Canstar Blue’s first ever stick vacuum review has seen Electrolux, LG, Dyson, Bosch, Kmart, Black & Decker, Hoover, Kogan, Vax and Bissell compared on effectiveness, battery life, ease of use, ease of emptying, ease of storage, quietness, value for money and overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Getting tangled in a never-ending fight between long strands of hair and a weak vacuum with about five minutes of power? Or maybe your four-legged friend can’t help but constantly bring the outdoors, indoors. We know a barrel vacuum isn’t always the lightest and most convenient solution to cleaning the house, while a handheld option isn’t always up for the fight. That’s where stick vacuum cleaners come in handy. They’re cordless, lightweight and can be up to the task. But which handstick sucks the most, in the best way possible?
Canstar Blue got the dirt. For that, we asked more than 1,300 Aussies for their feedback on the stick vacuum cleaner they’ve bought and used in the last three years. Respondents rated brands on their effectiveness of clean, quietness, battery life, ease of use, ease of emptying, ease of storage, value for money and overall satisfaction. Manufacturers which received the minimum survey sample size of 30 responses are featured in our results.
Electrolux kicked off our first ever stick vacuum cleaner ratings with a bang, being the only brand out of 10 rated, to achieve a five-star review for overall satisfaction.
Here are the best stick vacuum cleaners in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2020 review:
Electrolux mopped up the competition after rating best in seven out of the eight categories, namely, battery life, ease of use, ease of emptying, quietness, ease of storage, value for money and overall satisfaction. The majority of brands landed on a solid four stars for overall customer satisfaction, while Kogan, Vax and Bissell each ended on three stars overall.
Despite sweeping up five-star reviews across most of the board, Electrolux wasn’t the only brand to impress Australian households. Dyson took the lead when it came to effectiveness, rating best in the category. It also got full marks for ease of emptying, alongside Kmart.
A handstick is a sleeker, lighter and more convenient alternative to the traditional barrel vacuum. It’s also the more powerful and technologically ‘advanced’ sibling to the small, handheld vacuum cleaner. What makes cordless stick vacuums popular is their multifunctionality. These can be easily converted from a full-size upright vacuum to a compact handheld model, by switching out the main floor head for any of the accessories.
Handstick vacuums usually weigh just under the 4kg mark, and typically provide between 30 to 60 minutes’ worth of runtime. If you have a small house, you might be able to get away with doing a full clean on a single charge (including any upholstery). Otherwise, handsticks can be especially handy for dealing with pet hair and hard-to-reach areas. The cordless, bagless and lightweight build also means stick vacs don’t need much storage space and are very easy to move around between rooms.
Our research shows Aussies spend an average of $470 on a new stick vacuum cleaner, typically after having kept their previous model for around six years. How does this compare to what’s on the shelves?
Handstick vacuum cleaners can cost anywhere between $260 and $1,500, depending on the model and brand. Since most handstick vacuum cleaners are less powerful than traditional barrel or upright vacuum cleaners, it’s no surprise that they’re cheaper in most cases. To help you decide which stick vac may be best suited to your home and budget, here is a look at the best-rated brands included in our ratings.
From refrigerators to washing machines, Electrolux is a high-profile appliance brand with an eye-catching range of gadgets to fill the home. Its list of cordless vacuum cleaners is no exception, especially with the brand’s handsticks typically selling for around $299 to $899 in Australia. While some of its vacuums are heavier compared to other options on the market, including the Electrolux Pure F9 Animal Vacuum Cleaner which weighs 8.4kg, Electrolux’s stick vacuums still seem to offer excellent value with nifty features such as the swivel nozzle and increased suction power.
Certain Electrolux stick vacuums are also tailored to suit specific household needs, such as cleaning pet hair and dealing with allergy triggers. The brand’s cordless vacuum range is generally suitable for tiles, carpets and hard floors.
Some Electrolux stick vacuums include:
Electrolux earned five-star reviews in seven out of eight categories, including battery life, value for money and overall satisfaction. The only exception was effectiveness of clean, where it achieved four stars.
‘Life’s good’ with a clean house, which is why South Korean tech giant LG has a few cordless handsticks up its sleeve. Prices for LG stick vacuums usually start from $849 for a standard model, and reach up to $1,449 for handsticks with mopping functionality. For seriously long-lasting power, LG provides a Dual PowerPack with some of its stick vacs to provide up to 80 minutes’ worth of runtime. Handsticks with a Power Drive Nozzle also usually contain a direct drive motor, which apparently rotates the roller as it vacuums to better pick up particles.
