7 Best Stick Vacuum Cleaners (Review) In 2020
Vacuuming is, unfortunately, a consistent and perpetual reality of adulthood, and even childhood, if you needed to work for your pocket money. And unless you have mastered the routine from Queen’s I Want to Break Free, there is not a lot you can do to make it fun. That’s not to say you can’t make it quicker, easier, and more comfortable, though, and you can manage this with the best stick vacuum cleaner.
Like other household essentials we’ve brought you in the past, including knife sets, steam mops, indoor thermometers, and garden storage boxes, these vacuums will transform your weekly chore duties and can make living at home a little easier.
From cordless magic to multi-functional convenience, and excellent suction all throughout, it’s time to ditch the awkward vacuum cleaner that was handed down from your grandparents to your parents and finally to you, and replace it with something you can use again and again with ease and grace.
The Best Stick Vacuum Cleaner
Cordless convenience, great on rugs
Dyson sticks are much better at cleaning rugs than any other brand’s cordless vacuums. The base-model Dyson V7 has enough battery life to clean most apartments and some smaller houses on a single charge.
If you want the convenience of a cordless vacuum and something with enough oomph to really clean almost any rug, there’s nothing better than a Dyson. The Dyson V7 Motorhead is usually the most affordable model, and the Dyson V8 Absolute has more battery life and a bunch of extra tools for a bit more money.
In our tests, the V7 sucked more dust and pet hair out of more kinds of rugs than vacuums from other brands (including Shark, Tineco, and LG). The difference was especially dramatic on thicker, denser rugs. Most people we’ve talked to find the Dyson sticks to be lightweight, easy to handle, and actually kind of fun to use—they use their Dysons more often than their old plug-in vacuums, so their homes are cleaner overall. The V7 has a 25-minute battery life (give or take), which is enough for most apartments and some small homes. But it can be fine for larger homes because you might get in the habit of cleaning a few rooms at a time, rather than the whole home in a single pass. If you want more battery life, a V8 model can run for about 35 minutes.
Dyson sticks have some quirks that don’t work for everyone, like the trigger-style power switch and the built-in battery. The V7 Motorhead could be better on bare floors (like many vacuums, it “snowplows” big debris like cereal, and occasionally sends a hard particle like cat litter flying across the room), though variants of the V7 and V8 that come with the extra bare-floor cleaning head are more effective. Word on the street is that Dyson sticks are unreliable—but so are other cordless vacuums. If there’s something you don’t like about Dyson sticks, you could consider another brand, but no other cordless vacuum works as well on rugs (at least not for the price). There’s a good chance that you’re better off with a plug-in vacuum. But if you want to go cordless, we think a Dyson is the best choice.
The V7 was plainly better at cleaning rugs than other vacuums we tested. In our real-world, around-the-house testing, the V7 consistently picked up at least twice as much hair and dust and other debris as its closest competitors from Shark and Tineco. On short-pile rugs, the other vacuums pulled up a respectable amount of dust, but the Dyson still did better. As the rugs got thicker, the V7 completely outclassed the other brands. In a controlled test on a common type of rug (moderately dense, medium pile), the difference wasn’t as dramatic, but the V7 still outperformed anything at the price. On the standard power setting, the Dyson picked up 58 percent of the sand and baking soda mixture we laid down, and it picked up 60 percent on max (and this result is probably lower than what you can expect in the real world). The Dyson’s nearest competitor, the Shark Ion F80, picked up only 51 percent on its maximum setting and 49 percent on standard.
Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
In a class of its own
The flagship Dyson automatically adjusts suction according to the surface it’s on, and it cleans carpets better than even some plug-ins. The V11 is significantly more expensive than any other cordless vac, but it may make vacuuming actually enjoyable.
If you’re willing to throw down the cash for a cordless vacuum that can clean both carpets and bare floors as well as a great plug-in vacuum (and obviously better than any cordless vacuum), you could upgrade all the way to the flagship Dyson V11 Torque Drive. The V11 has extra battery life and some features that make it easier to use in some important and cool ways.
The V11 picked up an astounding amount of fine dust and hair from rugs in our around-the-house testing, even from rugs that we’d already cleaned with other vacuums. In our controlled testing, the V11 picked up 91 percent of the sand and baking soda mixture we laid out on a low-pile rug, with just a couple of passes on its boosted-power mode, and 73 percent on its default setting, blowing the doors off of any other cordless vacuum we’ve tested and beating many plug-ins, too.
