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The best Dyson cordless stick vacuums for 2024, tested and reviewed

We found the brand’s best models for suction, run time and more so you know which are worthy of your hard-earned cash.

A triptych of three Dyson cordless stick vacuums
The best Dyson cordless stick vacuums strike the perfect balance between power and agility. (Dyson)

Innovative. Colorful. Shiny. Sleek. Dyson stick vacuums are a sight to behold, among the most coveted of cleaning luxuries. They're beloved by professionals and are a favorite among celebrities. But is all of the juice (er, battery life) worth the financial squeeze? We put six top-selling Dyson vacuums through the wringer to see which ones would reign supreme. We considered things like run time, dust cup capacity, maneuverability, suction and trimming. The results were illuminating ... and not just because some of the models light up your floor! Keep scrolling to learn about the best Dyson vacuums of 2024, along with more on our testing process and tips for selecting the right model for your needs.

Quick overview

Table of contents:

A quick note before we dive in: Most of the vacuums on this list require three to four hours of charging to reach full battery potential, with estimated run times typically tied to lower modes (meaning when the machine is used in "boost" mode it can burn through the battery life more quickly). When we mention height, we're referring to how tall the vacuums are when assembled; length and width reflect how long and wide the brush cleaner heads are. Last time we checked, all of these vacuums were available on Amazon, many on sale and available with quick, free shipping so you don't have to wait to treat yourself or someone else. (Discover more cordless stick vacuums for your shopping pleasure.)

Size: 10.5"L x 9.8"W x 49.6"H | Weight: 7.6 pounds | Cup capacity: 0.8 liters | Run time: 70 minutes | Filter: Yes | Power: 280 watts | Tube color: Purple

Topping our list is the Dyson Gen5detect, which is like the holy grail of cordless stick vacuums, outranking other sticks we’ve tested — from Dyson and otherwise — in terms of suction, operation and run time.

Like most Dysons, the Gen5detect comes with three main parts — a cleaner brush head, long tube and vacuum head upper — that click into place in just as many seconds. The upper portion doubles as a handheld when combined with varying accessories (including combination, crevice and mini hair screw attachments) and can be charged by itself or in tandem with the corresponding wall mount as a cohesive unit. The vacuum has a lever that pops open its dust cup (which holds a generous 0.8 liters) and forcibly removes contents for hands-free disposal.

Akin to some Dysons, the Gen5detect’s digital motorbar (aka "de-tangling" or "vane") cleaner brush head can be adjusted to optimize toward different surfaces and materials, with the “+” setting proving particularly helpful for bearing down on piles of Cheerios or uprooting sand in our "carpet course" test (more on testing below).

Special to other "Detects," the Gen5detect also comes with a fluffy optic cleaner brush head that lights anything in its path fluorescent green, allowing for optimal visibility (we felt like real-life Ghostbusters powering this thing!). Because the brush is narrow and shallow, it gets right up against trims and didn’t miss the finer materials (such as rice and sand) in our "kitchen sink" test. And because it’s soft, we didn’t have to worry about scuffing up molding when using it to get into small crevices. Bonus: This brush is so nimble that we rarely needed to break out the Dyson accessory tools when navigating tighter areas, such as around dining room chairs and toilets.

Unique to this Dyson, the Gen5detect boasts 70 minutes of run time and 280 air watts of suction power, a welcome boost particularly for our "pet passenger" test (the Gen5detect made embedded cat and dog hair disappear; "turbo" mode kicks everything into even higher gear). Additionally, the Gen5detect has a button for operating the vacuum and toggling between different modes (as opposed to the Dyson V12 Detect Slim Origin, which has two separate buttons; other Dyson stick vacuums require you to hold down an operating switch to keep the power on). The digital screen on the vacuum displays advanced cleaning reads, along with how much time you have left on the battery.

The only gripe we have with the Gen5detect is that, as with all Dyson cordless stick vacuums, it lacks a light on the motorbar to provide visibility when cleaning carpets under furniture or in low lighting. As a little hack, we found the fluffy optic brush could be used on (especially flat) rugs in a pinch. 

