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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.
Best Overall: Shark IZ462H Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum
Powerful suction on all surfaces
Very long battery life
Folds in half for easy storage
Dust bin could be bigger
Noisy when picking up larger items
The Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum is lightweight but definitely not light-duty. This stick vacuum cleaned up in our testing, literally. In terms of effectiveness, it earned a perfect 5-star rating for its performance on every type of flooring, including hardwood and carpets of all pile heights. According to our product tester, maneuvering this 9-pound vacuum takes hardly any effort, but that’s not because of any lack of suction power. In fact, our testing revealed that the suction is powerful enough to capture debris, including cereal, hair, and popcorn kernels in a single pass, saving you the time and effort of making repeated passes to fully clean the same stretch of flooring. Once full, the dust bin “comes off easily and dumps painlessly," noted by our tester.
Even in real world situations, you can expect this lightweight vacuum to be nimble and flexible when reaching under furniture. In our lab’s living room obstacle course, the Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum was easy to slip under a coffee table and couch. A unique pivot point gives it better reach than most other stick vacuums (and also means it folds in half for compact storage). It would be great if it was also self-standing, but that is one feature that is missing from the design. Even still, it’s hard to beat the capable and convenient performance of this option. While it doesn't operate solo, our product tester says, “It basically vacuums for you, so you put in very little effort.” Plus, with an impressive battery life of 60 minutes, this stick vacuum cleaner isn’t likely to quit before you do.
Best Budget: Kenmore DS4095 Elite Cordless Stick Vacuum with EasyReach Wand
Cleans large and small debris
Easy to get under furniture
Not great on upholstery
Assembly help required
Aside from the Kenmore DS4095 Elite's affordable price tag, our tester was shocked by its quiet operation and easy-to-use design. She could easily have a conversation with other people in The Lab from 10 feet away, without having to raise her voice. Although the vacuum struggled to pick up hair on upholstery, it easily picked up large and small debris off of carpet and hard flooring without spitting it everywhere, unlike some of the other models tested. Our tester did notice that this vacuum has a tendency to pull hair and debris behind it and along its sides. However, they said you shouldn't have any issues, as long as you've centered the vacuum on the mess prior to cleaning it.
Aside from its powerful suction, this vacuum has an EasyReach wand that can bend to clean under furniture, and also a lightweight swivel head for navigating turns. "The Kenmore was lightweight and even though it was top-heavy, the weight distribution still allowed me to vacuum continuously without arm fatigue," said our in-lab tester. They also noted that assembly instructions were thorough, but the process of ensuring all of the parts were in place was challenging because it needed to be upright the entire time. We recommend having another person nearby to help with the assembly process. All in all, our tester said they were shocked at this vacuum's affordable price tag given its strong performance, and they were even considering purchasing one for themselves.
Best Compact: NEQUARE S180 Corded Lightweight Vacuum with Self-Standing
Height is adjustable
Can be operated with one hand
Weighs less than 3 pounds
Reduced performance on plush carpet
The NEQUARE S180 is one of the lightest vacuums we tested in our lab, weighing just 2.42 pounds. While that spec stands out, so does this model’s size and effectiveness. It impressed us with its ability to suck up debris on hard floors and carpeting, but it should be noted that more elbow grease was required as the pile height increased. However, this vacuum earned 4 stars for maneuverability from our testers and proved to be very flexible in reaching areas underneath furniture.
When using the NEQUARE S180, we found it was easily operable with one hand on bare floors. The movement was very fluid, and the vacuum responded well to slight adjustments from the wrist. That being said, Dr. Karen Jacobs, an occupational therapist and a professor at Boston University, suggests alternating hands to avoid muscle strain. “Vacuuming is usually one-handed," says Jacobs. "One thing you can do is use your dominant hand for a while and then switch. The hand you are not using put it on your thigh, and it will sometimes take some pressure off your back.”
The NEQUARE S180 has one major surprise that makes it a great compact pick and light vacuum: adjustable height. The body of the vacuum adjusts to accommodate user height—a feature to look for, according to Dr. Jacobs. "Everyone's arm length or height is different, so if there are multiple people in a home using a vacuum, make sure that it will fit them all," says Dr. Jacobs. "A multiple height adjustment feature may be important. The lightest vacuum may not be not the right one for them." You can also detach the floor head of the vacuum and use it in a handheld configuration, although we found the cord limited the usefulness of this feature.
Best Handheld: eufy by Anker HomeVac H30 Venture
Comes with charging stand
Two modes of operation
Small dust bin
Very loud on Max mode
If you’re looking to size down your vacuum cleaner when handling small tasks, the eufy H30 Venture is an ideal option. This handheld vacuum weighs less than 2 pounds but packs a serious punch. It’s equipped with two power modes: a battery-saving eco option and an extra-strength max mode for clearing stubborn messes. The battery keeps the profile of this vacuum slim while providing up to 20 minutes of runtime. A full recharge takes three to four hours, but the included stand doubles as a charging station and keeps battery levels topped off and ready to go.
