We Put the Best Stick Vacuums to the Test, and These 7 Are Actually Worth the Money

Rid your home of dirt, pet hair, allergens, and more with these lightweight and easy-to-maneuver vacuum cleaners.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best Stick Vacuums
BETTER HOMES & GARDENS / JESSICA JULIA

Keeping your floors clean can be a time-consuming and tedious process, especially if you're using a clunky old vacuum cleaner to get the job done. Instead of sweeping with a heavy vacuum that's difficult to maneuver, consider purchasing one of the best stick vacuums.

While larger upright or canister vacuum cleaners may give the impression that they're better at purging your home of dust and dirt due to their size, they can be unwieldy to use and take up a lot of unnecessary space when stored. The best stick vacuums have a high amount of suction power and can often pick up just as much clutter as their larger counterparts. Their slimmer size allows them to fit in hard-to-reach spaces, and cordless models free up the need to switch power outlets as you move through your house.

We spent three days testing 14 of the most popular stick vacuums to determine which ones are actually worth buying for your home. Our tests included spilling cereal, popcorn kernels, dirt, and hair on hardwood floors and carpets, then running the vacuums across each one to see how easily they picked up the debris. Additionally, our testers made detailed notes about the vacuum's noise level, ease of maneuvering around and underneath furniture, its handheld usability (if applicable), and the overall quality of the vacuums to inform our final selections.

Our top pick is the Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum because of its superior maneuverability, built-in HEPA filter, and its ease in picking up dirt from carpets, hardwood floors, and rugs alike.

Best Overall: Shark IZ462H Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum

4.8
The Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum features a gray and blue exterior and flexible design.

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This stick vacuum works great on all surfaces—including hardwood floors and high-pile carpets—while remaining super easy to maneuver around furniture and into tight corners.

Keep in Mind: This vacuum's attachments have to be stored separately.

If your home has a variety of flooring surfaces, including hardwood, carpet, and rugs, the Shark Vertex DuoClean vacuum is a great all-around choice. While more maneuverable than a regular vacuum, it has incredible suction power to slurp away dirt, pet hair, and more in one go. (Read: You won't have to keep running over the same spot multiple times to pick up debris).

Our testers raved about the Vertex DuoClean's flexible wand and lightweight build, which allows it to swivel effortlessly and reach hard-to-access places like under furniture and around tight corners. Plus, the high-velocity brushroll almost propels the vacuum forward, so you don't have to expend as much energy pushing a heavy vacuum around your house.

In addition to its powerful suction and flexible motion, the Shark Vertex DuoClean vacuum also has added features that make it stand out from other models. One drawback to a cordless vacuum can be its limited battery life, but the Shark vacuum can run for up to an hour without needing a recharge, allowing you to clean a moderately sized house in one charge.

Built-in LED lights at the front of the vacuum make it easier to spot dirt and crumbs in low-light places like under the couch. Additionally, its built-in HEPA filter is designed to trap allergens inside the vacuum instead of re-circulating them back into your home.

The vacuum does have a few downsides. Due to its slim frame, the dust bin is much smaller than an upright vacuum's bin, so you'll have to empty it more frequently. Similarly, there's nowhere on the device to store any of the vacuum's attachments, which can be frustrating if you have limited storage space.

Price at time of publish: $430

Product Details:

  • Weight: 7 pounds
  • Cord length: Cordless
  • Battery life: One hour
  • Accessories: Crevice tool, dusting brush, pet multi-tool, and upholstery tool
Best Stick Vacuums
BETTER HOMES & GARDENS / JESSICA JULIA

Best Cordless Stick Vacuum: Dyson Outsize Absolute+

Dyson Outsize Absolute+

Courtesy of Dyson

Why You Should Get It: This vacuum has two interchangeable batteries for long cleaning stints and seven attachments to tackle a variety of messes.

Keep in Mind: The vacuum's high-tech LED handle makes it a bit top-heavy, and the sensitive buttons can cause users to unintentionally change settings or power off the machine.