Pros
  • On/off push button for easy operation
  • Includes slim fluffy cleaner head with laser for hardwood visibility
  • Longest run time at 70 minutes
Cons
  • While lightweight, the upper handheld portion is a bit top heavy
  • Priciest on this list
$925 at Amazon
Explore more purchase options
$950 at Macy's$950 at Lowe's
The Dyson Gen5detect is shown illuminating and vacuuming rice for Yahoo Life's Best Dyson stick vacuums guide.
The Dyson Gen5detect gets to work cleaning fine rice from cabinet crevices — down to the very last grain. (Kristin Granero/Yahoo Life)

Size: 9.9"L x 9.8"W x 49.1"H | Weight: 5.22 pounds | Cup capacity: 0.34 liters | Run time: 60 minutes | Filter: Yes | Power: 150 watts | Tube color: Chrome

For a more affordable yet still effective option, we suggest the Dyson V12 Detect Slim Origin, which received glowing reviews from our team and falls in a lower — and generally very competitive — price range.

It comes with the same power modes, accessories and fluffy optic brush as the Gen5detect. The brush had no problem "seeing" and sucking up everything in our "kitchen sink" test, along with finer, hard-to-spot specks of dust and hair on hardwood floors.

The motorbar brush isn’t customizable like that on the Gen5detect and there’s slightly less suction, though the Slim Origin still got the job done in our "pet passenger" test and "carpet course." (In the case of higher Cheerio piles and plush rugs, you may need an extra pass.)

Aside from being the least expensive "Detect," the Slim Origin is the lightest (just over 5 pounds) of any Dyson stick vacuum, making it the most agile and — especially with the soft roller in place — least likely to scratch, important for real wood surfaces. 

The Slim Origin is also the only Dyson stick other than the Gen5detect with an On/Off button (in this case, located on the front of the vacuum head) for added convenience and control. Of note: The Slim Origin dust cup is a lower capacity than the other Dysons we've tested so you might have to empty it during a full cleaning session. It has a run time of 60 minutes.

Pros
  • Most lightweight
  • On/off push button for easy operation
  • Includes slim fluffy cleaner head with laser for hardwood visibility
Cons
  • Detangling cleaner head isn’t adjustable
  • Small dust cup capacity
$391 at Amazon
The Dyson V12 Detect Slim Origin is shown illuminating and vacuuming materials in the dark for Yahoo Life's Best Dyson stick vacuum guide.
Night vision: The Dyson V12 Detect Slim Origin's fluffy optic brush is even more illuminating in low lighting, proving that cleaning is more fun in the dark. (Kristin Granero/Yahoo Life)

Size: 11"L x 12.6"W x 50.4"H | Weight: 7.9 pounds | Cup capacity: 1.9 liters | Run time: 60 minutes | Filter: Yes | Power: 220 watts | Tube color: Red

If carpets (particularly vast or plush ones) are your priority, you might want to consider the Dyson Outsize. Named for its oversized dust cup, tube and brush cleaner head, this machine performed at the top of its category.

It has 220 air watts of power (just behind the Gen5detect and V15 Detect) and a customizable, oversized motorbar brush cleaner head that can be optimized (by pressing "+") for really hunkering down on thicker rugs.

In our "carpet course" test, it chomped down on Cheerios, cat litter and everything else along the way like we were in a game of Pac-Man. It performed so well that when we reviewed video footage from our tests, we heard onlookers exclaiming "wow" in the background. The longer, wider brush cleaner head commanded a larger surface area for trapping materials so there were no fly-aways or stragglers.

The Outsize also proved outstanding in our "pet passenger" test, devouring pieces of fur and leaving nothing behind on our car mats. While this vacuum shone like a star on carpets, it also performed well in our "kitchen sink" test: It picked up everything on the floor in one pass, leaving nothing behind.

Not only does the Dyson Outsize’s larger brush cleaner head mean you can tackle more ground in one go, but the oversized dust cup (at 1.9 liters, the largest we’ve tested) creates some leeway for you to roam: We didn't have to empty it when covering multiple floors during long cleaning sessions.

