end-all of a vacuum’s cleaning ability, and as you can tell by this blog post, there are plenty of other aspects to consider too. Pick-up is increased not by suction power alone, but by other features such as a powerful brush bar, and in our case, AirLOC Technology.
Dust bin capacity
Although not the most obvious factor, it’s important to consider the bin or bag capacity of your vacuum to ensure it suits your home and lifestyle. If you have a large home, or a busy home with children and pets, then having a vacuum with a larger dust capacity will save you from needing to empty it so often.
However, for grab-and-go vacuums and handheld vacuums, a smaller capacity could be sufficient as they’re used for quick clean-ups, meaning less frequent emptying.
This links to the disposal system too. If you’re vacuuming large areas or have a busy home with pets, and find yourself emptying your bin more frequently, then a bagless vacuum might be a more cost-effective solution.
Vacuum cleaners need filtration to assist with their cleaning ability. And different vacuum cleaners have different levels of filtration as well as methods of filtration.
Our bagless vacuum cleaners, including the AirRAM Platinum, AirRAM MK2, AirRAM MK2 K9, Multi MK2, and Multi MK2 K9, feature replaceable filters, which can be easily removed from the bins and washed with lukewarm water, keeping your vacuum performing at its best.
Or, if you choose one of our bagged vacuums instead, our bags are made up of three breathable layers which filter different grades of dust and debris, so the airflow can compress dirt more efficiently for maximum capability and durability.
This makes them perfect for allergy sufferers as the compressed dust will stay inside the bag, instead of being released back into the room.
We all know that vacuum cleaners don’t create the most pleasant noise, but they’ve improved a lot since they first came about.
Although older vacuums were a lot louder than the newer, better-quality vacuums we have today, you still might want to consider the noise level if you have children or pets, who might be more sensitive to the noise, or if you live in a flat and enjoy vacuuming on Sunday mornings.
Reviews and ratings
This is a valuable aspect to consider as manufacturers have no control over it. Looking at a product’s ratings and reviews can provide a significant insight into what the vacuum is really like.
That’s why on our website, along with a rating out of 5 stars, our customers can write a review and share photos and/or videos showing their Gtech product in use.
Plus, to help you work out whether this vacuum suits your individual home and lifestyle, our customers can also specify on their reviews: the type of home they live in, if they have a garden, and whether they have pets, children, allergies, or a car. Reviews can then be filtered by these criteria to quickly get an understanding of whether this vacuum is right for you.
Albeit last in this list, price is undoubtedly one of the top considerations to make when purchasing a new vacuum.
And it’s not just the cost of the vacuum that needs to be considered, for example if you’re buying a bagged vacuum, you’ll need to factor future bags into the overall cost. Luckily, our packs of bags provide up to a year’s supply* and are all under £15.
Warranty is another aspect covered under cost. If something goes wrong, you want to know that it’s not going to cost an arm and a leg to fix it. Here at Gtech, we provide a 2-year warranty on our products to give our customers peace of mind.
We’ve even given our latest AirRAM, the AirRAM Platinum, a 10-year warranty on the battery and motor, so you can feel confident in your product and its longevity.
So, what does this all mean?
(And, breathe). We realise this is a lot of information to take in, but hopefully it's given you a good idea of what to look for in cordless vacuum cleaners. Not only is important to consider the different vacuum types, and the benefits and drawbacks of each, but also the other more specific aspects of a vacuum such as weight and battery life.
There's clearly a lot to think about, so let's try and sum it up for you: if you’ve got a lot of floor space, then an upright vacuum might be most suitable. But if you're mainly vacuuming smaller spaces and above-the-floor areas, then a handheld might be better. Want the flexibility of both? Then give a stick vacuum a try, or one of our vacuum bundles.