In the early days, when vacuum cleaners were a new invention, they were bulky and cumbersome to use. Fast forward to more than a hundred years later, and the household vacuum of today is more compact, lightweight, and more comfortable to use. Humans are ever attracted to light gadgets, and the vacuum cleaner is no exception. Because different brands and models carry different weights, one of the things shoppers take into account when buying a cleaning machine is how heavy it is.
Weight dictates the portability and usability of a cleaning machine. It also determines how tired you will be at the end of your cleaning chores.
I bet you don’t want a vacuum that you will have to lug around when cleaning. Or one that forces you to summon all the effort to carry upstairs. This is the reason you’re looking for a lightweight unit. The modern vacuuming machine exists in a wide range of weights, and you can choose the one that fits your preference. But that’s only if you understand what weight suits you, or how to balance the issue of weight with other features.
Top 16 lightweight vacuums in 2023
Depending on your cleaning requirements, the best lightweight vacuums should not compromise on the important attributes that enhance performance. It calls for the utmost care when buying one, so you don’t purchase a device that’s only light but doesn’t clean efficiently. Luckily for you, I selected the top lightweight vacuum brands and models out there, and you can pick one from the following list.
Vacuums exist in various designs, shapes, and sizes. The most common lightweight vacuums are cordless handhelds. Weighing usually less than 4 pounds, handhelds offer amazing portability and easy handling. They’re small-sized and fit almost any space. Because of their portability, you can use handheld vacuums anywhere, both indoors and outdoors. The vacuums are designed for light cleaning tasks that do not require much suction power. You usually buy them as cleaning gadgets to supplement the larger vacuum cleaners that tackle heavy-duty tasks.
Stick vacuums also fall in the category of lightweight vacuums. Weighing usually less that 7 lbs, they’re easy to use since they require minimal effort to maneuver. They’re also usually battery-operated and almost as portable as the handhelds. Many stick vacuums, though more versatile, hold the same cleaning power as that of the heavier uprights. Modern technology has enabled the production of stick vacuums that have superb suction and a host of features that enhance cleaning capability.
Many canister vacuums are lightweight. These vacuums are both powerful and versatile. Featuring an extension hose, they offer more reach. They’re, therefore, best suited to clean areas that are higher such as the stairs. You can also use a canister vacuum to clean upholstery and a variety of other surfaces. Although they look bulky, these machines are light and easy to use. A good lightweight canister should weigh less than 8 lbs.
Upright vacuums are the standard cleaning tools used by almost any home from the US. In order to be considered lightweight, an upright should have less than 10 lbs. These products have to reach that number, while also maintaining their efficiency.
Oreck Elevate Conquer (Best Lightweight Upright)
The lastest uprights from Oreck are called Elevate and come in 4 different versions: Cordless, Control, Command, and Conquer. The top of the line is Conquer, an upright that scores only A at all important chapters: suction, filtration, and of course, weight. Oreck went the extra mile to make a premium vacuum cleaner that is less than 10 lbs, but which can store 1.2 gallons of debris in their special HEPA bags.
Oreck Magnesium RS
At 8 pounds, the Magnesium RS is one of the lightest corded stick you can find. The nozzle head floats and transitions easily from a type of surface to a different one. You can maneuver it with only one hand. The dirt goes into a HEPA bag, which is much more convenient than washing the bin after every cleaning.
Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS
Another extremely lightweight from Oreck is the Commercial XL2100RHS. This corded stick weighs only 8.2 lbs, almost the same with the Oreck Magnesium RS. Unlike the others here, the XL2100RHS is commercial grade.
Eureka NEU181 (Best Budget Option)
Don’t let the price full you, this Eureka PowerSpeed is a quality upright that weighs less than 10 lbs that can handle most of your cleaning needs, without ruining your back. If you don’t want to pay a fortune on top-of-the-line cordless or upright vacuums, choose the NEU181 and enjoy a product with virtually no maintenance costs, not to mention the decent set of accessories.
