The Top 10 Best Stick Vacuums of 2015 & 2016

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Stick Vacuums: Questions & Answers

What is a stick vacuum?

A stick vacuum is essentially an upright vacuum, but is less powerful and weighs much less. It is intended for quick pick-ups, which explains the less power. It is primarily for convenience, and isn’t meant to replace a primary vacuum (with a few exceptions). They are very easy to store and use, even for younger members of your family or if you are older and can’t lift much weight.

What are advantages of stick vacuums?

There are lots of advantages to a stick vacuum over, say, a canister vacuum, which are also known for their small size and convenience. The first plus is that stick vacuums are significantly less expensive. Canisters might be small, but they are often more expensive than even upright vacuums. Stick vacs are very affordable and fit in any budget. The next advantage is that anyone can use (and afford) them: students, busy people, people who can’t lift heavy weights, and people in assisted living. They are easy to move around and easy to store, so people like students with limited space can easily find a place to put them. All around, stick vacuums are a cheaper, quicker, and more convenient option than canister vacuums.

What about disadvantages?

No vacuum is perfect, and stick vacuums definitely have their disadvantages. The main issue is that they do not work very well for carpet. They don’t have the power or tools necessary like an upright does, so the most they can handle is low-pile carpeting, and even then, you won’t get a really deep clean. Another problem is that they have much smaller waste cups, so you need to empty them out a lot. This can interrupt the flow of vacuuming and just be a pain in the neck. Another issue is exclusively with the cordless stick vacuums, which are powered by batteries. With most of them, they only run long enough for one room before needing a recharge (more details on that later), and recharge takes a long time. These problems just reaffirm that stick vacuums are not intended to work especially well on thick carpet or on any area larger than where quick spills like potted-plant dirt or food occur.

How powerful are stick vacuums?

This is a common concern, because less power means a less useful vacuum. Because stick vacuums come in both corded and cordless options, there are two ways to look at power: amps and volts. Amps are for the corded vacuums and there’s a wide range. Something with very few amps (and less power) is the Bissell Featherweight. It only has 1.2 amps, so suction is the primary issue. As a contrast, the Dirt Devil Power Air has 10 amps, which is a lot for a stick vacuum. This means more suction power. However, don’t think that just because it has a strong suction, that it will work on carpet. The Power Air is designed specifically for smooth floors. When it comes to cordless vacuums, the power measurement is volts, for the battery. An example of a vacuum with a smaller volt is the Eureka Quick Up. It only has six volts. The more powerful cordless sticks range from 10 volts (Shark Bagless Navigator) all the way up to 18 volts (Rowenta Delta Force). Like corded vacuums, high voltage doesn’t necessarily mean it will work on carpet, but it is a good place to start when you’re looking for more powerful stick vacuums.

What are the most convenient stick vacuums?

When we talk about convenient stick vacuums, we’re basically talking about how easy it is to move around. There are two things to look for: does it have a cord, and can it convert into a handheld? The addition of a handheld vacuum means more cleaning in harder-to-reach areas, which is also convenient. For cordless vacuums that also convert to handhelds, look at the Electrolux Ergorapido Brushroll Clean 2-in-1. It has additional tools like a crevice and dusting brush, can be taken anywhere including your car, and turns into a handheld by the removal of the handle. The Bissell 3-in-1 stick has similar features, and turns from a stick into a handheld or a crevice vacuum. Other convenient and easy to move vacs include the Dirt Devil AccuCharge (no handheld, but very light and cordless), the Bissell Lift-Off (cordless and handheld), and the Eureka AirSpeed 2-in-1 stick and handheld vacuum (not cordless).

How long do cordless vacuums run before needing a recharge?

The main question with cordless vacuums is how long can you run them before the battery dies. In general, cordless vacuums do run longer when you have the brushroll off (if they have a brushroll), so to get the longest run time, keep your stick vacuum for smooth floors. Some stick vacuums run for only five minutes before they die completely, but there are a few that run longer. The Shark Bagless Navigator can run between 12-17 minutes. It has a brushroll, so expect 17 minutes if that part is off. The Bissell Lift-Off comes in at a good fifteen minutes, so if you need to quickly clean up a small room before company, you could probably get away with less than fifteen. The Electrolux ErgoRapido EL 1030A Ion 2-in-1 stick and Dirt Devil Swift double that time and runs for 30 minutes. The longest run-time, however, belongs to the Rowenta Delta Force with 40 minutes

How long do I have to recharge a vacuum battery?

The next question about cordless vacuums is how long you have to wait before you can use it again, after the battery dies. Again, there is a wide range. The longest recharge time is around 24 hours. That’s the Dirt Devil Swift Stick, which runs about 30 minutes at most on a full charge. The Bissell Lift-Off gets you about 15 minutes of run time on a 16-hour charge. The shortest charge time takes four hours, and that is with the Shark Bagless Navigator. The Rowenta, which had the longest run-time, takes 16 hours to recharge.

Which stick vacuums work best on carpets?

Since most stick vacuums don’t work super well on carpets, you need to look for specific features to get most effective one. Brushrolls are key. Without brushrolls, your vacuum won’t be able to work up the dirt that gets embedded in carpets. The Eureka Easy Clean 2-in-1 lightweight vacuum is an example of a good stick vacuum for low-pile carpet. It has a brushroll, so even though it only has 2 amps, it’s specifically designed to work on carpets as well as smooth floors. The Rowenta Delta Force has a brushroll and very strong suction, so it is fitted to work on medium-pile carpet. It is the only stick vacuum that does this.

Which are good for pet owners?

If you have pets, you have to deal with vacuuming up pet hair, food, and litter. There are at least two vacuum with pet owners in mind. The Electrolux Ergorapido Brushroll Clean 2-in-1 has a special brushroll that, with the push of a button, sucks up all the tangled hair from the head into the dirt cup. You don’t have to mess with pulling or cutting hair off of the head. The Bissell Lift-Off is the other good stick vacuum for pet hair and has a rubberized pet nozzle that aims for embedded hair. Other good vacuum options for you include any with strong suction and with handheld options, to get hair off of furniture.

Are there are any stick vacuums that could work as primary vacs?

There’s really only one stick vacuum that has the suction power and versatility to replace a primary vacuum: the Rowenta RH8559 Delta Force. It’s cordless, has an 18-volt battery, 40-minute run time, large dust cup, and works on medium-pile carpet. Still, it would work ideally as a primary vacuum for a smaller house or apartment.

What’s the price-range on stick vacuums?

There’s a pretty wide range on price when it comes to stick vacuum. Some are very cheap, like the Bissel 3106 Featherweight, which is only about $30. The Eureka Easy Clean, Eureka AirSpeed, and Dirt Devil Swift cost more at around $40, while a middle-range stick vacuum costs more like $60-$70 (the Bissel Lift-Off/Eureka Quick Pick-Up). The two more expensive vacs are the ones that work best on carpet. The Electrolux Ergorapido and Rowenta Delta Force are more in the $200 range.

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