Stick Vacuum Cleaners

Stick vacuum cleaners are lightweight and rather compact and slim upright vacuum cleaners. They come in broad rage of subtypes and varieties, depending on the power source, convertibility options, dirt collection, air filtration, cleaning attachments, etc.

Stick vacuum cleaners are commonly used as the second vacuum cleaners, especially in larger homes and apartments, although some models are often used as the main vacuums, not only in smaller homes and apartments.

Due to the lightweight design, they are also preferred choice as the best vacuums for elderly people.

Published: March 1, 2019.

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Convertible vs. Non-Convertible Stick Vacuum Cleaners

Stick vacuums are commonly designed as slim and narrow upright vacuums, except that stick vacuums are lighter than full size upright vacuums, usually have somewhat weaker suction motors, slightly narrower cleaner heads, smaller dirt cups etc.

As such, stick vacuums are very maneuverable units, being able to easily navigate around the floor objects and obstacles and can be used by elderly people and even kids - kids under supervision of adults, of course.

However, in order to make them even more versatile, some models are designed as 2-in-1 (or even 3-in-1) units, combining stick and handheld vacuums in one unit, hence the name.

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Such 2-in-1 units can be used for vacuuming practically all surfaces from the floor to the ceiling, using main cleaner head(s) and available cleaning attachments.

But, in order to make them convertible, such units usually have slightly lower dirt cup capacity, lighter and somewhat weaker suction motors, more complex design etc. You win something, You lose something :)

 Cordless vs Corded Stick Vacuum Cleaners

Mains power let any vacuum to operate as long as there is a mains power present in the form of wall power socket.

Vacuuming range of corded vacuums is limited by the length of the power cord, which must be pulled around during vacuuming.

Corded stick vacuums feature suction motors in 600-700 watts range, rarely more. Stronger motors create stronger suction, but they are also heavier, bulkier, and require better sound insulation. Also, they cost more.

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Cordless stick vacuums are mostly powered with power fade-free lithium ion batteries. Some older models still use Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries, but they are being slowly phased out.

Lithium ion batteries come mostly as 4-cells 14.4 volts, 5-cells 18 volts, 6-cells 21.6 volts, 7-cells 25.2 volts or even 8-cells 28.8 volts battery packs.

There are lithium ion battery packs with 3 or less or 8 or more battery cells, but they are not very common.

Lithium ion batteries are lightweight, have larger capacity when compared with other battery types, have no memory effect and mostly feature fade-free power - as long as there is some charge in the battery, vacuum can operate at the full power.

Lithium ion batteries on the other hand do cost more than NiMH batteries, but the performance difference justify the price difference. Also, these batteries are sensitive to charging conditions and MUST be charged only with the proper chargers intended for these batteries!

Cordless stick vacuums feature suction motors mostly in 100 - 300 watts range. Stronger motors require larger batteries that store more energy and they can be costly. However, high end cordless stick vacuums like Dyson Cyclone V10 feature 7-cells 25.2 volts lithium ion batteries based on Nickel-Cobalt-Aluminium (NCA) technology, that are being able to provide enough energy for their 525 W motors for 8 minutes, creating 150 Air Watts of suction.dyson cyclone v10

In order to preserve the energy stored in the onboard battery, cordless vacuums often have power controls that allow the user to set different suction power.

For example, Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute has three power settings with the operating time up to 60 minutes when set to lowest power, up to 23 minutes when set to medium power, and up to 8 minutes when set to burst mod power.

Note: such performances come at the high price and Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute is one of the most expensive cordless stick vacuums on the market. But, its performances are very close to the performances of corded units, comparable (up to the point) even with the large upright vacuums.

Bagless or Bagged Stick Vacuum Cleaners

Most stick vacuum cleaners are by default bagless units.

They usually feature transparent dirt cups/bins, allowing the users to see type and amount of the vacuumed dirt. Capacity of such dirt cups is smaller when compared with the dirt bins of large bagless units - stick vacuums are, after all, designed to be compact and slim, sacrificing the volume, including the capacity of the dirt cups.

Typical capacity of dirt cups are in the 0.4 - 0.9 liters range, rarely more.

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Some dirt cups are detachable, allowing the users to empty them directly into the trash can. Units with the fixed dirt cups usually feature bottom emptying system, allowing the users to empty the dirt cups directly into the trash can, but holding the whole unit (or just handheld part).

 Cleaner Heads and Cleaning Tools and Attachments

In order to be able to clean various floor types and elevated surfaces, stick vacuums feature main cleaner heads optimized for vacuuming certain type of the floors, like bare floors or carpeted floors.

Some manufacturers equip their units with universal main cleaner heads, enabling the units to be effectively used on different floor types using single main cleaner head.

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In order to be able to clean elevated surfaces, stick vacuums commonly feature additional cleaning tools like crevice tools, dusting brushes, mini motorized tools, mini flexible cleaning hoses, under appliance cleaning tools etc.

Also, some convertible units feature simple, detachable cleaning wands, but some come with detachable cleaning wands that feature adjustable length or cleaning angle. Such adjustable wands can be of great help when cleaning hard and awkward to reach areas and surfaces. Also, they can make cleaning task much more comfortable.

True HEPA Air filtration - Yes or No?

There are several levels of HEPA air filtration, but generally, when somebody says 'true HEPA' air filtration, it means that the vacuum is able to clean and trap inside at least 99.97% of 0.3 microns or larger particles.

This is not easy to achieve since such HEPA air filters are expensive, and cause larger pressure drop.

Thus, many vacuums feature 'HEPA' air filters that are being able to trap 99.9% of such particles, which is also very good result, but they cause lesser pressure drop and are more energy efficient.

Note: some manufacturers claim that they use air filters made from 'HEPA grade materials' or similar, but they don't state the level of air filtration. That doesn't mean that such vacuums have bad air filtration, just be aware of such practice.


 Which Stick Vacuum Cleaner is the Best?

stick vacuum cleanersThere isn't an easy answer to that question since all people are different and have different requirements regarding the vacuum cleaners, stick vacuums included.

Personally, if you are looking for the stick vacuum cleaner, go for cordless, bagless, convertible vacuum cleaners. Such vacuum can be used even as the main vacuum cleaner in small to medium homes and apartments, can be used as excellent emergency vacuum and can be used as the second vacuum cleaner in large homes and apartments.

Just be sure that the main cleaner head fits your floors and that additional cleaning tools allow You to keep the rest of your home clean and pleasant to live in.

And one more thing - be sure that the unit can be left in the charging dock indefinitely, i.e. that it has intelligent battery charger which stops with the charging when the battery is fully recharged. This detail is often overlooked, but it is so important for daily use, since it can be rather annoying to wait for the unit to recharge fully and than to unplug it from the charger.