Cheap stick vacuum cleaners: Kmart vs Big W compared

Anula Wiwatowska
Jun 21, 2024
Icon Time To Read4 min read
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Vacuum cleaners can get really pricey, so you may be wondering if the cheaper ones can actually hold their own. Affordable home appliances tend to skimp on the extra features, instead focusing in on the main purpose of the device.

For stick vacuums we're likely to see powerful suction, but poor battery life, storage, and ergonomics. Some of these trade-offs are annoying, but not deal breakers, while others are hard to reconcile. 

In this guide we compare cheap Kmart and Big W stick vacuum cleaners to see which ones are worth spending your money on.

What to look for in a stick vacuum

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Suction power

When you're looking for a vacuum cleaner, performance should always be at the forefront. If you can't properly test the vacuum then looking at the wattage is a good indicator of the kind of suction power you can expect.

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Cleaning comfort

When we talk about cleaning comfort what we're really looking at is ergonomics. Things like the weight of the device, whether the height is adjustable, and how loud it gets can all wear on you over time if it isn't balanced well.

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Battery life & charging

We put a solid focus on battery life and charging time when reviewing stick vacuum cleaners because if they're poor, it makes for a terrible user experience. Imagine being half way through a clean and then needing to wait four hours for the device to charge back up. Argh!

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Price

The upfront cost is one thing, but at some point you'll also need to buy replacement filters for most vacuum cleaners. Looking in to the cost of this consistent upkeep can make sure you're able to actually get these filters, and also that you're not in for high prices if you can.

Cheap stick vacuums: Suction

TLDR: Big W's range has higher wattage, but you need to stay connected to use it.

Between Big W and Kmart's stick vacuum ranges, Big W generally has higher wattage but that is because most of its cheap options are corded. Cordless vacuums tend to have less power because they rely on a battery, whereas corded vacs can just go for gold.

Kmart's most powerful cordless stick vacuum has 280W of power, whereas Big W's cheapest $32 Contempo has 600W. That is a lot of power comparitively speaking, although even with that the Contempo doesn't perform that well. I owned one for a while and the suction was so poor that I had to return it. The more expensive options from Big W such as the Enigma V10 go up to 1200W, which should be able to handle most household dander with ease.

Cheap stick vacuums: Battery life & charging

TLDR: Most of Big W's cheap stick vacuums are corded, so you don't have to worry about battery but you do need to deal with cables.

Since Big W's stick vacuum range is primarily corded, it is tricky to compare these specs. Instead you need to consider whether you're happy to sacrifice portability for power and price.

Kmart's entire stick vac range is cordless, but the battery life is poor across the board. In some cases you're looking at a low of 12 minutes run time, which is shorter than you get from the Acerpure Lite mini vacuum cleaner. Yet you can still carry it around the house without needing to fight for more outlet space, which can't be said for most of Big W's cheap stick vac range.

The only Big W cordless stick vacuum under $150 is the Devanti Handheld vacuum. Its battery life sits between 20-35 minutes with a four hour recharge time. This is pretty much in line with Kmart's range too.

Cheap stick vacuums: Cleaning comfort

TLDR: Neither big box store are particularly concerned with the ergonomics of their cheap stick vacuums

Ergonomics is another area that cheap vacuum cleaners tend to slip on, and that both Big W and Kmart seemingly aren't focusing on.

Between the two, Big W vacuums were more likely to have an adjustable height and tended to run lighter since they don't need the additional battery weight. On the flip side, Big W brands didn't provide decibel measurements, except on the Enigma V10 which capped out at a scorching 85dB. Kmart does include the maximum dB readings for each stick vacuum, but they are all on the louder side sitting above 70dB.

If you want a quieter, and more back friendly vacuum cleaner you're probably going to have to spend a bit more than these two big box stores are asking. But if you don't have the budget to do so, Kmart's $149 Cordless Stick Vacuum is the best of the bunch for cleaning comfort.

Cheap stick vacuums: Price and ongoing costs

TLDR: A mixed bag

Since we focused on the sub-$150 pricepoint, none of these stick vacuums are particularly expensive. Prices range from $32-$149 and are pretty staggered the whole way up. Generally the Big W range is cheaper, and also more powerful, but you need to factor in the cords. Kmart is more expensive but you get the freedom of a battery pack. You'll need to make a call here depending on your priorities. Personally i'd go with a cordless vacuum anyday, provided the battery life is at least half an hour.

At the time of writing Kmart doesn't offer replacement filters for any of its vacuum cleaners. It is a bit of a head scratcher considering it has air purifier filters for that range, but here we are. Big W similarly doesn't have filters for sale for any of the devices we looked at in this guide, but many of its vacuum cleaners do come with multiple replacement filters in the box.

So, which is better? Kmart or Big W stick vacuums?

If you're tossing up between Kmart or Big W for your cheap stick vacuum, we would recommend going with Big W - in particular the Devanti Cordless with a HEPA filter. At just over $100 the device has much of the same specs as Kmart's cheap vacuums, but for a lower cost. Equipped with medical grade HEPA filtering, and with three additional filters in the box you're going to get more longevity for your money. On average you'll also end up with better ergonmics, even if it is louder than the average vacuum.

While you'll lose out on the extra power from the corded options, this cheap stick vacuum gets you the best of both worlds.

Stick vacuum cleaners compared

Dyson is obviously a big player, but there are a bunch of other stick vacuum cleaner manufacturers available in Australia. We review products across Samsung, Dyson, Hoover, Acerpure, and well anyone else you can stick a vacuum at. Below we compare the main features of the top performers in the cordless vacuum space.
Anula Wiwatowska
Written by
Anula is the Content and Social Media Editor within the Reviews.org extended universe. Working in the tech space since 2020, she covers phone and internet plans, gadgets, smart devices, and the intersection of technology and culture. Anula was a finalist for Best Feature Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards, and an eight time finalist across categories at the IT Journalism Awards. Her work contributed to WhistleOut's Best Consumer Coverage win in 2023.

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