Dyson V11 Torque Drive
Dyson V10 Absolute is the top of the cordless line from Dyson. This stick weighs less than 6.6 pounds and yet is more powerful than many corded standard uprights out there. The V11 features HEPA filtration, a nice pack of accessories, and two different nozzles, specially designed for different types of surfaces. Moreover, it can work continuously for up to 60 minutes. To give you a comparison term, most of the other cordless vacuums only reach an autonomy of 20 minutes or so. If the price is not an issue, this is the lightweight vacuum to buy.
Tineco Pure One S12 Plus
The latest cordless from Tineco, the Pure One S12 Plus (derived from the A10 and A11 line of cordless vacuum cleaners), is one of their best products. Although it doesn’t come close to the suction power of the V11, the S12 features detachable accessories, powerful suction, and a decent weight. Unfortunately, it’s expensive.
MOOSOO K17 (Best Lightweight Cordless)
MOOSOO is a company that specializes in lightweight budget vacuum cleaners. The MOOSOO K17 is a cordless that sells like crazy these days. Users are thrilled by the suction power, the HEPA filtration, and the neat attachments. And I haven’t even got to the most important thing, the weight. In humble my opinion, when it comes to cordless vacuum cleaners, even 100 grams less is a lot. This product weighs only 3 lbs, which is half of a Dyson V11.
Eureka NES210 Blaze 3-in-1
The lightweight helps you deal with a lot of problems. You can vacuum with no worries; the warranty is 3-years long. Eureka uses really light motor and plastic parts in order to optimize the product as much as possible.
VonHaus 2 in 1
This is one of the cheapest lightweight vacuums from my list. VonHaus is not a well-known company; however, this model is absolutely worth it. For just under $40, you get a product that has strong suction, HEPA filtration, a decent bin capacity, and the option to use it as a handheld.
MOOSOO D600 (Best Lightweight Stick)
MOOSOO also makes corded sticks, not only cordless vacuums. The D600 is a vacuum that matches the performance of the K17, but you’ll have to deal with the power cord. Considering that it costs $100 less, that shouldn’t be an issue. You’ll get a 2.8 lbs HEPA machine with 17 kpa suction that is less than $60.
Bissell Featherweight Stick
The cheapest of them all, the new Featherweight Stick from Bissell, continues the story of the first unit of this kind made by Bissell. Its weight is 2.6 lbs, which is absolutely insane. It can be converted into a handheld and gets the job done.
Shark APEX UpLight
The latest creation from Shark is the APEX Uplight, a stick just under 11 lbs that packs incredible suction power, true HEPA filtration (thanks to its Anti-Allergen Seal System), and awesome technologies such as DuoClean (has 2 soft brush rolls), LiftAway (can be used as a handheld) and Zero-M (tangle-free nozzle).
Miele Compact C1 (Best Lightweight Canister)
Miele needs no introduction. Their entry-level line, the Compact C1 series, is awesome for hard floors and low-pile carpets. The Pure Suction is the cheapest of the C1s, but it packs enough cleaning power to be considered here. Keep in mind that a C1 canister has an approximate lifespan of 20 years.
One of the cheapest, best-rated canister vacuum that still sells in thousands, is the Bissell Zing. Standing at 8 lbs, this product does all the things a canister vacuum should do (it cleans well, it can be maintained easily, storage is a breeze). And the best part is that you won’t spend a fortune on it.
Dyson V7 Car+Boat
Dyson V7 Car+Boat is the cheaper version of the famous V8 stick. The V7 works continuously for around 30 minutes. The batteries can be charged on in 3-4 hours.
Shark Wandvac (Best Lightweight Handheld)
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the lightest of them all? Well, the answer is Shark WandVac, a handheld that weighs only 1.4 lbs. At this size, don’t expect a large dustbin (0.02 gallons). But be sure you’ll get a powerful vacuum that can handle spot cleaning with no fuss.
Reasons to buy a lightweight vacuum cleaner
Low weight for a vacuum used to mean fewer features and lower suction. However, advances in technology have allowed manufacturers to pack incredible suction in smaller devices than before. Using an efficient airflow and a compact but powerful motor, it’s now possible to have a lightweight vacuum that delivers outstanding cleaning power. The advantages of buying a lightweight cleaning machine are many and include the following.
