Are cordless vacuums eco friendly?

When it comes to keeping our homes clean, the vacuum cleaner is a go-to tool for many of us.

However, as more and more people become environmentally conscious, the question of how to clean our homes without harming the planet is increasingly important.

This is why the term ‘eco-friendly vacuum’ is becoming more popular. Whilst there is no official definition, this is understood to mean vacuum cleaners which have a few key criteria:

  • Energy efficient motor
  • Washable filters
  • Bagless / Reusable bags
  • Durable and recyclable
  • Corded

Let’s dive in and take a look at what exactly makes a vacuum eco-friendly, and how can you choose the best one for your needs?

Key Takeaways

  • Eco-friendly vacuums have certain criteria, such as energy-efficient motors, washable filters, bagless/reusable bags, durability, and recyclability.
  • Cordless vacuums have eco-friendly features and only use energy when charging, but they may not be as powerful as corded vacuums for cleaning thicker carpets or larger spaces.
  • Washable filters are a better option for the environment than disposable filters, as they reduce waste and the need for replacement filters.
  • Corded vacuums are often recommended for their efficiency and long-term sustainability, but they lack the convenience of cordless models.

Are cordless vacuums eco-friendly?

Cordless vacuums can have eco-friendly features, but overall for an environmentally minded buyer, a corded vacuum will be the superior choice.

Whilst cordless vacuum cleaners are very convenient and use energy only during charging, they do have some environmental and social impacts of their own due to the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries they use. Cordless vacuums tend to be less powerful than their corded counterparts, which can make them a less energy-efficient choice when it comes to cleaning thick rugs or large spaces.

If you’re set on getting a cordless vacuum, here are some things to look for:

Energy efficient motor

With the advancement of technology, eco-friendly vacuum cleaners are now available in the market with features like power-saving mode and excellent suction power. These eco-friendly vacuums typically come with a motor that has a low wattage, which means that it uses less energy than the traditional vacuum motors. Despite lower wattage, effcients in design means that the suction power is just as good as older, higher wattage models.

Washable filters

A person using a cordless vacuum cleaner on a carpet.

Washable vacuum cleaning filters are a preferable option for the environment over disposable filters. This is because disposable filters contribute to landfill waste, while washable filters can be used multiple times, reducing the need for replacement filters and the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

Washable filters are often made from environmentally friendly materials, which do not produce harmful chemicals or gases when disposed of. By using washable filters, individuals can also save money in the long term, as they can last for years with proper care.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that cheaper disposable filters can pump tiny particles of dust, pet dander, and mould back into the air, which can trigger allergies and unpleasant smells. So if your preferred vacuum does have disposable filters, make sure it’s from a reputable brand.

Bagless vacuum cleaners

A person using a cordless vacuum to clean a window.

Both bagged and bagless vacuums can be eco-friendly, but bagless vacuums have the advantage of not needing to be replaced and thrown away into landfills like bags do. This saves cost and you don’t need to think about purchasing bags.

That said, vacuum cleaners which require bags can offer better filtration as when emptying – as emptying bagless vacuums can sometimes lead to dust and allergens blowing back into the room. Bags used in vacuums are normally biodegradable and decompose overtime reducing their environmental impact.

Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to decide which type of vacuum is better for the environment based on their own needs and preferences.

Durable and recyclable

A long lasting and durable vacuum is an important factor to consider when purchasing a vacuum cleaner, especially when it comes to eco-friendly models. A high-quality, long-lasting vacuum cleaner can significantly reduce its environmental impact by cutting down on waste and production costs as it’s not going to be replaced for a very long time. Whilst plastic is generally not good for the environment – if it means you’re vacuum is strong and won’t be replaced for 5-10 years – it’s a balanced trade-off. A durable vacuum cleaner will also save you money in the long run since you won’t have to replace it as often.

When it finally is time to replace your vacuum, you will want to make sure the parts are recyclable (not all of it will be, but as much as possible) or compostable.


A woman cleaning a living room with a vacuum cleaner.

Cordless vacuum cleaners are powered by various types of batteries, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Cordless vacuums usually use lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, which are more efficient and lightweight than other types. Li-ion batteries have become increasingly popular due to their ability to store and discharge energy quickly and efficiently. However, mining lithium for these batteries can lead to environmental and social issues such as water contamination and deforestation.

Corded vacuums are powered by AC current and therefore do not require batteries or charging. These models are often recommended for their higher efficiency and longer-term sustainability. These days, most people do want a cordless vacuum for convenience so this area will be a trade-off for those eco-friendly individuals. There is a lot of research looking at alternatives to Li-ion batteries and in the coming years there should be more sustainable and environmentally friendly options on the market.


Bottom Line

When it comes to sustainability and eco-friendliness, corded vacuum cleaners are typically superior for now.

That said, cordless vacuums still have much to offer and if you take a balanced approach by purchasing a high quality vacuum which has some greener features you can do your bit for the environment.

Whilst there are some areas which are unavoidable at the moment – such as the Li-ion batteries – the market place is changing with new research and development which will see new battery tech in the coming years. Once achieved, cordless vacuums will certainly be regarded as an eco-friendly vacuum.