The latest and best Cordless Vacuum Cleaners

 Tested and Reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

For 240v (UK) mains powered vacs click here

Updated 24th November 2014

I have tested the following  machines.

DYSON  DC16, DC30, DC 31, DC35

 Makita BCL180 18v Li-ion

All Black and Decker Dustbusters

(including 7.2v Cyclonic,12v,14.4v & 18v  Dustbuster Pivot)

Gtech floor sweeper, SV01 & HV01 Vacuums

Makita 12v and 18v cordless vacuums

DeWalt 18v Cordless Vacuum cleaners

i Robot Roomba - Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

Ryobi CHV 182M

Now under testing - CEL Power 18v wet and dry Cordless Vacuum

  

 

Over the last 20 years I have owned and used dozens of these machines and have seen them evolve into powerful and effective cleaning tools.

I have had most of the ubiquitous Black & Decker Dustbusters and currently have the latest 18v model with pivoting head. (now dead)

Before 2010 I would have said this was the best cordless vacuum but now new contenders have arrived. The heavyweight Dyson DC44 with its 22v battery and the 18v Makita BCL180.

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Is this the best cordless vacuum ever?

This is the  Makita BCL180 using the fantastic 18v Li-ion battery that powers the huge range of professional tools. It is also available in a 14.4v version and replaces my old 12v version that I loved and used for years.

I am currently using it every day and testing and comparing it against the 22.2v Dyson DC35 - Digital Slim.

Both vacs have plenty of suction and come with similar accessories. The main difference is that the Makita has a bigger battery that runs for much longer than the Dyson. 25 mins (full power)  against 15 mins max, (on half power), Also the Makita battery can be used in 50 other powertools!

The Dyson is easier to empty and has a neat wall mounted charger. If had to chose between them I would have to be the Makita , mainly because I already have the battery and charger from my Makita Drill. I also use the battery in a lamp, chainsaw , leaf blower and jigsaw.

If you just don't have any Makita tools or batteries already you will have to buy the vacuum separate to a battery and charger but the total is still less than the Dyson,  (£160 vs £220)

 

 

 

 

I empty my vac straight into a plastic bag. The filter has 2 layers.

one is plastic one is cloth , both can be washed and re-used.

My filters have lasted 5 years before I felt the need to replace the cloth one. 

 

 

 (£190 vs £240) approx

Both the Dyson DC35 and the Makita vacuum come with extension pipes and wide floor attachments.

The Dyson crevice nozzle is longer so better under car seats.

* the Makita battery * charger are sold separately

The Dyson battery has 4v more current but way less power. (in amps)

The Dyson battery is a round £50 to replace.

The Makita battery is way  better and can be used in  50 other tools.

A genuine Makita replacement is £70 and a acceptable replica is around £50

My Makita batteries are 6 years old and are still working well.

I tested the Makita against the Dewalt 18v vac and much preferred the Makita as it had better filters and accessories. Also the on/off switch being located on the handle, was easier to use.

The blue Makita vacuum shown above is now 7 years old and I use it at least 3 times a week.

 

Dyson Launch 5th generation handheld cordless vacuum

Dyson DC59 - with new type battery

 

Dyson DC16 Handheld (21volt) DC30,   DC31

, DC35, DC44  and the Latest DC59

I used the original DC16 for a year, I liked the power and easy emptying feature.

I didn't like the short battery life, so was pleased to see the new more powerful  models appear.

The Dyson DC35 is the "big daddy" of the Dyson cordless vacuum cleaners as it has the most power at 22.2volts and a Lithium ion battery that recharges in 3.5 hours.

Whilst I have no doubt that it has the best and most consistent suction,  it is large, and the battery duration is very short at around 6 minutes. This is because a big motor (hence the big battery) is needed to power the dual cyclone that is unique to Dyson.

The DC35 is a  breakthrough in technology with looks to match. This hand vac is ideal for small clean-ups and use in caravans, boats etc, but remember it is not designed to replace your main vacuum cleaner.

I  like the "gun like" feel and I like the filtration and emptying features. The brush attachment is too soft for my liking and the trigger has to he held in and cannot be locked on. Otherwise it is good, but I still prefer the Black & Decker for cleaning the cars. (RIP) The Dyson does not last long enough to clean my big car, but just about manages my mini!

