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

Best Cordless Stick Vacuum

By: Kelly Burgess on May 23, 2017

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.

If you want a versatile stick vacuum that has enough power to handle just about any pick-up job on any type of surface the Dyson V6 (Est. $300) will be your top choice. This stick vacuum is the base model in a line of Dyson V6 models, all of which get excellent to very good reviews -- and all convert to a handheld. Although they're expensive compared to other stick vacuums, the price of the V6 line has come down since Dyson introduced their V8 line in 2016, which is covered later in this section. (The V6 line has not been discontinued; it's now merely a step-down series.) Currently selling for a bit less than $300 (we recommend you shop around for deals), experts and owners agree that the V6 is worth the price for a stick vacuum that performs nearly as well as a dedicated upright or canister vacuum, but is much more convenient to use.

There's no shortage of expert testing to prove the Dyson V6 excels in its cleaning ability. At ConsumerReports.org, it earns an Excellent rating for carpet, bare floors, edges and pet hair. Its only average score is for noise. At Reviewed.com, Jonathan Chan includes the basic Dyson V6 in his "Best Right Now" roundup of cordless vacuums. It's not his top pick because of a few quibbles, which we'll get to in a minute, but he says it's by far the most powerful. He also says it has "the best cleaning-to-price ratio." The Dyson V6 is the top pick at TheSweethome.com, with Liam McCabe saying, "No cordless vacuum from any other brand matches the cleaning performance of the V6." Over at CNET, reviewers Kate Pilkington and Andrew Gebhart also test the basic $300 V6 and say it stands out "as one of the best stick vac buys we've tested."

But, as we noted, there are some quibbles. The V6 does not stand up on its own as some cordless vacuums do. The dirt cup, which Dyson touts as "hygienic" because you "just push the button to release the dirt," is not always that simple to empty. Some say if the dirt cup gets too full, you have to dig out the debris with a finger or butter knife. However, this seems to be more of a problem with those who use the V6 Animal version, discussed next, as their main vacuum and deal with a lot of carpet, or frequently overfill the cup. Others say the cup empties as advertised. One last issue: the exhaust will blow back in your face if you hold the vacuum in a certain way.

Still, even after acknowledging these negatives, the vast majority of owners say this stick vacuum is the best thing that's ever happened to them. Many use it as their main vacuum because it's nearly as powerful as a corded upright, but so much easier to use. Although, be warned, you may have to do your floors over several sessions due to the relatively short run time -- Dyson claims 20 minutes, 15 to 17 is probably more realistic. And that's on low, if you use the high setting or a combination of high and low (which ConsumerReports.org did and it ran for seven minutes), run time will be shorter.

The Dyson V6 comes with only one accessory, a combination tool, although a few others are available as options. The docking station will hold two accessories.

If you want the power of the basic V6, but would like a few more included accessories, we recommend an upgrade to the Dyson V6 Animal (Est. $400). The Animal gets its name from the included attachments that are targeted toward pet owners, although they're useful for just about anyone. Those include a combination tool, crevice tool, dusting brush, and small, motorized brush head for cleaning upholstery. All of the attachments can be used on the main vacuum or on the handheld; but the docking station will only hold two of them -- one if you store the motorized brush head there -- so you'll have to find a spot to stow the others away. Users say it's very easy to attach and detach the tools, and the variety makes this an extremely versatile vacuum for use in the home and for cleaning cars or patio furniture.

Ready to dump all of your other vacuums and money is no object? Run out right now and buy the Dyson V8 Absolute (Est. $600). While it doesn't vacuum for you like robotic 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 vacuum cleaner. 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, the high setting will cut that in half.

The Dyson V8 Absolute is at the top of every expert test and review we spotted -- in spite of its premium price. Its cost is what makes it the upgrade pick at TheSweethome.com, where McCabe praises its power and impressive run time. Ditto at Reviewed.com, where it's named the best cordless stick vacuum overall, with a Best of Year nod, too. 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." ConsumerReports.org also makes it their top choice in both corded and cordless stick vacuums, with Excellent scores across the board for carpet, bare floors, edges, noise and pet hair. They do note a run time there of 21 minutes, but that was using a combination of high and low speeds. In general, most people will probably use the low (normal) setting for a basic cleaning, high for spot messes, so it shouldn't be a concern since it's always charging in between uses.

Although there are fewer owner reviews for the Dyson V8 Absolute than the V6, they are very positive. A number of users say they upgraded from the V6 because they wanted the increased run time, and they're thrilled that they did. 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 it home.

Both 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 Dyson V6 takes 3.5 hours for a full recharge, the V8 takes 5 hours.

A budget vacuum can handle spot messes very well

If you don't want to pay upwards of $300 for a cordless stick vacuum, and most people probably don't need to, you'll still find a top-end performer in the Hoover Linx BH50010 (Est. $130). It does well in expert testing, earning Very Good scores for carpet, bare floors and noise at ConsumerReports.org, 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 a variety of surfaces, too, including hardwood and different carpet piles. In their 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 stick vacuum for. Many also say they're surprised at how much quicker you can clean when you're not navigating around a power cord or pushing a heavy vacuum. Some owners say they buy an extra battery, the Hoover Linx BH5000 (Est. $50), just to have a backup on hand or to be able to extend the run time. The Hoover Linx uses a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery that powers the vacuum at full strength (no loss of suction as the battery runs down) until it's completely drained. It has a light that indicates how much battery power is left.

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.

The Kenmore 10341 (Est. $150) is Kenmore's first foray into the stick vacuum market, and it appears to be off to a good start. Experts say the 10341 is a good performer, and, even though it's a bit more expensive than the Hoover Linx, it's also more versatile, as it converts to a hand vac and includes a combination tool for cleaning smaller areas. It also has a unique charging station that's a floor base, so that it stands up and charges. At Reviewed.com, Chan praises both the docking station and the sleek look of this stick vac. He also makes it one of his top stick vacuum choices for 2017 based upon cleaning performance of both the stick vac and the handheld. What he's not thrilled about is the short run time, only about 11 minutes in his testing.

It fares somewhat better in that regard at ConsumerReports.org, where the run time was 16 minutes, with a five-hour charge time. In addition to earning a Recommended nod there, it is also named a Best Buy and gets scores of Very Good for bare floors and edges, Excellent for noise and pet hair, and Good for carpet. Owners like the 10341 too, although some say it struggles with chunkier debris, like cat litter. A few also note that the buttons on the handle aren't very responsive and you really have to press hard enough to let the controls know what you're trying to do (like turning it on and off), something that Chan found to be an issue as well. Still, users do praise its self-cleaning brushroll technology. It has an LED light as well, for lighting up dim spaces.

Elsewhere In This Report
Recently Updated
Stick Vacuums buying guide

What every best Stick Vacuums has:

  • Good suction power.
  • An on/off brushroll option.
  • Good performance on edges.

Read More »

Learn More »