Vacuum cleaners aren’t the most ergonomic of contraptions at the best of times, especially when it comes to lugging them up and down flights of stairs. As we age, our ability to vacuum may decrease further still due to our declining fitness levels, especially in terms of managing the weight of the appliance, or even the motions required to vacuum thoroughly.
However, all is certainly not lost as the good news is that in today’s market, vacuum manufacturers have looked to combat the heavy, clunky experience that vacuums can provide.
This is exactly what we’ll bring you in today’s post, as we focus on the best lightweight vacuum cleaners that are suitable for the elderly. We hope anyone who physically struggles with vacuuming in general will also find our guide useful too.
Types Of Vacuum Cleaners
First up, it’s good to understand the sheer range of vacuums that are now available, as these may have changed since the last time you purchased a vacuum. The technology today is truly fantastic, meaning not only have vacuums become lighter, but also more compact than in previous times, not to mention more powerful too. Thankfully, most vacuums are also now bagless making emptying the vacuum a breeze.
There are five main types of vacuum cleans to familiarise yourself with. Crucially, we’ll be discussing the different types in terms of how friendly they are for the elderly specifically.
With a cylinder, the vacuum is essentially split into two components. During vacuuming, you only need to move the vacuum head, unless the cylinder needs to be repositioned. You can also use a multitude of tools, making it easy to clean in all corners of the home where an upright may not reach as one example.
Pros: Wheels make it easy for cylinders to move across floors, and multiple tools are very handy.
Cons: Can be difficult to distribute the weight when carrying a cylinder-style vacuum upstairs, as each component (i.e. the vacuum head and cylinder) have greatly different weights.
If weight is the main issue you are experiencing with a vacuum, why not ditch the appliance altogether, in favour of a handheld vacuum? Small but mighty, handheld vacuums are great for cleaning everything from the car to crumbs on the sides. But, they may not be up to the job of cleaning the whole home.
Pros: Can be used on the go, and are far lighter than most other vacuum types.
Cons: Not powerful enough or practical enough to clean the whole house with, especially carpets.
The future has officially arrived, now that it’s possible for a machine to do the vacuuming for you. You may have seen robovacs providing transport for curious cats in many YouTube videos, and they are also ideal for those who cannot lift or manoeuvre a traditional vacuum.
Pros: Robovacs require no intervention other than charging and controlling. They will follow set cleaning patterns, and can even be programmed to work while you’re out of the house.
Cons: Will require an understanding of technology to use properly. Models can be expensive, and also cannot clean areas around the home other than the floors.
– Stick (Cordless)
When even Dyson announces they are “done with corded vacuums” it’s time to sit up and listen. Or stand up and vacuum, as is the case with cordless vacuums, which are also known as stick vacuums. With no cords to trip over and a lightweight design, they tick all the boxes where being friendly for the elderly is concerned.
Pros: Removes the risk of tripping on the cable, and much easier to move around. Stick or cordless vacuums also come with a wide range of tools to reach even the most difficult of crevices.
Cons: Cordless vacuums don’t have a long battery life, so they need to be charged frequently.
Consisting of a traditional design, upright vacuums require the entire appliance to be pushed around using one arm. So, they aren’t the most suited vacuum type for the elderly, other than having a familiar design. Although, it is possible to find lightweight models that can reduce the strain somewhat.
Pros: Upright vacuums don’t tend to have technological features, making them easier to use for those who aren’t tech-savvy.
Cons: They can be difficult to take up the stairs, are heavy to push around and present a tripping hazard with their cord.
Bissell 2024E Featherweight Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner – £40
The clue is in the name with this delightful ‘featherweight’ vacuum from Bissell, who have not only shaved weight off of the device but off the price too, as it comes in at just £40.
A nifty feature about this model is that it converts into a handheld vacuum, essentially giving you two types of vacuums in one. It’s suitable for hardwood flooring and carpets, as well as upholstery, and is bagless making it super easy to empty.
One aspect to note though is that because it’s on the cheaper side of the market, it may not offer the highest power performance. So, if you have a busy household or pets, the Bissell might fall short of your needs.
But speaking strictly of weight, ease of movement and remaining budget-friendly, the Bissell has certainly got all of these key needs covered.
Best for: Purchasing a lightweight vacuum on a budget.
Considerations: Isn’t cordless. Reviewers have stated this model does struggle to pick up pet hairs.
Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal Cordless Vacuum – £380
For those in search of a superior clean without a hefty weight to lug around, any of the Dyson cordless vacuums would fit the bill. However, the Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal Cordless Vacuum strikes just the right balance between the range of features it provides and superior performance.
Another great aspect of the Animal is that unlike some of the newer Dyson vacuums, the features are not as complicated technology-wise. Also, the design of the vacuum can be reconfigured depending on the tool being used, reducing yet even more of its weight. The attachments are also very easy to attach and detach, which is great for those with any strength or dexterity issues.
On full power, the suction power can be quite intense on carpets especially. However, with a slide of the button, this power can be reduced. Also, when using the crevice tool, the lightweight rod made from aluminium makes it easy to reach up high without straining yourself.
Best for: Achieving powerful suction across all floor types. The technology is well built and is incredibly lightweight.
Considerations: As a premium brand, Dyson is more expensive than most other vacuums.
Miele PowerLine Complete C2 Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner – £169
Granted, the Miele PowerLine is twice the weight of a stick-style vacuum. But, it could still be a contender for those who only have one floor of accommodation such as a flat or bungalow. That way, you won’t have to factor in the problem of lifting the vacuum up and down the stairs.
Also, it is classed as a lightweight vacuum within the cylinder category coming in at under 6kg. Therefore, for anyone not wanting to switch to a more modern style of vacuum, it would be lighter than the infamous Numatic Henry vacuum as an example, which comes in at 7.5kg.
What’s particularly impressive about this model is that it has been tested to the equivalent of 20 years of use. So, if you want a vacuum that will stand the test of time saving you money in the long run, the Miele could be it.
Best for: Sticking with a cylinder style vacuum while remaining as lightweight as is possible for this style.
Considerations: If you have to navigate stairs, you may have to face facts that even a lightweight cylinder poses potential hazards.
Bush Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner – £65
‘Lightweight’ and ‘upright vacuum’ tends to be an impossible combination, but Bush has managed it with their upright bagless cleaner, coming in even lighter than the Miele at just 4.5kg.
It has a slimline design that removes much of the bulk that normally piles on the pounds for upright vacuums, and the price is more than agreeable. As well as being suited to all floor surfaces, it also has an in-built HEPA filter, which is particularly impressive for a vacuum within this price range.
The one potential pitfall is that at 80db, the noise is substantially louder than a typical vacuum, so may not be the best option to keep the neighbours on side.
Best for: Remaining with an upright format without breaking the bank. The HEPA filter is also great for those with allergies.
Considerations: Upright vacuums don’t allow the greatest flexibility of movement, and just won’t cut it if you have stairs if you are elderly, regardless of how light the model is.
Gtech 1-03-209 HyLite Bagged Cordless Vacuum Cleaner – £130
Saving the lightest for last, Gtech has managed to create their lightest ever vacuum with the 1-03-209. Although the name might not be so memorable, the configuration certainly is, as when taken apart, Gtech boasts the entire model can fit into a shoebox.
It will clean all floor surface types, and has a run time of up to 20 minutes, making it ideal for smaller properties. The dirt is compressed into a small compartment that can be easily entered into the bin. However, its most important feature in terms of elderly-friendly vacuums is that it is stair-friendly – something which is of great concern as we age.
One downside is that it’s slightly noisier even than the Bush at 85db. Although speaking strictly of weight, you’d be hard pushed to find a lighter vacuum on the market, especially as it’s just a quarter of the weight of some of the other models on our list.
Best for: Truly living up to the lightweight claims. Easy assembly and emptying of the bag.
Considerations: Best suited to light cleaning rather than large homes or extreme pet hair or dirt in the carpet.
Which Are The Best Vacuum Cleaners For The Elderly?: In Summary
While the final decision on which is the best vacuum cleaner for the elderly is going to depend on your style preference, budget and individual needs, our top pick would be the Dyson V10 Animal Cordless Vacuum. It may not be the lightest on our list, but it’s significantly lighter than the typical vacuum. Crucially, it can handle any floor surface and offers unbeatable suction providing the best user experience overall.
Now our lightweight vacuums have blown the heavy and bulky alternatives out of the water, we’d like to hear what you think.
Retirement Expert has all of your consumer and finance needs covered. Our website is packed with the best tips and advice on all things retirement.
Have any suggestions to add to our list of the best lightweight vacuums, or want us to create articles on other product ideas?
Leave us a comment below and we might just feature your idea.