Best Stick Vacuum of 2021
$329.99 at Amazon
|$550 List||$400 List|
$356.49 at Amazon
$520 at Amazon
|Pros||Convenient to use, great at cleaning||Unmatched cleaning performance, very convenient and easy to use||Fantastic at cleaning hard floors, very easy to use, swappable batteries||Compact, great at cleaning carpet, convenient||Fantastic cleaning power, versatile, easy to use|
|Cons||A bit loud||Exceptionally expensive, on the loud side, doesn't pick up well when going "reverse" over debris||A little pricey||Short battery life, expensive||Heavy, loud|
|Bottom Line||If you are looking for the absolute best of the best when it comes to stick vacuums, this is one of our all-time favorites||While this product excelled in all of our tests and is undeniably a top performer when it comes to stick vacuums, it's incredibly pricey||This is an exceptionally easy to use product that cleans well and sweeps away most of the competition||This high-end cordless model is one of the best you can get, but comes at a premium price||This corded model has excellent cleaning power and is great for those that need to clean heavier messes|
|Rating Categories||Shark Rocket Pet Pro||Dyson V10 Absolute||Shark IONFlex||Dyson V8 Absolute||Shark Rocket DuoClean|
|Hard Surface Cleaning (30%)|
|Ease Of Use (20%)|
|Carpet Cleaning (15%)|
|Specs||Shark Rocket Pet Pro||Dyson V10 Absolute||Shark IONFlex||Dyson V8 Absolute||Shark Rocket DuoClean|
|Weight||7.8 lbs||5.9 lbs||8.9 lbs||5.6 lbs||10 lbs|
|Cordless Battery Life||20:37
|8:19 min:sec||11:44 min:sec||8:19 min:sec||n/a|
|Maximum Corded Reach||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||33.5 ft|
|Measured Charge Time||150 min||190 min||210 min||240 min||n/a|
|Noise Level||73 dBa||78 dBa||74 dBa||77 dBa||77.5 dBa|
|Battery Type||Lithium-ion||NCA or Li-aluminum (a type of Lithium-ion)||Lithium-ion||Lithium-ion||n/a|
|Measured Cleaning Path Width||10.25"||9"||8"||9"||8"|
|Variable Suction Control||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Brush On/Off Switch?||Slows the brush for hard floor||No||Slows the brush for hard floor||No||Slows the brush for hard floor|
|Storage||Freestanding in MultiFLEX storage mode||Wall mount||Freestanding in MultiFLEX storage mode||Wall mount only||Wall Mount; or can detatch the top and hang on the bottom to stand upright|
Best Overall Stick Vacuum
Shark Rocket Pet Pro
For most people shopping for a top-tier stick vacuum, we can't recommend the Shark Rocket Pet Pro highly enough. This vacuum delivered incredibly impressive results throughout our entire suite of cleaning tests — even with the more challenging ones. It has one of the longer runtimes for a cordless vacuum and has tons and tons of features that make it exceptionally convenient and user-friendly to operate. On top of that, it is a very versatile option, with different attachments and configurations for cleaning the vast majority of your home and storing it in a freestanding way.
When it comes to flaws with the Pet Pro, we don't have much of a list. This stick vacuum is a little louder and heavier than average, but not by a whole lot. We also noticed that it struggles slightly when cleaning close up to a wall if you vacuum head-on, but this is easily remedied by running the vacuum parallel to the edge while cleaning. Overall, the Pet Pro easily claims the title of best overall stick vacuum and should definitely be on your shortlist if you are looking for a premium product.
Read Full Review: Shark Rocket Pet Pro
Best Bang for the Buck
If you are searching for a stick vacuum and can't stomach the thought of spending hundreds of dollars for one of the top-tier products, then check out the Moosoo. This model stacks up quite well compared to the top-tier models, all while costing considerably less. This cordless vacuum is very versatile and convenient to clean with, having both handheld and floor-cleaning modes, and the battery lasts a long time.
