Stick Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide


Everyone owns a vacuum cleaner, but the standard vacuum has its limits. Dependable as they are, your trusty vacuum cleaner can’t do everything, and as such new hybrid vacuums are starting to become increasingly popular, bringing greater flexibility to one of life’s most tiresome chores. The latest craze is handstick (or just Stick) vacuum cleaners, which provide and quick and easy vacuuming salutation for busy households.

What is a stick vacuum cleaner?

dyson 218109 01 v6 cord free handstick vacuum cleaner

Stick vacuum cleaners are a sleeker, modern design of the handheld traditional vacuum, and are very handy to have around your home. Their primary purpose is for a quick and easy in-between clean and best suited to reach those hard to reach places. Handstick vacuum cleaners are designed with convenience in mind. They are cordless and bagless, and their lightweight build and slick design means they are more easily stored and movable than traditional vacuums.

The biggest downside to handheld vacuum cleaners is that they have often lacked the suction power of their bigger cousins, the upright or barrel vacuum cleaner, but things are starting to change – and those seemingly innocuous stick vacuums are starting to pack a punch. You might even find a stick vacuum can completely replace your bulkier existing vacuum, but it’s probably the case that most households will purchase one as their quick and easy ‘number two’ option for those occasions when using the bigger unit is too much effort.

How much do stick vacuum cleaners cost?

dyson 164527 01 v8 absolute handstick vacuum cleanerHandstick vacuum cleaners can cost anywhere between $200 and $900 depending on the model and the brand. Since most handstick vacuum cleaners are less powerful than traditional barrel or upright vacuum cleaners, it’s no surprise that they are cheaper in most cases. If you’re looking for a budget option, a handstick vacuum cleaner can cost you less than $200. However, due to their increasing popularity, some of the leading manufacturers have been making more advanced and innovative designs. As a result, more feature-packed and expensive units are also available.

The most expensive model currently listed on Appliances Online is the Dyson 164527-01 V8 Absolute (pictured), which costs about $850, while the cheapest is the Electrolux ZB3103 Ergorapido 2in1 which will set you back a little under $200. The main differences between the two models are:

  • The weight, with the more expensive Dyson vacuum weighing more than a kilo less than the cheapest Electrolux.
  • The height and width, as the more expensive Dyson vacuum is significantly shorter (250mm vs 690mm). Generally speaking, the more compact models cost more.
  • The number of special features.

Canstar Blue research shows that 47% of Australians have more than one vacuum cleaner, and that we are spending more than $370 on average for each one. Clearly a large number of Australians feel that spending large sums of money on a functioning second vacuum to be a worthwhile investment. If you are one of these people, then you might want to consider buying a more expensive model that comes with additional features and greater power.

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Before settling on a stick vacuum cleaner, there a number of conditions you should take into account. Otherwise, you might end up with the wrong one.Things to consider when buying a stick vacuum cleaner

  • Budget: It might be worthwhile to invest in a more expensive model, but obviously this isn’t a good idea if you can’t afford one. These vacuums typically don’t last as long as traditional vacuums cleaners, so you will need to replace them every few years or so. Your budget should really be the first thing on your mind when deciding on a handstick vacuum.
  • Your surface type: It’s crucial to ensure that the model you buy fits your home. Handstick vacuums are not suitable for cleaning your entire floor, whether it’s tiled, carpeted or wood. They’re more suitable for small cleaning jobs in hard to reach areas and certain models perform stronger on different surfaces. A lack of suction on certain surfaces will result in dirt and debris being left behind. For the best results, ensure that the model you buy is a fit for your home.
  • Weight: Due to being handheld appliances, you’ll likely be carrying them around a lot to reach those rooms and stairs. Therefore, you definitely don’t want to pick one that’ll give you a hard time lugging it around. Pick a product that is light enough for you to carry easily. Some of the lightest models can weigh as little as two kilograms. Alternatively, getting a heavier one could be a good workout!
  • Battery: For the sake of convenience, handstick vacuums are cordless. This means you’ll want to keep the battery life of your vacuum in mind. Batteries should last for a few years of average use, unless you plan on vacuuming a lot. Eventually though, they will lose their ability to hold a charge. Once the battery dies, it can often be cheaper to just replace the vacuum itself, so make sure you check the warranty on the battery before you purchase. Also consider how long the battery will last for every use – this tends to be up to around 40 minutes at a time.
  • Noise: Being smaller and less powerful than upright vacuums doesn’t mean that handstick vacuums are that much quieter. If noise bothers you when you’re vacuuming, then quitter models definitely exist. It would be best to ask an expert on the Nosie levels before buying.
  • Ratings and reviews: There are scores of handstick models out there, and sifting through the good and the bad models can be challenging. Online reviews are a good gauge of whether or not a product performs up to standard, and you can also check out our vacuum cleaner customer reviews and ratings to see which of the major brands performed the best overall according to consumers like you.