Keep nearly every surface in your home spotless with the powerful Dyson Outsize Absolute+. This vacuum cleaner is equipped with seven attachments (more than every other other vacuum on this list) to help you tackle a variety of debris, including a fluffy cleaner head for buffing hardwood, a conical attachment for capturing both pet and human hair, a slender crevice tool for nabbing hard-to-reach cobwebs, and more.

The Dyson Outsize comes with two detachable batteries that give it a total of two hours of battery life, so you'll have plenty of time to try every attachment.

Our testers loved the Outsize's high-tech LED handle, which has a button for powering on and off and includes three cleaning modes to accommodate different tasks. For whole-house cleaning, you can use eco mode to maximize battery life, while auto mode is great for balancing high suction and brushroll power while conserving run time. If you're spot cleaning an area of ground-in dirt, the Outsize's boost mode offers an intensive, high-powered treatment.

We also loved the vacuum's half-gallon dustbin and easy disposal system, which allows you to empty the canister less frequently and without having to touch any of the dirt inside.

Our testers found the Outsize vacuum to be extremely efficient on hardwood floors and low- and high-pile carpets, but it struggled to capture larger items like cereal or popcorn from medium-pile carpeting.

Product Details:

  • Weight: 7.9 pounds
  • Cord Length: Cordless
  • Battery Life: Two hours
  • Accessories: Docking station, two chargers, two batteries, combination tool, hair screw tool, crevice tool, fluffy cleaner head, mini soft dusting brush, wand clip, cleaner head, and dirt brush
Best Stick Vacuums
BETTER HOMES & GARDENS / JESSICA JULIA

Best Corded: Shark Shark HV302 Rocket Pet Corded Stick Vacuum

Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Corded Stick Vacuum

Courtesy of Target

Why You Should Get It: The flexibility of this vacuum's swivel head helps you reach underneath furniture and into tight spaces.

Keep in Mind: The wand height is quite tall; users under 5 feet tall may find it cumbersome to use.

Though cordless vacuums are cornering the market right now, there are still quite a few corded stick vacuums worth considering. True, you'll have to switch outlets as you move through your house and drag a long cord with you as you go, but you also won't have to worry about your vacuum running out of battery halfway through.

The Rocket Ultra-Light Corded Stick Vacuum from Shark is a high-quality option that offers the same lightweight maneuverability of an expensive cordless vac without the expensive price tag or the short-lived battery.

When we tested this vacuum in the lab, two things stuck out to us: how deftly it swivels around obstacles, and its ease in picking up crumbs from carpeting. There's no more dragging a heavy vacuum back and forth across messes to suck everything up; the Shark Rocket is super easy to maneuver and it turns on a dime to reach around tight corners.

We tested it on hardwood floors and low-, medium-, and high-pile carpeting and found that it was fantastic at removing particles from all the carpet types we tried. While it was a little tougher to maneuver on hard flooring, the vacuum's suction was still effective at clearing away debris. If you're dealing with a bigger mess than usual—say, spilled cereal or caked-on dirt—the Shark Rocket's high-speed setting can pick up heavier particles more easily.

One thing we'd change about this vacuum is the length of the handle, which was a bit too tall for some of our shorter testers. At nearly 3 feet tall, the vacuum loses some of its maneuverability for users under 5 feet. However, taller users may appreciate the additional height this model offers.

Price at time of publish: $218

Product Details:

  • Weight: 8.2 pounds
  • Cord Length: 25 feet
  • Battery Life: N/A
  • Accessories: Crevice tool, upholstery tool, and dusting brush
Best Stick Vacuums
BETTER HOMES & GARDENS / JESSICA JULIA

Best Convertible to Handheld: BLACK+DECKER HSVB420J POWERSERIES 2-in-1 Cordless Stick Vacuum

4.6
Black+Decker PowerSeries Two-in-One Cordless Stick Vacuum

Courtesy of Lowe's

Why You Should Get It: With a powerful-yet-lightweight handheld option, the Black and Decker PowerSeries vacuum is great for handling small spills and whole-house cleaning tasks alike.

