Cleaning every nook and cranny in your home can be easy with a cordless stick vacuum. These lightweight appliances make quick work of routine cleaning tasks so your floors stay spotless every day.
Thanks to recent advances in suction technology, more and more households are opting to use a stick vacuum as their primary vacuum, especially in smaller spaces. Keep reading to find out if that’s the right choice for you, plus how to choose a cordless stick vacuum that you’ll love.
Cordless Stick Vacuum Buying Guide Quick Reference Handout
Table of contents
What is a cordless stick vacuum?
Cordless stick vacuums are a type of portable vacuum that’s ideal for daily cleaning tasks. They feature a hose-free vacuum design with a battery in the vacuum body and a long, inflexible tube that stretches from handle to head. (This tube is the “stick” part of a “stick vacuum.”)
In general, cordless stick vacuums are lightweight and easy to maneuver. They’re favoured for their portability and cord-free design. To find out if a cordless stick vacuum is right for you, start by reading Best Buy’s overall vacuum buying guide, which can help you narrow down what vacuum type suits you best.
What’s the difference between a cordless vacuum and a stick vacuum?
Cordless stick vacuums are an extremely popular type of vacuum, but stick vacuums are also available without a built-in, rechargeable battery. Both designs are lightweight and easy to use. The corded version needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet during use. For those who prioritize portability and convenience, cordless versions are more popular. For those who prioritize reliability, a corded version that never needs to be charged may be preferable.
Overall, the cordless version of these vacuums takes up a much larger part of the market and is easier to find. But, for those who want to enjoy the lightweight design of a stick vacuum without needing to charge their vacuum between uses, a few ultra-light corded stick vacuums exist, too. As a leader in budget-friendly vacuum design, Shark is known for making reliable, corded versions of this style of vacuum.
Why do people buy stick vacuums?
Stick vacuums have a lot of uses, but they’re especially popular in two cases: First, as a primary cleaning tool in small apartments. Second, as a supplementary vacuum in large homes.
There are a lot of benefits to using this type of vacuum, from the convenience of a cord-free design to the flexibility that lightness has to offer. With such a slim, liftable design, you can use stick vacuums in spots where other vacuums just can’t reach. This includes upholstery like couches and mattresses, high-up spots like drapery and ceilings, and lie-flat areas like under the couch.
What limits a cordless stick vacuum is typically its battery life. Because this type of vacuum is designed to be portable and lightweight, the batteries in cordless vacuums typically last for only 20 to 60 minutes. As a result, while they’re a great choice for apartments (which tend to be smaller, have hard floors, and often don’t have the storage space for a larger vacuum), they may not be a good choice as the sole vacuum in a large house.
In larger homes, stick vacuums are often purchased as supplementary or everyday vacuums. They’re something you can pull out to clean up a small mess like breakfast crumbs without having to deal with a heap of cords, but not as a vacuum that needs to run for an hour or more. They can also be great for cleaning jobs that are awkward but infrequent. This includes cleaning your car, storage unit, pantry, pet beds, etc. To find out if a stick vacuum will be enough for you, check out this Best Buy guide on the difference between canister and stick vacuums.
Key features you’ll find in stick vacuums
As the most-purchased type of vacuum at Best Buy, it’s easy to find a cordless stick vacuum with the features you’ll need. There are a ton of different options available and the popularity of the stick design has encouraged top brands like Dyson, Shark, Tineco, and even Miele (known for their iconic canister vacuums) to be innovative.
Here are four of the top features to look for in a stick vacuum to start off your shopping process.
1. Cordless options
First off, if cordless is what you’re seeking, make sure that’s what you’re getting! Distinguish between “cordless” and “corded” stick vacuums in your search.
2. Extended battery life
Planning to cover a large area when you vacuum? Make sure to seek out a corded vacuum or opt for a cordless vacuum with an extended battery life. Select brands—like Tineco—offer cordless vacuum models with interchangeable batteries so you can swap your battery and double the length of your cleaning session.
3. HEPA filtration/pet-friendly designs
Depending on the type of filtration system you’re looking for, you may want to search for a stick vacuum with a HEPA filter or pet-friendly design. These vacuums are occasionally a little pricier, but they can make a big difference for household members with allergies to dust, mites, and dander.
4. Interchangeable attachments
All stick vacuums are designed with a stick (instead of a hose) and a floor head. Many, however, also come with interchangeable attachments or have additional attachments available for purchase. These attachments can help you clean baseboards, get into small corners, and even convert your stick vacuum into a handheld vacuum. For an even more specialized vacuuming experience, look for stick vacuums with attachment heads for pet grooming and drapery.
What to consider when buying a new stick vacuum
Chances are, you’ll need to pick the features that are most important to you and make your stick vacuum selection based off of those. Some features, like intense suction power and extended battery life, can work against each other. So, you might not be able to get every single feature you’ve heard of at once.
Best Buy offers a selection of many great cordless stick vacuums. Knowing which features are most important to you will help you find the best one for you—because “the best” isn’t necessarily a universal concept. While it might be tempting to simply buy the newest and most expensive model if you want “the best,” remember that brands keep multiple models available for a reason. There might be a feature in an older model that’s really important to you!
