Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila
Thanks to its smaller motor, a stick vacuum is thinner and far more lightweight than its upright and canister cousins. Stick vacuums, as the name implies, also have a longer reach than handheld models, allowing them to get under furniture with ease and reach cobwebs in corners. What’s more, some sticks are designed to convert into handheld models, and there are cordless vacuum options as well.
We gathered some of the most popular stick vacuums and put them through their paces with our hands-on tests. Read on to learn how to shop for the best stick vacuum as well as the pros and cons of the quality models listed below.
- BEST OVERALL: Tineco Pure One S11 Cordless Stick Vacuum
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Dirt Devil Power Express Lite Corded Stick Vacuum
- BEST FOR LARGE HOUSES: Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum
- BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: Bissell FeatherWeight Lightweight Stick Vacuum
- BEST FOR PET HAIR: Shark Anti-Allergen Pet Power Cordless Stick Vacuum
- BEST LED LIGHTS: Eureka RapidClean Pro Cordless Stick Vacuum
- BEST FOR ALLERGIES: Dyson V12 Detect Slim Cordless Vacuum
- BEST DYSON: Dyson V8 Origin Plus Cordless Stick Vacuum
- BEST WITH HEPA FILTER: Inse N6 Cordless Rechargeable Stick Vacuum
Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila
How We Tested the Best Stick Vacuums
We tested each stick vacuum according to established rubrics, including dirt capacity, weight, portability, accessories, and cleaning performance, on hard surfaces and carpets. Based on these rubrics, we rated each vacuum on a scale of 0 to 4 to determine their score.
We first determined how much assembly was required for each model and looked into the ease of storing its cords and accessories. Next, we vacuumed several types of flooring, including tile, laminate, and carpet. We used the various additions to determine how easy they were to attach and how well they functioned.
When looking through the market for our favorite stick vacuums, we set out to create a list of recommendations that covers as many characteristics as possible. Our top picks include options from leading brands, and some boast the latest technology, such as LED headlights that reveal hidden dust or tangle-free roller brushes that tackle hair with ease.
We also made sure to include budget-friendly options for those looking for a simple stick vacuum without the pricier technology. In any case, all our picks are from reputable brands and are made with durable materials. Some cordless models even feature removable battery packs that can be replaced over time when the battery inevitably starts to become less effective, giving users the cost-saving ability to replace just the battery instead of the entire vacuum.
Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila
Our Top Picks
For those set on a lightweight appliance to make easy work of floor care, check out the reviews of quality models just ahead, all based on our hands-on testing. Then read on for more info on important criteria anyone should consider when shopping for the best stick vacuum.
- Head width: 10.5 inches
- Weight: 3.53 pounds
- Dustbin capacity: 0.6 liters
- Bright LED lights illuminate dirt in front of the vacuum’s cleaning path and under furniture.
- iLoop Smart Sensor technology detects hidden dust and debris and auto-adjusts suction power in real time
- It’s lightweight and easy to maneuver around furniture, carpeting, and hard flooring
- The 0.6-liter dustbin can fill up quickly, meaning more trips to the trash
The high-performance Tineco Pure One S11 runs for up to 40 minutes on a single battery charge and up to 80 minutes with an additional backup battery (not included). This cordless model boasts bright LED lights on the powerhead that illuminate the floor, making it easier to see pet hair and other messes, even in low-light areas.
The Pure One S11 quickly converts from a stick to a handheld model, ideal for cleaning stairs and crevices. Attachments include a mini power brush, a two-in-one dusting brush, and a crevice tool. Tineco’s S11 also features an all-in-one LED display on top of the vacuum, showing everything from battery level to dust detection, tangled roller, blocked-air channels, and even Wi-Fi integration with its phone app. Its mountable charging base holds the vacuum and its attachments.