Keep in Mind: This vacuum requires a little more effort to clean up dirt that's been ground into carpets.

Though plenty of stick vacuums convert to a handheld device, our testers found many of these options to be heavy and unwieldy to use for long periods of time. However, we loved the Black+Decker PowerSeries Two-in-One Vacuum's handheld option. It's easy to detach, offers powerful suction over the area you're vacuuming, and is lightweight enough to use for extended cleaning projects.

The Black+Decker vacuum also performs well as a stick vacuum, particularly on medium- to high-pile carpets. We found it to be excellent at picking up hair, and it even removed larger items like cereal and popcorn kernels after a couple of passes. Once you're done cleaning, you can fold down the vacuum's handle to make it more compact for storing.

Alongside all of its strengths, the Black+Decker stick vacuum has a few downsides that are important to note. Its performance on low-pile carpeting wasn't as impressive as competing models, and we found that the brush roll was weak at clearing away ground-in dirt. Our testers had to scrub out these types of messes by hand before the vacuum could pick up any of the debris. However, depending on the type of flooring you have, these factors may be less important to some shoppers, especially when considering the vacuum's relatively low price point.

Price at time of publish: $150

Product Details:

  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Cord Length: Cordless
  • Battery Life: 30 minutes
  • Accessories: Crevice tool and dusting brush
Best Stick Vacuums
BETTER HOMES & GARDENS / JESSICA JULIA

Best for Hardwood Floors: Eureka Flash Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Eureka Flash Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Courtesy of The Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: This stick vacuum wowed our testers by effectively cleaning up dirt, Cheerios, popcorn, and more from hardwood floors in one to two passes.

Keep in Mind: The heavy cord on this vacuum makes it a bit cumbersome to carry around as you clean.

Finding a vacuum that works on multiple surfaces isn't always easy—that's why the Eureka Flash Stick Vacuum Cleaner is such a great find. At under $150, it's much less expensive than competing stick vacuums, and our testers rated an earlier model of this vacuum a 5 out of 5 for effectiveness on hardwood floors and carpets alike.

While more expensive models struggled to pick up larger items like Cheerios and popcorn kernels, the Eureka Flash vacuum sucked up dust particles, hair, and crumbs in one to two passes. It also has three different power settings, allowing you to control the suction and brush roll to suit your cleaning needs. Plus, its self-propelled, swivel roller head and LED headlights enable you to clean beneath furniture without issue.

Like most stick vacuums, you'll also be able to convert the Eureka Flash into a handheld vacuum, allowing you to clean a variety of other surfaces, too. This also helps it store easily; the vacuum can be easily disassembled and stored in the included storage caddy. And while the hassle of reassembling your vacuum every time you want to use it may sound tedious, it's a great space-saving option if you lack closet space.

The biggest drawback of the Eureka vacuum is its cord, which our testers reported was quite heavy when cleaning for long periods of time, somewhat limiting maneuverability. You'll also have to switch outlets as you move throughout the house since the vacuum is not battery operated. However, people who prefer a stick vacuum that can run as long as you need it to on cleaning day (unlike a cordless vacuum that needs to be recharged) may be willing to overlook this shortcoming for the sake of its many other features.

Price at time of publish: $146

Product Details:

  • Weight: 7.4 pounds
  • Cord Length: 30 feet
  • Battery Life: N/A
  • Accessories: Crevice tool and dusting brush
Best Stick Vacuums
BETTER HOMES & GARDENS / JESSICA JULIA

Best Wet/Dry Vacuum: Shark VacMop Pro Cordless Hard Floor Vacuum Mop

4.9
shark-vacmop-wet-dry-stick-vacuum

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This vacuum's lightweight design, powerful suction, and spray mopping feature allow users to achieve shiny clean floors without scrubbing by hand.

