Home > Home & Garden > Stick Vacuums > Best Cordless Stick Vacuum

Best Cordless Stick Vacuum

By: Kelly Burgess on April 10, 2018

In this report

Cordless Stick Vacuums Corded Stick Vacuums Our Sources
Best Reviewed

Best cordless stick vacuum

Dyson V8 Absolute

Cordless stick vacs are better than ever

The great advantage of cordless stick vacuums is that they can be easily moved from room to room for ongoing cleaning without worrying about cord lengths and outlet locations. Of course, they use rechargeable batteries, so that limits their run time; if you need a stick vacuum that allows you to clean for a longer period of time, see our discussion of corded stick vacuums elsewhere in this report.

Ready to dump all of your other vacuums and money is no object? Run out right now and buy the Dyson V8 Absolute (Est. $450). While it doesn't vacuum for you like robot vacuums do (and we cover those in their own report if that's what you want), it's so versatile and powerful that it's the one stick vacuum that can probably replace your traditional upright or canister vacuum cleaner -- as well as your handheld vacuum since it converts to one. The Dyson V8 features an impressive 40-minute run time that can handle close to a 2,400 square foot home. Be advised, though, that that's on the normal setting with all tools but the motorized head. According to Dyson, it will run for 20 minutes with the motorized head, and for about 7 minutes on the max setting.

In spite of its premium price, the Dyson V8 is at the top of nearly every expert test and review we spotted -- the only "con" most note is the high cost. However, we'd like to take a moment to address that price issue. When most of these reviews were done (in 2016 and 2017), the Dyson V8 was selling for its retail price of $599. Now that the upgrade to the V8, the Dyson Cyclone V10 (Est. $700) has been released, the price of the V8 has dropped to around $450 or less. Still expensive, yes, but that might make it more affordable for some. As for the V10, we don't recommend it here -- yet -- because it was released so recently that there aren't enough reviews to form a consensus on how well it works, especially for the longer term. You can bet we'll include that information in our next update.

And now back to the Dyson V8 Absolute. At Wirecutter it's the upgrade pick, and testers praise its power and impressive run time. Ditto at Reviewed, where it's named the best cordless stick vacuum overall, with a Best of Year nod, too. Jonathan Chan says, "The "absolute" moniker is apt, since the V8 comes with absolutely everything: a unique, powered brush head that's designed for hardwood floors, a motorized mini brush for cleaning upholstery, a soft brush for hardwood, a combination upholstery/bare floor tool, a crevice tool, and a soft dusting brush for computers and delicate items."

Consumer Reports also makes the Dyson V8 Absolute their top choice in lightweight stick vacuums, with Excellent scores across the board for carpet, bare floors, edges, noise and pet hair. In a free-to-the public article highlighting their choices, they call the Dyson V8 Absolute, the "Best of the Best" saying, "you can't do better than this battery-powered Dyson." Even Men's Journal, not known as a bastion of cleaning appliance recommendations, tests five stick vacuums and says that the Dyson V8 is "the only model in our test that could fully replace an upright vacuum."

The only "meh" review we read about the Dyson V8 comes from Digital Trends, which gives it just 3 out of 5 stars. They love the sheer number of attachments, and say it's plenty powerful and easy to use, but they also have some legitimate complaints, including the fact that there is no place to store all those attachments. And that is an issue -- the charging station will only hold two of the (smaller) accessories, so you have to figure out where to keep the others. Testers there also aren't pleased with the max cleaning mode's short run time (just under 10 minutes in their testing).

Those are complaints we see reflected in owner reviews as well, but, guess what? In spite of that owners give the Dyson V8 Absolute some of the highest ratings of any of the other cordless stick vacuums in this report. That includes 4.5 stars in thousands of reviews at Amazon, and even better ratings at Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe's (although some of the reviews at the latter two sites are culled from Dyson's website). Yes, a few say they had to swallow hard before spending that kind of money on a vacuum, but that it was well worth it. Many say they bought the V8 to use as a stick vacuum for quick messes, but haven't needed to touch their corded upright since they brought the Dyson home. Of course, there are complaints about run times that are shorter than the reviewer would like (but they don't clarify what settings they're using, which effects that), and a few point out that the air blows right back in your face if you hold the vacuum at a certain angle.

If $450 is still too much to spend for a vacuum, but you'd really, really like a Dyson stick vac, there are some other choices that will still do a great job around your house, but cost you less money. The Dyson V7 Motorhead (Est. $300) is right behind the Dyson V8 in the number of expert recommendations it earns; including taking the top spot at Wirecutter and recommendations from Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping and Wired. The V7 has fewer accessories, just a crevice tool and dusting brush, but both will store on the charging station.

