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The best lightweight vacuum cleaners for (almost) effortless cleaning

the best lightweight vacuums

There’s a lot to be said for cutting out the gym membership and using the hoovering as your workout (although our sources say gardening’s pretty good on that front too) but whether mobility issues preclude the use of over-heavy vacuum cleaners, or you’re just sick and tired of lugging a ten-tonne upright up and down the stairs, there’s quite a lot more to be said for making your life as easy as possible. Enter: the best lightweight vacuum cleaners. 

Each of our top 5 vacuum cleaners offers a particular set of skills, with some for cars (the Dyson V7 Trigger), some for pets (from Miele and Vax) and some for bossing all sorts of surfaces (okay, you got us, that’s all of them) but what you’re trading up from might inform what you look for next.

If you’re comfortable with the upright cyclone style, you can stick with it and still lose a few kilos with the lightweight Vax Air Stretch Pet Max Upright; if you’re a fan of a Henry, but he’s proving a bit heavy to lug around these days, look to the Miele Cat & Dog for the same compact style with more oomph and less heft. 

the best lightweight vacuum

1. Dyson V8 Absolute

With unparalleled power and versatility, there’s no doubt that Dyson is the absolute best

Best for: All-rounder | Weight: 2.61kg | Power: 115W | Capacity: 0.54L | Cordless?: Yes

Powerful stick and handheld modes
Handy range of attachments

We’ll get our gasps out of the way now, because yes, it is expensive, but by golly is it worth it. If you’re after the best performance from a cordless vacuum, reviewers say you’ve found it in the Dyson V8 Absolute. Armed with both its default cleaner head and a soft roller variation for superior cleaning on hard floors, as well as a combination tool, crevice tool, mini motorised brush and soft dusting brush, it’s fully feature-packed, with that V8 motor providing considerable oomph on hard floors, carpets, and even as a handheld. 

Miele Compact C2 Cat & Dog Powerline

2. Miele Compact C2 Cat & Dog Powerline

Pet hair? Busted. Allergens? Sorted. The answer? Miele.

Best for: Pet-owners | Weight: 4.8kg | Power: 890W | Capacity: 3.5L | Cordless?: No

Compact but powerful
Air-cleaning filter

According to reviewers, who wax lyrical about its dander-busting powers, this Miele model is the best vacuum cleaner for pet hair. It might be small, but by all accounts, it’s pretty mighty too, with a cleaning radius of 11 metres and the most powerful motor on our list, and while it’s not cordless, its small body means it’s easy to store until the next time it’s needed. Its Active AirClean filter means it comes highly recommended for households with pets or smokers, as it not only leaves the air feeling fresher, it helps eliminate the smallest dust particles, whisking away any pesky allergens.   

Air Stretch U85-AS-Pme

3. Air Stretch U85-AS-Pme

The pet-owner’s vacuum with more tools than Batman’s utility belt

Best for: Upright | Weight: 4.9kg | Power: 820W | Capacity: 1.5L | Cordless?: No

HEPA filter
Loads of attachments

With the second-highest wattage on our list, this Air Stretch vacuum is made of powerful stuff, bringing it into stiff competition with the Miele when it comes to finding our best vacuum for pet owners. In good news for allergy sufferers, its HEPA filter traps small particles and pet dander, leaving the air cleaner and things altogether more breathable, while its specialised Pet tool goes to town in ingrained hair. With a crevice nozzle, upholstery nozzle, dusting brush, turbo brush and even mattress novel, it offers phenomenal value in the versatility stakes – and, at under £100, all round. 

Gtech AirRam Mk 2

4. Gtech AirRam Mk 2

Gtech’s easy-going AirRam makes changing surfaces a breeze

Best for: All floors | Weight: 3.3kg | Power: 100W | Capacity: 0.8L | Cordless?: Yes

Great battery life
Adjusts easily to hard and soft surfaces

If you like the idea of the Dyson V8, but don’t have the cash to splash (or simply object on moral grounds) the Gtech AirRam is an equally manoeuvrable alternative, and pretty versatile despite its lack of a handheld mode. Reviewers say it adjusts to changing surfaces with ease – and all on one mode, no less – needing no prompting to go from carpet to hard floor and back again, and love the slimline, fold-flat design that allows it to reach right under sofas and tables. It can also manage up to an impressive 40 minutes’ battery life, a full 20-minute improvement on the Dyson. 

Dyson V7 Trigger

5. Dyson V7 Trigger

The handsome handheld that deals with dirty jobs inside and out

Best for: Handheld | Weight: 1.38kg | Power: 100W | Capacity: 0.4L | Cordless?: Yes

Powerful handheld
Range of useful attachments

At just under 1.4kg, the V7 Trigger is easily the lightest vacuum cleaner on our list. If you’re looking for a small vacuum for occasional top-up cleans, or one for the car or indoor upholstery, this should step up to the job admirably. With its combination tool, mini motorised tool and crevice tool, it sucks up the smallest dust particles from larger surfaces as well as getting into those tight spots that mysteriously attract all manner of muck. The battery life is said to be up to 30 minutes, so you can get a really deep clean in, and although MAX mode will only see you through 6, it’s good to have on-side for really stubborn dirt. 


Fancy cleaning up outside too? Check out the best pressure washers for cars, patios and decking