However, the Moosoo is far from our favorite when it comes to cleaning messes off of carpet. It did alright with flour but left plenty of rice and oats behind. It also required many more cleaning passes than the premium models to get the carpet equivalently clean. While it might not be the best for soft floors, we still happily recommend this to anyone shopping on a budget looking for a quick and easy way to clean up light messes between more rigorous cleanings.
Read Full Review: Moosoo XL-618A
Best on a Tight Budget
VonHaus 600W 2-in-1
The VonHaus 2-in-1 isn't the best stick vacuum we looked at, but it has its place. This model would be a great fit for someone who is shopping on a tight budget with a smaller home with hard floors. It can also conveniently transform into a handheld vacuum to get into all of those hard-to-reach places.
Regrettably, the VonHaus can't compare to the top-tier models for overall cleaning power. It continuously delivered a mediocre set of results in all of our cleaning tests. That said, as one of the least expensive models out there, we would still recommend it to anyone who has light messes to pick up.
Read Full Review: VonHaus 600W 2-in-1
Best for Mixed Surfaces
The Shark IONFlex is an excellent all-around stick vacuum. In our hard floor cleaning tests, this cordless vacuum performed extremely well. It easily folds for storage and has swappable batteries, so the runtime can be extended if you have a spare one on hand. It includes a handful of attachments, giving it the versatility to clean practically anywhere in your home, and switching between surface types is as easy as pressing a button — no manual head switching needed. It is also easy to operate and highly maneuverable.
On the downside, this vacuum is still quite pricey, though it is much less expensive than some of the other premium models. For many, a stick vacuum is meant to be a supplemental cleaning tool to be paired with a full-sized vacuum instead of being a sole cleaning method. This unit can exceed what most people may be willing to spend on one of these products. For a cordless vacuum, it's also a little on the heavy side. However, this is still an excellent product if you want high performanc.
Read Full Review: Shark IONFlex
Best Corded Option
Shark Rocket DuoClean
The Shark Rocket DuoClean is our top recommendation if you are looking for the added power of a corded model. This premium corded stick vacuum is extraordinarily easy to use, with the cleaning power to rival plenty of upright vacuums. It does an exceptional job cleaning up messes from hard floors and is also great on carpet. It is agile and has tons of versatility to clean all of the hard-to-reach places around your home.
Our main critique of this product is that it is on the heavy side. Additionally, while this vacuum's corded component grants you unlimited runtime while cleaning, it is undeniably much more cumbersome than the cordless models. However, we easily recommend this product as it is one of our favorites, and you won't have to worry about a battery deteriorating over time — making it a high-value purchase. It does a solid job of cleaning the home and retails for much less than the top-tier products.
Read Full Review: Shark Rocket DuoClean
Why You Should Trust Us
Our lead stick vacuum reviewers, Austin Palmer and David Wise both have extensive experience not only reviewing and testing stick vacuums but also uprights, canister vacuums, robot vacuums, and handhelds. For the past four years, they have been comparing and testing stick vacuums, continuously updating their testing plans and procedures as these products have evolved.
To see which stick vacuum came out on top of the pack and swept the competition under the rug, we devised a challenging series of tests to evaluate their performance side-by-side. We tried out these vacuums in practically every conceivable place in our homes and offices, spending hundreds of hours cleaning up all sorts of messes. We also did side-by-side quantitative tests with these products, measuring their effective runtime, recharge time, and noise levels, as well as maximum reach under furniture.
Related: How We Tested Stick Vacuums
Analysis and Test Results
Our tests are grouped into four weighted rating metrics: Convenience, Hard Surface Cleaning, Ease of Use, and Carpet Cleaning. For both our hard surface and carpet cleaning tests, we spread a measured amount of rice, oats, flour, cereal, and pet hair on a test floor to compare cleaning results side-by-side.