If you’re searching for a cordless stick vacuum cleaner with convenient features, there are a few tempting functions. The adjustable telescopic pipe is one of them, allowing you to choose between four different lengths, for a more comfortable experience. Other useful things to look out for include removeable and washable filters, and LG’s five-step filtration system which captures and deposits particles differently based on the size.
LG’s stick vacuum range includes:
LG achieved a solid four stars across the board, including for effectiveness of clean, battery life, value for money and overall satisfaction.
Dyson is another major household name when it comes to appliances, and often a popular pick for vacuum cleaners. The brand’s entire cordless stick vacuum range shares many of the same features, such as powerful suction and a hygienic bin emptying system. Other functions like whole-machine filtration and a large dustbin capacity are also common.
But be prepared to pay top dollar for Dyson’s handstick vacuums. The cheapest Dyson handstick vacuum you can snag is from the V7 line, which starts from $399. Dyson’s latest technology and design can set you back up to $1,349 for the Dyson V11 Outsize Pro Vacuum. Although this specific stick vac is exclusively available from the brand’s website, and offers a few more extra tools than the next most expensive item in the collection.
Here are a few cordless stick vacuums currently available from Dyson:
Dyson was rated best for effectiveness of clean and ease of emptying. It scored three stars for battery life and value for money, but ultimately achieved a respectable four stars for overall satisfaction and everywhere else.
Drilling into the world of household appliances, Bosch extends its popular power tool range to offer a wide variety of household appliances. The brand has a handful of cordless vacuum cleaners costing between $269 and $899, catering towards those on a budget, as well as shoppers looking for a higher-end model. What makes Bosch stand out is the extra-long runtime it provides in some of its cordless vacuum cleaners. The Bosch Athlet Rechargeable Vacuum Cleaner is designed to give up to a quoted 75 minutes’ worth of cleaning time, which is a few handy minutes more than what most stick vacuum cleaners offer.
Other unique features include the SmartSensor Control function, and EasyClean System which apparently makes cleaning tangled hair from the brush roll easier. You can also find a shoulder strap and suction hose with certain models to make cleaning a little less awkward when working on upholstery and reaching into corners and tight spaces.
Some of the Bosch stick vacuums currently available include:
Bosch maintained a clean four-star sweep in all areas, including effectiveness of clean, battery life, ease of use, value for money and overall satisfaction.
The cheap and cheerful department store specialising in homewares has a couple of budget-friendly cordless vacuum cleaners to pick from. But, as with many inexpensive appliances, don’t expect Kmart’s cheaper vacuums to provide the same power, runtime or accessories as higher-end models. The cheapest Kmart stick vacuum comes just under $70 and packs up to 40 minutes of runtime, and contains a 0.5L bin capacity and 75W worth of power. But what makes it standout from many other handsticks is its foldable handle, which can be handy if you’re short on space. The Kmart 2-in-1 Cordless Stick Vacuum is suitable for carpets, hard floors, stairs and upholstery.
For a few extra bucks, the Kmart Cordless Stick Cleaner is said to have a multi-cyclonic filtration system and a HEPA filter for supposedly better dust filtration. It also has a folding handle to help clean under furniture. But compared to the retailer’s cheaper alternative, this has a much shorter maximum runtime of 30 minutes.
The stick vacuums currently available from Kmart include:
Kmart earned five stars for ease of emptying and four stars in most of the other categories, including value for money and overall satisfaction. It also got three stars for effectiveness of clean, battery life and quietness.
Despite temporarily swapping its tools for cordless vacuums, Black & Decker never takes it off the gas when it comes to providing a fix for different situations. For allergy and hay fever sufferers, as well as anyone with pets, certain stick vacs contain dual HEPA filtration which supposedly traps 99.92% of fine particles. There are additionally other handsticks which have removable, washable filters. Plus, if you have a larger house or need a long-lasting vacuum, most Black & Decker handsticks have a 60-minute runtime.
Black & Decker also puts a slight twist on the stick vac by allowing users to remove a smaller, lightweight handheld vacuum from certain handsticks. This is a pretty unique alternative to the usual option of detaching and re-attaching different accessories to the main unit.
Here’s a sample selection of the cordless vacuum cleaners you can get from Black & Decker:
Black & Decker earned solid four-star reviews in the majority of categories, including effectiveness, battery life, value for money and overall satisfaction. The only area it missed out on was quietness, where it got three stars.
