For many people, the importance of a lightweight vacuum cleaner is paramount when it comes to purchasing a hoover for the home. The market is littered with high performance vacuums but most of them are very heavy in weight, meaning they are hard to carry up the stairs and between different rooms. In this article, we break down our favourite lightweight upright vacuum cleaners, so you can make and informed decision on a machine that is easy to lift but still very powerful and effective.
What are the benefits of a lightweight vacuum?
Heavy vacs are difficult to lift, meaning that you are putting yourself through unnecessary strain when you carry the machine up the stairs, or between rooms. This is particularly a large issue for the elderly, who still want to ensure that their house is kept free from dust but are unable to carry a great deal of weight.
Historically, lightweight vacuums are easy to lift because they are made from inferior components, with low powered motors and not because the manufacturers have gone to great lengths to ensure that they are lightweight. This means that you cannot simply assume that any vacuum upright that you pick up easily is going to be an efficient and long-lasting asset in your home.
So here lies the problem – which lightweight vacuums strike the perfect balance between performance and weight and which ones are a waste of money? This is why we have created this post, which aims to narrow down your search for the perfect lightweight upright vac.
What makes a vacuum lightweight?
Before we delve into the best lightweight vacuums, it is worth establishing exactly what makes a hoover lightweight. Currently, there are machines on the market that weigh as little as 2kg but as we mentioned above, this is usually a result of poor build quality, materials and components. Instead, for the purpose of this post we are classifying any upright with a weight of 5kg as “lightweight”. While this may still sound a significant number, consider the fact that there are many machines on the market today that weight up to 10kg. Indeed, the Henry itself weighs 6.6KG.
A weight of 5k is light enough to carry for most people and it also does not narrow down the selection so much that you are limiting yourself, when it comes to finding a high performance upright.
As an added bonus, most modern lightweight vacuum cleaners tend to be cordless, which makes them far easier when it comes to maneuverability around the home. It also means that you are not limited by the length of your power cable, removing the need to constantly relocate to a new plug, in a different room. However, there are some downsides to cordless vacs, including the fact that battery life is always limited, they are often less powerful and they nearly always come without bags, making them unsuitable for those with allergies.
So, even though cordless may seem like a fantastic idea at first, it is worth thinking about whether it is more suitable for you and your home, before rushing into a purchase.
So let’s get into it shall we? Below we have listed our favourite upright lightweight vacuum cleaners for 2020 so far. Each of these machines have been thoroughly tested against a range of performance factors, as well the value-for-money factor, of course.
Gtech AirRam Mk2 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
- Power: 44 watts
- Capacity: 0.8 litres
- Weight: 3.3 kgs
- Cordless with a good run time
- Not good with pet hair
The original Gtech AirRam was a common site on television, with the company investing heavily in advertisements in order to help spread awareness of this machine. The major selling point was how lightweight it was, which was certainly true at an impressive weight of just 3.3kg. The MK1 AirRam provided excellent cleaning ability and power on all types of surfaces (including carpets and hard wooden floors). The Mk2 variant of this model aims to improve on this solid reputation and we think it is very successful at achieving this.
So what makes the Mk2 superior to the Mk1? Well, firstly the new model has a slightly better AirLOC system, which means that it can pick up large dirt and debris more effortlessly. Secondly, it is better at compressing the dust and dirt that has been hoovered up, meaning that it can store more in one go, which reduces the frequency at which you have to empty it. Lastly, the Mk2 can now run for up to an impressive 40 minutes before it needs to be re-charged, meaning that you can easily get around your home in one go, no matter how many bedrooms you have to tackle.
However, it’s not all good news with the new AirRam Mk2 as there is one disadvantage to this new model. This machine really struggled to pick up pet hair from carpets, so if you are a pet owner you will probably want to steer clear of this one. Indeed, it is only really effective if you are using it to clean just floors.
In conclusion, the pros do outweigh the cons for the Gtech AirRam Mk2 but quite a significant margin. It is a very lightweight upright that can be lifted and moved by absolutely everybody, regardless of strength. Its impressive battery and strong suction power make it a fantastic option.
Vax U90-MA-Re Air Reach Upright Vacuum Cleaner
- Power: 820 watts
- Capacity: 1.5 litres
- Weight: 4.9 kgs
- Extra long hose
- Extra long cord
The Vax U90-MA-Re may have a long, complicated name but this vacuum cleaner is actually nice and simple, with a long hose, efficient motor and a modern, attractive design. In terms of weight, it is just under our limit of 5kgs, so quite a bit more than the Gtech Air Ram Mk2 but still light enough to move around the house and carry up the stairs, with little effort.
