The 8 Best Lightweight Vacuums, Tested in Our Lab

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A perfect choice for vacuuming every room in your house, lightweight vacuums are known for being user-friendly and highly maneuverable. We’ve purchased and tested more than 50 vacuums at The Lab and at home to determine the effectiveness of each one. During testing, we time each product’s unboxing and setup process, evaluate its cleaning ability on hardwood and carpeted surfaces, and rate how easy it is to steer it under and around objects.

It’s key to consider the different types of vacuums and attachments that’ll enhance usability when shopping. Dr. Karen Jacobs, occupational therapist and professor at Boston University, notes how different settings are also important: “Vacuuming carpet takes a lot more force than a tile or wood floor. Setting the height of the floor head of the vacuum can lower the force required when pushing the vacuum.” If you have multiple flooring types in your home, you won’t want to skip on a vac that’s able to be adjusted this way. “Always choose the right height setting for the floor,” Jacobs adds.

The Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum stood out in our testing thanks to its outstanding suction, multiple settings, and long battery life. It was also easy to push and store.

Here are the best lightweight vacuums on the market, backed by our testing.


Final Verdict

Our top pick for a lightweight vacuum is the Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum. In our testing, it did an outstanding job on both hard surface floors and carpets. This vacuum takes hardly any effort to move, and features a flexible design that makes it simple to store and maneuver. We also recommend the NEQUARE S180 Vacuum. This budget-friendly vac weighs less than 3 pounds and is easy to maneuver with just one hand. Plus, the height of the wand can be adjusted.

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong


We’ve tested over 50 vacuums side-by-side in The Lab and at home. During lab testing, our testers unbox each model first, timing how long the setup process takes to complete and how thorough the instructions are. Next, they evaluate each vacuum’s effectiveness on hardwood and three types of carpet. The vacuums are tasked with measured amounts of hair, popcorn kernels, and Cheerios. We note how many passes were needed to clean up the materials, if any hair was tangled in the brush roll, and the vacuums’ weight and portability. We also make notes on whether the vacuum seems to pull itself or if a lot of effort is required to maneuver it through our tests. We also check the model’s noise level when in operation.

From there, we gather insights on how well each pick transitions from smooth floors to a carpet and navigates our living room-inspired obstacle course, complete with a low-sitting couch and a coffee table. This makes up our maneuverability test. We note how long cordless models stay charged or how heavy cords are to carry around. Our testers then test the ease of emptying the dust bins and note if it was a messy, as expected, or thrillingly simple process. They use their entire experience to judge the overall value of the product and decide if it’s worth the money you’d spend on it.

Additional vacuums are rated on the same attributes by our at-home testers. They bring the models through real-world environments and situations and note whether they would continuously reach for the vacuum or another cleaning tool in their closet. Our editors take all of the consistently applied testing data and boil it down to the lightweight vacuums we believe are the very best.

Type

There are several “types” to choose from when picking out a lightweight vacuum. Stick vacuums are perhaps the most common and popular type, since they have a slim and trim profile. Many of these are also multi-purpose models that can convert into handheld ones for above-floor cleaning tasks, though their dust bin capacity may be small. Our best overall pick, the Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum is a stick model.

Another option to consider is canister vacuums, like the Bissell Hard Floor Expert Vacuum. Instead of supporting the vacuum’s weight as you clean, you’ll only need to hold onto the wand while the vacuum itself follows behind you on wheels. Upright vacuums are usually heavier by design, but some more slimmed-down versions exist, such as the Shark Navigator Freestyle Upright Bagless Cordless Stick Vacuum. If you are shopping for this type of lightweight vacuum for whole-house cleaning, you should look for an ergonomic design to offset the increased weight that comes with this design.

The lightest of all types, handheld vacuums are designed for smaller messes or light cleaning tasks, but the right one can still feature serious suction power. Handheld vacuums are particularly handy for cleaning your car, as well. Lastly, there are also wet-dry vacuums on the market that are capable of vacuuming and mopping your floors, like the Shark VACMOP. This is particularly handy if you want to condense your tasks, but these models can often only be used on hard surfaces.

Corded vs. Cordless Design

Another factor to consider is a vacuum’s corded versus cordless design. Corded vacs offer unfading suction power, but they also have limitations on reach based on cord length. You’ll need to manage the cord while maneuvering the vacuum around the room. A cordless vacuum, on the contrary, gives you ultimate flexibility, but only for as long as the battery lasts. You can expect anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes of runtime with a cordless vacuum before needing to pause your cleaning session for a recharge—which can take multiple hours.

Maneuverability

Choosing the right lightweight vacuum also means considering its maneuverability. You want to find a vacuum that gives you plenty of reach for accessing space-restricted areas, like under furniture or in corners. Lightweight stick vacuums are known for being nimble and flexible enough to clean tight spots. Features that can improve maneuverability on any lightweight vacuum include a flexible hose, a wand that reaches nearly to the floor, or a lift-away handheld vacuum for above-floor cleaning. In addition, some models glide across the floor since they’re self-propelled. This can help reduce strain from pushing and pulling a vacuum.

Underscoring why maneuverability is so important, Jacobs points out that forceful exertion while using a vacuum cleaner can cause you to over-extend the body, particularly the spine. Swivel steering is another great attribute, but make sure you’re rotating the vacuum and not your body to avoid injury, according to Jacobs.

Included Attachments

Attachments add versatility to your lightweight vacuum without drastically increasing the weight. Some of the most common (and helpful) attachments include upholstery brushes, crevice tools, extension wands, and motorized pet brushes. These tools can make your vacuum more effective at specific cleaning tasks. Keep in mind that some vacuums offer onboard attachment storage while others don’t.

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong


FAQ

  • The weight range of a lightweight vacuum varies by type and model, but usually vacuums that fall into this category weigh between 5 and 10 pounds. A few, like an upright vacuum, may weigh slightly more but might offset the extra weight with additional features to enhance effectiveness and maneuverability.

  • While lightweight vacuums often take the form of stick vacuums, which are usually known for their cleaning performance on bare floors, many models can effectively clean carpeted surfaces as well. No matter which type of lightweight vacuum you choose, look for a model with an adjustable floor head to ensure that it will have the right suction power for more plush carpeting or rugs, and so that you’re not overworking yourself, as noted by Jacobs.

  • A full dust bin, clogged filter, or obstructed floor head might impair the suction ability of any vacuum, including a lightweight model. Or, if the vacuum’s hose has any blockages or leaks, suction power can be reduced or even lost completely. It’s key to properly maintain your vacuum to prevent any lessened performance by regularly cleaning the dust bin, washing or swapping out the filter, and detangling the beater bar.

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong


Erica Puisis is a product tester and research writer specializing in home and lifestyle topics. She has extensive experience with small appliances, including vacuum cleaners. For this roundup, she utilized extensive testing data from The Lab and our home testers. By comparing the cleaning effectiveness, maneuverability, portability, ease of emptying, and noise levels of each model, she narrowed down more than 50 models to find the best options. For advice on selecting a vacuum with ergonomics and mobility adaptations in mind, she spoke with Dr. Karen Jacobs, an occupational therapist and professor at Boston University.

Here at The Spruce we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend, and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.

Disclaimer: Curated and re-published here. We do not claim anything as we translated and re-published using google translator. All images and Tattoo Design ideas shared only for information purpose.

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