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Stick vacuum cleaner reviews

We test 19 stick vacuums, ranging in price between $59 and $599.
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We review 19 stick vacuum cleaners, ranging in price from $59 to $599.

We've assessed each stick vacuum for:

  • hard floor dirt pick-up 
  • ease of use
  • cleaning corners and edges
  • pet hair removal
  • dirt removal from carpet, and
  • noise.

See Brands tested and How we test for more detail.

Stick vacuum cleaners are useful around the kitchen and other areas of the home where you have an annoying spill and don’t want to get out the dust brush and pan. Easily hidden away in a cupboard, they take up less room than a full-sized vacuum cleaner - and most can be split into two devices, with a handheld vacuum being a part of the stick vacuum.

Stick vacs aren’t expected to perform as well at cleaning carpet as a standard vacuum cleaner. While we test them on carpet as per usual, we also test them on the spot-cleaning tasks they should excel at, including picking up spilled cornflakes, potting mix and flour from a hard floor, and how well they clean a car in handheld mode. The handheld score isn’t factored into their overall score, but is useful if you would often use them in handheld mode.

For more information on vacuum cleaners, see our Laundry and cleaning section.

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Brands and models tested

  • Bissell AirRAM Cordfree #1047-F (newly tested)
  • Bosch Move 2in1 BBHMOVE1AU (newly tested)
  • Bosch Move 2in1 BBHMOVE4AU 
  • Cleanstar CSV001 
  • Dirt Devil DDST6V (newly tested)
  • Dyson DC 44 Animal (newly tested)
  • Dyson DC 59 (newly tested)
  • Dyson DC35 Multi Floor Stick Vac 
  • Electrolux Ergorapido Plus ZB2941 
  • Electrolux Ergorapido ZB2932 
  • Electrolux Ultrapower Plus ZB5012 (newly tested)
  • Homemaker 2-in1 (NK-165) (newly tested)
  • Hoover Freejet 19.2V Powerful 
  • Hoover Heritage 5210 
  • Rowenta Air Force Extreme RH8753 (newly tested)
  • Russell Hobbs RHSV1C 
  • Vax Revolution VS101 
  • Volta Multi Master UB156D

How we test

Hard floor dirt pick-up Our tester, Peter Horvath, uses a variety of different materials such as cornflakes, potting mix and flour to evaluate how well the stick vacuum picks up each of these from a hard floor surface.

Ease of use testing measures how easy it is to manoeuvre the cleaner; how difficult it is to empty and clean the dirt receptacle; operation of the controls; and how easy the supplied accessories are to use and store.

Cleaning corners and edges Sand is spread into a right-angled corner and vacuumed to see how close to the corner each cleaner is able to pick-up dirt using the standard cleaning head.

Pet hair removal Peter embeds cat hair into the carpet and vacuums it to a set pattern and speed in exactly the same way as the dirt pick-up test. Pet hair for testing supplied by Woof Cat & Dog Grooming, Bondi, NSW.

Dirt removal from carpet He embeds sand evenly into a section of carpet and vacuums. The sand is weighed and recorded; this is done twice for each model and the results averaged. With normal vacuums we pre-load the dust collector with dust, but these stick vacs have a very small dirt receptacle capacity so we adapted the method by not pre-loading.

Car cleaning For those that separate from the stick into a handheld vacuum, we disperse pebbles and sand throughout the front and rear floor of a car and evaluate how well they pick up these materials. This is not counted towards the final score, as not all vacs are 2-in-1 products.

Scratch test Peter sets the cleaning head to the hard floor setting and stops the brush from rotating where possible. All scored 100% for this test, so we didn’t include this result in the overall score.

Noise is measured at the user’s position at maximum power setting. Some models emit a high-pitched whistle that can be irritating, even though they may not be louder than the others.
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