Keep in Mind: This type of vacuum won't work on carpets

Anyone who has ever cleaned tile or hardwood floors on their hands and knees understands the importance of a good mop. This two-in-one vacuum and wet mop allows you to clean your floors without doing any of the dirty work yourself (and making it a lot less likely that you'll hurt your back in the process). First, use the suction setting to effectively remove any dirt particles or crumbs in your path, then use the spray mop to scrub your floors until they're sparkling.

We found the Shark VacMop to be super easy to maneuver around appliances and furniture, and the included floor cleaning spray leaves behind a fresh scent. While the battery life seems short—it only lasts around 20 minutes—it's important to remember that you won't need power for the entire duration, only when actively using the vacuum function.

After every mop, you'll want to wash the reusable mop pad by tossing it in the washing machine, but removing it doesn't mean you have to touch a grimy mop head. Instead, the vacuum features a no-contact disposal with the click of a button.

If you have limited storage options in your home, owning a vacuum that only works on one flooring type could be a downside, since you'll still have to keep your normal vacuum around. However, the Shark VacMop's compact design makes it reasonably easy to keep out of sight by tucking away in a closet if you're willing to sacrifice a few extra inches.

Price at time of publish: $100

Product Details:

  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Cord Length: Cordless
  • Battery Life: 20 minutes
  • Accessories: Battery charger, dust pad, and floor cleaner solution
Best Stick Vacuums
BETTER HOMES & GARDENS / JESSICA JULIA

Best Affordable Vacuum: Bissell Featherweight Stick Lightweight Bagless Vacuum

Bissell Featherweight Stick Lightweight Bagless Vacuum

Courtesy of Amazon

Why You Should Get It: The Bissell Featherweight did a great job at sucking away dirt and hair from low-pile carpets considering the price, and it's easy to store, even in small closets.

Keep in Mind: Our testers found that this vacuum occasionally leaks debris back onto the floor after turning off the suction.

For people living in homes with minimal carpeting, it can be tough to justify spending hundreds of dollars on a vacuum that only cleans a small surface area. However, it's still important to find a product that'll be able to keep dirt, crumbs, and stray hair at bay without using too much precious storage space. The Bissell Featherweight stick vacuum is a great combination of all these considerations.

Though it can't compare to the suction power of pricier vacuum models, our testers found it to be effective at removing debris from hardwood floors and low-pile carpeting. At 2.6 pounds, it's super easy to maneuver in small spaces, allowing you to get every last bit of dirt from your floors, and it can go nearly horizontal to reach beneath furniture. The vacuum can also be converted into a handheld device for cleaning upholstery, car seats, and stairs, making it a great multi-use tool (and eliminating the need for multiple vacuums).

It comes with a crevice tool attachment for clearing cobwebs and getting crumbs out of couch cushions. We recommend emptying the dustbin every time you finish cleaning; when it starts to get full, our testers found that this vacuum tends to leak debris back onto the floor.

Price at time of publish: $38

Product Details:

  • Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Cord Length: 15 feet
  • Battery Life: N/A
  • Accessories: Crevice tool
Best Stick Vacuums
BETTER HOMES & GARDENS / JESSICA JULIA

The Bottom Line

When it comes to picking out the best stick vacuum for your home, it's important to keep in mind what flooring types you have, how many rooms you'd like to clean at once (which impacts the battery life you'll need—or whether a corded model would be best), and the amount of storage space you have. Our top overall pick for the best stick vacuum is the Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum because of its incredible versatility across hardwood floors and low- to high-pile carpets. We also found its flexible wand, LED headlights, and built-in HEPA filter to be super helpful in ensuring your home is free of dirt and allergens.

Our Testing Process

We compiled a team of expert testers to use and review a variety of different stick vacuums from our lab in Industry City, Brooklyn. Each test involved unboxing and assembling the vacuums according to the instructions, then running the vacuums across a hardwood surface and three different types of carpet. Then, we measured each vacuum's ability to suck up hair, cereal, and popcorn kernels from each flooring type, making note of how many passes were needed to clear away the materials. In order to test their mobility, our testers ran the vacuums around and underneath furniture such as couches and coffee tables. Finally, we evaluated them based on weight, portability, and ease in emptying the dustbin.