Related: Buying Advice for Stick Vacuums
Value is subjective, but for us, we look for that perfect balance of price and performance. What products will give you the level of performance you need for a price you feel justified in spending?
The top-scoring vacuums in our review are the Shark Rocket Pet Pro and Dyson V10 Absolute. However, the Pet Pro costs substantially less and is, therefore, a higher-value product all around. The Shark IONFlex also scores impressively well and, while more expensive than the Pet Pro, it offers a few other features and is still less than the Dyson V10.
If these options are outside of your budget, but you still need some excellent cleaning performance, then we recommend the Shark Rocket DuoClean. This vacuum is a top-tier product for a little less, but keep in mind that it's a corded model. We feel the Moosoo XL-618A is the best bargain option, retailing at a fraction of the cost and performing only marginally worse in our tests. The VonHaus 2-in-1 is one of the least expensive products overall of this group but has a fairly significant drop in performance. That said, if you just need something for light-duty messes and money is extremely tight, it's certainly better than having no vacuum at all.
The main advantage of these products over a traditional canister or upright vacuum is their substantially superior convenience factor — hence the heavier weighing of this metric. After all, what good is a stick vacuum if it is too cumbersome to use in the first place? Consequently, this metric accounts for 35% of the overall score for each product. We tested how well each vacuum cleaned non-floor areas, the cordless models' battery life, the reach of the corded models, each product's weight, and its storage method.
Claiming the top spot overall in this metric, we found the Shark Rocket Pet Pro incredibly convenient to use. We love how versatile this vacuum is, with the ability to transform into a handheld vacuum and included tools for cleaning all sorts of different areas around your home.
The Pet Pro also has one of the longest battery runtimes of the entire group, vacuuming for almost 21 minutes on a single charge on its economical power mode and close to 13 minutes when running the high-power Boost mode. The battery is swappable, and it charges in about two and a half hours in our experience — much faster than the claimed four-hour charge time. The Pet Pro is about average when it comes to weight, and we love that it can be stored in a freestanding configuration when bent over.
The Dyson V8 Absolute, the Dyson V10, Dyson V11 Animal, Shark IONFlex, Moosoo, and Eureka RapidClean Pro all follow in our rankings when it comes to convenience. These vacuums are all cordless, with the trio of Dyson models and the Moosoo having a wall-mounted storage system to keep them out of the way when not in use. We would have appreciated it if these vacuums could stand freely on their own, but if they aren't in their wall mounts, all of them need to be propped against something so as not to tip over. We like the Easy Rest feature on the RapidClean Pro for this — a purpose-built ledge/notch to make it easier to prop against a counter or chair if you need to set it down while cleaning.
The Shark IONFlex folds in half for easy freestanding storage in an out-of-the-way location, similar to the Rocket Pet Pro.
We didn't find the Dyson models' battery life to be all that impressive, especially when using their highest power setting. The V11 lasted the longest, operating for 12.5 minutes before the battery was depleted, with the V10 and the V8 both lasting for less than 10 minutes — considerably less than many of the Shark models and far less than the BISSELL AirRam which lasted an impressive 35 minutes. However, when run on a lower power cleaning setting, the runtime of the Dyson brethren can be significantly extended, which we found to be more than enough time to clean up most messes, especially in the case of the V10. The suction is so powerful that we actually had a hard time pushing the V10 on a low-pile carpet in maximum power mode.
The Dyson models come in between 5-7 pounds, a bit below average in terms of weight. The Moosoo and the RapidClean Pro tip the scales at just over five pounds, making them a solid choice if weight is an issue.
The IONFlex, weighing in close to 9 pounds, is on the heavier side and has a battery life of almost 12 minutes. Not the best stats, but the IONFlex and RapidClean Pro are both quite effective at cleaning non-floor areas of the house. Still, they are not quite as proficient as the Dyson models with their plethora of attachments. The Shark Rocket DuoClean is also noteworthy at cleaning non-floor surfaces — on par with the Dysons. It includes a ton of different attachments that are very easy to swap out, though it can become limited by the corded reach.
