Clean Better: Three Things to Look for in a Stick Vacuum

Stick vacuums aren’t just lightweight and easy to use, they really get the job done.

byEdmund Torr|
Clean Better: Three Things to Look for in a Stick Vacuum
You’ll celebrate how much you love your new stick vacuum—and then use it to clean the confetti!. Unsplash

Stick vacuums are sleekly designed to be stashed in corners, closets, utility and laundry rooms without taking up square footage. What do you look for in a stick vacuum? Suction power, maneuverability, multi-use, corded or cord free—we have you covered.

Comes with a small motorized tool designed to remove stubborn pet hair.

The most important thing about a vacuum is…well, the actual vacuum. How strong is the suction? How durable is the motor? But don’t forget to consider attachments. The right attachments can really enhance the performance of just about any machine. Obviously, you want a crevice tool, to get into tight corners and that space between wall-to-wall carpeting and the baseboard. But what about a dusting tool, with soft bristles that lets you suck up grime from lamp shades, shelving and blinds? And pet owners, this one’s for you: If you can, look for a unit with pet-specific additions such as a motorized attachment that can pull pet fur off of upholstery.

Designed for low-pile carpet or hard flooring (no shag rugs!), with up to 40 minutes of run time on one battery charge.

Battery capacity is a huge consideration when you’re looking at stick vacuums. If you’re used to corded uprights, the idea that you can only vacuum for 20, 30, or 60 minutes at a time with a cordless model may surprise you. But because cordless stick vacs run on batteries, you’re cleaning time is limited by how long the charge will last. Makers should clearly tell you right on the box how long their particular model’s batteries last—but pay attention when they say “up to” x-number of minutes. Higher power settings and motorized attachments use up energy faster, so some models may only work for 10 minutes or less when you use their maximum power settings. That’s totally fine for quick tidying, but if you’re planning to use your stick vac for full-house cleanups, you’ll need one with the highest run time you can find.

This corded, plug-in model transforms into a handheld for little spills and messes and a short-handled configuration perfect for stairs. Weighs in at just 3 pounds.

As you narrow down your picks for your new stick vacuum, be sure to check the weight specs. Some of the most powerful models with large dust bins—admittedly two really great features in a vacuum—can weigh as much as 8 pounds or more. That’s light compared to traditional upright models, but could still be quite tiring when you’re holding it off the ground to clean blinds, windowsills and cobwebs out of the corner of the ceiling.

Also Consider

Comes with Extras
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Two power packs extends this model’s cleaning time from up to 50 minutes to up to 100. It also comes with three separate heads: one each for carpet, hard flooring and upholstery. Just make sure you have room to store all these accessories!
High-End Pick
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A top-of-the-line machine with a well-deserved cult following. This particular model also has good battery life, with up to 60 minutes of run time on one charge.