Stick Vacuum vs Upright-Which is Best for Your Home?

The vacuum cleaner has become a home essential. These days many of us rely on our vacuums not only for keeping carpets and rugs clean, but also for clearing debris from hard floors, dusting, and even maintaining our upholstery. According to statistics, the vacuum cleaner market in the USA reached $570 million and it continues to grow.

With such a large market, it was inevitable that different types of vacuum cleaners would be developed, but which one is the best option for your home. In this article, we’ll address the stick vacuum vs upright debate to help you make your purchase decision.

The Stick Vacuum Basics

upright vacuum vs stick vacuumStick vacuums have gained popularity in recent years, as they are a convenient option for those who need a lightweight, quick and maneuverable cleaning solution. Many stick vacuum models are cordless making them easy to move from room to room.

However, this does come at a cost, because typically stick vacuums are less powerful than a conventional upright vacuum.

Additionally, the battery life is limited, so if you have a large home, you may find that you run out of charge or need to frequently empty the dust collector compartment.

Pros and Cons of Stick Vacuums

The Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to use and carry
  • Easier to clean hard to reach areas
  • Work well on conventional hard floors
  • Good for quick bursts of carpet and rug cleaning.

The Cons

  • Less suction power compared to an upright, particularly if you’re not using a high-end stick vacuum.
  • Generally, you’ll only have 30 to 40 minutes of battery life
  • Small dust canister, which requires frequent emptying.

The Upright Vacuum Basics

The Upright vacuum is often considered as a traditional style of vacuum cleaner. However, in recent years, there have been a lot of innovations to make smaller, lighter machines.

Upright vacuums have a cleaning heat, beater bar, handle and a large dust bag or bin. This generates a great deal of suction power that is excellent for rugs and carpets. In simple terms, the beater bar beats debris from the surface, allowing the vacuum to pull it away from the carpet fibers.

While replacing the bag can be a little tricky on some models, you won’t need to empty it after every cleaning session as you would with a stick vacuum. However, the cord can be problematic, as you will need to be quite close to a wall outlet and avoid getting tangled as you work across rooms.

The Pros and Cons of Upright Vacuums

The Pros

  • Deeper, more powerful cleaning
  • Larger dust bag or bin means less frequent emptying
  • Typically supplied with attachments to make the vacuum more versatile


The Cons

  • The bulkier design can make this type of vacuum more difficult to handle and store
  • Cords can make it difficult to reach certain areas or it can get tangled around furniture.


To find out how they differ and how this could affect your cleaning routine, read on.

The Difference Between Stick Vacuum and Upright Models

Before we can answer the question “is a stick vacuum better than an upright?, we need to explore the differences between stick vacuum and upright models. There are several areas where the differences become apparent.

Rate of Airflow

Vacuum cleaners rely on airflow to create that suction power that is needed for good cleaning. Generally speaking, an upright vacuum will have greater airflow due to the heavier motor, but there are some high-end stick vacuum models that can still deliver great suction power.

Weight of the Vacuum Cleaners

is a stick vacuum better than an uprightIn the past, vacuuming was backache inducing, heavy work, but even upright vacuum cleaners have streamlined in recent years. However, if you struggle with heavier objects, weight could be a major factor for consideration.

This is where the stick vacuum has the edge. These appliances are designed to be lightweight, making them easier to use, and carry. If you’ve ever tried to tackle vacuuming stairs with an upright vacuum, you’ll appreciate the lightweight nature of a stick vacuum.

Just bear in mind that this can come at a cost of less suction power. Most of the weight of a vacuum cleaner comes from its motor, so if you have a smaller motor, it will be lighter, but it will have less power.

Storage Space Available

If you lack storage space, you may have difficulty finding space to store a traditional upright vacuum. While there are upright models that have a more compact design, stick vacuums are lightweight and far easier to store. Many models have a charging dock that can be wall mounted, so you can charge and store your vacuum in a corner of a closet or laundry room.

Versatility of the Vacuum

Generally, stick vacuums tend to be more versatile, as they can be used upright or as a handheld cleaner. Many models also come with attachments that can be used with the main vacuum or handheld unit.

Stick Vacuum vs Upright: Which is Best for Your Home?

Both types of vacuums have their pros and cons, so in the stick vacuum vs upright debate, which type is best for you will depend on your needs and preferences.

If you have lots of carpets and rugs in your home that require frequent deep cleaning, you are likely to find a stick vacuum a little frustrating. You may need to frequently stop to empty the dust canister and you may even need to swap out batteries or stop for a recharge part way through your cleaning.

However, if you struggle to carry bulky, heavier items, you may find a conventional upright difficult to handle. While there are lightweight models, they are still heavier than the typical stick vacuum, and you’ll also need to deal with a power cord, which can be cumbersome and awkward.

So, you will need to think about what you need from your vacuum cleaner. Are you prepared to potentially sacrifice suction power in favor of a lighter weight and more convenient vacuum, or is suction power your top priority? This will help you to determine your answer to the question “is a stick vacuum better than an upright?”