Hoover is one of the few names synonymous with vacuum cleaners. But compared to other heavyweight brands, the American manufacturer sells its popular range of stick vacs at pretty budget-friendly prices. Hoover’s handsticks generally cost anywhere between the $200 mark and reach up to just under $600. This makes it one of the most affordable handstick brands on the market.
If you suffer from allergies, Hoover offers a few vacuum cleaners approved by the Sensitive Choice program. But none of these are currently cordless vacuums. Instead, you can opt for anti-allergy models like the Hoover Ultra Power Sick Vacuum ($299 RRP*) which contains HEPA filtration.
Some of the cordless vacuum cleaners currently available from Hoover include:
Hoover achieved a consistent four-star rating across the board, including for effectiveness of clean, battery life, ease of storage, value for money and overall satisfaction.
Online retailer Kogan sells pretty much anything and everything under the sun, including its own cheaper versions of various appliances. Prices for Kogan’s cordless vacuum cleaners typically start from just under $70 for a 14V stick vacuum and can go beyond $300 for some of the brand’s more ‘advanced’ models. But it’s worth keeping in mind that Kogan is usually offering plenty of sales on its own branded range of vacuums, with free shipping also available for some products or Kogan First members.
Kogan stick vacuums come with the usual features you would expect from a handstick, such as a HEPA filter, dual suction modes, 60-minute runtime capacity and a dustbin capacity of just under 1L. Some models also include additional accessories.
A few Kogan stick vacuum cleaners currently available include:
Kogan received four-star reviews in several categories, such as ease of use, ease of storage, ease of emptying and value for money. But it ended on three stars everywhere else, including for overall satisfaction.
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Plenty of brands claim to provide a list of vacuum cleaners that can help easily tackle animal hair. But Vax is one of the few brands to cater a large chunk of its range to cleaning up after your four-legged friends, with most of its handsticks designed for pets. One of the standout features is the Smart Control, which is said to give you a more efficient way of cleaning by displaying exactly how much power you have left. Another key function in some models is the Helix Technology, which the brand claims uses a horizontal cyclone design to make sure the handstick is still performing at its best whenever you’re cleaning in high or low places.
Vax stick vacuum cleaners usually cost between the $150 and $300 mark, making it among the most inexpensive handsticks on the market.
Here are a few handsticks you can get from Vax:
Vax received a respectable four stars in a few categories, including quietness, ease of use, ease of emptying and ease of storage. It ended on three stars everywhere else.
For another budget-friendly stick vacuum range, Bissell sells a few low to mid-range options to choose from. Prices start from just $99 for a standard lightweight handstick, and go up to $549 for a 25V cordless vacuum designed for everyday use.
If you’re a pet owner, there’s a ‘heavy duty’ option with models like the Bissell Powerlifter Pet Vacuum Cleaner ($329 RRP*). This is claimed to have five adjustable height settings to deal with different carpet lengths, a multi-cyclonic system claimed to never lose suction and allergen filtration to reduce household allergens. It also comes with a Pet Hair Eraser function, which essentially functions as a two-way fabric roller designed to pick up pet hair from upholstered surfaces while vacuuming or between cleaning.
A few Bissell stick vacs to expect include:
Bissell earned four-star reviews for battery life and quietness, but ultimately rounded up the scores with three stars overall.
The 10 brands mentioned above aren’t the only manufacturers worth considering. Here are a couple more popular options you might want to check out.
Samsung is another South Korean heavyweight dominating the tech world. Its high-end stick vac range is currently made up of several ‘Jet’ models, retailing between $729 and $1,029. One of the main features that’s hard to ignore is the HEPA filtration system claimed to capture up to 99.99% of micro dust particles. The Jet Cyclone technology is also boasted for its ability to work at full power throughout the whole clean, while the Digital Inverter Motor is said to offer 200W of suction power on a variety of surfaces.
The cheapest Samsung stick vac is stated to provide a 40-minute runtime, while the most expensive models can last up to one hour, according to the brand.
Here are a few Samsung stick vacuums currently available:
While not available all year round, ALDI’s stick vacuums do make an appearance from time to time in the supermarket’s Special Buys. The previous ALDI 2-in-1 builds its major functions into the detachable handheld unit, so you can either use it as a small handheld vacuum or locked into the stick frame to cover more ground. It offers up to 28 minutes of runtime and requires five hours to fully recharge.
The handle can be folded to help reach underneath furniture, using a rolling hinge so it’s not as awkward to vacuum up the dust bunnies underneath the couch. It’s also equipped with a headlight to illuminate the path so you can see if you’ve missed anything under the couch and can swivel 180⁰ to get in around the chair legs. Activating the turbo function provides an additional power boost for when you’ve got some difficult tasks at hand.
