Stick vacuums are lightweight, smaller versions of traditional upright vacuums. If you have a house full of wall-to-wall carpet, a stick vac can't replace a full-size vacuum cleaner or canister vacuum (which are discussed in separate reports), but they are useful for vacuuming hard floors and low-pile carpeting, such as area rugs. They are more convenient than a broom and dustpan because they don't require you to bend over during use. Stick vacuums are also better suited than upright vacuums for sweeping under furniture and on stairs; plus, they are easier to lift and carry.
Stick vacs are available in corded and cordless models. Cordless stick vacuums are better suited for quick cleaning tasks because they can only run for about 30 minutes per charge, and recharging takes several hours. Corded vacuums tend to be more powerful and are a better choice for vacuuming larger areas.
Furthermore, a stick vac with a rotating brush is more effective at cleaning carpet, but not all have them. All stick vacs are bagless and use a dust-collection cup for debris. Some 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 other stick vacuums. If you need to clean both floors and other surfaces, these can be a cost-effective solution.
ConsumerReports.org conducts the most thorough head-to-head comparison we found, reviewing nine models of stick vacuums. All vacuums are tested in terms of how well they remove surface debris from medium-pile carpeting and from tile floors, as well as how well they remove debris from corners and edges. Each model is rated for its ability to pick up pet hair as well as for ease of use, noise and emissions.
As in many product categories, consumer feedback is valuable when it comes to stick vacuums because owners can attest to the practicality of a unit's design and ease of use in everyday circumstances. We found consumer feedback for stick vacuums at online retailers such as Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com. We also read reviews at Epinions.com and Viewpoints.com. Consumer video reviews of stick vacuums at ExpoTV.com are helpful for highlighting key features and demonstrating the noise level.