Can Hoover's $179 stick vacuum compete with more expensive models? You betcha.
The $179.99 Hoover Linx is an uncomplicated cordless stick vacuum. While it can't compete with the $499.99 Dyson DC59's intriguing design and variety of brush attachments, it offers something even better: exceptional performance. Since it also costs significantly less than comparable performers, its value is tough to ignore. I strongly recommend the Hoover Linx to anyone looking for a straightforward battery-powered stick vac.
Design and features
The design of the Hoover Linx is completely inoffensive, if not a little boring. It has a glossy silver and black plastic finish with some metal accents and a small classic red Hoover logo on the front. Basically, it looks like a pared down upright vacuum.
The $500 Dyson DC59 and $180 Shark Rocket both boast colorful, quirky looks that make them much more visually appealing than the Linx. Some people might prefer a vacuum that isn't trying to call too much attention to itself, though.
While only 7.3 pounds (about half the weight of the upright vacuums we've tested), The Hoover Linx is actually on the heavy side for stick vacuums. Both the Dyson and Shark stick vacs weigh less than 5 pounds due to their unique configurations. The $230 Electrolux Ergorapido Power weighs 5.5 pounds, the $349 Electrolux UltraPower Studio weighs 6.3 pounds, and the $350 Gtech AirRam is the heaviest, clocking in at 7.7 pounds. Still, the Linx doesn't look or feel cumbersome compared to the others.
The Linx is definitely the simplest model in terms of features. It operates via lithium-ion battery and a separate charger. There's an LED status bar that lets you know how much battery life is left. It has three options -- off, on with suction only (for hardwood or other bare floors), and on with suction and brush roll (for carpets). The dust bin opens on the bottom and the handle can recline quite low for reaching under furniture. That's it for features.
Both the Dyson DC59 and the Shark Rocket have a lot of attachments for completing all sorts of other cleaning tasks. They're really more than stick vacuums since they can double as handhelds, and you can customize them in a variety of ways. Like the DC59 and the Rocket, Electrolux's Ergorapido doubles as a handheld vacuum, although it retains the appearance of a traditional stick vacuum.
Many of the other models also offer multiple cleaning modes. While the Hoover Linx can transition from hardwood (suction only) to carpet (suction and brush roll) with the flip of a switch, Dyson's DC59 has a regular mode and a max power mode that provides a quick burst of power for tackling particularly stubborn debris. The Electrolux UltraPower even offers three different modes -- silent, normal, and booster.
The Hoover Linx offers exceptional usability. Not only is it lighter and more compact than a traditional upright, the battery-powered design allows you to transition between rooms without tripping over a cord or searching for a conveniently located outlet. These features aren't especially unique among stick vacuums, though. All of the models we tested offer that level of usability, except the Shark Rocket (which has a cord).
It's really the small details that make using the Linx a bit less of a chore than other models -- there's a lot of logic packed into its simple design. The power switch is located at the top of the handle within easy reach. A light indicator with labels lets you know if you're in suction-only or suction-and-brush-roll mode. An LED status bar on the front of the vacuum tells you when it's time to recharge the battery.
You also don't have to worry about storing a series of accessories or charging your whole vacuum on a dock. The Linx comes with a small separate charger so you can remove the battery when it needs to be charged and store the rest of the vacuum in a closet. One drawback is that the battery lasts only about 15 to 20 minutes and takes about 3 hours to fully charge. So, consider buying a backup battery for an additional $70 if you have a larger home, plan to use this as your primary vacuum, or just don't want to worry about running out of juice before you've finished cleaning.
Our performance tests are designed to see how well the Hoover Linx handles different types of debris. So, we scattered 1 ounce each of fruity Cheerios, pet hair, and a sand-and-sawdust mixture on hardwood, mid-pile carpet, and low-pile carpet. For comparison, we also conducted these tests with the $500 Dyson DC59 Animal, the $230 Electrolux Ergorapido Power, the $349 Elextrolux UltraPower Studio, the $350 Gtech AirRam, and the $180 Shark Rocket.
Fruity Cheerios have been a challenge for many of the vacuums we've tested, including both stick and upright models. Still, the Hoover Linx picked up 100 percent of the Cheerios on all three flooring surfaces -- hardwood, mid-pile carpet, and low-pile carpet. None of the other stick vacuum managed to do this, although the Gtech AirRam came pretty close. (It cleaned up 90 percent on hardwood, 97 percent on mid-pile carpet, and 98 percent on low-pile carpet.) If you want your stick vacuum to regularly collect cereal or other large particles, the Hoover Linx is up to the task.