Extra-large and powerful vacuums are useful for outdoor projects or commercial cleanup, but the modern home deserves a smart vacuum cleaner — something lightweight and compact, but also powerful enough to clean up the worst messes and versatile enough to reach anywhere. The newer generations of vacuums work to do just this, combining many different features in a vacuum that’s easy to carry around, use, and store as needed.
Sometimes there are even specialty portable cordless models that can take the place of a household vac. Our experience with vacuum reviews (and more than a few cleanups) has led to a number of recommendations for these lightweight vacuums, starting with super-powerful and dependable Dyson Animal.
Looking for a different type of vacuum? Check out our picks for the best robot vacuums and best vacuums for pet hair to help you find the right model. Also look for the best vacuum deals available right now on Amazon Prime Day 2020
Dyson V8 Animal
Dyson specializes in particularly powerful vacuums: The V8 Animal combines that power with a cordless, versatile design that’s perfect for indoor cleaning without straining your back. The Animal’s battery is designed to provide an incredible amount of power in short periods of time so you don’t lose any suction. It takes four hours to charge but gives you up to 40 minutes of run time when you are ready to use it, or 8 minutes of fade-free power at the highest setting for spot cleaning particular messes.
You can operate this vac as a stick or a handheld depending on what you’re cleaning, although the stick mode will consume battery more quickly with its motorized roller, which comes with tough nylon bristles. As with many Dyson models, this vac uses an airtight design that’s good at trapping allergens and other unwanted particles.
Two final things to note about this extra-powerful Dyson V8 Animal model. The bin is a little small at 0.14 gallons, so you’ll have to empty it regularly (but it makes the handheld mode possible). Also, this is Dyson we’re talking about, which means you’ll really have to pay for this kind of quality. If you are looking for a similar model that offers less power at a lower price, then the Dyson Motorhead might be a better choice for you.
Hoover Air Cordless
This Hoover model pays homage to the traditional Hoover vacs of old but updates the design to create a slimmer, more maneuverable floor vac with excellent steering and a few handy attachments. It’s a good choice if you’re short on closet space to store a vacuum cleaner, and, again, the cordless design here is so useful and a great fit for the modern home.
The battery life is around 25 minutes on a full charge, but the powerful Hoover motor is a better fit for deep-cleaning carpets. The attachment is a 2-in-1 brush/nozzle for cleaning drapes, etc. The Hoover Air Cordless is one of the larger vacs on our list and not the greatest model to carry up and down stairs, but the more traditional vacuum style may be ideal for the right households.
Shark Apex UpLight
This Shark Apex Uplight may look like a corded version of Dyson’s model at first glance, but it has a lot of unique features that we really like. The dual-brush roll system is particularly powerful and great for tackling pet hair, plus the dual setup helps to remove hair from the primary brush before it gets too tangled. There’s a semi-handheld option with a hose connection (one hand holds the bin, and one hand holds the nozzle) that you can use for furniture and stairs, and an even smaller handheld option for quick cleanups. The larger bin size means you can clean more without emptying, too. It’s a great vacuum package in a compact design.
By now, some of you are probably looking at these vacuum prices and thinking, “No way.” So let’s take a look at an extra-affordable option for people who have limited cash to spend on a new vacuum. The Bissell Featherweight doesn’t have the power of some of our other picks, but it is collapsible into three different forms that you can use for floor, furniture, and spot cleaning with ease — and it’s particularly lightweight, making it easy for anyone to handle. It’s a good solution for smaller homes or as a side vac for cars and other specific projects.
Orfeld 2-in-1 Stick Vac
This Orfeld model adopts some high-end features with a price that doesn’t go too high. It includes two suction modes, a detachable hand vac, and a motor with enough power to deal with cat litter, spilled food, and other common problems across the household. Like our other cordless models, the Orfeld 2-in-1 Stick Vac takes several hours to charge and the charge lasts 15 to 30 minutes depending on what mode you are using. The battery is detachable to give you more charging options, too. The bin, however, is one of the smallest on our list and you’ll have to empty it frequently.
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