Vax have built most of their uprights with their unique multi-cyclonic technology, including this one, which ensures that the suction power is consistently maintained, as well as reducing the number of dirt particles that escape during use.
The Vax U90-MA-Re has an extra long hose, making it very practical when it comes to getting to those hard-to-reach nooks in the corner of your rooms, as well as under sofas and behind cabinets. As an added bonus, the cord is also extra long, meaning that you should be spending less time unplugging and relocating to a new socket.
Vax are really good at offering guarantees with their vacuum cleaners and with this model, you get an impressive 6 year guarantee, so you can rest assured that this is probably going to last a long time.
In terms of performance, this vacuum offers great suction power for its size and weight but there are better (heavier) machines on the market with better suction power. However, when you consider that it is under 5kgs in weight, the trade off is not significant and you will be pleased with the dust and dirt that it removes.
The Vax U90-ME-Ma is a simple, no-nonsense upright that offers decent power and bags of practicality, for an affordable price.
Dyson V7 Motorhead Vacuum Cleaner
- Power: 100 AW
- Capacity: 0.54 litres
- Weight: 2.2 kgs
- 30 minute run-time
The Dyson V7 Motorhead is a sight for sore eyes, with a sleek and attractive design that you would expect from the premium brand that is Dyson. The most impressive thing about this vacuum cleaner is how little it weighs, at just 2.2kgs and a full kilogram less than the Gtech Air Ram Mk2. This machine is so lightweight, we are comfortable in recommending it for absolutely everybody, regardless of physical strength, age or ability. However, don’t go thinking that this lack of weight means that it isn’t equally as powerful because this machine performs well with stubborn dust and dirt.
Dyson have built this vacuum with something called a “Direct Drive Cleaner Head”, which has been designed to pick up both small dust partciles and larger debris simultaneously, making it very effective as an everyday vacuum cleaner for all types of floors and rooms (your front porch area, as well as you living room carpet, for example). Additionally, the V7 Motohead comes with a handy crevice tool, combination tool and convenient docking station.
One of the best features of this vac is the fact that it has a trigger system which ensures it only runs when you are using it, which means that your battery life is extended quite significantly.
In terms of disadvantages to the Motorhead, it isn’t very good at picking up pet hair, so if you own a dog or a cat, we would recommend going with something like the Vax U90-MA-Re Air Reach or another Dyson, such as the V8. Secondly, this is an expensive vacuum cleaner, so you are certainly paying a premium price for privilege.
The Dyson V7 Motorhead is a lightweight marvel with a beautiful design. If you are looking for a top-of-the-range upright that will look the part, which is easy to lift and carry around your home and you don’t mind paying a premium price, this is the vacuum for you.
Karcher VC5 Premium Vacuum Cleaner
- Power: 500 watts
- Capacity: 9 litres
- Weight: 3.5 kgs
- Unique telescopic tube design
- Not so good on hard floors
The Karcher VC5 Premium is perhaps the most unique vacuum cleaner in this list, mainly due to its completely unique design. Unlike most upright models that have a fixed body, this machine has a telescopic extendable tube that allows you to adjust the cleaning height, which essentially means that you can use it as both a regular upright (for your home) but also a portable vacuum cleaner (for your car).
In terms of weight, it comes in at 3.5 kgs, which is certainly very light. This means that it is easy to carry around your home, as well as up the stairs. The fact that you can reduce its overall size by retracting the hose makes it a really small vacuum to carry around, as well.
In terms of power, the Karcher VC5 Premium puts out an impressive 500 watts, which is enough to tackle everyday dust and dirt that builds up on your carpets and hard floors. Again, this machine is not going to be competing with the uprights that cost hundreds of pounds, but it is great for everyday vacuuming.
There are some drawbacks however, including the fact that it is not quite as efficient on hard floors as it is on carpets, so if you home mainly has wooden or laminate flooring, it may be best to avoid purchasing the VC5 Premium. Additionally, some online reviews do state that the filter needs to be changed quite often, compared to other models in this list.
In conclusion, the combination of power, capacity and unique practical design make this a fantastic option for anyone looking for a lightweight vacuum cleaner.
Morphy Richards 732000 2-in-1 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
- Power: 100 watts
- Capacity: 0.3 litres
- Weight: 4 kgs
- 20 minute running time
- Can be used as an upright or handheld
The Morphy Richards 732000 can be closely compared to the Gtech Air Ram Mk2, with the same suction power, maneuverability and battery life. However, where it differs from the Air Ram is its 2-in-1 function, which allows your to use it in upright mode for regular vacuuming, plus a handheld mode for portable cleaning of hard-to-reach areas. Similar to the Karcher VC5 Premium, this makes it incredibly versatile and convenient for a range of different vacuuming jobs.
