Cordless stick vacuums are handy because they're not tethered to a power cord. However, many rechargeable stick vacs only have a runtime of about 30 minutes and take several hours to recharge. Many users say it's important that you read the manufacturer's directions before using a new stick vacuum, as most require an initial charge of up to 24 hours. Failure to do so can compromise the battery's ability to hold a charge. Some owners who rely on a cordless stick vacuum for extensive cleaning say they buy a backup battery or have a separate stick vac for each floor of their homes.
We found the strongest reviews -- among corded or cordless vacs -- for the relatively expensive Hoover Cordless Stick Vac BH50010 (*Est. $165) . This model has an 11-inch-wide nozzle with special edge-cleaning bristles that help collect dirt from corners and edges. It also has a powered brush roll to help dig up dirt while cleaning carpet (you can turn it off when vacuuming bare floors). While this model isn't included in professional testing, we found more than 1,000 owner-written reviews at Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com, where overall opinions are excellent. Owners say the 7-pound vacuum is easy to use and store.
The Hoover Platinum BH50010 performs well when it comes to picking up pet hair and vacuuming both carpets and hard floors, users say. While the wide nozzle makes vacuuming large areas go more quickly, we did find a few comments that it was too big to fit in tight spaces. This stick vacuum is part of the Linx line of Hoover cordless vacs that use a proprietary, interchangeable lithium-ion battery. While the runtime of 20 to 30 minutes may not be enough to vacuum a whole house, it lasts longer than many cordless stick vacs. (Note that you shouldn't store the battery on the charger unit, because overcharging it can reduce its ability to hold a charge.) Hoover offers a two-year warranty, which is double the industry standard.
If you don't want to spend so much but still want something cordless, the Eureka Quick-Up Cordless 96F (*Est. $40) is certainly cheaper, but it doesn't perform well on carpeting or edges, according to tests by a leading consumer magazine. It does work well picking up pet hair and on bare floors, however, and offers relatively quiet operation. It converts to a handheld vacuum by pushing a button that detaches it from the stick handle and has a wall-mount for recharging. The 96H is black with a translucent yellow dirt cup. It comes in gray as model 96DZ or purple as model 96F. All models are covered by a one-year warranty.
About 40 owners posting reviews of the Eureka Quick-Up Cordless models at Amazon.com contribute to a high overall average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. It receives a similar rating at Target.com. Most consumers say the Eureka Quick-Up is great for in-between cleaning, especially pet hair on hard floors. It's lightweight (only 4 pounds) and easy to maneuver. On the downside, some wish the battery lasted longer. One owner says a fully charged battery lasts just over 15 minutes, but most agree that it lasts long enough for what it's intended to do.
The body of the Black & Decker 18V Cordless Pivoting Floor Vac PSV 1800 (*Est. $100) features a large hinge in the middle to better vacuum under furniture, and the whole unit folds in half for storage and charging. However, this design seems to work better in theory than in practice. While some owners say the pivoting handle works well, others say the whole unit is cumbersome. The Black & Decker cordless stick vac performs well on bare floors and carpet in one comparison test, but it is criticized for being noisy, something also noticed by owners. This vacuum's two-year warranty is double that of the industry standard.