The latest and best Cordless Vacuum Cleaners

Tested and Reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

Updated 1st May 2019

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Gtech Air Ram

Bosch Athlet

Dyson V7

Gtech Multi

Makita 18v

Black & Decker Dustbuster

Bosch 10.8v and 12v Vacs

Karcher Window Vac



Over the last 20 years I have owned and used dozens of cordless vacuums and have seen them evolve from disappointing gadgets into powerful and effective cleaning tools.

I have had most of the ubiquitous BLACK+DECKER DUSTBUSTERS and all have gone prematurely to landfill.

The Dustbuster is the most popular entry level cordless vacuum but due to a non-replaceable battery it has a limited lifespan. In my opinion products like this should be banned since they are uneconomic to repair and become landfill prematurely.

I much prefer the The Dyson handhelds and Gtech Multi that have REPLACEABLE 22v batteries.

The oldest vac in my collection is my18v Makita BCL180.This uses  huge 3 amp hour, REPLACEABLE 18v batteries found in builders tools like drills and saws.

Results from my long term, extensive testing of cordless vacuums show that the quality of the battery and the filter type are the most important factors to consider when choosing a cordless vacuum.

Gtech Air Ram Mk2

The Gtech AirRam MK2 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner hits the Fredshed bedroom carpet

I love the LED headlights and was amazed how well it collects debris of all sizes. This updated model is so light and easy to use, even from my wheelchair. My elderly cleaning lady also loves the Air Ram for the same reasons. It is a bit noisy on hard floors but has many good features such as easy emptying of the collection box and a big on/off button and battery charging indicator light.

 The adjustable length handle pivots and lowers to get right under furniture and also locks into place to stand upright for storage and recharging. I have the basic model but there is a more expensive AirRam K9 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner for pet hair issues. I like my Air Ram 2 as it is quick and easy to use and is lighter than my cordless Dysons. The one thing that is not as good as my Dysons is the filter. The Air Ram uses an old style Washable Foam Filter that will need washing out regularly to maintain its performance.

Washing the filter is a messy horrible job and it takes ages to dry out so I recommend having a spare one so you always have a clean dry one ready. Using a vacuum with a blocked up filter will also stress the motor and hasten the demise of your vacuum. Filters are there to be cleaned or changed!


 Click here for Gtech cordless vacuum cleaners

 SPARES2GO Washable Dirt Bin Stick Filter for Gtech AirRam Mk2 K9 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

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Bosch Athlet

The Bosch athlet feels like a solid well made product and is very adaptable with all its accessories like hoses and wands. However using these tools can be a bit of a mission. The Bosch Athlet and the Gtech Air ram both weigh about 3kg, have similar size batteries and cost around £200.

Contrary to any marketing hype you may see both the Gtech and Bosch vacuums are made in China. There have been reports of handles breaking. The elephant in the room with the Bosch Athlete is that the battery is built in and cannot be easily replaced thus causing many otherwise working machines to become landfill.

Some early models had faulty chargers and this has now been corrected but I would urge caution buying any product with a built in battery if you are environmentally conscious.

Bosch Athlet verses the Gtech Air Ram Mk2


The Athlet is great on my parquet floor

 Bosch Athlet Upright Cordless Vacuum Cleaner, 0.9 L - White

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Is the Dyson as good as the adverts make out?

My Original Dyson DC16

My current Dyson DC35 - (purchased March 2011) and V7 (purchased Sept 2017)

I have owned and tested 3 Dyson cordless vacuums and currently use my V7 nearly every day. I have also tried several others belonging to friends.  

The unique selling feature of a Dyson is the dual cyclone technology. Other brands have single cyclone but it is the dual cyclone invented and patented by James Dyson that really does give his product better performance - at a price!

Over the last 10 years I have owned and used the original DC16 and a number of the upgraded models that followed. The first models had very short battery life. My DC35 has been fantastic and is used at least 3 times a week. It is powerful and particularly good at cleaning my car and visitors often ask to borrow it to clean theirs.

Overall I love the design and the fact that the filters do not need cleaning as often as other makes and the suction stays strong. The Dyson DC35 is easy to empty and has a neat wall mounted charger. A small thing I don't like is that the trigger has to he held in and cannot be locked on. This makes your hand ache after a short while, which is okay as the battery only lasts a short while on full power.

My DC35 is still available but the higher number models now have improved digital motors and Hepa filtration to trap pollen and smaller particles.

The Dyson V8 is now the most powerful Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner, It still uses a 21.6 volt battery but it costs nearly £500!

Despite contacting Dyson and studying their literature I struggle to see much difference between the DC59, V6, against the V7 and V8 .

All have the latest digital motor with a 15 cyclone arrangement.

From what I can tell the difference is that the V7 and V8 have easier opening debris container and that the battery is now a 21.6v Nickel Cobalt Aluminium model and no longer Li-ion. Dyson could not explain or confirm the difference to me. I must say that my V7 is a big improvement on my DC35, everything has got bigger and more powerful and it has incredible cleaning performance.

I will attempt to find out more!



Dyson V6 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Vacuum

A commendable feature of Dyson is the easy availability of spare parts.

click here for the spares for all Dyson handheld cordless vacuums

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Gtech Multi - Test and Review

The Gtech Multi undergoing its first Fredshed trial

It is well balanced and easy to operate

I am very impressed

With the small motorised brush head it is perfect for stairs

This handheld cordless vac has a 22v Li-ion battery similar in size and power to the Dyson handheld models.

It is at least £100 cheaper and looks similar. When using the tool it is clear that it has less suction than a Dyson with its patented dual cyclone feature.

