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HomeInOn - Five cordless stick vacs to clean your castle

They're compact, light in weight, highly manoeuverable, have suction power that rivals corded models, and can deliver longer runtimes than ever.


They're compact, light in weight, highly maneuverable, have suction power that rivals corded models, and can deliver longer runtimes than ever.

Author: Carl Duguay

Stick vacs have come a long way over the past decade, and the current models offer a viable alternative to the more traditional corded upright or cannister vacs. And of course, one of the obvious advantages of a cordless stick vac is that you don’t have to deal with a power cord.

The main complaints with cordless vacs have had to do with batter power and runtime. However, due to advances in battery technology and electronic circuitry, and the move to brushless motors, many cordless stick vacs are almost as powerful as corded vacs. The majority do a particularly good job of keeping your hard floors and carpets free of dust and debris.

All 5 vacs have these three features in common (except where noted):

Motor type – brushless
Ease of emptying bin – easy
Ease of cleaning filters – easy
LED lights – yes (except Dyson)
Wall mount – yes (except Shark)
Free standing – no (except Black & Decker)


Black & Decker Dyson Hoover Ryobi Shark
Model BSV2020P V11 Outsize BH53350 P7181K IZ162HC
Battery 20v (18v nominal),
2Ah, 40Wh
25V, 3.6Ah, 91Wh 20v (18v nominal),
4Ah, 72Wh
18V, 4Ah, 72Wh 21.6V, 1.9Ah, 41WH
Runtime (approximate) 55 min
low power,
roller off
60 min
Eco mode,
roller on
45 min
low power,
roller on
45 min
low power,
roller on
40 min
low power,
roller on
Recharge time (approx.) 3.5 hrs 4.5 hrs 3.5 hrs 2 hrs 2 hrs
Power levels 3 3 2 2 2
Roller brush on/off siwtch yes no no yes no
Roller width 9” 11-1/2″ 8” 8” 8-1/4″
Roller removal easy very easy easy somewhat awkward not removable
Roller replacement cost n/a doesn’t need to be replaced $99 n/a n/a
Pre filter nylon mesh stainless steel stainless steel nylon mesh stainless steel
Main filter washable, cloth media 2-part lifetime washable washable lofted or cloth media washable HEPA washable HEPA, lofted fabric, foam
Filtration n/a 99.99% to 0.3 microns 99.4% to 0.7 microns 99.97% to 0.3 microns 99.97% to 0.3 microns
Dust bin size 0.75L 1.9L 0.3L 0.5L 0.32L
Noise level 57/63/70 dB 63/66/74 dB 60/67 57/62/69 dB 60/65 dB
Overall weight 6.68 lbs 7.84 lbs 7 lbs 7.2 lbs 6.81 lbs
Head weight 3.85 lbs 5.24 lbs 4.58 lbs 4.78 lbs 3.6 lbs
Height (w/battery) 46″ 45-1/2″ 44-1/2″ 47-5/8″ 46″
Warranty 2 yrs 2 yrs 3 yrs 3 yrs 5 yrs
crevice attachment with flip out brush,
low profile pet brush, clip-on tool holder
combination tool, crevice tool, quick-release flexi crevice tool, motorized roller brush, extension hose, clip-on tool holder dusting brush, crevice tool, upholstery tool, microfiber hard floor brush, motorized pet hair roller brush crevice tool, dust brush crevice tool, upholstery tool
Price $219.00 $1,099.99 $249.99 $298.00 $299.99

I used each vacuum to clean 950 square feet of flooring (750 feet of low pile carpeting and 200 of hard surface) allowing 2 weeks between cleaning sessions for each vac. The living space is occupied by 2 adults and a cat.

I used each vac to clean around and under furniture and close to walls and tested how easy it was to empty the waste bin, disassemble the head for cleaning and remove the roller for cleaning.

I measured the vac sound levels using a sound meter smartphone app from Abc Apps.