What to Know About Stick Vacuums Before Shopping

Flooring Type: Keep in mind what types of flooring you have in your home. The best stick vacuums should be able to suck away materials on hard flooring, carpets, and even fluffy rugs, but if your home only has one or two flooring types, you won't need to be as picky.

Common Debris: While everyone has dust and dirt in their home, some people also need a vacuum to pick up particles like pet hair and allergens. If you're a pet owner, you'll want to consider a vacuum specifically designed to tackle pet hair, whereas someone with asthma or allergies may benefit from a stick vacuum with a HEPA filter.

Battery Life: Depending on the size of your home and the number of surfaces you're intending to clean, vacuuming could be a time-consuming chore. If you're shopping for the best cordless stick vacuums, keep an eye out for models that offer a long-lasting battery life. While some models we found only run for 20 minutes at a time, other options can last up to two hours.

Weight/Maneuverability: One of our favorite features of the cordless stick vacuum is how lightweight and easy it is to move around your home. People with lots of tight corners in their house or furniture they'd like to vacuum under will want to look for models that offer maximum flexibility. Some stick vacuums can rotate nearly 180 degrees, while others are flexible enough to lay completely flat when cleaning under a couch or behind furniture.

Other Stick Vacuums We Tested

During our testing process, we also reviewed the Dyson V11 Animal cordless stick vacuum, the Shark WandaVac cordless stick vacuum, and the Samsung Jet 70 Pet vacuum. While we liked the Dyson Animal vacuum, the company no longer sells that particular model. We found the Samsung Jet 70 to have lower ratings than competing models when it came to vacuuming hardwood flooring and high-pile carpets. During our testing, the Shark WandaVac performed well on hard surfaces, but it pushed around larger debris and had lower ratings on carpet than other models featured in this article.

Your Questions, Answered

Are stick vacuums worth the money?

Stick vacuums can be a great solution to cleaning up dirt, pet hair, allergens, and more from your home without sacrificing storage space or having to push a heavy vacuum for long periods of time. Even though they're significantly lighter than most other vacuum cleaners, the stick vacuums we tested offered powerful suction and a brushroll to remove even ground-in debris from multiple flooring types. Many stick vacuums come with handy attachments, allowing you to convert it into a handheld device to clean couch cushions, dusty corners, and hard-to-reach places in your home. You can even find cordless stick vacuums, which run without the need for a cumbersome power cord. Plus, there are plenty of options available from top retailers like Shark, Dyson, and Bissell in a variety of price ranges, making it a little easier to find the right features for your needs.

How long do vacuum cleaners last?

According to Consumer Reports, the average vacuum lasts about eight years, but this number can vary greatly depending on how often you use it, how much dirt and pet hair are in your home, and even the brand of vacuum. However, there are plenty of things you can do to increase the lifespan of your vacuum, such as cleaning out the dust bin regularly, removing hair or dirt that's been caught in the brush roll, and wiping down the exterior when it's dirty.

How do I charge my cordless stick vacuum?

Since cordless stick vacuums don't plug into an outlet for power, their batteries will need to recharge for a few hours after each use (the vacuums we tested had a battery life ranging from 20 minutes to 2 hours). Every cordless stick vacuum comes with a charging cord, and some also include a convenient docking station, which you can attach to your wall to store and charge your vacuum. Keep in mind that it'll take several hours for your cordless stick vacuum to fully recharge, so you'll want to consider battery life and how long your typical vacuum session lasts when choosing the right model for you.

Who We Are

Samantha Jones is a commerce home editor at Better Homes and Gardens, writing about a variety of topics including vacuums, patio furniture, and meal delivery services. She researched the ins and outs of stick vacuum cleaners for this story, comparing our test results from the lab with customer reviews, product specifications, and the latest vacuum models on the market.

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