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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 lead
Last updated: 24 June 2021

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. 

While 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 v10 animal vs vax blade 2 max vx82

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. 

Other Dyson stick vacs performed well in our review, so don't write off the entire brand

Both vacuums were scored as 'good' for their performance on both hard floors and carpets, but received 'very good' scores for the thorough carpet clean test. Both scoring a perfect 100% on pet hair removal, it just goes to show that you don't necessarily need to buy a 'specialist' pet vacuum to still get good results on removing Fido's and/or Whiskers' fur. 

Our experts rated both vacuums as 'very good' for ease of use, which means they're easy to manoeuvre, the controls and accessories are relatively easy to use and they're straightforward to empty and clean. 

The Vax is a bit heavier at 3kg (the Dyson is 2.58kg), which is something to take into account if you have mobility issues, 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!) And you'll get a three-year warranty for the Vax, compared to a two-year warranty on the Dyson. 

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 vs lg cordzero a9essential

Splurge vs save: The exxy European vs the everyday brand

Despite a huge $400 price gap, our lab tests found this LG workhorse matched or beat the high-rolling Miele model on most cleaning tests. 

While the vacuums received almost exactly the same scores across all our tests, the LG was slightly ahead on the thorough carpet clean test and the quick clean test – and was streets ahead in the car cleaning test. They were neck and neck when it came to cleaning hard floors. 

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

The extra $400 will buy you HEPA filter and extra running time

However, the extra $400 the Miele costs will buy you HEPA filter, and extra running time. The LG runs for just 6 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 looks at 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, both models will give you some grief when you're emptying them: our testers found the LG's filter messy to clean and had trouble putting the bin back onto the Miele after emptying. The Miele weighs about a kilo more than the LG, so you may need to factor that in if you anticipate you'll be using your stick vac to clean high-up spaces like ceilings and curtains. 

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