Dyson attempt to resolve the problem of  short run time by bringing out a new model with 2 speeds and a digital motor. However it has the same sort of battery and charger so I am not too excited about it. The Ergonomics have improved and it is lighter.   The new DC59  looks like the best of the bunch with its long extension and powered head to save you bending down and enabling larger areas of floor to be cleaned on each charge.

  The most popular version, DC44 uses a Nickel Manganese Cobalt battery that takes 5 hours to charge but gives consistent power for up to 20 minutes.

This is all very good but at £279 it needs to be!

Further Update  DC59 - more cyclones for extra suck!

 

 

 

 click here for the spares for all Dyson handheld cordless vacuums

 

Dyson DC16 Handheld (21volt)

 

 

 

 

 

The Latest and Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaners tested by Fred

( I am on a mission to find the overall winner)

 

Black & Decker Dustbusters

The Dustbuster is one of Black & Decker's longest running products and has seen many incarnations.

It is designed to be used for cleaning up minor spillages or quick tidy ups. It has a rechargeable battery and comes in many sizes.

From my experience the batteries last 3-5 years if regularly recharged but sadly are not replaceable.

B&D make the batteries and motor as one module so it is uneconomic to replace. Handy for them as you have to buy a new vacuum.

The pivot nose version takes up less space and is ideally located on a shelf whilst the conventional longer Dustbusters are best wall mounted.

Pivot Nose Dustbusters

These compact little vacs have great suction and the double filter system works well.

The folding design makes it easy to store on charger, and ideal on a kitchen worktop or shelf.  Expelled air and dust is not blown into your face like the old dustbusters.

Some niggles....

Occasionally the lid to the dustbox has not locked in and the dust fallen out.

On my one the storage for the little brush is pants so you can easily lose it.

Both of these problems have been resolved on new models

 lid to the dustbox now has a better catch

Nozzle extension and brush are built in and just flip out when required.

 use links below

I tested the 12, 14.4v and18v versions which has the same design and filters. The 18v version  is highly rated by reviewers on Amazon and popular mechanics.

 

The 18v model is best value and is the the most powerful.

The new version has this neat folding brush on a slide-out nozzle

This solves the problem with loosing small accessories

 

 

Standard long nose (cyclonic) Dustbuster

(best wall mounted)

18 volt special edition Black & Decker Pivot Nose Dustbuster

(The newest models are more compact, & coloured white & blue)

My original model - The best cordless vacuum cleaner for car mats!

New model is much improved with a see thru dust bin so you can easily see when it is full

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeWalt Cordless Vacuums

DeWalt are a very innovative company who respond quickly to customers needs and provide tools we want. If you buy a DeWalt cordless drill you can also find a huge range of other powertools to go with it. The 18v range is most favoured with tradesmen and builders and is widely available. Three of the Fredshed test team of tradesmen use these tools and swear by them. (The others swear at them - or just swear)

This is me at Interbuild trying the excellent DeWalt DC515N-XJ 18v cordless vacuum which EVERY BUILDER SHOULD OWN! - you filthy devils

There is also a larger model that can run off the mains as well, both are wet and dry!

The large model is both mains or battery powered.

 

 

This is me, with the DeWalt 18v Li-ion Vacuum! 

There is a larger model too but it runs off the same 18V battery.

I prefer the smaller one which is also a quarter of the price!

* make sure you dry the filter thoroughly if you use it on liquids.

I tested the Makita against the small  Dewalt 18v vac and much preferred the Makita as it had better filters and accessories. Also the on/off switch was easier to use.

 

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i Robot Roomba - Robot Vacuum Cleaners

Two of my friends have these excellent little bots and love them. I have spent some time studying them and am looking forward to further developments that will make them more suitable for my house.

Finally in 2011  I decided that the technology has improved enough and is reliable enough for me to try one.

Also the main supplier has now changed to a company I know and I am confident that the earlier reported problems with customer service will be resolved. Spare parts are widely available and reasonably priced. The Roomba can be completely taken apart and all parts are replaceable.

I have owned a  Roomba 581 for over 3 years and love it.