In testing, the Tineco Pure One S11 Cordless Stick Vacuum delivered excellent performance, ease of use, and smart features. The stick vac was easy to set up and functioned exceptionally well on carpet and hard flooring, effectively sucking up pet hair and other debris. We particularly loved the iLoop technology smart sensor embedded on the back of the vacuum that provides a visual indication of how clean the flooring was as we vacuumed. Though hardly a necessity, the app did provide plenty of cleaning data. The only issue we had with the Tineco was its small 0.6-liter dustbin, which will require frequent trips to the trash can.
Get the Tineco stick vacuum at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.
- Head width: 10 inches
- Weight: 4.4 pounds
- Dustbin capacity: 0.4 liters
- Low price of this stick vacuum makes it an attractive purchase for folks on a budget
- Has surprisingly good suction power for its size and weight
- A motorized brush helps flush out debris on hard floors and low-pile carpet
- Converts from a stick to a handheld unit for cleaning versatility
- The stick part of the vacuum feels flimsy and proved tricky to attach
- Small dustbin is likely to fill up quickly, meaning more trips to the trash
The affordable Dirt Devil Power Express Lite is a corded stick vacuum that converts to a handheld, simplifying the switch between cleaning floors, stairs, and upholstery. It includes a roller brush that loosens ground-in dirt and is suitable for hard flooring as well as carpet. It features robust suction power yet weighs in at a mere 4.4 pounds. It has an easy-dump dustbin and a washable filter.
In assembling the Dirt Devil Power Express Lite Corded Stick Vacuum, we weren’t impressed by its flimsy construction. The “stick” part—merely a plastic pole that fits into the vacuum head—was awkward to insert and tighten with the two included screws. However, once we plugged in the machine, we were pleasantly surprised that it did have considerable suction power.
The motorized carpet brush is activated by pushing a button on the handheld unit. Though we found the button’s location inconvenient, the motorized brush did a good job lifting dirt and debris from low-pile carpet and hard flooring; it was not very effective on the high-pile carpet, however. Overall, we consider this Dirt Devil a lightweight, well-priced option for small spaces with minimal carpet.
Get the Dirt Devil stick vacuum at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.
- Head width: 11 inches
- Weight: 8.6 pounds
- Dustbin capacity: 1 liter
- Reclined handle that allows the unit to lie flat gets under furniture with ease
- Powerful lithium-ion battery allows up to 35 minutes of runtime per charge
- Extra-large dustbin holds a full liter of debris; much more than many other stick models
- No detachable hand vac makes the vacuum suitable for floors only
Those with a lot of territory to cover will want a vacuum with a decently sized dustbin, and the one on the Hoover Onepwr Evolve Pet has a full-liter capacity—ample enough for cleaning a whole house. Its rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasts up to 35 minutes, and the reclined handle allows the vacuum to lie flat and reach under furniture. Powerful vortex suction removes dirt and debris embedded in carpet, while an antimicrobial brush roll and filter help prevent bacteria from growing inside the machine. The brush roll is removable for cleaning, and the extra-large dustbin holds a good deal of debris.
In testing, we considered the dustbin and extended runtime to be the Onepwr Evolve Pet’s standout features. We were able to vacuum the carpets and laminate floors of our 1,600-square-foot home for several days before recharging. The 11-amp motor offered plenty of suction power. It quickly sucked up hair from our four pets as well as dust, dirt, and debris without issue. We appreciated how smoothly the 8.6-pound machine glides during use, especially when lying flat to clean under furniture. The only downside is that the vacuum lacks a detachable hand-vac option with a crevice tool.
Get the Hoover stick vacuum at Amazon.
- Head width: 9.5 inches
- Weight: 2.6 pounds
- Dustbin capacity: 0.67 liters
- An affordable machine for everyday use in small spaces
- Maneuvers around furniture and obstacles easily because of its small size
- Easily converts to a handheld unit to clean stairs and other hard-to-reach surfaces
- It doesn’t have enough power to clean thick or high-pile carpets
- The small dustbin requires frequent emptying
Those in the market for a stick vacuum that’s easy to tote, store, and maneuver in small spaces may find this Bissell FeatherWeight Lightweight Stick Vacuum a great choice. It’s well suited for quick, convenient cleanups, and it’s corded, so it’s always ready to work as long as an outlet is nearby. Although this ultralightweight vacuum doesn’t have a powerhead, its broad suction head covers ample ground.