Hard Surface Cleaning
The hard floor cleaning performance of each vacuum accounted for 30% of its total score. We used flour, rice, oats, cereal, and pet hair to evaluate each model's performance. We also compared the floor's appearance before and after and the actual percentage of debris collected to determine the final score in this metric.
The Dyson V10, Shark IONFlex, and Shark Rocket DuoClean all tied for the top spot with their phenomenal cleaning performances. These vacuums were by far the best and the easiest to use of all the stick vacuums to clean up the rice, taking only a single pass to clean up in bare floor mode.
This stellar performance continued in our flour test, with all three of these models cleaning up the majority of the flour with a single pass and then taking just one additional pass to get any residual flour that had fallen into the cracks between the boards of the laminate floor.
This trio continued their dominance over the rest when cleaning up oatmeal and cereal, only taking a single pass to swallow all of the debris. Finally, the V10, Rocket, and IONFlex finished out their sweep by tying for the top score in our pet hair collection test, along with a handful of other models.
The Dyson V8 Absolute and Shark Rocket Pet Pro followed, both with very impressive results when it came to cleaning hard floors. The V8 Absolute did very well at cleaning up flour, taking about two passes to clean up the bulk of the flour, and even pulling flour from the cracks in between the boards.
The V8 also delivered an essentially perfect performance in our cereal and pet hair passes, collecting all of the mess that we laid out without any issues. It finished out this metric with a strong showing in our oat test, getting almost all of the oats in a single pass, though there was a tiny portion of oats flung to the side. Unfortunately, the V8's performance dropped in our rice test, doing a mediocre job overall. It cleaned up a decent amount of rice but flung a non-trivial number of grains out of the path of the vacuum.
The Pet Pro obliterated all of the rice we laid out with only a single cleaning pass. Even better, it didn't fling any grains off to the side out of the cleaning path while doing so. We couldn't go quite as quickly as the Rocket DuoClean model with a powered front brush roll, but it still did an excellent job. The Pet Pro continued to do exceptionally well in the flour test, thoroughly cleaning the floor after two passes. It did start to leave a few streaks from the wheels but then sucked up the remaining bit of flour on the return pass. We also like that it does a good job of pulling flour out of the cracks between the boards.
As the name would suggest, the Rocket Pet Pro also did a fine job of cleaning up stray pet hair from a laminate floor, easily eliminating the mess. It finished up with two more top-tier performances in our cereal and oat collecting tests, sucking up all the debris without any being flung to the side or pushed around too much.
Ease of Use
This metric accounts for 20% of the total score and is based on the different cleaning power levels available, how well each vacuum cleaned under furniture and close to edges, noise level, and maneuverability.
The Shark Rocket Pet Pro, Shark IONFlex, Shark Rocket DuoClean, Dyson V8, and Dyson V10 all tied for the top spot when it comes to user-friendliness and ease of use. All of these models have both a low and high power cleaning mode, with the IONFlex, Rocket Pet Pro, and the Rocket DuoClean having the added benefit of lowering the speed of the rotating brush for hard floor types. The Pet Pro also has a high-power Boost mode for stubborn messes. Rather than having a different mode for hard floors, the V8 and the V10 accomplish this by using a different brush head that has to be changed out manually.
The Dyson V10, Rocket DuoClean, and IONFlex continued their exceptional performance in our edge testing, beating out the V10, which left a little bit in the corner. The V10 does a better job of picking up debris head-on into a wall.
The V8, DuoClean, Pet Pro, and IONFlex also did an excellent job in our test cleaning under furniture, reaching the complete distance of about 37" under our test sofa. All of these top-tier models are agile and nimble, with swivel steering making handling a breeze.
