The Best Stick Vacuums, According to the Best Experts

published Aug 23, 2019
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Let’s talk about the humble stick vacuum, shall we? Lots of people we know (Kitchn editors included!) have one to use as a supplement along with a bigger, upright vacuum. The idea being that it’s easier to pull out a little vacuum to clean up smaller daily messes and the big one for deep-cleaning sessions. Or maybe you just have a small apartment and you don’t need (or have room to store!) anything bigger. Makes sense to us!

Which stick vacuum is best? Let’s take a look!

First, there are two types of stick vacuums: ones that have cords and ones that do not. Corded versions are generally less expensive (but not always) and there are pros and cons to both. While some people don’t like the tether of a cord, people who can’t be bothered with remembering to charge a device really like the reliability factor of being able to just plug it in. Below, we have options for people in both camps.

Credit: Amazon

The Best Cordless Stick Vacuum, According to Wirecutter

When it comes to rugs (maybe under your kitchen table or in your kitchen), the folks at Wirecutter recommend Dyson all the way. Basically any Dyson. But then they add that this model is usually the cheapest, so this one, specifically, gets their vote. The testers liked that it has enough battery life to clean a few rooms at a time (or the same kitchen night after night). They say it really stands out from its competitors when it’s being used on a thicker rug, so keep that in mind when shopping. Maybe you want a stick vac that can do the kitchen AND the family room where your kids tend to snack in front of the TV? If so, this is for you.

Credit: Amazon

The Best Lightweight Stick Vacuum, According to Good Housekeeping

Our friends at Good Housekeeping picked a few different vacuums and gave them various superlatives (sadly, they did not pick a vac that’s Most Likely to End Up on Broadway). For our purposes here, we’re going to talk about their pick for the Best Lightweight Stick Vacuum. It’s just four pounds and way less bulky than other vacuums they tested, which means you may actually be more likely to pull it out night after night. In just two passes, the vac sucked up 96 percent of the sand, oatmeal, baking soda, and dried Orzo pasta they had sprinkled onto a bare floor. 

Credit: Amazon

The Best Stick Vacuum, According to Consumer Reports

This vac scored a 93 (out of 100) from Consumer Reports and the next four vacuums under it are also Shark vacuums, so you know the brand is a good one. It scored perfectly on carpet and bare floors and only got dinged a bit because it’s not silent (it also lost ONE point for its performance around edges. The thing you need to know about this guy, though, is that it’s NOT cordless. It has a 30-foot cord but can convert to a hand vac for extra versatility.

Credit: Amazon

The Bestselling Stick Vacuum on Amazon

On the much cheaper end of the scale, here we have the bestselling stick vac on Amazon for just $30. It’s also just four pounds and, again, NOT cordless. It works best on hard floors and low-pile rugs. Shoppers who have given the vac five stars remark that it’s really a quality vacuum, considering the low price tag, and love it for picking up little messes.

Credit: Amazon

Kitchn’s Thoughts on the Best Stick Vacuum

Honestly, when we first started researching this story, we thought that every single source was going to recommend a Dyson, so we’re pretty pumped to see some diversity here. Nothing against Dyson — we love Dyson! We just wanted to see some other options, too, and other options we got! But here’s the thing: Dyson stick vacuums really are the best at picking up messes (crumbs, pet hair, errant sprinkles, etc!) in the kitchen. While you can certainly spend $600 on an upper-echelon-level Dyson, you really don’t have to because you can get a perfectly good and powerful one for $250. And while $250 is a lot to spend on vacuum, it’s just a little more than some of the others on this list. Yes, the $30 vac would probably be fine, but if you want something long-term, we say go with the Dyson. Also, Dysons frequently go on sale — and we often cover these sales, so you can probably find a great deal right here on this site!

Do you have a stick vacuum to add to this list? Suggest it in the comments below!