Auto mode is another of this vacuum’s highlights. When the V11 senses that it’s on a rug, it ramps up the suction; on a bare floor, it eases back. We found that the cleaning performance was great on all surfaces with Auto mode—sensible enough not to waste the V11’s battery on bare floors or send debris scattering with an over-aggressive brush roll, but strong enough to clean carpets very well.
The LCD on the V11 Torque Drive seemed like a goofy, over-the-top luxury when we first heard about it, but it appears to ease the “range anxiety” that some people get with battery-powered vacuums. It gives you a real-time countdown of the battery life, even as the suction shifts around in Auto mode, so you’re not surprised when it dies, and you can pace your cleaning appropriately. The screen also plays short animations to help diagnose problems like clogs or tangles, to remind you when it’s time to clean the filter, and to gently suggest that you might not want to use Boost mode all the time.
It’s hard to pin down an exact battery life for the V11, because if you’re using Auto mode, battery life will vary depending on the surface. In a house with mostly bare floors, it should be close to 40 minutes. With a mix of surfaces, probably 30 minutes. With primarily rugs, closer to 20 minutes. Boost mode runs for a maximum of 12 minutes, and Eco mode (which is about as effective as the standard cleaning modes on LG and Shark sticks) goes for about 60.
Newer Dyson V11 units (including the Torque Drive, as well as the Animal and Outsize variants, which we’ll cover below) are now designed with click-in (or swappable) batteries. (The older models use screw-in packs and cannot accept the newer, click-in batteries.) Although the Torque Drive and Animal come only with a single pack, you can choose to buy extra packs if you want to extend the run time. A big caveat: As of June 2020, many of the older Torque Drive and Animal units with screw-in batteries are still in stock at retailers, and a Dyson representative told us that “retailers won’t know if a model sold will have the click-in or screw battery.” You’ll be buying a mystery box. However, they did tell us that if you buy any V11 model through Dyson.com, it is guaranteed to use the click-in battery.
Our take: A single V11 battery pack has plenty of run time for almost everyone, so the click-in design probably won’t change your experience. But since they’re the same price, you might as well get one with the click-in design, just in case you change your mind later. If you find a lower price for the V11 from somewhere besides Dyson.com, there’s a chance it will be the screw-in model, and you’ll have to be comfortable with that risk.
Although the V11 is bulkier and heavier than the V7 or V8 (because of the larger dustbin and extra battery cells), we didn’t find it any harder to steer, because the weight is well distributed.
MOOSOO Cordless Vacuum
Another stick vacuum cleaner that provides excellent value, especially for those with pets and messy kids is the MOOSOO Cordless Vacuum. This vacuum comes with a long-lasting battery that helps you get as much of the house or apartment cleaned as you can between charges, while the powerful suction design means that you will only need to do a single round to make sure you pick everything up. Its high-efficiency cyclone and HEPA filtration system deliver super performance. It removes up to 99.99% of microscopic debris, which improves the air quality and makes it easier to breathe when relaxing at home. You can also operate it in two modes to give you versatility depending on your vacuuming needs and make full use of the battery, whether that’s standard or handheld vacuuming in your home.
It’s lightweight enough to provide excellent comfort, while the LED lights mean you can keep the house clean in low-light environments. Furthermore, the advanced warning system keeps you alert when the battery is running low, so you can replace it with a backup, or charge it ready for next time. Its size means it doesn’t boast as large of a capacity as other vacuums available. However, the convenience outweighs this, and if you live in smaller properties, then you’ll likely not recognize much of a difference. For more amazing options like this, check out our selection of the best commercial vacuum cleaners.
Hoover Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
A famous name in the vacuum world, the Hoover Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner is a superb option to choose if you’re looking for consistent performance throughout the house. This is most clear in the fade-free lithium battery, so you experience the same amount of suction at the end as you do at the beginning and guarantees quality vacuuming throughout the house. The extreme recline handle makes it easy to use and easy to maneuver, while the edge cleaning bristles will prevent debris from getting caught and stuck during use. Besides this, Windtunnel technology delivers spectacular performance that provides superb consistency wherever you are, and means it is suitable for a variety of floor surfaces so that no room succumbs to dust and debris.
It’s easily portable, so you can take it to your kids college dorm if they’ve been slacking on their housekeeping. Its size makes it easy to store, too, so if you already feel a little too cluttered, this shouldn’t have much of an impact. The battery fuel gauge means you shouldn’t run out of juice halfway through cleaning, but if you do, it allows for interchangeable batteries so you can get the little things finished should you need it. However, if you’re planning on doing any late-night cleaning, be aware that it’s on the noisy side, so if your partner or neighbors are light sleepers, then they may not take too kindly to you vacuuming after dark or even early on a Sunday morning. Our guide to the best upright vacuums features more amazing options to help you keep your home spotless, so check them out.
Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Cordless Bagless Vacuum
The Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Cordless Bagless Vacuum has swivel steering and is an easy to maneuver and easy-to-use option that provides plenty of power to tackle even the messiest (read: kid-filled) houses around. It also comes with versatile applications that allow you to keep the whole house clean without using multiple options to make your life much easier than you’ve ever experienced. This versatility means it’s excellent for cleaning your car as well as your house. It can squeeze into the tightest spaces in the car and guarantees you can show off your new or not new wheels and not worry about errant french fries hiding between the seats.
It comes with an 8.5 inch cleaning path so you don’t miss a thing, and the fingertip controls mean you can adjust the power easily with no need to stop, bend down, switch, and carry on. Inside, the 0.42 quart cup capacity collects enough dust and debris to clean the house sufficiently, and as it is bagless, this is easy to empty should you need to halfway through the session. There are dual storage options that help you keep it out of the way when you’re not cleaning, and the 25 foot cord gives you plenty of space to move around without unplugging it. It is a little top-heavy, which isn’t great for arm fatigue, but it’s definitely efficient enough that most shouldn’t notice this too much. You may also like some of the best HEPA vacuums from our list, so check them out.
BISSELL ICONpet Cordless Stick Hand Vacuum Cleaner
If you’ve got pets, the BISSELL ICONpet Cordless Stick Hand Vacuum Cleaner is exactly the type of option you need to ensure a clean and fur-free house that will still allow your favorite family member to roam free. There are a variety of versions available to pick the perfect option for your needs, and each boasts a high performance digital motor that delivers superb results every single time. Additional features include a Tangle Free Brush Roll that keeps everything running smoothly and prevents unnecessary downtime when cleaning. There is also a Mess Free Dirt Tank that makes it easy to clean and empty when the vacuum becomes too full to be properly efficient. This vacuum for pet hair is also easily convertible, so you can switch between jobs when moving around the house to save hassle for the smaller jobs.
For these smaller jobs, especially tight spaces, the LED crevice tool will ensure you get every piece of dust and debris that will prevent anything being left behind, especially if you’re in a rush. There is also Clean Slide technology that controls the dust, delivering further cleaning satisfaction. The Sealed System filtration prevents dust leaking out and clogging the parts, and the strong suction provides excellent performance whether you’re cleaning up dog hair or crumbs. The battery placement is convenient, but it also makes it a little top-heavy, however.
APOSEN Cordless Vacuum
With 10Kpa powerful suction, the APOSEN Cordless Vacuum delivers excellent results that ensure a sleek, stylish, and satisfying experience even for those who have sworn never to vacuum again. The motorized head frees you from the hassle you typically experience with the cord, and this provides excellent mobility around the house. The 2200mAh 6 cell battery boast brilliant power, which further delivers great results and consistent use so you can guarantee you get the entire house cleaned, spick and span ready for the in-laws to come around. The 99.99% filtration system also cleans most debris and dust from the floor, crevices, and under the sofa, too, so you can enjoy a clean house and clean air.
The extension wand makes it convenient to use, especially for hard to reach areas such as living room or hallway corners. If your kids are scared about cobwebs, you can remove them with ease, just make sure you give the spiders a decent home outside beforehand. Also included are Pet and Sofa brushes to add further versatility when cleaning and ensure that no surface is left behind. There are two adjustable modes to meet your needs, while the wall mount provides excellent storage options. If you have a larger house, you may find you need to empty the canister more frequently, but this can encourage you to keep the house as dust-free as you can. If you also need a solution for cleaning your car, check out our selection of the best car vacuum cleaners and pick your favorite.
Stick Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide
Features To Look For In Stick Vacuum Cleaners
When deciding which is the best stick vacuum cleaner for you, make sure you consider these essential key features that can appeal to you depending on your household vacuuming needs and preferences.
Accessories – Without accessories, vacuum cleaners are only useful for cleaning the floors, and not even all the floor at that. When searching for a stick vacuum cleaner, it’s essential that you find suitable accessories, including sofa brushes, crevice tools, and capture nozzles to pick up as much dirt and debris as possible around the house and car.
Accessories will help you complete a deep clean of the home with no issues. Different stick vacuums provide different types of accessories depending on the size, but for general household cleaning, a crevice tool is one of the most important. Even if your chosen vacuum does not come complete with every accessory you need, you can buy additional attachments should you find you need them.
Cord/Cordless – Both corded and cordless vacuums have their benefits, and it’s something that typically depends on your personal needs. There is no way to tell which is better than the other, as everyone will have different preferences.
Corded vacuums will deliver consistent power as long as you need, which is something cordless alternatives cannot offer as they run on batteries. However, cordless stick vacuums are easier to maneuver and more convenient. You can bring them anywhere in the house without relying on a power source. This makes tight and tricky areas easier to clean compared to corded options.
Battery Size – Run Size/Charge Time – Selecting the battery size will impact several things when deciding on which stick vacuum is the perfect one for your household. While a larger battery will provide more power and last longer per session, it could also be heavier, which isn’t ideal if you need to vacuum a lot of high areas.
But, smaller batteries mean you will need to charge and recharge often, which could be inconvenient and frustrating. Despite this, some vacuums will offer replaceable battery packs, which allow you to swap over when the first battery runs out.
You should also think about charge time, as even though the larger battery will last longer initially, it will also take longer to charge. On average, the charge time for 40 minutes of power is around 4 to 5 hours.
Capacity – A vacuum with a larger capacity will not require you to empty it as often, which is always useful, but it could also cause more debris to get stuck in the mouth and tunnel. If the vacuum uses a bag, a large capacity will also save money on vacuum bags. But there are bagless versions that use a simple bin to collect dust and dirt.
However, if the dust bag is too large, it could impact the size of the vacuum, and this impacts maneuverability, comfort, and weight. It could also make it difficult to carry and store should you feel like taking it to your child’s university dorm to catch them up on their housekeeping chores.
Cleaner – The cleaner is something else that’s essential to think about when searching for the right stick vacuum cleaner, but if you’ve never bought a vacuum before, you might not even consider it. Ideally, the cleaner should be suitable for all surfaces, even without adjusting settings to cope with hard or soft floors.
With this versatility, you’ll find that you can complete your vacuuming chores more efficiently. You won’t need to adjust the settings as you move around the house from kitchen to living room to bathroom. If yours is a home with a range of different floor types, a universal cleaner design is something you must look for in every option.
Besides this, the width of the cleaner will also determine efficiency. The larger the head, the more surface area covered. But a cleaner that’s too wide won’t be able to fit into tight spaces. Instead, you need a balanced size, which is typically between 8 and 9 inches.
Lights – Lights may not be as essential as universal cleaners, but if you’re looking for a feature to make your life easier, then it’s certainly something to look for. These LED lights will help illuminate the path to ensure you capture everything in its way.
This is suitable for low-light areas of the home, such as behind sofas or even underneath them. Some stick vacuums come with crevice tool lights, too, which allows you to clean up the tighter spaces with total ease and guarantee a dust- and debris-free home that you can enjoy living in.
Smart Technology – With many things moving towards smart technology compatibility, it’s no surprise the vacuums will do the same. While these vacuums will not clean the house for you (at least not yet), there are other features that will make them useful. This can include battery fuel gauges to keep you informed about how much juice your vacuum has left.
There is also the filtration system to consider with smart technology. HEPA filters, especially, are fantastic for ensuring you collect as much as possible and remove microparticles from the air. This helps to increase air quality as it will remove tiny particles of dust that you would not otherwise notice, but can somehow tell when they have been cleaned up.
Surface Sensor – Surface sensors are another useful feature, especially for homes which have a variety of surface types such as tile and soft carpets. With surface sensors, your vacuum will automatically adapt the suction and power to deliver the right level and prevent potential damage to the surface.
For carpets, the suction may not be as strong, but it will focus on surface or trodden-in dirt, whereas hard surfacers will come with more power to collect as much as possible within range. This is especially useful in the kitchen, where there are more small pieces of food or debris because of food prep.
Weight – Most stick vacuum cleaners are lightweight because of their slim design and general style. However, there are still variations in the weight, and this is because of a few different reasons. The battery size has already been mentioned, but there’s also the placement of the battery. Too high, and it makes the vacuum too top heavy, which can increase upper weight and make it difficult to control.
The heavier the vacuum, the more difficult it will be to maneuver, especially in small homes or cramped rooms. Lighter vacuums are also easy to hold upright for cleaning walls, ceilings, corners, curtains, and similar high areas. You need a vacuum that’s large, and therefore heavy enough to be effective, but not one that is so big that it affects usability, whether for you or a relative.