Cordless Stick Vacuums With the Best Battery Life

8 great vacs from CR's tests that won’t leave you powerless mid-mess

One of the cordless stick vacuums with the longest runtime.
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With their slim, storage-friendly profiles and ever-improving performance, cordless stick vacuums are sucking up an ever bigger chunk of the vacuum market. But cutting the cord presents a trade-off: convenience vs. runtime.

The batteries that power cordless stick vacs have a limited runtime, and it can take hours for them to fully recharge. Manufacturers are aware of the problem.

“We found in talking to consumers that they need to be able to get the same cleaning performance they expect from a corded cleaner and not be left stranded in the middle of a cleaning task," says Kevin Pohlman, vice president of engineering at TTI Floorcare, which owns Hoover, among other brands. 

To see how long a vacuum will last on one battery charge, CR's testers run it until the battery dies—twice on high, twice on low—then average the times. "The results vary widely,” says Sue Booth who oversees our vacuum tests. For instance, the Bissell Air Ram 1984, reviewed below, clocked in at 47 minutes of vacuuming time on a full battery, while the Kenmore 10340 lasted a mere 15 minutes.

Here are the eight vacuums with the longest run times among models that earn a rating of either Very Good or Excellent overall in our vacuum performance tests. They’re listed in order from the most to the least runtime.

Bissell Air Ram 1984
Bissell Air Ram 1984

    Bissell Air Ram 1984

    Runtime: 47 minutes
    Charge time: 5 hours
    CR’s take: The cordless Bissell Air Ram 1984 is a good choice if you have pets and a variety of flooring. It earns an Excellent rating in our tests for cleaning carpet, bare floors, and pet hair. It quietly zips along edges leaving them debris-free and easily scoots under furniture. Its 47 minutes of runtime is the longest of any stick vac in our tests. Bissell as a brand, though, earns a middling rating of Good in both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction, based on data from CR's member survey.

    Dyson V11 Torque Drive
    Dyson V11 Torque Drive

      Dyson V11 Torque Drive

      Runtime: 43.2 minutes
      Charge time: 4 hours
      CR’s take: The newest Dyson on the market, the Dyson V11 Torque Drive packs more runtime than the brand’s earlier generations of stick vacuums. It earns our top rating for cleaning carpet, floors, edges, and pet hair as well as for clean emissions. And it’s one of the quieter models in our ratings, earning an Excellent rating for noise—an improvement over the V10 below. One note: CR removed Dyson from its list of recommended stick vacuums earlier this year after its poor showing in our brand reliability survey. The Dyson V11 wasn’t available at the time of the most recent survey.

      Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute
      Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute

        Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute

        Runtime: 29 minutes
        Charge time: 3 hours
        CR’s take: The predecessor to the Dyson V11, the Dyson Cyclone V10 clocks in at just shy of a half-hour of cleaning time. We paid $700 for the model we tested, but it now costs much less. In our tests, it performs equally well at cleaning carpets and bare floors, and at removing pet hair. The edges of your rooms will be spotless, but you’ll have to put up with a little noise to get them that way. Keep in mind, though, that Dyson stick vacs earn a Poor rating for predicted reliability.

        Dyson Cyclone V10 Motorhead
        Dyson Cyclone V10 Motorhead

          Dyson Cyclone V10 Motorhead

          Runtime: 27 minutes
          Charge time: 3 hours
          CR’s take: The Dyson Cyclone V10 Motorhead powers on for two minutes less than the V10 Absolute, but is just as good at cleaning. It’s superb on carpets and bare floors, and at getting rid of pet hair. Like the V10 Absolute, it makes a bit of a racket as you work, but you’ll appreciate the clean emissions. Like the other Dysons, this one's Overall Score took a hit because of the brand's Poor reliability ratings.

          Oreck Pod BK51702
          Oreck Pod BK51702

            Oreck Pod BK51702

            Runtime: 27 minutes
            Charge time: 3 hours
            CR’s take: Unlike most cordless vacuums, the Oreck Pod BK51702 vacuum has a bag, or "pod." While the pod is easy to install, it’s not reusable, so you’ll have to replace it from time to time, which adds to the overall cost of the vacuum. It’s not the most stellar performer, especially if you have carpet. But it earns an Excellent rating for removing pet hair and does a good job on bare floors. Oreck earns middling scores for both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction, based on data from CR's member survey.

            Hoover Fusion Max BH53110
            Hoover Fusion Max BH53110

              Hoover Fusion Max BH53110

              Runtime: 26 minutes
              Charge time: 3 hours
              CR’s take: This Hoover Fusion Max BH53110 makes quick work of removing pet hair and cleaning along edges. It's a quiet little number that's equally good at cleaning bare floors and carpeting. But it earns a Poor rating for emissions, meaning it kicks some dirt back into the house. So if you have allergies, try another vac listed here. Hoover earns middling ratings for both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.

              Shark ION F80 Cord-Free MultiFLEX IF281
              Shark ION F80 Cord-Free MultiFLEX...

                Shark ION F80 Cord-Free MultiFLEX...

                Runtime: 24 minutes
                Charge time: 4 hours
                CR’s take: Both of the Shark stick vacs featured here run for 24 minutes. The Shark Ion F80 tackles pet hair and bare floors with ease but struggles on carpet, so it might not be the best option if you have a lot of carpet or area rugs. It’s the only cordless vacuum on this list that comes with two batteries, so technically you’re getting twice the cleaning time. It earns an Excellent rating for noise, and emissions are clean. Shark stands out as the most reliable stick vacuum brand, based on data from CR's member survey.

                Shark ION X40 Cord-Free Ultra-Light IR141
                Shark ION X40 Cord-Free...

                  Shark ION X40 Cord-Free...

                  Runtime: 24 minutes
                  Charge time: 4 hours
                  CR’s take: Unlike the Shark above, the Shark Ion X40 comes with the usual single battery. It's top-notch at cleaning bare floors and removing pet hair, but falls short when cleaning carpet, earning a middling rating of Good on that test. The Shark is stealthily quiet, though, and its emissions are clean. 

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                  Mary H.J. Farrell

                  Knowing that I wanted to be a journalist from a young age, I decided to spiff up my byline by adding the middle initials "H.J." A veteran of online and print journalism, I've worked at People, MSNBC, Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and an online Consumer Reports wannabe. But the real thing is so much better. Follow me on Twitter.