The greatest thing to ever happen to vacuum cleaners was tossing away the cord, making them slimmer and trimming the fat. Dyson may have revolutionized cordless stick vacuums, but the manufacturer is no longer the de facto brand when it comes to getting a good stick vac. Nearly every home appliance brand has a line of cordless stick vacuums these days, and it's easy to see why everyone loves them — they're lightweight, convenient and efficient.
While cordless stick vacs tend to be fairly expensive, we've found that the pros outweigh the cons. A good stick vacuum, like any good vacuum cleaner in general, should be able to work efficiently across multiple surface types and, of course, it should a really good job at sucking up dirt, dust, hair and whatever grime is in your home. To help you find the best vacuum cleaner for yourself, we did some early spring cleaning to help you find the 9 best models worth your time and money.
Best Overall Stick VacuumDyson V12 Detect Slim Read More
BEST SPLURGE STICK VACUUMSamsung Bespoke Jet Cordless Stick Vacuum Read More
Best Budget Stick VacuumMoosoo K17G Hardwood and Carpet Vacuum Read More
Best Stick Vacuum for Pet HairTineco Pure One S15 Pro Tineco Read More
Best Stick Vacuum for Reaching Under FurnitureShark Stratos Cordless with Clean Sense IQ Read More
What to Look for in a Stick Vacuum
Arguably the most important thing to look for in a stick vacuum is its runtime. You should know, however, that the runtime denoted actually applies to the vacuum when used at its lowest speed setting. Choose a stick vacuum with a battery life that will accommodate the size of your home. Vacuums can have a runtime as short as 20 minutes, while others can last for a couple of hours. If you live in a studio apartment, those short-running vacuums will do you just fine, but that same vacuum probably won't do you any good if you live in a huge home. Another thing to note is that some vacuums will also come with an interchangeable battery, essentially doubling its runtime but adding extra stuff you need to store.
Dust Bin Capacity
Every stick vacuum has a different dust bin capacity, which can influence which stick vacuum you buy. For fewer trips to the trash bin, opt for a dust bin with a greater volume. Smaller dust bins are fine if you have less area to vacuum, but it will be annoying to frequently empty the bin when you live in a larger space.
Pretty much every stick vacuum will come with additional attachments whether it's to use on furniture or to turn the stick vacuum into a handheld vacuum. Go through the attachments that come with the stick vacuum you want to make sure they'll actually be of use to you. Otherwise, you're paying for bells and whistles and nothing more.
Corded vs. Cordless Vacuums
Although you may default to wanting a cordless vac because they're a little more lightweight and hassle-free, you may want to take a moment to consider a corded vacuum as well. According to Özüm Muharrem-Patel, Senior Test Technician at Dyson, there are three factors to consider when deciding between a cordless stick vacuum or a corded upright: size, versatility and desired run time. "Our corded upright vacuums are ideal for large homes where storage isn’t an issue and that may have multiple floors where extended runtime is needed," Muharrem-Patel wrote in an email. "Dyson cordless vacuums are battery powered meaning runtime is not unlimited, however they offer additional versatility as they convert easily to handheld vacuums and can be used along with attachments to clean specific areas in the home or car." If you're looking for a Dyson specifically, the brand actually has a quiz to help you find the best machine for you.
How We Tested
When it came to testing, our reviewers were on the lookout for how the vacuums performed in four areas: assembly, charging, cleaning and emptying. They considered whether the vacuum was intuitive and easy to assemble as well as whether it was convenient to charge and store. They tried the vacuums on different surfaces to assess how each handled hard floors versus carpeting. They maneuvered their vacuums around and under furniture and in tough-to-reach corners of their homes.
Each vacuum we tested had different strengths, but when put to the test, they all made cleaning our homes easier.
