When it comes to cleaning the floors, there are several tools we can use. The most basic of which is a broom and dustpan, but let’s be honest: manual labor is not something we want to do after a long day at work or a long day of doing absolutely nothing at home.
Of course, there are vacuum cleaners – those motor-powered, suctioning beasts for picking up all sorts of fallen debris off of your floors. Of all the vacuum cleaner types out there, one of the most widely used in residential settings is the stick vacuum.
What is a Stick Vacuum?
A stick vacuum cleaner is a lightweight, compact vacuum cleaner. Several things set a stick vacuum cleaner apart from other types of vacuum cleaners, namely their bagless design, their ability to clean vertical and high-up surfaces, and their two-in-one versatility (far-reaching and one-handed operation). Stick vacuums are better suited for cleaning smooth tiled, hardwood, and even concrete floors.
Wait… What about my carpets?
Oh, right. The one thing that everyone should know is that stick vacuums, though great for picking up loose debris from smooth floors and surfaces, is not the ideal tool to deep-clean shaggy carpets and rugs. Many stick vacuums also have difficulty in removing embedded dirt from low-pile carpets.
If you need to clean carpets, we’d recommend getting either an upright vacuum cleaner or a canister vacuum cleaner. These types of vacuums offer sufficient suction power for pulling debris out of carpet fibers.
In a pinch, a stick vac can be used on carpets, but they’re not going to be as effective as other vacuum types. That’s all we’re saying.
Why you should consider getting a Stick Vacuum
Earlier, we spoke briefly of the main differences between uprights and sticks. Here, we’d like to focus more on what sort of benefits a stick vacuum has to offer that you can’t get with most upright models.
One of the most beneficial things about stick vacuums is their cost-efficient ongoing costs. One of the biggest money-savers when it comes to sticks is that they’re bagless, meaning there’s no need to stress about purchasing replacement bags when it has reached capacity.
Instead, a stick vacuum comes with a removable plastic container. When it’s filled with whatever filth you have on your floors, simply pull the container out, dump the contents into the nearest trash receptacle, rinse the container our (optional), place it bag in the unit, and you can get right to work.
Lightweight and Compact
Upright vacuum cleaners are not heavy behemoths that take a multitude of bodybuilders to operate, but they are not lightweight enough to work vertical surfaces (without a hose attachment).
The stick vacuum, on the other hand, typically weighs less than 10 pounds and is extremely easy to lift above your head. This enables you to clean drapes, shelves, and ceilings without the need for attachments.
The compactness of the stick vacuum is in the vacuum head’s design. They typically do not measure more than 4 inches in height, allowing you to navigate the tool below furniture without any hassle. An upright would probably require that you use one of its cleaning attachments to get dust bunnies residing below furniture and on stair steps.
Another thing that’s worth noting about stick vacuums is their versatility. Now, admittedly, all vacuum cleaner types can be used for a wide range of cleaning tasks – e.g. floors, drapes, upholstery, car seats, and so on – but none of them offer the same two-in-one solution that a stick does.
Many stick vacuums have removable extension wands which shorten the length of the tool. At the end of the suction port, you can place different cleaning attachments to deep-clean between couch cushions, shelves, window sills, and other obscure surfaces you could never vacuum-clean before.
But perhaps the main reason why people choose sticks over upright vacuums for home-use is their cordless operation. That’s right! No longer are you required to plug and unplug power cords when moving from room to room. Gone are the days of tripping over power cords and extension cables, potentially injuring yourself and your pride in the process. The future is now!
So what does going cordless offer you? Maximum mobility, environmental friendliness (if you’re into that), and the convenience of working in populated rooms. Of course, there’s the problem of limited battery life, but this can be solved by purchasing additional battery packs for your stick.
Stick Vacuum for Tiles, Concrete, Hardwood, and Laminate Floors Buying Guide
Now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way, it’s time to dive right into the crux of the matter: how to find the right stick vacuum. In this section, we’ll go over what specs and features to be on the lookout for when searching for the right stick vacuum.
Take a close look at how much suction power the stick vac produces. In no way is it anywhere close to that of an upright, let alone a canister, so we’d recommend finding the most powerful unit available to you. The suction of a stick vacuum is the only way it’ll lift dirt off tiled, hardwood, concrete, and laminate flooring (remember, beater brushes are not your floor’s friend). A good number to start at would be 40 CFM of airflow volume.
Adjustable Beater Brush
Tiles, hardwood panels, laminated flooring, and even concrete can scratch pretty easily. Vacuum cleaners of all types can come with a beater brush which serves to knock crumbs and other crusty goodness out of carpets. This, on smooth surfaces, is a bad thing.
You see, the beater brush uses some pretty stiff bristles which are necessary for reaching deep into the fibers of carpets. On tiles, hardwood, concrete, and laminate floors, the bristles do nothing other than creating irreversible graffiti on your beautiful flooring.
The most versatile stick vacuums – e.g. the ones that can work well on smooth floors and somewhat well on carpets – come with a retractable beater brush. A twist of a dial or push of a button adjusts the height of the beater brush or causes it to retract completely, allowing you to vacuum smooth floors safely.