The cordless stick vacs that I looked at deliver an average of 40 minutes of run time on the low power setting – enough time to clean all but the very largest of homes. The low power setting is generally able to handle routine hard surface and carpet cleaning. All these vacs also have a high power mode to deal with tougher cleaning jobs. In the high power mode you can expect to get a lot less runtime – an average of 18 minutes. However, you can buy a 2nd battery so you don’t need to need to stop vacuuming halfway to recharge your batteries (some stick vacs come with 2 batteries).

Stick vacs have a much sleeker appearance and more compact size than their larger siblings. Which means they’re easier to manoeuvre around and under furniture and don’t take up as much storage space.

stick and upright vacs
Stick vac on the left (Shark Rocket Pet Pro) compared to an upright vac on the right (Shark Navigator)

Some have convenient wall mounting docking and charging stations. And all have a 2-in-1 design that enables them to be used as handheld vacs – great for cleaning mattresses, cushions, stairs, car upholstery and hard to reach places.

The 5 stick vacs I looked are bagless – they use a plastic waste bin. These bins are very easy to empty and to remove for cleaning. For those who suffers form allergies or asthma there are stick vacs that offer HEPA level filtration. You’ll also find that stick vacs are typically less noisy than upright vacuums.

All stick vacs are similar in overall appearance – the motor, battery and dust bin are located atop the wand with the power brush head at the bottom of the wand. The vac head can be removed from the wand and used with various attachments as a handheld vac.

stick vac

Powerseries Extreme Pet

Model: BSV2020P
Price: $219.00
Where to buy

► Least expensive
► Lightest in weight
► Bright LED floor lights
► Freestanding
► Roller off switch


The Black & Decker Powerseries Extreme Pet is the least expensive of the models. It’s also the lightest in overall weight, and the only one that is free-standing. The motor is inline with the wand, the dust bin sits atop the motor, and the handle is at the back of the motor. I found this arrangement comfortable, not placing a lot of stress on my wrist.

The power selector and roller on/off buttons are easily accessibly with your thumb. Like the Ryobi you can turn the roller off when vacuuming hard floors – which makes the vac run somewhat quieter. In low power mode the Black & Decker is reasonably quiet (63 decibels). The noise level averages around 70 decibels in high power mode.

The Black & Decker is equipped with a 20 volt (18 volt nominal), 2Ah battery that delivers 40 watt-hours of power. And of course, you can use this battery on any other Black & Decker cordless tool you may have.

Battery life is good – 55 minutes on low power (with the roller off). I got almost 15 minutes of runtime on high power, ample time to clean my 950 square foot test area. The Black & Decker did a great job on both carpets and hard flooring. I found the vac well balanced, easy to manoeuvre around furniture, and I was overly impressed at how clean the roller was after cleaning the floor – much better than vacs that have a conventional bristle roller.

If you’re looking for an economical stick vac and don’t need a HEPA filter, then this Black & Decker just might fit the bill.

B&D sick vac
The streamlined head is just over 3-3/4 pounds in weight. It’s well balanced and I didn’t find it overly heavy or awkward when using it as a hand vac. The head is easy to disassemble when you need to wash the filter. In between washings you can rotate the cap (bottom of photo, extreme right) to dislodge debris on the surface of the filter.
B&D BSV2020P
You don’t need to remove the dust bin to empty it – just position it over a garbage can and press the lid release button. You can remove the dust bin with one hand when you need to clean the filters. At .75L it has the second largest dust bin, and it easily accommodated the dust and hair on my 950 square foot test area.
B&D Stick vac heads
The brush head has reasonably bright dual LED lights – helpful when vacuuming under furniture. The roller can be removed quickly and easily.
B&D Stick vac
The roller – which consists of both bristles and rubber pads arranged in a ‘v-groove’ pattern, did a superb job – there was virtually no hair, dental floss or other debris entangled on it.
B&D BSV2020P
The Black & Decker has a minimal set of tools – a low profile pet brush and a crevice attachment tool with a flip out brush. They worked reasonably well but felt somewhat flimsy, particularly the crevice/flip out brush. You also get a clip-on tool holder so you can store the tools on the wand.
B&D BSV2020P accessories
You can install the battery in the wall mount unit – when the vac is stored it will automatically recharge. Or you can remove the charger from the wall mount unit (as shown above). This enables you to use the battery with any other Black & Decker cordless tools you own.

