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Cordless vs. Corded Vacuum: Which One Should You Choose?

Choose between a cordless or corded vacuum with our handy breakdown of the features and advantages for each vacuum style.

Getting Started

Vacuum cleaner on carpet
Vacuums are an appliance that no home should be without. Even if you don't have wall-to-wall carpet, a vacuum is an excellent tool for cleaning everyday messes such as pet hair on your floors or dust on blinds. But when it comes to choosing which vacuum is best for your household and cleaning style, how do you know what to purchase? Should you go with a cordless or corded vacuum?
It all comes down to your needs. Let's take a look and explore some of the critical features and defining differences between a cordless stick vacuum and a standard corded vacuum.

Cordless vs. Corded Vacuums: Suction Power

Suction power is essential when it comes to vacuums. After all, it's their primary function. Let's compare the suction power of cordless and corded vacuums.

Cordless Vacuums

The battery in a cordless vacuum is what generates the suction power. So naturally, when a battery begins to drain and deplete, you'll experience lower suction strength. However, even while a lithium-battery cordless vacuum can provide consistent suction power, only high-quality cordless vacuums perform as well as plug-in vacuums.
If a cordless stick vacuum is what you want, aim for a model powered by a high-voltage, lithium battery. These models will provide stronger suction than standard vacuums with non-lithium batteries.

Corded Vacuums

Corded vacuums plug into your home's power source. Many assume these standard models are the best option for carpeted floors. However, while they generally have reliable suction power, lithium-powered, cordless stick vacuums can perform just as efficiently. Corded vacuums will typically have more suction power than cordless options with non-lithium batteries.
Person cleaning car with vacuum hose

Cordless vs. Corded Vacuums: Flexibility

When comparing cordless and corded vacuums, flexibility is another feature to consider. Having a flexible vacuum can allow for greater cleaning versatility.

Cordless Vacuums

Cordless vacuums are exceptionally light compared to corded options, weighing just under seven pounds, on average. Plus, their cord-free design allows you to transport it anywhere. You can use a cordless vacuum to clean multiple places such as your car, furniture, stairs and deep crevices. Many cordless vacuum models can convert into a handheld vacuum that cleans hard-to-reach spots.

Corded Vacuums

When it comes to flexibility, corded vacuums do not compare with cordless stick vacuums. They are much heavier and bulkier by far, limiting your transportation options and making them somewhat awkward to maneuver. Not to mention the cord forces you to find and use a plug within each room to keep the vacuum running. You may find yourself continually struggling to keep the cord out from under your feet. And if you've ever tripped on the cord and pulled it out, you know how frustrating it can be.

Cordless vs. Corded Vacuums: Battery Life

Since your corded vacuum runs on electricity, which you don't need to worry about running out of, it's essential to take a closer look at a cordless vacuum's battery life.

Cordless Vacuums

All cordless vacuums have limited battery life and need to be recharged. On average, you can expect a cordless vacuums' battery to last between 15 to 40 minutes, which is hopefully all it takes to clean your floors or furniture. Once the battery dies, expect to charge it anywhere from 2 to 16 hours.
However, as mentioned, a high-voltage, lithium-ion battery can provide a significantly longer running time (as well as more substantial suction power). So you won't have to charge the vacuum as often after a 40-minute cleaning spree. You also have the option of turbo/boost modes that offer increased power and work best on carpets. Keep in mind this extra power does drain the battery faster.

Corded Vacuums

On the flip side, you'll never have to worry about battery life with a corded vacuum. Even with the modern tech of cordless stick vacuums, the short-lived battery life keeps many homeowners using the standard corded vacuum. You can guarantee it will never run out of juice midway through chores.
Cleaning car seat with upright dyson vacuum

Cordless vs. Corded Vacuums: Dust and Filter Capacity

Lastly, let's take a look at the dust and filter capacity of both cordless and corded vacuums.

Cordless Vacuums

Cordless vacuums are compact and have a smaller filter to capture dust and debris—about 0.6 liters on average. You may find yourself stopping through a cleaning job frequently to walk to the trash and empty the container.

Corded Vacuums

Compared to 0.6-liters capacity of cordless vacuums, a corded vacuum can hold around 2-3 liters. Plus, you won't find yourself making multiple trips to the trash to empty the container. In addition, homeowners with allergy issues are less likely to be exposed to the collected dust and pet dander.
Want to explore vacuums to find the best fit for you? Take a look at Abt’s comprehensive Vacuum Buying Guide to learn the various vacuum types and their handy modern features.

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