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Stick Vacuum Vs Upright Vacuum: What You Need To Know

Stick Vacuum Vs Upright Vacuum: What To Know

When you need to purchase a new vacuum cleaner for your home, you’ll have a dizzying variety of units to choose from. One of the big choices you’ll have to make is to decide between a stick and an upright vacuum.

What’s the difference between a stick and an upright vacuum? While a stick vacuum is lightweight and comes in a variety of cordless models, an upright vacuum is great for when you want to quickly clean up and it’s easy to store.

But there are many other important differences to know about these two popular types of vacuums. Read on for our guide to help you choose the best one. 


What Is A Stick Vacuum?

What Is A Stick Vacuum?

A stick vacuum cleaner is a type of upright vacuum. It’s light in weight and powerful. It doesn’t make use of a dirt bag but a dirt canister or cup that you have to empty when full.

A stick vacuum has a small canister and motor, as well as a handheld stick or shaft body. It’s designed to be portable and compact, especially if you opt for a cordless stick vacuum.

A stick vacuum has a brush roll on board that works well to deep clean carpets, so it’s ideal for you if your home is carpeted.


  • A stick vacuum is lightweight and portable, so it’s easy to carry around the house.
  • It’s useful for large spaces because a cordless stick vac won’t require you to always be close to power outlets.
  • Since it’s smaller, a stick vacuum isn’t as noisy as a regular upright vacuum.
  • Some stick vacuum cleaners can be detached so that you can use them as handheld vacuums.  
  • It’s easy to find storage space for a stick vacuum.


  • If you’ve chosen a corded stick vacuum, this can reduce your mobility when cleaning around the house, such as up the stairs.
  • If a cordless model doesn’t have a high-quality battery, it can run out of power quickly.  

What Is An Upright Vacuum? 

What Is An Upright Vacuum? 

An upright vacuum cleaner stands upright on its own, hence its name. It consists of a powerhead, a dirt container, and a handle that are all seamlessly attached. An upright vacuum cleaner comes in either bagged or bagless designs.

It has a motorized brush roll head that removes dirt and debris from carpets. 


  • An upright vacuum has a large head that works well to clean carpets effectively and quickly.
  • It’s easy to store an upright vacuum cleaner because it makes use of vertical space, such as in closets.
  • Most upright vacuum cleaners have long cords for increased ease of use.
  • Most upright vacuums are of the bagless variety, which makes their maintenance easier.
  • Many models come with attachments that are stored directly on the vacuum cleaner unit. 


  • The upright vacuum style can feel difficult or heavy to move up and down the stairs.
  • If you want versatility, you’ll have to ensure that the upright vacuum cleaner that you’re interested in purchasing will be effective when cleaning a variety of floor surfaces

Stick Vacuum Vs Upright Vacuum: What Are Their Differences?

As we’ve seen, there are similarities between these two types of vacuum cleaners, such as that they are both effective at cleaning your carpets.

But, they do have many important differences you should know about before you buy one of them. Let’s explore them.

Suction Power

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If you’re looking for a vacuum cleaner that has great suction power, an upright vacuum cleaner is the most effective at picking up debris and dust. 

When taking the five most popular upright vacuums on Amazon into account, they were each found to have more than 960w of power whereas the top five popular stick vacuums each only had around 240w of power.

Ease Of Use 

A stick vacuum tends to be easier to use than an upright vacuum. This is not just because it’s lighter, but it’s also easier to store when not in use. You can also get a stick vacuum to fit into small spaces much easier.

Since it’s light in weight, a stick vacuum can be used by anyone, such as the elderly, people with health conditions, or those suffering from mobility issues.

That said, since upright vacuums can stand on their own, they’re easy to store in cupboards and cleaning closets. 


A stick vacuum is an excellent cleaning device for use on hard floors and low-pile carpets. Generally, though, stick vacuums are ideal for hard floors because cleaning this flooring doesn’t require a lot of suction power.

What makes it versatile is that you can use it to clean up quickly for those urgent spot cleans or sudden messes that occur in the home.

Since it’s cordless, it’s easy to grab and use when required. You’ll also find it works well to get into hard-to-reach areas of the home.

As for an upright vacuum, it works well in larger living areas that are mostly carpeted. This is as a result of how it has a turbo brush in its head compartment that makes it work well to pick up hair and debris from carpets with greater ease.

Battery Life

Battery Life

Many of the stick vacuums on the market are cordless, which makes them convenient to use. However, they do require batteries that need to be charged.

Generally, a cordless stick vacuum’s battery will last for approximately 40 minutes after being charged, which isn’t bad and could probably be enough for you to clean your entire home.

By comparison, upright vacuums usually come corded. This is the reason why they have better suction power. You won’t have to hassle with batteries or worry about your cleaning session being interrupted by a loss of power when using an upright vacuum. 

Dust capacity 

Stick vacuum cleaners usually have smaller dust bins. Generally, these will offer around 0.2 to 0.7 liters of capacity (via Choice). This means that you’ll have to empty the bin regularly to ensure the vacuum cleaner continues to work at its peak.

