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We have researched dozens of stick vacuums over the past 4 years. For this update, we looked at the top 11 models on the market and tested them head-to-head to select our award winners. Our home testers spent hundreds of hours vacuuming carpet, tile, and hardwood floors, comparing the performance of each product side-by-side. We judged their ease of use, hard floor vs. carpet cleaning abilities, and assessed their convenience as well. In our extensive review, you'll fund out which vacuum swept away the competition, which ones are the best for certain specialized uses, and which models best fit a tight budget. We hope this helps you find the best stick vacuum for your home needs.
Weight: 7.8 pounds | Max Power Runtime (min:sec): 20:37
REASONS TO BUY
Impressive cleaning performance
Long battery life
Extremely easy to use
REASONS TO AVOID
Louder than average
We can't recommend the Shark Rocket Pet Pro highly enough for most people shopping for a top-tier stick vacuum. This vacuum delivered impressive results throughout our entire suite of cleaning tests — even with the more challenging ones. It has one of the longer runtimes for a cordless vacuum and has tons and tons of features that make it exceptionally convenient and user-friendly to operate. On top of that, it is a very versatile option, with different attachments and configurations for cleaning the vast majority of your home and storing it in a freestanding way.
We don't have much of a list for flaws with the Pet Pro. This stick vacuum is a little louder and heavier than average, but not by a lot. We also noticed that it struggles slightly when cleaning close up to a wall if you vacuum head-on, but this is easily remedied by running the vacuum parallel to the edge while cleaning. Overall, the Pet Pro easily claims the title of best overall stick vacuum and should definitely be on your shortlist if you are looking for a premium product.
Weight: 5.1 pounds | Max Power Runtime (min:sec): 22:40
REASONS TO BUY
Convenient to clean with
Solid hard floor cleaning skills
REASONS TO AVOID
Could do better on carpet
If you want a stick vacuum but just can't stomach the thought of spending hundreds of dollars for one of the top-tier products, take a look at the Moosoo XL-618A. This model stacks up quite well compared to the top-tier models, all while costing considerably less. This cordless vacuum is very versatile and convenient to clean with, having both handheld and floor-cleaning modes, and the battery lasts a long time.
However, the Moosoo is far from our favorite when it comes to cleaning messes off the carpet. It did alright with flour but left plenty of rice and oats behind. It also required many more cleaning passes than the premium models to get the carpet equivalently clean. While it might not be the best for soft floors, we still happily recommend this to anyone shopping on a budget looking for a quick and easy way to clean up light messes between more rigorous cleanings.
Weight: 4.5 pounds| Max Power Runtime: n/a (corded)
REASONS TO BUY
Decent for cleaning hard surfaces
Average for cleaning soft floors
REASONS TO AVOID
Not terribly convenient
The VonHaus 600W 2-in-1 isn't the best stick vacuum we looked at, but it has its place. This model would be an excellent fit for someone shopping on a tight budget with a smaller home with hard floors. It can also conveniently transform into a handheld vacuum to get into all of those hard-to-reach places.
Regrettably, the VonHaus can't compare to the top-tier models for overall cleaning power. It continuously delivered mediocre results in all of our cleaning tests. That said, as one of the least expensive models out there, we would still recommend it to anyone who has light messes to pick up.
Weight: 8.9 pounds | Max Power Runtime (min:sec): 11:44
REASONS TO BUY
Amazing at cleaning hard surfaces
Easy to switch between floor types
REASONS TO AVOID
The Shark IONFlex is an excellent all-around stick vacuum. In our hard floor cleaning tests, this cordless vacuum performed exceptionally well. It easily folds for storage and has swappable batteries, so the runtime can be extended if you have a spare one on hand. It includes a handful of attachments, giving it the versatility to clean practically anywhere in your home, and switching between surface types is as easy as pressing a button — no manual head switching needed. It is also easy to operate and highly maneuverable.
