CONSUMER REPORT — Melissa Morris Iona has two children under the age of four. These days her stick vacuum is a go-to appliance. “We, with a 1-year-old, we are vacuuming after every meal,” said Morris.
Small vacuums, like stick or hand vacs are handy for quick pickups, and supplement the deeper cleaning of a regular vacuum.
“We found that in the past few years the suction power has gotten a lot stronger in many larger stick vacuums. So they’re even better cleaners,” said Sue Booth, Consumer Reports Engineer.
That power is tested on carpets and bare floors, with rice, sand and cat hair. Vacuums that pick up the most score highest. They also undergo a clean-emissions test to ensure that they don’t release dust back into the air. And if you’re tempted by the convenience of a cordless stick vac, CR says you might want to think twice.
“We discovered that almost half of battery-powered stick vacs will develop problems within five years, the biggest being that battery life gets worse over time. Corded stick vacs are generally more reliable,” Booth said.
CR recommends the Shark APEX UpLight Lift-Away DuoClean. It gets excellent marks for cleaning all types of floors, and has an extendable hose built-in for hard-to-reach areas. The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Slim aced pet hair tests. It has a large bin, and the brush turns off to clean hard floors.
Handheld vacs are great for reaching nooks and crannies, around the house or in your car.
One vacuum that Consumer Reports recommends is the Shark Ion that easily picks up debris from carpets and bare floors while tight spots. However, it features a small dustbin that must be emptied more often.
The Black and Decker DustBuster also does an excellent job picking up dirt on bare floors, and does a very good job handling edges and pet hair.