Another plus: The Dyson Outsize has a digital display with power modes and battery reads. Minus: There isn't an On/Off button, so you have to keep one finger on the power switch while you’re operating the machine.

Pros
  • Largest dust cup capacity
  • Largest cleaner head and brush size
  • Cleaner head is adjustable for optimal traction
Cons
  • Must continuously press switch to operate
  • No cleaner head with laser for low-light visibility
$550 at Amazon
Explore more purchase options
$600 at QVC$600 at Lowe's
The Dyson Outsize is shown vacuuming Cheerio, kitty litter and other materials for Yahoo Life's Best cordless stick vacuum guide.
Carpet course: The Dyson Outsize mows down piles of faux fur, rice, kitty litter and Cheerios and sand like it’s nothing; an oversized dust cup means it can keep going until the job is done. (Kristin Granero/Yahoo Life)

Size: Taller stick vacuums generally equate to longer tubes and greater reach, helpful for those who are tall or navigating vast, shallow surface areas, like beneath platform beds. Bigger brush cleaner heads typically mean bigger brush rolls, so more dirt gets picked up at once.

Weight: The lighter the vacuum, the easier it is to lift and steer. Lightweight designs glide across hardwood floors seamlessly but can have difficulty bearing down on thick carpets. Lighter models often have smaller dust cups and less techy components (like LCD screens, which can make a machine top heavy).

Cup capacity: Larger cups house more dirt for fewer trips to the trash can. Of the models we tested, the ones with the smallest cups were the V12 Slim Detect (0.35 liters) and V8 (0.4 liters); the Outsize had the largest (1.9 liters). Every other Dyson we tested provided 0.8 liters, which sustained us during multi-floor cleanings.

Run time: According to our research, the average cordless stick vacuum run time hovers around 30-40 minutes for a budget-friendly model, 40-50 minutes for a mid-priced model and 50 minutes or above for a luxury model. The Dyson Gen5detect caps our list at 70 minutes. We suggest looking for at least a 40- to 50-minute run time for multi-floor jobs, as well as thorough cleanings incorporating "turbo" modes.

Filter type: Dyson vacuums are equipped with a washable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter for zapping pollutants and improving air quality. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), HEPA filters "theoretically remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns," with larger or smaller particles “trapped with even higher efficiency.” Follow instruction manuals for how and when to replace filters for optimal results.

Wattage: A higher wattage often correlates to greater suction power. High-voltage batteries generally have a longer run time, so you can tackle more space or several vacuum jobs in one go without having to keep recharging.

Brushes and tools: All of the Dyson cordless stick vacuums we tested come with an anti-tangle motorbar brush that can be used on hardwood or carpeted surfaces, along with combination, crevice and hair screw tools for tackling hard-to-reach areas and upholsteries. The Dyson "Detect" models also come with a fluffy optic brush that emits neon green light for illuminating finer dust, dirt and hair particles on hardwood floors.

Docking and storing: Dyson's cordless stick vacuums can be charged as a unit using the included wall-mounted dock. Alternatively, you can plug the vacuum head right into an outlet using the accompanying adapter. None of the models are freestanding so you'll need to prop them against a wall or leave them in their dock for storing.

Best Dyson cordless stick vacuums
Ultimate showdown: Two Dysons go head-to-head to gauge how well each can pick up fur in our "pet passenger" test. The V15 Detect cleaner brush head, left, can be optimized for carpets. (Kristin Granero/Yahoo Life)

We set up several obstacle courses to test these Dysons, along with other cordless stick vacuums, on materials with varying shapes, textures and depths and on different surfaces (carpet and hardwood). We also used each machine's attachments on sofas and other upholstered furniture. We focused on real-life scenarios, prioritizing homes that needed a good cleaning and/or had pet inhabitants. The lineup:

  • "Carpet course" test: We sprinkled faux fur, rice, Cheerios, kitty litter and sand across a plush carpet to see how the vacuums to cut through the clutter.

  • "Kitchen sink" test: We poured rice and Cheerios on a hardwood kitchen floor to gauge how well the vacuums could get a grip — especially against trims and in cabinet crevices.