On the downside, this vacuum is still quite pricey, though it is much less expensive than some other premium models. For many, a stick vacuum is a supplemental cleaning tool to be paired with a full-sized vacuum instead of acting as a sole cleaning method. This unit can exceed what most people may be willing to spend on one of these products. For a cordless vacuum, it's also a little on the heavy side. However, this is still an excellent product if you want high performance.
Our lead stick vacuum reviewers, Austin Palmer and David Wise both have extensive experience not only reviewing and testing stick vacuums but also uprights, canister vacuums, robot vacuums, and handhelds. For the past four years, they have been comparing and testing stick vacuums, continuously updating their testing plans and procedures as these products have evolved.
To see which stick vacuum came out on top of the pack and swept the competition under the rug, we devised a challenging series of tests to evaluate their performance side-by-side. We tried out these vacuums in practically every conceivable place in our homes and offices, spending hundreds of hours cleaning up all sorts of messes. We also did side-by-side quantitative tests with these products, measuring their effective runtime, recharge time, and noise levels, as well as maximum reach under furniture.
Our tests are grouped into four weighted rating metrics:
Convenience (35% of overall score weighting)
Hard Surface Cleaning (30% weighting)
Ease of Use (20% weighting)
Carpet Cleaning (15% weighting)
We've tested and purchased more than 33 stick vacuums in the past four years. Our extensive testing protocols put each vacuum through a multi-point performance analysis to rate convenience, cleaning ability, and more. We spread a measured amount of rice, oats, flour, cereal, and pet hair on a test floor to compare cleaning results side-by-side for both our hard surface and carpet cleaning tests.
Stick vacuums are subjected to more than 47 individual tests to rate their performance. The highest weighted tests are those for convenience, making up 35% of the overall weighted total. The convenience testing is informed by 10 specific tests, including weight, features outside of cleaning ability (i.e., button functionality), cord type, reach distance, and storage. Our reviews also utilize research and multiple testers' observations to compare each vacuums' performance.
Value is subjective, but for us, we look for that perfect balance of price and performance. What products will give you the level of performance you need for a price you feel justified spending?
The top-scoring vacuums in our review are the Shark Rocket Pet Pro and Dyson V10 Absolute. However, the Pet Pro costs substantially less and is, therefore, a higher-value product all around. The Shark IONFlex also scores impressively well, and, while more expensive than the Pet Pro, it offers a few other features and is still less than the Dyson V10, making it a good value in our book.
We feel the Moosoo XL-618A is the best bargain option, retailing at a fraction of the cost and performing only marginally worse in our tests. The VonHaus 2-in-1 is one of the least expensive products overall of this group but has a fairly significant drop in performance. That said, if you just need something for light-duty messes and money is extremely tight, it's certainly better than having no vacuum.
The main advantage of these products over a traditional canister or upright vacuum is their substantially superior convenience — hence the heavier weight of this metric in each vacuum's overall score. After all, what good is a stick vacuum if it is too cumbersome to use in the first place? Consequently, this metric accounts for 35% of the overall score for each product. We tested how well each vacuum cleaned non-floor areas, the cordless models' battery life, the reach of the corded models, each product's weight, and its storage method.
Claiming the top spot overall in this metric, we found the Shark Rocket Pet Pro incredibly convenient to use. We love how versatile this vacuum is; it has the ability to transform into a handheld vacuum and includes nifty tools for cleaning all sorts of different areas around your home.
The Pet Pro also has one of the longest battery runtimes of the entire group, vacuuming for almost 21 minutes on a single charge on its economical power mode and close to 13 minutes when running the high-power Boost mode. The battery is swappable, and it charges in about two and a half hours in our experience — much faster than the four-hour charge time claimed by the manufacturer. The Pet Pro is about average when it comes to weight, and we love that it can be stored in a freestanding configuration when bent over.
