Are Stick Vacuums Better Than Upright Vacuums?

Written by Alfie
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side-by-side pictures of a stick vacuum and upright vacuum.

If you want to buy a new vacuum cleaner, you might need clarification about the different kinds available on the market. You’ll find both upright and stick vacuums and must choose between them.

You might ask yourself: are stick vacuums better than upright ones? Or is the opposite true? We shall provide you with the clarification needed to give you the answer to these questions in this article!

Key Takeaways
  • Stick vacuums are compact, lightweight, often cordless, and ideal for quick cleanups, pet hair, and spills. They are equipped with smaller dust containers and may need frequent charging.
  • Upright vacuums excel in deep cleaning for large areas, have larger dust containers, and are not reliant on batteries. However, they can be heavier, larger, and less maneuverable.
  • Vacuum selection depends on specific cleaning needs. Stick vacuums are suitable for hardwood floors and quick jobs, whereas uprights are best for deep cleaning carpets and large spaces.

What’s the Difference Between Stick Vacuums and Upright Vacuums?

a man using a stick vacuum to clean a living room.

Before diving into our topic, we want to discuss the difference between stick and upright vacuums. Both types have key differences, each suitable for different consumer needs.

Stick Vacuums

Stick vacuums are compact and lightweight vacuums perfect for quick cleanups and spills. They can be corded or cordless and powered by a battery.

This vacuum type might come with useful features like a small motorized brush or a sensor that can track the amount of dirt and create a customized suctioning experience. 

In most machines, you can find the motor and dust containers at the top end and the cleaning head at the end of the tube that suctions debris. 

Upright Vacuums

Regarding upright vacuums, they make up almost half of the machines available today. They’re popular because they’re easy to store and do excellent deep cleaning for carpets and hardwood floors.

Most also come with many attachment options, so you can find an attachment to suit every cleaning need. They’re perfect if you live in a big house and want to clean large areas quickly, as they offer outstanding suction levels and don’t need to be charged. 

Are Stick Vacuums Better Than Upright?

Whether stick vacuums are better than upright vacuums depends mainly on your cleaning needs, specifically the area you plan to clean.

Both designs have many excellent features but also have some disadvantages. In general, stick vacuums will never have a level of suction and deep cleaning as powerful as upright vacuums, but that’s not always a bad thing.

Sometimes, you just want a quick clean by a lightweight and compact machine. In that case, your best choice is a stick vacuum.

Consider each type’s advantages and disadvantages to make a good purchase choice. We go into more detail about this topic in the following sections.

Advantages of Stick Vacuums vs Upright Vacuums

an upright vacuum on a wooden floor with a wall in the background.

Stick Vacuums

The advantages of stick vacuums include the following:

  • They’re primarily cordless, so you won’t need to switch between power outlets while cleaning. You can also easily clean areas like sheds or garages that might not have power outlets.
  • Stick vacuums often have the option of detachable tops to be used as a handheld vacuum
  • They are lightweight and easy to move and store. 
  • They’re helpful if you have pets or children, as they can easily pick up pet hair and quickly salvage spills. 
  • Most come with many attachments like crevice tools and dusting brushes.

Upright Vacuums

Here are some of the advantages of upright vacuums: 

  • They’re great at deep cleaning, with motorized brush rolls that work deep into rugs and carpets. They also make cleaning large rooms like living rooms and bedrooms easy, as they have an enormous cleaning head with powerful suction.
  • Most upright vacuums have big dust containers and are bagless, so they don’t need to be emptied as often as they previously had to. 
  • They don’t depend on batteries, so you can clean large areas without worrying that the vacuum will die. 
  • They usually have numerous useful tool attachments, so you can do most cleaning jobs effectively.

They have HEPA filtration options, which are high-efficiency filters that can seize over 99.5 percent of particles like pollen, viruses, bacteria, and mold.

Disadvantages of Stick vs. Upright Vacuums

Stick Vacuums 

There are also disadvantages to stick vacuums. Here are some of them that you should consider: 

  • They often have small dust containers that you’ll need to empty almost constantly, sometimes leaving messes behind. 
  • If you use the cordless type, you’ll have to charge it often as it runs out quickly. If you have a bigger home, you may have to charge it several times to finish cleaning it.
  • Some cordless stick vacuums are more costly than upright vacuums, especially if they have many cleaning attachments. 

Upright Vacuums 

There are also disadvantages to upright vacuums:

  • Even with cords, they might be too short to clean a big room without moving between different power outlets. This is an issue if you are in a room without power outlets and no other outlet can reach it.
  • They are more challenging to handle than stick vacuums as they are heavier and more difficult to move around.
  • They’re more difficult to store as they are bigger in size.
  • The cord can sometimes create issues as it might get stuck in tight places like between furniture.

Final Thoughts

When deciding whether a stick vacuum is better for your needs than an upright one, you should consider what type of floor you want to clean, how lightweight you want your vacuum to be, and where you want to be cleaning.

Answering these questions can help you choose whether you want a stick or an upright vacuum cleaner. If you want a cordless and convenient vacuum, go for a cordless stick vacuum. If you need to vacuum large areas, an upright vacuum cleaner is better for you.

No matter which you choose, be sure to look over reviews and diligently compare vacuum models when making a purchase decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve gathered the most popular questions and answered them below.

Stick vacuums are better when cleaning hardwood floors as they sometimes come with special pads made specifically for hardwood floors.

Charging and running time, having the option for different detachable floor heads, and being light, quiet, and easy to maneuver are factors to consider when buying a stick vacuum.

You should also consider features like suction power, two-in-one models, and LCD screens.

Cordless stick vacuums tend to have low battery life, meaning you’ll need to recharge them often. Generally, a battery might last 15 to 40 minutes without recharging.

If the battery dies, you’ll need to leave it to charge from 2 to 18 hours, depending on the model.