Advances in cordless, or battery-run, vacuums allow janitors mobility without sacrificing motor strength and machine power. Most types of major commercial vacuums — from uprights to backpacks — are available in battery-powered machines.

Cords can be inconvenient to janitors in areas that have a lot of furniture or equipment that cords can snag on, or areas without easily accessible outlets such as stairwells. They also get in the way of building occupants, particularly in high-traffic walkways. There, cords also pose safety risk, where they can result in trip and fall accidents.

Battery and vacuum manufacturers are working to prolong the runtime provided by batteries and the performance of vacuums using those batteries. Currently, runtimes are less than an hour.