To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Best budget cordless vacuum cleaner 2024: Cheap floor cleaners tried and tested

A Vax cordless vacuum cleaner in the Expert Reviews office

You don’t have to spend a bomb to grab a decent cordless vacuum – these are the best budget models according to our tests

Top-end cordless vacuums come at eye-watering prices, but you don’t have to spend a king’s ransom if funds are tight. Budget cordless vacuum cleaners, just like their premium siblings, are battery-powered and usually take the form of a handheld vacuum with a removable extension wand that connects to a powered floor cleaning head. This makes them extremely versatile tools, able to clean the living room carpet and the interior of your car.

We test cordless vacuums across the full range of prices, including those that cost a fraction of a top-end machine. In fact, we’ve tested over 90 vacuum cleaners here at Expert Reviews, so we know the best budget models can perform well under pressure.

If you already have an idea of what you want, our at a glance list below highlights our top picks, alternatively, you can jump to our full mini reviews for more details. Not sure what you need from a budget cordless? Be sure to also check out our buying guide at the bottom of this page for answers to the most important questions you might have.

Best budget cordless vacuum cleaners: At a glance

Best-value budget cordless vacuum cleanerBissell Multireach Active 21V (~£300)Check price at Bissell
Most affordable Vax budget cordless vacuum cleanerVax Blade 3 (~£138)Check price at Amazon
Best budget cordless vacuum for hard floorsRoidmi H10 (~£144)Check price at Amazon

How we test cordless vacuum cleaners

We test cordless vacuum cleaners for battery life, suction power and cleaning ability. Battery power is tested by timing how long it takes for a fully charged device to run out of power. We test this on a vacuum’s most powerful and its most economical settings to give you an idea of the range of run time available. The tests are run with the vacuum’s main motorised floor head attached to give the best idea of how long you can expect to be able to clean with the vacuum in real-world conditions.

To assess suction, we remove all accessories and attach a pressure gauge to the vacuum inlet, reading off the peak suction levels on each power setting.

Testing a cordless vacuum cleaner

Lastly, we test the cleaning power by weighing how much flour and Cheerios a vacuum cleaner picks up from a measured spill on a single pass. We perform these tests on both hard floor and short-pile carpet.

READ NEXT: Best carpet cleaners

The best budget cordless vacuums to buy in 2024

1. Hoover HF500: Best budget cordless vacuum cleaner with anti-tangle

Price when reviewed: £199 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for: Minimal maintenance, value for money
  • Not so great for: Large cleaning jobs

When you buy an affordable budget vacuum cleaner, you don’t expect it to have the latest features found on more expensive models. However, the Hoover HL500 bucks the trend, featuring an anti-hair tangle system that keeps its roller bar free from getting wrapped up with long hair.

If you live in a house with long-haired people or pets, you will understand what a boon this is. Without this kind of system, the brush bars in the floor heads of most standard vacuum cleaners get clogged up very quickly. As the hair wraps around the brush, its effectiveness at agitating carpet and picking up dirt is significantly reduced. Most brush bars can be removed for cleaning, but it’s not a particularly pleasant job and is usually significantly more fiddly than emptying the collection bin. The HF500 eliminates the need for this chore completely, managing to clear all traces of the hair we tested it with.

The rest of the vacuum is relatively unremarkable, with a reasonably small collection bin and only a slight nod towards hard floor cleaning with its ability to switch the brush off and rely on suction alone. However, if you dislike the chore of cleaning hair from brush bars, this is a brilliant feature you don’t often see at this price.

Read our full Hoover HF500 review 

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 250 x 200 x 1,080mm; Weight: 2.5kg; Bin capacity: 450ml; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Suction power – stated: 75AW

2. Vax Blade 3: The most affordable Vax budget cordless vacuum cleaner

Price when reviewed: £138 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for: Everyday cleaning and accessories
  • Not so great for: High suction power

Vax has a broad range of cordless vacuum cleaners in its Blade range and the ONEPWR Blade 3 (as it’s called today) is the oldest that’s currently available. It’s also currently the cheapest.

In our tests, the Blade 3 proved just as good as the newer Blade 4 at picking up mess. The suction isn’t as powerful but we found that it didn’t make too much difference to its performance in everyday cleaning tasks.

The vacuum comes with a crevice tool and brush attachments, while the slightly pricier Pet model comes with a small motorised head that’s good at removing pet hair from upholstery and is also useful for cleaning the stairs. We think this one is a great all-rounder at a very reasonable price.

Read our full Vax Blade 3 review

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 95 x 73 x 448mm; Weight: 2.5kg; Bin capacity: 600ml; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Suction power – stated: N/A

3. Vax Blade 4: A more powerful Vax budget cordless vacuum cleaner

Price when reviewed: £179 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for: Powerful cleaning that outperforms some expensive models
  • Not so great for: Hard floor cleaning

The Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 is a step up from its predecessor, the Blade 3, in terms of power. While that didn’t make a huge amount of difference in our tests, if you regularly tackle particularly tough cleaning jobs, such as extracting pet hair from carpets and upholstery, then we think the increase in power should come into its own more, and it isn’t all that much more expensive, either. In our tests, it even outperformed the most affordable Dyson when it came to picking up spillages.