  • "Passenger pet" test: We asked family and friends to avoid vacuuming for a week, then used car mats to collect the fur their pets had shed, to see which vacuums had the best suction.

  • "Vacs gone wild" test: We didn’t stop there! We clocked over 20 hours testing these vacuums in different houses and settings to see if they could rise to different occasions.

A retriever dog is shown shedding on car mats for Yahoo Life's Best Dyson stick vacuums guide.
Paws-itively adorable: "Pet passenger" Kimber exhibited some prodigious shedding to help us accurately test the best. (Kristin Granero/Yahoo Life)

The V8 Cordless Stick Vacuum is among Dyson's more compact and budget-conscious Dyson models, a touch taller and longer than the V7 with a slightly wider brush head and a bit more pickup. The carpet suction isn't on the level of other machines, however. Because of that, and the fact that it has a smaller dust cup (0.4 liters) and shorter run time (40 minutes; we clocked 25 minutes when using the higher power mode), we suggest it for smaller spaces with hardwood floors or low-pile carpets and quicker jobs. Of note, the V8 doesn't have a digital display with battery life readings, so you don't know when it’s going to run out of juice.

With the Dyson V11 Cordless Stick Vacuum, you get the same roller brush, tools and operation style as the V8 but with a tad taller and heavier yet still nimble frame. For a $100 price increase, you get extended run time (60 minutes total) and a bigger dust cup size, ideal for when you want to tackle multiple rooms. We also found the cup-release lever, located on the underbelly of the bin, more effective at ridding waste than the V8. Plus, you get an LCD interface displaying three power modes along with battery life readings.

The Dyson V15 Detect is slightly heavier and pricier than the Dyson V12 Detect Slim Origin, with the same tools, light-emitting fluffy brush, LCD screen and run time. It has a larger dust cup (0.8 liters), a bit more pickup (240 watts) and an adjustable anti-tangle roller brush that can be optimized for hardwood or thick rug surfaces, which appeared to make a difference in our "kitchen sink" and "pet passenger" tests. The catch? As with most Dyson stick vacuums, you need to continuously press the V15 Detect's power switch to keep it going the whole time.

Dyson stick vacuums are shown lined up in a row for Yahoo Life's Best Dyson cordless stick vacuums guide.
We did appreciate that Dyson has a range of stick vacs for every need — and we don't hate that they tend to come in vibrant colors. (Kristin Granero/Yahoo Life)

Why is Dyson special?

Dyson (more specifically, design engineer James Dyson) invented the first bagless vacuum using cyclonic technology in 1983. Dyson’s cordless stick vacuums are known for packing a lot of suction power into one lightweight, agile frame and brush. Dysons, and especially more advanced Dysons, performed at the top of our cordless stick vacuum testing for maneuverability and suction; their illuminated soft brushes offer peak visibility. Many Dysons have innovative displays and a release that pops open the dust cup and forces dirt out for easy cleaning. They also typically come with a suite of cleaning accessories, including combination tools, crevice tools and — our favorite for navigating couch and car interiors — hair screw tools.

Which Dyson vacuum has the strongest suction?

According to the brand, the Dyson Gen5 (Detect) was the most powerful Dyson vacuum at the time of publication, with 280 air watts of suction power (115% times more power than the Dyson V8). The Dyson V15 (Detect) came in second with 240 air watts and the Dyson Outsize third with 220 air watts. The Dyson V11 came in fourth with 185 air watts and the Dyson V12 Slim (Detect) fifth with 150 air watts. All of these vacuums performed well in our suction tests, with the top three outranking all others.

How long do Dyson stick vacuums last?

While Dyson doesn’t quote a lifespan for its cordless stick vacuums, the brand does offer a two-year warranty on all parts. The brand recommends preserving high power modes, avoiding extreme heat and giving the battery a break by running it down to empty at least once a month. Here are some other best practices to enjoy your cordless stick vacuum for a longer time.

A cat is shown assessing the Dyson V15 Detect vacuum head for Yahoo Life's Best Dyson cordless stick vacuums guide.
Another one of our resident petsperts, Pom Pom, was all too happy to put the Dyson V15 Detect to the test. (Kristin Granero/Yahoo Life)

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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