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Splurge vs save: The cheaper stick vacuums that compete with expensive ones

Choosing wisely can save you hundreds of dollars, without compromising on performance.

splurge and save stick vacuums dyson cyclone v8 animal vax blade cordless pet pro vx63 lead
Last updated: 19 May 2022

Vacuuming is one task that most of us would prefer to be over and done with as quickly as possible. Stick vacuums are a great option to help you stay on top of the vacuuming – without having to bust out your heavy barrel or upright vacuum each time you want to do a quick clean-up. 

Although a stick vacuum probably won't completely replace your traditional vacuum, if you're going to go for a stick, you'll still want one that performs well so you don't need to use it as frequently. But how much do you need to spend to get a good clean?

We put two expensive stick vacuums up against two cheaper products to show you how to get good suck for your buck, even if you're not buying the most expensive product on the market. 

Check out our stick vacuum reviews for the full results of our expert lab tests to find the right product for you. 

splurge and save dyson cyclone v8 animal vax blade cordless pet pro vx63

Dyson V8 Animal vs Vax Blade Cordless Pet Pro VX63.

Splurge vs save: Big-name brand vs cheap challenger

Dyson is one of the best-known brands in the vacuum market – and it's also well known for its expensive price tag. So do you need to drop all that cash to get the stick vac of your dreams? Not necessarily, if you shop smart. 

"Dyson's market dominance means the brand is often front of mind when buying a new stick vac, but our tests show that some cheaper models can perform surprisingly well," says Kim Gilmour, CHOICE's vacuum expert.

However, there are other Dyson stick vacs that performed well in our review, so don't write the entire brand off. Before you go shopping, check our expert stick vacuum cleaner reviews to make sure you're buying a solid performer. 

Dyson's market dominance means the brand is often front of mind when buying a new stick vac, but our tests show that some cheaper models can perform surprisingly well

Kim Gilmour, CHOICE vacuum expert

The Vax actually had the edge over the Dyson on hard floors, and scored a little higher for ease of use. However, the Vax fell behind on carpet, so it's probably better suited to uncarpeted areas of your house. 

Both scored a perfect 100% on pet hair removal, which shows you don't necessarily need to buy a more expensive vacuum to still get good results on removing Fido's and/or Whiskers' fur. 

The Vax is a bit heavier at 3kg (the Dyson is 2.5kg), which is something to take into account if you have mobility difficulties, or if you expect you'll be using it to vacuum up high. (Although this might be a positive if you're hoping to get a bit of a workout!) 

It just goes to show that it doesn't always pay to choose the more expensive model when you're looking for a new stick vacuum.

splurge and save miele triflex hx1 pro infinity samsung jet 70 pet

Miele Triflex HX1 Pro Infinity vs Samsung Jet 70 Pet.

Splurge vs save: The exxy European vs the everyday brand

Despite a huge $600 price gap, our lab tests found this Samsung workhorse matched the high-rolling Miele model on most cleaning tests. 

The vacuums received almost exactly the same scores across all our tests, but the LG was slightly ahead in the car cleaning test. They were neck and neck when it came to cleaning hard floors. Unfortunately, neither of them impressed our experts with their abilities to clean carpet quickly.

"Miele is traditionally known for its reliable bagged vacuums, which remain popular with CHOICE members," says Kim. "Its first generation stick vacuum doesn't blow away the competition, with some other models providing more bang for your buck."

Miele is traditionally known for its reliable bagged vacuums, but some other models provide more bang for your buck

However, the extra $600 the Miele costs will buy you extra running time. The Samsung runs for just six minutes on full power, while the Miele runs for 15 minutes. But you can buy swappable batteries for these stick vacs, which will extend the running time if you're determined not to pull out your barrel vac. 

Both stick vacs were scored as 'very good' by our expert testers for ease of use, which assesses how easy it is to manoeuvre the vacuum, whether the controls and accessories are easy to use, and how easy it is to empty and clean the dirt receptacle. 

However, the Miele will give you some grief when you're emptying it: our testers had trouble putting the bin back onto the Miele after emptying. And despite the higher price, the Miele actually has a smaller dust collector: 300mL compared with the Samsung's 600mL. 

Both models can be used in handheld mode to reach high areas. But the Miele weighs about a kilogram more than the Samsung, so you may need to factor that in if you anticipate you'll be using your stick vac to clean high-up spaces such as ceilings and curtains.

*We've seen this model selling for less than the RRP at the time of publishing, so you might be able to pick it up more cheaply.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.