The Gtech Multi has enough suction to do the job and the powered head attachment is great at brushing up particles into the air flow.

So far I am impressed with the Multi, it is comfortable to use and collects more dust and debris than I expected. 

One improvement over the Dyson is the ability to leave it switched on, with the Dyson you have to hold the trigger, which I find a bit tiresome.

The main issue is that the foam filter needs to be washed regularly to maintain its suction and it takes ages to dry.

I will be buying another spare filter and would like to see products like this supplied with 2 from the start.

 Click here for Gtech cordless vacuum cleaners

  Mk2 Foam Filter for Gtech Multi Handheld Vacuum Cleaners (2016 onwards)

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Makita BCL108Z 18v Cordless Vacuum

The blue Makita 18V LXT Cordless Vacuum shown above is now 8 years old and I use it at least 3 times a week.

This superb 18v vacuum from Makita of Japan has been around for years and is powered by the same range of Li-ion batteries that builders use in their drills and saws.

It uses conventional dual layer cloth and plastic washable filters and the basic design is simple and effective.

 It is also available in a 14.4v version and replaces my old 12v version that I loved and used for years.

I am 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 longer than even the most expensive Dyson.  The Makita battery can be used in around 50 other powertools!

The Dyson is easier to empty and has a neat wall mounted charger. If had to choose between them it 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, hedge trimmer, leaf blower and jigsaw.

If you 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 entry level Dyson (£160 vs £220 approx).

 Dyson handhelds and the Makita BCL108Z both come with extension tubes and floor attachments.

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

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

Both batteries are around £50 to replace but the Makita battery can be used in 50 other tools.

My Makita batteries are 8 years old and are still working well.

Conventional 2 filter setup.

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

My cloth filter lasted 5 years before I felt the need to replace it.

 Makita 443060-3 Cloth Filter for BCL180ZW, BCL180 and LC01Z Vacuums


I empty my vac straight into a plastic bag.

Makita BCL180Z 18V LXT Cordless Vacuum Cleaner 

 Makita 18 V Li-ion Battery and Charger


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Black & Decker Dustbusters

 BLACK+DECKER 18v Lithium Compact Pivot Vacuum ( special edition shown )

Pivot Nose Dustbusters

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

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

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.

I tested the 12, 14.4v and 18v versions which have the same design and filters.

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

Even worse, 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.


 BLACK+DECKER Lithium Compact Pivot Vacuum, 18 V, Dark Titanium

 Black + Decker Dustbuster Filter to Fit PV9625N/ PV1225NPM/ PV1225NB/ PV1425N/ PV1825N

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

The neat folding brush on a slide-out nozzle. This solves the problem with losing small accessories.

Dustbuster Filters

The Dustbusters use the typical twin cone, 1 plastic, 1 paper (or foam) affair that is found in the Gtech, Makita and other vacs.

It works well if kept clear but is a messy horrible job to clean properly. The Dyson filter stays much cleaner and needs cleaning or changing less often. Well done James!

New model is much improved with a see thru dust bin and improved Li-ion batteries

 BLACK+DECKER Lithium Compact Pivot Vacuum, 18 V, Dark Titanium

Black + Decker Dustbuster Filter to Fit PV9625N/ PV1225NPM/ PV1225NB/ PV1425N/ PV1825N

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Bosch 10.8v and 12v Cordless Vacuums

Blue Bosch tools are tier professional range so when I tried this 10.8v GAS cordless vacuum I was underwhelmed by the poor suction and lack if tools.

Recently Bosch have bought out the Easyvac 12 in thier green range and this is a much better product with a full range of accessories and plenty of suck.

Bosch GAS 10.8v cordless vacuum

uses battery from the Bosch Blue range of professional power tools

Bosch GAS108VLIN 10.8 V-LI 10.8v Li-ion Vacuum Bare Unit GAS108


Bosch Easy Vac 12

 This model is new for 2017 and part of the power For All 12v range. It used to be known as the 10.8v range but all companies are now reclassifying 10.8v as 12v.

This little vac comes with a range of accessories and is only sold naked, so you need to buy the battery and charger separately if you don't already have other powertools in the range.

So far only used it for a week but am very impressed as it has plenty of power and includes a full range of accessories. It is very similar to my beloved Makita 18v vac but even lighter and easier to use. I really like this product and hope that Bosch start selling it in a kit together with the battery and charger.


Bosch EasyVac 12 Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner (Without Battery and Charger)

BOSCH AL1115CV Li-ion Standard Battery Charger

Bosch 2.0 Ah Lithium-Ion 10.8 V Battery (Compatible for All Tools in the 10.8 V Power for All System)

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A Totally New Way To Clean Windows

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

Great on car windows too!

Kärcher WV2 Plus Window Vac

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 sheepskin clad spray gun accessory, 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 often use the Karcher when 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 curved glass better.

I am a pretty hard person to please when it comes to new gadgets but this one beat my expectations. It 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.

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 a sponge or cloth with do.


These new models are shorter and have a better tank emptying method. The WV2 has a better battery than the WV1.


 Kärcher WV1 Window Vac

 Kärcher WV2 Plus Window Vac

For best results use the yellow coloured Karcher concentrated fluid below


 Kärcher CWindow Cleaner Concentrate


 Kärcher Window Vac Extension Pole for All Kärcher Window Vac Models


Also available - narrower 170mm head for small Georgian type windows!

Kärcher Window Vac Small Suction Blade for WV2, WV2 Premium and WV5 Premium

The smaller head is better on curvy car windscreens too.

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If you found my advice helpful and would like to support my work, please return to this page and use my links when purchasing your tools.

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 Thanks - Fred



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