This Bissell model converts to a handheld unit for use with the suction head, which is ideal for cleaning carpeted stairs and upholstery. An included crevice tool helps the user reach into tight spots. This vacuum weighs in at just 2.6 pounds, so toting it around is a breeze, and its bagless dustbin is easy to empty as well.
This lightweight vacuum performed remarkably well in testing. Its 9.5-inch cleaning-path width made it easy to maneuver in tight corners and under furniture. It easily picked up dirt and debris, and we liked how easy it was to remove the stick and use it as a hand vac. Its stick attachment was surprisingly sturdy and did not require screws for assembly. However, the unit struggled to pick up dirt on higher-pile carpets and is definitely designed for light cleaning.
Get the Bissell stick vacuum at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Walmart.
- Head width: 10.63 inches
- Weight: 9.04 pounds
- Dustbin capacity: 0.34 quarts
- Anti-tangle brush is great for picking up hair and pet fur
- PowerFins technology, a powerful brush roller in the vacuum head, provides deep cleaning on carpets and hard floors
- Vacuum features a HEPA filter system that captures and traps dust, allergens, and dander
- Vacuum is heavy and may cause arm fatigue when used as a handheld unit
To banish pet hair from carpeting and furniture, consider the Shark Pet Power stick vacuum. It features a self-cleaning brush roll with silicone fins that resist hair wrap. This Shark vacuum boasts a powerful lithium-ion battery that will run up to 50 minutes on a single charge. Hypervelocity-accelerated suction provides deep cleaning, and the powerhead features bright LED lights for navigating in low-light areas, such as behind furniture.
Other features include an LED interface that makes it simple to switch the brush roll on or off while vacuuming. Anti-allergen seals keep airborne pollen and dander from recirculating, leaving the air in the room healthier and cleaner. The vacuum converts from stick to handheld for use with a handy crevice tool.
While testing this vacuum in our multipet household, we found it to be excellent at effectively picking up pet hairs. The high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) Anti-Allergen Complete Seal technology was most impressive, capturing and trapping dust, allergens, and dander. The filters even effectively trap pet odors. This vacuum performed exceptionally well on hard and soft surfaces, but it is pretty heavy at just over 9 pounds—the heaviest stick vacuum we tested. We did experience arm fatigue after a while, especially after using it as a hand vac.
Get the Shark stick vacuum at The Home Depot.
- Head width: 9.8 inches
- Weight: 5.26 pounds
- Dustbin capacity: 0.7 liters
- A powerful lithium-ion battery allows for an impressive 40-minute runtime per charge
- Built-in LED headlights illuminate dirt and debris in hard-to-reach areas
- Front location of the dust cup helps the unit reach into tight corners and under furniture
- It can be propped up on furniture or countertops without falling, thanks to its Easy Rest feature
- Small dustbin can fill up quickly, meaning more trips to the trash
Dirt lurking in corners and under furniture can’t hide from the Eureka RapidClean Pro. It boasts powerful LED headlights to illuminate dust and debris as well as swivel steering that allows excellent access to hard-to-reach places. It can also lie flat to reach under furniture since its dust cup is on the front of the device, not the back.
This 5.26-pound cordless stick vacuum that converts into a handheld unit is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, offering an ample runtime of about 40 minutes. A cyclonic filtration system separates and traps dust, debris, and large particles. It also features a crevice tool and a two-in-one dusting brush. Plus, unlike top-heavy stick vacuums that topple easily, this machine has an indention on the back of the handle that allows it to be propped up on a countertop or table.
In testing, we found the Eureka RapidClean Pro’s LED lights a standout feature that brightened dark corners. We also really liked the front placement of the dust cup that let us lay the vacuum nearly level with the floor to fit easily under furniture. The only irksome issue is that the dust cup is on the small side; we’d expect a versatile, well-designed machine like this to have a bigger one.
