Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaners and Handheld Vacuums You Can Buy in the UK 2020

I have recently been on a mission to improve the air quality in my home, it started with my review of the Dyson Pure Cool air-purifying fan which significantly improved some breathing issues I had due to chronic congestion.  

Vacuums come in all shapes and sizes, in recent years we have seen a shift towards robotic vacuums and cordless.

Not all vacuums offer the same level of cleaning, they will all generally clean up dust perfectly well, but if you suffer from allergies or asthma, you want to make sure it filters out the smallest of particles. If it doesn’t, vacuuming can potentially trigger problems by disturbing all the small particles that irritate the lungs.

So this buying guide is focussed on the best cleaning performance possible.

Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaners and Handheld Vacuums in the UK

Best Cordless Stick vacuum cleaner for allergies

Dyson V11 Absolute vacuum£549 via Currys


Dyson V11 Absolute Cordless Vacuum Cleaner, Blue

  • Keep your home looking pristine with the Dyson V11…
  • With a 40% bigger bin than previous models, you…
  • Want to know how much run time is left? Need to…
  • Cleaning the whole house is easy with a long 60…

  • Charge time – 4.5hrs
  • Run time – 60 mins
  • HEPA Filter – Filters 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns
  • Weight – 3.06 kg

The top model from Dyson, so it doesn’t come cheap at close to £600, but this offers whole-home cleaning with a 60min charge and it is certified asthma and allergy-friendly with a washable filter

Best Mid-Priced Cordless Stick vacuum cleaner for allergies

VAX ONEPWR Blade 4 Cordless Vacuum£219 from Amazon

Vax OnePWR Blade 4 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

  • Proven to clean carpets better than the UK’s Top…
  • VAX Blade 4 ’s new brushless motor is the…
  • Constant high pick-up performance even when the…
  • Removable ONEPWR 4.0 Ah MAX battery generates up…

  • Charge Time: 3 hours
  • Run Time: 45 mins
  • Weight: 3.1kg
  • Filter: DustVault HEPA grade 3-stage filtration

I struggled to find an affordable cordless vacuum cleaner that offers the correct level of particle filtration for allergies and asthma.

The two models I found that have a similar price are

  • Dyson V7 Animal vacuum cleaner
  • Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Both of them state either having a HEPA filter or being able to filter 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.

With Vax, the older 3-series models, you needed to opt for the Pet model to get this level of filtration, but it now appears to be standard on all the 4-series models.

The Dyson V7 Animal maybe better for animal owners, but it is a touch more expensive, and only has a 30min run time, though it is quite a bit lighter at 2,2kg.

Best Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaners

Shark ICZ160UK Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner£290 from Amazon


Shark Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner [ICZ160UK] Anti Hair…

  • Cordless vacuum with Anti Hair Wrap – actively…
  • Up to 50 minutes run-time* – removable battery…
  • Carpets and hard floors – DuoClean glides across…
  • Transforms into portable vacuum with Powered…

Shark have several vacuums in this range, I chose this one because it is a little more affordable and well-reviewed. The difference between the models seems to be battery length and whether or not it has a pet power brush.  

For this model, the run time is 50-mins, upgrading to the pet brush version adds £129. For the 100 mins model with the pet power brush, that price jumps up to £469.99.

At 5.5kg these are significantly heavier than the stick style, but they should offer superior performance, and this has both a HEPA filter and washable filter. It then converts into a handheld style vacuum, but the weight may be restrictive for some users.

Best Handheld cordless vacuum cleaner for allergies

Dyson V7 Trigger handheld vacuum cleaner – £199 from Currys

Dyson V7

  • Powered by the Dyson Digital motor V7 for powerful…
  • 2-Tier radial cyclones to capture dirt and debris
  • Up to 30 minutes of fade-free suction
  • Hygienic bin emptying at the touch of a button

  • Up to 30 minutes of powerful suction.
  • Capture fine dust and microscopic particles as small as 0.5 microns
  • Weight: 1.71 kg

With a 0.5 micron filtration and 30 mins suction, this is not going to be suitable for whole home cleaning but it is perfect for all the awkward spots you may need to get to, or for cleaning out of home, such as your car.

This vacuum has also been certified asthma & allergy friendly.

Best Small Handheld cordless vacuum cleaner

Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner£129 from Amazon

Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner [WV200UK] Single…

  • Sleek cordless handheld vacuum – Ideal for quick…
  • Designed to be displayed – Charges while stored…
  • Up to 8 minutes run-time per charge
  • Includes Crevice Tool and Pet Tool. One-touch easy…

  • Up to 30 minutes of powerful suction.
  • Capture fine dust and microscopic particles as small as 0.5 microns
  • Weight: 0.6 kg

While the Dyson V7 Trigger is superb, it is not exactly small, if you want something very small for quick clean-ups such as spillages, crumbs and pet hair, the Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner is a great little device. It will happily sit on a countertop charging until it is needed, rather than filling up a cupboard.