The Dyson V8 Absolute, the Dyson V10, Shark IONFlex, Moosoo, and Eureka RapidClean Pro all fall in the middle of the pack when it comes to convenience. These vacuums are all cordless, and the Dyson models and the Moosoo have a wall-mounted storage system to keep them out of the way when not in use. We would appreciate if these vacuums had the ability stand freely on their own, but sadly that is not the case; if they aren't in their wall mounts, they all need to be propped against something so as not to tip over. We like that the RapidClean Pro has an Easy Rest feature — a purpose-built ledge/notch to make it easier to prop against a counter or chair if you need to set it down while cleaning.
The Shark IONFlex folds in half for easy freestanding storage in an out-of-the-way location, similar to the Rocket Pet Pro.
We didn't find the Dyson models' battery life to be all that impressive, especially when using their highest power setting. The V10 and the V8 both lasted for less than 10 minutes — considerably less than many of the Shark models and far less than the Bissell AirRam which lasted an impressive 35 minutes. However, when run on a lower power cleaning setting, the runtime of the Dysos can be significantly extended, which we found to be more than enough time to clean up most messes, especially in the case of the V10. The suction is so powerful that we had a hard time pushing the V10 on a low-pile carpet in maximum power mode.
The Dyson models come in between 5-6 pounds, a bit below average in terms of weight. The Moosoo and the RapidClean Pro tip the scales at just over five pounds, making them a solid choice if you cannot lift very heavy items, or have lots of stairs in your home.
The IONFlex, weighing in close to 9 pounds, is on the heavier side and has a battery life of almost 12 minutes. Not the best stats, but the IONFlex and RapidClean Pro are both quite effective at cleaning non-floor areas of the house. Still, they are not quite as proficient as the Dyson models with their plethora of attachments.
Hard Surface Cleaning
Each vacuum's hard floor cleaning performance accounted for 30% of its total score. We used flour, rice, oats, cereal, and pet hair to evaluate each model's performance. We also compared the floor's appearance before and after and the actual percentage of debris collected to determine the final score in this metric.
The Dyson V10 and Shark IONFlex tied for the top spot thanks to their phenomenal cleaning performances. These vacuums were by far the best and the easiest to use of all the stick vacuums when picking up rice, taking only a single pass when in bare floor mode.
This stellar performance continued in our flour test, with these models cleaning up the majority of the flour with a single pass and then taking just one additional pass to get any residual flour that had fallen into the cracks between the boards of the laminate floor.
Continuing their dominance, the V10 and IONFLEX only took a single pass to swallow all of the debris oatmeal and cereal. Finally, these models finished out their sweep by tying for the top score in our pet hair collection test, along with a handful of other models.
The Dyson V8 Absolute and Shark Rocket Pet Pro followed, with very impressive results in cleaning hard floors. The V8 Absolute did very well at cleaning up flour, taking about two passes to clean up the bulk of the flour and even pulling flour from the cracks between the boards.
The V8 also delivered an essentially perfect performance in our cereal and pet hair passes, collecting all of the mess that we laid out without any issues. It finished out this metric with a strong showing in our oat test, getting almost all oats in a single pass, though a tiny portion of oats flung to the side. Unfortunately, the V8's performance dropped in our rice test, doing a mediocre job overall. It cleaned up a decent amount of rice but the brush flung a non-trivial number of grains far from the path of the vacuum.
The Pet Pro obliterated all of the rice we laid out with only a single cleaning pass. Even better, it didn't fling any grains off to the side out of the cleaning path while doing so. After two passes, the Pet Pro continued to do exceptionally well in the flour test, thoroughly cleaning the floor. It did start to leave a few streaks from the wheels but then sucked up the remaining bit of flour on the return pass. We also appreciate that it does a good job of pulling flour out of the cracks between the boards.
As the name would suggest, the Rocket Pet Pro also did a fine job cleaning up stray pet hair from a laminate floor, easily eliminating the mess. It finished up with two more top-tier performances in our cereal and oat collecting tests, sucking up all the debris without any being flung to the side or pushed around too much.
Ease of Use
This metric accounts for 20% of the total score and is based on the available cleaning power levels, noise level, maneuverability, and how well each vacuum cleans under furniture and close to edges.