Dyson V12 Detect Slim
- Runtime: 60 minutes
- Dust Bin Capacity: 0.1 gallon
- Weight: 5.2 pounds
The V12 Detect Slim is Dyson's most extra cordless stick. Like the V15, this thing has a laser in its head, but it's also $100 cheaper and 24 percent lighter. The vacuum's Laser Slim Fluffy cleaner head uses a green light to illuminate dust particles, as small as the size of human red blood cells, that are naked to the human eye. Watching those tiny particles get sucked up makes vacuuming incredibly satisfying, like an IRL version of Space Invaders. I loved how lightweight and easy to maneuver this vacuum was. Not only did it make vacuuming easy — and a lot quicker — it almost felt like playing a video game.
To further let you know it's doing its job, the V12 Detect uses something called a piezo sensor, which turns the vibrations of dust being sucked up into electric signals, which help the V12 relay just how many particles you've vacuumed. It's then displayed to you through the LCD display. We told you this thing was extra. And although a lot of brands are adding lights to vacuums now, none of them have quite lived up to Dyson's version, according to our testing.
My only qualm with the vacuum after months of use is that the Motorbar Cleaner Head attachment, specifically meant to detangle hair, isn't great at picking up small particles, sometimes spitting them out again when I turn the vacuum off. Also, because the dustbin is so compact, it doesn't self-eject super efficiently — in other words, you're going to have to get your hands a little dirty while emptying. But all in all, it's a small price to ensure that you'll have the cleanest floors possible.
Samsung Bespoke Jet
- Runtime: 120 minutes
- Dust Bin Capacity: 0.13 gallons
- Weight: 5.7 pounds
This Samsung vacuum will cost you a pretty penny, but we think it looks as expensive as it is. The Bespoke Jet charges quickly and works well on both hard floors and carpeting. And it has a five-step filtration system for dust and allergens. Our tester was blown away by how quiet and easy to use this vacuum was. "I may just be used to bulky, loud, corded vacuum cleaners and love my Roomba for keeping the house floors tidy, but the Samsung Bespoke Jet made me want to chuck that and vacuum every day," she said. And although it is pretty pricey, the setup is quite aesthetically pleasing.
Our tester's only two complaints were that the vacuum doesn't have the headlight that many new, high-end ones do nowadays and that it doesn't stand up on its own. "I've noticed this as an inconvenience if I'm vacuuming an area and need to move something out of the way," she said. "I either have to lean the vacuum against a wall or hold it upright, otherwise it'll fall over."
Moosoo K17G Hardwood and Carpet Vacuum
- Runtime: 30 minutes
- Dust Bin Capacity: 0.11 gallons
- Weight: 2.84 pounds
Although you'll notice from the initial specs of the Moosoo K17G that everything seems to be pared down, from the extremely lightweight to low runtime — and so is the price tag. At less than a third of the price of the V12, this vacuum outperforms expectations. Our tester has owned the vacuum for over three years now and says it's still getting the job done, from sucking up dust bunnies to dog fur. "After testing a few other options in its price range, the Moosoo still stands out as having a solid build construction with a strong suction," he said. Our tester attributes the vacuum's longevity to its washable HEPA filter. "There's a metal mesh that captures large debris, a removable pre-filter that traps small dust particles and finally the cartridge-style HEPA filter that are all washable," he said.
After years of testing, our reviewer has just a couple of complaints. Firstly, emptying the dust bin is a bit awkward and can get messy. And the vacuum seems to struggle with larger items as well as higher-pile carpeting. But all in all, it's still up and running three years in, making it a great, budget-friendly investment.
Tineco Pure One S15 Pro
- Runtime: 40 minutes
- Dust Bin Capacity: 0.16 gallons
- Weight: 6.8 pounds
The Pure One S15 Pro is one of Tineco's latest smart vacuum models, boasting the line's signature iLoop Smart Sensor that automatically elevates suction power for you. It has an LCD screen that shows what mode you're in (i.e., max, auto or manual), and it has a five-step filter system that also purifies the air as it cleans. Our tester likes that, despite how high-tech the vacuum is, it was very easy to assemble and use. It's lightweight and easy to move around, plus the weighted charging dock is ultra convenient for storage. Tineco actually has a version of this vacuum specifically for tackling pet hair, but our tester found that this one was excellent at picking up hair and fur, especially with the mini brush attachment.