Easy to use
A heavy vacuum is difficult to use. Pushing or pulling it requires some effort, especially on carpets. Lifting and carrying it up a long staircase can be a tiresome experience and one that leaves you drained of energy. A heavy vacuum would also have limited usage in your home. Young members of your family are likely to find it cumbersome and avoid cleaning chores. It wouldn’t be easy for the senior members of the family either, which would make the machine less useful. It would be inadvisable to use a heavy vacuum if you have a health issue such as back pain. The complication could worsen and make cleaning tasks more difficult for you, even the light ones. Anyone can use a lightweight vacuum. It doesn’t cause fatigue, and you can use it for extended hours.
Best for quick cleaning tasks
These vacuums are handy gadgets for quick cleanups. They’re easy to fetch from their storage places and equally easy to carry to the area where a mess has occurred. It makes them worth having so you can tackle skills immediately they happen. Another advantage of the portability of lightweight vacuums is that you can use them anywhere in your home. You can be cleaning the living room downstairs one minute and vacuuming a room upstairs the next. Being light to carry around, you can even take your lightweight vacuum outside to clean the porch.
Because heavy machines are usually large, a vacuum that weighs more would present a challenge to store. But that would only be if your home is not large and space is an issue. Still, having a cleaning unit you can conveniently store out of sight is desirable. Most lightweight vacuums fit in tiny storage spaces, and you can even keep one in a closet. Some come with wall mounts, which makes storing them even easier, especially if you live in an apartment or studio.
Considerations when looking for the best lightweight vacuums
Other than weight, additional features work together to make a vacuum efficient and powerful. Your aim when looking to buy one is to consider weight while not forgetting the various other useful features and functionalities. Also, weight is relative, and there’s not one value that suits all situations. The vacuum you buy should have a weight that you’re comfortable with and have features that suit the cleaning needs of your home. To make selecting the right cleaning device easier, consider the following.
The level of portability you need
Lightweight vacuums offer different levels of mobility, and the one you choose depends on the portability you’re looking to achieve. The cordless types allow you to clean virtually every surface in your home, from the stairs to baseboard edges. The lightest of them all, the handheld, offers amazing mobility. You can use it to clean on-spot messes within a second. You can even use it outdoors to clean your car’s interior or other surfaces when on the go. There’s almost no limit to the number and nature of places you can clean with the cordless handheld, which makes it one of the most versatile lightweight cleaning devices. However, most of these vacuums are only suitable for light cleaning tasks.
Not all cordless vacuums are handheld, though. The bigger ones run on wheels and come with immense suction power, which rivals that of the corded types. Featuring compact and efficient motors, these vacuums are designed to produce a strong airflow that can pick up dirt powerfully. It makes these devices suitable for any cleaning task in your home. Still in the world of best lightweight vacuums, you can opt for a 2 in 1. These convert easily from a standard vacuum cleaner to a versatile handheld, allowing you capabilities you wouldn’t get with the traditional vacuum. Because they’re both corded and cordless, these types can handle cleaning tasks in your home, whether light or heavy-duty. Cordless vacuums that are stand-up pack a tremendous amount of power in a portable device. They are, therefore, pricier than the corded types. Should you choose one, be prepared to pay quite an amount. The benefits you stand to get from them are many, though, and worth paying for.
Type of surface you intend to be using it on
Different surfaces require different cleaning methods, tools, suction, and other functionalities. Carpets are among the most challenging to clean. Dense with fibers, they hide dirt and debris deeper, which requires that you use a vacuum with powerful suction and excellent dirt agitation. You, therefore, need to buy a device with a higher value for suction if you have carpeted areas in your home. You would also need a vacuum that comes with a beater brush. A powered brush roll serves to excite the dirt that’s stuck in the depths of carpet fibers for easier removal. Choose one that can be switched on and off. It allows you to use the vacuum on other surfaces as well, which is necessary if you have both bare and carpet surfaces.
Hard floors, on the other hand, don’t need suction that’s too high. Because the dirt is on the surface, it’s easy for a vacuuming device to pick it up using suction only. Hard surfaces don’t even require a rotating beater brush. That’s because the bristles could cause scratches and damage the floor. However, that would only happen if the floor is the sensitive type and the bristles stiff. A powered brush also causes debris to scatter and present a challenge to pick up. Unless you have carpets or area rugs in your home, it would be better for you to choose a vacuum without a rotating brush. Alternatively, you can pick a vacuum that features an on/off switch for the brush roll. Another option would be to choose a vacuum whose brush is soft-bristled.