In our testing, the eufy H30 Venture excelled on both hard and soft surfaces, earning a flawless 5-star rating for effectiveness. Large debris (like cereal) easily passes into the dust bin, whether you’re using the nozzle or one of the two included attachments. For fine debris (like hair), this vac provides enough suction to capture it effectively, even from soft surfaces. Keep in mind that all this suction power comes at a cost. Our tester’s only complaint about this vacuum is its noise level. On max mode, it was impossible to talk over.
However, the 0.26-quart dust bin is sized right for the design of the vacuum and is easy to empty. It may not be as large as the dust bin of a stick vacuum, but it had more than enough capacity during testing. All in all, everything feels intuitive about using the eufy H30 Venture, and in real-world testing, our tester consistently reached for it over a full-size, upright vacuum whenever possible. You can also purchase an extension kit to use with the H30 Venture, making it a stick vacuum.
Best Stick: TINECO PURE ONE S15 PRO Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
LED lights on motor head
Easy to assemble
Charging dock provided
Have to manually remove hair from dust bin
Similar to the TINECO PURE ONE S15 PET, one of our most popular recommendations for pet hair, the S15 PRO offers all the bells and whistles of most TINECO models, but it has an additional mini motor brush head, which is especially helpful for upholstery. While it has several suction modes, our tester enjoyed using it in auto mode, which adjusts the vacuum's suction power based on the amount and size of debris, as well as the surface type. The LED lights on the brush head also allow you to see every last bit of dirt and mess that needs to be cleaned.
The motor head is also designed with TINECO's signature ZeroWrap Technology, which prevents hair from becoming tangled and clogging the brushes. Our tester noted that they appreciated the lever on the dust bin, which makes it easy to scrape dirt off the sides of the container, but they still had to reach in to remove some hair. This vacuum also comes with a charging dock that houses all of the attachments, so you don't have to worry about losing pieces or keeping everything organized.
Although this model is certainly more expensive than its PET counterpart, we found the addition of the mini motor brush head to be a great cleaning tool for upholstery and smaller jobs that can traditionally be completed by a hand vacuum. This vacuum's ability to transition from carpet to hard flooring and its quiet operation also set it apart from other stick models.
Best Canister: Bissell Bagless Hard Floor Expert Deluxe Canister Vacuum
Non-marking rubber tires
Very quiet operation
Limited capacity dust bin
Canister vacuums offer another option for a lightweight vacuum, with the added bonus that you don’t have to carry or continuously push the vacuum as you work. Instead, an option like the 9-pound Bissell Hard Floor Expert Canister Vacuum rolls along on sturdy, non-marking rubber wheels while channeling suction through a highly maneuverable wand and floor head attachment. Our product tester was totally impressed by this lightweight canister vacuum’s suction power, noting that it handled hair, dirt, and dust.
Despite the name, this canister vacuum is well-equipped for use on all types of floors. It includes both a hard floor cleaning tool and carpet cleaning tool, and the wand puts suction settings within easy reach for a quick adjustment. Another feature that makes this lightweight vac more ergonomically-friendly is its telescoping wand, which can be adjusted to meet the height of various users. It’s also surprisingly quiet, a feature that our product tester was quick to point out. "Even at max suction power on hard floors, the sound wasn’t a bother. This vacuum sounds deep and consistent—like perfect white noise should," she said.
Best for Carpet: Shark HV301 Rocket Ultra-Light Corded Stick Vacuum
Good suction on all surfaces
Converts to a handheld model
Very flexible design
On the noisier side
Doesn't stand up on its own
Even lightweight vacuums can become hard to maneuver when vacuuming carpet, turning your cleaning session into a struggle of push-and-pull against the fibers. So, if you have a lot of carpeting or rugs in your home, choose a vacuum that offers the right suction and settings for effective and easy cleaning. In our testing, the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Corded Stick Vacuum was a top contender, clearing debris from low, medium, and high-pile carpeting in five or fewer passes. Our product tester said there is slightly more effort required on plush carpeting but also added that the wheels allow the vacuum to easily glide, and it still moves “seamlessly.”
This corded stick vacuum weighs about 8 pounds. The handle height is taller than expected, which was the biggest surprise to our testing team when assembling the vacuum. However, it didn’t hold our product tester back from being able to easily navigate the vacuum under and around furniture, earning it 4 stars for this attribute. “It moves with me,” said our product tester. Surprisingly, this vacuum was harder to use effectively on hardwood surfaces, despite the fingertip controls that allow you to toggle between floor settings. Even still, it was able to pick up all debris once we kicked into a higher suction setting. With no battery life to worry about, you can use increased suction power as needed without draining your power supply. For above-floor cleaning tasks, you can use the handheld portion of the vacuum, but you’ll still have to keep within 25 feet of an outlet based on the vacuum’s cord length.