B&D BSV2020P
It’s the only vac that stands on its own – all the others need to be leaned against a wall when not in use (or hung up on a wall mount).


V11 Outsize

Model: V11 Outsize
Price: $1099.99
Where to buy

► 18 cyclones generate tremendous force, making this the most powerful stick vac on the market
► Can sense floor type and adjust power (only on Auto mode using the high torque XL brush head)
► Swappable batteries deliver the longest runtime
► Largest dust bin
► HEPA level filtration (99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns)

Dyson V11

Anyone would expect a heck of a lot from an upright vac that cost over $1,000. And the Dyson V11 Outsize doesn’t disappoint. At just under 8 pounds it’s the heaviest of the 5 vacs – about half a pound heavier than the Ryobi and roughly one pound heavier than the other models. The motor and dust bin are inline with the wand and the handle and battery are located just below the motor. This arrangement might account for the fact that the Dyson doesn’t feel overly top heavy in use and is surprisingly easy to manoeuvre.

The Dyson is probably the most technologically advanced stick vac on the market. There are 18 cyclone tubes built into the head that generate a huge amount of suction that flings dust into the waste bin without clogging the prefilter or main filter. It also boasts the best filtration system of any stick vac – a sophisticated six-layer filtration system that traps 99.99% of dust particles as small as 0.3 microns. To get a better idea of how Dyson cyclone technology works click here (while it’s for a Dyson V10, the technology is the same for the V11).

The Dyson has what they refer to as ‘Dynamic Load Sensor’ technology. In Auto mode and when using the high torque brush head, the vac moderates suction power depending on the floor type. This is accomplished by means of sensors built into the motor, battery and head. It ensures the vac delivers optimal cleaning while conserving battery life.

Unlike any other vac the Dyson also has a sophisticated LED screen that displays the user-selectable power mode (Eco, Auto, Boost), the remaining battery runtime (in minutes), and if any debris gets blocked in the vac where to look for the blockage. It also lets you know when it’s time to clean the filter.

The Dyson comes with two 25 volt, 3.6Ah batteries. Each delivers an impressive 91 watt-hours of power. With 2 batteries you can get about 120 minutes of cleaning (in Eco mode), about 80 minutes in Auto mode, and around 24 minutes in Boost mode. I found the Eco mode did a good job on hard flooring, less so on carpets. The Auto mode picked up everything on either type of flooring and I think that most people will want to use this mode regularly. The Boost mode is best reserved for spot cleaning as it consumes battery power very quickly and at around 71 decibels is quite loud. I’d use it judiciously.

All that power makes the Dyson a tad noisier than other vacs. In Eco mode it averaged 63 decibels, in Auto mode it averaged 66 decibels, rising to 74 decibels in Boost mode.

Like all Dyson vacs, the V11 Outsize doesn’t have an on/off switch. This means you need to hold down the trigger the entire time you’re cleaning. I found this to be a minor annoyance. However, this might be an issue for those who have compromised hand strength (due to a physical disability or arthritis for example).

The Dyson is the best choice if you have allergies, asthma, or any kind of autoimmune disorder, or for anyone who has a large floor area to clean.

