Cordless vs Corded Vacuum – What is Best for You?

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Are you trying to decide whether to buy a corded or cordless vacuum cleaner? It can be hard to know which one is the best pick. Both have their advantages and drawbacks, so you’ll want to do your research before taking the plunge.

When shopping for a vacuum, two of the main types available are cordless and corded vacuum cleaners. The two types are vastly different in terms of design, power output and convenience. However, despite these differences, both share some common features.

If you’re considering purchasing a new vacuum cleaner, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each type before making a decision. In this article, we will provide an overview of both corded and cordless vacuums so you can make an informed decision that best meets your needs.

Cordless vs Corded Vacuum Cleaner

A summary table comparing Cordless vs Corded Vacuum Cleaners:

FeaturesCordless Corded
Lighter in Weight Yes
Smaller in SizeYes
More Dust CapacityYes

Understanding the differences between cordless vs corded vacuum cleaners will help you determine which option is right for you.

The cordless vacuum revolutionized home cleaning in 1979 when Black & Decker introduced the cordless Dustbuster. Due to their lower power output, early cordless vacuums offered only limited use for quick clean ups of spills. They lacked the power of their corded counterparts and could not compete on home floor cleaning. 

In addition, earlier cordless vacuums had limited battery life and runtime. As a result they needed to be constantly recharged and then replaced after a year or so of usage. The convenience of cordless was therefore not worth the drop in performance and usability.

The good news is that improvements in vacuum design and lithium-ion battery technology have come a long way. These days, you can get strong suction power and battery runtime up to an hour on cordless models.

Furthermore, cordless vacuums now include more advanced features and attachment tools compared to their predecessors. The cordless vacuum has become so popular that manufacturers have expanded this segment tremendously in the last few years. Today, the best cordless vacuums have similar capability as their corded counterparts, although they tend to cost more.

Let us learn more about corded and cordless vacuums.

Corded Vacuum

There are several good reasons to go with a corded vacuum. These vacuum cleaners are not just more powerful at removing dust and pet-hair; they are also more affordable. For example, you can get a reasonable corded vacuum for under $200. However, you would be hard pressed to find a cordless model with the same cleaning capabilities for such a low price. Although Tineco cordless vaccums are much cheaper than Dyson and prove that there are low cost options.

woman happily cleaning using corded vacuum

Corded vacuums are a great choice if you want to limit your spending. If you have kids, pets, or lots of carpet, a corded vacuum might be perfect for you. Choose a good brand such as Dyson or Shark, Miele or Riccar and they will serve you well and stand the test of time.

By comparison battery operated vacuums have a shorter life-span because their batteries wear out over time. It is a fact that lithium-ion batteries, the type most commonly found in cordless vacuums start to degrade after only 2 years. You should expect a reduction in run-times between charges after that time. Perhaps you’ve noticed this happening with your smartphone after a similar period.

The best corded models come with long power cords so you don’t need to switch power outlets too often.

Corded vacuums are more popular with homeowners and businesses because they are powerful and reliable. They also don’t run out of power since they’re connected to your mains!

We think that the best vacuums for carpeted homes are still corded mains-powered models because they will go for much longer. Vacuuming carpets uses a lot of energy because the vacuum’s brush roll and beater bar works overtime when cleaning carpet. Heavy use like this will drain a cordless vacuum in short time. No such problem with a plug-in vac.

Although high-end cordless models such as Dyson can now provide the same suction power as a corded vacuum, they only do it for a very short time. For example, the 230AW max suction on the Dyson V15 only lasts for 10-12 mins. You don’t want to run out of power half way through the job!

Carpet Care Tip – choose a vacuum for your specific carpet type! For example, there are vacuums best suited for berber carpets and vacuums that are best for high pile carpets.


  • Affordable Price, lots of models offer good value for money and are much cheaper than cordless models.
  • Larger Dust Bins. Most corded vacuum cleaners have a larger dust bag or bin compared to a cordless model. Look for one with hygenic emptying of the collected dirt and dust.
  • Consistent suction power that will not run out. You can easily clean your entire house in one session.
  • High powered cleaning – strong suction compared to most cordless models.
  • Best quality filtration options available on premium models.
  • Good selection of on-board tools included.
  • Choose from various vacuum types including bagged or bagless, canister, upright and corded stick.
  • Long cords with auto-rewind offers convenience.
  • Longer warranties available on premium models of 5-8 years. Yes, you can get an 8 year warranty on a corded Riccar Vacuum!


  • The cord needs to be connected to a power source.
  • Corded vacuums are generally a lot heavier than cordless models.
  • It isn’t easy to move the cord around the house as you clean.
  • It is difficult to check the cord on a regular basis to make sure it is not damaged or frayed.
  • Lack of cord auto rewind feature on some models limit its versatility. 
  • Can be noisy when working.

Cordless Vacuum

Cordless vacuum cleaners have been around for years but have seriously improved in recent times. A cordless vacuum cleaner will provide greater convenience to most homeowners because of their cord-free design. 

young woman cleaning using cordless vacuum

The cordless vacuum is considered among the all-time best tools for vacuuming. It is also one of the most versatile tools available. With its cleaning power, you can clean almost any surface in your home or office without having to spend time switching power-outlets. No cord means you can move the vacuum from room to room easily – if you have offices or small rooms, this can make vacuuming a breeze.

