The Best Upright Vacuums

Upright vacuums are the standard in vacuuming, but that doesn’t mean they’re all created equal. In fact, upright vacuums can have huge differences between models.

Choosing the best upright vacuum cleaner can help make your chores easier and allow you to keep your home clean. Vacuum choices and available options may seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve never shopped for a vacuum before. Consider the space you have to vacuum, what special vacuuming needs you have, and how much you have to spend when you’re shopping for a vacuum.

We created this guide to simplify the shopping process and help you make an informed choice when purchasing your new upright vacuum. Read on to learn more about what each of our favorite vacuums offer and how they can help in your home.

Our Top Picks:

Best Overall: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Zero-M Speed Upright Vacuum (ZU561)
Best Budget: Bissell Cleanview Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner
Best Cordless: Hoover Air Cordless Upright Vacuum
Best Splurge: Shark APEX Upright Vacuum with DuoClean
Best for Pet Hair: Dyson Animal 2

The Best Upright Vacuums: Our Top Picks

Best Overall
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Shark Navigator Lift-Away Zero-M Speed Upright Vacuum (ZU561)

Easy to maneuver deep cleaning upright vacuum with anti-allergen technology.

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$229.99 USD

Why we Picked It

The Shark Navigator offers swivel steering that makes it easy to control on carpets and hard floors. You can also detach the canister and use it in “Lift-Away” mode to clean areas like stairs and blinds.

The brush roll gets down into carpets for a deep clean. It’s also made to be self-cleaning and can even remove stubborn hair from the roll. The Shark features complete seal technology to trap allergens and a HEPA filter to protect against allergens.

It comes in at just over 17 pounds and is lighter weight than many other models that offer the same features. With a cord length of 30 feet, the vacuum is convenient to move around.

Keep in Mind

The self cleaning roller bar is large enough to make deep cleaning easier. Because of that, it may not fit under tight furniture or other small, hard to reach places.

In a Nutshell

  • Self-cleaning roller for a deep carpet clean
  • 17.6 pounds
  • Anti-allergen HEPA filter

Best Budget
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Bissell Cleanview Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner

Cyclonic technology and a large cleaning path make this vacuum perfect for any location.

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$99.99 USD

Why we Picked It

The Bissell Cleanview ‘s One Pass technology and cyclonic suction makes the vacuum more powerful when getting deep down into low pile carpets and stairs. The vacuum can switch between hard floors and low pile carpeting. With a cleaning path of 13.5 inches, the vacuum even works in large areas.

The detachable hose is six feet long and can easily get into cracks and corners. Its 25-foot cord makes the Bissell easy to take from room to room without having to switch outlets. The cord winds up with the automatic rewind button. At just 15.4 pounds, the Cleanview is light enough to move around.

Multi-level filtration traps dust and allergens inside, though the Cleanview does not have true HEPA filtration. Its bagless design makes the Bissell easy to clean up when you’re done vacuuming. The canister detaches and can be dumped right in the trash.

Keep in Mind

Since the filters are made to be reusable, they’ll need to be cleaned regularly to stay in the best shape possible.

In a Nutshell

  • Cord rewind feature
  • 15.4 pounds
  • Multicyclones provide above average suction

Best Cordless
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Hoover Air Cordless Upright Vacuum

Lightweight and easy to use cordless model.

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$199.99 USD

Why we Picked It

The Hoover Air offers up to 25 minutes of usage with no power loss or battery fade. The Hoover Air use cyclonic technology that provides surprisingly strong suction for a small, lightweight and rechargeable vacuum. The charging base is easy to use and is small enough that it does not take up a lot of space.

Hoover’s LED headlights and crevice tools make it easy to not only get into tight spaces but also see into those spaces to ensure they’re properly vacuumed. The easy clean and empty dirt cup makes maintaining the vacuum a breeze. Weighing under 10 pounds, the Hoover Air is easy to maneuver and is a great option for those who are looking for a light upright vacuum.

Keep in Mind

While the battery lasts for up to 25 minutes – perfect for small spaces or room-by-room vacuuming – it might not be enough charge to vacuum an entire home at once.

In a Nutshell

  • Up to 25 minutes of battery usage
  • 9.6 pounds
  • Great for carpets and hard floors

Best Splurge
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Shark APEX Upright Vacuum with DuoClean

With DuoClean and lift away technology, this vacuum works great on all surfaces.

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$399.99 USD

Why we Picked It

The Shark’s DuoClean capabilities make it an excellent choice for homes that have carpet and hard floors. It can easily switch between both flooring types without causing any tangling issues. The vacuum also has anti-hair wrap technology that keeps long strands of hair and other things from getting caught in the roller.

The Apex can be used on floors or other areas of your home. It’s liftaway feature allows users to move a portion of the vacuum around, which is perfect for stairs or even in a vehicle. The 30-foot cord makes it possible to vacuum more without having to switch outlets.