Get the Eureka stick vacuum at Amazon or Walmart.
- Head width: 9.9 inches
- Weight: 5.2 pounds
- Dustbin capacity: 0.1 gallon
- Features an angled light located on the vacuum head that makes hidden dust more visible on hard floors
- A sensor automatically detects debris level and adapts suction for the right balance of power and runtime
- Whole-machine filtration traps 99.99 percent of particles, dust, and allergens as small as 0.3 microns when used in Boost mode
- The dustbin size of 0.1 gallon may deceptively read large, but it’s merely 0.378 liters
- This vacuum is pricey, a few hundred more (at some retailers) than the Tineco Pure One S11 and quite a bit more than the Dyson V8
Trap microscopic particles that can trigger allergy symptoms with the multistage filtration system on the Dyson V12 Detect Slim Cordless Vacuum. This cordless stick operates on a powerful lithium-ion battery that will run for up to 60 minutes on a single charge. It features a no-touch emptying bin and easily converts to a handheld unit for use with the included crevice and combination cleaning tool.
The vacuum has a Max mode that increases suction for deep cleaning ground-in dirt. Its Laser Slim Fluffy cleaner head boasts a laser that reveals microscopic dust on hard surfaces. This stick vacuum also features an LCD screen that displays information such as battery-power status, power mode, maintenance alerts, and filtration data. Weighing in at 5.2 pounds, this Dyson has a docking station in which to store the vacuum while it’s recharging.
In testing, we felt that this powerful vacuum performed similarly to the Tineco Pure One S11 Cordless Stick Vacuum and the Dyson V8. We were impressed with the V12’s laser feature and how well the head picked up dust and debris from our hard surfaces. The vacuum is easy to maneuver, and we liked the additional vacuum heads the V12 offers for various surfaces. Although this is a solid performer, its dustbin is small, and its price tag is extra large!
Get the Dyson V12 stick vacuum at Amazon or Best Buy.
- Head width: 10.1 inches
- Weight: 5.58 pounds
- Dustbin capacity: 0.14 gallons
- Includes a handy combination tool with a wide nozzle and brush for quick switching between tasks
- Very powerful suction and filtering system traps 99.99 percent of microscopic particles as small as 0.3 microns
- Easy to empty, with a hygienic ejection mechanism that drives out dirt and dust in 1 action
- The small dustbin means more trips to the trash for emptying
For power, versatility, and a runtime of up to 40 minutes, consider the Dyson V8 Origin Plus Cordless Stick Vacuum. It runs on a lithium-ion battery, features whole-machine filtration, and weighs 5.58 pounds. There are two cleaner heads: one soft roller, best suited for smooth surfaces such as hardwood and laminate floors, and one all-purpose brush for deep cleaning carpeting.
Accessories include a crevice tool, a mini-motorized head for ground-in dirt and pet fur, and a soft dusting brush. The dustbin offers easy-release dumping, and the vacuum and accessories all store on a handy docking station that attaches to the wall.
A truly powerful cleaning machine, the Dyson V8 did an excellent job removing pet hairs, dust, and debris from our carpets and hard surfaces. We appreciated the option to ramp up to high-power mode simply by sliding a switch on the front of the vacuum—yet found that this mode was unnecessary for most of our flooring surfaces. The two washable filters proved easy to remove and replace. Again, we must complain about the small dust cup, but we really like the machine’s ejection mechanism that drives out dirt and dust in one action, so there’s never a need to touch the debris.
Get the Dyson V8 stick vacuum at The Home Depot.