The Blade 4 only comes with a standard brush-based floor head designed to work on both carpet and hard floor, but you can stop the brush rotating and just use the suction if your hard floors are delicate. It also comes with a crevice tool and a dusting brush, which can be used on the end of the extension wand or connected directly to the vacuum unit to make a handheld device. We were really impressed with both the test results on this one and the great accessories included.

Read our full Vax Blade 4 review

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 240 x 185 x 1,140mm; Weight: 3.1kg; Bin capacity: 600ml; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Suction power – stated: N/A

4. Roidmi H10: Best budget cordless vacuum cleaner for hard floors

Price when reviewed: £144 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for: Hard floor
  • Not so great for: Carpet

If you live in a flat or house with a hard floor throughout, you will benefit from a vacuum cleaner with a soft roller rather than a standard brush roller. The Roidmi H10’s floor head comes with a soft roller and, as a result, we found it proved particularly good in our tests when picking up flour from a hard kitchen floor. We also tested it on carpet but the roller isn’t as well suited to that surface, making this vacuum best left to the job it was designed for.

It’s reasonably light and manoeuvrable, gliding effortlessly on smooth surfaces. It has powerful suction and converts into a handy handheld vacuum, with a crevice tool for getting into tight spots.

Read our full Roidmi H10 review

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 256 x 222 x 1,093mm; Weight: 2.8kg; Bin capacity: 650ml; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Suction power – stated: N/A

How to choose the best budget cordless vacuum cleaner for you

What type of vacuum should you choose?

One of the most important things to think about before buying any cordless vacuum is the type of floor you will be cleaning, as this dictates the type of roller you need in the floor head. Most budget cordless vacuums come with a simple bristle brush roller. These are best for use on carpet as the bristles get right down in the fibres, flicking out dirt and dust as they spin; they’re not as effective on hard floor but they do work as long as the surface isn’t too delicate.

Some, however, come with the option of a soft roller, and our tests show that these tend to work much better on hard floors. They eschew bristles in favour of a more forgiving, cloth-like material that wraps around the roller and picks up larger particles more effectively. They also create a better seal with the floor, ensuring superior suction, and aren’t so aggressive on delicate surfaces.

More expensive vacuum cleaners might come with more than one roller or floor head, so you can swap them out depending on what type of job you’re doing. However, budget models will probably only come with a single roller, so make sure you’ve chosen the right one for your floors.

READ NEXT: Best Dyson vacuum cleaners

What specifications should I pay attention to?

Just because you’re buying a cordless vacuum cleaner on a budget, it doesn’t mean you have to compromise on specification. You won’t find that the cheapest machines have the highest specs, but there’s no need to compromise too much, particularly when it comes to weight, bin capacity and battery life.

Weight: How much a cordless vacuum cleaner weighs can have a significant impact on how easy it is to use. In handheld mode, a heavy vacuum cleaner will take its toll on your arms, since you have to carry it around and will often be holding it out and away from your body. While it’s not such a big problem in stick mode with the extension wand and floor head attached, a heavy unit can still be harder to push around. In terms of specifics, the lightest vacuums tend to hover around the 2.5kg mark, while the heaviest can go up to 4kg or above and can be quite tiring to use for long periods.

Bin capacity: The bigger the collection bin, the less often you will need to empty it. You will probably need to empty any cordless vacuum after each significant clean, but smaller bin capacities of 500ml or less might see you needing to empty during a clean, too. This isn’t a major problem as long as the bin is easy to empty, but it’s certainly something to bear in mind as emptying can be a messy job. Capacities of 650ml or more have an increased likelihood of getting you through a whole clean without having to pause.

Battery life: On a cordless vacuum, battery life is important, but be careful to compare apples with apples. A manufacturer’s claims might look impressive on paper but if they only relate to use in the vacuum’s low-power mode, you will rarely achieve it in real life. With cordless vacuums, we rarely use the lowest power mode as it’s only suitable for light cleans, which is why we test battery life in both low- and high-power modes.

We would expect a battery to last at least half an hour, to provide you with enough time to get a decent clean in. However, some cordless vacuum batteries can last closer to an hour on their most economical settings. With the power set to maximum, we would ideally like to see a vacuum still running after 10 minutes have passed, but it’s worth remembering that you should only need to resort to this setting for heavy spills.

READ NEXT: Best steam cleaners

What accessories do I need?

Many budget vacuum cleaners only come with the bare essentials of a crevice tool and a dusting brush, so look out for extras.

Some cordless vacuums might come with upholstery tools, designed to lift pet hair from furniture more efficiently. If you don’t have pets, they can still be useful, however, because they also work well on stairs.

Look out for the charging and storage hardware, too. Some cordless vacuum cleaners come with a simple charging lead that you connect straight to the cleaner, but storage and charging is easier and more convenient if some form of charging dock is supplied. Wall-mounted brackets are the most common type: these combine charging with storage, allowing you to hang the vacuum out of the way while topping it up at the same time.

↑ Return to top

Read more

Best Buys