The method the vacuum uses to collect dirt
It can either be bagged or bagless. Each method comes with benefits and downsides, and your preference is what determines the method to choose. Bagged vacuums feature a bag into which the sucked up dirt goes. The dirt-holding capacity of these vacuums is often large, and they’re a good pick if your home is high-traffic. The bags are also usually HEPA, which means an allergy-free home. Emptying a bagged vac is more hygienic than emptying a bagless one. Completely sealed, bags hold dust and other allergens tightly, and there’s no possibility of anything escaping when discarding a filled up storage. It’s the reason these vacuums are a perfect choice if anyone in your family is prone to allergies. A disadvantage with this method to store dirt is that the bags are not reusable, and you have to stock several of them in your home for replacements. In the long run, it can mean a cleaning machine that costs you more to maintain.
Bagless vacuums come with a re-usable bin or cup to collect dirt. The capacity of these vacuums is usually low, with some of them so limited that they require frequent emptying. They can also be messy to empty, with the possibility of some dust blowing about during the process. Some of the dust bins in these vacuums feature an emptying mechanism where the container opens downwards to make the procedure somewhat hygienic. Because you do not need to replace the bin, bagless vacuums don’t cause you the maintenance expenses that bagged types do. However, be prepared to replace the filter once in a while.
How I picked the models on my lightweight vacuum list
Generally, a vacuum cleaner that weighs not more than 15 lbs can be considered lightweight. The lightest ones can even weigh as low as 3 lbs and are designed for specific cleaning tasks. Because the values for weight are varied, you need to be careful with what you consider the ideal weight. Choose a unit you will use comfortably or one that allows other members of the family to operate it. There are several other parameters to take into account, too, and which should match your home’s cleaning requirements. I selected the vacuums based on the features they come with, cleaning capabilities, price, and usability, among other factors. That’s in addition to ensuring they weigh less than what’s considered a heavy device. For more on the criteria to select an affordable lightweight vacuum brands and models, read on.
A vacuum cleans by sucking up dirt. It’s, therefore, important that the suction be both efficient and powerful. Suction is measured in various ways and using different units, but which all point to how strong the airflow is. Different technologies are employed by manufacturers to make this flow of air stronger, and it’s advisable to ensure the brand or model you choose has them. The power rating of a vacuum’s motor is another pointer to its cleaning ability. The motor powers everything in the unit, and a strong one can indicate a powerful device.
Many of the lightweight vacuum cleaners are cordless. Operated by rechargeable batteries, these devices are highly portable and easy to use. You only need to ensure the battery is always charged to its full capacity and ready to power the unit. Not doing so can cause you delays in cleaning as you wait for the battery to charge. As a way to ensure uninterrupted vacuuming, it’s essential to choose a cordless vacuum with a decent runtime. A period of 30 minutes and above on a single charge is good enough as most sessions don’t take longer than this. Ensure, too, that the battery doesn’t take too long to charge. Look for between 3 and 4 hours charging time and ensure the battery is high-capacity and the lithium-ion type. Lithium-ion batteries charge quickly, don’t lose charge when idle, and their strength doesn’t drop as they discharge during use.
An alternative to cordless vacuum cleaners is the corded type. These offer an unlimited supply of operating power, assuring you of continuous cleaning sessions. There are many lightweight vacuums out there that feature a cord and deliver effective cleaning. When choosing the one to buy, the length of the power cable is an essential factor to consider. More than 25 feet is advisable, and the longer, the better. Apart from providing for easy cleaning, a long cord saves you the time lost switching outlets. There are other features to consider regarding the power cord, but which are not that vital. They include automatic rewind and retract.
While lightweight cleaning machines are mostly compact, sizes vary. Some models on the market can be incredibly small-sized and offer enhanced portability. However, the most lightweight units are handhelds and are mostly designed for light tasks. Depending on your needs, the best vacuum should take a small size while still packing a lot of cleaning power and useful features. A compact unit is essential for ease of storage, as well as the cleaning of tight spots. It’s the reason why dimensions matter when choosing the model and brand to buy.