Several models have already evolved ( including the i-Scooba robot mop)  and most seem to be highly regarded by their users. They are best suited to uncluttered rooms . Most reports and reviews are positive but with any hi tech rechargeable product problems can arise.  The I Scooba is more complex and as an older product is due for redesign.

As new batteries become more powerful  and cheaper these machines will be more affordable and effective - just like the Robot mowers I have been using for 9 years.  watch this space!

This is my i Robot Roomba completely disassembled ( less than 5 minutes)

 

 

 

 

       

 

IRobot Roomba 620 costs around £300

There are now more expensive higher spec models but I don't think they offer much for the extra money

A replacement rechargeable  battery is around £25-£35 and just clips in.

 

 

Robot Vacuum Cleaners

Is there a viable, cheaper alternative to the I robot range?

I am now testing this high spec robot vacuum cleaner that as received great reviews from its users and is around half the price of the Roomba!

So far I am very impressed, except for the instructions which are total goobledegook!

At less than half the price I paid for my Roomba 581 it has even more features and is quieter!

UPDATE!

This cheaper model has had nearly 3 years use and is still working

but the battery does not last as long and it can only do half a room!

It is slightly less good at docking itself and untangling itself from cables than the more expensive Roomba.

It has an ultra-violet light for killing germs but whilst this looks funky I don't think it does much.

The mopping attachment is a waste of time so I leave it off. Overall for the money this is an excellent Robot vacuum cleaner and I will try and get a new battery for it.

 

Which is the Best Robotic Vacuum Cleaner?

I test my i Robot Roomba 584 against the new XR advanced Model

 

I have owned the Roomba 584 for over 4 years and now also have the rival XR Robot vacuum cleaner.

Both machines have similar specifications and are the same size.

The more expensive Roomba is better at docking itself for recharging but there is no other discernable difference between the 2

 

 

 

 

 

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 KARCHER WV50 ELECTRIC WINDOW VACUUM

A Totally New Way To Clean Windows

This excellent new invention from Karcher of Germany is a sort of cross between a wet -n-dry dustbuster and a window squeegee.

Firstly you soap up the window using a sponge (or  the spray gun and sheepskin supplied) and then swipe down the window with the vac and in seconds you will have a perfectly clean window with no smears or mess. All the dirty water is sucked into the integral tank and kept away from the window.

The Karcher WV50 window vacuum is great on tiles and cars too. I now use the Karcher every time I wash my car to dry it off quickly after rinsing. This stops those annoying water spots appearing. I find that the new smaller 170mm head is best on my cars as it copes with the angles of the glass better.

I am a pretty hard person to please when it comes to new gadgets but this one beat my expectations and also impressed my window cleaning friend Chris and Polish cleaning lady ,who calls me MacGyver, due to the enormous amounts of gadgets in my house.

You can see a short video of the Karcher WV50Electric Window vacuum being used at my house by clicking here.

The Karcher WV50 did come with a spray bottle with a built in cleaning head and can be used with just a drop of washing up liquid or you can buy special Karcher window cleaning fluid , designed for this gadget.

The spray bottle/soaping head is now an accessory and one you don't really need as any old sponge or cloth with do.

 

 check prices of Karcher Window Vacs with another Fredshed Partner

 

 

 

Its a Squeegee that vacuums the soap and dirt clean away!

Great on car windows too!

Now available with a narrower (170mm)  head for small Georgian type windows!

The smaller head is better on curvy car windscreens too !

NEW PRODUCT! - TELESCOPIC HANDLE FOR YOUR WINDOW VAC!

USE LINKS BELOW

 

 Kärcher Window Vac Extension Pole

 

Gtech SWO2 Floor Sweeper

Sometimes the simplest machines are the best and this little battery powered floor sweeper fits that description.

The Gtech SW02 is so light and efficient, you can wizz round the room in seconds without the noise and effort of plugging in a heavy vacuum cleaner.

I was amazed how much it picks up and it is so easy to empty thanks to its nifty dirtbox that just slides out.

This machine can be used with one hand and is perfect for all sorts of people including wheelchair users like me!

 

No bags, no cords, no filters- just picks up dirt the easy way -by brushing

Surprisingly this little sweeper is ideal for DIY mess like plaster and concrete dust (small pieces). This because is does not have filters to block and just sweeps and collects. A smaller, cheaper version is also available - see below

  

   
   

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