For all the things to like about the vacuum, our tester said that it has its flaws too. Mainly, there seems to be a tradeoff between the strong power and the lack of endurance. "For a small apartment, you won't have any problems, but if you're cleaning a whole home (depending on the size) you may need to cut your deep-clean short," he said. Our tester also notes that he's often run into issues transitioning from hard flooring to carpeting. "I'm not sure if it's the sensors in this smart vacuum or the sheer strength of the suctioning itself, but in the transition from hardwood to rug, it shuts down — the culprit being a non-existent entanglement in the brush roller," he said.
Shark Stratos Cordless with Clean Sense IQ
- Runtime: 60 minutes
- Dust Bin Capacity: 0.18 gallons
- Weight: 8.9 pounds
The Shark Stratos is the most powerful of the brand's stick vacs — and I could certainly tell. At 8.9 pounds, it's not the most lightweight vacuum I've ever used, but I actually appreciated how sturdy and weighty the vacuum felt. It was incredibly easy to maneuver under furniture and into tight corners. And the run time was long enough for me to do two full run-throughs of a one-bedroom apartment with some charge to spare.
Although this Shark doesn't come with a docking station, it conveniently folds down to stand upright on its own, which makes it great for storing in small spaces. Like the Dyson V12, it has a light in the front that reveals dust and dirt, automatically adjusting the power to take on whatever's in front of it. And although a small detail, it comes with a little odor neutralizer that fits on the head of the vacuum, leaving a fresh scent wherever you go.
Although the vacuum shares a lot of similarities with our top pick, some of those features fall short in terms of performance. For example, the vacuum's headlight functions more as a flashlight illuminating dark spots beneath furniture and in dimly lit corners, rather than revealing unseen dirt like the V12. Additionally, the LED screen on the front of the vacuum is helpful but would be more so if it was placed in a spot that was more visible while vacuuming.
Tineco Pure One S15 Essentials
- Runtime: 40 minutes
- Dust Bin Capacity: 0.12 gallons
- Weight: 6.8 pounds
You may be wondering if there could really be that many differences between the S15 Essentials and Pro to warrant it being listed twice in this guide. And although there are only a few differences, they are pretty significant. To start, the Essentials is $200 cheaper and a little less smart than the Pro without app integration or voice control. And it'll take you about an hour and a half more to charge it. Like the Pro, an LED screen on the front of the vacuum lets you know when it's clogged or tangled (which doesn't happen often) or when it's low on battery. Plus, it has a headlight to illuminate dark spots, much like the Shark Stratos. Our tester loved that he didn't have to remember to charge the vacuum since it automatically charges in its wireless docking station after cleaning. Our reviewer said the dock was discreet and appreciated the dedicated slots for the attachments. And despite its weight and dust bin capacity, the vacuum actually felt quite small and compact.
Much like the S15 Pro, our tester did note that the vacuum seems to burn battery fast, but it did, however, work quite well on the lower setting. His biggest complaint was that, while helpful, the LED screen was not in an optimal spot for checking while vacuuming, much like several of the vacuums on this list. "It's pointed straight ahead, so you need to stop and flip your wrist to read what's wrong or how long you have left before it wears itself out," he said.
- Runtime: 120 minutes
- Dust Bin Capacity: 0.26 gallons
- Weight: 5.95 pounds
It's rare that you find a vacuum (at least one that isn't a Dyson) that lives up to its expensive price tag. This LG vacuum can tackle everything from smaller dust particles to larger debris, and it looks good doing it. Our tester appreciated the five attachments that came with the vacuum, including a pet hair tool and a mop attachment. It also comes with two batteries, extra filters and a tower that stores, charges and empties the vacuum. It works well on different surfaces and has a long run time capacity that makes it good for larger spaces. "It’s great for tough stuff like animal fur and genuinely innovative in its dustbin-emptying tower while also being effective at getting hard-to-reach spots," he said.
The major downside of the vacuum is that you'll have a continued cost for the proprietary bags required for the self-emptying docking station. "That, combined with the ~$1,000 asking price means this is one very costly, albeit very nice, vacuum," he said.