Tidying up the house might not be the most fun activity, but how are Aussie households maintaining their home?
Interestingly, it turns out that nearly half (49%) of our survey respondents own more than one vacuum cleaner at home. Our research also reveals that the majority of people vacuum every few days (39%) or weekly (35%), while some prefer to make it a daily habit (16%). Plus, a whopping 57% make sure to regularly clean the filter of their vacuum. Check out our graph for other interesting facts!
Example of Anko Cordless Stick Vacuum from Kmart.
A stick vacuum is convenient and easy to use, but you’ll have to put it together first! The specific parts and accessories you get will depend on the brand and product you buy. But as a general guide, here are the bits and bobs you can expect in the box:
The motorised floor head, sometimes also referred to as the ‘power nozzle’, is the main tool that picks up particles from the floor. It generally features a rotating roller brush, which can be removed for easy cleaning.
Stick vacuums will generally come with a range of different accessories. For example, you might find a crevice tool (for getting into tight corners), a soft dusting brush (to clean windowsills) and an upholstery tool (for couches). Some attachments are combination tools, which include a brush tool with a crevice tool where you slide the brush back and forwards depending on the surface you’re vacuuming.
To help keep the accessories all in one place, some brands include a tool holder or a storage compartment that can be attached to the vacuum. This makes it easier to make sure you don’t lose your tools.
The extension tube is what connects the floor head with the vacuum body and dust bin. Some brands feature extendable extension tubes, to offer greater flexibility and reach.
For easy storage, most brands will include a wall mount or docking station. For wall mounts, you’re typically supplied with screws, allowing you to install the mount on the wall at a height most suitable for you. You can then hang the vacuum cleaner when not in use.
When the battery runs flat, you’ll need to use the battery charger to plug in the vacuum. It generally plugs into the body of the vacuum where the battery pack is situated. Some brands might also refer to this as the ‘docking station’ or ‘charging station’.
This is where the motor is situated, providing you with the power to vacuum your house. According to various brands, the more advanced the motor, the better the vacuum.
Depending on the model, dust bins come in a variety of sizes and designs. This part of the vacuum might also feature various filters.
The battery pack typically slides into the bottom of the vacuum body. Some battery packs will feature an indicator light to show when the battery is fully charged. Some brands offer two battery packs with their vacuums allowing you to charge one while vacuuming with the other.
Before settling on a stick vacuum cleaner, there are a few factors to take into account. Here’s what you should consider:
Ideally, it may be worthwhile to invest in a higher-end model rather than a cheap fix. Lower priced stick vacs typically don’t last as long as traditional vacuum cleaners, whether it’s runtime or the actual longevity of the appliance. So, you could end up having to replace the stick vac every couple of years or so.
Not all cordless vacuum cleaners are made equal. Some models are made specifically for carpets, while others are only suitable for stairs and hardwood floors. Although plenty of new models are now made to cover all bases. If the stick vac isn’t compatible on a particular surface, it won’t perform as well and will result in dirt and debris being left behind. For the best results, ensure that the model you buy is fit for your home.
Since these are handheld appliances, you need to keep in mind that you’ll be carrying your stick vac around the house instead of dragging it along the floor like a barrel vacuum. That’s why it’s important to check the weight of the handstick, preferably by trying it on at the store or comparing it with an item of a similar weight. Some of the lightest models can weigh as little as two kilograms or slightly less. Although, getting a heavier vac could be a good workout!
For the sake of convenience, most 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’s sometimes 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 30 to 50 minutes at a time.
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 you should look for a model with a lower decibel rating.
This goes without saying, but you’ll generally have to take what brands say about their stick vacuums with a grain (or more) of salt. Checking reviews online, and even asking friends and family about the brands and handsticks they use, can be a good way to gauge whether or not a product performs up to standard and suits your needs.
In addition to the considerations listed above, there are plenty 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.
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 just don’t like to lug a big vacuum cleaner around, then a stick vacuum is a good option for you. If you’re in the market for a new vacuum cleaner, whether it’s a stick vacuum or not, consider checking out our ratings for guidance.
Prices taken from respective retailers and Appliances Online, correct as of August 2020.
Our latest customer satisfaction research on stick vacuums saw a number of brands rated best in different categories:
Canstar Blue surveyed 6,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and used a stick vacuum cleaner in the last three years – in this case, 1,383 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
Here is the past winner from Canstar Blue’s stick vacuum cleaner review: