1. Dyson V8 Absolute ($449)

By all means, buy a lesser Dyson if the price here scares you. But this model is the best stick vac on the market, with unmatched handling, an easy-to-empty dustbin, loads of special features, and a marginally better run time than a $350 V7. Buy it at Amazon.

2. Shark IONFlex 2X ($377)

TechGearLab tests indicate that the Shark is "by far" the superior machine. "Exceptionally easy to use," the 9-lb IONFlex runs longer and has more suction power, and its battery can be swapped out for another when it runs low. Buy it at Amazon.

3. Electrolux Ergorapido PetCare ($220)

This clever machine excels at removing pet hair from carpets and furniture. In tests against the Dyson and several other rivals, it was the easiest to use. Credit the swivel head and the built-in detachable handheld. Buy it at Amazon.

4. Bissell Air Ram 1984 ($175)

A real workhorse for its price, this 8-lb Bissell also does an especially good job pulling pet hair out of carpets. It has no special attachments, but even so, "it's tough to beat the Bissell's combination of value and performance." Buy it at Amazon.

5. Dibea C17 ($110)

A top performer among more affordable stick vacuums, the C17 is a Dyson clone that can be a great choice for people with mostly hard-surface floors. It can't compete with the high-end machines on rugs and carpets. Buy it at Amazon.

Editor's note: Every week The Week's editors survey product reviews and articles in websites, newspapers, and magazines, to find cool and useful new items we think you'll like. We're now making it easier to purchase these selections through affiliate partnerships with certain retailers. The Week may get a share of the revenue from these purchases.