LG's CordZero Handstick Vacuum Is Convenient, Compact And Battery-Powered

LG is making a lot of noise about its CordZero battery-powered vacuum cleaners recently -- including bloodying Dyson's nose over suction power -- so I decided to give one a test drive.

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I spent a couple of weeks using LG's $399 CordZero handstick, and I have mixed feelings about it. Some times, I loved its convenience, but other times left me wishing I was using my Dyson handstick instead. The Dyson V6 Absolute is $699, though, so LG is clearly punching above its weight.

LG's CordZero handstick (detached).

Battery life rules. The LG CordZero handstick's crowning feature is the fact that it has a removable 18-volt lithium ion battery, just like you'd find on your Bosch cordless drill; even better, LG actually includes two batteries with the CordZero. LG makes batteries, so having that extra one in the box probably cost them a couple of manufacturing dollars at most. It's useful, too -- having a removable, replaceable battery pack is an absolute godsend. I can't tell you how many times I've been hoovering vacuuming and have had the Dyson handstick run out of battery power; this happens even faster when you use the V6's absolutely addictive Turbo mode. (Why, Dyson? Why.)

Half an hour of run-time on each CordZero battery -- as long as you plan ahead and keep them both charged, which you can do with the standalone charger -- means you have an hour of battery run time. This is a huge improvement over Dyson's promised 20 minutes of run time with the V6, which is lessened under Turbo, although anecdotally I'd say that the Dyson picks up more dust and dirt -- but that doesn't change the fact that with the LG, you can just go over the same patch three times and still have battery power to spare. And you can charge one battery while you're using the other, definitely a big point in the LG's favour.

LG's CordZero canister.

Non-removable cleaning heads suck. In full regalia, the LG CordZero is almost like an upright vacuum in size -- closer to a Dyson DC65 than a V6. It's thinner and lighter, and can be lifted off the ground more easily, but it's still bulky against the lithe and sleek Dyson V6. That's because all the Dyson's vacuum magic is hidden away in the handle, with that tiny motor spinning at one-hundred-and-silly-thousand RPM, letting you chop and change between the extension tube and various soft and hard floor brushes and nozzles and crevice tools.

On the LG CordZero, you're far more locked in depending on how you want to use it. In upright mode, you're wedded to the non-removable multi-purpose swivel head, which has a brush pattern quite similar to Dyson's soft floor brush. The head is certainly versatile -- it rotates over a 180-degree range, so you can torque the handle to push it into corners or to chase down an errant thread or fibre -- but you can't take it off. That means if you want to use a smaller head to get into a tight space, you'll have to detach the CordZero's handheld portion from the body of the upright, giving you the dust bin plus vacuum motor plus battery in a Dustbuster-esque device that you can use with a flip-up soft brush.

LG's CordZero handstick (upright).

Everything else is equal. In every other way, the LG CordZero trades punches with Dyson's very best cordless stick vacuum. Dust capacity is similar -- 350mL on the LG versus 400mL on the Dyson. The Dyson has a very cool wall-mounted docking station, the LG has a battery life indicator. The LG converts to a handheld, crevice-friendly device with the push of a button, the Dyson requires you to go and find your extra accessories but can still use the full-size brush heads without the length of the extension tube in the way -- which is genuinely useful for counter-tops. It's six of one, half a dozen of the other.

For the most part, the LG's killer feature is that removable and replaceable battery -- because it can be an utterly mediocre vacuum cleaner, but as long as it keeps vacuuming, you can actually use it. Sure, it's a little more restrictive than its competitor in how you can use it, but you quickly learn to live with its limitations. And with all those things taken into account -- one big advantage, one big disadvantage, and a whole bunch of back and forth -- it's effectively the same as Dyson's vacuum for the vast majority of cleaning that I do, at half its price. That's pretty damn impressive. [LG]