The Shark Rocket Pet Pro, Shark IONFlex, Dyson V8, and Dyson V10 all tied for the top spot when it comes to user-friendliness. These models have both a low and high power cleaning mode, with the IONFlex and Rocket Pet Pro having the added benefit of lowering the speed of the rotating brush for hard floor types. The Pet Pro also has a high-power Boost mode for stubborn messes. Rather than having a different mode for hard floors, the V8 and the V10 accomplish this by using a different brush head that you must change manually.
The Dyson V10 and IONFlex continued their exceptional performance in our edge testing, beating out the V10, which left a little bit in the corner. The V10 does a better job of picking up debris head-on into a wall.
The V8, Pet Pro, and IONFlex also did an excellent job in our test cleaning under furniture, reaching the total distance of about 37" under our test sofa. All of these top-tier models are agile and nimble, with swivel steering making maneuverability a breeze.
The Bissell AirRam is relatively quiet and has swivel steering, though it isn't as nimble as the Shark and Dyson models. Still, the AirRam reached completely under our simulated sofa and only left a little debris when cleaning in tight corners, however, it lost a few points because it only has a single cleaning mode.
For the remaining 15% of each vacuum's total score, we lump together all of our carpet cleaning test results. We again used rice, cereal, oats, flour, and pet hair as our sample debris. We kept track of how many passes it took to clean up the messes and ranked each vacuum accordingly. We also noted how much residual debris each left behind. We tested on a flat, low-pile carpet and a fluffier, medium-pile carpet.
The Rocket Pet Pro and Dyson's V10 and V8 models all tied for the overall top score in this metric. The Dysons both did very well in our rice collection challenge, collecting all of the debris from the flat carpet with only two passes. They also did the best with the fluffier medium-pile carpet.
The Dyson vacuums did exceptionally well at cleaning flour from a flatter, low-pile carpet, getting the vast majority in a single cleaning pass and showing one of the best cleaning performances we have seen to date. The V8 delivered stellar performance cleaning up cereal, slightly outperforming the V10.
While we felt that the V10 had far superior suction to the V8, given the distance between the head and the floor, there isn't much space for larger debris items, leading it to push things like cereal around for a while before it collects them. However, the V10 has more than enough clearance to collect debris like pet hair and oats easily. The V8 left just a few more strands of pet hair behind, but the amount was barely noticeable.
The Pet Pro got off to a great start with rice on flat carpet, cleaning up the vast majority of all the rice in the first pass, only requireing a light follow-up to grab a the remaining fragments. It performed equally well with fluffy carpet, with only 1-2 broken rice grains eluding its suction. It also handled the flour with ease, especially when using the turbo Boost function to increase airflow. There was only a small amount of flour deep in the piles of the carpet that it didn't reach.
Continuing to back up its name, the Rocket Pet Pro did very well at cleaning up pet hair. It got the bulk of the hair with a single forward and back cleaning pass without the brush roll getting tangled. However, upon close inspection, we found just a few more stray hairs than some of the other top-scoring models.
The Pet Pro finished with a practically perfect score when it came to cleaning up oats from both types of carpet. We would estimate it easily got over 99% of the mess with just two passes, leaving only the smallest fragments behind. It pushed around Cheerios a bit — particularly on the fluffier, medium-pile carpet — but it eventually cleaned up everything.
The IONFlex finished strong in this metric's final two tests — pet hair and cereal. It again almost matched the Rocket at pet hair's performance and at collecting cereal. Following the top models' stellar performance, the Shark Navigator Freestyle earned an above-average score. This model also performed admirably on hard surfaces and is a great consideration if you need a lower-budget model.
Stick vacuums offer a convenience that is not usually found in traditional vacuums. They are lighter weight, stow away small, and are easier to manuever. Whether you seek a top-tier product that can go toe-to-toe with a conventional vacuum or a budget option for a convenient way to clean up small messes, we included a wide range of options to make sure there is something for everyone in this review. We hope to help make your purchasing decision as easy as vacuuming up a dusty carpet with your new handy appliance.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.