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.
Pet hair is another tough category that some vacuums handle much better than others. Once again, the Hoover Linx picked up 100 percent of the pet hair on all three flooring surfaces. This time, though, the Shark Rocket tied with the Linx; it also collected all of the pet hair on the hardwood, mid-pile carpet, and low-pile carpet
The sand-and-sawdust tests tell us how well the Linx can tackle smaller particles. This type of debris tends to sink down into carpeting, becoming particularly challenging for vacuums with comparatively less suction power. The Dyson DC59 won this test, picking up 100 percent on hardwood, 63 percent on mid-pile carpet, and 81 percent on low-pile carpet. Electrolux's less expensive model, the Ergorapido, came in second, and the Hoover Linx came in a close third.
The Hoover Linx might not look like much when compared to the design-heavy Dyson DC59, but this simple stick vacuum offers classic, intuitive design and extremely impressive performance and usability. Consider that along with its comparatively low $180 price tag, and it's hard not to recommend this model. Of course, if you want a bunch of accessories and don't mind dropping $500 on a stick vacuum, the DC59 is also a great option. It just won't offer the same value as the Hoover Linx.