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Life Lab: Cordless Vacuum Cleaners

In a new Watchdog Live strand, we call on real families to test out everyday products.

This week, our three tester families- the Holts, the Ollenrenshaws, and the Cluckworths- put three popular cordless vacuums cleaners to the test. The vacs they tested were:

Dyson V7 Motorhead - £249

Shark Duoclean- £249

Vax Blade 2 Max - £199

The reviews were a mixed bag, with the families liking some features of all three appliances, but finding short battery life an issue across the board.

Watchdog Live also put the three cordless cleaners through tests for suction power under the watchful eye of vacuum expert Leslie Davies. She covered three strips of carpet with equal amounts of “soiling”- including dog hair, glitter and crisps- and we measured how long it took until our testers deemed the carpets clean, as well as how much of the soiling had been sucked up.

In these tests, the Dyson sucked up the most in the shortest time, with the Vax as runner up, and the Shark sucking up the least in the longest time.

But this didn’t put our Life Lab families off the Shark vacuum cleaner. When it came to which of the three appliances they would keep, they all plumped for the Shark, saying it was easy to store and they enjoyed using it.

Statements from manufacturers


“We are delighted that the families who tried the three cordless vacuum models found that the Shark was their favourite. This mirrors the fantastic five-star reviews we consistently receive for our products and our own extensive consumer insight research. We put customers at the heart of our product development and design vacuums that make their lives easier”.


“We are delighted to see the Dyson V7 come out on top when it comes to cleaning performance, the number 1 metric for a vacuum cleaner. While the V7 employs Dyson’s older generation of vacuum technology it still holds its own, capturing and sealing more microscopic dust. What is sucked up, stays in.

It is worth noting that our newest model, the V11 Absolute has double the run-time (60 minutes) in comparison to the V7 (30 minutes) for those who are after a longer clean.”


"The VAX Blade 2 MAX 40V has performed well in the test devised by your contributing expert. In order for us and our competitors to establish performance, you’ll understand there are industry recognised tests and these must be carried out by independent laboratories to substantiate any performance claims. In the development of our products however, the consumer and real life use is always a focus.

In-home testing is more difficult to comment upon without seeing more detailed comments from your in-home testers. Naturally in-home tests will be subjective to each user and their perception of cleanliness, how rigorously they vacuum and therefore length of time they deem necessary to clean, as well as subject to varying levels of cleanliness in the home already and the types of floor surfaces each has in the home.


Whilst appreciating the nature of the programme segment, this would call into question the value of such in-home reviews and the subjective nature of consumer testing opposed to laboratory results conducted under controlled conditions that produce evidence substantiated, objective results."