Looking for a new vacuum cleaner these days is not as straightforward as it once was simply due to the wide range of choice.
This is particularly the case in recent times as cordless stick vacuums have taken up more market share and present a viable alternative to upright cleaners. This may have left you pondering: are stick vacuums as good as uprights?
The short version of this answer is that it really depends on what your specific needs. Stick vacuums typically offer quick, convenient and lightweight cleaning whilst upright vacuums tend to provide serious suction power and versatility.
Are Stick Vacuums As Good As Uprights?
To help us address the question “are stick vacuums as good as uprights?”, we’ll take a look at the main differences between them of both in several areas.
In terms of cleaning ability it is best to think of stick vacuums and uprights in terms of what they’re ideally designed for.
Upright vacuums are designed for a range of cleaning needs including getting deep into carpet fibres for thorough cleans. They have the power from the mains to be able to do so for as long as you need.
Stick vacuums on the other hand are more tailored towards lighter cleaning tasks such as clearing up crumbs and cobwebs. This doesn’t mean they can’t do a great job of the tougher tasks (as our experience of the Dyson V7 Motorhead testifies) but you certainly can’t expect to use them at maximum suction for as long as uprights because of their battery limitations.
When it comes to power, stick vacuums are severly limited as they are battery operated. Typically a battery will take 1 – 4 hours to charge and last anywhere between 15 – 45 minutes though some can go for longer.
Whilst they are in operation the very best stick vacuums can do an excellent job but the duration remains one of the biggest disctinctions between the stick and upright vacuums.
Upright vacuum cleaners on the other hand, are run from the mains which means you never have to worry about a task taking too long or forgetting to charge the battery.
As cordless stick vacuums are a newer type of technology they tend to be relatively expensive. You’d need to spend around £200+ to get a high-end model.
However, if you’re looking for one of the best upright vacuum cleaners you could get away with spending around £150.
Thus the price range tends to be more expensive for stick vacuums.
Another major difference between cordless stick vacuums and uprights is the capacity of their dustbins.
Cordless stick vacuums typically have capacity of around 0.4 – 0.6L. This usually means you need to empty out the contents fairly regularly (our Dyson V7 Motorhead needs to be emptied out after around 2 – 3 cleans to keep the suction at its best). Doing so ensures that the suction remains at it its peak.
Upright vacuum cleaners tend to have larger capacities with most holding between 4 – 6L of dust.
Another point of distinction is that stick vacuums are usually bagless whereas uprights can be either bagless or bagged.
The weight of your vacuum cleaner can go a long way to determining how easy it is to use especially when it comes to stick and upright vacuums.
Stick vacuums weigh less than their upright counterparts coming in at around 2 – 3kg. This makes them light enough for most people to be comfortable moving them around their homes. They also have the advantage of being able to switch to handheld mode without their long tubes making them even lighter to operate. Some get down to as low as 1.5kg in handheld mode.
Uprights on the other hand, weigh around 6-7kg. In some cases, such as the Shark Lift-Away range, this can be reduced when switching to portable mode.
Clearly if you are limited in how much weight you can push around your home or up the stairs, then stick vacuums are more friendly.
When it comes to range and flexibility in operation there is one clear winner and that is the stick vacuum. As they are battery operated (cordless) they can operate anywhere around the home or in the car without needing proximity to a power point.
Whereas upright vacuums are restricted by their cord length. Although some can get up to 10meter in cord length this still compares unfavourably to stick vacuums which can be taken anywere around the home without being connected to any power.
For a lot of people, how they will store their vacuum cleaner is an important consideration in which type they buy.
Stick vacuums typically need very little storage space as its just the long tube and hand unit that need to be kept away. You still need to accommodate the length of the whole unit in your storage compartment so keep that in mind when thinking about where yours might go.
Upright vacuums tend to need more storage space due mainly to their brush heads and bodies. In terms of overall height you may find many models are similar.
Are Stick Vacuums as Good As Uprights?