Usability and versatility
The lightweight vacuum should be easy to use and capable of cleaning a variety of surfaces and spots. Some features make a cleaning device both versatile and a breeze to use. They include fewer controls or conveniently placed buttons and switches. While the idea of being lightweight is itself a plus for usability, other factors have to come in as well. An ergonomic handle allows you to clean for more extended periods without numbing your hand. Other factors include wheels that spin easily and make the vacuuming unit effortless to pull or push, dustbins or bags that are easy to access and take out, and more.
For versatility, your lightweight cleaner has to come with features and tools that enable it to be used on various surfaces. The ability to convert from one type of vacuum to another is one of them. It gives makes the vacuum suited to clean even the hard-to-reach spots in your home. A brush roll that can be switched off and on at will is another. It means you can use your lightweight vacuum to clean both hard floors and carpeted ones. Accessories such as the extension wand, upholstery, and crevice tools increase a vacuum’s versatility and allow you to clean areas you wouldn’t reach with the regular floor head.
Apart from the physical characteristics, the cost is an essential variable when selecting the vacuum to buy. The challenge when deciding the best price arises from the fact that products with almost similar features will carry different price tags. Pricing also varies from one brand to another, one model to another and from one seller to another. With the sea of lightweight vacuums on the market, finding the one that’s moderately priced yet efficient can be daunting. Don’t worry, though. I did the difficult part for you, weighing the features and cleaning abilities of different vacuum against their price tags. I only picked those whose attributes matched the amounts they were selling for. Also, those that carried a reasonable price and a decent period for the warranty.
The cost to maintain a vacuum was another factor I considered. Some vacuums such as the bagged types require you to replace the dust bag many times in the machine’s lifetime. It adds to the overall cost of the vacuum, and you may need to weigh this against the benefits the vacuum offers. On the other hand, bagless vacuums require you to change the filter several times throughout the vacuum’s life. However, the rate at which you would need to change filters isn’t the same as that of dust bags. Bags fill and require replacing more frequently, especially if you have kids or pets, and your home is usually heavily soiled. The good thing is that they’re not too costly, and a few dollars can get you a pack of several bags.
Consumer reviews provide useful information regarding a vacuum’s ease of use, ability to clean, durability, and a host of other attributes. Unlike tests that are done to gauge a vacuum’s performance, reviews provide a better and thorough assessment. The reports are from people who have used the particular vacuum in different situations, and their comments present the results of subjecting it to a range of tasks and surfaces. It gives a broader picture and one that represents the challenges of cleaning the typical home. You can even get valuable tips in the usage of a specific vacuum from these reviews. With such information, you can achieve a better experience when cleaning with the device.
Lightweight vacuums buying tips
Whether you end up with a useful cleaning device or one that disappoints you depends on several factors. The most essential of them is how well you understand the different features and their importance in a vacuum. Because certain functionalities suit specific cleaning needs, your situation usually dictates the features to look for. For instance, the requirements to clean a hard floor are different from those implied by vacuuming carpets. Likewise, light cleaning tasks do not need a machine with the highest suction or an arsenal of tools and accessories. To help you grasp the idea of the features and how they relate to your needs, let’s have a look at the major ones and the usefulness of each.
Is HEPA filtration essential?
It is, especially if you or a family member is susceptible to allergies. HEPA filters trap particles as tiny as 0.3 microns in size. With this level of filtration, your vacuum will retain as much as 99.97% of the particles it picks from surfaces. That means the allergens won’t re-enter the atmosphere of your home once sucked up. However, you need to ensure the vacuum you buy is sealed adequately if it comes with HEPA filters. Because of the high resistance, these filters offer to the passage of air and particles, the exhaust air will always try to find other routes to escape. Openings on the unit can mean allergens are getting out and polluting the air in your home. Most of the best lightweight vacuums on the market today come with HEPA filters, but it’s always advisable that you check to confirm.
Is a powered brush roll necessary?