1. How large is your home?
For starters, consider how large your home is. If your vacuum battery lasts for one hour, is that enough time for you to vacuum every space you want to clean before you’ll need to plug in a cordless vacuum and allow it to charge? If your home is very large or has a lot of carpeting, will you mind emptying your dustbin multiple times during a cleaning session?
2. Do you have pets or allergies?
Daily or regular vacuuming can be a great way to minimize allergy symptoms. If someone in your household is allergic to dust or similar small particles, look at vacuums with HEPA filters to make sure you aren’t just spreading allergens around your home while you vacuum.
For homes with pets, make sure to choose a vacuum model with strong suction and, if possible, a pet-friendly design that catches more hair and dander than average. If you’re in a routine where you deep clean your floors every week or two with an upright vacuum, canister vacuum, or central vacuum, then a daily-use cordless stick vacuum could really help minimize the amount of allergens in your home. Cordless vacuums often aren’t as powerful as upright or canister vacuums. However, because they’re so easy to pull out and zip around your floors, you’re more likely to use them to eliminate allergens on a daily basis.
(Another great option for this is to add a robot vacuum to your home—find out how to choose one in Best Buy’s robot vacuum buying guide. As you would with a stick vacuum, you can use a robot vacuum for daily cleaning. Then, you can support it with a more powerful vacuum during less-frequent deep cleans.)
3. Who is going to be using the vacuum?
Who’ll be doing your vacuuming can make a big impact on which vacuum is right for you. If you or a family member struggles with using a larger, heavier vacuum, then a stick vacuum can make a huge difference on your cleaning routine. Stick vacuums are generally easier to use for kids, teens, seniors, and petite individuals—anyone who would have a difficult time lifting a heavier appliance.
Are size and weight a big issue for you? Check out each cordless vacuum’s dimensions and total weight in Best Buy’s “Specifications” section.
4. What kind of floors do you have?
If you’re estimating usage time to look at whether or not a vacuum’s runtime will work for your lifestyle, make sure to take flooring type into account. Homes with hard floors can often get away with using a vacuum’s lower settings. These lower settings will be more reflective of a maximum runtime. Homes with carpet may need to be vacuumed on a high or “boost” setting, which often decreases a vacuum’s overall runtime.
On top of that, thick carpets, rugs, and upholstery often benefit from “slow vacuuming,” which was the big cleaning trend of the summer of 2022. This is a technique that helps you get as much dirt and dust out of a rug as possible in one pass. It takes longer than traditional vacuuming, but at-home tests from both journalists and everyday people consistently find that it really does get more out of your flooring—just look at how full your dustbin gets to compare the difference.
If carpeting factors into your vacuuming routine, make sure to adjust your runtime expectations accordingly. Additionally, consider spending more on a stick vacuum with a stronger motor if you’re planning on using your stick vacuum as your primary floor-cleaning tool.
5. Accessory availability
One final thing to consider when it comes to choosing a cordless stick vacuum is whether or not it comes with the accessories that you want to use. If it doesn’t, are they available for purchase separately (perhaps in an accessory kit)? Interchangeable attachments are a great starting point, but specific cases and uses are important.
Will you be able to clean in the small nooks and crannies of your car? How about up high on drapery? If you’re primarily going to be cleaning up food crumbs, does the vacuum have an automatic brush roll attachment? And so on, and so forth.
In general, it can be very handy to have a stick vacuum with both a brush roll and a detail cleaning head. But beyond that, features like drapery attachments and pet grooming attachments are really only necessary on a home-by-home basis.
Cordless stick vacuum docking stations
One of the things that makes stick vacuums so great is how easy they are to store, which includes the way they dock. Rather than sitting in a heap of tubes or taking up an entire closet, stick vacuums are slim and rigid. That makes them exceptionally easy to hide away in a closet or storage room, and many cordless stick vacuums come with a charging wall dock.
Make sure to read up on your prospective vacuum’s docking station if it’s important to you: Does it charge with a loose charging cord, on a wall-mounted docking station, or in a freestanding dock? If the included dock is wall-mounted, will you be able to drill into your wall to hang it?
How to care for your stick vacuum
Thanks to their compact design, stick vacuums are often a breeze to maintain. They take up far less storage room than a regular vacuum and they’re easier to move and clean, too.
To keep your stick vacuum in tip-top shape for as long as possible, make sure to maintain it on a regular basis. That means leaving it in its docking port when appropriate, wiping it down on a regular basis, and staying on top of things like emptying the vacuum’s canister and washing its filter. (Make sure to let any washable filters fully dry before reinstalling them!) For best results, remove any long fibres or hairs that get caught in your vacuum’s automatic brush roll, too.
Take the next step
Invest in your home’s everyday comfort level with a new cordless stick vacuum from Best Buy. These compact, lightweight vacuums are easy to use and store, making them the perfect choice for small apartments and supplementary cleaning.