Another thing that you need to consider when looking at potential stick vacs to take home with you is the construction of its roller. Plastic rollers are not what you’d need to vacuum smooth floors.
Plastic wheels can end up leaving long, ugly streaks on tiles and hardwood. The good thing is that these streaks are easy to get rid of. The bad thing is that it’s only easy to do if you have a floor buffer.
Stick vacs can come with rubber rollers which treat your floors nicely. Plus, they provide traction when pulling the vacuum head front and back without any slipping and sliding.
Cleaning Path and Swivel Head
The cleaning path of a stick vacuum refers to the width of the vacuum head. For vacuuming large spaces like tiled, hardwood, and concrete flooring, the best stick vac is one that comes with a wider head. After all, wider vacuum head will help in finishing your cleaning task much quicker than a narrower one, and isn’t that what vacuuming is all about? Reducing the amount of manual labor?
However, it’s important to note that a wider vacuum head is much harder to control than a thinner one, especially around the legs of furniture. In this case, a swivel head would help tremendously in cleaning around round or sharp corners.
Corded vs. Cordless
In an earlier section of this article, we spoke of the benefits of cordless stick vacuums. However, you should also know that there are corded stick vacs there for those of you who just can’t get on board with technology.
So what does a corded stick vac offer that a cordless can’t? The biggest advantage that a corded unit has is that it virtually has no downtime. Battery-powered models rely on rechargeable batteries which, if we’re honest, hardly offer enough power to clean an entire floor, let alone your home on a single charge. As long as there’s a constant flow of electricity surging through the power outlets of your home, a corded stick vac will continue to do its job without any hiccups.
Keep in mind that uninterrupted power and operation comes at the cost of dealing with power cords which are a tripping hazard. Furthermore, if you’d like to extend your range of motion by using an extension cord, you’ll just have a longer cable that’s at risk of becoming unplugged at the slightest tug.
Choose whatever makes you more comfortable. We’d recommend getting a cordless stick and investing in additional batteries – one to power the unit while others are on standby and resting in the charger. Which brings us to our next point…
Wall Mount Charger
Many newer stick vac models come with a wall mount charger which is great for two reasons. First, it can be used to either charge detached batteries or the one attached to the stick vac. And second, it saves space by keeping your stick vac off the floor.
If you have enough floor space to dedicate to a stick vac or do not plan on purchasing additional battery packs, a wall mount charger would still be a handy device to get. However, you could get by with a standard charger which fills the juice of your battery separately.
The runtime of a corded vac depends on the frequency of power outages in your town and whether you’ve paid your utility bills. So let’s talk about the runtime of cordless stick vacs for a sec. The newest stick vac models come with batteries that provide up to 30 minutes of continuous usage. This might sound like hardly anything which we agree with 100%, but get this: when switching from normal to POWER mode, the battery usually provides only 10 minutes of cleaning power.
If you were to get a cordless stick vac, once again, we advise that you invest in additional battery packs to keep the flow going by reducing infuriating downtimes. Sure, swapping out batteries can be a pain, but it’s not as annoying as having to wait around 2 hours for the battery to reach full capacity.
Although we appreciate the baglessness of stick vacs, the biggest issue we have with the plastic canister is its size. To keep the size of the stick vac as thin as possible, manufacturers produce canisters that typically hold between 1 and 2 liters of debris. It may sound like we’re nitpicking here, but when cleaning a huge floor space, having to empty the debris can every so often become a nuisance.
Unfortunately, you’re not left with much choice when it comes to the size of the canister. Your best bet would be to get a stick vac with the largest canister possible. That way you can get more work done without having to make numerous trips to the trash bin to empty the can.
2-in-1 Handheld Mode
To get the most out of your stick vacuum, it should be able to convert from a long unit to a short, handheld one for better-concentrated cleaning in tight spaces. Some of the dirtiest places at home include bookshelves, in between couch cushions, and curtains.
If you get a 2-in-1 handheld stick vac, make sure that it comes with all the right attachments – upholstery brush, crevice tool, etc. Some manufacturers do not include the attachments when you get the stick vac so you’ll have to purchase them separately.
So what have we learned today? We learned that stick vacuum cleaners are the new kid on the block in the vacuuming world. They’re not as popular as traditional upright vacuum cleaners, and they don’t provide enough suction power to deep-clean carpets and rugs, but for smooth tile, hardwood, concrete, and laminate flooring, a stick vac can be the ideal vacuum type to keep your floors free of dust and debris.
In this article, we provided a brief buying guide on how to find the right stick vacuum cleaner for cleaning tiled floors, hardwood floors, concrete floors, and laminate floors. The most basic things to consider are the unit’s suction power (at least 40 CFM of airflow), the absence or adjustability of a beater brush, and whether it comes with rubber rollers. These three things are essential in maintaining clean, damage-free floors. There’s no point in vacuuming your floors if the stick vac leaves unsightly marks in the process, right?