Dyson V11 head
The Dyson has a super large 1.9L dust bin – over twice the size of the 2nd largest bin (the Black & Decker at .75L). Pushing the red handle on the bottom of the bin moves the clear plastic container forward, opens the dust bin door and releases the debris. Tapping the bin gently against your trash container releases any remaining debris in the bin. The washable filter is quick and easy to remove. It can be a bit of a challenge to use as a handheld vac. It’s big and bulky for use in cramped areas such as vehicle interiors and small closets and at 5-1/4 pounds it’s on the heavy side for vacuuming overhead.
Dyson 11 brush
The brush head is highly maneuverable – it can turn at complete right angles, which makes getting around furniture extremely easy. The 11-1/2″ wide roller (about 3″ wider than most other stick vacs) means you can get more cleaning done sooner – a worthwhile consideration if you have a lot of flooring to vac. Like the Hoover and Ryobi, the Dyson roller features nylon bristles. However, on the Dyson the bristles are small in diameter, which likely contributes to the roller having noticeably less hair wrapped around it than the Hoover or Ryobi. The Dyson is the easiest of all vacs when it comes to removing the roller from the brush head – press a button to remove an end cap and pull out the roller.
Dyson V11 Adjuster
The red +/- adjuster on the front of the brush head allows you to manually adjust for high or low pile carpet height. For low pile carpets and hard floors move the adjuster to the minus (“-“) position. The purple strip along the front of the brush head helps to protect walls and furniture from bumps.
Dyson V11 accessories
You can install the tool storage clip (left, in photo above) on the wand for easy access to two of the tools you use most frequently (only the Black & Decker also offers on-wand tool storage). The long flexi crevice tool and extension hose are both flexible and extendable for getting into narrow and hard to reach spaces. The combination brush/crevice tool is handy for vacuuming debris along baseboards and around sofa cushions.
Dyson V11 mini brush roller
Only the Dyson and Hoover come with a mini brush roller that’s activated by the vac motor. While you can attach it to the wand, I found it worked best when using the vac in hand held mode for cleaning sofa and chair cushions, the bed mattress, and especially where the cat sleeps. I also found that the mini brush was more effective than the brush head at picking up debris tight up against baseboards.
dyson V11 docking station
The Dyson comes with a docking station and two battery chargers. You can install one battery charger in the docking station so that the battery on the vac will be continuously recharged whenever the vac is hung up. You can use the other charger to keep the second battery charged and ready to use. I haven’t installed the Dyson on its docking station – the photo above is courtesy of Dyson.
Dyson V11 LED Dispaly
The LCD screen display is great. You scroll through the options by tapping the silver button. The screen displays a runtime countdown in minutes and seconds and provides maintenance alerts – when to clean the filter and location of obstructions in the wand or brush.
Dyson V11
Like the other stick vacs the Dyson makes it easy to reach under furniture.

Emptying Dyson V11
The Dyson has the best bin emptying system of any vac. It’s a totally hygienic ‘point and shoot’ design. However, you do need to remove the wand to do this. A good shake will remove any debris left in the bin – or simply tap it gently against the waste can.


ONEPWR Blade Max

Model: BH53350
Price: $499.99
Where to buy

► Dual cyclonic DustVault technology captures 99.4% of dust down to 0.7 microns
► Dual motorized brush heads and a motorized pet head tool
► 3rd lightest head
► Excellent suction on carpet mode
► Side mounted dust bin is easy to empty

Hoover onepwr

The Hoover ONEPWR Blade + is the only vac that comes with 3 motorized heads – a multi-floor bristle brush, a microfiber brush (for use only on hard floors) and a bristle pet hair brush.

At 7 pounds it’s the second lightest vac. With the motor and waste bin mounted slightly above the wand and the handle inline with the motor, I found the Hoover to be reasonably well balanced.

Hoover’s dual cyclonic ‘DustVault’ filtration system captures 99.4% of dust of fine particles down to 0.7 microns with no apparent loss of suction, making it almost as effective as the Dyson, Ryobi and Shark at dust control.

It comes with an 18 volt, 4Ah battery that delivers a respectable 72 watt-hours of power. The battery will work with any other cordless Hoover appliances you have.

There are 2 power modes – Eco (low power) and Carpet (high power). On Carpet mode I got about 14 minutes of runtime, but nearly the full 45 minutes on Eco mode. For 90 percent of cleaning Eco mode works well – only for larger and heavier debris did I need to switch to Carpet mode. The vac defaults to Carpet mode when you press the power-on button – I would much prefer that it defaulted to the Eco mode, which I feel users will use most of time.