Best for Hardwood: Eureka Lightweight Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
Easy to empty
Easy to assemble
Not great at cleaning hair
Suction is lacking on some surfaces
If you live in a home that has hard flooring, finding a vacuum with the right amount of suction can sometimes feel like a challenge. The Eureka Lightweight Cordless Vacuum clocks in at just over 7 pounds and is not only easy to maneuver, but also efficiently picks up all kinds of messes off hard flooring. Although we found its lackluster performance on carpet rather disappointing, it had no trouble picking up large and small debris during our hard flooring test. It did take several passes to pick up all the hair on the hard flooring, but the head didn't struggle nearly as much as it did on the carpet. The brush and angled nozzle attachments were also very effective at cleaning hair from upholstery.
Like other stick vacuums, this vacuum's dust bin is relatively easy to empty, and our tester only had to manually remove some hair caught at the top of the bin. Other intuitive features include: LED headlights that illuminate messes on the floor and show your cleaning path, and separate floor cleaning modes that can be adjusted via the control panel, which also displays the battery level. Our tester ran this vacuum for over 17 minutes and noticed no change in suction, which makes us confident that it could easily clean an average-sized apartment effectively during its 30-minute run time. Overall this vacuum may not have all the bells and whistles of other higher-end models, but we appreciate its straightforward design and convenient assembly process.
Best Wet-Dry: Shark VM252 VacMop Pro Cordless Wet/Dry Stick Vacuum
Easy to store
Need to purchase replacement pads
Designed for only hard floors
If you're looking for a thorough vac-mop option for hard floors, our testing team loved the performance and versatility of the Shark VACMOP. This wet-dry cleaning machine is designed to be used on solid flooring, such as hardwood, laminate, vinyl, or tile surfaces. It combines suction power with disposable mop pads to capture debris and leave floors gleaming. For the best results, vacuum your surface first to pick up any crumbs or dirt. Then, click the "spray" button that's conveniently located on the handle to spray solution on the sealed surface before mopping it clean.
In our tests, the Shark VACMOP was praised for its slim, cordless design and easy gliding motion. Even among a field of lightweight vac-mops, this one stood out to our tester as being noticeably light and easy to maneuver, making it a good choice if you have restricted mobility or need an ultra-light vacuum for quick cleaning sessions. The tank with cleaning solution is integrated into the body of the vacuum and the cleaning pad has a chamber for dirt collection, while a light on the floor head illuminates areas in need of attention. Our tester’s one point of criticism for the usability of the Shark VACMOP is that you have to continuously hold the power button during operation. However, it has exceptionally quiet noise levels that increase user comfort while the vacuum is on.
Best for Pet Hair: Shark Navigator Freestyle Upright Stick Cordless Bagless Vacuum
No hair wrap
Quick charge time
Easy to navigate
Not best for high-pile carpet
Difficult to empty
A lightweight vacuum should still be able to handle heavyweight jobs like pet hair, which is why our testers loved the Shark Navigator Freestyle Upright Bagless Cordless Stick Vacuum. From pet hair to kibble, this vacuum handled it all, while also being comfortable to maneuver and empty. This vacuum has two customized suction settings—one for carpet and the other for hard flooring—that ensure you're getting an efficient and reliable clean no matter the surface. Our tester said this vacuum performed very well on hard flooring and had no problem sucking up hair on carpet, but did struggle to pick up pet kibble on carpet. They also loved the swivel head and low-profile nozzle, which made it easy to clean around and under furniture and tight corners.
While our tester said the dust canister was easy to remove from this vacuum, she struggled to dump all of the hair that had been collected while cleaning. She had to pull some hair out with her hands, which is neither pleasant nor efficient. Despite the amount of hair caught at the top of the canister, she said no hair was wrapped around the motorized brush head, which is a huge plus for homes with long-haired pets. This vacuum clips into its charging station, which doubles as a storage dock and only requires four hours to charge. It also has an average run time of about 20 minutes when used on the lowest setting and a 10-minute run time on the highest setting. While we wish the canister was slightly easier to empty—plus, this vacuum could better handle large debris on carpet—our testers were still, overall, very impressed by its performance and ease of use.
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 Kenmore DS4095 Elite Cordless Stick Vacuum. It operates quietly and distributes weight effectively, though you may need a second set of hands to assemble it.
How We Tested the Lightweight Vacuums
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.
What to Look for in a Lightweight Vacuum
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.
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.
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.
What’s considered a lightweight vacuum?
The weight range of a lightweight vacuum varies by type and model, but vacuums that fall into this category usually 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.
Do lightweight vacuums work on carpet?
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.
Why might a lightweight vacuum lose suction power?
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.
Why Trust The Spruce?
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.
Emma Phelps, an updates writer for The Spruce, also assisted in updating this roundup to include the latest models we tested and loved.
What Is Spruce Approved?
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.