Best Stick Vacuums of 2018

Angela Parkinson ·
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We spent 40 hours testing stick vacuums for 2018, and our top pick was the Hoover LiNX Cordless, a low-priced but strong stick vacuum that did an excellent job in our testing. It only needs three hours to fully charge, which is quick in the world of stick vacuums. This cord-free model has a large dust cup, so you can run it for a long time without stopping to find a new outlet or empty it out.

Best Overall

Hoover LiNX Cordless

This is a little bulkier and heavier than some of our stick vacuums, but it also does a better job of cleaning than most of the competition, and for a reasonable price.
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Best Value

Dirt Devil Accucharge

The affordable Dirt Devil Accucharge 15.6V cleans well, has a swivel head that makes it easy to maneuver and offers HEPA filtration. Its folding handle makes this unit easy to store.
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Best Splurge

Dyson Cyclone v10 Absolute

While Dyson Cyclone v10 Absolute is undeniably expensive, the cleaning performance was the very best of all stick vacuum cleaners we tested.
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Best Overall
The Hoover LiNX Cordless strikes the perfect balance of features with cord-free convenience, strong suction and a fair price. While it is not a stick vacuum in the traditional sense, with the main body perched atop a long tube, the LiNX is still tiny compared to a traditional upright. It weighs about half what our tested full-sized uprights weigh. It is also much more slender.
It behaves like a stick vacuum because it is easy to carry to the mess without any fuss – no searching for outlets, or heavy lifting. And it can clean up anything with its impressive suction. There are other vacuums with better battery life, but the cup capacity makes it so you won’t need to empty often. It had the same level of suction, or better, as much more recently-released stick vacuums that cost more than twice as much. The LiNX was the least strong on carpeting, though, so if you have more carpeting than anything else, this might not be the best option. Fairly often a stick vacuum is used on kitchen floors for quick cleanups, though, and this is perfect for that. This one is also noticeably quiet compared to the more expensive models as well. There are some drawbacks with this unit, including the lack of a swiveling head. It is light enough to just pick up and position better for cleaning different messes, so that's not a huge issue. The LiNX is easier to maneuver than others in some ways – it can recline almost to the floor and keep vacuuming, going under beds and other low-slung furniture without any extra tools.
  • Suction is strong, especially on hardwood flooring.
  • This can recline to get under low-slung furniture.
  • A cord-free design and large dust cup add a lot of range.
  • There are better options for carpet.
  • Battery life isn’t the best.
  • There is no folding handle for compact storage.
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Best Value
Despite its low price, the Dirt Devil Accucharge 15.6V is extremely useful when it comes to keeping floors, stairs and out-of-the-way areas clean. It gives you good-quality suction for cleaning up pet hair. It also did well at cleaning sawdust from hardwood floors. However, it took six passes over carpeting to thoroughly clean up sawdust, which is an average performance when compared to the other stick vacuums we tested. This stick vacuum cleans fast, and is lightweight at a mere 5.85 pounds.
It is equipped with a swivel head, so it's easy to maneuver and can get into hard-to-reach places. The HEPA filtration captures dust and allergens, and HEPA filtration is not offered on all stick vacuums. It also is designed with a folding handle, so you can tuck it into a closet corner for storage. This machine can stay on its charging stand overnight while folded, which saves space. Unfortunately, it takes six hours to fully charge which is very slow, but you get 22 minutes of cleaning time from a single charge. The Dirt Devil Accucharge keeps track of the battery and your electrical output while the machine is charging, so once the battery is fully charged, the power being drawn is reduced to a tiny amount – just enough to maintain the battery. This is a great energy saving feature.
  • This vacuum cleans both carpet and hard floors.
  • It runs 22 minutes on one battery charge.
  • It is easy to maneuver.
  • You don't get a hand vacuum with it.
  • It takes 6 hours to charge.
  • Suction for carpeting is average.
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Best Splurge
A $600 vacuum cleaner is not for everyone. A $600 stick vacuum cleaner makes even less sense since most of the time they serve as a secondary household vacuum cleaner for quick clean-ups. But it's so good, on every surface. It is lightweight, easy to use and the suction was excellent, even on its normal settings.
When you flip the switch over to the max setting it was amazing. We used it to clean up our laboratory after testing all the other stick vacuums. It also has impressive versatility. There are competing units with built-in hand vacs, but they don't have anything approaching the suction of the Absolute. When you remove the tube, it becomes a powerful hand vac for your car and other small jobs. This vacuum also comes with brushes and other tools for even more cleaning tasks. The few minor design drawbacks to this machine include it can’t stand upright on its own. Also, it does not fold any smaller for storage. When in charging mode it seemed top-heavy, bulky and awkward next to the smaller machines with folding handles that were self-standing. It does have a wall hanging mount. If you install that, most of these issues disappear. It was a little louder than average, but that is hardly surprising with all of the suction it offers.
  • The suction is unsurpassed on all surfaces we used for testing.
  • Doubles as a hand vacuum cleaner for your car and other small jobs.
  • Included tools help clean different surfaces.
  • The $600 price tag is not for everyone.
  • This one is not self-standing like some competitors.
  • Other stick vacuum cleaners were quieter.
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Why Trust Us