The answer is yes, but only if you have carpets or several area rugs. Medium and high-pile carpets are difficult to clean without agitating the dirt, and a beater brush does that superbly. Suction alone will not produce satisfying results with the dirt that’s deep down or firmly held by the fibers remaining uncleaned. However, avoid using a powered brush roll if your carpet is sensitive and likely to be damaged by the bristles. Instead, choose a vacuum that features strong suction. When selecting the best lightweight vacuums that features a spinning brush, look for one with soft and rubberized bristles. Some brushes make use of designs and technologies to prevent hair tangles. If your budget allows, choose those. You will vacuum pet and human hair from carpets efficiently.
What damages the vacuum’s battery?
A good number of the lightweight vacuums out there are cordless and feature batteries that can be recharged. The batteries can get damaged if proper care or the right procedure is not followed to charge and discharge them. Many owners of cordless vacuums do almost everything the wrong way and end up shortening the runtime of the batteries or even the lifespan. To prolong the time your cordless vacuum lasts for before requiring to be put in a charging station, follow these tips: Condition the battery of your new vacuum by charging it to full capacity before using it for the first time. Ensure, too, that it’s entirely discharged before charging it again. Do that for the early three charges or so, and you will have a healthy battery that retains a charge for the length of time indicated by the manufacturer. Many people ignore this procedure to condition the battery and have to put up with short cleaning sessions. The runtime may shorten so much that the only remedy would be to purchase a new battery. Vacuum cleaner batteries are expensive, and the best way to avoid the extra cost would be to care for the one that came with the product.
Bagless or Bagged?
Bagged vacuums hold more dirt. They’re suitable for high traffic areas or if you have kids and pets. They usually hold dust and debris from several vacuuming sessions before you need to empty them. Bags are also safer to empty since they have excellent filtration and carry a tight seal. If you have a family member who’s prone to allergies, these are the vacuums to go for. These vacuums come with one drawback, though. You will be replacing the bags every time they fill up, so you would need to be prepared to bear the expenses involved.
Bagless vacuums hold less dust and require emptying now and then. An advantage is that the dust compartments are reusable. After emptying the bin, you only need to wash it under water before putting it back. However, these vacuums are not suitable if allergens present a health risk for you or a member of your family. Dust bins can create a dusty environment during emptying since you have to open a lid to discard the contents. They’re, therefore, not suitable for those prone to seasonal allergic reactions. With these vacuums, the only expense you have to put up with is replacing the filter and which doesn’t happen as frequently as replacing bags.
Is vacuum maintenance essential for optimum performance?
It is. All the parts of a vacuum work together to ensure efficient cleaning. One part breaking down can affect the performance of another and, finally, the overall performance of the unit. A clogged filter can significantly reduce suction and affect the vacuum’s ability to pick up dirt and debris. A filled up bag or dust compartment too, even when the other parts are running correctly. Replacing the filter when it shows signs of clogging helps to keep suction at its maximum. If it’s the washable type, regularly cleaning it helps to maintain the vacuum’s ability to clean. Having a spare filter is, most of the time, essential. It allows you to continue with your cleaning as you wait for the one you’ve washed to dry. The bags in a bagged vacuum require quick emptying once the dirt reaches the indicated line or three-quarters full. It helps to have a stock of them around so you can promptly change the one that fills up.
Vacuum cleaners have evolved over the years to offer more capabilities in a compact design. With motors that are highly efficient and technologies that create an impressive airflow, modern vacuums can be lightweight yet powerful. Battery technology has also advanced to allow cordless units that feature stronger motors and lengthy runtimes. When choosing a lightweight cleaning device for your home, you should consider all the factors that make an efficient vacuuming unit. There are vacuums out there known to be powerful but which don’t weigh a ton. The best lightweight vacuums should be easy to use, offer enhanced mobility, have excellent suction, and come with accessories that enhance its versatility. Consider the price, too, and only choose a vacuum whose price tag can be justified by its cleaning ability, design, and the various features and functionalities.
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I’m Jason Moe Roberts, an appliances expert and blogger. I’ve worked at Walmart for more than 15 years, in the house appliance department. I love to use home equipment and I spend a lot of time testing the best products and reviewing them. My family and friends also recommend me as a caring person, a great dad and a loving husband.