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Best Corded Stick Vacuum

By: Kelly Burgess on April 10, 2018

Corded stick vacuums can handle bigger jobs

If you need a stick vac for more than a quick clean-up, a corded stick vacuum could be your best bet. Their distinct advantage over cordless stick vacuums (which we cover elsewhere in this report) is that their cleaning time doesn't depend on battery life.

When it comes to corded stick vacuums, the Shark Rocket Complete HV382 (Est. $200) is a top performer across the board according to experts and owners. At Consumer Reports, it's one of the top-rated corded stick vacuums (based upon testing of a similar model), earning a Recommended nod and Excellent ratings for carpet, bare floors and pet hair; Very Good for edges and noise. It does less well at Reviewed, where Jonathan Chan calls its performance "rather middling." In testing there, it did not do well at picking up chunkier items on hard floors, although when he switched to the smaller motorized brush it did well.

Chan also says he admires the vast number of accessories that he says came with his Shark Rocket, but we have to add a warning about that: according to Shark's website (and the Amazon product page), only two accessories are included with the HV382, a pet multi-tool and a crevice tool. Confusion over what accessories are included with Shark vacuums is something we see over and over again, ad nauseam. It actually mystifies us as to why Shark does not add some clarity to this issue -- they have to be aware of it. Adding to the confusion is the fact that Shark also makes Shark Rocket Complete models that are exclusive to specific retailers, such as Costco, Kohl's or Walmart, which have accessory packages that you can't find anywhere else. We advise that you double check exactly which model you're buying to be sure you get the accessories you need.

Accessory quibbles aside, the pet multi-tool that the Shark HV382 does include get raves for doing a great job with pet hair, and owners really like this vacuum. At Amazon, it earns 4.4 stars in more than 1,000 reviews, with most owners saying say they are absolutely thrilled to have a vacuum that works as well as a traditional upright or canister vac, but at a much lower weight and that is much more maneuverable. They also like the LED lights that help them spot stray dust bunnies.

We only saw a couple of consistent complaints about the Shark HV382. There are those who are bitterly disappointed in the accessories, as we've already addressed, because they thought they were getting a full complement, not just two. Many others note that, although the manufacturer says the HV382 will stand up on its own, in fact it does not. So many reviewers point that out that we have to assume that this vacuum won't stand up on its own, so beware of that issue.

Another corded stick vacuum that gets good reviews is the 7.5-pound Shark Rocket Ultralight HV302 (Est. $130) and comes in at a lower price point than the Shark Rocket Complete. It also converts to a handheld vacuum.

The Shark Rocket Ultralight gets good reviews by both experts and owners for its performance on a wide variety of surfaces, but its ratings are just not quite up there with the Rocket Complete. Consumer Reports doesn't give it a recommendation, but they do give it scores of Excellent for carpet and pet hair, Very Good for bare floors, edges and noise. CNET gives the HV302 3.5 stars out of 5, saying it's great at cleaning, but dinging it for being corded (which doesn't seem fair since this is a corded vacuum and does not pretend that it's not).

Users love the Shark Rocket HV302, though, just as much as they like the more expensive HV382, giving it 4.4 out of 5 stars in several thousand reviews. Many say it cleans well enough that they no longer need their heavier upright, and that it works very well on both carpets and hard floors. The extreme maneuverability that is the hallmark of the Shark brand of vacuum cleaners also earns much praise. The only quibble we saw was that, because the motor is located in the handle, some say it's too top-heavy and unwieldy, and, of course, some complain about the cord, which we discount since this is, after all, a corded vacuum. On the plus side, the cord is 27-feet long, which most users say is plenty for a good-sized cleaning job without having to unplug and re-plug too often.

As with the Shark Rocket Complete line, there are several models in the Shark Rocket Ultralight line. Each varies by the accessory package, and that package may vary by retailer, so double check to be sure that the version you buy comes with the extras that you expect.

Basic corded stick vacuums are an affordable option for light cleaning

Another well-rated corded vacuum is the Bissell PowerEdge 81L2T (Est. $70), which owners say is both affordable and powerful. With a unique V-shaped nozzle designed to pull debris towards the middle of the head where suction power is the strongest, it's effective at removing dust and debris from hard floor surfaces. The Bissell gets great reviews for pet hair pickup thanks to its use of rubber lips instead of brushes. Those aid in removing pet hair from bare floors, but it doesn't work as well on carpet, many owners note. Still, pet owners and beach-dwellers who purchased the Bissell PowerEdge to control pet hair and/or sand on their hardwood floors are very satisfied and it gets 4.2 stars at Amazon in thousands of reviews. The Bissell weighs 7.5 pounds.

The Bissell PowerEdge has a 20-foot power cord, which some owners say makes it necessary to relocate the cord several times in the midst of a larger cleaning job. It also doesn't have any attachments, like a crevice or upholstery tool. However, the V-shape of the nozzle creates two pointed ends on either side, which tuck easily into corners and crevices. Many say that is actually more convenient than dealing with switching attachments in and out.

If maneuverability is a priority the Hoover Corded Cyclonic Stick Vacuum (Est. $75) is a very affordable option among corded stick vacuums. Like the Bissell PowerEdge, the Hoover Corded Cyclonic has a 20-foot power cord, though the vac is slightly heavier at 8.8 pounds. It also doesn't have attachments, and it lacks the Bissell's V-shaped nozzle. However, its swiveling handle makes it extremely maneuverable around furniture such as chair legs, and it reclines almost flat to reach under beds and other tight spaces. The handle folds down compactly for easy storage.

The Hoover has a powered brush roll for use on carpets. Owners say it performs pretty well compared to some stick vacuums on carpeted floors, especially on low-pile carpets and area rugs. Overall, they give it 4.1 stars in more than 3,000 reviews.

For the most basic, but also very inexpensive stick vacuum, you might want to consider the Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik (Est. $20). It weighs just 3.8 pounds and has a slightly shorter, 16-foot power cord that many owners say is fine for most of their small cleanups. The Simpli-Stik also converts to a hand vac for above-the-floor cleaning duties such as removing crumbs from furniture. It also has a washable filter.

Reviews for the performance of the Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik are mixed -- as one would expect for a $20 vacuum cleaner. In testing at Consumer Reports, it lands near the bottom of the pack overall, earning just fair scores for its ability to clean carpets and bare floors, as well as its edge-cleaning and pet-hair-removal capabilities. However, owners give it 3.8 stars in nearly 15,000 reviews at Amazon, and 4.1 stars in more than 500 reviews at Home Depot -- pretty darn good for what is, again, a $20 vacuum. User praise its ease-of-use for small jobs, especially in small apartments or dorm rooms. Most say it's very effective if you have the right expectations, noting that it is not intended for heavy cleaning.

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