Weighing in at 4kgs, it is a little heavier than some of the machines in this list but it is still light enough to comfortably lift and carry around your home, with little effort. Remember, anything under 5kgs in weight is considered light, so this machine comfortably fits within this category.
In terms of running time, the Morphy Richards 732000 will run for 20 minutes of continuous use, which should be enough for you to get around all the rooms in your house. However, if you happen to live in a large home, this could be cutting it a little close so this is worth considering, prior to purchasing.
With 100 watts of power, this vacuum offers very reasonable suction and impressive performance. Once again, don’t expect it to pick up dirt like a Numatic Henry but it will certainly do well for everyday use around the home.
If you’re looking for a cheap, lightweight vacuum cleaner with bags of practicality, this is the one for you. The sleek design makes it perhaps the best looking machine in this list and the price tag is very reasonable.
Shark HV390UK DuoClean Vacuum Cleaner
- Power: 450 watts
- Capacity: 1 litres
- Weight: 4.8 kgs
- DuoClean technology for all floor types
- Not so good with pet hair
The Shark HV390UL DuoClean vacuum cleaner has an unnecessarily long name that certainly doesn’t roll off the tongue. However, don’t let this put you off because this machine offers excellent performance and incredibly cleaning power.
Firstly, the Shark DuoClean is not a cordless vacuum but it instead a stick vacuum, which means that it is automatically easier to lift and move around the home. This is an big plus point for this vacuum when you consider that it is one of the heaviest in our list of lightweight vacs, weighing in at 4.8kgs. So even though it does weight quite a bit, we still found it fairly easy to lift and carry, as well as maneuver whilst in use.
This vac also has a handheld mode, making it great for cleaning the stairs, sofas, chairs and even the car. As an added bonus, Shark have incorporated their unique “Flexology” technology, which means that you can actually bend the tube when you are cleaning under furniture and in hard-to-reach corners of your home.
The main feature of the Shark HV390UK is the “DuoClean” technology that it incorporates, which consists of two brushrolls in the floorhead that work to pick up small dirt particles and large debris at the same time (in a similar fashion to Dyson V7). This means that you can use this vacuum on all kinds of floors, in different rooms, without noticing any change in performance and suction ability.
In terms of drawbacks, this model does not include a pet hair tool, so if you own a cat or a dog and want decent performance in terms of lifting up fur, you should opt for the more expensive HV390UKT model instead. On top of this, the fact that this is a stick vacuum means that more lifting is required.
The Shark HV390UK DuoClean only just makes it into our list of lightweight uprights but it has earned its place, with powerful suction and impressive cleaning technology. It’s a great alternative to a regular upright and is still very suitable for those looking for a vacuum that is easy to lift and move around.
What is the best vacuum cleaner for the elderly?
We understand that of the largest demographics of people specifically looking for lightweight vacuum cleaners are those of an elderly age, so we decided to include this section that clarifies the most suitable machines from this list. As you may have guessed, we believe that the lightest machines are the most suitable but we have also considered how easy they are to empty, as well as overall size. We recommend one of the following for the elderly:
- Gtech Air Ram Mk2 – weighing just 3.3 kgs and very easy to use.
- Dyson V7 Motorhead – weighing an incredibly 2.2 kgs and a 30 minute run-time.
There are many lightweight vacuum cleaners on the market in 2020 but finding one that strikes the balance between weight, performance and affordability is certainly not easy. It is essential to avoid cheap components in any vacuum cleaner that you buy because they simply do not last and this is even more important when it comes to lightweight vac, which are commonly built using such parts.
This list has separated the good lightweight vacs from the bad ones and aimed to provide you with the pros and cons of each one. While weight is very important, always remember to look at the suction power, as well as additional features that will make it a practical machines to use a couple of times a week, around your home.
If you are looking for a corded lightweight vacuum, go for the Dyson V7 Motorhead. If you would prefer a corded machine, we recommend the Vax-U90-MA-Re.
James Cook is an expert of the range of Numatic Henry vacuum cleaners from the UK. Having reviewed all of the Numatic vacuum cleaners over the course of the last 6 years, James is highly experienced at helping you choose the right model for your specific needs. His work has been featured in major publications such as Helping.co.uk, TheWhoot.com and Simplemost.com. Visit our About Us page for more information regarding James. Alternatively, you can contact him on Linkedin.