Top Ten Reviews has been testing, examining and ranking a wide variety of home appliances for performance, quality, noise, accessories and a host other features since 2010. When it comes to stick vacuums, we have spent more than 100 hours testing these particular products for more than three years. We first research a wide range of products within a category, looking at a number of important characteristics, different brands and price ranges to get a strong sense of what is available, and what would serve consumers best. After that, we narrow the field by scoring them using a proprietary system that helps determine which products to include in our final list. This system helps us narrow our picks down to the best on the market.

We also interview those with expertise in the field to learn about what people are looking for, and what makes a quality stick vacuum cleaner.

Caitlin Wagner, Product Manager for upright vacuums at Shark, works to develop upright models, but says stick vacuum cleaners definitely have their place. She has one in her home.

"Deep cleaning is for uprights. Quick cleaning is for sticks," Wagner said.

Keith Quimby is a Utah-based vacuum dealer and repairman with more than 30 years of experience. He agrees that stick vacs have their place – mostly on hard flooring for quick pick-ups. He said even some of the less expensive ones work well, but they don't last long, they tend to get clogged, and the brushes wear out quickly. They can also seem pretty heavy if you use them for very long.

"Most of these are for a quick pick-up," Quimby said.

The folks at Dyson would like to change that perception. With the release of the V10, they are hoping people can start to use their stick vacuum as their only vacuum. Josh Mutlow, Senior Design Engineer at Dyson, said as people start to do more of what he calls ‘reactive cleaning” throughout the week – more often, but for less time – they won't need to do a long vacuuming session on the weekends. He said the increased run time, suction and bin capacity on the latest Dysons should get you through some pretty long cleaning sessions, too, though, if you need them.

"We as a company definitely believe the cord-free machines transform the way you clean, and change your habits, so much that the conventional full-sized machines are now sort of obsolete," Mutlow said.

Mutlow said they have worked hard to remove some of the reasons traditional stick vacuums have not replaced full-sized vacuum cleaners already – they can seem heavy after a while, and the battery inevitably degrades over time. They've been working to distribute the weight in the best possible way and engineer the battery to last.

All of that progress comes at a cost. Some of the latest stick vac models from Dyson cost $600. There are still lots of stick vacs available in many different price ranges, though, and we looked at some lower cost models as well, for those still seeking just an inexpensive second vacuum.

How We Tested

To conduct our tests, we spread a reasonably heavy amount of sawdust on several square feet of hardwood flooring and carpeting in our testing lab, and started vacuuming. The ones that cleaned the sawdust in the fewest passes scored the best.

We also discovered that consumers who buy stick vacuums are pet owners who want these machines to quickly clear away pet hair without having to haul out a big, heavy upright vacuum cleaner to do deep cleaning. So, we worked pet hair into our carpeting sample after the sawdust tests were complete, and tested each stick vacuum on embedded pet hair removal.

We took note of how many passes it took to completely clean an area and scored each machine accordingly. We also tested the charging time and battery life of battery-powered stick vacuums.

In addition, we noted how low each machine could go to get under furniture such as couches or beds. We also noted how the machine felt and moved as we used it to clean.

Things to Look For in a Stick Vacuum

Most stick vacuums aren't designed to do deep cleaning, but are one solution when you need to clean up spilled cereal, a thin layer of dust or some pet hair in the carpet that gives your otherwise attractive room a slightly scruffy look. These qualities are great to have:

Stick vacuums are meant to be simple, but some are more versatile. It's great to get one with strong suction that is still lightweight so you can whip it out, quickly clean and put it away easily. You undoubtedly want a stick vacuum that is easy to maneuver, and can go into tight spots and corners. It's great if you get one that can be lowered as flat as possible to reach under furniture. If storage space is at a premium, look for one with a handle that folds or collapses so it takes up less space.

Cleanup & Filters
Most stick vacuums come with a removable bin that collects the dust and debris on your floors. You simply detach and empty it, and it's always helpful to get a vacuum with a big dust bin so you don't have to empty it frequently. If anyone in your house has allergies, a HEPA-certified vacuum will give you filters that clear the air of 99.9 percent of allergens, which can be a great relief.

Attachments & Tools
Little extras can make a huge difference. A crevice tool and a dusting brush are excellent for cleaning furniture, and some stick vacuums come with a detachable handheld vacuum that you can use to clean tight spots like between the banister railings on your stairway.