The cordless vacuum offers more convenience than the corded vacuum we discussed above and will increase your cleaning efficiency. If you are pressed for time to complete your vacuuming after you get home from work, then the cordless vacuum stands a better chance of being able to meet your needs.

In addition to the cordless convenience, these vacuums are also lightweight and offer good maneuverability for getting into tight corners and under furniture. Furthermore, they are easy to store in a handy location on their charging base for quick access.


The top features of a good cordless vacuum include:

  • Long battery life that can be extended further with a replacement battery. Look for models with a swappable battery.
  • Remaining battery level indicator.
  • Noise reduction. They are typically less noisy than their corded counterparts. Indeed, one of the quietest vacuum cleaners we have reviewed is a Dyson cordless vacuum.
  • Convertible to handheld vacuum.
  • Strong suction power with suction settings that automatically adjust to preserve battery runtime.
  • Motorized floor head that is suitable for all floor types.
  • Good filtration with a fully sealed design to ensure dust, pollen and pet-dander are retained in the vacuum.
  • Includes attachment tools such as pet-hair tool and dusting brush.
  • Convenient storage for charging and close to hand for easy access.

The best cordless vacuums make it easy to vacuum hard-to-reach places and have good maneuverability. The Shark ION Multi-flex is a good example. As a result of the flexible vacuum wand, cleaning under furniture is a breeze.

They are also better for hard-to-reach places because they convert to a handheld vacuum. You can use a cordless vacuum to quickly clean a dusty corner or remove spills. Pet owners appreciate the ease of vacuuming up pet hair from carpets and upholstery. Using a cordless vacuum is as convenient as grabbing the sweeping brush but takes you half the time and provides a better result.


  • Expensive – the price range of cordless models is a lot higher.
  • Limited battery life and runtimes.
  • Lightweight.
  • Requires frequent recharging of battery. Battery runtimes vary between 30-60 minutes on the lowest power setting.
  • Cheaper models have weaker cleaning power. However premium models such as the Dyson V15 or Miele Triflex HX1 are closing the power gap versus their corded counterparts.
  • Smaller dust bins on cordless models require more frequent emptying.
  • Filtration on cheaper cordless vacuums is generally not as good as filtration on similarly priced corded vacuums.
  • Shorter warranty periods of 1-2 years.

Comparison: Cordless vs Corded Vacuum Cleaners

Check out this comparison to see which form of vacuum cleaner is right for you! While there are many factors to consider when choosing a vacuum cleaner, this comparison gives you a general idea of what each type of vacuum can provide you.

woman fixing vacuum


Cordless vacuums are a newer and constantly expanding market, with new innovations being developed and released year by year. With flagship vacuum cleaner brands spending resources on research and development and an increasing demand for cordless vacuums, they are more expensive as a result.

Winner: Corded Vacuum


Choosing the right vacuum based on weight is important.

If you are looking for a lightweight model, cordless vacuums are the lightest, starting from only a few pounds in weight. They would be the best vacuum type to choose if you have a home with lots of stairs.

However, if you are have a larger single level home, weight may be less important to you and a corded vacuum would be suitable. In addition, there are still plenty of good options to choose from for lightweight corded vacuums.

Winner: Both


A cordless vacuum cleaner may be able to vacuum your home in less than half the time it would take a corded one to complete the task. But this advantage will not hold true if you have lots of carpets and pets or small children who require constant attention. However, a cordless vacuum cleaner could potentially save you more than a corded one when it comes to saving time. 

Winner: Cordless

Level Of Noise

Sound is a big factor in buying a vacuum. Both cordless and corded vacuums are available in different models with various features designed to make them more sound-proof and comfortable for use in environments that make noise. Most vacuum cleaners sold today have a speed setting that allows users to turn down the suction with relative ease, but they also have noise-canceling features that can reduce the high-frequency noise.

Winner: Both

Suction Power

When you’re searching for the best vacuum, you will want to consider both how much power it has and the cleaning time that it provides. A cordless vacuum might be advertised as having suction power the same as a corded vacuum but it certainly will not last as long.

A comparison of cordless and corded vacuums based on suction power reveals that the corded models have approximately 2 times the suction power. However, if you decide to buy a premium cordless vacuum because of the high suction power, be aware of the shorter runtime you will get from it.

Winner: Corded Vacuum

Parting Words

Both corded and cordless vacuums have their own pros and cons. Which one is right for you depends on what you need to use your vacuum cleaner for, how big your space is, and what kind of firepower you need (which may depend on how many people live in your house, whether you have pets and the type of flooring that you have). Check out our vacuum buying guide for further information to assist in your decision.

Cordless vacuums may be more convenient considering you’ll be freeing yourself from wires and will have a lighter cleaning device to operate. However, traditionally they will come with less suction power, limited battery life and higher price tag. It will be interesting how the cordless vacuum landscape looks in the coming years, as major vacuum brands focus their attention on this form factor and compete for improvements.

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