The BISSELL AirRam and the Dyson V11 both came next in the rankings behind the top-tier stick vacuums. The AirRam is relatively quiet and has swivel steering, though it isn't quite as nimble as the Shark and Dyson models. Still, the AirRam reached completely under our simulated sofa and only left a little debris when cleaning in tight corners. It only lost a few points for its lack of different cleaning modes.
The V11 Animal has three cleaning modes: Boost, Eco, and Auto. The Auto mode is a unique innovation for these products, automatically adjusting the suction depending on the amount of mess and floor type, doing its best to balance cleaning performance and battery life. Despite this, the V11 doesn't have the option to turn off the rotating brush.
The V11 also does fairly well at cleaning along the walls of a room but does tend to miss debris in corners. It has a low profile, allowing it to reach very far under most pieces of furniture. It cleaned about 33" under our simulated sofa with 5.5" of clearance between the floor and the bottom of the furniture. The V11 is about average in terms of noise level and is fairly maneuverable with a swivel steering head.
Accounting for the remaining 15% of each vacuum's total score, this metric is composed of all of our carpet cleaning tests. We again used rice, cereal, oats, flour, and pet hair as our sample debris. We ranked each vacuum on how many passes it took to clean up the messes, as well as how much residual debris each left behind. We tested on both a flat, low-pile carpet and a fluffier, medium-pile carpet.
The Rocket Pet Pro, Dyson V11, V10, and V8 all tied for the overall top score when it came to cleaning carpets. The V10 and V8 both did very well when it came to our rice collection challenge, collecting all of the debris from the flat carpet with only two passes, whereas the V11 needed an additional pass or two to achieve the same level of cleanliness. However, all three Dyson models did much better with the fluffier medium-pile carpet.
All three Dyson vacuums did exceptionally well at cleaning flour from a flatter, low-pile carpet, getting the vast majority in a single cleaning pass and tying for the best cleaning performance we have seen to date. The V8 and V11 also delivered stellar performances when cleaning up cereal, slightly outperforming the V10.
While we felt that the V10 had far superior suction to the V8, given the distance between the head and the floor, there isn't much space for larger debris items, leading it to push things like cereal around for a while before it collects them. However, the V10 has more than enough clearance to collect debris like pet hair and oats with ease. The V8 left just a few more strands of pet hair behind, but the amount was barely noticeable.
The Pet Pro got off to a great start with rice on flat carpet, cleaning up the vast majority of all the rice in the first pass, with just a light follow-up pass to grab a few fragments. It performed equally well with fluffy carpet, with only 1-2 broken rice grains eluding it. It also handled the flour with ease, especially when we used the turbo Boost function to increase suction. There was only a small amount of flour deep in the piles of the carpet that it couldn't clean.
Continuing to back up its name, the Rocket Pet Pro did very well at cleaning up pet hair. It got the bulk of all the hair with a single forward and back cleaning pass without the brush roll getting tangled. However, we did find just a few more stray hairs than some of the other top-scoring models upon close inspection.
The Pet Pro finished with a practically perfect score when it came to cleaning up oats from both types of carpet. We would estimate it easily got over 99% of the mess with just two passes, leaving behind only the smallest fragments. It pushed around Cheerios a bit — particularly on the fluffier, medium-pile carpet — but it eventually cleaned up everything, just a bit slower than the Rocket DuoClean.
The Rocket DuoClean and the IONFlex both followed in our carpet cleaning rankings with solid performances. The Rocket did a fantastic job of cleaning up everything except flour, a difficult assessment for all the vacuums.
This IONFlex finished out with a strong performance in this metric's final two tests — pet hair and cereal. It once again almost matched the Rocket at pet hair's performance and at collecting cereal. Following the top models' stellar performance, the Shark Navigator Freestyle earned an above-average score. This model also performed admirably on hard surfaces and is a great consideration if you need a lower-budget model.
We hope you have found this article informative and helpful while shopping for a stick vacuum, regardless of whether you're seeking a top-tier product that can go toe-to-toe with a traditional upright or a budget option that offers a convenient way to clean up small messes.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer