Types of Stick Vacuums
Cordless Stick Vacuums
Lacking a cord, these vacuums are extremely easy and convenient to use. Cordless stick vacuums used to be considered just "part time" tools, useful for cleaning up quick, light messes. However, in the past few years both run times and performance have improved to the point that some can now be used as your main vacuum, especially in smaller homes. Of course, increases in power come with increases in price, and some of the top cordless vacuums are quite expensive. But most people really only need a cordless stick vac for touch ups between regular cleanings. In that case, a less-expensive stick vac with a run time of 15 minutes or so will be more than adequate. However, all cordless vacuums take several hours to fully recharge.
Corded Stick Vacuums
Corded stick vacuums don't have any limitations on run time, but they do tether you to a cord that might not be long enough to clean a whole room without unplugging it and plugging it back in elsewhere (or using an extension cord). Some smaller, cheaper vacuums have very short cords; larger, more expensive vacuums usually have longer cords. A lightweight corded stick vac that performs well can replace a heavier traditional upright or canister vacuum, making cleaning easier overall. Corded stick vacuums tend to get better reviews overall for durability than cordless; some models in this report are still going strong after 5 or 10 years, according to owners.
Stick vacuums are convenient for quick jobs
Stick vacuums are lightweight,
smaller versions of the traditional upright vacuum. They are extremely handy to
keep around for quick pick up jobs, like spilled flour, dust bunnies, pet hair,
or the crumbs that seem to follow small children everywhere.
In the past, stick vacuums were
considered appropriate only for cleaning hardwood floors and very low-pile
carpet. However, some of today's stick vacuums are far more powerful, and some
people will be able to use them as their main vacuum. They're not the best
choice, though, for deep-pile carpet or for extended cleaning jobs (most
cordless stick vacs have a limited run time, whereas corded stick vacuums limit
your range). If you need a vacuum for heavier, longer tasks, upright vacuums and canister vacuums, both of which we cover in
separate reports, are better choices.
Regardless of your home size or
floor type, a stick vacuum can be a great time-saver compared to hauling out
the bigger vacuum, and they can't be beat for spot messes. Stick vacuums are also
more convenient than a broom and dustpan because you don't have to bend over
during use; they also pick up smaller particles and do a more thorough job
because of their suction action. Stick vacs don't use bags, they capture debris
in a dirt cup, which makes disposal simple. Stick vacuums are also better
suited than upright vacuums for sweeping under furniture; plus, because of
their light weight, they're easy to lift and carry. Some stick vacs come with a
swivel head that makes cleaning around obstacles an easy task. Included
attachments can help with cleaning hard-to-reach areas.
Many stick vacuums come with an
integrated, detachable handheld vacuum. These 2-in-1 models share a single dirt
collection container and are as compact and lightweight as stick vacuums that
don't convert. If you need to clean both floors and other surfaces, this type
of stick vacuum can be a cost-effective solution. If you want a simple vacuum just
for clean ups on something other than floors (upholstery, for example), you might
be interested in our separate report on handheld vacuums, where we
recommend the best choices.
Finding The Best Stick Vacuums
"The Best Cordless Stick Vacuum"
"Best Cordless Vacuums"
Stick vacuums are quite popular and, as a result, there are a good
number of professional tests and expert reviews and roundups available. Most
helpful were testing sites like ConsumerReports.org, Reviewed.com and TheSweethome.com.
CNET also tests vacuums, but with a focus on technologically advanced models,
like robotic vacuums, although it tests a few stick vacs as well.
Even more helpful are the thousands of owner reviews we analyzed at
retail sites, such as Amazon.com, Walmart.com and HomeDepot.com, to name just a
few. These user reviews give the best overview for how each stick vacuum
operates in real-world, long-term use. In evaluating these reviews, we consider
performance on different flooring surfaces, pet-hair pickup, features and
attachments, and ease of use and durability to help you find the best stick
vacuum for your cleaning needs.