Other than the accessory package and the V7's shorter run time (30 minutes on standard mode), the V7 and V8 are very similar. Both feature a bin that empties more completely and more easily than older Dyson models, just pull up on a lever and the cyclone pushes out the debris. Another nice thing about these Dyson vacuums: when things do get stuck, almost all components come apart very easily for clog-clearing and cleaning.

Last, but not least, the Dyson V6 (Est. $250) is still very much worth considering. It's got a shorter, 20 minute runtime, and the older, messier bin emptying system, but it's also a darn good vacuum in its own right, especially for smaller spaces. It comes with only two accessories, a crevice tool and a dusting brush, but the upgraded Dyson V6 Animal (Est. $280) includes a motorized mini pet tool and another brush. With the release of the V10, Dyson recently changed the name of the V6 Animal to the "Dyson V6 Fluffy," but most retail outlets still call it the Animal, so we are going to do so for now as well. In fact, Dyson has made changes to how many models of the V6, V7 and V8 they will continue to manufacture, but it shouldn't affect our current recommendations since it's such a recent development. We will keep an eye on this category to monitor that availability.

All Dyson vacuums come with a wall-mount docking station/charger. Some say it's a bit confusing to figure out how to thread the charging cord through the guides, but once it's set up it's incredibly easy and convenient to use -- and they like that the vacuum is stored off the floor.

The Shark IONFlex DuoClean IF201 (Est. $300) is another versatile stick vacuum that gets a good number of expert recommendations. There's a lot to like with this vacuum, but $300 is still not cheap, especially considering you can get the Dyson V6 Animal (with more accessories and the same run time) for about the same price. However one popular feature the Shark has that Dyson doesn't offer is a removable, replaceable battery. This allows you to purchase a backup battery, the Shark ION Power Pack Battery XBAT200 (Est. $100) and double the Shark's 20 minute run time. Unfortunately, that also ups the base price of the vacuum significantly -- near to the price of the Dyson V8 Absolute, which, again, comes with more accessories.

Still, if you're a Shark fan and like the rechargeable battery idea, this is a vacuum that gets a lot of expert love. Consumer Reports gives the Shark IONFlex DuoClean IF201 a Recommended nod, as well as Excellent scores for bare floors and pet hair, Very Good for carpet, edges and noise. Wirecutter makes it one of their runners up, saying it's great for bare floors because of its ability to pick up chunkier debris. They also praise its performance on pet hair. However, as with Consumer Reports findings, they say it's not as good on carpet. TechGearLab, on the other hand, makes this Shark their top pick, giving it an Editors' Choice award. It even beat out the Dyson V8 in their testing (although the V8 comes in third and also earns an Editors' Choice award).

The Shark IONFlex IF201 converts to a hand vacuum. It includes a crevice tool, two dusting brushes, and an upholstery tool that is very effective in getting pet hair off of furniture. Additional accessories are available as optional purchases. As with the Dyson, there is no onboard storage for the accessories and no way to store them on the charger. The vacuum's shaft features "MultiFlex" technology that allows it to fold to get under even very low furniture clearances without the user having to stoop. It also folds down for more compact storage, and stands when folded (it doesn't stand when fully extended, however). It's heavier than the Dyson, at 8.7 pounds, but highly maneuverable, reviewers say, although some say it seems more top-heavy than other stick vacs.

While the Shark IONFlex IF201 doesn't get as high of ratings from users as the Dyson V7 and V8 lines -- 4.2 stars at Amazon in fewer than 200 reviews -- most are pretty happy with it. The MultiFlex design comes in for quite a bit of praise, people say it's pretty ingenious way to clean under low furniture. They also like the LED lights, which help them to see smaller particles and dust under furniture. We did spot more durability complaints with the Shark than we saw with the Dyson, as well as those who think the run time is too short, and the extra battery too expensive. Still, most are happy and say it's a great alternative to a larger, heavier upright, especially for a smaller home or apartment.

If you'd like a more versatile cordless stick vacuum, but are constrained by your budget, we suggest that you take a look at the Deik 2 in 1 Cordless Vacuum (Est. $140). Never heard of Deik? We hadn't either, but we're impressed with what we've seen so far. TechGearLab makes this cordless vacuum their number four pick (out of 13) and gives it their Best Buy designation. In testing there, it performed just as well as the Dyson V6, but also costs a lot less. It's two ounces heavier than the Dyson and a little less maneuverable, but did a very good job picking up debris on hard floors, less so on carpet, but still not bad. The fact that it also converts to a handheld makes it a great value.  