By comparison, a corded vacuum cleaner tends to have a larger dust bin – usually around 1.9 liters. This is also the case for upright vacuum cleaners specifically.


When it comes to ensuring your vacuum cleaner remains eco-friendly and healthy in the home, one of the things you need to consider is if it makes use of a bag.

When compared to a bagged vacuum, a bagless model is kinder to the environment. This is because you don’t have to replace the bags over time, which can equate to hundreds of bags being thrown away over the vacuum cleaner’s lifespan.

A stick vacuum cleaner is eco-friendly as a result of how it uses a dust bin instead of a bag. But, you can find bagless upright vacuum cleaners so that’s worth considering.

When considering the sustainability of a vacuum cleaner, you also need to consider its lifespan. Generally, a vacuum cleaner can last for five to eight years although you will find models that can last for much longer than that. A stick vacuum, however, generally has a low lifespan.

A study has found that almost half of new battery-powered stick vacuum cleaners will experience problems within five years. This is mainly due to their batteries.


You will have to consider the cost of a vacuum cleaner before purchasing a new one.

Generally, an upright vacuum cleaner can cost around $50 for a low-end model to more than $1,000 for a higher-end one that’s more technologically advanced. 

By comparison, a corded stick vacuum cleaner can cost as little as $30.

Stick Vacuum Vs Upright Vacuum: Which One Should You Buy? 

Stick Vacuum Vs Upright Vacuum: Which One Should You Buy? 

If you’re looking for a highly portable vacuum cleaner that’s lightweight so you can comfortably carry it around the house during a cleaning session, a stick vacuum cleaner is a good choice.

It’s also great for getting into tight or awkward spaces. While they’re usually cordless, you can find a corded version if you want to increase the machine’s suction power.

By comparison, an upright vacuum is a good choice for you if you’re looking for a more powerful vacuum cleaner. An upright vacuum is especially effective when cleaning carpets, so you should choose one if you have lots of carpeted floors in your home. 

Best Stick Vacuum Cleaners 

Best Stick Vacuum Cleaners 

If you’re looking for high-quality stick vacuum cleaners, here are two of the best models to consider.

Dyson V8 Absolute Vacuum Cleaner

This best stick vacuum is lightweight and easy to use, and it offers 40 minutes of run time. This Dyson vacuum cleaner has a soft roller cleaner head that you can use on hard floors, as well as a motorized cleaner head that picks up dirt from carpets.

It’s easy to use because you can switch from a stick vacuum to a handheld vac, which makes it great for cleaning above-floor levels or in hard-to-reach areas. Cleaning it is easy because you just have to push a button to empty its dirt bin. 

Tineco A10 Hero Cordless Stick/Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

This cordless stick vacuum is lightweight and easy to maneuver. It offers 25 minutes of runtime, so it’s ideal for smaller living spaces. It comes with a wall-mounted dock which makes it easy to store.

It also converts into a handheld vacuum cleaner with attachments that can effectively clean crevices, corners, and stairs. This vacuum cleaner can be used to clean hard floors and carpets effectively. To empty its dust bin, you just have to press a button. 

Best Upright Vacuum Cleaners 

Best Upright Vacuum Cleaners 

Shark AZ1002 Apex Powered Lift-Away Upright Vacuum

This Shark vacuum cleaner makes use of Duoclean technology. It consists of a dual brush roll system that deep cleans your carpets.

It’s also designed with a detachable pod that enables you to clean underneath furniture and on the stairs. It contains a HEPA filter that traps debris and dust, which is great to prevent allergies.

It also has noise-reduction technology on board so that you don’t have to worry about making a big noise if you live in an apartment building. It makes use of active glide technology that enables it to move smoothly across carpets and hard floors alike.

Dyson Ball Animal 2 

This upright bagless vacuum cleaner is ideal for you if you want to have a cleaner home. It doesn’t send dirt and dust back into the room, so your indoor air will be allergy-free and more hygienic. It’s certified asthma and allergy-friendly.

This vacuum cleaner works well to pick up pet hair effortlessly, thanks to its tangle-free turbine tool, so it’s ideal for pet owners.

It comes with a self-adjusting cleaner head that uses the best suction for different floors, whether you’re cleaning a carpet or hard floor. You can easily clean the bin when required by pressing one button to empty it so you don’t get your hands dirty. 

Related Questions 

Can you use a stick vacuum instead of a regular vacuum? 

Can you use a stick vacuum instead of a regular vacuum? 

Although some stick vacuum cleaners can be used as a substitute for a regular, full vacuum, this isn’t always the case with all models out there. As we’ve seen in this article, a stick vacuum lacks the power of an upright vacuum.  

Can a stick vacuum stand on its own?

A stick vacuum can’t stand upright on its own in the same way that an upright vacuum can. It has to lean against something or be placed on the floor when not in use.  


Buying a new vacuum cleaner for your home can be tricky. You might not be sure what type is the most effective. Two popular choices are stick vacuums and upright vacuums.

As we’ve seen in this guide, both of them come with pros and cons. After reading this article, you now have a better idea of when you should purchase a stick vacuum vs upright vacuum to give your home the best clean ever.