- Head width: 9 inches
- Weight: 3.31 pounds
- Dustbin capacity: 0.5 liters
- Features a high-quality HEPA filter with a 5-stage filtration system that extracts 99.97 percent of pollen, dust, animal scales, and other particles
- Has a long-lasting battery with a 45-minute runtime per charge
- Telescoping-stick design allows the machine to be used as a handheld unit without removing the stick
- Dustbin is quite small, which requires more trips to the trash
- Its short length may make it hard for taller people to use
The HEPA filter on the Inse cordless vacuum keeps dust and pet dander from recirculating in the home. The stick-type vacuum quickly converts to a handheld unit for cleaning stairs and car seats. A powerful lithium-ion battery runs the vacuum with its rotating powerhead for up to 45 minutes on a single charge, and there’s a Max mode for those jobs that require extra suction power.
Attachments include a long crevice tool for cleaning in tight spots and an oval brush for fabrics, upholstery, and drapes. The Inse comes with a mountable charging base, push-button bin dumping, and a two-in-one tool that helps clean pet hair from the powerhead roller. Though a second HEPA filter is included to replace the original when it wears out, the filters are washable and reusable.
In testing, the Inse N6 Cordless Rechargeable Stick Vacuum effectively removed dust, pet hair, and other debris from our low- and high-pile carpet and hard flooring. Its five-stage filtration system with HEPA filter did an excellent job keeping odor and dust from escaping the dustbin. We liked that this vacuum is quiet compared to others we tested. It’s lightweight and maneuvers easily around obstacles.
It also has a telescoping ability allowing the user to adjust the length from 33 to 43 inches, transforming the machine into a handheld device without needing to remove the stick. Yet users can remove the stick and attach the head directly to the vacuum as well. Our only objections are the small dustbin and that the full length of 43 inches may be a bit too short for taller people to use.
Get the Inse stick vacuum at Amazon, Wayfair, or Walmart.
What to Consider When Choosing a Stick Vacuum
Unlike traditional canister-type or upright vacuums, stick vacuums have relatively small collection bins that can fill up rather quickly with dirt, dust, and debris. Before buying a stick vacuum, shoppers will want to consider factors such as how often they’ll clean the floors; the size of the living area to be covered; and how much dust, dirt, and pet hair they’ll typically need to banish.
Stick vacuums are well suited to light and frequent use, such as maintaining minimal carpet in a small apartment every few days. For folks with bigger spaces who vacuum only once a week and must remove ground-in dirt, a more powerful upright or canister vacuum would be a better option.
Size vs. Strength
Instead of a bulky bag or canister, stick vacuums feature a tube or cup that’s only about 4 inches in diameter to hold debris. Being so compact makes these models easy to store, which is a boon to anyone with limited supply-closet space. But their small motors simply can’t deliver the power of full-size vacuums. A few swipes of a stick vacuum can clean dirt and debris from hardwood, concrete, and tile, and a bristled rolling brush can help it handle low-traffic carpet with a low pile no higher than 0.25 inch. For users with a thick, shaggy carpet or floors soiled by a lot of heavy use, skip the stick—it just won’t have enough juice for optimal cleaning performance.
Cord vs. Cordless
A stick vacuum cleaner with a cord offers a steady, unending supply of power and ample suction. Cordless stick vacuums can go anywhere, but the suction level wanes as the battery life drains; typically, a cordless model may need a recharge after 20 minutes. Charging time depends on the battery power and ranges from around 1 to 4 hours to reach a full charge. Cordless stick vacuums are prized for their portability, which makes them ideal for vacuuming a patio carpet or a shed—areas in which running a long extension power cord likely would be required but is undesirable.
When comparing cordless vacuum models, be sure to consider voltage: Higher voltage translates into a longer running time, and stick vacuums range from 12 to 40 volts (V). A 20V model can typically run for about 15 minutes on one charge; this is usually enough time to cover a space smaller than 1,000 square feet. The best cordless stick vacuums use a highly efficient lithium-ion battery, which will charge faster and last longer than nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries. Some cordless stick vacuums come with a second spare battery (or the ability to purchase one), which can double runtime.
Note that higher battery voltage also relates to the ability to operate powerheads and mini powerheads. These features have a separate motor that spins the round brushes very quickly to get deep within the carpet pile. Using the powerheads demands a lot of juice and pulls more energy from the battery than suction-only modes.