As you can see ultimately what’s best for you depends on your preference and needs around your home. There are a range of factors to take into account when deciding what would work best for you.
For an idea of what’s available let’s take a look at some of the best stick and upright vacuum cleaners around.
Best Stick Vacuums
#1 – Dyson V7 Motorhead Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
After having used the Dyson V7 Motorhead over the last few months we are huge fans.
Though it is a stick vacuum cleaner it has shown itself to be incredibly effective and versatile.
The Dyson V7 Motorhead leaves any surface, whether carpet or hard-floor, looking far better than it did before.
This would probably be perfect in our eyes were it not for the relatively limited battery span which can do 6 minutes of maximum suction or 20 minutes of high suction with the motorised head or up to 30 minutes with the smaller attachments. Having said this though we’ve found that the Dyson V7 Motorhead can easily clean a 3 bedroom home including stairs, kitchen etc without having to recharge.
Being bagless, you don’t need to worry about buying replacement bags but you will have to empty the relatively small (0.54 litres) compartment regularly. This can be done quite easily with the pull of a lever on the top of the unit.
The V7 can be easily converted into a handheld device which is perfect for the stairs, the car or anywehere else that needs someting intricate.
#2 – Shark Cordless Anti Hair Wrap Stick Vacuum Cleaner IZ201UK.
There’s a lot to like about the Shark Cordless Anti Hair Wrap Stick Vacuum Cleaner IZ201UK.
According to users, it performs brilliantly across both carpets and hard floors with an impressive two pronged motorised brush head. The effective suction is something that is often mentioned amongst glowing use reviews.
Its flexible construction means it bend to get underneath low-lying furniture and hard to reach spots.
This stick vacuum will run for up to 40 minutes on a single charge which compares well to other similar stick vacuums models.
A particularly useful feature is its Anti Hair Wrap technology which ensures that hair is untangled as you are cleaning. Though this seems to have had mixed reviews from some users in one of the few areas where there does not seem to be universal agreement of its overall excellence.
Another handy feature of this vacuum cleaner are the LED headlights which make life a bit easier in those dark corners or underneath furniture.
Quite helpfully it can be easily transformed into a handheld unit which is perfect for areas like the stairs and your cars.
Overall with the Shark Cordless Anti Hair Wrap Stick Vacuum Cleaner IZ201UK you get a vacuum with excellent user ratings and lots of handy features for your money.
Best Upright Vacuums
#1 – Shark Lift-Away NV601UK Upright Vacuum Cleaner
When looking at upright vacuum cleaners you may come across the Shark brand frequently and the Shark Lift-Away alongside it as they have some the best rated options on the market. The Shark Lift-Away Upright NV601UK vacuum cleaner is one of those options and is our number 1 pick for the best upright vacuum.
With the Shark Lift-Away Upright NV601UK you get a model that has received excellent user rating and reviews as well as a unit offering great flexibility.
The signature feature of the Shark NV601UK is the fact you can use it as a classic upright vacuum cleaner as well as a more lightweight LIft-Away pod/cylinder for cleaning areas like the stairs. When you want to switch to the Lift-Away mode you simply detach the pod from the main body and away you go. Users seem to especially enjoy this function as it makes jobs that need more manouverability (e.g. stairs, curtains) a lot easier.
In addition, by many accounts you get great suction power and performance across a range of floor types. Ground level head lights mean you also get to spot dust in places you may have missed as well as making hoovering under furniture and in darker spots easier.
#2 Shark Upright NZ801UK Powered Lift-Away Vacuum Cleaner with Anti Hair Wrap Technology
At number #2 on our list is another brilliant offering from Shark, the Shark Upright NZ801UK Powered Lift-Away. The showpiece features of this vacuum cleaners are the Lift-Away cylinder as well as what’s termed as Anti-Wrap Technology.
Overall the Shark Upright NZ801UK vacuum cleaner appears to be very highly rated by users with many commenting on the effectiveness of the anti hair wrap technology as well as the overall performance.