From heavy vacuum cleaners that use paper bags to small, bagless, cordless units, advances in technology have dramatically changed how we clean our house. If you're one of those who hate getting tangled in power cords, then here are some ways to find your perfect cordless handheld vacuum cleaner.

Consider the weight

Cordless handheld vacuum cleaners usually weigh around 5 pounds, which isn't much considering its structure: the motor assembly and battery near the handle; a long tube; and the nozzle. Barring any existing physical limitations or injuries, these units are light enough to be lifted at shoulder-level to reach higher spots.

Some cordless handheld vacuums weigh up to 9 pounds. While they still have the same functionality as their lighter friends, these bigger units are not ideal for reaching higher surfaces. You may be able to attach a longer tube to the central unit, but that defeats the purpose of going truly cordless.

Make sure you consider what you intend to clean with your cordless handheld vacuum before committing to a purchase. Do you want to clean the floor and nothing else? If so, then the weight shouldn't be too much of a concern. Otherwise, try to research brands with the lightest units.

How long can it last?

Cordless handheld vacuum cleaners come with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. While this gives you the freedom to go anywhere, your vacuum time is limited. You have to be quick if you want to get the most dirt.

Most units advertise up to 30 minutes of runtime but achieving it depends on how and what you clean. Are you mostly spot-cleaning or are you thoroughly cleaning of a large, thick rug? Touch-and-go cleaning gets the full 30-minute runtime, while repetitious cleanings will probably get about 10 minutes of battery life before it starts to weaken.

But just because the battery is weak, doesn't mean the vacuum immediately dies. As the battery gets closer to empty, the unit's suction power decreases. You may find yourself having to redo spots, so make sure you have a cleaning system in place. That way, you can quickly go back to where you left off when the battery is full again.

How powerful is the motor?

When shopping for a cordless vacuum cleaner, try to find one with mid-ranged motor power. Not sure if you need a powerful workhorse or an ordinary one? Check the kind of floor you have. Carpeted floors need more suction power because dirt can get stuck or hide between fibers. 

On the other hand, if your floors are mostly bare (such as hardwood or tile), you can get the middle-ranged vacuum. Vacuum cleaners take dirt easier on bare floors because it's smooth and there's nowhere to hide. You can glide your cleaner without having to worry too much about leftover dirt. And because your motor is not the power-hungry kind, you get more time to clean.

What other features does it have?

It may seem silly to be so concerned about extra features on a cordless handheld vacuum cleaner but think again. Because you have limited battery life and no cords to fiddle with, the expectation is that you can clean quicker. And in furniture-heavy places like the living room, this means having to transform your vacuum cleaner on the spot into a specialized tool.

Most cordless handheld vacuum cleaners come with extra attachments and the ability to change into something smaller. The availability depends on the brand you buy, so make sure you keep this in mind when shopping. Do you have a lot of upholstered furniture that needs to be rid of pet hair? You probably need a brush attachment. Need to be more hands-on with surfaces like stairs and under the table? You probably want one that transforms into a shorter version.

Some units also have the option for you to increase the suction power or to lock it into constant suction. While those are nice to have, it can burn the battery very quickly. If you're concerned about battery life, you might want to forgo this feature.

Are you ready to buy?

Once you've considered everything and you feel like you're ready to purchase, you need to do one more thing: read online reviews. Most of the stats listed on the product description page are according to ideal conditions; unless you have that specific set-up, you won't quite get the same kind of performance. Make sure that what the company advertises is close to how it performs in real life, and always have a backup option if your first choice doesn't pan out.

Now that you've examined everything from performance to user reviews, you're truly ready to buy the perfect cordless vacuum cleaner. Only with diligent research can you find the ideal model for you. Congratulations on your new purchase, and may you clean your house thoroughly in many days to come.