Consumer Reports: Top Stick Vacs

Need a quick pick-me-up to keep your house looking nice for the holidays? Three new, lightweight stick vacuums from Shark and Dyson not only promise to do the trick, but also claim to be as good or better than full-sized vacuums.

So Consumer Reports challenged them with the deep-cleaning test, where dirt is poured on and pressed in, a test normally reserved for full-sized vacuums.

The stick vacs couldn’t keep up.

For deep-cleaning carpets, suction alone isn’t enough. A vacuum needs to have some weight and a powerful brush roll.

Stick vacs are generally less than 10 pounds and just won’t do the job. But don’t count these new stick vacs out. When compared with others, they actually took the top three spots in Consumer Reports’ tests.

Number one is the Dyson DC 59 Animal. It does an excellent job on pet hair, light carpet cleaning and bare floors. But the Animal is a beast when it comes to noise—it’s one of the loudest stick vacuums tested.

Another Dyson, the DC 59 Motorhead, came in a close second. It’s a little quieter, though not quite as good on bare floors. Both are cordless, but at maximum power they only run about 7 minutes before they need recharging. And at $500, they cost far more than most decent uprights.

If you don’t mind a cord, the Shark Rocket is a more reasonable $180. The way it’s designed prevents it from cleaning well along the left edge, but it sucks up pet hair like a champ.

If you prefer a full-sized vacuum, Consumer Reports named one from Hoover for $100 a Best Buy. The bagless Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind offers impressive cleaning and superb pet-hair pickup. Plus, it does really well at deep-cleaning carpets.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.

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