While many cordless vacuum cleaners are now rivalling corded ones when it comes to suction, they are generally a lot more expensive and need recharging before use.
Corded vacs, on the other hand, are ready to go whenever you are.
There’s a lot to think about when buying one. Someone with a small flat with all hard floors, for example, may need a different machine to someone with a big carpeted house, with lots of stairs.
You’ll need to decide between cylinder or upright models. Cylinder machines tend to be smaller and lighter, as well as more manoeuvrable and flexible.
Upright machines are good if you have large areas and they tend to be more energy efficient too.
Bagless models collect the dust and dirt in a canister, which you empty. You don’t have the hassle of having to buy replacement bags, but bagged machines often have larger capacity.
If you have a pet, go for a machine that’s specifically aimed at removing the hair of your furry friends; or, at the very least, get one with a turbo brush that can be used to pick up pet hair.
A good filter – which removes microscopic allergens for cleaner air – is important if you have an allergy sufferer in the family. Make sure you get the accessories you need too.
We tested for all these things, trying out machines on different surfaces, and with different size debris, as well as taking into consideration manoeuvrability and heaviness
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Miele complete C3 silence ecoline
Everything about this feels beautifully engineered and it excels on all floor types (you just flick a switch to change between carpets and hard floors), as well as on stairs and upholstery, removing everything from fine dust to dropped cereal even from the deepest crevices such as floorboards. It has great reach, is superb at trapping dust and allergens and is exceptionally quiet, as well as being easy to manoeuvre. The three tools – upholstery nozzle, crevice tool and dusting brush – are all genuinely handy and stored on board. The bags each hold 4.5l, meaning you rarely have to replace them and when you do, it’s an easy enough task.
Amazon basics cylinder corded vacuum cleaner
This vacuum offers extraordinarily good value. We found it’s significantly better at sucking up everything from dust to pet hair, as well as larger debris such as spilt rice or lentils, than other vacs in this price range (and many more expensive ones too) even when the dust canister is full. There’s variable suction, thanks to the slider at the front, and a combination floor head that we found worked across all floor types. At this price, don’t expect whizzy features like advanced filters, and you only get a crevice and upholstery and dusting tool by way of accessories. However, this is a terrific vac for anyone on a budget.
Dyson ball animal 2
This upright bagless vac is just the ticket for larger homes, especially those with four legged friends. We tested it in one such home where two dogs were in the thick of moulting season and were genuinely amazed at the results. It has excellent allergy filters, a long hose and is a strong performer in tight corners and nooks and crannies. There’s an easy to empty dust canister and it has some great accessories – our favourites of which are the turbo pet tool for upholstery and the low-profile floor tool to reach under low furniture. It’s quiet and performs well on all floor types although marginally better on carpets when it comes to fine dust. You’ll need a bit of elbow grease on thicker carpets, though.
For homes that get truly filthy, this is a godsend. Dried-on mud? No problem. Paw prints? A doddle. Toddler trails of food? A cinch. How? Because it simultaneously vacuums, washes and scrubs. It even dries and polishes the floor afterwards, using microfibre and machine washable rollers, a job it does in just a couple of minutes. It works on most hard floor types – tiled, stone, laminate and sealed wood – leaving them completely streak free, and you can add a detergent from its range, some of which are scented. But be warned these come at an extra cost and it’s a hefty, cumbersome machine – there’s absolutely nothing lightweight about it, which you particularly notice on textured floors.
Numatic Henry allegry
The original red Henry is one of the most famous vacs around. But we rate the blue version even more, especially when it comes to filtration – in fact, it’s our top choice for allergy sufferers. It also stands out for its ability to reach into tight corners, deep between floorboards and grabbing cobwebs on ceilings. Its suction is excellent both on hard floors and carpets (although it does leave behind some larger bits) and it’s fantastically quiet. There’s a long hose, so you don’t have to keep unplugging it as you work through your home, and the bags have 4.1l capacity which is very big. It’s on the heavy side, but the wheels mean you don’t notice it most of the time, with the exception of cleaning the stairs and thicker carpets.
Hoover telios extra pets bagged cylinder vacuum cleaner
This bagged cylinder machine is our top recommendation for pet owners. We tested it blind and were shocked at the price – if it cost twice this much we'd still feel like it was good value. Not a trace of our four legged friends’ hair was to be found once this had done its best – and that goes for textured hard floors right through to sink-into carpets. It comes with different floorheads – turbo-brush pet tool, crevice tool, upholstery tool and dusting brush – so you don’t miss a trick, and it’s quiet with a great filter. There’s a variable slider to control the suction, which is especially handy for thick carpets to make it easier to push. But it hasn’t got quite the suction of some of the other machines we tested.
Shark duoclean pet flexology HV390UKT
Most bagless stick vacuum cleaners are cordless, but this one has a cord so there’s no need to recharge it before use. It has a handheld unit for cleaning tighter areas and comes with an electro brush head for cleaning floors and a mini turbo brush for upholstery, as well as a crevice tool and dusting brush – and we can vouch for all of them being up to the task in hand. It’s superb on floorboards and good on laminate and carpets. Debris of all sizes was sucked up in no time and the effective filter is a safe bet for allergy sufferers. The cord is long, it’s a breeze to push around and it scored top points when it came to pet hair too. It’s flexible so you’ll have no trouble reaching under furniture. But clearing out the dust cannister can be messy, the detachable unit is on the heavy side and we expected it to be cheaper.
Dyson small ball allergy
If you’re dead set on a Dyson but your purse strings don’t stretch as far as the ball animal 2 model and/or you have a smaller home, this is a great option. Another upright bagless machine with outstanding suction that doesn’t deplete even when the dust container is full, it’s quiet, great with pet hair and compact, as well as being lightweight, especially for an upright machine. It comes with four tools – a brush and crevice combo, stair nozzle, soft dusting brush and upholstery nozzle. But if the more expensive ball animal 2 is a bit tricky to push across carpets, this one is even harder when on the highest setting. It’s also disappointing on stairs, so forget it if you live in a tall townhouse, although for flats or homes with just a few stairs, it’s well worth considering.
Miele complete C3 cat and dog pro powerline
Another bagged machine, this one also has a huge capacity of 4.5l per bag, meaning you won’t have to replace them much. And that, together with the long cable, makes it great for big homes. A great buy for pet owners, as you’d hope from the name, it whisks up hair with incredibly powerful suction and offers a great set of on-board accessories including tools for crevices, upholstery and dusting, as well as a turbo brush hair for entrenched fur. It’s effective on all floor types and you won’t have any trouble pushing it around and reaching right to the edges of floors. It’s quiet and is good for allergy sufferers, but it left some larger fragments in its wake. Be careful on the highest setting as it can lift the whole carpet up from the floor if you’re not careful.
The verdict: Corded vacuum cleaners
The Miele complete C3 silence ecoline is a standout vacuum that’s quick, quiet and exceptionally powerful – no wonder it gets a worthy top place in our round-up. The Amazon basics cylinder corded vacuum cleaner should get a special mention too as a terrific budget buy.
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