While it is unlikely to do a great deal at reducing allergens, it does have a HEPA filter, so it will filter out the small particles.  

Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaner that uses bags

Halo Capsule Cordless Vacuum Cleaner​ £249.99 from Amazon

Halo Capsule – Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner -…

  • POWERFUL – Independently verified to have all…
  • ULTRA LIGHT – With its carbon fibre construction…
  • CONVERTS TO HANDHELD – Simply remove the stick…
  • 1.6 LITRE CAPACITY – Our large capacity…

  • 3 hour charge time
  • 60 mins run time
  • Uses biodegradable bags
  • Weight: 2.6 kg

Vacuums that use bags have fallen out of fashion due to higher running costs and the shift towards producing less waste.

However, bags have the benefit of containing all the dust and allergens when you dispose of them, so they are appealing for anyone very sensitive to dust.

The Halo Capsule addresses the concern of waste by using pouches that are made from high-grade compostable paper which will naturally degrade with no plastic waste.

Annoyingly they make no mention of the level of filtration or any allergy claims.

HEPA Vacuum Cleaners & Anti Allergen Vacuum Cleaners

While I won’t suggest that everyone goes out and buys a special anti-allergen vacuum cleaner, but if you do suffer from any allergies, mild or serious, or any chronic lung condition such as asthma, I would suggest it is a good idea to consider.

When you vacuum, it unsettles dust, fluff, debris and pollen from carpets, hard floors and other surfaces. So while the vacuum make do a good job at cleaning dust, dirt and general debris, you could actually be making your allergies or asthma worse,

So you need to make sure it filters out the smaller particles that irritate your nose and lungs

It is a bit of a minefield trying to find what is good and what is not. With air-purifiers, they always come with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, which should in theory filter out all those allergens.

However, this terminology is not always used in vacuums. Dyson has many options excellent for allergies, but I many vacuums don’t use this terminology

To be classed as HEPA the UK standard stats that 99.95% of particles whose diameter is equal to 0.3 microns, in the US it is 99.97%

For the Dyson V11 Torque they state:

Dyson’s fully-sealed, six-layer filtration system is developed by the same engineers that make Dyson machines. It’s tested to trap 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns² – and expel cleaner air into your home.

So while they don’t say it is a HEPA filter, it is.

Frustratingly their Small Ball Allergy page doesn’t even bother to give any explanation of the filtration system.

However, it is certified asthma and allergy friendly by Allergy Standards Limited which seems to be the UK and Canadian version of the same certified scheme carried out by the Allergy Standards Limited (ASL) and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

Certified asthma & allergy friendly

With it being difficult to understand some of the marketing material or know if the claims manufacture make are true, it is worth looking out for certified asthma & allergy friendly products.

You can read more about the Certified asthma & allergy friendly here (USA site), and their list of recommended vacuums

This means they have been independently assessed and must meet the following standards:

  • The vacuum must be proven to remove surface allergens.
  • Airborne allergens during vacuuming must remain below levels set by Certification standards.
  • Integrity must be maintained throughout the air filtration system.
  • Dust released when the vacuum bag or canister is full must remain below levels set by Certification standards.
  • Exposure to allergens while changing the bag or cleaning the canister must remain below levels set by Certification standards.
  • Water-based collection systems must not negatively impact the relative humidity of the air and carpet.
  • Water-based collection systems must have a care code that emphasises the importance of mould growth prevention in the collection system.

Bagless vs Bagged Vacuums – Which is better for allergies?

Dyson revolutionised vacuum technology with their bagless cyclone vacuums which first launched back in 1993. Bagless vacuums are now the predominant style thanks to the reduced ongoing costs.

However, emptying a bagless vacuum can then reintroduce many of the particles back into your home, and this is the argument for using bagged vacuum cleaners.

If you do go bagless, the best option is to empty it outdoors into a bag; you can even go to the extreme of wearing a mask.

Handheld Vacuum vs Cordless Stick Vacuum

Handheld vacuum cleaners are generally not suitable for whole-home cleaning. They are ideal for cleaning hard to reach places, furniture, up your stairs or out of the home in your car. I normally use it to keep on top of small patches, which quite often includes crumbs anywhere that I eat.

Their smaller nature means cleaning time is quite low, but also they often don’t filter the smaller particles that trigger asthma. So you really need to use them in conjunction with a larger vacuum either a traditional corded model or one the cordless stick options

Posted by Mighty Gadget Blog: UK Technology News and Reviews

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