Thanks to their practical design, cordless vacuums are a popular alternative to bulky traditional vacuums. But you should avoid cheap cordless vacuum cleaners. They’re not great at cleaning floors, and ultimately, a corded vacuum is a cheaper, longer-term investment.
Cheap cordless vacuums suck up the cleaning
This may not come as a surprise, but cordless vacuums aren’t very powerful. To extend battery life, they run at a much lower wattage than corded vacuums — they’re not very good at picking up dirt.
A cheap corded vacuum can run at 250 watts, but cordless vacuums under $400 typically run at 120 watts. (Once you get past the $400 price point, you can find more powerful cordless vacuums like the 400-watt Dyson V8.)
Granted, wattage isn’t the best way to measure a vacuum’s suction power. Wattage simply tells you how much electricity a vacuum cleaner is using. A vacuum cleaner can have excellent wattage, but it might offer mediocre suction power due to things like a less efficient motor or a thick HEPA filter. We’re only talking about wattage because cheap vacuums don’t list other important specs.
However, a low wattage usually indicates that a vacuum cleaner is not using a quality filter. A cheap cordless vacuum will not do a good job of removing pollen, dander, and other allergens from your home. It might even spit those allergens back into the air. Many corded vacuums use a HEPA (or HEPA-style) filter to eliminate this problem.
We also have to worry about the battery life. If you live in a small apartment, you might only need a few minutes of battery life to clean all your floors. But in a larger home, especially one with pets, vacuuming can take half an hour or more. Cheap cordless vacuums have around 20 minutes of battery life, and that number decreases as the battery wears out.
Bin size is also an issue, at least on some models of cordless vacuums. These devices are usually intended for small jobs and need to be emptied frequently. Of course, this “problem” mainly affects people who live in larger apartments or people who own pets.
I should also note that cheap cordless vacuums tend not to have attachments. You usually can’t clean furniture, curtains, or baseboards (you know, that wooden bumper that runs along the bottom of your walls).
Dyson V8 Animal Cordless HEPA Vacuum Cleaner + Direct Drive Cleaning Head + Wand Set + Motorized Mini Tool + Dusting Brush + Docking Station + Combination Tool + Crevice Tool
The Dyson V8 is one of the most well-known cordless vacuum cleaners around, and with good reason. It features powerful suction, multiple attachments, a HEPA filter and a 40-minute battery life.
Cordless isn’t always convenient
The big selling point of a cordless vacuum, at least in my opinion, is that it gives you a reason to vacuum more often. It’s much more convenient to unplug a stick vacuum from its charger than to unwind a long cord!
Here’s the problem; wireless is not always convenient. And that’s especially true if you’re using a cheap cordless vacuum.
Due to the lower suction power of a cordless vacuum cleaner, you will spend more time cleaning your carpets or rugs. So not only do you stand around and move the vacuum cleaner back and forth over the same spot, you also have to be careful not to miss anything.
Trash can and battery size are also two major inconveniences, at least in larger homes. Cordless vacuums typically use very small bins that need to be emptied frequently. And when your vacuum’s battery wears out, it may only last 10 minutes on a charge, forcing you to finish tasks early.
You can replace your cordless vacuum’s battery, which is nice. But at this point, you’re paying $40 every few years just to keep a vacuum going. And that’s in addition to the usual maintenance that you should do with any vacuum cleaner.
Shark ZU561 Navigator Lift-Away Speed Self-Cleaning Brushroll Lightweight Upright Vacuum with HEPA Filter Red Peony
The Shark Navigator lift-away vacuum features a self-cleaning pet hair brushroll, a true HEPA filter and a lift-away design that’s handy for cleaning curtains and stairs. It’s a great vacuum at a very reasonable price.
Cheap vacuum cleaners are expensive
All vacuum cleaners require maintenance. And of course, all vacuum cleaners will eventually break. But cheap vacuums need a lot more attention than mid-range or high-end models, and they often break after a few years of regular use.
To be clear, I’m not just talking about cordless vacuums. This problem affects all cheap vacuum cleaners and is an inevitable money pit for many families. You can’t afford to spend several hundred dollars on a vacuum cleaner, so buy something cheap every few years instead.
Well, that’s the reason to avoid cordless vacuums. You’re better off spending that money on a corded vacuum that offers improved suction, multiple attachments, and (hopefully) a higher quality air filtration system. Also, a $200 corded vacuum isn’t as cheap as a similarly priced cordless option.
But one thing we didn’t mention in this article – a cordless vacuum cleaner doesn’t have to be your own mainly Vacuum. And in some situations, a cheap cordless vacuum cleaner can be useful.
In some situations, cheap cordless vacuums are fine
A cheap cordless vacuum is usually a bad investment, especially when you need something that can clean your whole house. But maybe you already own a good vacuum and just want to keep some extra upstairs, in a mud room, or near a litter box. Then a cheap cordless vacuum cleaner is not a bad idea.
And realistically, some households don’t need a vacuum cleaner. If you have hard floors and a few small carpets, you can clean everything with a broom and dustpan. A cheap cordless vacuum can be a good addition for those days when you don’t have time for a broom.
Cheap cordless vacuums are also a good choice for college kids. The cordless design will encourage a college kid to clean more often and it should make it easier to move around. And since this is a cheap vacuum cleaner, you won’t get too angry if careless youngsters destroy it.
The best cordless vacuum cleaners
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