The Hoover was one of the quieter vacs, coming in at 60 decibels in Eco mode and 67 decibels in Carpet mode.

I was impressed with the cleaning power of the Hoover in Eco mode, particularly when using the microfiber brush head. For those with a large amount of hard surface flooring (particularly hardwood flooring) it’s a distinct advantage.

Hoover onepwr head
The Hoover has a small dust bin size (0.3 L) that is side-mounted, making it easy to empty. The head is compact and at 4-1/2 pounds not too heavy. I found it easy to use overhead and small enough to use in the car. The prefilter and main filter are easily removed for cleaning.
Hoover onepwr brush
The Hoover is the only vac to come with two main brush heads – a multi-floor head for carpets and hard floors (left in photo above) and a microfiber head for use on hard floors. Like the Ryobi, the bristles on the multi-floor head are quite large, which may account for the fact that more hair got tangled on the roller than for the other vacs. However, the microfiber roller does a superb job on hardwood and engineered wood floors, picking up everything in its path. If you have a lot of hardwood flooring the Hoover is a good choice. The rollers are easy to remove though you do need to root around for a loonie or large flathead screwdriver to release the retaining clip on the side of the brush head.
Hoover onepwr accessories
You get a full set of tools with the Hoover, including a motorized pet brush (far right in photo above) that is much more effective than a simple upholstery brush (3rd from left in photo above). You can store two tools on the wall mount unit.
hoover onepwr battery
The Hoover has a very compact recharging station. Like the Shark, it doesn’t attach to the wall mount. Recharging takes about 3 hours.
Hoover onepwr in use
The on/off and power selector buttons and the battery life indicator atop the head are easy to see and I could reach the buttons with a thumb. The power level indicator has 4 LED lights so you can quickly estimate how much runtime remains.

Emptying the Hoover onepwr
You don’t have to remove the dust bin from the Hoover to empty it – I found it convenient to simply tilt the vac on its side and open the dust bin door. The dust bin is quite small and fills very quickly. Hair tends to get trapped between the filter and walls of the dust canister and may need to be pulled out by hand.


18V ONE+ EverCharge

Model: P7181K
Price: $298.00
Where to buy

► Low decibel noise level in low power mode
► Washable HEPA filter
► 3rd largest dust bin
► V-groove roller design helps reduce hair tangling on the roller
► Uses a standard ONE+ battery compatible with all Ryobi cordless tools

Ryobi P7181K

At just over 7 pounds the Ryobi ONE+ EverCharge is the 2nd heaviest vac – just over half a pound lighter than the Dyson, but only marginally heavier than the Hoover. The motor and dust bin hang below the wand, and having the battery mounted on the end of the head unit and the handle located above the wand makes the Ryobi feel somewhat ‘end heavy’.

Like the Hoover, the Ryobi comes with an 18 volt, 4Ah battery that delivers 72 watt-hours of power. The ONE+ battery is compatible with all of Ryobi’s cordless tools (an astounding 225 products).

The vac is rated at 45 minutes of runtime on low power. It did a good job of picking up most of the debris on the carpet and hard floor in low power mode. For heavily soiled carpeting you’d likely want to use the high power (for which I got 18 minutes of continuous runtime). The v-groove design of the roller makes it more effective at reducing the amount of hair that typically gets tangled up on a roller than the design used by Hoover.

At around 62 decibels in low power mode the Ryobi is a fairly quiet vac – an important consideration if you live in a small space or are noise-sensitive. In high power mode the noise level rose to an average 69 decibels.

The Ryobi is a great choice if you’re looking for a HEPA vac that cleans well and has an efficient roller design that limits hair tangle, or for anyone who already has one or more Ryobi cordless tools – as all ONE+ batteries are completely interchangeable across all Ryobi cordless tools.

