Cleaning the house can suck the life out of your vacuum cleaner’s battery (literally), eventually leading to a shorter runtime and leaving you with weaker suction power. But, did you know that little things like storage temperature and the type of surface you’re tackling with your machine could be at play?
We asked Dyson’s Quality Manager, James Shale, to explain how a vacuum battery works and got his top tips on making the most out of your cordless vac.
What can affect the battery life of a vacuum cleaner?
Can’t figure out why your vacuum cleaner isn’t working? A handful of vacuum owners (11%) we surveyed in our latest research said they’re often disappointed with their vacuum’s performance, with a similar number of consumers also wishing they had spent more money on a better vacuum cleaner (13%).
According to Mr Shale, there are multiple factors that can affect the battery life and overall performance of your cordless vacuum. Some include:
- Cleaning mode used
- Surface type
- Temperature at which the vacuum is stored
- Regularly charging the vacuum
- Age of vacuum
How can you increase the battery life of a Dyson vacuum?
There are several ways you can extend the lifespan of a battery on a Dyson vacuum, plus the runtime of a single battery charge. “Owners can help preserve the runtime and overall life of their machine’s battery by using the power mode best suited to the cleaning task, and only using ‘boost’ mode for intensive cleaning,” Mr Shale says.
Here are some steps to take to extend the battery life on Dyson vacuums:
- Make sure your vacuum has a full charge
- Use the right cleaning mode
- Consider the type of surface(s) you need to clean when choosing which stick vac to buy
- Store your vacuum at room temperature
- Regularly clean your vacuum filter
Make sure your vacuum has a full charge
Dyson’s Quality Manager says that no two vacuum batteries operate in the same way, but that fully charging your cordless vacuum cleaner before using it for the first time, and after every clean, can help the battery last longer.
Fully charging the battery before using your vacuum helps to kick-start what’s known as the ‘calibration process,’ which helps the appliance ‘learn’ how that individual battery behaves. Most vacuum batteries are self-calibrating these days, but it doesn’t hurt to keep up good practice. Most models can be left on charge throughout the day and when the battery is fully charged, the machine won’t use any more electricity.
Use the right cleaning mode
Adjusting the cleaning mode on your cordless appliance can add a few valuable minutes to your vacuuming time. If you’re just cleaning up cereal off the kitchen floor, you should only need to use a low power mode. You should only really boost your vacuum’s power when you need it, such as for getting pet hair out of the carpet, for example.
Consider the types of surfaces you need to clean
Not all vacuum cleaners are created equal. Some stick vacuums are designed to be suitable for carpets only, but others are made to clean a variety of surfaces like tiles, hardwood floors and furniture. “Runtime can be affected by the cleaning mode used and the different power draw on varied surfaces – long pile carpets will draw more power than short pile carpet for example,” Dyson’s Quality Manager says.
That’s why it’s important to consider the types of surfaces in your home when buying any vacuum cleaner. Barrel vacuums are still the best for cleaning a variety of surfaces like carpets, tiles and upholstery. But, if you’ve got mostly carpets throughout, upright vacuums also have the power capacity to lift out trodden-in dirt and stubborn pet hair.
Store your vacuum at room temperature
Rechargeable lithium batteries and extreme temperatures don’t mix, which is why it’s important to store your vacuum cleaner at room temperature.
“Any lithium-ion battery can be affected by extreme temperatures, so we recommend storing your machine at room temperature, away from boilers, heating appliances or even areas where temperatures get very low. This will ensure the longevity of your battery life,” Mr Shale says.
Regularly clean your vacuum filter
Dyson’s Quality Manager suggests that proper filter maintenance is quite often neglected by the average user. He says that filters should be unclogged, washed and dried regularly to keep them optimal and maximise your vacuum’s suction power. If you notice your machine still isn’t ‘sucking’ as much as it used to after filters have been cleaned, it may be time to upgrade.
How long do batteries last in cordless vacuums?
Not all vacuum batteries are created equal. To see which cordless vacuums offer the longest cleaning time, we have compared the expected average runtime and recharge time of a single battery from several major brands. Keep in mind runtimes will vary depending on specific models.
|Brand||Maximum runtime||Recharge time|
|Dyson||30-60 minutes||3.5-5 hours|
|Electrolux||48-60 minutes||4 hours|
|Hoover||19-45 minutes||4-8 hours|
|Kmart||30-40 minutes||5 hours|
|Vax||20-45 minutes||3-4 hours|
General guide only
What’s the runtime of a Dyson stick vacuum?
Dyson’s latest cordless vacuum models (V10 and V11) are claimed to work for up to an hour, giving households double the runtime of the previous Dyson V7 (30 minutes). The brand’s V7 and V8 series are stated to have a 3.5-hour charge time, while the V11 line may need 4.5 hours. The Dyson V10 series seems to take the longest to charge, requiring five hours.