Check out this video from Appliances Online for an overview of the Dyson V6 Animal Stick vacuum – one of the most feature-packed you are likely to find.

Special features to look for in a stick vacuum

In addition to the considerations listed above, there are also a multitude of different features that some of the more advanced stick vacuum cleaners come with. Depending on your needs, you might want to consider some of the following common features.

  • On/off switch: This might seem fairly obvious, but a lot of models require you to hold a trigger to keep sucking, which can be a bit of a strain on the old fingers. An on/off switch makes continuous operation considerably easier, especially if you are a regular cleaner.
  • Wall mountable charging dock: While the stick part of the vacuum requires a battery, the handheld part is often chargeable. A docking station will keep the vacuum fully charged for when you need it, and some mounted bases can even keep all of your other accessories in one place as well.
  • Pet hair functions: Standard tools that come with a handstick are crevice and dusting brush tools, but there are other attachable parts built for specific cleaning purposes. The most commonly used is a pet hair brush. Pet hair is particularly difficult to get out, and you can never really be rid of it entirely, but a pet hair attachment will do a fine job in cleaning up after your furry housemate.
  • Fallout flap: A fallout flap prevents dirt from falling out of the back of the vacuum when you carry it with the nozzle facing downwards. People often do this without realizing it when they move between spaces, do having a fallout flap can stop you from having to do extra work.
  • Filters: Most vacuum cleaner models come with a filter to sort through dust particles. These filters should be easy to remove, replace and clean when necessary. Some models also come with HEPA filters, which are ideal if you have an allergy to dust.
  • Wet and dry capabilities: Not all models are suited to sucking up liquids. But the ones that do can store a relatively small amount (150ml), which makes them perfect for cleaning up quickly after a spill. Be sure to clean the in-built bin and filter after sucking up liquids, and do not fill it past the indicated level.

What are the best brands for stick vacuum cleaners?

dyson 164527 01 v8 absolute handstick vacuum cleaner

When it comes to vacuum cleaners in general, Shark vacuum cleaners currently top our customer ratings, but Dyson is hard to beat for its innovative new handstick vacuum cleaners. The 209568-01 Absolute handstick cleaner (pictured) is one of its flagship handstick models.

Another high profile brand to consider is Electrolux. The Swedish brand equips its vacuums with a number of innovative features, with unique technological flourishes that help them stand out. Electrolux offers 11 different handheld models in Australia, many of which have very high consumer scores. One model is the ZB3113 Ergorapido 2in1 Handheld Vacuum, which should only cost you around $250. Electrolux’s models come equipped with nifty features including a self-standing feature, swivel nozzle and increased suction power, and while its vacuums appear to be heavier on average, they still offer excellent value.

Bissell also offers a high-quality of handstick vacuums. It brings four different handstick vacuums at the cheaper end of the spectrum at around $200-400. One such model, the 1047F AirRam Vacuum Cleaner, weighs just 3.7 kilos and can last up to 40 minutes before needing to be charged, which is higher than most.

Other major providers of handstick vacuum cleaners are LG, Black & Decker and Monster, all of whose products will cost you roughly $300 or $400. There are other smaller providers out there which offer good deals on handstick vacuums, and one of these providers could just have the perfect vacuum for you. So ensure that you use that thing called the internet to do as much of your own research as you can before settling on a purchase.

In short, stick vacuum cleaners are a great innovation that can make your life a lot easier. If you have spaces that are hard to reach, or you don’t like to lug a big vacuum cleaner around, then a stick vacuum is a good option for you.

Vacuum cleaner buying guide

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