Ryobi stick vac head
The pre-filter and main filter are easy to remove for cleaning. The Ryobi vac has a HEPA filter (as does Shark) that traps 99.97% of dust particles down to 0.3 microns.
Ryobi stick vac brush
The roller has large bristles (like the Hoover). However, they’re arranged in a ‘v-groove’ pattern (like the Black & Decker and Shark). I found that hair didn’t get wrapped up in the roller nearly as much as it did for the Hoover. Removing the roller wasn’t as easy as for the other vacs – there isn’t much wiggle room when inserting or removing the roller from the brush head.
Ryobi stick vac wall mount
The Ryobi has a nicely designed wall mount unit for storing the vac, and it comes with a built-in battery charger. You can also store both tools on the unit.
Ryobi stick vac handle
The handle has a nice feel to it and both the power on/power selector and roller on/off buttons are easy to access with your thumb. When you power up the Ryobi it defaults to high mode. You need to press the power-on button a second time to drop to low power mode. An LED status bar under the handle lets you know what power mode is selected: a blue for high power and green for low power. The LED status bar flashes yellow to let you know the battery is just about empty. The battery has an on-board fuel gauge so you can check how much run time is left at any time.
ryobi stick vac
As for all the stick vacs reaching under furniture is quite easy.

Emptying the Ryobi Stick vac
You don’t need to remove the dust bin to empty it – just hold it over the trash can and press a button.


Rocket Pet Pro

Model: IZ162HC
Price: $299.99
Where to buy

► The 2nd lightest vac
► Washable HEPA filter
►Low noise level
► Anti-Allergin Complete Seal keeps dust from escaping the vac
► 5-year warranty

At 6.8 pounds the Shark is the 2nd lightest vac. The motor, dust bin and handle are positioned below the wand. I found this arrangement made the Shark very comfortable to use without placing undue stree on my wrist or arm.

The Shark comes with a 21.6 volt, 1.9Ah battery that delivers 41 watt-hours of power, the lowest among the 5 vacs. In the bare floor (low power) setting Shark lists a 40 minute runtime. I got closer to 30 minutes. In the carpet setting (high power) you can expect to get about 20 minutes. There is a trigger just above the motor that you can pull to get an additional boost of power. Running the vac in either the bare floor or carpet setting with the boost mode continuously pressed will give you about half the runtime.

The Shark is one of the quietest vacs. In the bare floor setting it averaged 60 decibels while in the carpet setting the noise level peaked at about 65 decibels.

Like the Dyson and Ryobi, the Shark uses a HEPA filter that traps at 99.97% of dust particles down to 0.3 microns. It also features an Anti-Allergin Complete Seal that prevents dust and debris from getting back into the air in your home. It does have an exceedingly small dust bin (0.32L) and it was barely able to hold all the dust and hair from my 950 square foot test area.

The Shark will be of interest to those who have a small amount of flooring to clean and want a quiet, lightweight vac with a HEPA filter and the security of a generous 5-year warranty.

Shark stick vac head
Like the Ryobi it has a HEPA filter that traps 99.97% of dust particles down to 0.3 microns. The HEPA filter, along with the foam and lofted fabric filters are easy to remove for cleaning.
Shark stick vac brush
The roller has rubber pads arranged in a ‘v-groove’ pattern like the Black & Decker and Ryobi. It did an excellent job picking up dust and debris from both carpeting and hard floors. The roller is not designed to be user replaceable.
Shark stick vac accessories
The Shark comes with two standard tools but without a wall mount or clip-on tool holder.
shark stick vac power trigger
The on-off and power selector buttons are conveniently located on the top of the head unit (just above the trigger). Pulling the trigger located just above the motor will deliver an extra boost of power – but use it judiciously as it quickly drains the battery.
Emptying shark stick vac bin
While you need to remove the dust bin from the vac to empty it, the process takes only a few seconds.
shark stick vac
Like the Black & Decker and Dyson, the Shark didn’t get tangled with hair.
Shark stick vac battery
At the back of the dust bin and battery are soft rubber pads that provide some protection when the vac is leaned against a wall.

Last modified: September 29, 2023

Carl Duguay - [email protected]

Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.

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