These are the expected maximum runtimes of Dyson’s current stick vacuum ranges:
- 60 minutes: Dyson V11 ($1,199 – $1,299 RRP*) and Dyson V10 ($899 – $1,099 RRP*)
- 40 minutes: Dyson V8 ($749 – $899 RRP*)
- 30 minutes: Dyson V7 ($599 RRP*)
What’s the runtime of an Electrolux stick vacuum?
Electrolux offers a fairly generous runtime of 48 minutes to one hour on most of its cordless models. Its stick vacuums are generally said to need four hours of charging time. Similar to many other brands, Electrolux’s cordless vacuum cleaners are covered for two years under warranty.
Here are some Electrolux vacuum runtimes:
- 60 minutes: Electrolux Pure F9 FlexiLift Vacuum Cleaner ($598 RRP*) and Electrolux Pure F9 Animal Vacuum Cleaner ($699 RRP*)
- 53 minutes: Electrolux Pure Q9 Cordless Vacuum ($749 RRP*)
- 48 minutes: Electrolux Ergorapido Animal Handstick Vacuum Cleaner ($449 RRP*) and Electrolux Ergorapido Allergy Vacuum Cleaner ($379 RRP*)
What’s the runtime of a Hoover stick vacuum?
Most Hoover stick vacuums have a runtime of approximately 20 minutes, but you can get Hoover cordless vacuum cleaners that can clean for up to 30 or 45 minutes. Depending on the model, the recharge time can take between four and eight hours.
Here are a few Hoover stick vacuums and their expected maximum runtime:
- 45 minutes: Hoover Ultra Power Stick Vacuum ($299 RRP*)
- 30 minutes: Hoover Ultra Performer Stick Vacuum ($199 RRP*)
- 20 minutes: Hoover Heritage Stick Vacuum ($199 RRP*) and Hoover Ultra-Light Stick Vacuum ($199 RRP*)
- 19 minutes: Hoover Magicstick Vacuum ($299 RRP*) and Hoover Quickstick Stick Vacuum ($299 RRP*)
What’s the runtime of a Kmart cordless vacuum?
Kmart cordless vacuums typically have a 30-minute maximum runtime when operating on low speed, or 20 minutes when using the ‘high-speed’ mode. There’s also the Kmart 2-in-1 Cordless Stick Vacuum, which provides up to 40 minutes worth of cleaning time. These will usually require five hours to recharge.
These are the maximum runtimes for the following Kmart models:
- 40 minutes: Kmart 2-in-1 Cordless Stick Vacuum ($69 RRP*)
- 30 minutes: Kmart Cordless Stick Cleaner – White ($119 RRP*) and Kmart Cordless Stick Cleaner – Black ($99 RRP*)
What’s the runtime of a Vax cordless vacuum?
The 45-minute average runtime of Vax’s cordless vacuum cleaners is consistent across majority of the range. Vax cordless vacuums are typically said to need a three-hour charge to get back to full capacity, although there are some exceptions that might need four hours.
Here are the runtimes for the following models, as stated by Vax:
- 45 minutes: Vax Blade 2 Max Cordless Handstick Vacuum Cleaner ($399 RRP*) and Vax Blade Pet Pro Cordless Handstick Vacuum Cleaner ($249 RRP*)
- 20 minutes: Vax Reach Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner ($149 RRP*)
When should you replace your cordless vacuum cleaner?
According to Mr Shale, there are two main signs that suggest a vacuum needs maintenance, or should be replaced altogether.
- Reduced suction power
- Decreased runtime
The age of your appliance can also give you a good idea of whether it’s time to simply replace the battery or shop for another vacuum. Our latest research shows Aussies typically own their stick vacuum for about six years.
Reduced suction power
If you’ve noticed the suction power on your cordless vacuum has decreased, here are two things to check or do before sending it off to the scrappers:
- Look for blockages within the machine
- Wash the vacuum’s filters
Has your vacuum’s runtime shortened comparatively to when you first bought it? According to Mr Shale, lithium-ion batteries will degrade over time, so problems like decreased runtime might mean your battery needs to be replaced. The age of your vacuum can also give a good indication of whether you’re due for a replacement or an upgrade.
4 things to consider when buying a cordless vacuum cleaner
When shopping for a new cordless vacuum or comparing models from different brands, Mr Shale suggests the most important features to consider include:
- A fully-sealed filtration system that can capture up to 99.9% of fine particles
- A powerful motor to support suction power and capacity
- Enough runtime to clean your living space
- Bin capacity
*Prices taken from respective retailers, correct as of December 2020.