Complete seal technology and a HEPA filter mean better anti-allergen properties. The 17.1-pound weight gives the vacuum plenty of power without causing it to be too heavy.

Keep in Mind

Even though the higher price point comes with many additional benefits, it may be overkill for a smaller home with average cleaning needs.

In a Nutshell

  • Powerful suction technology
  • 17.1 pounds
  • Self-cleaning brush roller
Best for Pet Hair
Dyson Animal 2

Cyclone root technology picks up even the most stubborn pet hair from carpet and hard surfaces.

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Why we Picked It

If you want to keep the pet hair in your house to a minimum, there’s a reason the Dyson Animal is the gold standard; it simply attacks pet hair better than any other vacuum. Dyson’s Animal 2 vacuum uses cyclonic technology to provide powerful suction that doesn’t get weaker over time. The vacuum is able to get deep down into floors and pick up dirt, dust and pet hair that other vacuums might leave behind. One-click dirt emptying allows hygienic clean up of even the dirtiest floors.

You can switch between carpet and hard floors with automatic floor detection that adjusts to create perfect suction for your flooring type. The combination tool, stair tool and attachments like the upholstery tool allow you to clean up pet hair even when it’s in your stairs or furniture. Dyson’s ball joint makes it easy to move around corners and into small spaces despite the vacuum weighing 17.35 pounds.

Keep in Mind

Since the vacuum uses suction to get deep down in carpets, it may not glide easily over carpeted floors.

In a Nutshell

  • Radial root cyclone channels
  • 17.35 pounds
  • Automatic floor detection

How We Chose the Best Upright Vacuums

Want to learn more about our process for choosing the best upright vacuums? Check out our criteria and how we analyzed each vacuum:

Versatility

Since versatility means a vacuum can work for more than one purpose, it was one of the most important factors we considered. When it comes to versatility, we assessed whether a vacuum could handle bare floors and carpet equally. The vacuums should be able to switch between the different flooring types with minimal effort. We also looked at whether a vacuum could handle both high pile and low pile carpets.

Cleaning Power

For cleaning power, a vacuum should have enough suction that allows it to clean deep down in carpets. We also looked at a vacuum’s ability to clean pet hair and clean different surfaces equally. When we looked at cordless models, we also determined how long the battery lasted before the lack of power started to have an impact on the vacuum’s suction.

We looked at the suction power and type of suction used to determine if the vacuum would lose cleaning power over time.

Useful Features

Vacuums may have features that seem unimportant, but these can actually be very useful over time. Things like self-cleaning brushes, upholstery attachments and lift away features are all useful features users will appreciate in the long run.

The attachments on a vacuum can be very important and they impacted our decision to include some vacuums on the list. With pet hair attachments, stair technology and more, the vacuums automatically become more useful.

Reputation and Customer Satisfaction

Most of the vacuums we reviewed have been on the market long enough for customers to know whether they like them and to build up a reputation. Customer reviews and satisfaction factored into our best upright vacuum choices.

We got a clear idea of what each vacuum was able to do once customers had it for some time. Vacuums that lasted longer and continued working received higher ratings than those that quit or had issues.

Customer satisfaction also told us if customers were pleased with their purchase and if each of the name brand models held up to the reputation they had gained on the market.

What to Look for in an Upright Vacuum

These may not be things you would typically think of, but can be very important when you’re considering a vacuum you’ll be using regularly.

Bagged vs. Bagless

Bagless vacuums are usually the best option because they are simpler to use and do not require the added cost of bags. They are typically easier to clean than bagged models, but they might not be the best for allergy sufferers. Bagged models work well if there are a lot of allergens or if someone in your household has allergies because the allergens get sealed in and can be thrown away. The tradeoff, of course, is that you have to buy and replace bags regularly.

Weight

Vacuum weight is an important factor to consider, especially if you are going to be using the vacuum on stairs or you’re going to vacuum the whole house at one time. Consider the weight of the vacuum and how it will feel when you have to maneuver it around your house. A vacuum might seem light when you first pick it up, but spend some time holding it to determine if it’s going to become a burden when you have to use it on stairs.

Price

Setting a budget in advance is important, but you’ll need to also remember that more expensive vacuums typically come with more features and with better suction. The higher price usually comes with more benefits and can be justified in that way. When you’re setting a budget for your vacuum, consider how long you want the vacuum to last, what you need it to be able to do and any extra features you want to get with it. In general, if you have a pet or a child, it’s better to spend a little more money.

Accessories

Some vacuums can actually make cleaning an easier chore. Unique attachments, like ones for blinds or upholstery, allow your vacuum to work in situations where most vacuums would not be able to go. You’ll also need to determine if other accessories, like lift away canisters, are easy to use and something you could justify getting with your vacuum. If you have a pet, upholstery and stair accessories are imperative to take care of pet hair.

Related Resources

Use these helpful guides to determine which type of vacuum is best for your home and your unique cleaning needs.

 

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