We haven’t tried a vacuum yet that we absolutely hate. These ones below are solid vacuums, and in some cases are much cheaper than our top picks, but we didn’t like them as much.
Levoit VortexIQ 40 Cordless Stick Vacuum for $230: This used to be our budgetish pick. It’s still a solid vacuum, but stock is becoming limited. With a few passes, it sucked away all the hair, cat litter, and Cheerios I laid out for it. I like its auto mode, which adjusts the power as needed, like when I went over a patch of litter and it jumped to high suction and then dropped back down again. It can also turn into a capable hand vac like some pricier vacs.
LG CordZero All in One Cordless Stick Vacuum for $999: The LG CordZero is a great vacuum, and I could hear it sucking up dirt from the carpet even after using another vacuum over it. It has nice features like a stand that auto-empties the dirt basket and charges it. That stand also holds the attachments, which include a mop head. If you have money to blow, you’ll probably like this, but I don’t think any stick vacuum is worth $999.
Eureka Innova Cordless Stick Multi-Surface Vacuum for $229: This is a good stick vacuum at a reasonable price. It cleaned up my litter mat especially well, and there are specific carpet and hardwood settings. However, to suck up larger pieces like Cheerios, I had to lift the vacuum up and place it directly on top of them.
Shark Wandvac Self-Empty Cordless Vacuum for $330: I love that this turns into a little hand vac with its own small attachments. It worked well for cleaning my desk. It has a base that automatically collects the dirt from the dust bin, meaning there are fewer dust clouds you have to breathe in. I liked cleaning with it, but it’s probably best used with a powerful upright vacuum, as its suction power isn’t as strong as I’d like. It also feels like it needs to be just an inch or two taller, and the dustbin is small at just 0.13 quarts. If you don’t care for the self-emptying bin, the Wadvac Pet System ($200) works the same without the base.
Hoover OnePwr Emerge Pet for $330: Though the name is similar to the Hoover above, this is a different version. It’s a traditional stick vacuum and comes with attachments, but our tester says they felt flimsy, and the suction power is weak when you have the attachments on. Otherwise it got the job done, but you might be better off waiting for a more powerful vac like the Dyson V10 to go on sale.