In addition to being slimmer, stick vacuums are lighter in weight, which makes them less taxing to carry and maneuver. Although traditional upright and canister vacuums can weigh upward of 20 pounds, stick vacuums weigh approximately 3 to 7 pounds, ideal for carrying between floors or through the house. The configuration—a single stick—is also easier to grasp with one hand, whereas a canister vacuum requires holding the canister’s handle with one hand and the hose-and-wand portion with the other hand.
Consider any features that make a stick more convenient and easier to use. Some manufacturers offer models that will convert into a handheld simply by disconnecting the top portion’s shaft, where the motor is housed. This increases versatility, enabling the machine to do various types of cleaning, such as vacuuming stairs, furniture, and car seats in handheld mode. The addition of accessories that fit the handheld version, such as a crevice tool and a dusting tool, add even more functionality.
Some stick vacuums also include handles that can be lowered to a horizontal position, eliminating the need for a wand attachment to reach under furniture. Additionally, stick vacuums with powerheads often have the ability to turn off the rotating brush head to vacuum hardwood floors or bare floors. While powerful roller brushes can scratch the finish on hardwood floors, some stick vacs have brushes with soft silicone bristles designed not to damage hardwood flooring.
Those sensitive to dust, pet dander, and pollen may wish to check out stick vacuums with HEPA filters. These filters can remove up to 99 percent of airborne particulates larger than 0.3 microns. As a comparison, a micron is only 0.00003937 of an inch in length, so a HEPA filter will remove allergens invisible to the human eye.
However, due to their high density, vacuums with a HEPA filter require more power to pull air through the filter. In these cases, a corded model may be a better option than a cordless vacuum, as it will remove the need to recharge frequently.
Stick vacuums emit about as much noise as traditional upright and canister vacuums, which are in the range of about 70 to 75 decibels (similar to a hair dryer or garbage disposal). Vacuums designed to be quieter can still emit approximately 68 decibels. Running a stick vacuum probably won’t damage hearing, but it could wake an infant in an adjacent room or keep family members from being able to hear a conversation or the television.
For many, a home isn’t a home without family members of the furry persuasion. But pets can shed fur and dander (dried skin flakes) that can trigger allergies and leave unsightly hair on carpets and upholstered furniture. A stick vacuum with a roller brush is optimal for getting up pet hair. Some models come with optional mini powerheads that attach to a handheld conversion, making them well equipped for vacuuming pet hair from furniture and carpeted stairs as well.
After reading about some of the best stick vacuums, some questions may linger. Below are answers to some of the most common questions about stick vacuums.
Q. Which cordless stick vacuum is best for pet hair?
Cordless stick vacuums are great for removing pet hair on a daily basis. In this lineup, the Shark stick vacuum comes in as the best-for-pets pick for its long runtime and anti-allergen seals to keep dander from recirculating.
Q. Are stick vacuums worth it?
For those living in small apartments, a stick vacuum can serve as the primary home vacuum. Those living in larger homes may want to consider a stick vacuum as a second vacuum that’s used mainly for quick, frequent cleaning.
Q. What is the best portable stick vacuum to buy?
Consider both size and weight when shopping for a portable stick vacuum. The Bissell stick vacuum, the pick in this lineup for small spaces, weighs just 2.6 pounds, and the stick detaches for easy transport in a small car trunk or floorboard.
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Meet the Tester
Debbie Wolfe is a photographer, author, and freelance writer in various niches. She has contributed hundreds of home, garden, and crafting articles and DIY tutorials for leading media outlets and retailers, including HGTV, Real Simple, Forbes Advisor, The Spruce, The Home Depot, Walmart, and Mother Earth News. She is the author of two DIY books: Do-It-Yourself Garden Projects and Crafts and Crafting with Herbs from Skyhorse Publishing. Her testing approach is straightforward and budget-minded.
Additional research provided by Amy Lynch and Glenda Taylor.