Stick vac or regular vacuum?
Stick vacuums aren't meant to replace a full-size vacuum, nor do they
perform well on full-pile carpeting. But they are useful in apartments and
rooms that have hard floors or short-pile rugs. Because stick vacs are lightweight,
they are fairly easy to maneuver and lift for vacuuming upholstery and
staircases. Cordless stick vacuums are ideal for cleaning hard-to-reach
or small areas, such as around cat litter boxes, but they have limited
runtimes. Some models convert to a handheld vacuum by detaching from
the stick handle.
All stick vacuums are bagless, meaning there's a dirt collection canister
that will need emptying. Consider the size of the dirt canister if you don't
want to be emptying it too often. To clean the reusable filter, the manufacturer
may recommend brushing or vacuuming dirt off or hand-washing it. Users say
a clogged filter can reduce the suction power.
Experts offer the following advice to consumers shopping for a stick vacuum:
corded vs. cordless vacuums. Corded stick vacuums generally have 16-
to 20-foot cords, which may be inconvenient if you want to move quickly
from room to room. On the other hand, corded stick vacuums never run out
of power. Cordless versions last 15 to 30 minutes on a typical battery
- Opt for
a stick vac with a brush roll if you have carpets. A motorized brush
roll is even better. Check the location of the brush-roll activation switch.
Some stick vacs put the switch on the handle, while other models have
it on the nozzle.
- Examine the nozzle design. A nozzle with a wide cleaning path
will require less cleaning time, and a swivel nozzle can be easier
to maneuver. If the nozzle sits close to the ground, it may push larger
debris around instead of sucking it up. If you'll be cleaning up larger
particles, like dry dog food or cereal, choose a stick vacuum with a higher
- Consider weight. If you plan to use your stick vacuum on stairways, choose
a lightweight model that will be easy to maneuver. Weights range
from approximately 4 pounds to 11 pounds.
- Gain functionality with a convertible
stick vacuum. A few stick vacs detach from the handle to convert into
a handheld vacuum. One drawback to these models is the power switch may
be located in a hard-to-reach place.