Samsung Jet 90
- Runtime: 60 minutes
- Dust Bin Capacity: 0.21 gallon
- Weight: 6.17 pounds
Samsung's cordless stick vacuums are recent additions to the product category, and its Jet 90 is a worthy competitor to high-end stick vacs, like those from Dyson. As our tester says, it has "good suction, including multiple power levels and many different attachments [that] make it easy to clean just about any surface in the house." The battery has a 60-minute runtime, and purchasing a spare battery means you can charge one while still vacuuming to essentially double your runtime. It has a decently sized dust bin, with almost a three-and-a-half cup capacity, plus it's moderately lightweight — just six pounds — so you can reduce arm fatigue while vacuuming, and reaching high surfaces is a little less strenuous.
On the flip side, the vacuum has a considerably shorter battery life when pushed to its highest setting. And the $650 price tag is a lot for what you're getting, especially when there are newer models on the market.
Miele Triflex HX1
- Runtime: 60 minutes
- Dust Bin Capacity: 0.13 gallon
- Weight: 8 pounds
Miele has an old-school cool feel to it mainly because it feels like the vacuum brand your grandparents (or great-grandparents) had. In 2023, its cordless stick vac makes it a worthwhile purchase for those who want consistently good vacuuming abilities and a better-than-most customer service line. The Triflex HX1 has a gimmicky self-park feature, which basically inches itself against a wall to prevent scuffs and scratches.
Our tester loved how the power hub can be configured to different uses, whether you need to vacuum upright, above the head or stick-less (for cramped spaces like your car's interior). "Its cleaning performance is consistently good — it makes quick work of dog hair (mine is medium length, coarse and prone to massive shedding), dirt and the other unnamed bits of stuff that wind up in its path," our reviewer said.
Although the different configurations of the vacuum are undoubtedly clever, they're also a little difficult to get a handle on at first, losing points for user-friendliness. And once again, the $600 price tag is on the pricey side for a model that's been around for a while.
Other Good Options
Dyson V8: Our former pick for best overall vacuum, the Dyson V8 boasts 40 minutes of runtime, a washable filter and powerful suction. Dyson's older models, which includes the V8, are constantly on sale, so it's easy to scoop a good deal on a new or refurbished model.
Bissell IconPet Turbo Edge: Although our team hasn't gotten hands-on with the IconPet Turbo Edge from Bissell quite yet, the vacuum is supposed to be well-suited for pet owners, thanks to its tangle-free brush roll.
New and Upcoming Releases
Our recommendations are based on real-world testing. Here's a snapshot of new and unreleased cordless stick vacuums our testers are considering for future updates to this guide.
Lupe Pure Cordless Vacuum Cleaner: Designed to be the last vacuum you'll ever own, Lupe's vacuum can run for up to 60 minutes, has an allergy filter and boasts a suction intensifying head that works with all floor types.
Dyson Gen5 Detect: Not yet available in the US, Dyson's latest stick vacuum includes the brand's fastest motor to date, a strong laser head attachment and can run for up to 70 minutes.
Are Refurbished Stick Vacuums Worth It?
If you want to stretch your budget a little further, a refurbished vacuum can often help you save hundreds on a premium machine. For example, Dyson has a specific marketplace for the brand's refurbished machines called the Dyson Outlet. And although you're likely to be shopping older models in the outlet, you shouldn't be concerned about the quality you'll get. "Machines sold on the platform have passed a detailed inspection and hundreds of tests to ensure they meet the same standards as a new machine," Muharrem-Patel wrote. "And, when needed, genuine Dyson replacement parts are used to fix the machine." Additionally, by buying an official refurbished model through the brand itself, you're entitled to the same customer support as those who buy a new machine should anything go wrong.
How to Care for a Stick Vacuum
When it comes to keeping the vacuum itself clean, there's more to it than just emptying your dust bin. Muharrem-Patel recommends cleaning your filter at least once a month, first tapping it over a trashcan and then running it under warm water. You can do the same with the dust bin and attachments can be cleaned up with a damp cloth. The key is to make sure everything is dry before putting the vacuum back together — you'll need at least 24 hours of drying time for the filter.