Owners seem to agree with TechGearLab, giving the Deik 2 in 1 Cordless Vacuum an overall rating of 4-stars at Amazon in nearly 1,500 reviews. Most are extremely pleased to get such a versatile vacuum at such a low price. We did spot some durability complaints, but Deik seems quick to respond to those, offering a refund or replacement. We also saw a few comments from pragmatic souls admitting that they bought this vacuum for heavy-duty messes, and it simply can't handle them -- but also saying that they know they shouldn't have expected it to for the price. Which we agree with. Keep your expectations in check and you'll probably be very happy with this cordless stick vac. In our opinion, it would be a good choice for touch-ups in between regular cleanings in a large home or busy household, or if you have lots of pets. If you just have a small house, apartment or dorm room, and either no pets or maybe just one cat or dog, the Deik 2-in-1 might be able to serve as your main vacuum. In addition to converting to a handheld, this Deik cordless includes a crevice tool and stiff dusting brush. It has a 20-minute run time and takes about five hours to charge.

For floors-only, you just need a basic stick vac

If you don't think you'll need to use your stick vac as a hand vacuum or to clean crevices, baseboards or for overhead cleaning, the Bissell AirRam 1984 (Est. $175) is definitely worth a look. Consumer Reports makes it their top pick in the "heavy duty" cordless stick vacuum category (it weighs 7.9 pounds), giving it Excellent scores for carpet, bare floors, pet hair and noise; Very Good for edges. In a free-to-the-public article they call it the stick vacuum with the "Maximum Value." Good Housekeeping likes it too, calling out its excellent performance on cat hair and dry debris on floors, as well as its long run time. Bissell claims a 40 minute run time; it ran for 37 minutes in Good Housekeeping's test, 47 minutes in Consumer Reports' test.

The Bissell AirRam folds almost completely flat to clean under low furniture and the handle retracts for more compact storage. It also stands alone when not in use, something few other stick vacuums can do because their design tends to make them top-heavy. LED lights help you better spot hidden messes that need to be cleaned.

Owners like the Bissell AirRam 1984 a lot, giving it 4.1 stars at Amazon in more than 400 reviews. A few wish it had accessories or converted to a hand vac, but those are the only real complaints we spotted. Those who have a lot of hard floors or deal with a lot of pet hair are big fans, with many saying they no longer need their heavier, corded upright. They also say it's very easy to use, and like the foot switch to turn it off and on.

Like the Shark IONFlex, the Bissell AirRam has a removable, rechargeable battery, the Bissell Battery Pack1610319. However, at the time this report was prepared it was out of stock pretty much everywhere. We spoke to Bissell and they assured us that, while they didn't have an exact date for when it would again be available, it was in production and would be back in stock eventually. We will continue to monitor that availability. In the meantime, if you really, really need one, you can either email or chat with Bissell support, and they can tell you where your closest authorized Bissell dealer is, they might have one in stock.

If you just want a stick vacuum for the types of tasks you might use a handheld for -- say, vacuuming up spilled flour on the floor -- but don't want to have to bend over, you'll probably be very happy with the Hoover Linx BH50010 (Est. $100). It does well in expert testing, earning Very Good scores for carpet, bare floors and noise at Consumer Reports, Excellent for edges and pet hair. There, it ran for 17.5 minutes on a single charge, with a full recharge time of 3 hours. At CNET, the Linx earns a 4-star rating, performing just as well in picking up a variety of debris as pricier stick vacuums -- even Cheerios, which tend to be a big challenge for stick vacs. And that was on different surfaces, too, including hardwood and different carpet piles. In its testing, the battery lasted for 15 to 20 minutes.

A few owners say their Linx runs for about 20 to 30 minutes on a single charge, but most others report run times that are in line with what the experts found. Still most users say even 15 minutes is plenty of time for most of the tasks you need a very basic stick vacuum for. Some owners say they buy an extra battery, the Hoover Linx BH5000 (Est. $55), just to have a backup on hand or to be able to extend the run time.

Not only does the Hoover Linx work well on different types of floors, but you can easily switch between floor types with a brushroll switch on the handle. It's easy to flip on and off -- simply turn the brush roll off when you're on a hard surface to avoid the spinning brushes sending debris flying, then turn it back on for area rugs or carpet to "sweep" up dirt.

The Linx doesn't come with any attachments, such as a crevice tool, so it's not the best choice for cleaning anything other than floors. At 7.3 pounds, it's very lightweight and users say it's easy to carry around the house.

Elsewhere In This Report
Recently Updated
Stick Vacuums buying guide

What every best Stick Vacuums has:

  • Good suction power.
  • Good performance on edges.
  • Hand-vac conversion.

Read More »

Learn More »